doug — off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

My Childhood Community

I was inspired to do this from a project by ZeFrank called “A Childhood Walk”.  I think that it’s a terrific concept and I’m going to try to replicate some of it here.  As a child, we occasionally went for walks but were always on bicycle tooling around town.  Recently, I was actually in my childhood town of Clinton and went out to take a picture of the Cowper Street sign for a friend of mine, @cowpernicus, who used it on his blog and shared it with his father who had never heard of a Cowper Street.  Hey, we had that in Clinton, and more.  What blew me away as I was sending him a Google map showing the place was that this small Ontario town had been mapped by Google’s Streetview.  That makes today’s entry possible.

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Today, I live 3 hours and 15 minutes from where I grew up.  When asked by folks where it is, I’ll refer them to London and then Goderich which everyone apparently knows and point out that Clinton would be on the way to Goderich if you’re headed there from London.  Then, they get it.  Many had been there!

So, here are some fond memories.  Picture a pack of us with brushcuts making this trip around town regularly.

Clinton Public School – I went to school here for 9 years from Kindergarten to Grade 8.  There’s some new finishings on the exterior but the main office from where Mr. Gray ran the show is just through the main doors.


Central Huron Secondary School – This was my secondary school home and it still has some great memories ranging from high school dances, playing soccer, basketball, wrestling, and badminton.  The school had the original building which you see on the right and then the modern addition to the left.  The gyms were located straight through the main doors.  I understand that the original building and library have been refinished.  I’d enjoy seeing that some day.


Bartliff’s Bakery – Every town needs its gathering place and, after the Hotel Clinton burned, and probably even before that, it was Bartliff’s Bakery.  You can still visit for the greatest of breakfasts and incredible coffee.  But for us, it was for a daily afterschool bike ride to the back of the bakery for the baking mistakes and day olds.  A friend of mine’s father, who was the baker, would invite us to take these things that weren’t saleable by their high standards.


Fleming’s Feed Mill – This place works non-stop it seems processing grains, beans, and making cattle feed.  My father worked there for years in the evenings and on Saturday mornings.


Clinton Swimming Pool – What better way to pass hot summer afternoons and evenings that by swimming?  We’d bike over and just lean the bikes against the fence.  I don’t think I ever owned a bike chain back then.  Later on, I’d get a job as a lifeguard and swimming instructor.


St. Paul’s Anglican Church – An incredible church landmark on Highway 8.  You could find the family here every Sunday morning.


The Fort – I know that there’s nothing there but grass but picture an abandoned concrete block building with no windows or doors but two stories built just for hanging out.  And we did.  Superman had his Fortress of Solitude; we had ours.


The Fish and Game – This is as close as street view gets you but up the street and over what used to be train tracks would take you to a club with a small zoo-ish collection.  I remember seeing peacocks, for example, and we would look forward to regular trips here.


This walk along memory lane is courtesy of my memories and images from Google Maps.  Thanks to the original idea from ZeFrank.  Particularly, if you have moved away from one location to another, it’s a great exercise to visualize things from the past.

I also like the concept in the classroom.  Can your students build or tell a story composed of images from Google Maps?  It’s one thing to type in an address and have the computer plot it on a map.  But, it’s quite another to zoom in to StreetView where you need to get your bearings and orientation to get the picture perfect.  How about documenting field trips?  How about a tour of your province’s or county’s capital?  How about landmarks?  How about a new student to your class?   Maybe it could be shared where they’re coming from or current students could give a tour of the new neighbourhood?  There are opportunities at every street corner!

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25 responses to “My Childhood Community”

  1. […] you remember back, way back, I had written a post called “My Childhood Community“. In the post, I took a Google Streetview walking tour of things and one of the entries was […]


  2. […] blog readers will know that I grew up in Clinton and even wrote about it once in a post called My Childhood Community. Now, the reality is that I haven’t actually lived there since I went to university. Of […]


  3. […] is a community post – different from My Childhood Community but I just wanted to link to it if you haven’t read it. It’s inspiration for expections […]


  4. […] made a post I wrote a long time ago – My Childhood Community. Have I really been blogging for 13 years? My English teachers would be proud of me. (I […]


  5. […] headed to our Childhood Community. It’s been way more years that either or us could remember that we lived there; like so many […]


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