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Eaton's on Kent Street

Eatons on Kent Street was torn down today by Bulldog Demolition with Richard MacGuigan at the helm. It cost of $65,000 to do the dirty deed. To me, he calls his firm Heritage Demolition!!! And he has good reason to, since he has torn down more of MY buildings than I dare to think about. It is so easy for people who don't pay the cost of the building in the first place to make a decision to demolish. Poor Eatons. They build such substantial buildings from Day One, buildings that contributed to our urban landscape. They get no thanks. How would you like to be facing the Winnipeg issue. A 1905 building that was so important on the Canadian mercantile scene - let alone the Portage Avenue one - and to build an arena, yet?!! Our Eatons was built in 1950 and it was a fine store that made a major contribution to our community. I believe it had another life.

For those who have not been in Charlottetown lately , it would be a shock for you to see what has happened north of Kent Street on both sides of Great George Street. The block, between Fitzroy and Euston, on the west of Great George Street is more than 3/4 demolished and waiting patiently for the Dept of Public Works to decide on size, use and architect for a new Federal Building there. It is scary to think of the options on such an important site.

To support that federal building, it was necessary for the city to address the parking problem. Now rather than address transportation problems in the bigger sense [we're likely not ready - even tho' we are the place that fought cars up until 1919] we have scummed to address parking of cars as the most obvious answer ... and maybe that is the best we can do right now. What a complicated issue!

Alright lets continue with the matter on hand. To address the parking problem the Eaton's site with its parking lot on Fitzroy Street was zeroed in on and that is why, today, it came under the bulldozer . I forgot to say that the service station activity that had been on the corner of Great George and Fitzroy since 1939 has also been puffed and we are waiting for a very special building to be located there. That site will home of the $20-million Atlantic Technology Centre that is already designed and has the imput of Toronto architect Jack Diamond. It is contemporary, but it fits the block in scale. So it was all this development that lead to the reuse of the Eaton's site. So get the picture???

We are in for a major change what ever way you look at it and the Upper Great George Street [now called University Avenue] that you remember will be gone. There is no question that Upper Great George Street has suffered seriously in the last few years. I believe it actually stems from the day they changed its name to University Avenue. Where were we when that happened? Big mistake!

Remember the Fashion Shop, Dr. Corrigan's dental office, the Two Macs, and Rexall Drug. Stanley, Shaw and Peardon's ? Craswell Photo Studio? The Great White Hunter? The Pure Milk Ice Cream with the special smell of the place? David Stewart's car show room,the Salvation Army and the Liquor Store where you had to have a permit to buy, and always Tweels and Lambros's too. Then too, there was Tanton's and Small's, the tinsmiths, where your mother got her Christmas cake pans made. Oh dear, this is simple too nostalgic and even with that I haven't mentioned Sunter's Ladies Wear, The Bike Shop with the Chandler twins fixing bikes in the backyard etc., etc.. Guess what tho', Hambly McInnis's is still there and so of course is Tweels.

Suffice it to say, the area is changing and there are not enough fingers to fill the holes in the dikes of future change. Of course, the possibility exists that we may be moving toward a great improvement, but oh that nostaglia holds us back from being too excited.

Written Tuesday, July 10, 2001 at 09:41 AM

(c) 2000 by Catherine Hennessey. Questions or comments? Email me@catherinehennessey.com

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