The Carlington Summit
by David Darwin.

Once again I have been left on my own to delve into the dusty archives of ancient Summit editions. Not one of you faithful readers have suggested topics for this column. Even our dedicated, overworked editor was silent this month. So I stuck my hand into the faded pile of editions past and pulled out December copies from 1983, 1988 and 1993. Here is what memories their contents offer.

Construction Woes

In the spirit of the season, it would seem, the printer of the paper threw in some colour ink to brighten the look of the December 1983 edition. The red ink made the masthead, along with the additions of garland, bells, ribbon and an olde English font, jump from the page.

David Bertram contributed two front page stories. One described the anticipated shortage of funds to meet the projected costs of renovating the Alexander Community Centre under the Ontario Neighbourhood Improvement Program (ONIP) underway in Carlington. One cause of the unexpectedly higher costs for the work was “because of the current boom in the construction trade in the area. With more jobs to choose from companies can bid high.”

The second story from Bertram indicated a Region committee had approved in principle the reconstruction of Merivale Road. It called for “a four lane, Urban Arterial Undivided Roadway with channelized intersections, and a Westward Alignment Shift.” If you don't understand what that was all about, you can see the result in how Merivale Road between Kirkwood and Carling looks today. Alderman Terry Denison had one amendment to the plan approved. It called for the replacement of the pedestrian crossover signal at Coldrey with signal lights.

Keeping with the construction vein, a story on page 4 indicated a sidewalk on the west side of Fisher Avenue from the apartment buildings to Baseline Road were to be installed. The project was the result of extensive lobbying by the Carlington Home Owners' Association. Estimated cost was $100,000.

Other stories of note included the coming of the Neighbourhood Watch program to the area. The first section of Carlington to participate was bounded by Kirkwood, Caldwell, McBride and Chatelain. A sign signifying the area as a Neighbourhood Watch zone was unveiled December 6 by Marie Stolarik and Staff Sergeant Skinner.

The construction of a new fire station at Kirkwood and Carling was reported; specialty food store Bigros (Merivale at Shillington) closed its doors; Laurentian High School survived an attempt by some trustees to close it; and community churches promoted their Christmas season services.

The Earth Moves

The December 1988 front page story by Daphne Biggs reported on the significant earthquake which rattled Carlington at the end of November. The Richter scale 6.0 magnitude shocker was followed by at least 10 aftershocks over the next two days. There was no reported damage in Carlington.

Frances Tanner wrote about plans by the Region's Transportation Department to install a 1.8 metre chain link fence along the median in front of the Westgate Shopping Centre. The proposal was not without controversy as entrepreneurs feared a loss of business and residents across the street didn't want to walk the extra distance to one of the signalized intersections. Her story concluded with: “If you have a different suggestion for keeping pedestrians from killing themselves, call your Alderman, Mark Maloney.”

A house at 959 Merivale Road was the centre of zoning issue that year. It seems the Entomological Society of Canada purchased the property in the hope of converting it into office space. “The Society is an international organization of scientists and lay people interested in the scientific study of insects,” wrote treasurer Donald Bright. “Only the editor of the research journal and one clerk would be working in the office.” Alderman Maloney opposed the rezoning, obviously with success.

An issue which popped up over the years was the amount of social housing in the area. City Living's purchase of a 55-unit Mayview Avenue apartment building prompted the Carlington Community Association to push for a freeze on social housing in Carlington. Association President Terry Campbell said, “Presently our community has one of the largest concentrations of socially-assisted housing in the region, approximately 20% of our entire housing stock. We're not opposed to social housing, but I think we have reached our level.” Fred Francoeur, president of the Mooretown Tenants' Association agreed by saying, “Too great a concentration is no good for anyone, the people or the neighbourhood.”

New home for CCHS

A two-page, centre paper advertisement celebrated the move by Carlington Community and Health Services into its present location on December 13, 1993. Originally opened in 1984 as the Carlington Community Resource Centre, it added health services in 1991. Desperate for space to house it many services, it purchased and renovated the old T.P. Maxwell school at 900 Merivale Road.

The December 1993 paper also reported, “A strong new slate of 12 candidates came forward November 23 to volunteer for the Carlington Crime Prevention Council, the steering committee for the Carlington Community Police Centre.” Lorraine Albert was chairperson and headed the fundraising committee. The Police Centre was located, at that time, in the back of the Alexander Community Centre but was looking for a more visible presence. Over 30 volunteers were taking reports, helping to complete police paperwork, performing home security checks and promoting programs such as Auto-Stop and Vials for Life.

Co-editor of Volume 11, Steve McLoughlin, offered a seasonal and somewhat peculiar story entitled “The day Santa fell to earth.” It described the near fatal exploits of Santa when he tried to parachute, along with three elves, onto the parking lot of Rideauview Mall. Severe cross-winds made the landing more challenging than anticipated and Santa ended up crashing onto the roof of the shopping centre.

The story, and this column, concluded with: “Santa, despite his injuries, managed to make it to our house that Christmas, and every Christmas since. Now, when I run into Santa in a shopping mall, I'm reminded of his harrowing adventure, and I thank God that the merry old fellow survived. Though, now whenever I hear the refrain, “Here comes Santa Claus,” I still look to the sky with a measure of trepidation.”

Happy holidays to all

[Send queries and story ideas to ddarwin@ncf.ca or the Summit addresses on page 2.]