Opinion Column

Come on! Let’s go for a walk

Well, what else would you call your old collie dog? Submitted by Les Green

Well, what else would you call your old collie dog? Submitted by Les Green

So come with me for a couple of walks, from days gone by, that I remember so well. What brought  the first to mind was the “someday” plan for a north end recreation park development now being considered. Why, that is to be in the very same spot as the little Mill Park of my childhood.
THE PARK BY THE MILL
Yes, on the site of the Centennial Arena complex used to sit the Lake of the Woods Flour Mill, a couple of huge buildings  and a big tall chimney. It employed a great number of men - producing and shipping flour all over the world - and was one of the secure local industries until it ceased most of the operations due to The Depression in 1938, and finally burned to the ground in 1943. As I understood it, the power plant recycled its water around a little island park, all green and grassy.
Our little family at the time - Dad, Mom, Big Brother and me and Collie Dog - but no little sister yet - often walked there all the way from the east end on a Sunday afternoon. Three of us enjoyed rolling down the grassy banks, while the other two took in the tranquility of the place. There was a couple of little bridges to cross the water and a rustic gazebo to shade us from the hot sun. When The Mill burned down, it all vanished.
A LONGER BRIDGE
Now let’s go to Island Park. A dad and two boys, me with the shortest legs, taking a Sunday afternoon walk over the long bridge, with no mother or dog this time. They had just expanded the deer pen to what it is now the other side of Brandon Avenue, and the big tall hydro towers were now a wonder for our male eyes. It was a long hike. I later found out that Mom did not come with us because our little sister was in the offing, but no one thought to tell me. And unleashed dogs were not welcome in the park back then, either. I still enjoy gazing up at those steel tower...
BARK, BARK
Talking of our old dog, and his name was “Collie”, he had a big ruff of fur around his neck. When it became the law that every dog had to have a license, the problem arose how to have him wear a collar. Dad solved it though, just as he did with every problem, but I still wonder about it. Anyway, Collie passed on, and Big Brother and I soon had a baby sister.
WONDERING?
In last week’s column, I added a picture of my Grade 1 class at Victoria School, vintage 1932. There have been several (?) enquiries as to which of the boys was ME and why the bowed heads. Well, that’s me for sure in back row, second from the left. As for the seemingly shyness, as it was a bright sunny day at the west end of the school, our Miss Moffat told us to shade our eyes and she would tell us when to look up. I guess she was a little fast-on-the-shutter, or we were all a bit slow to respond. So!



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