A peaceful place in the city

A peaceful place in the city Last Sunday (Sept. 15), I attended the celebration of the 10th anniversary of Cook Street Park hosted by the Escarpment Parks Society. A few concerned citizens of the area, who were committed to take an overgrown drug and pa

Last Sunday (Sept. 15), I attended the celebration of the 10th anniversary of Cook Street Park hosted by the Escarpment Parks Society. A few concerned citizens of the area, who were committed to take an overgrown drug and party space bordering the escarpment and turn it into a beautiful park, started the project.

It wasn’t easy: the neighbourhood had first to be informed of the project, funds applied for, plans drawn up and a list of volunteers made. By September 2003, major earthwork for the park was completed. We now enjoy the result in a vast green area, with shrubs, flowers a skating rink and toboggan hill. The drug house was torn down and the community erected a Habitat For Humanity triplex.

A few of the escarpment buyouts of the 1974 clearance attended and we were happy to share the history with a display of articles and photos of our old houses. We shared stories of our pioneering experience of how it was to build houses before mortgages were available, more or less from payday to payday, and to relate the emotional experience of seeing our homes demolished.

The 40th anniversary of the big expropriation and clearance of 80 legal properties will be in 2014, and some of us former owners have plans to hold a celebration on the empty lots at the end of the Escarpment Trail on Drury Street. We agree that it would be appropriate to dedicate the clearance lots on Drury Street overlooking the river for a park to the memory of the pioneer merchants, Taylor and Drury.

William S. Drury and Isaac Taylor started out as stampeders to the Klondike Gold Rush. Instead of settling in Dawson City, they settled here and built a thriving business. Their popular store, T&D’s on Main St. (now named Horwoods Mall), was sold in 1974 and at its height in the ‘50s had 13 branch stores and 85 employees.

Cook Street was named after pilot Leslie Cook, who in 1942 crashed his Norseman aircraft near Main Street. He is buried in the Pioneer Cemetery. A wonderful display of the names of streets in downtown Whitehorse is now on at Arts Underground in the Hougen’s Building.

Pat Ellis

Formerly of 7216-7th Avenue,

Whitehorse