Sarnia’s evolving downtown

THEN … Hundreds of milling residents can be seen surveying the wreckage in this aerial photo, taken May 21, 1953, just hours after a powerful tornado ripped through Sarnia’s downtown. The twister damaged 250 buildings, left dozen of families homeless and caused $5-million damage to the city. Note the roof of the former Taylor’s Furniture building, upper right, which was completely ripped off. No fatalities were reported in Sarnia but two were killed in Port Huron and another five in Ontario. This image was provided by Journal reader Margaret Shaw, who said the unknown photographer gave it to her father, Robert. Submitted Photo

AND NOW …

Tornado today

This is what the area looks like today. The Victorian-era buildings on Front Street were razed in the 1970s and replaced by the Seaway Centre highrise and waterfront parkland. Reference points for comparision include: train tracks at bottom, the Belchamber building visible just left of the Seaway Centre, and the Imperial Theatre, top row, with its distinctive curved roof and theatre marque. Glenn Ogilvie