Preserved Stories Blog


Ted Long shares photos from the Long Branch army camp in the 1950s; with comments from Ted Long & Garry Burke

In a previous post, I’ve shared comments from Ted Long, regarding the wartime and postwar housing that was in place at Small Arms Ltd. in the 1940s and 1950s. The Long Branch army camp was in what is now Lakeview in Mississauga. The residences were not actually in Long Branch.

Photo source: Ted Long

Photo source: Ted Long

Many places in those days, that were not actually in Long Branch, were named “Long Branch,” because the name had a nice ring to it, as I’ve explained at another previous post.

The following posts (among others) provide background:

Seeking information: Wartime and postwar housing at Small Arms Ltd. in Lakeview and elsewhere

Where will the people go: Toronto’s Emergency Housing Program and the Limits of Canadian Social Housing Policy, 1944-1957

Photos shared by Ted Long

Ted Long has shared some photos, with the following text by way of background:

Hey Son…Just found that Uncle Steve has some old photos so I went through a few and found these three taken in the army camp and I would say that the little baby in the neighbour’s arms in one of them [bottom photo at this page] is Uncle Steve so that makes this the summer of 1950 and Steve who just turned 67 is about 6 or 8 months old…the tallest guy in the pic is Uncle Jack who will be 77 March 17 of this year…right in front of him is me and just off my left shoulder and shorter would be Uncle Bill…this pic was taken in front of the fire hut and that is hut 13 on the left..that window is our living room…in the background, you can see the big pipe that carried the hot water to all the huts…

Photo source: Ted Long

Photo source: Ted Long

The other 2 pics…one is with Aunt Madeline who is my Dad’s sister and beside her is Uncle Jack and the little one with the airplane sweater is me..again these were all taken in the army camp in 1950…the other pic is again Aunt Madeline and Uncle Jack holding Uncle Bill up on a broomstick…right across from stop 4 at haig blvd. was were we used to jump the fence and run through the rifle range to get home…

I’m pretty sure the blonde holding Uncle Steve is Betty Coy and the smiling one is her brother Alvin, they were the kids of my mom’s friend who was always with her even after we moved to Regent Park…Mrs. Coy lived in the building on River Street, right across from Regent Park North where my mom lived until they both passed away…I’ll keep digging to see what else I can find out….Dad

[End]

Photo source: Ted Long

Photo source: Ted Long

Click on the photos to enlarge them; click again to enlarge them further

 

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Comments from Garry Burke, regarding Ted Long’s recent message

Hello Jaan,

View toward the west from Arsenal Lands where the Small Arms. Ltd. munitions plant was located during the Second World War. The Small Arms Building is behind the trees. Nov. 4, 2016. Jaan Pill photo

View (Nov. 4, 2016) of Arsenal Lands where Small Arms. Ltd. munitions plant was located during the Second World War. Jaan Pill photo

Nov. 4, 2016.

Amazing! I knew a Long family from the Camp who went to Christ the King School in Long Branch. “Teddy” Long was in my class all through grade school. If Ted is that person, well, I’ll be darned. But I don’t remember that Long family moving to the Staff House. We moved from the Camp to the Staff House in late August of ’49. Moving was cinch then; we hardly owned any furniture. We thought we had made it to the Ritz.

Jaan Pill photo

Signage near Applewood Creek on south side of Lakeshore Road East indicates work is now underway on the Lakeview Waterfront Connection project. Jaan Pill photo

View of Applewood Creek looking south from Lakeshore Road East just west Small Arms Building, Oct. 30, 2016. Work is currently underway along the creek. Jaan Pill photo

View of Applewood Creek looking south from Lakeshore Road East just west of the Small Arms Building, Oct. 30, 2016. Work is currently underway along this stretch of the creek. Jaan Pill photo

Pathway that leads from Lakeshore Road East to the shoreline of Lake Ontario. Applewood Creek is to the west, as you walk along the pathway. Jaan Pill photo

Pathway that leads from Lakeshore Road East to the shoreline of Lake Ontario. Applewood Creek is to the west, as you walk along the pathway. Jaan Pill photo

Looking south along pathway that leads from Applewood Creek toward Dixie Road. The pathway runs parallel (on the south side) to Lakeshore Road East. On the right, at Dixie Road, is located the Small Arms Building. Long Branch is located on the horizon, to the east. Jaan Pill photo.

Looking east along pathway that leads from Applewood Creek toward Dixie Road. The pathway runs parallel, on the south side, to Lakeshore Road East. On the right, at Dixie Road, is located the Small Arms Building. Long Branch is located on the horizon further to the east. Jaan Pill photo.

We were on the top floor, Apt. D 21. And we had a view, and actual view – [Alderwood Creek: Garry has made a correction; he at first thought it was Little Etobicoke Creek] out our kitchen window (in those days we just called it, “the creek”), and Lakeshore Road and the lake itself from our other windows. In the Camp, our “view” had been the tarpaper wing across from us. So the Staff House was a definite “step up.” We stayed there until the summer of ’55, when my parents realized that, with another baby on the way, a lot more living space was essential.

Ted mentions playing in the rifle range fields. Kids in the Camp were territorial. We preferred romping in the field that abutted Small Arms, and the creek. I was thinking the other day about the ring-necked pheasants that seemed everywhere, scaring the heck out of us when they took off from the grass at our feet. I also remember the beautiful bobolink song bird that made those fields their summer home. I don’t see them anymore, even in the fields here in Oro-Medonte. There were signs warning about “unexploded bombs,” but nobody seemed to care.

My friends and I found three mortar rounds once, and took them home to show our parents, but the adults just shrugged. I forget what we did with them. Probably just tossed them somewhere. Today, they’d be calling in a bomb squad, and the neighbourhood would be evacuated.

There was terrible accident in ’46 or ’47. Four boys from a school in Lakeview had taken an afternoon “off,” were playing in the rifle range, and found a box of grenades. Two were killed, and the others badly injured. Imagine the lawsuits if that had happened a generation later.

Jaan Pill photo

Jaan Pill photo

There was also a drowning death in the rifle range field. It might have been the summer of ’50. A boy fell into one of the flooded basements where a house/ dwelling once stood. I remember those places, and as non swimmer, they terrified me. In the spring and early summer, water in those excavations could be six feet deep. When it happened, I recall the siren in the Camp on full tilt. I had never heard it before, so we knew something bad had happened. Of course, we were trespassing on Ministry of Defense property when we roamed the rifle ranges, but nobody seemed to care. We stayed clear when regiments and militia units moved in during summer months for target practice.

Like Ted, I remember some of my chums’ families relocating to Regent Park in the late ’50s. Those accommodations seemed like another world, so roomy and clean. Some good folks at the Camp and Staff House had been so poor. Clothing was never thrown out, it was passed down to a younger sibling, or given to a neighbour. When my parents finally splurged on a new mattress, they gave our very old, very worn one to a family in the building who were in need of a mattress, any kind of mattress.

Signage near Applewood Creek on the south side of Lakeshore Road East indicates work is now underway on the Lakeview Waterfront Connection project. Jaan Pill photo

Signage (with vintage Crossing Ahead sign) near Applewood Creek on south side of Lakeshore Road East. Jaan Pill photo

I still shake my head remembering a lovely girl from the Staff House who, like most of the kids, went to Western Tech, and who dropped out at Christmas. She was just too embarrassed that her “wardrobe” was a source of amusement to her classmates. But that’s the way it was. I’m so proud of her that she went on to become a dental hygienist, and eventually secured a position at the U of T’s Faculty of Dentistry. That’s resiliency.

I apologize for rambling so much, but those years at the Camp and Staff House are forever with me. Just don’t ask me what I was doing ten, twenty, or thirty years ago.

Cheers,

Garry Burke

[End]

Ted Long: That Teddy would be me

My gosh, yessirree, that Teddy would be me, I went to Christ The King as well…I also remember the boy drowning in the flooded foundation…I knew that darned foundation, we allways thought there was alligators in there…Do you remember the fire that killed the young kids over by small arms side of the camp…I can’t remember which hut it was but they said the young ones were throwing clothes at each other and a t-shirt landed on the stove and the pilot light started the fire….I was in school when the fire trucks went by and we didn’t know the fire was in the camp….

We didn’t move into the staff house until sometime after hurricane hazel brought her wrath and wiped out the trailer park by the Etobicoke river….So many memories coming back…My son bought his house just up Dixie road and when I go there it’s hard to imagine what it was like then and the changes now….Used to pick cherries at the golf course on Dixie road in the summer till we were sick and used to walk along Lakeshore road and collect pop bottles…Used to go to the dump and scavenge anything, that is Marie Curtis Park now …So many things and so long ago…!!

[End]

 

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3 Responses to Ted Long shares photos from the Long Branch army camp in the 1950s; with comments from Ted Long & Garry Burke

  1. Jaan Pill Jaan Pill says:

    Your reflections, Ted, and those of Garry Burke and others, bring the past to life.

    I’ve been writing about Lakeview and Long Branch for years but the comments that I’ve been reading the past few days truly make it all come alive, in my mind, and in my imagination. What a difference that makes.

    Your reflections also changes, makes more vivid, my understanding of the present day. I often walk by the Small Arms Building and the Long Branch Rifle Ranges. When I walk there now, I will look at the remaining building and the fields in a new way, with a new way of seeing what it is, that is in front of me.

    Thank you for taking the time to share your comments; these details are highly valuable and much appreciated.

  2. Jaan Pill Jaan Pill says:

    Patrick (Pat) Long writes:

    All,

    It brings joy to my heart knowing that people who share such an extraordinary childhood experience can now connect and reminisce.

    Enjoy…..

    Warm regards,
    Patrick Long

  3. Jaan Pill Jaan Pill says:

    I look forward to learning from Garry Burke exactly where the house that he describes in one of his messages (above) was located. Knowing where a building was located, years ago, adds some valuable information to a place. In a sense, the knowledge infuses a physical space, as it now exists, with extra meaning and relevance. I’m reminded of the process whereby an accurate caption can add meaning and relevance to a photograph.

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