BAIE D'URFE MEMORIES, by Reg Avey, N&V May 1977

Ed. Note - News & Views' request for "memories" of Baie d' Urfé's early days, continues to bring letters from residents of the Town - and from former residents. Our sincere thanks to all who have written to share happy times with our readers. This month we share memories with Mr. Reg Avey.

This past week I was visiting some old friends in Baie d'Urfé - Les & Margaret Newton. They brought out the March issue of NEWS & VIEWS in order that I might see Rose Nairn's memory letter. It made my mind flash back to so many wonderful times in the Town in what seems a few short years ago - "25". Then I thought you might like more detail on how some of our activities came about. So, in this letter, I'm going to talk about the developments of activities for the children.

Hockey was started and kept going for many years by Ernie DeWitt. He moved to Toronto about 15 years ago but he left us the foundations of the hockey clubs that you enjoy today. Ernie spent most of his evenings and all his Saturdays developing teams for all ages, from House League to Senior. And, though we had two Championship teams, Ernie was keen on teaching sportsmanship to the boys. He'd say -you must learn to lose, as well as win, and keep the game clean and every boy must have an opportunity to play regardless of how capable he was. There were many fathers and mothers who helped and backed him up.

Baseball - Walt Smith, who I believe is still in the Town, then lived on Sunny Acres. Being a Yankee, Walt spent a lot of time going back and forth between Baie d'Urfe and his old home, state-side. On one of these occasions, he saw his first Little League Baseball game. He took the trouble to meet the Little League founder in the States and got all the information and blessings of the U.S. group to get us started in Baie d'Urfé.

One evening we were all invited to Walt's home - Harry Floyd, Tom Penrick, Tom Vauthier, Harry Reath, George Lothian, and Frank Smith who, I remember, didn't think he should be included because he only had girls in his family. We explained that was no excuse and he was needed. Also, the late Barney Ryder. We all became coaches or referees. I was chief umpire, and am not too sure how well loved I really was!

To my knowledge, this was the first Little League organization in Montreal. Certainly in the West Island.

Figure Skating was started in Baie d'Urfé by my dear wife, Babs. The Club was organized and got underway the first season Glenfinnan Rink was built. What wonderful carnivals we had, with all kinds of backdrops and scenery built by the fathers. The ladies formed sewing teams to make costumes. About 125 youngsters skated there, and on occasion, you could see a young man destined to be famous - Toller Cranston.

Then, at Carnival Time, our beloved Mayor would give out the trophies won by our young hopefuls. The mayor, of course, was Tommy Lee, who still lives in Baie d'Urfé.

When Cliff and Muriel Cowan moved to Toronto after running the club for almost 4 years, my wife Babs took over and ran it for the next 12 to 14 years.

Cubs, Scouts and Brownies - We had none of these organizations in the Town. However, Babs had been a Brownie leader in Pointe Claire before we a moved to Baie d'Urfé, so it was quite natural for her to start a Brownie group. However, Cubs and Scouts were a different matter.

Our boys of Cub age were welcomed into the Ste. Anne's Packs by their wonderful old leader, Mr. Stephenson, who as I remember was quite elderly even then. He was of the old school, and came to meetings in full dress. He was a sharp old man, and when he wanted something, he knew how to get it. He took great pride in the fact that most of his Ste. Anne Cubs were sons of Cubs he had a generation before. Thirteen Baie d'Urfé boys were in his packs.

The first meeting of the. "Baie d'Urfé Cub Pack" came about when Mr. Stephenson asked that George Lothian and I come to Town Hall to assist him with a special job. On arriving, we were introduced to the 13 Cubs and others present as "your new leader and his assistant"! What could we say to this kindly man who had given so much of himself to young people?

We had our Cub meetings in the Town Hall for the next two or three years, until the Town purchased the Coop, and that became our new home.

By this time, our boys were nearing the age of 12 and that meant leaving Cubs for Scouts. Tommy Simpson had just arrived in Town and on hearing of our situation, volunteered to become Baie d'Urfe's first Scout Leader.

It's interesting to note that of the 13 original Cubs, 9 were Macdonald or McGill graduates, one is now a professor at York University; another is a dentist in North Bay, one is quite a financial man on Bay Street in Toronto and my own son is an executive with a chemical company.

Not one boy was a dud. I have tried very hard to keep track of them over the years. A photograph taken by Reg Vidler at our very first meeting has been sent to Tommy Lee, the town's historian.

Reg Avey.

It is always difficult to remember each and every one of the many volunteers involved with the various children's activities in Baie d'Urfe.

In addition to the ones mentioned above, the names of Charlie Kirby and Bill Parker should be included.

Also .... René Guidwill, who played such a large and active role in Guiding on the Lakeshore.



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