To the Editor,
It seems to me that Janice Carr’s lament for the intrusion of a pot shop on Minden’s bucolic Main Street in last week’s Times views the past through rose-coloured glasses.
Once, Main Street was rowdy on a Saturday night, or so I’ve been told. Why, the store that will be occupied by the new cannabis dispensary has its front door about halfway between what once were two dens of iniquity dressed up as hotels.
Though I grew up in another part of rural Ontario, I must be about the same age as Janice and I’ve heard the tales of beverage rooms, of ladies and escorts in the good old days of this village I now call home.
In the early 1940s, a friend spent a couple of childhood years in an apartment across the street. Told not to look out the window, of course she did anyhow to watch the Saturday night fights. Who needed television?
Country folk would come into town on a Saturday night. Mom would shop, then wait in the car for Dad to refuel and come crawling back out to climb behind the wheel for the drive home. Or so I’ve heard.
Not so many years ago, a musician declared on stage that he used to play at the Dominion between the fights.
Those are only tiny pieces of a complex history, but they hardly fit the idyll that lives in Janice’s memory. Surely a Main Street that had room for a pair of roughhouse beer halls will not be sullied by a marijuana emporium.
Now the Rockcliffe sits empty. The Dominion is respectable and middle class and so will be the tokers who visit the pot shop. After they’ve bought their grass, some of them may even wander down the street for a drink. Better still, perhaps some of the come-from-aways racing up Highway 35 will turn left at the lights to come looking for cannabis and find out that Minden has a Main Street. They may even shop for other things.
I understand Janice’s regrets but I keep re-discovering that the old world I remember is gone for good and, besides, it never really existed.