When I was a small girl, which I have to say was a few decades ago, we used to go to Yorkton for the summer. We took the train, the way many people traveled then. We boarded early in the morning in our town further north in Saskatchewan, and we arrived in Yorkton at about six in the evening, supper time.
We packed a lunch for the trip, and I remember looking forward to my mother opening the lunch bag and passing out the sandwiches and hard-boiled eggs. It must have been a family trait because my relatives used to joke about how my grandfather loved to take a train trip, and that the train would have barely left the station before he suggested that the hard-boiled eggs be brought out and eaten.
Our relatives lived on Myrtle Avenue when I was very small and later near the top of Tupper Avenue. To get downtown we walked down Tupper Avenue or down the hill that was the back lane behind the houses. For some reason, I remember that someone had a bush full of the most gorgeous fragrant purple lilacs along the lane behind their house. Every so often, if there was no one around, I would pick some to take home to my mother. For some reason, she wasn’t as pleased as I had hoped she would be. When we reached the bottom of the hill and crossed the railway tracks, the grain elevators seemed to loom high above our heads.
We came from a much smaller town, and to us as children Yorkton was the big city. It was a treat to be taken to the Broadway Café for a piece of pie, and I remember my mother buying me a pair of red summer sandals in a store along Broadway. It seems to me there was also a Woolworth’s, and for a small child that store contained all sorts of summer toys that would be a treat to play with. The task then was to persuade an adult to buy one of those desired treasures!
My brother was in love with model planes, but Yorkton was thrilling to him because it had the real thing. There was an airport, and it was not very far away. In those days, children could get permission to take a morning to go on a hike somewhere, so my brother and I would walk out along a dirt road to the airport Some days we were lucky! We would see planes landing or taking off. Surprisingly, I remember doing this often. And I don’t remember being chased away or told that two small children standing nearby watching the planes should not be there.
I also remember swimming at York Lake. Unlike the airport, we were not allowed to go there by ourselves. But on a Sunday afternoon, when the adults were not at work, someone could be persuaded to take us for an afternoon of swimming and building castles on the beach. I also seem to remember a large building we called “The Pavillion”. I think the adults held dances there at nights. During the day, it was a cool spot to get in out of the sunshine for a while. They may also have sold chocolate bars and other treats. More pestering the adults for those!
I still have great memories of those Yorkton summers. I wonder how things have changed.
And the good citizens of present-day Yorkton certainly have my heart-felt wishes that their current flooding troubles will soon be overcome.
If you have any memories you would like to share, please leave a comment below.
Leslie Windsor, Toronto