Hey there! Today was full of interviews, which are proving to be indispensable in providing us with a base from which to launch our questions that we will ask the public from our story mobile on street level. Today we spoke to Kathy Novackas, the extraordinary founder of the London Fringe among a list of other grassroots initiatives. Kathy told us of the movers and shakers in the arts community downtown and the venues and theatres that pop up around town. She recounted her own memories of visiting Kingsmills and Roland Hill Shoe Store as a child where her mom would buy her oversized clothing for the year ahead, that she would have to grow between her next annual visit to London Ontario from London England where she spent her childhood.
Next we met with Michael Gibson, who has had an art gallery downtown since 1984, and in its current location on Carling Street since 1997. Michael wowed us with stories of the 80’s and 90’s on the scene and then how it felt to be part of the circle of people who held hands around the entire Talbot block to protest bulldozing it to build the John Labatt Centre. When asked about the stigma of downtown London, Michael brought our attention to his flower basket and the two benches he had the city put in across the street from his gallery. He wishes everyone would follow suit, knowing all the businesses have a vested interest in the improvement of downtown, but what he says is that not everyone agrees with the best way to make it happen…
Finally, we had a quick visit with Natalie Boot of Renaissance Massage Therapy and Spa Ltd. Natalie’s business is inside the Citi Plaza, which used to be the grandiose Galleria Mall. The Galleria Mall used to house Eaton’s, The Bay, The Gap, Eddie Bauer, and Ralph Lauren, to name a few. Those stores are long gone, and now there is a beautiful public library, among other smaller stores and services and empty spaces. We are curious about this enormous structure right smack downtown. There’s a story there, we are sure of it, and perhaps it will help shed some light on just what happened over the past few decades downtown….
As we walked back into the downtown office a gift awaited us… Felicia, who was visiting London from Vancouver regaled us with her stories of waitressing at the Mascot, and a Casino bar on Dundas Street, and her one day of working at the lunch counter at Kresge’s where the lights were bright outside the building and flickered on and off all day!
ANYONE ELSE REMEMBER THIS?! SEND US YOUR MEMORIES OF DOWNTOWN LONDON!
CALL 1-855-CAN-TALE or email us at INFO@FIXTPOINT.COM and add your story to the collective community memory!