Corner of Richmond Street and Horton Street East
Bill Hodgman’s story comes from Fred Israels’ Londoners Remember.
At Labatts they were working night and day in their exports yard. It was over where the beer store is on Bathurst and Waterloo now. Except it was over the railroad tracks. And the trucks used to lumber up from Labatts up there all day long, up to put the loads in the boxcar.
Something interesting though. You gotta remember that the Richmond Street and Horton Street was just a maze of railway, streetcar tracks. There was no bridge at Richmond Street over the river. It just ended at the Labatt Brewery. All the streetcars used to come down and they had to turn east or west on Horton Street. It was just a mass of double track on Horton Street East, going East, especially busy because it had all of the Hamilton Road and Wellington Street, and Hamilton Road was the biggest street in the city.
So this truck came around up Richmond Street and makes a right hand turn on Horton. I guess he was hurrying along. This would be before five o’clock, trying to make the last load there. He hit the streetcar tracks there and the sideracks jumped off the truck. Of course [laughs], the beer fell off. The beer in those days was in wooden cases. They were all quarts, three dozen of quarts to a case. Just as it happened, as the workers were getting out of the shoe factory, there was Scott-McHale. You never seen such a scramble in all your life. There were always billboards on the northside of Horton Street from the corner up. Well they started to grab the bottles, shoving it in bushes and carting it under their arms and putting them behind the billboards. Well [laughs], the driver, he just sits there. They literally just cleaned the thing out [laughs], they were all gone. Of course, the police weren’t there in 10 second like they are today. Eventually they came. Well he didn’t know, he just toddled back to the brewery, and once the police disappeared and everything quieted down, all the people returned back and loaded their stuff left right and centre.