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Winter Activities

My father made  a pair of bob sleighs that were in use for years. They were painted red and had a removable green rack used to haul fire wood to the house. It made a good sliding vehicle, as well. Many a time we pulled this sleigh up the big hill on the street to slide back down to the bottom. They were very strongly built and so were very heavy. [ Selwyn was known for making everything extra strong. A horse drawn sleigh he made for his daughter Edith & her husband in 1940 still survives although they are both long gone from this world.]

[ Bob sleighs were made in two sections, front and back. The sections were usually joined through the middle by a wooden beam. This one would have been meant as a hand sleigh but full size bob sleds were used with one or more horses particularly for hauling wood out of the bush. They were a work vehicle known for their versatility, especially on bush trails as their flexibility allowed them to wend their way through the trees. Helen‘s father was known for the quality of the bob sleighs he made on order.]

The Robinson boys, Pete and Jerry also had a set of bob sleighs. They were built much more lightly and had no front rack nor back support on the seating part, just one long board. Many a times we raced with them. Sometimes we won, sometimes  they did, depending on the snow conditions. Our runners were wider so did not sink as much in soft snow but theirs was much faster in icy conditions.

bobsled wood
canoe sled

We also had hand sleighs bought from Eaton’s catalogue. I would lie face down on my sleigh and steer with my toes. This was hard on the toes of my rubber boots but this way I could go faster as it was more streamlined than sitting up. It was great to feel the wind flowing around as I flew down the hill. The children down the street from us had home made sleighs with just wooden runners, no metal shoeing. Sometimes their sleighs could best anyone’s boughten hand sleighs.  No wonder we were sleepy at night from tugging the sleds uphill in all the cold, fresh air.

One winter a toboggan was left on the bank at the side of the hill. Several days passed and no one claimed it. As we had never had a toboggan, I wanted to have it. Daddy stood it up against a hydro pole and said to leave it for a week to see if anyone claimed it. The days were anxiously counted as  they passed until the sixth night when another family took it. Now I can see they needed it more than we did but at the time I just felt the loss of opportunity to have a toboggan.

When I was about twelve years old, Edith and I received skis for Christmas. Edith’s were five foot hardwood skis, mine were three foot ones made of pine. Soon I could follow my older brother, Reggie, down any hill he dared to try. We made ski jumps by shovelling snow, and there was lots of it, into piles half way down the hill. Fear was unknown, or I did not have the sense to be afraid of breaking bones.

One day as I was going down the hill next to our house through deep snow, one ski disappeared into the snow and I fell. The ski had broken near the turned up point. Daddy asked a neighbour if he could fix it, which he did by wrapping it around with tin. That ski always dragged a little after that. 

When I was older my parents bought me six foot hardwood skis and poles. I still skied but had lost a lot of my confidence. The hills suddenly seemed higher and faster.

ski women 1925

As skiing became more popular and attracted tourists, the Ski Bowl, at the end of 1st Avenue, drew many people on weekends. It was also known as ‘The Devil’s Drop’ or ‘The Interval’. The ski tow operated on weekends. It had overhead handles which you held onto and were pulled up the hill on your skis.

There was a longer way to reach the hill by using the trail that ran along Mason Falls. The path was not very wide in places. You had to be alert to the call of, ‘track‘ as the skiers came swooping around blind corners. I usually used that approach as it was more picturesque and the hills were not as steep as the ‘big ‘ hill was. Also, it was free.

A small building was built in the ’Interval’ for a little restaurant. Soft drinks and candy could be bought there but it was also welcome to get warmed up in.

Faye Hanna, my girlfriend’s mother, ran the restaurant one year. She had dances on Saturday nights. We were dressed in ski clothes so the atmosphere was very informal.

Ernie King was the fiddler and there was room for two sets on the dance floor.[In square dancing a ‘set’ is a group of 4 couples completing a given series of movements. Two sets would have been 16 dancers.]
There was no drinking other than pop, coffee, or tea. It cost a quarter to attend the dance and we got a free ride on the ski tow. A good time was had by all.

During the winter months dances were held at the Anglican Church hall. The first was the Wexford Supper and Dance held in early November. Shrove Tuesday there was the Pancake Supper and Dance and at the end of Lent was the Taffy Party and Dance. Along with various concerts, the winter would pass.

La centrale de Rawdon est la troisième plus petite des centrales d’Hydro-Québec. Charles Park était du nombre des premiers opérateurs du barrage. Un nouveau barrage fut inauguré le 11 septembre 1986 et c’est l’écrivaine Mia Riddez-Morisset, présidente du comité «SOS Pontbriand», qui eut l’honneur de couper le traditionnel ruban. La nouvelle centrale de 3,4 mégawatts a été inaugurée par Monsieur Guy Saint-Pierre, président du groupe SNC-Lavalin, firme qui a assuré les travaux de 1985-86 et s’est vue confier l’administration de la centrale en 1991... Rawdon et ses personalites Algonquin Power on ouareau m&mbeach1986

archived 2010-11 by rawdonhistoricalsociety.com