Sunday, 4 December 2016

Watching the Santa Clause parade in Kenora, Ontario, in 1953

This is Kenora in Onraio and I am watching the 1953 Santa Clause parade.

It is the second in a short series on Christmas before now.*

There is no plan to the series, no great message, just a love of old pictures and the hope that stories will flow.

So this is Kenora and my friend Susan is there in the crowd watching the parade.

Kenora, originally named Rat Portage, is a small city situated on the Lake of the Woods in Northwestern Ontario, Canada, close to the Manitoba boundary.**

It stands on the territory of the Ojibwe or Chippewa who are a large group of Native Americans and First Nations in North America.

There are Ojibwe communities in both Canada and the United States.

In Canada, they are the second-largest population among First Nations, surpassed only by the Cree. In the United States, they have the fourth-largest population among Native American tribes, surpassed only by the Navajo, Cherokee, and Lakota.***

The town of Rat Portage was amalgamated with the towns of Keewatin and Norman in 1905 to form the present-day City of Kenora. The name, "Kenora", was coined by combining the first two letters of Keewatin, Norman and Rat Portage.

And in the December of 1955 Susan and her family were there as the parade rumbled past, and over and above Christmas there is another connection because Susan was prompted to send me the picture after reading about the petrol station that had been a cinema.****

It was one of those old fashioned ones with the now iconic petrol pumps and it led Susan to reflect to  “love coincidences...or, perhaps, synchronicity. I have not seen a photo with a BP sign in it for several years.

Now, within 2 days, I have seen two pictures: one here, Andrew, and one in a photo of the 1955 Santa Claus parade in my home town.

My parents used to use BP all the time when we were young. 

In fact, we took out little blue 'Hillman' car there quite frequently! 

Our surname was Hillman (originally from Wlitshire in England pre 1840) and I always thought it quite appropriate that our very first vehicle was named after us!”

But like all good memories Susan came back with a correction, “it was the 1953 Santa Claus parade...and it's a B/A sign.”

So there you have it, yesterday I posted of festive preparations in Varese in Italy, earlier in the week it was a postcard from 1916 and today a Santa Clause parade from the 1950s.

Picture; the Santa Clause Parade, Kenora, 1953, from the collection of Susan Susan [Hillman] Brazeau

*Christmas Past,

** Kenora


****Chorlton’s first cinema, a Molotov cocktail and a shed load of new stories,

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