New pavilion for our new Atlantis?

A spectre from the past may be pushing into our idyllic Atlantis scene in Point Park. Apparently, the annual celebration of a week ago was simply too exciting to be confined.
It has somehow generated a wave of nostalgia as powerful as anything our ancient ancestors knew, something we might well have expected for fooling around with the old Atlantis gods of myth and legend!
Hold on, Zeus and Neptune!
Now Atlantis seems to have fastened onto our every conscious thought and action. So long buried in the mists of time, even lost as to exact location, the forgotten continent today is newly-resurrected in this locality and our lives could be made much better for it.
To go back, our Canada Day excitement once was only partially a downtown thing. For a couple generations, our precious old Point Park pavilion was really centre-stage.
Then last week, a fresh look back at that vanished structure came with the Muckle family, here to shake hands after a half-century absence.
The Muckle name is synonymous with the big green pavilion they looked after so well. It’s been sorely missed. Loyally, it offered Saturday night dances and other diversions from spring through fall.
It supplied opportunity for our great musicians of yesteryear to flex their muscles. These included groups led by Roy Mason, Don Law, Art DeBenedet, and Norman Fagerdahl.
It also featured an ice cream and pop counter, sometimes hot dogs, too, for our bathers, young and old, when the sun threatened to blister their backs and often did (our worst sunburns always occurred at Point beach!)
It had a place for pop and coffee drinkers to sit around on those wire-legged chairs and tables you don’t see much anymore, but which belonged to summer, too, as you watched the Sara A wheeled by Captain-owner Dwight Smith glide past full of sightseers, as well as the log booms brought in by the Hallet, skippered by Steamboat Billy Martin, arriving springtimes in the adjacent river.
I forget what else bound us to the Muckles and our publicly-owned pavilion in those great days before TV when we couldn’t get enough of their hospitality.
Calvin Muckle, whose well-remembered parents have now departed, brought in his son and grandson and brother Lionel’s son, all glad to meet us. So, someone popped the suggestion that resurrection is long overdue for our old pavilion, same as Atlantis.
And it was said about the talk of another golf club nearby that would definitely be less preferred than a new pavilion–and probably far less profitable.
There was no mention of improving on the old one, a long, screened-in green building containing a dandy dance floor and plenty of jumping-around room for the jitterbugs or square dancers or practitioners of the schottize, circle two’s or polkas.
The fresh lake air usually supplied all the air-conditioning necessary as the nights wore on although some over-heated couples liked to stroll along the boardwalk or though the park. (There were wild animals penned up in the trees in those days, deer, fox, and sometimes a wolf, or two).
All frequenters of our old-time dance halls understood there were probably intoxicants hidden around but the few town police required at the Point seldom encountered disturbances.
More romances than brawls kept breaking out even though war uniforms came into style before the Pavilion closed down.
Now there is insistence that those summer scenes of the long ago deserve to be repeated. Memories that precious demand a monument such as the proposed new pavilion will provide someday when the world gets back to normal.
Then our new-found Atlantis will bask in the same bright sunshine where it was born so long ago and far away.
So let’s wave a thank-you to the Muckles, now back in Toronto and Oshawa, for arriving to help restore our faith in the benefits of local enjoyment. Also for our source of daily inspiration, the lakes all around that bring us the same delight as the original Atlantis.
We’re also surrounded by Waterworld!
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A neat touch to the Muckle reunion was an old photo being passed around to recall the Wolf Cub pack led by our post office caretaker, Jack Keenahan and his wife, who took us away from St. John’s basement in another hot summer for a week on Lost Island, about 1933.
The Cubs were the junior arm of a Boy Scout troop under the Murray Brothers, Dan and Bruce, and the Tierneys, Allan and Jim.
Jim Alton found me and several other little boys in that picture, and I have to tell you that those were really the days!
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Another connection with the past came with the visits of Sonny Carmody after half-a-century in California. His father, Bill, sold the big west end gravel pit to George Armstrong.
Sonny, besides helping his dad fill gravel with a truck’s loader there as a small kid, also took a gang of us in the box of his pickup to a lot of country barn dances.
George, whose passing occurred about a week ago, turned much of that gravel into the Rainy Lake Causeway named for his friend, MPP Bill Noden.
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Many of us keep wondering about the GST rebate to tourists when nothing similar happens to us on our trips to other countries!
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Old Point Park is attracting more sun-worshippers these hot days all right, but nowhere near the crowds of yesteryear. The late Elgin Thompson of the Dairy Queen that was there would agree ice cream sales would sure help.
Did someone also suggest the old pavilion is badly-needed?
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But everything’s great in Sweden, report the Rudy Gustafson family after their trip.

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