12:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 23, 2021.

At 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 22, firefighters responded to an alarm on Bay Street, Thunder Bay.

At that time, smoke was issuing from the eaves of the Finnish Labour Temple. Four pumpers responded and soon were battling flames coming through the roof.

The next day, Thursday, the author saw the west end of Bay Street cordoned off and a lone pumper still pouring water into the gutted building. The 110-ten-year-old heritage building was destroyed.

The Temple was the also the site of the famous Hoito Restaurant. Every newcomer to the region was encouraged to visit the popular eatery. The author recalls many times lining up on the sidewalk, entering the door, and navigating the narrow staircase to the basement. The vast room was lined with plain communal dining tables. One favourite order was Finnish pancakes drowned in maple syrup. The author never had the courage to try another famous recipe, a kind of fish which emitted an off-putting odour.

The Temple had been undergoing renovations since November 2020. It had been experiencing financial problems and was being offered for sale.

The site leaves a hole in the infrastructure of Bay Street, and a hole in many a heart.

The following images are found in Wikipedia . . .

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