Sherwood Park 50 years
February 7, 2007
We often hear children complain, "There's nothing to do!" It makes one wonder what there was to do for the children who arrived in Sherwood Park with their families in the first years of the community, when there were only houses, a small school and a small store - no recreation facilities or programs or sports leagues!
There were, however, lots of kids to play with and new ones arriving monthly!
For most kids, it was "make your own fun" including picnicking; camping in the trees and skating on the slough where Sherwood Heights school now stands; and tobogganing and skiing on a hill that is now the 13th fairway of the Broadmoor Golf Course. Darik Johnson moved to Conifer Street with his family in February 1956. He remembers playing hide and seek with as many as 20 kids hiding in and around the yards in the evening. They would also explore the area. He recalls a farmer's field at the end of Birch Street where they weren't allowed to go, "but every once in a while you'd go out and explore if the farmer had his bales out. You'd see how far you could go and not get in trouble!" Bike riding was also a popular activity. Darik and his friends would ride down through farmland to the corner of Broadmoor Boulevard and Baseline Road ? the boundary of how far they were allowed to ride.
One of the reasons Kay and Walter Saunders moved to Sherwood Park in March 1956 was because their son Dale wanted a horse. He boarded Jewel at a farm owned by the local MLA, Alf Hooke. Darik Johnson's brother also had a horse and he remembers it being tied to the fence while his brother came in the house for dinner!
Walter Saunders used to go duck hunting with his son at a slough behind where the community hall is now located. They also went snowmobiling just east of Sherwood Drive, but as the community was built up, they had to move further out into the country.
In the early years, Venice Harris' husband and some of the other neighbourhood men built a skating rink at the corner of Alder and Hawthorne. After the Community League was formed, the construction of skating rinks became an annual occurrence.
Eileen Johnson's husband Ralph started the first Scout group with Jack Adams as the leader. Venice Harris and Mary Thompson were the cub mothers. To raise funds for the first Baden Powell Supper, they made hand-dipped chocolates in Mrs. Harris' basement. With several men taking turns stirring the fondant, they made enough chocolates to pay for the supper.
As the community grew, there was a growth in organized children's activities too: hockey, baseball, figure skating, dancing lessons, playschool, Saturday movies at the Community Hall, and bus-to-swim in Edmonton were some of these early activities.