Just a quiet dinner out marks a notable milestone for this family – the 50th anniversary of moving into out modest South Keys bungalow on May 28, 1968. There was nothing but mud covering the building lot surface as we gingerly stepped on rough boardwalk leading up to the front door. Not a blade of grass, nor any other kind of vegetation was anywhere to be seen, and only a handful of neighbours. Our house was among the first group to be built in this new Campeau development. We were in fact the fifth family to move into South Keys, and the third on our street and, as some have moved on, we may have lived here longer than anyone else.
But we remember well that first day, moving in with a small apartment’s worth of furniture and two young children, though there was one consolation. The actual move didn’t cost us a lot. We had ferried a lot of stuff from our Henry Farm Drive garden home by car in previous days. Saving the big stuff until the last day, we hired a U-Haul trailer which was hitched to our bumper, paying the princely sum of $8.03 for eight hours use. Good friends pitched in with the heavy lifting of fridge, stove, washer and bedroom furniture, so the job was done in three or four trips.
Outside the house was far from ideal, surrounded by masses of that gunky mud caked with the disastrous leda clay that undermines so much of the local landscape. Kids being kids, however, made the best of it in outdoor play by grabbing up gobs of the stickier stuff to fashion crude but imaginative sculptural creations. Topsoil, front lawn sodding and other improvements followed eventually, while settling in chores whiled away a busy but enjoyable first year. Then barely within city limits, the south end community has bloomed into one of the capital’s more desirable neighbourhoods.