work plotting new schemes for his burned-out building.
Indeed, Harmon prove d to be the archetyal free-enterprise entrepreneur. Seldom a year went by without some major renovation in the ‘Harmon Block’, and over the years his buildings included various combinations of the studio, a theatre, a curio shop, a drug store, a fountain lunch and tea shop, a book store and lending library, a woollen shop, and even a beauty parlour, many of them occupying a common area. His passion for designing and building fit in perfectly with the boom in technological gadgetry prior to the Great War, and he was forever trying out new ideas. His shops featured the first gas lights in Banff, the first ice-cream maker, the first neon sign, probably the first radio and phonograph, one of the first postcard machines in western Canada (capable of producing 4,ooo cards a day), and God only knows what else. He designed and built much of the equipment used in his darkroom, built the screen used in the theatre, and devised an ingenious ventilating system for the theatre incorporating hollow beams that ran the length of the building. He was always amused to find that someone in town had ‘borrowed’ one of his business innovations for their own shop, and he would invariably smile and say, ‘That’s all right. There are plenty more ideas where that one came from.’
He was also somewhat of a speculator and at various times had amounts of money invested in drilling and mining operations. Receiving word that one such investment was not perhaps entirely above moral (and perhaps legal) reproach, he quickly pulled his shares and walked away with a good profit- in early 1929.
Making films was yet another vocation that Harmon pursued. Although nearly all of his footage has disappeared over the years, movies were important to him for both pleasure and profit. From the early teens on he devoted more and more time to film technique and technology, and some of his later journeys were