Thursday, 19 May 2016

Out on the highway in Orilia, Ontario in the summer of 1942

There is something iconic about this image to anyone who grew up in a city in Britain in the 1950s.

We are in Orilla, Ontario sometime in 1942, and with very little imagination it is the sort of place  you would see in countless Hollywood movies.

Here are the lone petrol pumps sat out on a desolate highway or just on the edge of a small mid western town.

The young men may work in the garage or like as not they have just wandered out to watch the odd automobile head out up the highway to somewhere a lot more interesting.

Of course all of this is just idle speculation based on nothing more than years of watching American movies.

In fact “"Orillia is a city located in Simcoe County in Southern Ontario, Canada, between Lake Couchiching and Lake Simcoe, 135 kilometres (84 mi) north of Toronto.

Originally incorporated as a village in 1867, the history of what is today the City of Orillia dates back at least several thousand years. 

Archaeologists have uncovered evidence of fishing by the Huron and Iroquois peoples in the area over 4,000 years ago as well as sites used by Native Americans for hundreds of years f
or trading, hunting, and fishing.

Known as the "Sunshine City", the city's large waterfront attracts many tourists to the area every year, as do a good number of annual festivals and other cultural attractions. 

While the area's largest employer is Casino Rama, overall economic activity in Orillia is a mixture of many different industries including manufacturing, government services, customer service and tourism.”*

And Orillia is where my friend Lori’s dad lived in the 1940s, and the photograph is of him and two friends hanging out in the summer of 1942.

All of that said it is still the sort of picture I might well have had on my bedroom wall at home in Eltham or later in one of countless student flats across south Manchester.

Picture; Orillia, Ontario, circa 1942, courtesy of Lori Oschefski, whose father is on the far right


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