“Main Street” BALA, in the heart of Muskoka, Canada
Copyright Airmaps Limited (Toronto)
Can see famous Dunn’s Pavilion and Cotton Club Grill, gas station with two gravity feed pumps.
In its heyday Dunn’s hosted famous acts like Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, etc.
Gerry Patrick Dunn purchased the property in 1929 when there was only a small ice cream parlour and drugstore on the lot. Dunn started renovating the buildings in the second year of ownership in order to be able to host orchestras as an attraction in the small town. The first two bands to play in the renovated building were Jerry Richardson and the Varsity Collegians, and Carl Mueller's Varsity Entertainers.
At the end of the 1930s, Dunn decided to tear down the old building in order to be able to host the bigger bands he desired, and provide more room for people to dance.
The new building was completed in the summer of 1942; built with the stage backdrop to be a façade of an actual small cottage. Dunn renovated the dance floor and was expanded from 35 feet to 100 feet. They hosted small house bands and dancing 6 nights a week, and big bands once a week throughout the summer months. People would dress up in their finest attire and make a night of dancing. Customers would have to bring their own alcohol after the prohibition and during the depression years because most venues didn't have the licenses to sell it because it was very expensive to obtain the license. On the nights of the Big Bands, Dunn would try to attract people from the cities and towns surrounding Bala, as well as attracting people from Toronto who would enjoy a weekend away.
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