HERITAGE LIVES: The Out-of-Doors Was Our Playground

No shortage of  outdoor play spots for yesteryear’s kids in Crowland, Welland.  (Supplied photo)

By Terrry Hughes

When recalling the novel, ”To Kill A Mocking Bird”, one cannot help but see how children of that time amused themselves. True, the time frame was the Depression but kids have always found ways to occupy their time before the advent of television. Like Jeb and Scout, the out-of-doors was the playground and one’s imagination created tree houses and swings on local trees that were used in imaginative ways.
For kids in Crowland, the bush offered opportunities both summer and winter where we could spend the whole day inventing adventures. For some of us it was going to the “broken-down-jail”, an abandoned barn.
Welland kids had the dykes and Merritt Island along the canal for places to explore, ride their bikes or sled down some snow covered slopes.
One activity that we all had was fishing. Lyon’s Creek had some good spots for fishing, along with shooting bullfrogs with BB guns to take home for some tasty frogs legs.
Our photo shows two people probably between 10 and 12 years of age, one of them fishing off a dock and boathouse structure in the Welland River. Like it is today, the river looked calm and muddy due poor land management up river by the farming community.
It also served as our sewage disposal system where all of our waste was dumped.
But no one seemed to be aware of this calamity and it was a great place to hook on a channel catfish.
The location in the photo could have been up river from the canal’s two aqueducts judging by the high banks at the end of Dennistoun Street in the 1920’s.
It would seem that the girl’s interest was probably in the boy, but his focus was trying to catch some fish.

(Terry Hughes is a Wellander who is passionate about heritage, history and model railroading. His opinion column, Heritage Lives, appears on the blog once or twice monthly.)

Next Column: Dating Old Photographs.

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