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Angel or Devil ?


That may be a salient point of view in Portager's minds because I sure seem to arouse some controversy. But no one knows me better than I so I want to talk about the real me. To begin, part of my public relations problem is there are not many who know me any more. All my dear friends who would engender 2000 votes for me when I ran are now involved in eternal rest or failing health. But not me. Although 85 I am so much like my mother who reached 103 still in good health to the end. And partly what kept her alive was her vital interest in local politics and everything else with the good life. Mom was a devoted Roman Catholic and I always relate that she was abnormally proud that she had nothing but Irish blood going back forever, The O'Neils, the Carberrys, the McGuinns etc. all arrived into Canada in the 1810's and settled near to each other as was the practice in new areas of Ontario along Lake Ontario. That was heavily wooded country and so forest management was the main event for many years, But like all families who live close to each other most of these old families (all Irish) intermarried and before long there was too many trying to farm too little land and so the exodus to the west began. Grandpa John Joseph O'Neil got a job as an apprentice with Ogletree an accomplished farmer who also had a large family. His land is all that runs along Pine Crescent and everything to the south to the River and west way over and beyond what became the cemetery. He eventually donated the land so that Portage could have civilized burials for these early families who at that time were burying in their own forests or that stretch of woods that ultimately became Dufferin Avenue. Indeed that stretch had been the extension of the old Portage Trail that ran alongside the Slough (Crescent Lake), that trail is with us yet as Portage Avenue and Crescent Road, but it turned up Main Street also and then west onto at Dufferin ending with a curve that took it onto the Saskatchewan Trail at Eighth Street. The area now occuped by Oak Tree Towers is a remainder of that dense forest there then as seen in those trees around that Apt. Block. Even when I was a kid in 1940 the local Natives when they moved into town for the summer were still setting up camp in several locations, two of which were the Oak Tree Tower woods and that large play field at PCI .The Natives were great traders and sold a multitude of our needs too as the seasons progressed. Nearby also stood the Hudson's Bay store of wood that had been moved from Eighteenth Street then the new Newman Brother's Grocery and Provisions store. That beautiful building served the community well until the Newmans had all died and it was sold to Percy Robinson who turned it into a Bus Depot, restaurant and Gift Emporium, along with a new snack bar he called Robbies. The corner of Saskatchewan Ave. and Second Street actually occupied as well another old building owned by the Cowan families Drug Store Etc. Oddly the specialty of "Robbies"was licorice ice cream, a real novelty in those early years!

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Hello and welcome to my thought process !

I suspect that if this resembles my Facebook in any way that there will be subjects I post on that will be offensive to some. I welcome all comments and constructive criticism and corrections are always welcome as it helps my site improve.  If you are just commenting to be negative then post your grievances in the Forum section as that is what it is designed for. Thank you for your cooperation.                           --- Don ---

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