While I was growing up, just north of Hamilton, Ontario, my local hardware store — the place my Dad would take us on Saturday mornings to buy WD-40 or window putty or large carriage bolts — was Weeks Home Hardware. Back in those days their store was housed in a rambling collection of hundred-year-old stone buildings on the banks of Grindstone Creek.
Sometimes, if you needed to buy something extra special, like window screens or copper pipe or glass, you had to go down into their basement workshop; this was at once facsinating and terrifying. From my wee eyes, it appeared that you could buy anything at Weeks. And I’m sure that was almost true.
When I was in grade 9, I won the “Weeks Shield” — for “proficiency,” whatever that meant — and the prize itself was an illustrated dictionary signed by one of the Weeks brothers. For me, this was like a sporty kid getting a prize autographed by Cal Ripken Jr. I still have the dictionary sitting on the shelf beside me.
A couple of years after I left home, Weeks opened a brand new store, the size of a Canadian Tire, up and around the corner from their original location. Their atmosphere plumetted when the did this — hard to recreate that “old time hardware store” feel in a big box — but all reports are that they still have the selection, and the expert staff, and are doing quite well.
Which brings me to mention Southport Home Hardware, just across the river from us in Stratford. Owned by the APM Group, a sort of Island-style conglomerate that certainly has its detractors, this hardware store — and it’s really more of an appliance, building supply, housewares, lumber and hardware store — comes about as close to Weeks as I’ve ever seen. They have great, helpful staff, excellent selection of just about anything you would ever want, and, as of last year, a bright new large location that somehow manages to feel small and neighbourhood like.
If you live in or around Charlottetown, and you need nails or motor oil or a new oven, I’d suggest you drop in for a visit.