The very first item I remember collecting was a porcelain enamel Coca-Cola sign. The sign was attached to a makeshift garage, behind Leo’s Variety Store at the corner of Paton Road and Lansdowne Avenue (ironically the exact location of where the Magellan Project is to be constructed). During the summer breaks from school I would work at Leo’s, providing services to countless ITC staff that were stationed at the Lansdowne Car House.
During the summer of 1975, Leo’s Garage was renovated and Leo gave me what is known as the very first item of my collection. It has come to be referred to as ‘Artifact Numero Uno’. A foot panel that would be mechanically fastened to the push side of a door, mainly to advertise and to protect the door slab from the effects of the boots and shoes (an early version of the modern-day kick plate). The memories are so vivid of when I got the sign including removing it from its place and transporting it home 11 houses down from Leo’s Variety Store. This is my earliest recollection of how I discovered my passion of collecting. You never forget your first one (in more ways than one).
Today, it still holds a special place and location in my collection.
Convincing my father to attach the sign to a wall of my room in his house was not an easy task and I finally got to place it on a wall in my basement room. This sign has been displayed in four different locations over the last 45 years. The sign was fabricated in 1939 by the P&M (Porcelain & Metal Products) company in OriIlia, Ontario. Needless to say well before my time.