July 5, 2009

Bob Pelley sent this to me and we hope that it will be a springboard for you to add some of your thoughts on growing up in Gander. You can comment on just a line or two, or embellish on anything included here. Would love to add your comments to growing up in Gander on another edition of 'Faye's Place' on our Gander Academy website. Thanks so much. Just include your comments in a return mail to me and we'll get it posted in the near future with the help of Jack Pinsent.


Where did we hang out in Gander?’

When we were living in “old Gander”, we hung out anywhere and everywhere. We spent a lot of time in the woods, down by the Lake or out at Twin Ponds; we had bonfires; we played cowboys and Indians; we made rings out of aluminum tubing found at the airplane dump and we went to the frog pond.

We played hockey outdoors and we hung onto the back of cars in the winter. We went to the hockey games in the arena on the American side where it was as cold inside as outside and warmed up only on those rare occasions when Gander beat the Grand Falls crowd piloted by the great Faulkner brothers. We slid down Coop Hill on the Air Force side on cardboard boxes.

We also went to Deadmans Pond and had ice cream at Lush’s cabin. Sometime we had rock fights, using garbage can covers as shields. We went to Saturday matinees at the Star Theatre but before going in, we played on those ridiculously high swings on the old parade square and of course traded comic books. Playing marbles was raised to a fine art but it was hard to remember if pots were alive or dead.

But what did we do in the new town?

Bob Pelley, Class of 1962


I guess I must be a lot older than many of you people. I do remember the Star Theater on the Army Side and the Saturday afternoon matinees with the cliffhanger westerns, but the only place I really remember 'hanging out'' as such was the old terminal on the RAF Side where we'd walk to on Sundays to 'watch the passing parade''.

I never lived in the new town and find it unusual to think that St. Martin's Parish Hall was the place of congregation for dancing, etc. I guess I missed out on the more usual activities. 

Doris Moss Cowley, Class of 1956



That's a great photo! I never ever realised until now that the Eaton's store had that sign on it's roof!

Take a close look...it says Eaton's Canada


Isn't this fun!  Our house is on the bottom left.  The first one in that group is at an angle, the Grimes;    next the Mingo's;  next G Baker’s; and I believe the Lionel Comeau's lived next to Baker.  Boy that is one old picture.  

Audrey Mingo Grantham, Class of 1958


Does anyone remember the name of this shopping center?

Bob McKinnon, St. Joseph’s Class of 1961


First there was the Elizabeth Drive Shopping area, then the Town Square. The Fraser Mall was built later (early 70's) and then, later the Gander Mall was built on Bennett Drive.

Faye, does the building you lived in show up in this photo? Mine was the one behind the movie theatre, 3rd unit from the left. Very handy. I could go out the back exit of the theatre right into my back door.

Dave Naish , Class of 1960

No, I lived in the PMQ on the corner of Elizabeth Drive and Sullivan (I think it was)? It doesn’t appear in this photo.

Faye Lewis Raynard, Class of 1959


Firstly, my greatest enjoyment when I was in Gander was in the ice skating at the rink - one could always find me there every waking moment.  I liked the teen dances as well.  I was in Girl Guides, CGIT, taught Sunday School, sang in the choir (couldn't hold a note now if my life depended on it).

Marina Dawe Fleming…


Great shot of Gander town.  We lived on lower Memorial Drive then called Beaverwood because of a beaver dam located in a little stream near the lower end of the road.

Prior to that after WW11 when Gander first became a town we lived on the American side in the AOA apartments...actually close to where the airport is now located. When we moved to Beaverwood there was no new Gander...just the American side and the Army side. I do recall going to the movies on the Army side and of course to school and the rink but that was when I was younger and not into hanging out much.

Since we lived so far away we had to be driven to and from if we were there at all. I do recall figure
skating at the Gander Gardens and if my dad was working having to walk from Beaverwood all the way to the rink which was sometimes a lonely walk in the dark to the early morning practices. I keep comparing that day to this and thinking parents today would never let
that happen they would be too afraid of abduction,etc. I was never afraid, I always felt safe growing up in Gander.

What I do recall of being snowbound in Beaverwood were the wonderful times we had at Edgar and Mary Baird's home watching Saturday afternoon movies which they regularly  hosted  complete with popcorn and kool aid. (They were the parents of Bill, Jane, Mickey and John.) They also had horses and it was not unusual for them to harness up the horse and sleigh and ride us through the country side trails on a snowy day to return to the house for the greatest hot chocolate.( made in those days from scratch with cocoa, sugar and cream.) It is no wonder I still love homemade hot chocolate to this day some 55 years later.

When the new school Gander Academy was built on the new town site sometimes the kids from Beaverwood were among the few who made it on snowy stormy days. We made it again because of Mr. Baird and his snowmobile. He would go around from house to house picking us all up for school...bet Ken Barnes will recall this too...there were six or seven kids of school age at that time in Beaverwood and heaven forbid  we should ever miss a day at school. but, if my memory serves me well, we loved it; it was a real adventure.

This snowmobile was no ordinary one it was made by Bombardier and , I believe, as a vehicle suitable for the  humid snow of Eastern Canada and New England. The one we rode in was a large, enclosed seven passenger vehicle with seats across the front and bench- like seats along the side.

Apparently it was used in multiple applications such as ambulances, Canada Post delivery, forestry machines and even army vehicles in World War 11. I truly felt special to be able to go to school in such a vehicle.

I remember in high school a bunch of girls and guys would spend time as soon as the weather warmed up, even a little, at Gander lake; sitting around a fire roasting marshmallows and wieners, telling stories, and singing songs and, sometimes engaging in a little smooching and the like. What
wonderful memories!

Thanks for your great work in stimulating discussion and getting the cobwebs off the memory bank!


Jenkin's Drugstore, Tuma's Jewelry, Pinsent's Restaurant, Bank of Nova Scotia, & Eaton's


Great to relive the memories of Memorial Drive from Alice and I have the same winter thoughts. Remember the snow was so high we had full tunnels through it on our driveway. Also remember the wonderful Baird family and the snowmobile. Alice continues to write as well as she did in school. I remember Gander Gardens before it had artificial ice, was so damn cold we fought to get next to the hotstove. Spectator hockey games meant you were bundled up very well.

The walk to and from the new school was always interesting and very healthy. I remember many nights walking home from the "new" movie theatre, through the woods in the dark to Memorial Drive,  and nary a thought for your safety.

Beaverwood was continually flooded by the beavers in the early years, and they had to continually blow up the dams, unfortunately. It was a long walk from the old school along Beaverwood, and we would try to shortcut it by walking along the railway tracks half way.

You guys were brave. I didn't like being in the dark woods after dark, I would have been stepping on the back of your heels, believe me…moving right along...

Last visit, ‘Hookey's’(Robert Newhook’s) note about the coal mounds on the Canadian side sure brings back memories. We never waited for the snow to come before we would slide down the coal mounds (much to our mothers' chagrin who had to wash our clothes). We would run/slide down them in summer....imagine the state we were in at the end of the day! It just seemed normal to do that stuff! Crazy eh?

Sometimes we would commandeer the hand trolley that was on the tracks nearby and go for a ride.

One time we were cooking—along the tracks when around the bend came the locomotive.

You never saw kids leap from a moving trolley so fast in all your life and make a run for it. One time we got caught. But that's another story.

Angus Taylor, Class of 1962


Next time, remember, we are looking for comments  of your favorite ‘haunts’ while living in Gander…just email to me faye@villagereporter.com and with webster's help we’ll get them posted here.