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Commanda: A Changing Community


Commanda General Store Museum
Commanda, Ontario

The general store was the hub and the heart of the community for the 19th-century settlers who braved harsh conditions to forge new lives for themselves in Canada—and the Commanda General Store was a classic of its kind. In the late 1800s, the village of Commanda sprang up as a way station along the Old Nipissing Road—one of the last routes built to entice immigrants to Ontario’s near north. James Arthurs, who would go on to establish the 162 Battalion and to become a senator, opened the Commanda General Store in 1885 to serve this hardy group. The make-up of the town and its residents would change, but the shop itself survived for 92 years, moving location in the early 1930s and closing at last in 1977. Now a museum, the Commanda General Store is the only remaining commercial building in what was once a thriving village. A unique example of late 19th Century Victorian commercial architecture, the museum offers exhibits that recreate the colourful world of Commanda from 1885 to the mid-1930s and showcases the wares that would have been found in the General Store during its years of operation. The museum’s collection includes displays of items such as food, clothing and tools, photos of the store’s various owners, and photos of the town itself, offering a remarkable window into a bygone world.

 

 

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