The building will open to residents 55+ during the fall of 2012.
The non-smoking building will also incorporate an elevator, and numerous green technology elements to increase the sustainability of the site.
I dare say that every family must have a story that's interesting and cohesive for its members and even to the public as well (if they only knew). Not only a way to understand ourselves and our connections, the study of genealogy is also important for families in order that medical personnel may understand how diseases are passed along the blood line. We had an aunt who used to keep tract of all our family ancestors. She would have some uncanny knowledge of everyone. Where she got it from I'll never know. When we'd meet for family picnics she'd appear out of nowhere and start chatting about everybody's business. I'd feel a little nervous thinking she might expose my latest prank. As things panned out she was just a dear soul who cared enough to take a keen interest in our family life.
At this time it seems my family roots are more exposed than in my early days but does that just mean I've become more aware of them as community events transpire around me? Though I'm not the designated historian for my family, lately these events caused me to stumble upon some history.
My mom (Marjorie) is the last surviving second generation Gay and she shared a few details about the site of the former Gay Brothers Bakery on Queen St. in Niagara Falls, Canada. Hidden from me over the years in a sea of circumstances I discovered its exact location in the downtown area. Presently Mother lives at a seniors' residence and she mentioned that as a kid she’d ride in her father's (Charles dob. 1887) "puddle-jumper" while he delivered bread. In 1909 Gay Brothers Bakery was selling pies at ten cents each and a year later sold a "double size loaf” of Holsum Bread for ten cents. In 1914 Gay’s "Eatmore Bread” was seven cents/loaf. Charles was an employee and two of his brothers owned the Queen St. establishment. They were: Robert, who was the business manager and David, who managed the day to day operations. The fourth brother, William owned a bakery in Niagara Falls, New York. Charles met his bride, Hazel (dob. 1890), also an employee, at the bakery. In the 40’s they sold Carmel squares and had an ice cream parlor on the main floor facing Queen St. The ovens were also on the main floor. At one point for health reasons they started to wrap the loaves with waxed paper so Charles got the job of setting up the wrapping machine and performing the bread wrapping duties. Horses were used at first until they started with motorized carriages. Competition from Hares Bakery (What a name for a food company!) nearby and later Moody's Bakery kept everyone busy.
The bakery closed sometime in the 50’s after becoming no longer profitable. Vacant for many years finally in 2012 restoration was completed by Phil Ritchie of Keefer Developments Ltd. He added another floor at the back and kept the building's exterior in its original exposed brick condition. Transforming the three floor structure into an apartment complex it was named Queen St. Village Apartments. He even had the original Gay Brothers Bakery sign painted up above on the brick. A "good path" for the Downtown core Ritchie envisions a living, shopping and people place with a rich history.
"Images of a Century", the City of Niagara Falls, Canada, 1904-2004, The City of Niagara Falls Centennial Book Committee