Borden, 1999

My Dad got posted to CFB Borden in 1982 and we lived there until 1990. A lot of my friends were posted away and came back over the 8 years, since the more normal span of time a family stays in one place is four years. I went back once after starting University when my friends still lived there and after my parents had moved to British Columbia, but this was the first time I drove myself, in my own car. My excuse was to wander around the tank park (aka Worthington Park, but since they have tanks scattered all around along with various anti aircraft guns, we always called it the tank park) and the military museum. Siobhan was changing a light fixture that day and couldn't come. :)

Wed Nov 24

As usual, I ended up leaving later than I meant to and didn't get on the road until 2:30 or so. I hopped on the 427 up to the 401 east and then north on the 400. I exited at the Cookstown bypass and was immediatly presented with the huge outlet mall that they've put up there. The day was overcast and I was worrying that it would start to rain before I got there, but as I was almost there, the sun came below the clouds and lit up the landscape in a gorgeous golden light.

The first change that hit me was that the Canadian Tire in Alliston is closed down, though the Red Pine motel and was still open. The biggest change was the fact that there's no gate at the Alliston entrance any more. The MP's shack has moved to the first crossroads you hit when you come in and there's a barrier in place, but it was up and there were no Slow to 30kph signs anywhere. I felt like a thief stealing in since there was no Commissionaire to pass by.

The museum was closed by the time I arrived and the park seemed to have sprouted a few more tanks, but there a enough changes to really drive home how long it had been since we lived there. Since I wasn't able to find the hours the museum was open before heading up, the only web page just giving it's address, here's the info from the sign on the side of the building: Closed Mondays and Holidays, open Tues-Fri 9am-12pm, 1pm-3pm, weekends 1pm-4pm.

The buildings that used to shield the Library from the main road were torn down, as well as the smaller theatre on the South Side, long enough ago that there weren't any scars showing, just the grass growing as if it had always been there. The library had new staff, which I expected, and had been rearranged, with all the non fiction in the old kids section, and computers here and there to access CD ROMs. As I was wandering around the shelves, my creaking footsteps loud in the silence, I was taken back to the single time I got kicked out of there for chasing a friend around who'd written on me. I spent a lot of time there as a kid, taking out the limit of 4 books almost every day some summers and going back the next day for more. The Terra Theatre was still standing with what looked like new siding, though I didn't go in to see if the Valentino's were still in charge as they were when I worked there for two years. I gained my aversion to popcorn during that period. :) The gas station next to it was gone, but the churches are still there.

Our old house is still brown, and a new wooden fence was put up separating the halves of the duplex's yard. Every house seems to get a shed now, they look sort of ominous, every single house with the same beige barn-like structure lurking behind it. The elephant park, named for the grey pachydermal climbing frame that was it's centre piece, was revamped, hidden behind a fence and missing the climbing bars, bright plastic slides taking it's place.

The soccer fields and the empty lot where my dad attempted to teach me how to parallel park were still as I remembered them, though it looked like the Anderton Arena had been revamped. I didn't pass directly in front of the bowling alley where Mum used to work and we used to bowl for free, though. My old high school, BBCI, isn't the language school anymore, it's a different training facility. Alexander Dunn, which I attended for grades 6-8, was renamed and is now a Catholic School, and the French public school is now Acadamie pinod or something like that. Joseph Campbell, where I went for grades 4 and 5, was still the same, though a few portables got added. I picked up a Citizen at the library, Santa still parachutes in each year. :)

It was odd driving around the North and South sides, passing by the houses of my friends and seeing new kids playing in the yards. The Canex still looks the same, and the library parking lot seemd to have the same old potholes in the gravel. It was starting to get dark, so I headed back out on the back roads, taking the bypass via Baxter and vividly recalling my dad teaching me to drive on the twisty hilly road.

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