Lambton Heritage Museum
Grand Bend, Ontario

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Grand Bend - Our Stories, Our Voice
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The big day of celebration at the Bend was July 1, the one summer holiday which farmers, villagers and townsfolk alike observed. Early in the morning they began converging on Grand Bend from near and far in buggies and democrats, but in my boyhood seldom in cars. They were decked out in their Sunday best and they always brought huge picnic hampers with them. As boys we loved to watch all this and share in the excitement, but to our parents and other summer residents these farm visitors were about as welcome as the plagues of Egypt. They had little respect for private property; they tethered their horses to our trees and unless we took preventive measures they would spread their picnic lunches right under our noses. We had to rope off our lot with stout clothes lines, but even then they trespassed. Mother would always let them use our pump if they asked permission, but woe to those who boldly marched up to our back door and started pumping without so much as "by your leave"! Horses whinnied and soiled the ground, the few public privies soon became a menace to public health, and late night revellers robbed us of sleep. But every year we looked forward to joining the crowds on Dominion Day.

The beaches were a veritable swarm of people all day long and all evening as well in the most incredible variety of bathing costume from the striped suits and bloomers with sailor blouses of the nineties to "Annette Kellerman" one-piece suits, then considered very daring indeed. Men never exposed their torsos; the day of swimming trunks and bare chests was yet to be.

 

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