The McKellar Games Room celebrates the life and times of the McKellar family as seen through the eyes of our Society’s founder, Peter McKellar. Featured prominently is Peter’s billiards table, more properly called a carombole table — the heart of the new exhibit — along with a variety of images of his family. These, along with artifacts and images of their contemporaries in both Fort William and Port Arthur, have allowed us to re-create an early 20th-century games room.
Here you will find artifacts from families with names familiar in Thunder Bay — McVicar, Marks, Conmee, Daunais, Smellie, Graham, Dawson, Brown, Silles, Piper, Russell, McGillivray, and McLaren — along with some names that were probably well known at the time but have largely slipped from our collective memory — MacEdwards (a famous curler), Ashforth (who ran a fleet of fishing boats on Lake Superior and whose piano is prominent in the exhibit) poet J.W. Robertson (the Bard O’Glen Erie), and songwriter Fred Brennagh.
Featured also are artifacts related to 20th-century people of note such as Norman Paterson’s moose antler chair and a model of one of his company’s earliest vessels, a wonderful 19th-century French lithograph presented as a wedding gift to Harry and Gladys Hurtig, and Judge A.J. McComber’s horn chair.
There are also items that represent well known institutions — a lovely Art Deco chair from the lobby of the Royal Edward Hotel, a shooting trophy won by members of the 96th Algoma Battalion of Rifles, and a fireplace from the famous Northern Hotel.
Look also for one of the earliest pinball machines in existence (called Five Star Final), a stereoscopic viewer, a 19th-century suit of armour, a ship model of the famous Campana, a silver desk bell said to have been presented to Victoria McVicar by Louis Riel himself, chairs from the early Ontario Legislature and a beautiful, hand-crafted accordion made by Mr. Baldovin of Fort William.