By Craig Baird
History is once again coming alive, and the sound of shoe shop machinery will soon echo out of the Wong Guy Shoe Shop on Proton Avenue.
From 1922 to 1979, Wong Guy operated his shoe shop near the corner of Proton and Main. In 1979, he retired and the shoe shop closed. Unlike many other places, the shoe shop closed and instead of turning into another business, it became a time capsule of history. When the doors opened in 2013, town staff saw everything as it had been left in 1979. From the retirement cards given to Wong Guy by town residents, to cigarette butts in the ashtray and even shoes that were still waiting for their owner to pick up.
Holding up extremely well, some areas of the building still appear in near-perfect condition.
On Sept. 13 at 2 p.m., the doors will officially open for town residents and visitors to walk into. For the past few months, volunteers and members of the Tourism Board and Heritage Committee have been working hard to tidy up the front area of the shoe shop, making it look as it once did over three decades ago.
Newspapers from the late-1970s, National Geographics from that decade, shoe catalogues from the 1960s and more will all be on display. Wong Guy’s pipe, receipt books and ledger will all be there.
Work is being done to temporarily restore the front window lettering for Sept. 13, and Elders Sorenson and Elliott will be on hand, dressed in original aprons, operating the equipment that has sat unused for three decades.
Visitors will be able to walk through the shoe shop, relive memories and remember a man who had a huge impact on the town.
In addition, a plaque honouring the building and Wong Guy will be unveiled at 2 p.m. on the building by Mayor Blake Campbell.
Tours of the building will run from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. in conjunction with Harvest Festival. There is no charge for tours.