Transcript: Main Street Ontario: Huntsville | Jun 27, 2019

The TVO logo appears on a black screen.

(music plays)

Old pictures of different parts of a city overlap on a map.

A male voice says ALL THE ACTION WAS DOWNTOWN.

A female voice says THE DOWNTOWN WAS SO ALIVE,
THERE WERE SO MANY PEOPLE.

Another male voice says EVERYBODY ON THE MAIN STREET
KNEW ONE ANOTHER.

Another female voice says I REMEMBER THE MERCHANTS
HOSING DOWN THEIR SIDEWALKS,
CRANKING UP THEIR AWNINGS.

A third male voice says IT WAS BUSTLING.
THE STREET HAD LIFE TO IT.

The name of the show appears on a road sign. It reads "Main Street Ontario. Huntsville."

In off, Bill Nichols says THE MAIN STREET OF HUNTSVILLE
HAS SEEN MANY CHANGES.

In off, Martha Watson says ALL THE SHOPS
WERE ON THE MAIN STREET THEN.

In off, Teri Souter says THERE WAS AN EATON'S,
AND THAT WAS AN ANCHOR STORE
IN THE DOWNTOWN AREA.

Photo cut outs pop up as each person speaks, and an animation shows the cut out faces of the people talking on figures recreating the stories mentioned.

Martha, a woman on her late fifties with short hair and bangs says THERE WAS A LOVELY
CANDY SHOP CALLED TRICKY'S.
FOR A NICKEL YOU COULD
BUY A WHOLE LOT OF CANDY.
IN THE '30S, MY DAD
AND A BUNCH OF HIS FRIENDS
STARTED THE FIRST
HUNTSVILLE SKI CLUB.
THEY WOULD SKI TO THE TOWN HALL
WHERE THEY HAD GREAT PARTIES.

Grant and Bill say THERE WAS
TRULY A SENSE OF COMMUNITY
AND I KNOW
I'M GOING ON ABOUT THIS,
BUT I STILL FEEL THAT THERE IS.

In off, Claude Doughtry says SO,
IN THE OLDEST PICTURES WE HAVE,
THERE WAS ALWAYS
A HOTEL ON THIS CORNER.

In off Hugh Mackenzie says IT WAS NORTHERN ONTARIO ELEGANT.
IT WASN'T TORONTO ELEGANT.

In off George Young says IF YOU WANT STORIES...
He chuckles and says OVER THE YEARS, THE EMPIRE HOTEL
WOULD HAVE ALL KINDS OF STORIES.
SOME THAT YOU COULD TELL,
SOME YOU COULDN'T.

Lyle Payne, a man in his sixties says I REMEMBER WHEN
THEY USED TO HAVE A DOORMAN.
THE MANAGER THAT WAS THERE
WAS DRESSED
TO THE NINES ALL THE TIME.

Peter Redwood, a man in his fifties with a moustache says YOU WANTED
TO TAKE YOU BEST CUSTOMER OUT,
YOU TOOK HIM TO
THE EMPIRE HOTEL SMORGASBORD.
THAT WAS THE PLACE TO BE!

In off, Doug Banwell says JONI MITCHELL'S
SONG "RAISED ON ROBBERY,"
"SITTING IN THE LOBBY
OF THE EMPIRE HOTEL."
WAS ACTUALLY
WRITTEN IN THIS EMPIRE HOTEL.

Claude says AFTER THAT,
UH, THINGS WANED A LITTLE
AND I WOULDN'T SAY
THAT IT EVER
GOT TO THE SEEDY STAGE,
BUT CLOSE.

Doug says THE BAR IN THE BASEMENT,
IT HAD A HORRIBLE REPUTATION.

Christine and Laurie McKnight say SMELT KINDA LIKE
THE SEWER AND PERFUME.

George says DARK AND DINGY BASICALLY.

In off, Trapper Bob says THEY CALLED IT
"THE DEN DOWN UNDERNEATH,"
WHICH WAS
PRETTY EXCITING AT TIMES.
ONE OF THE LOCAL CHARACTERS
BRING A ROOSTER
IN THERE ONE TIME
AND TURN HIM LOOSE
IN THE BEVERAGE ROOM.

Doug, a man in his late forties with glasses says IT WAS
A LOW CEILING, CRAZY PLACE.

Grant and Bill say WHEN YOU
BRING THAT BUILDING UP TOO,
AND THIS HAS NOTHING
TO DO WITH THE PAST.
I JUST THINK ONE OF THE MOST
THOUGHTFUL PEOPLE I KNOW,
OR HAD THE PLEASURE TO KNOW,
WAS DAVID KAYE.

In off, Martha Watson says SHORTLY AFTER HE BOUGHT
THE HOTEL,
HE FOUND A YOUNG WOMAN
SLEEPING IN THE DOORWAY,
IT WAS WINTER.
AND, UH, SOMEBODY SUGGESTED
HE SHOULD LOCK THE DOOR,
AND HE NEVER DID
BECAUSE HE WANTED
THE PLACE TO BE OPEN
JUST SO THAT SOME YOUNG PERSON
WOULDN'T FREEZE TO DEATH
BECAUSE THEY HAD
NO PLACE TO SLEEP AT NIGHT.
THAT'S THE KIND OF GUY HE WAS.

Lyle says HE WOULD HAVE
SOME PEOPLE IN HIS APARTMENTS
THAT, YOU KNOW,
HAD NO MONEY.
LIKE, WHEN I SAY
"NO MONEY," NO MONEY,
BUT HE TREATED THEM
LIKE THEY DID.

Doug says HE WAS TOTALLY FEARLESS.
I MEAN, A 50 UNIT,
FOUR STORY APARTMENT BUILDING
FULL OF PEOPLE
ON SOCIAL ASSISTANCE
AND THE GUY BUYS IT.

Teri says HE HAD A VISION THAT HE
WAS GOING TO REDO ALL OF IT,
AND HE WAS DOING IT
ONE APARTMENT AT A TIME,
SLOWLY PICKING AWAY AT IT.

Claude says HE'D WORKED FOR,
LIKE, EIGHT YEARS RENOVATING IT,
GETTING ALL THE APARTMENTS
FIXED OVER AND, YOU KNOW,
AND IT WAS SORT OF
AFFORDABLE HOUSING
BUT NICELY DONE.

Doug says THE DAY DAVE
HAD JUST FINISHED PAINTING
THE FRONT FAÇADE
OF THE BUILDING,
THE PLACE BURNED.

An Empire Hotel female resident says I WAS DOING IRONING
AND I HAD JUST
PUT THE IRON OVER
AND I SEEN
THE FLASHING LIGHT COMING.
THEN I OPENED UP MY DOOR,
AND I COULD SMELL SMOKE.

Doug says THE TOP OF THE BUILDING
STARTED TO LOOK
LIKE A SCENE FROM THE BLITZ.
YOU COULD SEE, LIKE, THE FLAMES
SHOOTING INTO THE AIR.
AND ABOUT 11:30,
I GUESS, I SAW DAVE.
HE WAS LIKE,
"I THINK WE'RE GOING
TO LOSE THE BUILDING."
AND THEN,
PEOPLE IN THE TOWN
STARTED DROPPING
STUFF OFF SPONTANEOUSLY.
CLOTHES
AND FURNITURE AND STUFF.
THEY WOULD JUST
DRIVE BY AND DUMP STUFF.

Grant and Bill say YOU WANT
TO TALK SENSE OF COMMUNITY,
THERE ARE PEOPLE OFFERING
BEDS IN THEIR HOMES
TO PEOPLE
THEY DON'T EVEN KNOW.

Helena Renwick, a woman in her late forties with blond hair says IN 2020,
WE'RE ACTUALLY DOING
A STREETSCAPE PROJECT
FOR DOWNTOWN.
THIS IS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY
TO REDO THE SIDEWALKS,
REDO THE ROADS,
REDO THE EMPIRE LOT!

An animated postcard reads "Dear Empire Hotel, we've been through some many ups and downs, you're going to be a part of our fresh, new downtown. Sincerely, Huntsville ."

Music plays as the end credits roll.

Produced in association with TVO. Never stop learning.

With the participation of The Canada Film or Video Production Tax Credit.

A production of The Tale of a Town Canada. www.thetaleofatown.com.

Copyright 2019, The Tale of a Town Inc.

Watch: Main Street Ontario: Huntsville