Scott Street always looked after us!

Are we indeed waving goodbye to our great Scott Street which we always loved and depended on for so many seasons and reasons while we grew up in this town?
Or will there occur its rebirth in some other corner of the community?
It seems business will always flourish here even although our old downtown may fade into the sunset! There are stirrings of birth pangs in the west end beyond “Hamburger Alley,” but stop and consider what’s leaving us right now!
Old Scott with its several groceries as well as Safeway, its other butcher shops we always enjoyed, two large hardwares, Steadman’s, Elliots and Rijnol for souvenir hunters, plenty of men’s clothing stores, our shoemakers, electricians, and other tradesman like a tinsmith we counted on.
All gone now from our gracious and wonderfully sufficient Scott Street, mostly never to return!
Oh sure, we can go out of town for some things as we might before anyway, and there’s always International Falls waiting to help out on their usually higher money exchange terms. And the younger shoppers do get to city stores like Winnipeg’s much more often than before.
But we never seemed to need all those outsiders waiting to grab our dough. We had almost everything we needed right here for many years and the downtown recreation was plentiful also with its bowling and pool rooms, and the Royal Theatre which will always be missed.
And we could return home at week’s end content with our situation and wondering why anyone would ever want more!
Today, there are his-and-her own cars and you might wonder why we needed all those Scott Street taxis. There was Mrs. Nelson’s, which would get you down to the Point at regular summer afternoon hours. There also were the Bourgeois cabs, and the Becks and Hampshires here for years and years.
Old Scott’s services were efficient and abundant, including our shoemakers Mary Heusbourg and Alex Toronto, and all our restaurants. Only those here in the war years may remember the Chinese Peek-Inn Cafe and the “Malen’s Twin Pines” by the banks.
Other Chinese also looked after much of our laundry, hauling their delivery wagons behind them, and we had two more Chinese cafes close to the paper mill.
You name it then and we had it right here, as much in proportion as most cities of the day.
We revolved around the same landmark buildings as today, the same post office, Safeway, and the Rainy Lake Hotel, although other hotels decided to leave us (four of them, in fact, but they were not on Scott).
I’m sure the departure of the Jewish merchants had much to do with re-establishing our downtown on more modest terms today. They were among us so long, it hurts to say there’s no more Lerman’s, or Niznick’s, Silver’s, or Katz, or the others we lost.
But did they really influence our commercial life so strongly that today without them all old Scott is merely a shadow of itself?
For so many of us, this discussion will seem almost like grieving over the loss of a third parent because Scott Street meant so much for so many reasons.
Many in my lifetime here will have to concede that Scott raised us, fed us, and looked after all our needs in so many ways, including entertainment with its Royal Theatre, variety shops, pool rooms and the first bowling alley. And we just can’t seem to get over Scott not being the same offering almost everything we needed.
Services of all kinds we don’t have anymore were always available, and this was true for fully half-a-century. Any time I meet Bruce Murray, for instance, I wonder whether we’ll ever enjoy another music store like his!
We supported them all right, but boy they sure looked after us in the bargain.
And remember the big old water tower being right on Scott Street, and the legend that local daredevil Tony Bolzan climbed it to stand on his head on the ball at the very top! Only Tony would star in that story.
But old Scott was full of such stuff, and our dog sled races were on there every winter there as well as all the parades!
• • •
I’ve yet to meet anyone else who can recall our toughest inoculation of the Second World War years when that terrible needle dosage was known as the “TABT.”
Strong men, having known it once, were hoping for an excuse not to be present when it came around next time. Today’s “shots” are nothing in comparison!
Our arms would be so sore and swollen, it would be tough to climb into a top bunk that night.
Nurses today have never heard of that shot, I learned. It was supposed to control about four old ailments, including tuberculosis. The latest ’flu shot was no pain at all.
• • •
Dorothy Gurley, a Safeway clerk, says the big buck deer that struck here car on River Road lately had huge horns before the accident that could not be found afterwards when she wanted them for a souvenir.
That deer not merely rendered its meat useless, but heavily damaged her car. It happened in the River Road ravine west of the town line.
• • •
With falling temperatures, the knitting needles are flashing and few flashier home-made scarves are appearing than those being fashioned by Linda Bourgeault, David’s wife.
Very fluffy and colourful, her scarves may become available to anyone!
• • •
Next, the far-flung Calder clan is planning a Christmas party this Saturday (Nov. 29) in the Memorial Sports Centre auditorium, starting with a cribbage tournament. Also featured that day will be a family potluck and dance.
Apparently the clan really enjoyed their Canada Day reunion here.
• • •
Remembering all the great parades of past years, it’s sad to report how our Christmas parade this past Saturday was so completely lacking in exuberance and enthusiasm, at least when it came out of the east end.
You might have mistaken it for a funeral procession.
I realize our town band is no more and how we miss it. But surely someone owns a good record player and the loudspeaker needed to blast out the music we always expect!

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