Home > Community > History of West River > Kerr Street Then and Now

Kerr retail now2 croppedThe end of World War II heralded the post-war baby boom, when young couples married and started families - some of them large. A photo of my family taken in 1953 shows our grandmother, Kate Eastwood, surrounded by twelve grandchildren, all born during the post-war period - with more to come along!

(This article was written by WRRA Board Member Sandy Moshenko, whose family grew up in and around West River.)

 Kerr Retail 57 fixed2Kerr Street north of Herald Avenue - 1957

The end of World War II heralded the post-war baby boom, when young couples married and started families - some of them large. A photo of my family taken in 1953 shows our grandmother, Kate Eastwood, surrounded by twelve grandchildren, all born during the post-war period - with more to come along!

Most of my relatives settled in the area now known as Kerr Village. Some of them - Marjorie Beatty (Stewart Street) and Bill and Hazel Holbrook (Rebecca Street) - continue to live in the same homes they moved into over sixty years ago. To support the needs of these growing families, Kerr Street became the business hub for many day-to-day necessities and services. Modest houses continued to be interspersed with retail establishments. Back then the roadway was being improved to include paved driving surfaces and sidewalks. Angled parking prevailed as the number of automobiles increased.

The photo above, taken in 1957, shows the retail properties north of Herald Avenue on the west side of Kerr. As is the case today, residential space was located above retail stores. Businesses included Greystones Restaurant, Murray's Scotch Bakery, and the Bank of Montreal. I'm told by an older cousin that she was forbidden to go to Greystones as it was considered to be a hangout for boys!

Kerr retail now2 croppedThe same stretch of Kerr Street - 2013

The picture above shows the space as it appears today. In some ways little has changed, as a variety of local businesses continue to serve local needs. The present-day view shows that road improvements have been considerable and in the distance can be seen more recent residential and retail development.


This photo, also from 1957, shows the southwest corner of Speers Road and Kerr Street. Speers Road west of Kerr had in earlier times been devoted to agriculture with vast fields of strawberries extending along the north side. By the time this picture was taken the intersection had given way to the demands of the automobile.

Kerr and Speers 57 fixedSouthwest Corner of Kerr Street and Speers Road - 1957

Kerr St 006 fixed
The same corner in 2013