Sunday in Parkland Community

My friend, Pat, invited me for a beautiful Sunday afternoon experience in the Parkland Community.  I have always really enjoyed hearing Pat’s pride in her community and I do see it as an exemplar of what community can be, while living in the suburbs of Calgary.  This community has got it ‘going on’ and with the leadership of a few very motivated community members (there are a few in every community) and the hard work, commitment and creativity of a strong membership, Parkland has much to be proud of.

The gates were opened up last Sunday and in the afternoon a gathering of people, carrying their lawn chairs and snacks, arrived at two in the afternoon for two amazing sets of blues music offered by entertaining storyteller, Tim Williams. This weekend, Sunday, will find the attendees enjoying the music of Houston’s Hogan and Moss.

After the relaxing time in the sunshine, Pat and I crossed the road to see the community gardens and the wonderful public art; murals, mosaic and ironwork.  Even the siding and landscaping demonstrates the thoughtful investment of the Parkland community. Fantastic stuff.  Gratitude to Pat for inviting me into the glory of summer!

New siding, textures and colour for the building.

Vintage signage has been installed, with thoughts of creating a protective covering, so that it will remain an archive of earlier times and the establishment of the original building of the Community Center.

The creation of storage included the narrative of the sorts of programs and offerings come with the membership in this community, including the book club that I so desperately would like to join.  (no members outside of the community…dang!)

Friend, Michelena Bamford of Wolf Willow Studio, coordinated and created beautiful mosaic work, along with community members.  I love that she included elements of the landscape and wildlife that thrives in our deep south.  The book club members contributed by learning how to create mosaic, but also broke up the pieces of glass for others to use.  Love this Magpie!  It’s a favourite piece!

Animal tracks represent the wildlife typically encountered in our home along the river.

One of the original pieces of art that was created for the community some years ago.  I love the nostalgia that this piece captures.

And then there are the gardens…beautiful and carefully planned and maintained!

Not only is this a magical garden, but I enjoyed a magical day in Parkland Community!

YAHOO!! Pancakes!!

Two down…more to come!

The festivities in Cow Town include pancake breakfasts, absolutely everywhere.  I’d like to thank the many businesses and the Calgary Stampede Wagon Train for the fabulous and generous contribution of such lovely events across our city.  While it is not very often that I find my way down to the grounds, I DO so enjoy the spirit that is demonstrated to even the far reaches of our city at Stampede time.  All three of my children participated in very dedicated fashion to the marching band in their young adult years.  Now that I am not chasing them around to all of their performances, pancakes is the way I really remain connected to Stampede.  Follow me over the coming days, IF YOU CAN!

So far, Auburn Bay Co-Op was a breakfast of champions shared with my friend, Hollee, from Sherwood Park, Alberta.  Activities for children included face-painting, balloon sculpture and rope making.  The breakfast was so very delicious and for the long winding line up, there were complimentary cheese sticks, bananas and visits with Harvey the Hound.  I loved the conversations, the tail wagging of dogs and the enthusiasm of the live band that played after we were seated.  A great time was had by all.

Today’s pancake breakfast was hosted by South Calgary Funeral Centre and Crematorium on Macleod Trail.  Yes, I know.  Initially it seemed a little odd to me, also.  But, let’s face it, there IS a lot of stigma around death and dying.  I have learned the last ten years just how deeply and sadly, death of loved ones can impact every moment of every day, likely for the rest of your life.  However, I’ve also learned that death is a part of life and the folks that work at these funeral ‘homes’ have a tough job and they have, in my experience, chosen to do it well.

(By the way, folks, once and awhile, please speak my brother’s name.  Please mention him.  Remember him.  And please, ask how I’m doing.)

So, off we went for pancakes at the Funeral Home!!  What???  Blueberries and Whipped Cream?  You’re kidding!  Nummers!  And, delicious orange juice!  John Wayne oldies playing on a the big screen all the while.  Grandson, Steven, was in his glory and consumed a full adult portion!  After that, a walk around a florist fridge and back alley building equipment!

I highly recommend getting out in your city this week!  There is a lot going on and most of it involves food!


Finding Agnes South

It was time to head back to Belleville, Ontario.  I had enjoyed Mr. Carlin’s art exhibit in Callander and a short, but magical visit in North Bay with my sister.

It was interesting that the Alex Dufresne Gallery is housed in the Callander Bay Heritage Museum.  What a fantastic space.  I remembered from my years living in North Bay, what an attaction the idea of the Dionne quintuplets was for the locals.  To see so many of the archives of the dear girls’ childhood on display in the museum felt a little other-worldly.

P1110667 P1110668 P1110669 P1110670Even as a twelve year old, I felt sad for the spectacle of all of this.  Today, multiple births do not demand as much attention as was endured by the Dionne quintuplets.

I decided to stop off in Powassan as I headed south on HW 11, at least long enough to visit and say my prayers over the resting place of Agnes Haddow (my great aunt) and her husband, Elkanah South.

The young woman, Agnes, is pictured here with her family.  My great grandmother, Mary Eleanor Haddow, later married John Moors.  Agnes was her sister.  My grandfather, John Moors, made trips up from Hamilton, along with other family members, to visit Agnes and her family in Powassan.

The Haddow Family Portrait

The Haddow Family Portrait

Young Agnes

Young Agnes

I know that I have distant cousins who still live in the Powassan area because they have made inquiries about my research. I would dearly love to meet them one day when they are ready.  On this particular day, the sky was foreboding and I wondered if it might rain when I pulled up to a tiny gas station to ask directions to old Union Cemetery.  It was a weekend and the town seemed sleepy.  I knew that I wouldn’t find any help at a cemetery office on a Sunday, but got myself turned in the right direction without any hassles.

Union Cemetery in Powassan

Agnes South Union CemeteryWhat had brought Agnes and Elkanah to settle in the area?

The Powassan Story

(The following article was written by L. F. Robertson, a pioneer resident of Powassan and reprinted from the Golden Anniversary Programme)

One of the most valued treasures of the people of any community is their history. From early days men preserved history so that posterity might have a record of their times. The study of history is like looking back along the highway of time and the men and events mentioned therein are as landmarks placed here and there upon that great highway. Unfortunately, however, some of those landmarks were not preserved and a more particular and definite history could have been recorded if the second and third generations had acquired more knowledge from the first generations. However, we, of this generation, have obtained by research certain interesting facts regarding the settlement and development of our Town of Powassan.

Powassan is an Indian name which means a “bend”. The original settlement was at a bend of the South River. Therefore the name is an appropriate one. This location is known today as the Powassan Chute and is the location of the present hydro plant. Here the Village of Powassan began about the year 1880. A sawmill was built and a grist mill followed. Mill employees erected their dwellings in that section.

Town Expanded

In 1886 the railroad was in operation between Gravenhurst and Nipissing Junction. A second settlement was born in the neighborhood of the railroad station. The railroad was first known as the Northern and Pacific Junction Railway. It was later purchased by the Grand Trunk system and afterwards by the Canadian National Railway, which serves Powassan today. The nucleus of the town site comprised lots 15 and 16 in the 12th concession of the Township of Himsworth. Lot 15 was originally taken up as a grant from the crown by Christopher Armstrong. Lot 16 was a grant to William Faulkner Clark. The 15th side road of the Township of Himsworth was the road allowance reserve between the two lots. This road allowance is the King Street of today, which is Powassan’s main thoroughfare. Christopher Armstrong laid out the town lots in sections of a fifth of an acre each. His plan registered as No. 44. William Faulkner Clark planned the lots in his subdivision into lots of one quarter of an acre each. His plans are registered as numbers 43 and 57.


Community Spirit

The story of William Faulkner Clark depicts the wonderful community and neighborly spirit of Powassan’s early days. His home was known to everyone for miles and was a happy stopping off place for early settlers who came to Powassan to transact business. Unable to return home the same day, they stayed at Mr. Clark’s home which still stands today adjacent to the fair grounds. Before erecting this building, Mr. Clark occupied a log house opposite the fair grounds at the corner of Clark Street and the road to the chute.

Mr. Clark donated the sites for the school and three churches. The site of the first Presbyterian church was at the corner of the fair grounds where the road curves opposite the Holtforster farm. Later this church was moved to the corner of Clark and Edward streets and is now the Masonic Temple. The Anglican Church was on the site of the present dwelling of Mr. M. Putnam. This church was destroyed by fire in 1936. The Catholic Church was built on the property where the present church stands.

The first school in Powassan was S.S. No. 1, known as Maple Hill School. In 1891 the Powassan school, or S.S. No. 8, was built. This was a one-room building. In 1893 it was converted into a two-room school and in 1901, two more rooms were added. Later there were six rooms, four for public and two for continuation students. In 1929 the new continuation school was built and the original two-room frame part of the public school was abandoned. In 1953 the new addition to the public school was completed, thus providing students with modern-day facilities.

While initially I would assume that Elkanah, and other family members, worked in the lumber and milling industries, I learned that he was a Moulder.  What I’ve learned about my family is that none of them were slouches…on either side…and so, I’m certain that this was hard work.

John Moors and SiblingsAgnes Haddow SouthP1110691 P1110692 P1110693 P1110694Of Agnes, Dick Chandler records…

Agnes Haddow was born on 9th August 1877 at Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire, England, the first daughter of John Haddow and Mary High.

At seventeen, she married 34 year old Elkanah South (a Moulder) on 21st of August, 1894.  (A Moulder made molds, used for casting iron, brass etc, also in potteries and probably other industries.)  Elkanah, also known as Alfred, was born on 28th of February 1860 in Maldon, Essex and migrated to Canada in 1874.  He was a Baptist and she a Presbyterian.  They lived in Powassan, Parry Sound, Ontario and had seven children.  I located several of these and said prayers for them in the Union Cemetery as well, but that’s another story.

A niece of Agnes, Edith Emily Haddow McKeown, remembers that Agnes was said to have had Dropsy and that periodically, she had to have fluid removed.  In years gone by, a person might have been said to have dropsy. Today one would be more descriptive and specify the cause. Thus, the person might have edema due to congestive heart failure.

Edema is often more prominent in the lower legs and feet toward the end of the day as a result of pooling of fluid from the upright position usually maintained during the day. Upon awakening from sleeping, people can have swelling around the eyes referred to as periorbital edema.

The Middle English dropesie came through the Old French hydropsie from the Greek hydrops which in turn came from the Greek hydor meaning water.

Other memories of Edith include that Agnes and two of her daughters (probably the oldest two) visited Mary Eleanor in Hamilton.  She remembered that the girls wore long black stockings, perhaps having something to do with their religion.

Powassan StreetThese post card images of Powassan were captured many years ago. Above, King Street (now Main Street) looking southward in the early 1930s. Below, looking northward, some time befor 1914 and the days of the automobile.

The gas station that I visited was on the left about a third of the way up on this photograph.

The Second Time I Cried: A Tim Horton’s Parking Lot

I didn’t take any photographs that first day of driving.  What was to archive?  I wasn’t a tourist. I didn’t feel the way I felt driving east.  Max needed to pee and I needed to sort out why I had taken the exit on Thickson Road instead of going south to the next one.  I figured quickly that it didn’t really matter.  Pulling off of the 401 and anticipating going north, somehow brought emotions up for me.  This cry was a weepy private shedding of a few tears…it was nothing dramatic, just enough that I had to remove my glasses because my eye lashes had mucked my lenses up.  The 401 and the Tim Horton’s parking lots of Canada hold no real intimacy.  I hoped that the secondary road would be kinder.

A rough-looking guy, once asked, pointed north and told me just to drive through Whitby, I’d get onto the right highway.  I felt his directions a tad sketchy, but followed them anyway.

Thickson to Hwy 7