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The Mary Allen neighbourhood is located within the Haldimand Tract: hundreds of thousands of acres along the length of the Grand River. The tract was defined in the 1784 treaty between the British and the Six Nations Haudenosaunee as reserved for the Six Nations and their posterity “to enjoy forever.” Non-Indigenous settlement of its northern half began c.1800, including what is now Waterloo Region. This land has been the territory of the Neutral, Anishnaabe and Haudenosaunee peoples since time immemorial. The Mary Allen Stories blog acknowledges this historical context and ongoing reality. Find out more, including more about treaties, in the sidebar under INDIGENOUS LINKS.

The Making of Mary Allen Park, Part 2

  written and researched by Deb Ferguson The Mary Allen neighbourhood had waited years for the development of the southern end of the land at the corner of Allen and Willow streets. Improvements had been made at the other end of the plot, closer to the train tracks, but residents were becoming cynical and thinking that maybe this change would never happen (see The Making of Mary Allen Park, Part 1 ). Click to enlarge. In 2012, the corner of Allen and Willow streets, adjacent to the first phase of Mary Allen Park. In 2010, when Melissa Durrell was knocking on doors during her bid for the job of Waterloo City Councillor for Ward 7, the question she heard most often was, “When can we get our new park?” So, once she was elected, one of her first priorities was to get started on the Mary Allen Park expansion. Politics, Public Input, and...yup, Parking (Again!) Councillor Durrell discovered that the Catholic School Board was interested in selling the land to the City, but it insisted that t

The Making of Mary Allen Park, Part 1

written and researched by Deb Ferguson I’m sitting at the harvest table in my park – Mary Allen Park. It’s right by my house, and, I’m guessing, close to the homes of most of the other people who are enjoying it right now. It is a great place to play and be active, meet with friends, or to throw a ball for the dog. This park serves as a place to burn off excess energy on the way home from school, as a meeting spot for some well-needed social time with other parents, and as a destination for seniors in the neighbourhood. It is a place for people to hang out, chat, or observe.    I t’s the centre of our neighbourhood and it gets a lot of use.       In front of me, and slightly to the right, are a variety of climbing areas, surrounded by older trees and newer bushes. There are large rocks and vertical logs to run across and balance on, a thick segment of a fallen tree trunk, a swing set, and a variety of climbers. In the distance, by the north entrance, are round metal bike racks,

House Stories: 39 George Street, Part 2

At the end of World War II the returning veterans were settling down, getting married, starting families, and that created a housing shortage across Canada.     As mentioned earlier, 39 George Street was sold by the original owner (the Snyders) to a partnership of Harold and Shirley Bordman, and his parents, Edward and Sylvia, in 1946.  The mansion was turned into 5 apartments.  After a year of renovations, in 1946 Harold, Shirley and their young daughter, Heather, moved into the main floor apartment on the east side.  Harold’s parents, Edward and Sylvia and their daughter, Marnie, moved in above them, and the other 3 units were rented out.   Marnie recalls growing up on George Street.  She was 8 when she moved in, after living on both Herbert and John Streets.  The neighbourhood was full of children.  Here are some of her recollections. Four-year-old Marnie Bordman in front of one of the houses at the foot of Herbert St. (near William), recently demolished. The community

House Stories: 39 George Street, Part 1 (orig. posted by M. Lee for author T. Siemens)

The Mary-Allen neighbourhood has several majestic houses, many of them on George Street.  You can download a walking tour of the neighbourhood at this link . One interesting house is 39 George Street.  It is a mirror image of a house at 50 Albert Street.  Both houses were constructed by Charles Moogk , Waterloo’s first Civic Engineer as well as an architect and a builder.   The Albert Street house was built in 1903 for Herbert Snyder of Snyder Brothers Company (furniture and upholstery), and 39 George was built for his brother, Alfred, in 1905.  (Their father, Simon Snyder, lived next door at 43 George Street).  Both houses are concrete wall construction, a new concept at the time.  Both cost around $7,000 to build.  39 George Street c.1940, constructed by Gharles Moogk and built for Alfred Snyder of Snyder Brothers Co. in 1905. In 1945 Edward Bordman and his son, Harold, bought 39 George Street.  Edward supplied the down payment by selling his home at 159 Herbert Street (n

What Was Here? Union, Moore and Mary

Today, Moore Avenue marks the informal edge of the Mary-Allen neighbourhood.  A century ago it was the very edge of town, and the land there, before it was developed, was put to an interesting and uncommon use... The earlier blog post  Who Were Mary and Allen?  introduced the Moores, whose name was given to Moore Avenue, and whose home stood at Union and Mary streets in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  ( Some images and details in this post come from Laura Wilford’s excellent Moore genealogy, located at the Kitchener Public Library:  Moore Lineage of North Dumfries Township: Unto This Land They Came .) Click to enlarge. The Italianate style George and Mary Moore family home, often referred to as "Hop Villa" in its heyday, stood on a large lot at the corner of Union and Mary Streets. Today, the site is occupied by the Richelieu Apartments. Reproduced from the publication  100 Years of Progress in Waterloo County, Canada: Semi-centennial Souvenir 1856-1906.    Image