Heron Park: From Farm To Neighbourhood
I grew up in Heron Park. Actually, it was my father’s parents (Berhiaume) that owned the big white clapboard farmhouse with the wrap around porch on the corner of Kaladar and Heron Rd. as well as all the land that eventually became known as Heron Park. It was initially their farmland. My uncles had a building company and had built an office right across the street from the big farmhouse. This site eventually became Mason’s Confectionay where I worked as a young girl waitressing in the mid 60’s.
When my father and mother returned from serving in the war, my father joined his brothers in the family building business and helped to build many of the brick bungalows in Heron Park. He built a 3 bedroom bungalow on Clementine Blvd. (formerly Hill Street) for his growing family. Clementine was my grandmother. Many of the streets in the neighbourhood were named after my relatives. Several uncles and aunts lived in the area as well so I grew up with lots of cousins just a stone’s throw away. My family lived on Clementine until my mother’s death in 2003. My father passed away in 1983. The house was sold in 2007 with much sadness.
I have many photos of the area when our family first lived on Clementine. You could see right up to Bank Street back then with only the odd house scattered in the neighbourhood. The streets, of course, were not paved at that time. We had a huge garden on the lot next to our house until they built duplexes on either side of us much to my mother’s dismay. Her view out the kitchen window was the wall of the house next door. The face of the neighbourhood began to change as more houses and a school were built.
I recently drove through the neighbourhood and was saddened to see that all the mature ash trees had been cut down to stumps because of the recent infestation of the ash borer. I remember when the trees were first planted by the city and watched them grow to maturity for over 50 years. They made a lovely canopy over the street. I especially remember the tree on our front lawn which weathered the great ice storm of 1998. We lost a few branches but the tree was trimmed by the city and it thrived. Surely they could have figured out a better way to manage the ash borer problem. This has changed the look and the cozy feeling of the neighbourhood. What a pity.
– Annette (Berthiaume) Facette