19 Cambridge Street South in Lindsay to have a new lease on life
Shoppers leaving the front doors of Cambridge Mall daily come face to face with a curious-looking building on the opposite side of the street. Pale yellow in colour, with a modified jerkinhead roof, it has seemingly been here forever. While some residents might shrug their shoulders indifferently, others might fondly recall its previous incarnations as a bus terminal and a restaurant. Still others will wonder what will become of 19 Cambridge Street South, as this property is formally called.
Wesley Found, the owner, has exciting plans for the place – but is keen to preserve as much of the building’s heritage as he can.
The building dates to the late 1800s, when it served as a livery stable. Livery stables served a similar purpose to a modern car rental company; horses and horse-drawn carriages could be hired from such a business while travellers were in town. A row of narrow windows towards the back of 19 Cambridge Street betrays this former function; these openings apparently denote the old horse stalls. A generously-proportioned front entrance, meanwhile, permitted the movement of carriages and horses in and out of the building, which for several years sported a sign advertising “Lindsay & Trotter Livery & Hacks” (hacks being horses that were rented out for riding). The “Lindsay” in this sign referred not to the town, but to Bob and Charles Lindsay, whose business was one of at least five liveries operating in the community during the last quarter of the 19th century.
Sept. 29, 1887 saw Samuel Hughes – later a member of parliament and federal cabinet minister – acquire the property from Charles W. Silver for the grand sum of $700. Here, Hughes published the Victoria Warder newspaper for a loyal readership while also enraging his critics. (Canadian historian Tim Cook, in his book The Madman and the Butcher: The Sensational Wars of Sam Hughes and General Arthur Currie, reports that Hughes once faced an assassination attempt while serving as publisher and editor of the Warder; perhaps it occurred here at 19 Cambridge Street?)
Hughes was long gone by June of 1946, when 19 Cambridge Street reverted to its transportation roots in the form of the Union Bus Terminal. Opened by Ed DeNure, the bus terminal did a booming business through the 1950s and into the 1960s. Complete with baggage checking services, a lunch counter, and waiting rooms, the building saw many residents and visitors pass through its portals upon their departure or arrival in Lindsay. A generation later, the old structure was welcoming diners in a new role as Joel’s restaurant. From horse-drawn carriages to printing presses to bus passengers to lunch patrons, 19 Cambridge Street has been home to a variety of people and purposes.
That’s a tradition Found would like to continue. The second-storey apartments have been renovated for living, but of special interest is the 3,000 square-foot main floor space. Found would like to see it used for hospitality, or perhaps a venue for the arts.
Regardless of how 19 Cambridge Street is transformed, there can be no question that it will continue to contribute to downtown Lindsay for years to come.