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Ghosts of Summers Past (Posted On: Wednesday, August 26, 2015)

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For well over a century, one of Collingwood's most enduring and prominent features has been its iconic "Terminal" building sitting proudly on the shore of Georgian Bay. This magnificent structure was constructed in 1929, but in fact was not the first to grace the shoulder of the Bay.

This wonderful photo is unique in that it shows two incarnations of the grain elevators standing proudly side by side, one almost ghostlike in the distance. The mansard roofed wooden structure to the left is actually the second elevator, constructed in 1871 to replace an earlier wooden structure that had been consumed by fire. Towering 150 feet above the harbour, this magnificent building was reputed to have been designed by Frederick W. Cumberland, who was not only a noted Toronto architect, but the manager of the Northern Railway Company as well.

As grain shipments awaiting transport by rail continued to increase in the late 19th century, it became apparent that this elevator was fast becoming inadequate to meet the needs of a growing economy. In 1888, the now Grand Trunk Railway announced the planning of a new storage facility, although construction did not begin until many years later in 1929, with completion in 1930. Even though the old structure was still utilized, eventually it was rendered redundant by its massive replacement, low water levels and a crumbling economy. After almost 70 years of service, the oldest elevator on the Great Lakes was demolished in 1937.

This photo, which I adore, came by way of my wonderful grandparents. I wish I knew the names of the children playing, but alas my memory fails me here. Like the terminal buildings themselves, my grandparents were a contradiction in styles. Both magnificent storytellers and historians, my maternal grandparents, Harold Henry and Edith Carefoot, raised a family here in Collingwood, while my grandpa worked at the Shipyards and sidelined as a bootlegger during Prohibition. My paternal grandparents, Neil & Reba McInnes, were hearty farming stock, having farmed in McIntyre before moving to Nottawa in the 1950s.

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