Wellington Street Past, Present… Future?

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Wellington Street looking north from Place d’Armes ca. 1950

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Wellington Street looking north from Place d’Armes 2014

This area was once bustling with warehouses, lumberyards, oil tanks, a brewery, trains, bars, car dealers, and so on. Former Councillor Ken Matthews remembers skating on what is now the parking lot of Food Basics, fetching chocolate bars and cigarettes at Mrs. Kelly’s for prisoners in the military drunk tank, and hearing hymns through the windows of  the Sailors’ Institute on the corner of King and Barrack. In the 30s, kids would gather coal at the roundhouse in what is now Fluhrer Park, and at the Steam Laundry (in this photo on the left with the false front), “we used to shimmy up the wall and take the women’s pop bottles [to sell the empties]… you had to have ten cents to go to the show.”

In the postindustrial era the area has seen various new uses: the government building on the right, the Legion turned Fitness Club/Street Health/H’art Studios, and residential development of the Bajus Brewery and the Anglin Bay area. What will happen to it next? It is poised to continue its development as a mixture of recreational, commercial, and residential, it seems to us. Let’s see it as a habitat, home, economic resource, and landscape, not just a distance to cover.

— Laura Murray

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