Bring up Third Avenue in what is known colloquially as Uptown in Port Alberni, and you will hear all sorts of different opinions from people about the neighbourhood. More than a century ago, it was the hub of a growing port city that forestry built. The Beaufort Hotel was a prominent feature, there was a mercantile, a hardware store, realtor, doctor’s office and more.
A decade ago, forestry was suffering from an economic recession, Uptown’s large, two-storey department store—Zellers—closed its doors and the uptown was dying as fast as the economy.
Nowadays people’s feelings are mixed about the area: some see its potential amongst the empty storefronts, and are bringing different types of businesses to the area. Private citizens invested their own money in creating Gaiga Square, a green space among the cement buildings.
Others feel the city has invested enough money in the area and should leave it alone.
In this photo from 1940, the west side of Third Avenue between Angus and Argyle Street boasts businesses like Lavers, Homewood’s, Dr. Hiltons and Dr. Martinzer, Isabelle’s Ladies Wear, Hub Confectionary (Anderson), Flanagan’s Meat Market, Overwaitea, Fawcett’s Shoes, George Harris Shoes and Stirzaker’s.
This photo is one of nearly 24,000 in the Alberni Valley Museum’s collection. See more online at https://portalberni.pastperfectonline.com/. The Albernis: Then and Now, 1912-2012 is still available for purchase at the Alberni Valley Museum.
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