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  #101  
Old Posted Jul 19, 2014, 3:00 AM
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Duckworth Street in late 40s or early 50s, probably after 1948.



Source: https://www.facebook.com/VintageStJohns?fref=photo
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  #102  
Old Posted Aug 5, 2014, 2:30 PM
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Excellent read on the history of Victoria Park.

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The plan by the City of St. John’s to restore venerable Victoria Park, in the west end of the capital city, is a great initiative.
The landmark park, located between Water Street and Hamilton Avenue, was developed in the late 19th century and has a proud history.

In his comprehensive 2008 book, “The Oldest City: The Story of St. John’s, Newfoundland,” author Paul O’Neill describes its beginnings:

“In 1888, the first municipal council of St. John’s assumed liability of $10,000 for developing Bannerman Park and another park … to be known as Victoria Park.”

Proponents of the restoration of Bannerman Park currently underway, in their enthusiasm, have described it as the “oldest and most historic Park in St. John’s,” but let’s not forget the history of the other half of the city, the old west end and its park, Victoria.

O’Neill described in his book how there was a Botanical Garden on a portion of land now occupied by Bannerman Park. The proprietor was William Lahey. It opened on Oct. 1, 1847.

“Mr. Lahey offered access to the gardens by subscription; to families for 20 shillings, single people for 10 shillings and non-subscribers could enter the gardens for one shilling, three pence per visit,” O’Neill writes.

“A more public place of recreation which came into being in 1847 was the Marine Parade or the Promenade … a grassy bank was built along the shore of the river mouth from Hutchings Street to the Parsley Garden, opposite Alexander Street.”

That park was created after the significant fire of 1846 by Gov. John Gaspard LeMarchant. It was developed at the same time as the Job’s Bridge/causeway to the south side, which provided access to flammable seal oil rendering tanks that were relegated there from the Water Street coves after the 1846 fire.

The remnants of the Promenade are a line of trees along Water Street West from the old Railway Station to Patrick Street.

A further reference to this area as a park was also made at a city council meeting on April 13, 1934, when the city’s superintendent of parks, Alfred Edward Canning, complained of the damage being done to the “Promenade Park’s new work” by cattle arriving by train.

Council meeting minutes during that period also note that caretaker staff at Victoria Park were also responsible for the care and maintenance of the Promenade Park. This connection with Victoria Park could be construed as Victoria Park being an extension of the Promenade Park, which would make Promenade/Victoria Park the oldest public park in St. John’s.

The lawn area of Victoria Park adjacent to Water Street West was the site of Newfoundland’s first civilian hospital, the St. John’s Hospital, built in 1814.

The park lawn that fronts on Sudbury Street was the site of what might have been Newfoundland and Labrador’s first long-term care facility.

According to O’Neill, it was built in 1861: “to admit persons wholly friendless, having no property. … It was demolished in 1965 when Hoyles Home opened on Portugal Cove Road.”

It was initially called the Poor Asylum and later referred to as the Home for the Aged and Infirm. Perhaps the natural beauty of the Riverhead Estuary factored in the choice of that site for the St. John’s Hospital, the Poor Asylum and Victoria Park.

The St. John’s Riverhead estuarial area is the repository of the Waterford River drainage basin watershed area. The main source is the Waterford River itself.

Three other significant sources into Riverhead are Mullin’s or Bennett’s Brook from Mundy’s Pond and two cascades from the Southside Hills.

One cascade is between 375 and 377 Southside Rd. and the other, referred to as “King’s Watering Place” in a 1798 map by Francis Owen, is immediately west of the Riverhead wastewater facility.

Mullin’s Brook runs through Victoria Park adjacent to the purpose-built sliding hill south of Hamilton Avenue.

This brook spilled over some little cliffs into the original Tooton Pool.

This pool was closed in the 1950s, as were other city natural fed pools, because of public health concerns. It was eventually replaced by a newer, chlorinated, Tooton Pool in a more southern location in the park. This restive pool was demolished in the late 1990s.

The original Tooton Pool is now covered by a ball field and the upper falls are covered by a culvert. The new pool changed the grade lines of the park, and the playground area cannot be seen from Water Street; this lack of public visibility creates a public safety concern.

There is a strong indication that the name of the capital city comes from the visual spectacle of the estuarial area, where St. John’s harbour mixes with the end of the Waterford River.

According to O’Neill, Portuguese explorer Gaspar Corte-Real visited Newfoundland in 1500. Rio de San Johem (St. John’s River) is the name that appears “on a Portuguese map by Rienel in 1519 … the earliest record of the place,” O’Neill writes.

If the Portuguese had colonized this place, Rio de Janeiro would have been a sister city to St. John’s.

The Riverhead estuarial area was sacrificed in the early 20th century in exchange for the modernization of the Newfoundland Railway that the Reid Newfoundland Company had begun in 1899.

It was filled in to allow for the construction of administration offices, repair shops and a fuelling depot for the railway and meant direct employment for hundreds of people.

Today, its main function is as a storage yard. Quidi Vidi is the repository for the other watershed of the city, in the city’s east end.

The restoration of Victoria Park should not be restricted to the confines of its property lines.

Its original setting is the Riverhead estuary, so the restoration should include a long-range plan in the order of 25 to 100 years to bring back the essential elements of the estuary as well as the esthetics and pedestrian safety of Water Street West.

The park could easily be enhanced in the short term by re-establishing original sight lines for enhanced security, increasing the number of flower beds and ornamental shrubs, adding a new performance space in place of the original bandstand, improving the lighting, and building a blast-proof screen wall between the playground and its industrial neighbour.

Victoria Park has a German artillery piece from the First World War that I have been told by older relatives was a favourite lounging place for veterans of that conflict. No doubt this cannon was placed in Victoria Park to reflect the significant contribution and loss of the people of the old west end.

About a thousand young men from that part of the city volunteered for military service in the First World War.

It is likely that many of these young men used Victoria Park and the Promenade Park as boys, and that some convalesced from the damages of war at the Home for Aged and Infirm.

Based on fatality rates, this would mean that hundreds of young men from west-end neighbourhoods died during the First World War. A war memorial depicting their names could be established near the artillery piece and the piece itself should be restored.

Historical records show how St. John’s was organized politically and culturally, at least since 1855, along east end and west end divisions. With the exception of the private denominational college system, the east end had its own churches and schools, as did the west end.

The political division was along Freshwater Road and Carter’s Hill to Beck’s Cove. Municipal wards were set up as five in the east and five in the west.

My ancestors have ties to the neighbourhoods of the old west end. Much of the built heritage of that area has been demolished and buried.

It is historically inaccurate and revisionist to present St. John’s as having a generic “downtown” heritage. Many of the old streets are gone, but the record remains. The Promenade Park, Victoria Park and Riverhead are significant historical landmarks of the old west end.

The story of Victoria Park and Riverhead and the entire west end symbolizes a distinct urban heritage within St. John’s and Newfoundland, and deserves preservation and promotion.

With its plans to restore Victoria Park to its former glory, the City of St. John’s has taken an important first step.



http://www.thetelegram.com/Opinion/C...he-west-end/1#
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  #103  
Old Posted Sep 20, 2014, 6:33 PM
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I found this old picture in the Delta Hotel


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  #104  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2014, 5:43 PM
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Watching a Gemini-winning Quebec documentary about English-speaking separatists in Canada, which, of course, focuses a lot on NL.

They have the most gorgeous video footage of St. John's in 1948 from coverage of the referendums.



I've never before seen a skyline shot with the PARAMOUNT Theatre on Harvey Road included in the skyline (just left of the Basilica). Gorgeous stuff.
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  #105  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2014, 6:22 PM
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interesting, but that's not the Paramount in the pic . . . it took me a minute to figure it out, that's the water tower (center left) at the old factory on Bond Street (now the Imperial), and the building on the extreme left is St. Patricks Hall. The Paramount was there I think until the early seventies, until it was made into an office building. Is there a youtube link you could have put in? Thanks for posting, cheers.

Last edited by Architype; Nov 11, 2014 at 4:51 AM.
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  #106  
Old Posted Nov 14, 2014, 4:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeddy1989 View Post
I found this old picture in the Delta Hotel


It kills me that pretty much every city in North America pulled out street cars. I watched a documentary years ago and don't recall the details exactly but the jest of it was GM bought up pretty much every public transit under the guise of improving them, but actually tore every street car out more or less overnight as they saw it as a threat to car production.

I know when the streets get real bad in the winter, especially on the far West end of Water St you can see the old tracks in potholes. It would be amazing to see them bring back a street car service for Water and Duckworth. It would certainly help with parking and would be a big tourism draw and easy transit for anyone staying in hotels.
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  #107  
Old Posted Nov 14, 2014, 4:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Architype View Post
interesting, but that's not the Paramount in the pic . . . it took me a minute to figure it out, that's the water tower (center left) at the old factory on Bond Street (now the Imperial), and the building on the extreme left is St. Patricks Hall. The Paramount was there I think until the early seventies, until it was made into an office building. Is there a youtube link you could have put in? Thanks for posting, cheers.
Oh, well shit! Thanks for the clarification, Architype. I got so excited for nothing.

And yes, here's the video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSGP5YkwL_s
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  #108  
Old Posted Nov 15, 2014, 3:10 AM
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Originally Posted by SignalHillHiker View Post
Oh, well shit! Thanks for the clarification, Architype. I got so excited for nothing.

And yes, here's the video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSGP5YkwL_s
It was an interesting video - they should translate it and play it on English TV. Speaking of the Paramount, and the other downtown theatres - the experience of going downtown to see a movie was somehow more exciting than going to a mall, and the theatres themselves were more impressive.

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Originally Posted by MrChills View Post
It kills me that pretty much every city in North America pulled out street cars. I watched a documentary years ago and don't recall the details exactly but the jest of it was GM bought up pretty much every public transit under the guise of improving them, but actually tore every street car out more or less overnight as they saw it as a threat to car production.

I know when the streets get real bad in the winter, especially on the far West end of Water St you can see the old tracks in potholes. It would be amazing to see them bring back a street car service for Water and Duckworth. It would certainly help with parking and would be a big tourism draw and easy transit for anyone staying in hotels.
The story of the streetcar's demise is one of the few conspiracy theories that is actually true. They were seen as an impediment to modern transportation; more automobiles would be sold if they were gone, the tracks made it harder to drive in cars, and they were seen as causing traffic problems. Their replacement with buses also provided new business opportunities for companies like General Motors, and even for rubber tire companies. However, when the prospect of bringing them back again is taken seriously, it comes with the realities of reviving a technology that hasn't changed much since the 19th century. I guess everybody has been to Toronto so can judge accordingly for themselves.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General...car_conspiracy

Last edited by Architype; Nov 15, 2014 at 3:21 AM.
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  #109  
Old Posted Nov 15, 2014, 1:58 PM
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I know a lot of people in Toronto that complain about the street cars, often that they are too slow and shouldn't be in the same lanes as cars. However if you look at the number of people they are able to accommodate (potentially up to 150) versus a maximum of five in a standard car, it's hard to completely dismiss them as a hindrance to traffic.
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  #110  
Old Posted Nov 15, 2014, 2:03 PM
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It's what they're used to as well. We certainly don't wax poetic about container ships, but for them it'd probably be somehow interesting.

For us, streetcars are tinged with nostalgia. They're a symbol of an era when St. John's was more important and more urban than it is, really, today. And we're not such a large, busy city that they'd be sweaty and greasy and annoying. There'd be a sort of romance to it, like San Francisco - and many other cities.

I imagine they'd be very popular, and do very well, but never feel as mindless and forgettable as they can in larger centres that never lost them.
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  #111  
Old Posted Nov 15, 2014, 4:00 PM
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I can't recall what book it was in, but it made me laugh so much (perhaps it was, "Oldest City - The Story of St. John's") Any way a Newfoundlander in World War 2 was stationed in the the UK and while he was there married a girl and she returned to Newfoundland with him (her first time being out of Britain). When they go to the city apparently they took the street car to the train station to go to some far flung outport where the man was from, and she commented something to the effect, "well I only hope the street car service in "Baytown X" is much better than what St. John's has to offer.. Hahah
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  #112  
Old Posted Nov 15, 2014, 9:36 PM
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I just stumbled across this link on the Newfoundland Reddit page regarding Street Cars, The streetcar system was dismantled in 1948. Geoff Stirling bought the streetcars themselves, and sold them off as summer cabins and work sheds." I wonder if any of them have survived to this day? Doubtful I guess



http://newfoundlandfolkways.tumblr.c...s-from-1900-to

On the topic of street cars, I used to live in Detroit so I was browsing a section for that city today on the forum and came across an neat project that they are doing to revive street cars

http://m-1rail.com/
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