I grew up in Transcona, on the edge, when Redonda Street was gravel and there were really deep ditches.
The wide open spaces seemed endless to me. A lot of the kids from the street would go on day-long adventures together. We would ask our moms to pack a lunch and we’d jump on our bikes and head out on the long journey. Our little legs would pedal those bikes all the way down the gravel roads until we arrived at horse pond. It seemed like it took hours and we were so tired.
We would find branches and poke around the edges until we saw something interesting and, of course, frogs were the main priority. The boys would bring them home and treat them with the greatest care. We would break off bull rushes, mush them all up and scatter the fluff into the air. It was great. The longest journeys were all the way down Kildare Avenue to the floodway, starting at Redonda Street. This road seemed like the longest gravel road in the world. There were no houses there, just wide open fields and an occasional bush section.
When we reached the big hill and got to the top, we all just stood there are looked down. Then we did what we shouldn’t have, and got on our bikes and rode really fast down the hill until we reached the water. Wow that was fun. Luckily no one wiped out. We spent a long time there, just hanging out, throwing rocks.
When we didn’t feel like going that far, we just walked or rode bikes to the bush. It seemed really big but now that I think of it wasn’t so big. It was in the middle of the field at Crocus Park, right beside the old tennis court, across from Murdoch MacKay School.
We built forts in there with whatever we could find. We played hide and seek or would just walk around on a wilderness adventure. When we tired of that we would head to the park and hang out in the concrete tunnel, or take a chance on the wooden teeter-totter. The swings would go really high, and the merry go round was super-fast.
Yes, those were the great dangerous playground pieces that only some of us were lucky enough to experience.
In the winter, we tobogganed at the big hill every day, weather permitting. When someone finally figured out how to build jumps, the danger level increased. My mom still lives in my childhood home, no longer on the edge of heaven but right in the middle of the memories.
You can’t see open field anymore, just rows and rows of houses. The park has been renamed, but it will always be Crocus Park to me.
I feel lucky to have grown up experiencing such a great place. I cannot understand why everyone dislikes Transcona so much. I guess you had to have experienced it to know the real beauty.
Louise Hedman is a community correspondent for Transcona.