What’s in the Background? It Can Be Fun!

Photo 1 Norseman Vol.1 Hudson or Red Lake_One of our earlier posts talked about how background can add interest to a photograph. Invariably, CANAV readers are keen to scrutinize the background, looking for distant airplanes or other features. The caption for the top photo on p. 35 in Norseman Vol.1 (above) mentions how the scene is at Hudson, when it actually is Red Lake (pointed out by Ron Bell). The give-away is the Red Lake Hotel in the background, which evaded my “eagle eye”. This led me to scrounge around for other Red Lake photos with pertinent background. (NB … Bill Wheeler supplied these historic black-and-whites, Andrew Yee cleaned them up  for your viewing enjoyment and Joe Sinkowski helped in identifying buildings. Click once on any photo that you wish to see full screen.)

Photo 2 Norseman Vol.1 p.35 CF-ARM Red Lake_smHere you see Red Lake at its aviation best, even though no Norseman is present. The scene is dominated by Junkers Ju.52 CF-ARM – then the largest plane in Canada. To its left is smaller Junkers CF-AQV, Lockheed 10 CF-BAF, finally the aged Fairchild FC-2W2 CF-AKT. All were in the Canadian Airways fleet. Since CF-BAF was delivered in August 1938 and CF-AQV crashed in September 1939, that’s your time-frame for this historic photo. Note the Red Lake Hotel. The large white building in front of it is the Hudson’s Bay Co. (later the town offices, since demolished, now the site of the Red Lake library). That looks like the Starratt shack near CF-ARM’s rudder.

Photo 3 Norseman Vol.1 p.35 CF-ARM Red Lake WmWheeler_smIn this photo it’s summer and what a sight the Junkers makes on floats. To get an idea of scale, check the mechanic up on the engine. The hotel sure dominates the townscape. On the night of July 1, 1945 this landmark, which was built in 1934, went up in flames, leaving several dead, many injured and the country in shock. A miner was charged with arson.

Photo 4 Norseman Vol.3 p.35 Red Lake aerial WJWheeler_smA new hotel, pictured above postwar, was built down the street. With the exception of the long flat building, all those places in the foreground have disappeared. The small house beside the hotel — Mel Smith’s barber shop — also is gone. The large building to its right is today’s Lakeview Restaurant. The shack to the right of the Lakeview is where Rupert Forsythe had a hobby shop (now demolished).

Photo 5 Red Lake Aerial View 272In this photograph, which I shot in 1992, the hotel still is the biggest building on the main drag. Recently it’s served as quarters for one of the mining companies. The brown-roofed Fallensby apartments are on the slope just behind. The Lakeview is at the corner, the library is the large brownish building just across the street. Norseman Park is at the bottom left. So … you can see that there can be a lot more interesting subject matter in a photo that immediately may meet the eye.

PS … Ron Bell reports two gaffs on p.201. Regarding the year CF-DRD crashed, for 1947 read 1957. Ron sends along a photo of passenger Lockie’s headstone in the Red Lake cemetery. This confirms the name as David H. Lockie, not Danny — sure can’t argue with such solid work!

And … just before you move on, be sure to take a look at the main CANAV booklist, where you’ll see several classic CANAV titles on sale at excellent discounts. Here are some samples: Air Transport in Canada at $95.00 (regularly $155.00 — you save $60.00), Canadair Sabre $20.00 (save $20.00), Fighter Squadron $30.00 (save $45.00), De Havilland in Canada at $35.00 (save $10.00) and our 3-volume series Canada’s Air Force at War and Peace at almost 50% off. Here’s your chance to complete your CANAV library, while giving your pocket book a solid break! Autographed copies on request. Cheers … Larry

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