† 497 Commercial Street

 
Brown’s Bathing Beach

“By the freezer, by the freezer, by the beautiful freezer. You and me, sir; you and me, sir; oh, how happy we’ll be, sir.” These aren’t real lyrics but they certainly would have applied to Brown’s Bathing Beach, a popular East End recreation spot around the turn of the 20th century. Unless one remembers that the waterfront was first and foremost an industrial precinct, it may be hard to understand why people would have gone bathing just a few wards from the Consolidated Weir Company’s enormous cold storage plant — as if they had anywhere to go that wasn’t cheek-by-jowl with some freezer plant or active wharf. (Certainly not the distant beaches to which we go now.) Besides, George Brown offered his patrons several amenities: changing cabins, a two-story covered observation platform and, beginning in 1903, a bowling alley. On the upland property, 495 Commercial, Mary Brown ran a rooming house at least into the 1930s. No wonder so many people came to Brown’s.


 

 

 

 

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