Lindsay Anderson, best known simply as "Andy" who worked at Smith and Chapple Ltd. for 35 years recalled that "the busiest time of the year" was at Christmas.
In a 1987 interview with the Chapleau Sentinel as the store, one of Chapleau's historic businesses closed its doors, Andy said, it was the time when "the big shipment of bikes and trikes and electric trains and all sorts of dolls for the girls would come in. We used to get them especially for Christmas but later on we started to order toys all year round."
NOTE: CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE!!!
NOTE: CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE!!!
Andy started working at Smith and Chapple in 1947 and during the 1950s particularly, after Smith and Chapple expanded across the street from its main store at Birch and Young streets, the Christmas draws hosted by Arthur Grout, the store president, were a highlight of the holiday season.
Numbers were placed throughout the store and if you happened to be standing at one, you would win a prize.
In the Sentinel story, Bill Payette, who had joined the store in 1941, paid tribute to Andy. Bill's father, D.O. Payette, had retired as president of the company in 1949.
Bill said: "Andy carried on loyally for 35 years in the hardware department until he retired in 1982. Thank you Andy for being such a super guy."
All these years later, I am sure those of us who know Andy would second Bill's motion. Andy was a super guy. And I would just add that for years Andy sat on the board of St. John's Anglican Church, and was there on Sunday morning greeting parishioners as they arrived for services.
No matter the weather, citizens bundled up and headed uptown or overtown or across town, to the downtown, and the draws, serenaded along the way by music from the giant Christmas display at Dr. G.E. Young's clinic and building.
The main store, for newcomers to Chapleau, is where Village Shops is now located. Collins Home Hardware occupies the expansion building.
Some time ago now Andre Renaud reminded me of the toy display downstairs at Smith and Chapple. "I used to like going downstairs at Smith and Chapple's and look at the toy display..Also the train display they had there every Christmas.Nice place to duck into on the way to school when it was real cold..Warm up for a few minutes and keep going the rest of the way..LOL"
Andre attended the old Chapleau High School on Pine Street, and believe me it was real cold once you turned the corner onto Young Street and headed towards the river. No school buses or snow days back then!
Ian Macdonald, now retired as professor and head of the department of architecture at the University of Manitoba, at one time had a connection to the Smith and Chapple train display, was also to provide details.
"My Dad looked after the Smith and Chapple hardware department including "toyland", Ian wrote. ". It was set up in the lower level at the east end of the building under the Grocery department. The toyland display always included two electric train layouts. One was an American Flyer and the other was a Lionel.
"I had the nonsalaried assignment to oversee the operation of both of them which I gladly did. It was the only job I ever had at Smith and Chapple aside from occasionally delivering flyers."
Charlie Purich commented: "I used to love the train display in "Toyland" in the basement floor of S and C. at Christmas.Andy was always there.That place was magical.
According to Vince Crichton in his book 'Pioneering in Northern Ontario', T.A. Austin laid the foundation for the location of Smith and Chapple circa 1887. By 1914 it became known as Smith and Chapple Ltd. In 1930, Mr. Payette and Mr, Grout took over the store but did not change the name. My email is email@example.com