-by Dave Carr

When I think of people or institutions preserving the history of Owen Sound, several come to mind:Grey Roots and The Library as institutions, and J. James, Melba Croft and Richard Thomas as individuals-- and one great asset has been Thomas using James’ pictures to populate his growing treasure trove of books lovingly showing the way we were. If you’re putting down roots someplace, it’s good to keep your memories or learn the old stories.

Me, I collect match covers. Some matchbooks, some boxes, but overwhelmingly, the covers with the matches stripped out. It’s safer, for sure, and more economical of space. What do I collect? I like matchcovers that have to do with everything from radio stations, to BBQ restaurants, to casinos, funeral homes -- and Bruce, Grey and Owen Sound.

There was a time when virtually every institution, public and private, in North America provided matches at the front door. Restaurants, car dealers, government offices, carnivals, homecomings,bottlers, snack bars, hairdressers, insurance agents, the list is endless. And it was no less true in Owen

Sound than anywhere else. It was, and really still is, a superb advertising medium.

So -- who remembers Andy Gamble Dry Cleaners? Who remembers when Dr. Gus Mitges would hand you Hub---Taylor-Bottlinga book of matches while running for election? Who remembers The Trio, Scopis, Alps, and Olympia Restaurants? They’re all gone -- but I have their matches!

Like these from the William Taylor Bottling Co. on Owen Sound’s near west side. There are some Habitat for Humanity homes where Taylor’s once stood. Taylor bottles still show up in flea markets and yard sales.

Here are matches from the Manjuris Smoke Shop and from The Dutch Inn Restaurant, Hub---ManjurisNotice anything unusual? (Waits a moment) They share the same address --   994 2nd Avenue E. Today, it’s the site of The Curry House, and has been home to Louis Restaurant and Henry’s Restaurant in the past half- century.

And finally, the Bay Motor Inn, later The Georgian Club (I have the matches) and Stone Tree (no matches). Remember when the Georgas family provided a championship golf course there? These two look to be part of a series; I don’t believe I have the rest -- yet.


If you have matches lingering, I’d like them. Please -- do not throw them out! Collectively, they tell the story of our city, our region, our country. You may be cleaning out mom’s house; you may have them in a box in the attic and have forgotten them; Aunt Sally may have collected them on her world wanderings, and now they’re abandoned. I’d like them; I’ll look after them, I promise. Email me at [email protected]. I think all of these came from folks who said “Hey Dave, I hear you collect matches……”

From Dominion Motors to The Captain’s Cupboard to Graham’s Dairy, the memories flood back when I open the big binder to add more Owen Sound matchcovers. The Keelings, The Wagstaffs, The Grahams….I knew the families. My matches help me with fond memories.


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