When I think back to my childhood, I still can't believe I never learnt to swim. Disgraceful, I know! Once school was out for the summer, our days were spent at Sunnyside Pavillion Pool (see entrance gates above), built in 1925, on the shores of Lake Ontario, along Lakeshore Boulevard.
One particular memory I have of Sunnyside dates back to when I was around my son's age. My mom had grounded me, as punishment for breaking the neighbour's screen window while playing softball (ball wasn't so soft after all). If I was grounded that meant Uncle Armie, who lived with us, was grounded too because he had to look after me while my mom was at work. But he had a new girlfriend at the time and had arranged to take her to the pool. So I decided to strike a deal with him. He could go to the pool, if he took me and my friends along, and mom wouldn't have to find out. After a short hesitation, he went along with it. We had a great time at the pool. Just before heading back home, making sure we got back way before my mom did, Uncle Armie gave me money to buy ice-creams for everyone, reminding me to look carefully before crossing the street. On the way back with a box of ice-cream cones, I got hit by a car and went flying like a rag doll. Thing is, I did look, but the car was coming the wrong way on a one-way street. The blow knocked me out cold and when I came through, the first thing I saw was a horse. SHIT! Where the hell was I? The horse belonged to the Mounted Police who happened to be patrolling the park. Then I saw my uncle in tears and about to clobber the driver.
I wasn't as bad as people thought, just some cuts & bruises. The worst part was trying to convince my uncle not to take me to the hospital and....not to tell mom!!!! That was the hardest part. After a lot of tears and quite a few sniffs I managed to talk him into not telling mom. I think he was terrified of her himself. Big sister would have killed him. We got away with the whole thing telling my mom I had fallen from the tree in our backyard (not the first time). The whole cover up nearly backfired when, during the week, the driver called to find out how I was doing and mom answered the phone! I froze, sensing a bomb about to go off, but she simply said, "Sorry, wrong number". Phewww!!! Major Mom never found out the truth.
My uncle tells this story over and over today. Not when my mom is around, of course! And I've forbidden him of ever telling my son. Don't want him getting any funny ideas in that beautiful head of his.
See some lovely pictures of Sunnyside here.