Pamela Carson, Lakeview Terrace
Do you know that a section of Vanier Road is steeped in history? It is known as Lakeview Terrace. In this regard, this six-part series is intended to provide readers with an understanding of its roots and an appreciation for its pioneers, WW II veterans, who called it home.
The series contains excerpts from Diane Aldred’s book “Lakeview Terrace, 1946 - 1986” which she wrote to mark its 40th anniversary. Next year the neighbourhood celebrates its 70th birthday.
It is important to acknowledge Diane Aldred’s accomplishments including her books entitled ‘Le Chemin d’ Aylmer/ The Aylmer Road, an illustrated history’, 1993, and ‘Aylmer, Quebec, Its Heritage, Son Patrimoine’, 1977. Ms. Aldred also helped to found the Aylmer Heritage Association which is still going strong today. Ms. Aldred passed away at the age of 61 in 2003.
To honour the war veterans a pair of stone markers may be placed on Vanier Rd. to identify the original subdivision. It is hoped that the municipality supports this initiative through the provision of funding and help with the logistics. Alain Lauzon, manager of AJARA landscaping, has expressed his willingness to build the stone markers. Our objective is to have these built in time for Remembrance Day.
In 1945 a subdivision, between Aylmer Road and Lucerne Blvd., was conceived by the Veterans’ Land Administration (VLA) to benefit war veterans who wished to resume a civilian life after the war. Their fascinating experience is captured in the following chapters.
Part 3: On solid ground
By 1952 only thirty-nine new homes had been added to the original fifty built by individual builders. Growth in the community was much slower than had been expected, and 150 vacant lots still remained to be built upon. That same year, a petition signed by seventy-two rate-payers requested that the VLA open up the sub-division to civilians to accelerate development.
With relaxed rules, the Canadian co-operative housing movement grasped the opportunity and allowed the community to grow.
In 1952, one-hundred men and their families responded to an advertisement on co-operative building and thirty-four families hired a foreman and set out in the summer of 1953 to construct houses of five different designs.
Everyone contributed to the construction of homes and no one knew which house was destined eventually to be theirs. When the time came to arrange for occupancy, the name of each co-op member was printed on a ping-pong ball which was put in a barrel. The names were drawn at random, and each couple chose their preferred house design and location.
With new residents flooding into the community, Eldon Sivyer relaunched the local newspaper instrumental to the promotion of community life. The additional residents also supported a push to build more sports infrastructure. The ice rink with snowbank sides and a draughty changing shack proved inadequate. As a first step, in 1963 a new heated cement building was inaugurated; the proposed double rink with boards and proper lights remained unfulfilled.
Costs were daunting, but the community rallied and organized fundraisers, solicited donors, even donating their own time. Thanks to mobilization efforts the rink was officially opened on February 23,1957 and served for many years as the heart of the community during the winter. As children enjoyed a winter sport, everyone chipped in to maintain the rink and operate the canteen.
With a quality rink, hundreds of boys across South Hull and Deschênes came to play in the Lakeview Terrace hockey league. Hockey night and the awarding of trophies, sometimes attended by such stars as Maurice “Rocket” Richard and Larry Regan was always an exciting affair. The rink also served as the focal point for the annual Winter Carnival.
Spurred on by the rink’s success, the recreation committee added a baseball diamond at South Hull school, as well as a tennis court and play equipment on the playground which served as a gathering spot for all age groups.
As made evident by the hardships encountered and overcome, the small Lakeview Terrace community could easily be likened to a lotus flower which grows in mud and blossoms into vibrant colours.