Remembers Sylvan as small town with not too many rules — in the ’90s

I’ve enjoyed reading the stories from the past and seeing the old archive photos in the paper.

Dear Editor,

I’ve enjoyed reading the stories from the past and seeing the old archive photos in the paper.

As I walk my dog around town, I’m constantly barraged with memories from the past, a past where Sylvan Lake was a little town. Perhaps a past that is filled with memories of my own coming of age, as a single young woman living in Sylvan Lake. A woman, who became a first time home owner, a wife and then a mother. Now I’m middle aged and while my kids are in school, I walk the dog and memories flood back.

I thought I would share some more recent nostalgia from a not so distant past. I moved to Sylvan Lake in 1990. I believe the population was around 4,500. I remember when Red Onion on Lakeshore was the go-to place to grab a great pizza! Of course, Obee’s too, since they have been around forever.

Do you remember the bakery on Main Street? A wonderful place to go on a Saturday morning to grab some fresh bread and a tasty treat.

I remember when Cobb’s was the only grocery store in town. There was a small mini-mart across the street as well, but Cobb’s was the place to go to do your main shopping.  In doing so, a person would run into many friends and neighbours.

In 1990, there was no Fox Run, or Lakeway Landing, not even Hewlett Park! I remember going to the meat shop (now Frontline Worship Centre) to select a nice steak (don’t forget to get a pig’s ear for the dog).

My first house was a little cabin on 50th Avenue (locally referred to as Railroad Avenue) across from Dairy Queen. It is now home to Sylvan Lake Travel Agency and Everything H20.

In the summer, when backdoors and windows were open, I could hear people placing their order at the drive through at Dairy Queen. In fact, my boyfriend (now husband), would quickly run over there during a commercial, grab us a tasty treat and be back in time for the show to start. This was before you could pause live TV.

We remember the Sylvan Hotel on the corner of Lakeshore and Centennial. We called it “the yellow bar”. Many fun times with friends occurred at the yellow bar.

I remember when the library was at the town office. In fact, I remember when the new library was being built as we would take our nightly walk with our baby and survey the progress.

Do you remember having to go into Red Deer to watch a movie? Or go swimming or to Walmart?

We loved going to True Value Hardware on a Saturday to get things we needed for the never ending project of home repairs. They always knew what we wanted or where to find it.

The “red” playground as we affectionately called it (Centennial Park). This was even before it was newly built, the old wooden style.

We remember the Farmers’ Market down on the grass by the red playground. It was great to grab some mini donuts or a treat and take the kids over to the red playground to play.

Do you remember the old trampolines that used to be where the old Smuggler’s is? That was a fun time.

And yes, the beach had lots and lots of sand. Back in those days, when the kids were little, the beach became a moms/tots playground around 10 a.m. until about 1 p.m. in May and June before the summer crowd would appear.

Invariably, there would be the call for an ice cream treat. And Big Moo was always there to serve. Do you remember Mini-Moo? It was where the Lakers Pub/Grill is now. It was there for a short time.

These are just some of the memories that I have from what life was like for a young woman/mom in the ’90s/’00s in Sylvan Lake.

Maybe it is walking my dog that brings it forth, maybe it is nostalgia, maybe it’s just being a witness to so much change in such a short period of time, or maybe it’s just being a middle-aged woman with too much time on my hands to think.

I remember Sylvan Lake as a little town, with not too many rules, a place to have fun and be carefree.

Even though Sylvan Lake has grown, the quality of life here has not diminished. It’s just different. Although, I sometimes miss running into friends at the only grocery store in town. Everyone is scattered about, going to different places. But, as we all know, change is necessary to progress. It’s wonderful to be able to swim at our pool without having to go into Red Deer … or to see a movie at our local theatre, or take the family bowling.

I will, however, never forget the sleepy little town that I moved to in 1990. The town that my children will call their hometown.

Perhaps I need to walk my dog on a different path instead of memory lane.

Barbra Scott,

Sylvan Lake