Nice photo of horse-drawn ice supply wagon.
On the side of the wagon: ‘ICE SAVES FOOD’. On top of wagon: ‘Phone Main 86’.
Written in pencil on back ‘Lake Simcoe Ice Supply Co. King & Jarvis, Toronto’.
A check of a Toronto 1903 phone directory confirms that the phone number for Lake Simcoe Ice was ‘Main 86 North’. Their office was 43 Esplanade St. E at this time.
The building in the background has ‘Ice Cream’ on its awning, an ‘___ ICE CREAM’ sign below its front window, and a ‘___ Soap’ push-bar on its door. On the wall of the building a sign ‘REX__’.
Nice clean condition.
(Red text is an electronic watermark that is not physically part of the photo for sale)
In the railway steam era spring-fed Lake Simcoe was reputedly the purest body of fresh water in Canada. In 1876 the former lumbering community was well placed to become important in the ice harvesting business. Just when the large sawmill burned down to signal the end of the lumbering era and impending ghost town status, Bell Ewart came back to life with the massive ice harvesting industry.
When the growing city of Toronto became too large for its local ice supply, a businessman named Fairhead established the Springwater Ice Company in 1876 at Lefroy, about a mile away from Bell Ewart, at the closest railway point.
Alfred Chapman followed in 1891 with his Belle Ewart Ice Company, adding the "e" to the village name to make it sound more quaint on Toronto delivery wagons. His facility was located on the water's edge beside his competitor, and the two of them generated enough business to justify re-laying the railway spur in 1892.
The lake's growing reputation spawned a name change two years later, when the former Springwater Ice Company became the Lake Simcoe Ice & Fuel Company. Twelve years later in 1906, the Knickerbocker Ice Company was set up at Bell Ewart, and the heyday of ice harvesting was underway.
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