The following submission appeared in “We Are Newton: A Neighbourhood Anthology.” See here for more information about the project.
By: Norm Bain
I came to Newton in 1957 with my wife and daughter seeking a new beginning, a new experience and have lived in this fine community ever since. Being immigrants, like many others, we found the people to be friendly, helpful and a joy to associate with as we were welcomed into the neighbourhood with open arms.
We started off in a tar-paper shack, rent free. We kept it warm during the winter while the owners were away, and we moved into a rental when they came back. We had a party line and had to wait until one of the other parties got off the phone to make a call. We were charged an extra 10 cents for a call if it was to another exchange even if we called a friend who lived across the street; for example, from Newton Exchange to Cloverdale Exchange.
We eventually bought our own home and settled down to raise our family. Life was a lot simpler in those days. One could even go shopping in Newton Plaza for groceries and leave the house unlocked without fear that someone would break in while you were gone. No one locked their doors; you could forget to take the keys out of the car and it would still be there when you got back.
There have been many changes over the years, both in the landscape and the people. The landscape has changed the most, I think, going from farmers’ fields to high density dwellings, with urban sprawl encroaching at a steady pace as more people arrive seeking the best place to put down their roots.
I can still remember looking out the kitchen window and seeing a foal being born in the field just below our house, truly an amazing feat of nature. There were deer, pheasants and all manner of birds to grace the landscape, all gone now and replaced by condos, but that is progress I guess.
I know, if I am not satisfied why don’t I move to the country again? I will tell you why, because Newton is my home, and regardless of the news reports we hear almost daily of some crime or another perpetrated by persons known or unknown, this is still a great place to live. It is the majority of people who make it so. The ones who go about their daily lives contributing to the community, working and playing where they live. Even if work takes them to a different area they still come home to Newton at the end of the day. These are the people who make this a town where you want to put down roots and raise your children, the ones who welcome you with open arms. They are the very heart of Newton, a heart that is beating as strong as it ever did.