Thanks to everyone who came out for the Jane’s Walk

It was a great day for a walk through the community. Thanks to the 45 people who joined me on Sunday May 6 for the Jane’s Walk: The Ashbridge’s Neighbourhood – Since 1793.

Thanks for your stories about the neighbourhood, and your participation. Thanks to Umar, Dhruv and Calvin for helping out. I’ll look through photos and post some here.

A special thanks to Robert and Rick (Duke class of ’49 I believe they said), our guests from out of town who drove all the way here just for the walk around their old stomping grounds. They had such great tales to tell – I had never heard that there had been a park on the south side of Queen between Jonathan Ashbridge Park and Coxwell, and that it was a major place for ball games in the east end. We learned that after the park came the wartime houses, which in turn were disassembled and rebuilt in Ajax, which Robert and Rick told me at Voulez-Vous over coffee. Those houses were replaced by the apartments and other buildings that are on that block today. Lots of different uses for that piece of ground over the decades.

Also kind of amazing: their memories of the East Riverdale Rec Centre that used to be in Jonathan Ashbridge Park; that they skated on Ashbridge’s Bay just on the south side of Eastern Avenue, when it came up that far; that Steve Stavro helped Robert home one day after he had broken his arm; that Rick was married in St. Stephen’s Church, that had been at the foot of Greenwood Avenue, and Robert was his best man. Buddies from Duke school days and pals they remain. And then there were the stories about crawling under fences to pilfer apples from the trees that were prevalent in the neighbourhood.

– Robert Miller

If you weren’t on the walk, and have stories to tell, there are still ways to get involved.

Thu. May 24 – 4 to 6 p.m. Digital Archive Day, Duke of Connaught School, 70 Woodfield Road. Bring photos of the neighbourhood and school to Duke of Connaught to be scanned; they will be returned. If you can’t make it that day, come to the History Harvest May 26 or the following photo day on June 15 (also 4 to 6 p.m.). Help identify, organize or scan the existing piles of photos, or bring items (letters, report cards, newspaper clippings, old outfits, logos, awards, etc.) to be scanned! Light refreshments will be provided, and there are sure to be plenty of stories and laughs.

Sat. May 26 History Harvest – bring your stories, photos, memorabilia to Duke of Connaught School, 70 Woodfield Road between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Enter by the main door (old school) and the first room on your left, Parent Room, is where the Harvest is being held.  This will be your chance to tell stories about your experience in the school and / or the neighbourhood.  You don’t have to be a former Duke student to come and tell your story.

See duke100th.com for more details about all the events celebrating Duke of Connaught School’s 100th birthday.

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