When Al Eyers and his family owned the Midway Variety Store on Bradford Street, it was truly a place where people met. Bradford Street in the 70’s was car mecca for Barrie and the Midway was a small convenience store and coffee shop, and community catch-all. The Eyers lived above the store and were certainly the anchor for its longevity. Son Al ran it until the 80’s.
Today, the Midway Deli is still a central meeting spot for Barrie folks who go back aways.
I was meeting there recently to discuss a project with some old and new Barrie folks… you’ll remember Paul Miller, that brilliant artist from CKVR (he’s old, but not OLD, if you know what I mean); and new folks Kory Hopkins, Janet Morozuk, Doug Crawford and Bob Cassels. Together we do a bit of marketing work for organizations in town.
However… that’s not the purpose of this at all. What the purpose is is to recognize how the Midway lets us look back and celebrate our foundations. There sat Ed Tschirhart. The biggest challenge I had when I became editor of The Banner back in 1972 was to get the spelling of our police chief’s name. T-s-c-h-i-r-h-a-r-t. Ed was a wonderful police chief… fearsome, solid, with an open door policy and trust that lasted just once. He knew everybody because Barrie was small enough then to do that. The police shared space with the fire department in a two-storey building on Vespra Street and the cops and firefighters knew they were doing a similar job.
So, what’s Ed Tschirhart doing now? Enjoying breakfast at the Midway Deli, connecting with old friends. He tells me he still lives off Sunnidale near the woods, and that he (and his seeing eye dog) both take long walks in the Kearsey Castle area of Barrie every day.
And, there also sat Peter Northcott, breakfasting with son Sean. Peter was the very capable staff photographer at the Examiner in 1972, coaxing people into making interesting pictures, and capturing events that were really important in the lives of people… 50th wedding anniversaries, a Tweenie flying up into Brownies, fundraising efforts that helped the community.
Peter is still recording important events as he and his son are partners in Amora Portrait Studios. They’re recording weddings, award winning photography at that, as well as zillions of school pictures every year.
Sitting at the Midway is like sitting in the middle of life. Thanks, Midway; thanks Peter; thanks Ed.