Glen Cotter (1922-2017
I was born in Toronto, but was raised in Englishtown at 19 Sullivan Street, directly across from the Commons.
The years that I refer to are the 1920-1940 era just prior to the war years.
I remember one night in the year 1939 when there were 5 or 6 of us all in our teens talking to the night
policeman with him telling us there will be a war and we will all be in it, how right he was. It was interesting to find each of us had his own preference; Mac Potts - army, Paul Phillips -
army, Reg Bailey - Navy, Glen Cotter - Air Force, and all survived. However, my other close friends, Jack and Bill Potts, were not so fortunate, Bill died in Hong Kong and Jack in Holland.
Englishtown had no defined boundary lines, but I would think it started in the east at about Hagerman Street and extended west to the existing town limit which at that time was
Victoria Street. Nothing carved in stone so I stand to be corrected.
When you take the time to study the layout of the west end you will find it is a unique part of Port Hope, most
houses have access to a lane either in the back, or at the side. I think this may reflect part of the English village concept, with the 'Commons' at that time situated in the middle of the
west end plus the fact most of the street names have an English flavour, such as Trafalgar, Victoria, Charles, Baldwin, Church and Dorset, to name a few.
The east end of town was
known as Protestant Hill, and we had the North Cavan St Blazers, plus the south Station Gang.
During those earlier days, Englishtown, with the Commons at the corner of Sullivan and
Little Hope Streets, was a hive of activity. There was always something going on; baseball games, horse shoes (2 pits, complete with lights), I might mention the many nights I went to sleep
with the sound of the Ringers hitting the steel pegs. When the girls' ball games where played at the Commons the cars would be parked all along both Sullivan and Little Hope Streets. In the
winter they would put up wooden boards and flood the area for town league hockey and skating, with the odd game of lacrosse in the summer. King's Field was always a popular spot for baseball
Sullivan Street was the home of two Bake Shops - Percy McElroy was at 15 Sullivan and Albert Hugh was two doors down, at 23 Sullivan, where Fred Hugh had a dairy operating
out of the basement. The lane next to the house, known as Hugh's Lane, was where Albert would have his bread wagon. On the side of the lane, Albert stored his cedar slats for firing up the
bake ovens. I've seen no mention of Hugh's dairy in any of the past histories of Port Hope.
Along side the lane, at 19 Strachan Street, was Highfield's Dairy. As kids, if we made
any money caddying at the Golf Club we would end up at Highfield's, buying a pint of Vico, a chocolate drink.
Since the Reverend John Foote in those days resided in the Presbyterian
Manse on the corner of Sullivan at 23 Bramley Street, Englishtown could reasonably claim to be the home of one of the few who received the distinguished Victoria Cross for his actions beyond
the call of duty during World War II invasion of Europe. On his return to town he resided for a short time at 306 Lakeshore, known as 'Wildwood,' then moved to a cottage in Penryn Park.
There was no garbage collection in those days. All you had to do was load up, push your wheelbarrow down to the lower part of Strachan Street, and dump everything in what was known as Sandy
Dump. We used to take our cinders and garbage down there. After the town cleaned it up, they built four houses on the site.
The Burnham family was part of the early days. There were
then two remaining sisters who lived in the big house on the corner of Pine and Walton. During the last of the horse and carriage days, they would have Billy McBride drive them around town,
which was nice to see as that sort of scene was going out of style. You would find Billy proudly riding the white horse during the annual Orange Parade which has since faded away.
Some may remember the Idalia when it was the local Golf Club, having been moved for a time from its original place at Penryn Park. The Idalia was a large house on a hill overlooking the Golf
Course, so high that they had to build a lift to lower the players down to the first tee. I think there is evidence of the lift still there.
In those days the stores stayed open on
Saturdays till 11 pm and Wednesday was a half day, so most of the Butchers would spend this time at the slaughter houses, which were out of town on a street known as Slaughter House Road, but
actually it was Clifton Road, where at least four Butchers where located, and each had his own slaughter house (the bones are still there).
As kids we used to look forward to the
time when the local farmers would bring there peas to town, they would be piled high on hay wagons drawn by horse or tractor, so that gave us the opportunity to enjoy a feed of peas as the
wagons passed by on their way to the Cavan Street Cannery. We would pull a few bunches off the side of the wagon as it went by.
The town Water Tower would fascinate us from time to
time, and we used to climb to the top and walk around. I recall a time when there was talk of a dirigible that was supposed to pass over the lake and we thought the tower would be a good
vantage point, but I guess our timing wasn't right. I confess there where times when the neighbours would phone the police and Chief Murphy would give us a lecture about trespassing on town
In the winter 5 or 6 of us would get on a bobsleigh and, starting at the top of the lane on Durham Street, slide down Bramley, past Sherbourne and Strachan, ending up near
It was then common to have horses, cows, chickens and pigs in town. Albert Hugh had two horses plus chickens, Mulveys had cows. My mother told me they once had a cow
which she used to take from Sullivan Street up to the top of Bramley to pasture, then back at night.
The Broadbent's used to ride their two horses bareback each night in the summer
down Bramley Street on their way to pasture in Penyrn Park.
Art Highfield had a two-storey chicken hatchery on the corner of Victoria and Sherbourne Streets.
of 24 Baldwin Street, delivered blocks of ice to your door, and it was a treat to get the ice chips as he cut the block to fit the icebox, no refrigerator in those days. We bought our first
fridge from Bert Robinson's Plumbing on Walton Street. I can recall when the first automatic washer came out, I believe it was an Inglis, at the downtown Coleman and Philps Store. I thought
there was no way it would do all the things it was supposed to do by just pushing buttons.
Near the top of Bramley Street we had Broadbent's Lane where Jesse Broadbent had a Bake Shop.
He was the father of Bert Broadbent who later set up in his own bakery on Ontario Street known as the 'Happy Home Bakery.'
We had two variety stores as you might call them, one is
still operating as the 'Uptown Variety,' and across the road at the top of Little Hope Street there was Harm Meadows' Store that has since been turned into a residence.
two Butcher shops; one on the corner of Bramley and Ridout operated by Sid Brickell, and the other near where the present Police Station is on Walton Street. It was run by Morley Greenaway and
his father Clarke. Both shops had the traditional saw dust on the floor.
Yeo's had a little store on the corner of Charles and Bramley.
Fred Kelly's Lumber yard was on the
Toronto Road, and a little farther up was Cal Clayton's Cherrywood Camp with its wooden cabins, some of which are still around in the neighbourhood. Mr Clayton also operated a Barber Shop at
60 Toronto Road.
Across from the present Police Station was 'Allied Drugs,' run by the Fielding family, who manufactured various drugs for different firms.
We had three
Garages on Ridout Street - Sherm Gifford with Esso, Gord Rose with Red Indian Frontenac and Ken Knapp with Supertest.
Just back of Little Hope Street there was a small Creek whose
journey down to the Ganaraska River took it past the Lions' Centre, under Pine Street, beneath the Lawn Bowling Greens, under John Street and past the old wooden drill shed where it wound
through the Town Park. It now runs in buried pipes into the river.
The land that the Lions' Centre is situated on was once a fenced-in Vegetable Garden that was used by the local
Queen's Hotel, whose name was later changed to the 'Walton,' some say due to the gangland style slaying that took place at the bar there.