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Then & Now: Trail’s Bay Avenue

Updated: Jul 29, 2021

I bought a bunch of negatives showing Trail in 1953 (judging by the license plates on the cars in one of the shots) and had them scanned this week. Seen below is one of the more interesting shots, of the 1300 block of Bay Avenue.

From left, we have the Bluebird Cafe, Mandy’s Recreations (snooker/bowling/billiards/food bar), the Salvation Army, three buildings with no visible signage, and the Crown Point Hotel. Going to the 1953 civic directory (coincidentally the only one available online for Trail with street-by-street listings) we discover the following:

1301 Blue Bird Cafe & Rooms

1319 Koot Carom Club

1319 Midway Bowling Alleys

1319 Food Bar restaurant

1343 Salvation Army

1355 Kootenay Travel Agencies

1355 Western Can Greyhound Lines

1355 Interior Stages

1355 Airlines Serv

1355 Auto Interurban Co.

1355 Terminal Fountain restaurant

1357 Rose R C

1367 Martin M G dentist

1367 Vogue Beauty Salon

1367 Rex Cafe

1377 Bird’s Billiards

1379 Bird C H rooms

1399 Crown Pt Hotel

1399 Can Pac Airlines

Busy little block!

The Midway Bowling Alleys, etc. had evidently been recently renamed — although I don’t know whether it was Mandy’s first and became Midway, or Midway first and became Mandy’s. Neither is listed in the 1948 directory; no other directories are available online from 1949-52, or 1954 onward.

Here’s what the same view looks like today.

Parking has switched from parallel to angle. Trees have grown up on the street where there were none before. The hillside appears a good deal greener. And five out of seven buildings are still standing.

CitiFinancial (now Fairstone Financial) occupies the former Blue Bird Cafe site at 1301 Bay. BC Assessment says this building dates to 1940. Its facade has since been tied together with the former bowling alley next door at 1319 Bay, which was built in 1929 and is now home to SNC-Lavalin and RHC Insurance (the latter’s address is 1331 Bay).

Next to that, we see the former home of the Salvation Army is now a vacant lot. I don’t know when it was demolished.

Then comes 1355 Bay, also built in 1929, and a key building related to transportation for generations. I don’t know when it became home to the Greyhound depot, but it was sometime between 1948 and 1953 — and it remained there until Greyhound shut down its western Canada operations last year. As seen from the directory above, it was also home to other bus lines, travel agencies, and a restaurant.

In the photo below from October 2000, we see a little bit of the sign for Dewdney Travel, another coach line.

In 1953, R.C. Rose was listed as residing at 1357 Bay, which I presume was the upstairs of the bus depot.

Next door, 1367 Bay was another building put up in 1929. In 1953, it was home to a dentist’s office, beauty salon, and cafe. In the photo above, it was Tony’s Restaurant. In the one below, taken in 2011, it was the J&V Restaurant, which it remains today.

At 1377 Bay in 1953 we had Bird’s Billiards and C.H. Bird’s rooming house upstairs. I don’t know when it was built or demolished, but it was replaced with the Crown Point cold beer and wine store in 1988.

Finally, we come to the Crown Point Hotel, built in 1932 at 1389 Bay (although numbered 1399 in 1953). For the past few years, it’s been in the midst of a redevelopment to turn it into a boutique hotel, the Crown Columbia.

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