||November 17, 2006
New Book on the
A fascinating history of
the Capitol Centre on Main Street North Bay is hot off the press in advance of
the 20th anniversary of “The Capitol Centre – North Bay’s Home for
Arts & Entertainment” in 2007. The book is dedicated to Betty Speers, a driving
force behind the Centre’s restoration, who died in June 2006.
||The cover of the new book
with painting by author Barry Burniston
Barry Burniston, a retired
secondary school art teacher took on the task of writing the book and has made a
significant contribution to the history of North Bay with it. Barry has served
on the Centre’s Board and has exhibited his art in the W.K.P. Kennedy Public Art
Gallery in the Centre. The painting of the Centre in 1930 on the cover of the
book is one of his works.
The book tells a lot of
North Bay history beyond the Capitol along with a detailed profile of the Centre
itself. Louis Rosenbaum a Sturgeon Falls businessman purchased the site in 1927
and immediately began construction. When he ran out of funds Famous Players
bought the project. It opened on June 1, 1929. The building served as a movie
theatre and as a stage for hundreds of events over the years. Many offices and
even a bowling alley used the building over its 77-year life.
One well-known tenant was
Roy Thompson who had a radio station there and went on to become a billionaire.
Another interesting note for me was a reference to a dentist Dr. Ralph Foster
who had an office there for many years where the Galaxy Lounge is located
upstairs today. Barry did not know anything about him but tracked down his
daughter and found out about him. He found that Dr. Foster’s father was a
lumberman who retired to North Bay. Coincidentally the father, Bill Foster, is
probably a person I have written about more than any other. Bill Foster worked
in logging in Trout Creek and played a major role in the Trout Creek Logging
Railway before moving to Chisholm Township. He had four logging operations in
Chisholm including the property I currently live on. He built on the new CNR in
1915 and established Foster’s Mill, which became Fossmill. He sold out to
another company that built a major lumber operation in the 1920-30s. The story
of Fossmill is told in the book my son and I wrote called The Fossmill Story,
which along with the Burniston book is available at Gulliver’s, The North Bay
Museum, and other outlets.
The Capitol book is loaded
with many great photographs and anecdotes from many interviews. A major part of
the book is the two chapters on “The Fight to Save the Capitol” and the “Arts
Centre” which tells the story of all the wonderful events that have been
provided to North Bay and environs for the past two decades. The art scene is
also featured in detail with reference to the W.K.P. Kennedy Public Gallery in
the Centre which has developed into a major location for art in the area with
many outstanding exhibitions and programs.
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