News from the Archives v03-1

Albert Fulton’s News from the Archives Newsletter Collection

News from the Archives v03-1

  • Created by: Albert Fulton
  • Date: 1994-03-01
  • Provenance: Collected by members of Toronto Island Connections group, scanned by Edward English, OCR by Eric Zhelka, PDF by Eric Light
  • Notes: v03-1

MARCH 1, 1994
SLIDE SHOWS, February 2, 3, 20.
Many thanks to the Cridlands, Englars, Labonte-Smiths, and Lu Schoenborn for lending their excellent slides to supplement those of Bud Burrows. The shots of the lavish Winter Carnival productions on the lagoon were very interesting, but on those cold winter nights I think that most preferred the summertime competitions of the Island Canoe Club and especially the beautiful flowers and sunsets of Al Schoenborn. We enjoyed hearing the description by Lu of the AIA hockey rink, Gail Labonte-Smith on Orville the Oriole, Jerry Englar on the double 125(12
3Wyandot as their studios and on the construction of the Volkswagen planter and the Bruce
1 p y r a m i d s
Smith sculpture Sometimes Metro Works in the front yard at 32 Omaha, Peter Cridland on
w h i c h
the construction at the QCYC of Eryngo by Frank Maddrick (8 Nottawa), and Jim Belisle
h e
on the ambitious front deck which he and George Brewer (3 Ojibway) built for the Tyers
a n d
at 13 Wyandot.
L e i d
The lenders of the slides kindly agreed to permit prints to be made from them, and the a
Archives albums have been augmented with most of the shots of Algonquin houses and c o n s t r
residents, as well as the Labonte-Smith photos of the huge beach on the other side of the u c t e d
seawall which was created during the dredging of the Eastern Gap in 1973-74. Unfortunately i
what the Lake giveth, the Lake tooketh away!
t h
MOVIE NIGHT, Saturday, April 16, 7:30 pm.
Come to the Algonquin Cinema at 5 Ojibway to see the famous Island Spring, one or
more of the three Bud Burrows films in the Archives collection, the enchanting 1/2 hour
b a
Al Schoenborn Island movie, and others to round out the evening. If you have any old home
c k
movies taken on the Island, please consider lending them to the censor for previewing a few
y a
nights before April 16. Both an 8mm and a 16mm projector will be available. If you know
r d
of former Islanders or anyone else who has Island movies, please invite them to attend, or
at least to lend their films!
The Archives videotape collection contains a variety of movie and TV items, including the scenes from Police Academy 3 which were filmed on the Lagoon and at the QCYC, and recent CITY-TV interviews with Bill Roedde and Tim Cridland. Bill was miffed that his most important information, how his cat was coping with the cold winter, was deleted. The videos can be viewed during the regular Archives hours of 1-5 on Sunday afternoons, or at other times by appointment. If you have any Island video coverage, i t would be greatly appreciated if you would provide copies for the Archives (in return for copies of archival goodies of your choice) or lend your tapes to the Archives so that copies could be made.
ALGONQUI N ISLAND ARCHIVES c/o Albert Fulton 5 Ojibway Ave Toronto M5J 2C9 203-0921 or 537-5006
Slides by Bud Burrows showed games between teams in the ATA hockey league. The rink was located south of the M A Building in the early ’60s. According to Lu, Ken Ratcliffe, a fireman living at 10 Ojibway, and Bill Fraser Sr., father of a fireman living at 2 Oneida, were instrumental i n establishing and maintaining the rink. C H U M Radio, whose transmission tower and white equipment building were nearby, donated the boards and lights. The light poles are still with us, holding up bird houses. The CHUM maintenance man, Frank Norris, lived at 17 Wyandot in 1952-66. Jim Peat has kindly donated to the Archives a series o f M A hockey crests, and other memorabilia. Lu and Barb Roerick provided the following items.
From the Globe & Mail, Feb 16/62, accompanied by action shots of veteran hockey players such as Wilma Bury, Kay Millen, Barb Roerick, and Lu Schoenborn: “Hey Maw, have you seen my hockey puck?” can be a loaded question in some homes–the puck may well be in mother’s pocket. For three winters, two mornings a week, the ladies on Algonquin and Ward’s Islands have been playing hockey. They have their place on the schedule of the busy Algonquin Island community rink along with the peewees, the teenagers, and the fathers, who play in the evenings The team lineup changes according to turnout. Since most of the players must bring their preschoolers with them, a cold epidemic among the small fry cuts down the number of players. Then the ladies play without goalies.
Usually there are from six to eight women wielding their sons’ hockey sticks on the ice. The children gather in one corner of the rink to play among themselves and watch mother score. As the game grows warmer the little ones grow colder. “It sounds like a pediatrician’s waiting-room,” Kay Millen, a star Algonquin Island forward, observed. A player may take time off to herd all the children to the changing shed for a hot stove discussion with crackers and hot chocolate, from thermos bottles.
Lu Schoenborn keeps the hockey players in touch. She phones the night before to say if the rink is playable. She knows, because she also has the job of getting the fathers out in the evenings to sweep and flood the rink… ByKen Ratcliffe, March 1962: (I have addedaddresses)
Well, the hockey season is over and as chairman of the Hockey Committee I would like to thank all the people that helped make the season a hugesuccess. It is not unlikely that the players could have skated as long asthey did had it not been a community effort in keeping the rink clear. Thanks men, you did a fine job.
Special thanks to Bill Ward, alias Call Voss, (42 Lakeshore) who refereed all the junior games and did a mighty fine job. To Larry MacPhall, who drew up our schedule and kept all statistics. To Mrs. Schoenborn, the invincible, who must have a sore finger, a tired back, and all the patience in the world. The sore finger from phoning, the back from shovelling snow, and the patience to make sure everyone did their share–many thanks Lu. Also thanks to Keele Gregory (3 Dacotah) and Chas. Millen (15 Dacotah) for replacing the old leaky hose with a new one. Thanks also to Mr. Dennis of the Island Outdoor School and Mr. Unger of the Parks Dept. for coming to the rescue with the snowplow.
HOCKEY CHAMPS 1961-1962—THE ISLAND LEAFS: Coached by Peter Boswell (5 Wyandot). This was areal good team and with the services of ayoung gentleman name of Murray ‘Never Give Up’ Roe (14 Nottawa) –44 goals, 3 assists–they gave all opposition a pretty rough time.
The improvement in all the players was terrific and next year’s games should be really something. Not to forget the improvement of the Peewees so patiently coached by Ray Hamburgh (3 Second)and Richard Lye (29 Seneca).Special mention also to the teenagerteams, coachedby Dick Barrett (13 Wyandot), Terry Phillips (5 Nottawa), Terry and Roy Barker (4 Ojibway), Peter Boswell, Ray Hamburgh, and Richard Lye.
The Hockey Banquet will be held sometime in May and it is hoped a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs will be there to present the awards.
By Lu Schoenborn, March 1962:
…One father and son team deserves our gratitude: Bill Fraser, President of the AIA, and his father. They established the rink 2 years ago and maintained it during the previous 2 years nearly by themselves, sacrificing all their leisure time. Mr. Fraser Sr. is an expert on hockey rinks. His and Bill’s know-how and active assistance have again saved the rink many times this year, when circumstances became critical.
About a dozen slides showed the Baltic Belle, and I promised to print its fascinating story in this newsletter. What follows was told to me by that master raconteur and author, Len Barnett. Originally named Themus, she was built in Sweden in 1917 and wasa typical double-ended 44′ North Sea fishing boat, although she operated mostly in the Baltic. Rigged with main and mizzen, she had a cabin with bunks forward of the fish hold and wheelhouse aft. She was well-found with 8″x8″ closely spaced ribs cut from “grown timbers” (curved branches) and she carried 12 tons of concrete ballast. Before the war she was sold to German owners and later to owners in Finland.
In 1950 a party of young Latvian and Estonian refugees, who had crossed the border into Finland, bought the Themus and sailed her to South America. Seven men and one woman, a nurse, were all in their twenties or early thirties, and I have seen a photograph of the woman posing naked like a figurehead below the bowsprit! Their voyage took them across the Baltic Sea, through the Kiel Canal to the North Sea and through the English Channel, across the Atlantic and around Cape Horn, and they arrived in Valparaiso, Chile in ’52 or ’53. The crew went their separate ways and the captain set up a small business on board repairing outboard motors and such. After a couple of years he loaded the hold and deck with drums of diesel oil and, with only one extra hand, headed north under the power of the one-cylinder diesel engine. Up the west coast of South America, through the Panama Canal and up the Mississippi, they eventually entered the Great Lakes and arrived in Toronto. The captain of one of the Island ferries (first name Norman) bought the boat and changed her name to Baltic Belle. He moored her in the Lagoon just west of the Sea Hawks, and the marks left by the mooring lines can still be seen on one of the large trees. Three of the oil drums are still beside the Sea Hawks clubhouse.
In ’57 or ’58 the Baltic Belle was sold to Ron and Alida Turner of Ward’s Island, for $2000.She came complete with the old sails, cordage, 2 anchors, shark hooks, and even the charts and German-submarine cork lifejackets which had come with her across the Atlantic. Ron had her surveyed and was told that despite a small amount of rot she was good for another 100 years.
With plans to refurbish the boat for a round-the-world cruise, Ron attracted a few “Adventurers” through magazine advertisements. The investors began their renovations by completely gutting the space below decks, including the engine room and engine. The next step was to remove the strong fishy smelling coating in the hold. We both knew the captain of the Ned Hanlan tug, and he offered Ron the use of the Hanlan’s steam hose on a Saturday afternoon to clean out the hull. We got the water-taxi to tow the boat alongside the HanIan, which was moored at the Canada Steamship dock at Pier 32 in those days. A stoker on the HanIan passed the steam hose to me and I fed it down the hatch to Ron. When he said he was ready, I yelled to the stoker down below on the Hanlan, and he let go a full blast of 300 p.s.i. live steam. Ron couldn’t hold onto the nozzle and the hose started flailing about like a big black snake, filling the hold with great clouds of steam, with Ron hopping around trying to stay out of its way. After yelling at the stoker to turn off the steam, and then to give “just a little touch on the cock”, we managed to do a good cleaning job on the hull, pumping the muck out of the bilge into the harbour.
Back she came to the lagoon, and the Adventurers next decided to clean the decks. After spending all day with Javex and brushes, they only managed to clean the black coating from about two square feet. As a solution they then decided to completely remove the wheelhouse and the solid 2″ decks and rebuild them. Later, with the boat stripped to its bare hull, Ron decided to rest from his labours and take a holiday in the Bahamas. On the next weekend a storm came up, disturbing the water in the Lagoon. The 4″ propeller shaft, with nothing left on the inboard end after the engine had been removed, worked its way down through the stuffing box and fell out. Next day the hull was sitting on the bottom of the Lagoon with only the mainmast and bowsprit poking up through the water.
The Harbourmaster declared the boat a navigational hazard and gave Ron two choices: ‘Either you raise her and get her out of the way, or I will do it and charge you for it.’ Since air bags and compressors were needed and Ron didn’t have a penny to bless himself with at that stage, he had to tell the Harbourmaster to go ahead. A gang came over with a tug and barge but they only managed to pull off part of the stern, opening a large hole which made floating the boat impossible.
Since she had to be broken up, I told Ron I wanted to rescue some memorabilia. I cut off the bowsprit and installed it as a roof support in 6 Oneida, complete with its original shackles. During the winter when the water dropped to expose the bulwarks, I removed enough planks to build a seachest, which I still have, with Baltic Belle carved on it. Eventually the 1″ wire cables holding the mainmast gave way, and it and the huge shackles were retrieved by the Sea Hawks. During the ’60s other people removed the rails and planks for firewood, but about 50% of the hull is still there, sunk into the silt, about 50 yards west of the Sea Hawks. When I go fishing I’m careful not to cast over her, as the handmade nails are still sticking out of her ribs.
About 2 dozen photos of the Baltic Belle in her final resting place are in the Archives. I’m still waiting for the one of the nurse.
The current show features the construction of Toronto’s “Great Railway Viaduct” in 1925-30. It’s the series of underpasses and railway buildings we’re all familiar with as we trudge down Yonge, Bay, or York Sts. Many photos and descriptions of the waterfront development are also included. Some of the best shots were by Arthur Beales, the Harbour Commission photographer who provided us with the front and rear views of all the houses on West Island Drive just before their journey to Algonquin Island or Hiawatha Avenue in 1938. One of Mr Beales’ panoramic views shows the QCYC Clubhouse and a string of houses marching off to the west. Seneca Ave? Apparently so, until you check the date–April 1929.Because of the barren treeless sandscape of Algonquin (then Sunfish) Island, we are looking across to the old Lake Shore houses.
From The Star, Jan 17/94. Mr Templeton owned 21 Seneca from 1953 to 1980.
sore.You feelthe urge to cough. Just then you hear asoothing voice on
you to by my T-R-C capsules. “And forthe miseries of chronic bronchitis, asthma, hay feverand colds I recommend my Raz-Mah capsules.” Remember?AsCanada’s
the patent medicine business, Templeton’s elder son opted for a more scholarly career. “Father would have liked me to join him, but! felt it wouldn’t last,” Jamessays. “Still, it’s nice
the radio, offering relief via a
concoction of pine needle oil, balsamand camphor. U
grand old man of patent medi- cine, Gilbert Templeton was al- so familiar to TV watchers of
to see Frank Buckley carrying on. Next time I havea sore
Frank Buckley is at it again.
throat, maybe I’ll try his stuff.”
“It really doesn’t taste that bad,” claims the guardian of the se cret formula for Buckley’s Mix ture. “And it rellly does work.”
the 1960s,seated before a roar ing fireplace with his faithful dog Banjo at his side, extolling his Vitalongs, TemPlonsand
And where might we find some T-R-Cs today?
“You’d have to go a long way,” saysPeter Maltby of To- ronto.
Frank’sadsare working, too. In these days of silky-voiced
Templeton. He recognizes the
Flame-Cream liniment. It wasTempleton’s earnest
After Gilbert Templeton died in 1980, Maltby’s father contin- ued the business.But demand
professional promoters, people T
seemto like the way the 72- i
year-old Buckley speaks for himself to plug his product In
the face of intense competition from pharmaceuticalgiants, he’speddling a million bottlesa yearand building a new factory in Mississauga. Which doesn’t surprise a cer tain professoremeritus of in dustrial engineering at the Uni versity of Toronto named James
style.If you could hearJames speak, you might recognize something, too. His voice sounds very much like that of his late father, speaking on CHM in the 1970s
“Hello, this is Gil-bert Temple ton. Do you sufferfromthe PAIN of arthritis, bursitis, rheu- = U m , muscularbackache, lumbago, sciatica, neuralgia, gout or wry neck?Then I URGE
sincerity that sold the goods. When he hired showbiz person alities to make the pitch, sales dropped disastrously.
Frank Buckley recalls the courtly Gilbert with affection, andacknowledges the family similarities. His father, William, wasa Toronto pharmacist who came up with his own secret formulas, just asGilbert’s own pharmacist fatherhad. But while Frank embraced
dwindled to a trickle.
“About three yearsago,we loaded all ourT-R-Cs on a truck and took themto the Salvation
Army,” Maltby says. “I heard they were distributed to needy people in Africa.”
George Gamester’s column appears regularly Monday through Thursday.
COYLE, Patrick Joseph—TheCoylefamily ofthe
TorontoIslands sadlyannouncethepassingaway
of theirfather, Patrick Coyle, inhis Nth year,on
themorningof December27,1993,at MountSing’ Hospital. FatherofAlexandra, Patrick, Charles,
Michael and Cynthia. Grandfather of Natalie;
AmandaandEmily. Brotherof Charles, Robe*
andBetty. FuneralService will beheldat Mount
Pleasant Cemetery onThursday, December30, 1993,2 PA. Ourloveandprayers are withYOU
SMITH,Stuart—At TorontoWesternHospital on Thursday,December30,1993,JohnStuart (Stu) SmithofWards Island,Toronto, inhis70thyear. Dearfatherof Margaret (Pegi)Parkerand her husbandRichard of Ingersoll, grandfather of Tracy ofLondonandRick ofIngersoll.Brotherof Fern Gorton andleleenGough of London,Jean Lightfoot,RossSmith,NormanSmith,LyleSmith andKathleenButlerofStrathroy.Companionof HilyaSilver.RestingattheDenningBros.Funeral
Home,32MetcalfeSt.W.,Strathroy where the •funeral service will be held on Wednesday, January 5th at 1:30 p.m. Rev. DeaneCassidy officiating. Interment in Strathroy Cemetery. Donations to the Heart andStrokeFoundation wouldbeaPpreciatedbythefamily.Funeralhome visitationTuesday7-9p.m.andWednesday12:30 until time ofservice.
The Coyles moved from Montreal to the Island in 1949. They lived at 8 Chippewa Cres until 1951,16 Hooper until 1953, and 7 Hooper until their move to 6 Ojibway in 1968. The Perdues (27Seneca, 8 Nottawa) also lived in the apartment house at 8 Chippewa Cres at the time.
Stu Smith, wife June, and daughter Peggy lived at 8 Oneida in 1957-58 and then at 4 Dacotah from 1959 to 1970. Art Ga wrote a tribute to Mr Smith in The Tilted Times, Jan 7/94.
Linda Rosenbaum provided a poignant piece on Sandy Ross in ‘TIRA NEWS, Dec 7/93. She and Sandy lived at 32 Omaha and later at 8 Oneida in the mid-1970s. The following obituary appeared in The Star on Nov 28/93. Alan Edmonds, quoted in the second paragraph, lived at 12 Omaha in the mid-1960s. His tribute to Mr Ross in the Globe & Mail on Nov 29/93 is in the Archives, as are several others. The cleverly written article overleaf is one of a number by Mr Ross about the Island, copies of which are in the Archives.
Bruce Weber has donated a copy of a 256-page Toronto Guidebook edited by Mr Ross in 1974. Naturally there’s a section on the Island, and many Islanders contributed to its production. The publisher was Michael de Pencier (14 Lakeshore), assistant editors were Lynn Cunningham (32 Omaha) and Lesley Hailstone (17 Dacotah), and the designers were the Butler family, Ron, Elinor & Greg (23 Third).
Alexander Ross was a rebel, but that didn’t stop him from prowling the country’s boardrooms and ex- plaining the often-arcane world of businessand finance for his readers.
Known to his friends asSandy, Mr. Ross “was off the wall, but he was above all an extremely good and able writer,” said Alan Edmonds, a friend Who worked with h im f o r many years.
Mr. Ross, 58, died suddenly Friday of a massive stroke while at a North York cinema with his wife Minette for a screening of the film A Perfect World.
He was editor-in-chief of Canadian Businessmagazine, an accomplished authorand columnist, and a partner in CB Media, which publishes Cana dian Businessand Profit magazines.
He had been recuperating in hospi- tal from the effects of a stroke in September, said Norma Tuninga, a friend and production editor at Cana- dian Business. “He was getting ready for exten- sive rehabilitation” when his wife picked him up Friday for a weekend at home, she said. “This is all the more crushing for being so unexpect- ed—everything was going so well.” •Mr. Ross was “a brilliant, wonder ful, sometimes totally impossible per- son to work with,” she said. “And he loved to write about the business of business, which re a lly intrigued him.”
Roy MacLaren, Canada’s minister of trade and former chairman of Ca nadian Business, described Mr. Ross as”one of the most creative writers in journalism—he had that great gift of humor, of not taking himself too seriously, and he transferred that to his writing.
“At his very best, he wrote like an
ALEXANDER ROSS: Died suddenly of a stroke on week end home from hospital.
In his personal life, Mr. Ross “was always kindly and understanding of others’ foibles,” MacLaren said. “He was a great teacher in many ways and there are many young journalists acrossCanada who are very .indebted to him.”
“He had an insatiable curiosity,” said Anna Porter, publisher of Key PorterBooks. “He wasa gifted writer who was interested in just about ev- erything.” Mr. Ross, she said, “was a charm ing man, ebullient, who always had time for people.”
Born in Kapuslcasing, Mr. Ross moved with his family to New West- minster when he was 5. Educated at the University of British Columbia, he started in newspapers with the VancouverSun,and during his news
paper career wrote for the Financial Post, The Star and Maclean’s maga- zine. He has also been editor of To ronto Life and the Calgary-based En ergy magazine. His column at The Star, from Octo ber,1971, to June,1973,wasan irrev erent look at Toronto—its people, its subcultures and the forces, such as the trend to big buildings and ex pressways, that were even then con spiring to dehumanize the city.
His books include The Risk Takers, a study of Canadian entrepreneurs and technological change, published in 1975; and The Traders, a look at Canadian stock markets.
“He was terribly good at under- standing complex economic and sci entific things and rendering them in to language that could be understood by everybody,” Edmonds said.
“Sandy was dedicated to making people understand what washappen- ing in their world. He was an ex tremely talented journalist, good at both writing a d at the business of journalism.” •
In his personal life, Edmonds said, “Sandy had a great gusto for life. In the 30 years that I’ve known him I’ve never heard him regret anything — good orbad—he seemed to genuine- ly think that all of it enriched his life in some sort of way.
“He never saw a half-empty bottle —he always saw one that was half full.”
Friends also paid tribute to Mr. Ross’ generosity.
“He was invariably charming and kind to others,” MacLaren said. Mr. Ross leaves his wife Minette, sonsAlec, 32, a freelance writer in Kingston, and Kent, 14, and daugh- ters Thea, 10, and Paget, 5. A_memorial service will be held Thursday at 11 a.m. in St_ James’ Cemetery and Crematorium, 635Par- liament St.
/4/,– 2

shownon tour
/ 7 3
of the Islands
Metro Parks Commissioner Tommy Thompson has become locally famous by leading nature walks through t he ravines and footpaths of his parks system, a system of which he is inordinately proud, and whose beauties he never tires of extolling.
But las t Thursday he led a different kind of nature walk. His followers were his’ own aides and members of the Metro Parks Committee. And the object, so f ar as a bystander could discern, seem ed to be to present one of his favorite parks,- the Toronto Islands, in as unfavorable light as possible. Instead of pointing out daffodils and trilliums, he pointed out mu d puddles and flooded seawalls. Instead of remarking on the beauty of his trees and grass, he commented—almost happily, i t seemed— on the extent of the devastation caused by the risng levels of Lake Ontario. He showed the committee drowned lawns and mini-lakes and flooded walkway s and crumbling beaches and a house that has been closed by the Health Department because it’s almost falling into the water. An d he seemed to be enjoying every minute, every gallon of it. How come?’
Thompson was so delighted by all this flooding and devastation, I believe, because for 18 years he has been trying to rid Toronto Islands of its houses and their inhabitants. And last Thursday morning, as h e and the committee members sloshed their way from Centre Island to Wards Island and back again, on foot and aboard a green Parks Depart ment bus, h e knew that The Final Solution was almost within his grasp.
• Charming or squalid?
The 800-odd islanders s till living in the remain ing houses on Wards and Algonquin islands have been amazingly resourceful in staving off the end. Their houses—which are either charming or squalid, depending o n your value-system—stand on Metro owned land. Year after year they’ve managed to persuade Metro Council to renew their leases, over Thompson’s vigorous urgings to the contrary.
But it’s a new ball game this year. Two of the islanders’ greatest allies, June Marks and David Rotenberg, are no longer aldermen. And the near record levels o f Lake Ontario have provided the opportunity to create an artificial health crisis.
Typhoid: Thompson warned of the danger at a Parks Committee meeting t wo weeks ago, and several committee members took up the cry. Think of it ! Al l those septic tanks! Al l those pall-a-day
toilets! All that flooding! All those germs! The non-existent typhoid menace fetched a few headlines. But no one bothered to report in detail what Toronto’s Medic al Officer o f Health, Dr. C.W.O. Moss, had to say on the subject.
Public washroomsWorse
He was n’t i n the least concerned by lealdng sewage from some houses (“There may be incon venience, but this situation can be managed.”). But he was deeply concerned by inadequate sewage systems in Thompson’s own public washrooms, and he’s been concerned for years.
“There i s n o doubt in my mind;!’
.. h e w r o t e , ‘that under present soil conditions the public wash rooms wi l l not function effectively or safely.” The islanders aren’t the polluters who worry the Medical Officer of Health, in other words; but Metro Parks Department is. Dr. Moss even suggested that public use of the park may have to be restricted unless the washrooms are improved.
The threat to health would be just as great, in other words, i f the islands were uninhabited. So much for the great typhoid menace.
Still, an inspection of the island during the worst flooding since 1952 couldn’t help but impress the Parks Committee wit h the gravity of the situation. And s o the puddle-jumping t our progressed, with Thompson acting as guide.
“You’ll notice t he wat er i s right across the roadway here,” he beamed, as the Parks Depart- ment bus sluiced its way through a small lake in front of the main bridge on Centre Island. “Which island is the worst. Tom?” asked Alder man Fred Beavis. “Right here!” answered Thomp son cheerfully. Th e bus was approaching Ward’s Island, where most of the houses are.
One man swept his roof
In spite of the devastation, Wards Island has probably nev er looked better. That’s because the residents h a d been preparing frantically for this visit f or two weeks. To preserve their homes, the community had piled nearly 4,000 sandbags, and rented two electric pumps to drain away the water from their front yards.
To impress the committee, they’d also staged ‘an. unprecedented orgy of home improvement. Lawns were raked, porches tidied, fences repaired, walls painted. The place fairly sparkled. One man even swept his roof. One woman even went so far as to wash her dog.
With unerring instinct, •
mittee straight to the worst-hit house on the island
T h o m p s o n
—film-maker Paul Saltzman’s cottage, which is al l e d
most surrounded by the encroaching lake. But he t h e
steered t hem briskly past other well-kept homes, c o m –
and declined one woman’s invitation to step inside for a visit. He resisted a visit to Algonquin Island— where there is no flooding at all, and where the houses are f ar more substantial than on Ward’s—ma til some committee members insisted.
And when one islander, Barclay Livingstone, seemed to be impressing some committee members by explaining how the electric pumps had drained much o f t he flooded areas. Thompson suddenly discovered they were short of time. “We’ve got to go,” h e shouted, ” i f we’re going to catch that boat!” No boat was in sight at that point; and in the end, the boat waited while the committee visited Algonquin.
That same afternoon, after their two-hour visit, and at the height of the worst housing crisis this city has ever seen, the Parks Committee voted to terminate the leases on the remaining houses, which are home t o about 800 people. Across the Bay, where Harbour Square is now under construction, they’re as k ing $488 a month for a two-bedroom apartment.

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