Friday, July 08, 2016

Sepia Saturday 338: My Uncle Louis

Our theme image this week features a picture of a walking man which is taken from the collection of the Sepia Saturday Flickr Group. The description is as follows:

"A man walks down a street in Dunfermline, Scotland. We know from the written notation of the reverse of the photograph that the date was the 3rd May 1949. This is not a typical "walking snap" - walking snap photographers plied their trade in seaside resorts and concentrated on happy holidaymakers. The slightly skewed angle of the print suggests that this is an amateur photograph".

My beloved Uncle Louis, J. Hector-Louis-Ovide Fortier, my mother's older brother, walks down Granville Street in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. He managed the Kenricia Hotel in Kenora, Ontario. He must have been at a conference or business trip to Vancouver, dressed as he is in that snazzy double-breasted suit. The photo isn't dated, but it was taken by Foncie Pulcie a well-known street photographer in the city. I'm guessing it might be in the fifties. Louis was born in 1908 and he looks to be in his forties in this photo. Louis was married to Auntie Nita, Nita Pearl Cornelia Sharpe. They had five children: Brian, Val, Marilyn, Evlyn and Paul. 

I did a google search to find out why so many French Canadian names are linked together with hyphens. By doing so, I stumbled on a crest for the family Fortier. The heraldry is simple - the king of beasts and a ship. As an incurable traveler, I can relate to the ship and now can blame my itchy feet on my genes. On the website with the crests for sale,,  one can order countless items featuring the crest - all the usual suspects like t-shirts and ball caps. These marketers have gone one step further and offer men's underwear and a dog shirt with the crest.
 I might order this shirt. 
Here's a favorite family photo with Uncle Louis on the far right. Auntie Nita is the fourth from the left, in the lacy top. As you can see, there's a cute girl draped over Uncle Louis and Nita is glancing over in her direction. Although she's smiling, I wonder what was going on. 

From left: Jeanne Fortier, Pulcherie Fortier, Hector Fortier, Addie Fortier (child), Nita Sharpe Fortier, unknown, Jill Fortier Killeen, unknown, Louis Fortier

The Sky Diner in the background of Louis' street photo was a famous Vancouver landmark. The inside of the place was designed to look like the inside of an airplane. Moving scenery passed by the rectangular portholes. I couldn't find a menu online but did find one blog wherein the writer recalled his favorite item at the restaurant was salmon salad which consisted simply of a can of salmon on a bed of lettuce. Yes, it must have been the fifties.

Interior of Sky Diner, Vancouver

And here's another "Street photo" I found: Mother, my sister Eilleen, and I walking down Portage avenue in Winnipeg. I was probably around 5 years old which would make it 1947. I love my mother's dress with the covered buttons and kick pleats. She probably made it and the dress I was wearing. The movie showing was likely "Desire Me" starring Greer Garson with Robert Mitchum and Richard Hart. In Wikipedia, it's described as a "troubled" production and therefore has no directorial credit. It lost $2,440,000 - a King's ransom in those days. Mother loved Greer Garson so she must have seen the film. 
Helen, Jill, Eilleen Killeen 

Stride on over to Sepia Saturday for more street snaps and stories. 


  1. I feel bad for Nita, but she's just as cute as "the cute girl". I think I would have liked The Sky Diner. A can of salmon on a bed of lettuce is one of my favorite meals to "not cook". You were so cute and so's the little dress.

  2. Hopefully the young lady with her arm around Louis is a far-flung relative or the daughter of a good friend? At least Nita is smiling as though she thinks it's cute? Speaking of cute, you certainly were in that picture with your mother and sister. Love that you're wearing saddle oxfords!

  3. Anyway, Nita won in the end so ha!

  4. I feel as if I have been on a long walk around Canada observing the various sites -- a thoroughly interesting and fun stream-of-consciousness tour de force.

  5. Uncle Louis looks quite different in the two photos you've chosen. I like the way street photos record their background locations, enabling us to look them up so many years later.

  6. A good mom, ever alert to protect her children, spots the photographer just as the photo is snapped. Interesting you can find photographs of the actual businesses in the background of the candid shots.

  7. I love the idea of the Skyline those days very few people got to fly in airplanes!

  8. Your uncle looks like a determined and purposeful business man. The term Sky Diner is new to me, but I imagine it would be a popular place to visit, and the staff look so smart in their uniforms.

  9. A novelty restaurant with unappealing salads! I too, admire your mother’s dress and her dressmaking skills; she looks very smart.

  10. Your uncle looks so formidable in this shot. Nothing like an ordinary street shot. I'd have thought a tycoon or important government official.

  11. Your mother doesn't look amused to be "hijacked" and you are totally distracted. What an intriguing idea about the Sky Diner. Uncle Louis looked like he was always a dapper dresser.