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Richard Dowson Collection

Richard Dowson:
"Iím the middle child in the Dowson family and left Willowdale for a cattle ranch in Alberta in April 1959.

My older brother Johnís crowd hung out at the Willowdale Restaurant. We hung out at the Northway up near Kitch Cochraneís store. We were the younger brothers and sisters of the guys who hung out at the Willowdale Restaurant. Our group included Johnny and Jimmy Ryan, Galbraith, the Mundy brothers, Ronnie Burnell, Frank Heinz, Patrick Folkes and many more.

Like most Willowdale guys we also hung out Ďback at the Doní; delivered papers, worked at the Willow and at the bowling alley on Yonge near Princess. Most of my age group never went Earl Haig. We invaded Northern Vocational and spread Willowdale culture throughout North Toronto."

1. Al and John in the Model A - this was taken in the back yard of the Dowson house at 68 Parkview in 1958. Him and brother John Dowson had been out goofing around. Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge 2. This is Bill Dowson - the oldest of the Dowson kids - taken in Drumheller Alberta where he was the production manager of CJDV Radio. This was 1959

3. Johnny Ryan is the youngest Ryan and the brother or Nora Ryan. They lived on Norton Avenue just up from the Willow Theatre. I hung with Johnny and he visited here last March. He lives in Kelowna B.C. now. There were four kids - George who died in the spring of 2010 - Norma who was killed in a car accident - Jimmy who still lives in Beaverton and Johnny. Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge 4. Patrick Folkes and Richard James at 68 Parkview. It was our favourite activity on Saturday morning - hang out at Dowson's place and try and figure out what we would do on the weekend. Patrick live in Lion's Head and Richard James passed away in December 2010.

5. Patrick Folkes and Ray Harris - in 1958 - Ray married my sister Mary and they live in Richmond Hill. Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge 6. Patrick Folkes and Richard Dowson 1958

7. Ron Drury (Wick) lived up on Bing Avenue - second block in and worked at McLean Hunter Publishing until 1958 when he sold everything and bought a horse to ride out to Alberta. He left the riding stable in Richmond Hill in April 1958. He made it to Huntsville. He moved out to Alberta in June 1958. He worked for a number of years at the Black Creek Pioneer Village in Ontario and then retired to Elliot Lake where he lives today. Click to enlarge

Enlarged at right

Lots of memories there - and like Chuck I was impressed with the shot of Ron and did zero in on the old store at the end of the street. I always remember it as Stevenson's Red and White - when I was little it was just Stevenson's. I remember mom sitting me on the counter while she paid for the groceries and the huge ball of string on the ceiling used to tie the parcel. The post office was also in that building - at the back on the north side. The floors were dark wood planks. It was quite the day when the new post office, down the road on Yonge street was built. Then of course when the A & P grocery store was built on the east side of Yonge the Red and White closed. We should all write down our memories of old Willowdale and put them together for the library...might be quite interesting - and include the old Willowdale characters...those were the days when, if you hung around the streets with nothing to do and no place to go the cops would pick you up and use the VAG charge...vagrancy (sp?) Too bad they can't use that today. I worked for the Summons Office that was in the Police station and hated Monday mornings when all the VAGS were brought in to be processed in front of the Justice of the Peace...Memories! -Mary Dowson

Click to enlarge 8. Stella and Wm. C.H. Dowson (Dick) in 1958 in front of their house at 68 Parkview Avenue Willowdale.

9. John and Richard Dowson April 1957. Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge 10. James and Richard Dowson on the sidewalk running past the Northtown Shopping Centre - with the cemetery in the background - may bring back memories. .

11. 1957- Here's a photo of the mysterious Rick Carson taken at the same time at the Circle M Riding Stable He and brother John Dowson had been out goofing around. Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge 12. From Left to Right - Richard Dowson; Bob Boniface; Art Johnson; John Dowson - John's girlfriend of the time, Carol Robinson. This would have been the summer of 1957 and was taken at the Circle M riding stable. The photo was taken by Rick Carson - whose real name no one really ever knew. Going to the riding stable was a big activity in those days.

13. The next two are of Ron (Wick) Drury in front of the house at 68 Parkview in 1958. We worked together at MacLean Hunter Publishing on the night shift so after work went for a drive - stopped at that truck stop at Bond Head on the 400 for coffee - visited a few other places and were back in Willowdale for the sunrise. Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge 14. Wick carrying his saddle. At this point in 1958 he had bought the saddle down at Circle C Saddle Shop - I think out on Bloor West - way out and that was for the horse he intended to ride out to Alberta. He stopped by the house on Parkview - which was the thing to do - visit my mother and all the Dowson kids - show the saddle to everyone.

15. The next few are Wick screwing around cowboy style. We had been out rabbit hunting at the Star Camp at Bolton and after finding nothing to shoot and not wanting to shoot each other we just posed for weird pictures. Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge 16. More screwing around.

17. More screwing around. Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge 18.

19. At the park in Orilia - we were just screwing around which seemed to be a common activity for Willowdale people. Click to enlarge

   © 2005 John Dowson Webmaster: Russ Strathdee This page last updated: