View of the Empire Hotel, Molson Bank Building and the YMCA from the Moore Street Watertower in St. Thomas, Ontario 1973.
St. Thomas YMCA Molson Bank Building The Empire Hotel The "Terrace"--Row Housing on Manitoba The Ross Street Subway Arthur Voaden Secondary School St Johns Anglican Church Ross Street Subway (2) YMCA (2)

St. Thomas YMCA

Photo showing the Cornerstone being laid for the Talbot St. YMCA in 1914.

1914 - 1997. The Cornerstone for the YMCA was laid by H.R.H. The Duke of Connaught, Governor General of Canada, on May 8, 1914 and construction completed by 1915. The gyms were added later. The Y had a swimming pool and sauna in the basement, served lunches, had racketball, basketball, floor hockey, sock hops and dances in the gym and was very active over the years. Demolished 1997.  

Molson Bank Building

1920-1977, 671-675 Talbot Street. Molson Bank merged with Bank of Montreal in 1925. The building was demolished to make space for a turning lane and the rest of the land was developed into the Tom Currah Parkette in 1977.

The Empire Hotel

Screenshot of the Empire Hotel all decked out in 1952 by Stollery Studios

1877 to mid 90s, 664-668 Talbot Street. Was built in 1877 as the Wilcox House, renamed the Empire Hotel in 1912. It later became Burty Bob's until destroyed by fire in mid 1990's. Was renamed and reconstructed as a one story building later.

The "Terrace"--Row Housing on Manitoba

1882 - 1981, 29-47 Manitoba Street. Built in 1882 by EA Horton as 10 units. Some of the earliest row housing in St.Thomas, this structure provided many people with apartments over the decades. A fire in 1981 led to its demolition.

The Ross Street Subway

Ross Street Subway Postcard c. 1913--Elgin County Archives.

1908 - 2014. The Ross Street Subway was built by the Michigan Central Railway in 1908. It is probably a testament to the importance of Ross Street at the time to keep a connection open. Over the years there would be occasional flooding and other maintenance problems. With the lack of train traffic plus the need to connect Center Street to Ross it was demolished in 2014.

Arthur Voaden Secondary School

Built 1926, active. Thousands of students have passed through the doors of this school over the decades. An asset to have in the downtown community.

St Johns Anglican Church

Built in 1909, 20 Flora Street, active. The original parish (which was not on Flora Street) dates back to 1872 with the advent of the new Canada Southern Railway and the influx of many new families. The present Church was built 1909, parish hall 1929, sanctuary enlarged 1957. It recently merged with Trinity Anglican Church and is now known as St. Thomas Anglican Church.

Ross Street Subway (2)

Photo showing trolley car entering subway at corner of Talbot and Ross St. in St. Thomas, ON, early 1900s.

Photo showing trolley car turning to enter subway by the Hotel Empire (later called the Empire Hotel) in early 1900s. While the pic isn't clear (source unknown) it emphasizes the importance of Ross Street and the subway connection to the other side of town, unencumbered by train traffic. Between 1872 and 1881 the population of St. Thomas more than tripled. By 1906 46 passenger trains and an enormous number of freight trains passed through St. Thomas every day.

YMCA (2)

Photo showing newly completed YMCA in St. Thomas 1915.

Photo showing the newly completed YMCA in 1915. Note the trolley lines for the St. Thomas Street Railway. In 1953, a severe fire damaged the original building and a new building was constructed. During 1963-1968, a new gym and 14 additional rooms were added during an expansion. The Y closed in October 1996, and the building demolished 1997.