You Really Can Go Back!

The story I had originally planned for this week will have to take a back seat for a while, because while I was doing some 'research' for last week's episode about that bicycle accident I had as a youngster, something fun turned up!

I had wanted to see how accurate my memories of the location of the accident were, so I used Google Maps to have a look at the place. It did indeed seem pretty much as I remembered it, but before leaving the map, I spent a bit of time 'having a look' around the old neighbourhood. I found that my old school had been torn down and replaced with a modern building, but most of the streets looked pretty much as they had back when we lived there.

I did notice that Google had made a mistake with the spelling of one street name; my paper route had been on Howe Street, but Google was displaying this as Home Street. Google made a mistake! Wow!

But before getting too cocky about discovering this, I thought it wise to check a bit further, and after some searching using both terms, found that - as you might expect - it wasn't the Google database that was at fault, but the one inside my head. It was indeed Home Street that I had walked up and down every day delivering newspapers. (I'm curious as to whether I was misreading it back in the day, or if I am only now misremembering it; I'll never know ...)

While I was doing the search for the two names though, a number of interesting newspaper stories popped up. Three of the houses on Home Street had recently burned down in what seemed to be an arson attack directed at a 'grow-op' house, there had been a stabbing at another house further up the street, and the police had been called to investigate some gun-play in the area ... All in all, it sounds as if my old neighbourhood - a wonderfully peaceful and family-friendly area - is not quite what it used to be.

After reading about the events on Home Street, I then typed in the name of the street on which our own house had been - Lipton Street. Oops! "Sister charged after woman stabbed on Lipton Street," was the leading entry. Yes indeed; moving away from there was clearly not a bad idea!

But I then noticed something else; right in the middle of the entries on the first page of Google results was an entry for our old house - 57 Lipton Street. And it was a video link!

It seems that real estate agents in Canada (and I assume other places too) are now using YouTube to give virtual guided tours of the properties they have for sale. Prospective buyers can sit at their computer and 'walk around' the homes, getting a basic feel for what each place is like. This is a great idea, and must be saving a lot of people a lot of time which would otherwise be wasted in viewing unsuitable properties.

So of course I clicked on the link, sat back, and enjoyed a five minute tour of the place in which I lived as a young teenager. It had been renovated a number of times in the 45 years since I last saw it, but the basic structure and layout was unchanged. There was the bedroom I shared with my brother, there was the sun room in which we played Monopoly with our friends, and even the old claw-foot bathtub was still there!

What a wonderful chance for a trip to the past!

I have to say, I think the current owners have awful taste in wallpaper and paint, but perhaps I am just being nostalgic!


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Posted by: Dave

Checking the associated real estate listing for the house, I found that it had been built in 1912, and this I find astonishing. Even though the wiring and plumbing has been renovated, the basic structure of the home is completely unchanged, and the wooden joists and framing are still there doing their job, after more than a century. In comparison, my Japanese wooden home has an expected life-span of about 30 years.


Posted by: Dave

And by request ... here are a couple of shots taken during our time there:


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