Memories of McCauley
In the 1930s, brown and orange icicles would form on the outside of Ideal Laundry’s windows on 110 Avenue west of 95 Street. In winter, Bob Davies and his friends would walk by on their way to Norwood School, and once they broke some icicles off and sucked on them like popsicles – until they tasted the bleach.
Bob Davies used to play street hockey on 109 Avenue back when most of the avenues in McCauley were gravel. Bob says he’d keep playing until his mother called out: “Come in now. The Lone Ranger’s on.”
“On nice summer evenings in Patricia Park [now Caboto Park], there’d be receptions and things in the community hall,” he says. “We kids would holler in the door and run like mad.” He remembers they had a big slide and swings in the park but little else. No goal posts, no backstops, only a park supervisor’s clubhouse they’d throw balls over for fun.
When Bob was in grade six at Norwood School, he remembers a big pile of sawdust at OK Coal, Wood, and Excelsior on the south side of Norwood Blvd. west of 95 Street. His phys ed teacher “would get some of us boys to take gunny sacks to the sawdust pile, fill them up, and take them back. He would have a cord stretched out on the field, and we would sprinkle little piles of sawdust, making lines to mark out the field. Of course, the wind would come up and the rain, and it wouldn’t last.”
In 1931, Bob was born in McCauley at 109 Avenue and 95 Street and lived there until 1944. When the family moved to the south side to be closer to the university, Bob cheated on his mailing address so he could keep attending McCauley School for two more years.
Bob and his family have other connections to McCauley too, even though his three sons weren’t raised here. Bob was married in McCauley in 1953. For 31 years he typed up the official play-by-play record of all Edmonton Eskimo home games in Clarke and Commonwealth Stadiums. He started in 1958 on a “little portable typewriter that kept bounding around on the desk.” He’d type onto a stencil, and 130 copies would be run off on a Gestetner machine for each team, for the CFL head office, and for all the sportswriters within 15 minutes after the game. “I hated when they had Wilkinson throwing a pass to McGowan,” Bob says, “but when Ham threw to Kelly, that was nice. Those short names.”
Bob retired from the City’s water department in 1986 and moved to Victoria in 1989. He was inducted into Edmonton’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1992. He frequently comes back to McCauley to visit friends and photograph familiar places for a book of memories he’s making for his children.