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The Blanchard Family (1964-1985)
By: Bambi Blanchard
Believe it or not we moved to Oakville because then it took less time to get to Toronto from there than from north Etobicoke. I wonder how that plays now. Now I live way out in Eastern Ontario and I rarely get to Toronto anymore, much less Oakville.
It must have been in summer 1964 that we moved to Oakville to Snowden Road in the west end. Stephen our oldest was just seven then and Peter, three.
The nearest public school was at the south (lake) end of Third Line, not too far, and had no major crossings for the boys to cope with. So, Stephen went there and soon Peter entered kindergarten there.
Our bungalow was on the outside of a right angle bend, a triangular lot. There were still ditches on our side. Behind our lot was a big Chinese Elm hedge and behind it, a "sometimes creek" depending on the rainfall.
Soon we acquired a dog from the Bloms behind the ditch, the street behind us. We held a vote and thus she was named "Molly". She lived with us for 12 years and the boys remember her fondly. She was theirs, mostly.
I had big plans for a garden (we made a well-planned one in Etobicoke, from scratch) but we could not afford much in one go. Over the years it developed into quite a nice-looking property, especially in the back.
Our neighbours were the Bloms in back, the Hirais to the left and opposite for a while the Halliwells who had just come from England with two children. We became good friends with them and I still have contact with Gwyn Halliwell. They moved to Windsor and Vancouver where she lives, long-widowed, with her daughter and family.
Other good friends were the Bob Hitchcox family. That began with Mrs. June Hitchcox being Peter's kindergarten teacher. She and I are planning an Ontario Waterways cruise this fall (2010).
After 21 years, shortly before my husband's retirement from Ontario Hydro we moved to Hamilton. All but one of our Oakville friends had left town by then, mostly to retire up north. In Hamilton we had contact with a lot of friends from the Bruce Trail Club which we had joined in 1966 or so. I have walked all 700kms of the Bruce Trail and I still keep up my membership.
While we lived in Oakville we did square dancing for some years and another few years we played badminton regularly, biked some, had a sailboat for a while in Bronte Harbour and I swam a lot in the municipal indoor pool.
All this time, Brent my husband worked for Ontario Hydro downtown Toronto and later out of Kipling in Toronto. As the boys grew, they had quite a bit of help from Mr. Jim Snow MPP with summer jobs and the like, then both went to University of Waterloo for a BSc and Stephen went on to the University of Western University for Medicine. He is now a physician in Picton where I also live, since Brent passed away in 2003.
To the boys, Oakville is their original home where they grew up and for me it is the place were I lived longest and I loved it. Miss it at times.
So what else is there to tell? It was all so long ago - I am now 87 and have started to forget.
Well, Stephen and Peter both became members of the Resource Rangers, Junior Conservationists of the Ontario Forestry Association with several boys' clubs across Ontario that had field study programs in the management of renewable resouces - logging, utilization, legislation, careers and leadership and conservation principals. They went to Camp Oak-A-Lea several times and had a lot of other outings with them. Brent even joined the group as a leader.
One fine winter weekend, an over-night camp was planned. Nothing far away, just in the woods of Bronte Park across the QEW from west Oakville. The next morning, Brent took a few of the boys back to their homes. One father was a minister. As he opened the door he asked, "So, how was it?" and Brent answered, "Many were cold and none was frozen!" He told me later he just couldn't help it.
Another thing I remember well was, Peter's class when in their early teens re-enacted the Battle of the Plains of Abraham using one of the smaller ravines in Oakville, the one off Fourth Line I think. Their teacher filmed it. I wish I could see that one again! Both General Wolfe and General Montcalm died beautifully.
Bambi Blanchard August 2010.