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> Issue 58 > Page 2 - "Who do You Think You Are? Johnny Abbass"?

Page 2 - "Who do You Think You Are? Johnny Abbass"?

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1991/8/1 (331 reads)

The main business when immigrants came was peddling. With a pack on their back. You're aware of that entrepreneurship. Where they'd just go and they'd buy stuff at the wholesale, and then they'd go up throughout the countryside with their wares. They might carry in a pack, shirts, shoes, ties, jewellery, underwear. But my mother's father, he had a big dry goods store at Whitney Pier. Now this was at the height of the construction of the steel plant, when everything was booming. They were still asking people to come from overseas to work at the steel plant. And he had a store right at the top of what was formerly the subway. But, before the sub? way, he was there. And when they put the subway in, that just destroyed a lot of the businesses that were in Whitney Pier. Whit? ney Pier was the prime--was a prime busi? ness district of Sydney--equal to Sydney. And that destroyed his business. In fact, my grandfather--that's my moth? er's father--he sued the, I gu'ss. Domin? ion Iron and Steel, for damages--whoever put the subway in. But you know the unique thing about that is, he is one of the first persons to have taken a case all the way to the Supreme Court in England--High Court of England My father worked (awhile) in the steel plant. And my wife's father, well, he worked all his life in the steel plant.... CAPE CARE SERVICES TOTAL LT'- PERSONAL CARE • 24 Hour Service 7 DaysA/Veek • RN'S CNA'S Home Care Workers Bonded & Insured 282 George St., Sydney "Worker Owned & Operated" 562-2444 Cape Breton Tours Operated by Briands Cabs Ltd. ( Discover the Beauty of Cape Breton ) Cabot Trail Miners'Museum Cape Breton Fortress Higlilands 564-6200 louisbourg Airport Service Parcel Pickups Limousine Service Taxi Fleet 24 KINGS ROAD SYDNEY THE# My father educated himself when he got here. He went to night school. He got him? self a certificate--mechanical drawing-- and he was a master mechanic. And he taught himself to read. And he taught him? self to read French and speak French,and read English and write English. And my fa? ther was an adventurous person, let's say. My father was--his prime occupation was a barber. But my father had a brilliant mind. He invented a motor that would run on steam. And a motor that was big enough, and small enough, to be used to operate a motor vehicle--a car. In fact, I think it was around 1928--there was a write-up in the.Sydney Record or the Sydney Post at the time--"Sydney Man Invents Motor to Run on Water." Steam-generated motor. That went up to enough revolutions to run a car. He invented that motor. My father also had some businesses. He had a dry goods business and a small grocery store, like a corner grocery store. My fa? ther was one of the first people to sell automobiles in Sydney. And one of the first people to have a gas station in Syd? ney. My father was the original dealer for Willys Overland. But it was unfortunate for him that he didn't really have the resources to main? tain the car dealership. Because in the early • 30s, when the Depression came, he just couldn't hang on. It was unfortunate for him--he had a large family. We were 12 in his family--? boys and 5 girls. And in the '30s, when the Depression came. Well, he was just another casualty of the De? pression. He just couldn't hang on. Be- 'Enjoy superS dining in a re[a7(ing & [u?(urious atmospfiere SPECIALIZING IN CHINESE CUISINE Canadian Dishes also available FULLY LICENSED TAKE OUT & DELIVERY ORDERS Major Credit Cords Accepted $)tkjn0 Hestaurant 355 Charlotte Street Downtown Sydney Tel: 539-7775 Open dally 11:00 am ONE OF } li CAPE BRETON'S !! FINEST i 444' I I I I I I I I I I H
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