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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Dr. G.E. Young transforms garbage dump into beach for citizens plus memories of growing up in Chapleau from Michael's email bag

Chapleau beach area over 40 years ago. Photo courtesy Bob Lewis

After hearing from Bob Lewis about the Chapleau beach. my thoughts turned to Dr. G.E. "Ted" Young, who returned home to practise medicine (for six months!) after doing his internship at Columbia University in New York City and was instrumental in transforming the town's garbage dump into a beach for the community.. Bob provided the photo of the beach area.
Dr. "Ted" Young
As World War II was drawing to a close, Dr. Young arrived home to replace a doctor for six months -- the rest of course is history as Dr. Young stayed, and within a few years had undertaken the creation of the beach behind Chapleau Public School, completing the project by about 1953.

Oldtimers will recall that the location was the site of the old town dump, and Dr. Young had to have all the garbage hauled away before he could begin the restoration, complete with change rooms, wading pools, grass, benches, picnic tables, diving towers on a dock and fresh sand hauled to the site yearly -- all at his own expense.

Also in the beach area were the bandstand where the Chapleau Town Band would give concerts on special occasions and summer evenings, a canteen and pavilion, a very popular spot for playing games of chance at community celebrations.

In 1948, the council led by Reeve B.W. "Bubs" esablished the first Chapleau Recreation Commission with Councillor J.M. "Jack" Shoup as its first chairperson, but the beach project was Dr. Young's, although in later years the annual "Beach Day" in August raised funds to maintain the area. Dr. Young served on the Beach Committee, as the recreation commission was commonly called, and interestingly his father George Young was a member of Chapleau council in 1951.

Dr. Young, who loved swimming, also became famous for his swim from the town dock area to his family's camp at Mulligan's Bay. When I once asked him about it, he played down his fame on this one: "Well, I started out to swim to the point, and when I got there I just decided to keep going and ended up in Mulligan's Bay."

I often think of Dr. Young's contribution in undertaking this project and providing a beach area for the people of Chapleau - especially the children. And modest person that he is, Dr. Young never took much credit for transforming the town dump into a scenic waterfront for his community. He just did it.

Growing up in Chapleau I sure played and swam at the beach -- so after all these years, thanks "Doc" for your efforts, not only on this project, but for all your contributions to life in Chapleau.

One of the great enjoyments of writing Chapleau Moments is that I hear from so many people who share some of their memories of life in Chapleau, so here are a few from my "email bag."

JODY THERIAULT

We walk back a bit. It is the early 60's. I'm staring at my feet, I'm in a yard full of small black cinders in the south end of town, near the railway yard. Then on my right as I walk north, i see a laundry mat with golden washers circling about in the window. I know that behind that laundry mat is Victor Sonego's house and I am thinking of him. I go into Mione's, a small strange smelling store that sells ice cream. and as I continue my walk down Lorne (?) I go to Desi's on the corner of Birch.

I look for new comic books, Betty and Veronica, Superman and Dennis the Menace. They are all displayed and I check to see if the latest issue is there yet. There are orange popsicles in the freezer but I am looking for a blue one. It will cost 5 cents. Ice cream and chocolate bars are 10 cents. Then I pass Collins and they have camping things and a tent in in the window, a male mannequin who is the father with a chipped chin and a small one who is the boy. They are wearing jackets. Graham's dog Joey sniffs me as I pass the house. I go into my yard through a white picket gate and up the cement steps into the back door. The shoes are piled into a jumble, running shoes and boots with mud.

I am glad to be home.

VIVIAN (EDWARDS) McLEAN

I read your articles in the Chapleau paper and I thought I could share some of my grandfather's life. My grandfather Bill Creighton was born in Chaput, Quebec and married Loretta Giroux in Pembroke. He was the last man to have a team of horses in Chapleau. He picked up people's garbage and was a proud man (he looked tall but it was because he was sitting on his wallet. )Grandpa would let me sit beside him and drive his horses(they knew where they were going )I felt like I was queen of the hill sitting beside him Grandpa took me to the Trainman dances at the old town hall I was about 15 and boy could he dance so many women loved to dance with him as Fred Astaire could of learned some steps from him.

My uncle Sonny and brother Bill worked for him and worked darn hard. Grandpa had worked on the railway at one time but gave it up as he loved horses basically he was a happy man in his own way . My grandmother was a very special lady we stopped at Granny's on the way home from school. She was always baking and we stood there until she said would you like a cookie.W we never refused . My grandmother and Mrs Deluce were best friends and loved blueberry picking. She always had a garden. We loved our little grandma. But Michael my Grandfather was a very intelligent person and I appreciated his stories . Well Michael as I said, love your stories in the paper .

MURIELE FORTIN

Everybody seems to have covered everything I was about to recall about back lanes , except maybe this part about the garbage pick up. We actually would hitch rides on the back of Mr. Chreighton's horse drawn wagon, filled with trash and thought that was great entertainment for the day. He would pretend not to notice us. Many dark evenings when I headed home down that unlit back lane did I imagine some creature jumping out and scaring me but it never stopped me from taking that short cut when I was late for curfew.

Interestingly, in the subdivision where I now reside in Kingston, a development behind me is being built using the lane way design. Folks will have access to their garages via this private lane way. I like that it will give more distance between their house and mine, for privacy. Thanks for the memories. Muriele

JACK POYNTER

Sadly I cannot remember anything extra exciting , or illegal , going on in our back lanes although they certainly did join the Community together. I do remember they were a great shortcut to UPTOWN as well as for CPR employees going to work. When we were facing Pine St. as you noted our directly opposite lane neighbours were the Kemps where there was always some activity going on , at least until they arrived home one noon hour and the house was sadly engulfed in flames.

On one side of us was the Anglican Rectory and of course the Tennis courts where a lot of us got daily exercise ( in the summer ) with a different type of exercise going on across the lane at the Legion..Down the lane in the opposite direction were the CPR houses of the Burrows and Dessons then Austin , Goheen and Chrusoskie. Remember when Howard G. was buried in the ground and left there when everyone had to go to supper ?

When we moved and faced Beech St. the same lane continued and we then had Dick Hoath , the oil man directly opposite us. We used to play baseball in the backyards before church Sunday... It is interesting to note that from our area the quickest way to get to all three Churches was by the back lanes albeit you may get a little dusty.

Clothes could always be seen drying from the lanes and Dr. Young's French poodle put on a show over the fence. There were also a lot of great vegetable and flower gardens evident from the lanes.

Yes , there are a lot of lanes in Chapleau and I am certain some have great stories but in the area I lived they were just fun ways to get home , meet kids and socialize.They were too narrow to play serious baseball plus the windows on the front of most houses were closer on the main drags and hence could be broken easier by a wayward ball. Neither were they wide enough for a rink .

ART MADORE JR.

I was recently on holidays at my camp in Dalton visiting my dad. Roger Mizuguchi has been collecting the Chapleau Express and giving them to my dad. There were two years worth of papers that I managed to read during my stay.I found your articles very interesting, and I was anxious to read the next as I went throught them chronologically.

You did an article this spring on the "CPR ice gangs", which was my favorite because "Dalmas Paquette" is my grandfather. I always knew he was a foreman for the CPR but never knew he was in charge of the ice for the trains. I was part of an ice gang one winter when Tommy (Sawyer) and I helped my uncle Ross gather ice for the bait shop. Thanks for the great writing.

Thanks to all the contributors. My email is michaeljmorris@ymail.com

Michael J Morris

Michael J Morris
MJ with Buckwheat (1989-2009) Photo by Leo Ouimet

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