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November 20th, 2014
Changes & Memories in the Beaches

Changes & Memories in the Beaches

Love and a family home remains constant over the years

View of Lake Ontario from above Neville Park Blvd.

Two childhood friends from Scotland moved to Toronto with their families in the early 1900s. They became sweethearts, married in 1913, and moved into a house on Victoria Park built by the young suitor. On the occasion of their 60th wedding anniversary, the couple shared stories of their early memories in the Beaches (excerpts below).

“On a summer evening we used to watch rabbits come out of the Neville Park Ravine and run across the road to the school’s vegetable garden. The school staff was always very neighbourly and often donated hampers of vegetables to us.

“In the early days we carried water from the household use from a pump in the schoolyard. There was also a windmill ….

“A stream ran through the schoolyard into the Neville Park Ravine. This made the ravine very moist and watercress grew there in such abundance that families would pick it for the Sunday tea….

House at 106 Victoria Park, built 1913.

“In the early days there was still lots of work to be done to our property. We carried away many pails of sand to level off our garden and dumped it in our sloping property in the Ravine. (Later we kept chickens there as it provided an ideal chicken run). At the time there was still lots of poison ivy in the ravine, and people were fearful of being infected….

“In 1914 the entrance to Neville Park Boulevard was cleared. We could look down on the operation from our garden. By November the workmen had reached the crescent end. We often heard the boss shouting at the men for more speed. The cut trees were laid down east and west as a foundation for what is now Neville Park.

“Between McLean and Wineva, south of Queen Street, was an amusement park. A man use to ascend in a balloon every day from the park, and once landed in a tree close to our home. Eventually, the amusement park was moved to Sunnyside in the west end.

From Sixty Years Together Rich With Memories, as originally appeared in Ward 9 Community News, 1973.

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