The following messages, which I read with much interest, are from Murray Smith, a visitor to this website
He’s given me permission to quote him.
Long Branch Memories
March 15, 2013
It’s fascinating to see the brief correspondence about the old hometown that you’ve collected. On occasion I will search different areas I remember and see what comes up. Imagine my surprise to see 168 Lake Prom mentioned! I remember it well.
As constituted in the photos posted, the original house was built by George Carr, a local builder. He shared it with my grandmother, Laura Smith, and her son, my father. When dad came back from WWII he went into the construction business with George and they built houses all over Long Branch.
From 184 Lake Prom (the first house I remember living in, built by George and Joe) we moved to 11 Arcadian Circle, then 15 Elton Crescent (also built by the boys in the early fifties; it had radiant heating in the floors!). We stayed local but under different roofs for most of my childhood.
The Lakeshore was a great place to grow up. Marie Curtis’ daughter Joan would babysit for us while my folks, together with Marie and Bryce, would go out and party with friends. In the early years we could walk to James S. Bell and still come home for lunch every day. Later, attending what was then known as NTSS at Birmingham and Kipling, most of us still walked to school, although it took 20 – 30 minutes depending on weather.
Cubs and Scouts was out of Long Branch United at 31st and Ash Crescent. Gus Ryder was the swimming coach at the pool on Birmingham and I remember riding an earth mover with George Carr when they levelled the ground to build Lakeshore Lions Arena (he and Bruce Petch were long time Lions members and hunting buddies for years). My brother and I subsequently played hockey at Faustina, chewing ’Thrills’ gum and spitting purple on the ice.
After Hurricane Hazel a neighbour took us over to Etobicoke Creek in his small motor boat. Somewhere, far away, are the pictures we took with an old Kodak Brownie showing what remained of the cottages on the west side. There wasn’t much. All I remember of the actual storm was standing at the top of the basement stairs lobbing tin soldiers into a couple of feet of water on the floor below.
Before there was a Birch Park Arena there was an open-air rink we all took care of. The Parks and Rec guys would flood it but whoever got there first after a snowfall had to clear the ice if they wanted to skate. I remember when they built the ‘clubhouse’ where you could go in and change into your shoes and warm up a little between shinny games and skating with local girls. Prior to that, when we lived at 11 Arcadian, we’d just walk across the park in our skates. Who needed sharp edges in those days?
Now retired at the other end of the lake it’s good to look back once in a while.
Long Branch Memories (Continued)
I wrote to Murray Smith asking him if it’s okay to post his message. He wrote:
By all means use what you need. It might jog a few memories belonging to some of the boomers who’ve long since moved on.
Inspired by your site I’ve been touring the Lakeshore by Google street view and noting the changes that fifty years can bring. Naturally, most of the old landmarks (including the Lakeshore Lions Arena) are changed or gone but some of the strangest things persist. The Long Branch Library still has the same signage as when originally built. St. Agnes Church, where we had weekly dances in the sixties is still on the corner of Long Branch Ave. and Marina although the veneer is updated.
Good old Google has spared me the expense and time of physically travelling back there and wandering about but the memories still bring a good laugh. The wife thinks it’s pretty cute, too.
I hope more people who grew up on the Lakeshore get in touch. It’s through the efforts of good folks like you that the history of a place is maintained and, believe it or not, occasionally the follow-on generations can find themselves interested in where the geezers in their families originated.
All the best,