Ambrose Pilon's Reminiscences
about Pilon's Bakery
The Bakery on Main Street

The shop where the bread, pies and pastries were prepared and baked, went through many changes over the years. While I have no idea what, if anything, was behind the two story red brick building before L.V. rented it for the setting up his bakery, I do know that the shop during the 1940's was a asphalt-paper covered, flat-roofed building much smaller than the white-washed cinder-building of the 1960's that can still be seen today.

The back door opened on the small open space between the bakery and a shed that was up against the wall of what in the 1960's was the warehouse of the IGA.

In the cinder-block version, the back door was moved to the end of the building.

In this 1943 photograph taken from Art McNab's appartment above Clare's Flower Shop, Ambrose (leaning against the vent which is stabilized by a 2 x 4!) and his brother Vince are accompanied by a small dog and seem to be singing. There must have been a good story to go with the picture!

Ambrose and Bill outside the shop Ambrose and his hound and a friend outside the shop Dad was an avid fox hunter. During his younger days, before getting married, he owned a number of hounds and would hunt foxes with them. The rifle he is holding is a Marlin .22. When his boys were old enough, he often went out groundhog hunting with them in the summertime.

"Talking about dogs, well, I did have quite a few dogs in my lifetime. I had a couple of hounds, fox hounds. One was a Walker which I bought from Jack Resbeck in Vankleek Hill. I think I paid 25 dollars for it, or 20 dollars. It wasn't a bad dog at all. I gave it a name of Carlo. Then I had a purebred Trig foxhound which I bought from Morley Watson in Burlington, Ontario...And I had that dog for two or three years. It was a very good dog. I paid seventy-five bucks for it, if I'm not mistaken. It was three months old at the time. Turned out to be a good foxhound, but it was also a stupid, stubborn dog too. You could never get the damned thing to come home at night; run, run, run, run, run, run. And it went and rested over at Garney Barton's place at night, it didn't come home. So I finally sold it to somebody, I guess it was up at Morley Watson, up at Burlington, Ontario. I sent it on the train, a CNR train. George Séguin made a, Stella Séguin's father, George, made a muzzle for me. I think he charged me 50 cents. You had to have a muzzle on the dog if you're going to send him by train in a boxcar, or whatever it was, baggage car, without a cage. Not caged up, he has to have a muzzle, so I sent him up and that was it. He paid the transportation or I paid it. I just don't know. It's a hell of a long time ago. You can't remember everything little thing in your life, but you try to remember most of it, of any importance."

Ambrose Pilon and Pete McMaster Ambrose Pilon with his god-parents Uncle George and Aunt Rosa Long In this undated photograph on the left, Ambrose is posing with Pete McMaster, one of the many night bakers that were hired on to keep up with demand that came along with peddling bread across a wide area surrounding Vankleek Hill. If you couldn't come to the Hill for fresh bread, the bread would go to you!

In the photograph on the right, Ambrose Pilon is pictured with his Aunt Rosa (L.V.'s sister) and her husband George Long. Aunts and uncles from Amherstburg would regularly make the long trip to visit their Vankleek Hill relatives in spite of the long distance. Family bonds were always strong.

Aunt Rosa is holding a loaf of 'Pilon's Victory Loaf'.

This is the Pilon's Bakery I grew up in, literally. And yes, when I was younger there was a Case tractor parked at this same spot right beside the purple marten box. Ever the salesman L.V. kept his hand in farm machinery sales for a long time after he started baking. I guess it was in his blood!

This cinder-block version of the shop was wider than the earlier shop and the back door had by then moved to the very back. The creeking of the green screen door followed by a loud slam was magical; no sneeking in!

Visiting relatives were always a welcome surprise at Pilon's Bakery. In this early 1960s or so photograph Uncle Bob (Sutherland) and Aunt Olly (Ambrose's older sister), are accompanied by their two younger daughters Carole (the short one!) and Rosalie (the tall one!), as well as Bill's daughter Veronica (on the left). I've got the cap on!

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