Sunday, March 01, 2009

Street Sign Request



I got to thinking about how nice it would be to have a EMPIRE AVE  street sign put on a post beside the house. To qualify, Norman Simard says you have to enter a contest by writing your memoirs about the place. I have lots of them.


When we first moved to the Park in 1948, Empire ran from Churchill to Regent. I know because I had to deliver The Montreal Gazette every morning down Empire to Regend then back up Springfield to Churchill again. There was nothing but bush and fields beyond Regent. The final delivery was just before you got to Kipps store, where I picked up my subscription  of " Out Door Life" magazine once a month. That took about 1/3 of the profits I earned from collecting .25 cents a week from each customer I delivered to.


The North side of Churchill had only a dirt road where Empire would later be, but in the meantime it served as access to the Legion Hall and sport fields where you played softball in the summer and skated on the rink in winter. Mr. Homer was the baseball coach and I struck a “Homer “ by  getting to date his daughter, Doreen.


Once you got to St Charles, you had to cross a wooden footbridge across the ditch to reach Greenfield by a path through an empty field. We would ride over the bridge’s two 2 x 12 wooden planks without even checking to see if they were still there and not washed away since the last time we crossed


We went everywhere by bicycle because it was the fastest way when you couldn’t afford the bus or the Chambly County Rail line which was too infrequent to count on.


Most of the time we biked to High School in St. Lambert, or the swimming hole on Riverside Drive (when we could talk the guard into allowing us to get through the hole in the wall) or if not, then the Montreal Swimming Club under the Jacques Cartier Bridge on ST Helen’s Island.


The Greenfield Park I knew, was bounded by those two Streets, Churchill and Regent on the North and South, and Taschereau and Devonshire on the East and West.  Beyond that was Mckayville and the Golf Course.


Ken Garrett my cousin lived on the corner of Empire and the Second small cul-de sac from the corner, just past St Paul’s Church.. We would take our 22 rifles and hunt rabbits which were plentiful on the golf course and any where in the bush beyond Regent Street

If we felt ambitious, we would take them all the way to Lapinierre Road on our bikes, about 10 miles beyond where Devonshire Road crossed the Taschereau Blvd. It was all farm land from there to Chambly or Laprairie.


ST Paul’s was the center for most of our activities. I was the scout master for a while and had boys who have now grown up to be Red Drummond, David Fry, Peter Jenkins and about 25 others who’s names escape me at the moment. Tom Stoker Jr. and Jack Cluff were assistants.


Later, we ran dances every Friday night at St PAuls, and I was the disc jockey. They ran about 3 years and were very popular. Kids would come from as far away as Montreal or East Greenfield to dance.


Even later we participated in plays and musical dramas also held in St Pauls on Empire.

So Empire Ave was a very important place during my younger years.  We eventually got motorcycles and then cars that took us further away to other interests


 Doug Garrett

Thanks Doug

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