During the holidays there was always a regatta with a varied program of rowing, log-rolling, paddling, swimming and diving contests arranged to suit all ages. The boys and girls cheerfully cooperated by soliciting small articles for prizes from merchants, and by selling regatta programs at a small fee. The proceeds went into a fund to build a cribwork across the Canal at South Street. Men and women of the neighborhood lent their efforts and arranged the details.
Later, much of the work was done on a reciprocal basis with the children. Those who worked for a certain length of time were permitted to paddle on the rafts for double that time. Seldom did a youngster work longer than t§n minutes. Labor was never enforced. My usual method with juveniles was to apply the Tom Sawyer psychology. The mere suggestion that the pickaxe, or the shovel, was too heavy for a boy handle, generally resulted in his pleading for the job. By this artifice many of the sturdy trees now flourishing ail the way from Wentworth to Dundas Street, were set out as young saplings.
Another effective practice at Wentworth Park was to bestow every tree, bush, shrub, even a single dahlia plant, upon a particular boy or girl who assumed responsibility for its cares. It was surprising and amusing to hear one youngster reprimand another for meddling with “my flower bed”. Under such constant surveillance, the vegetation thrived.
In winter, the Wentworth Park space is used by children to play with their sleds, or to make snowmen. The area is limited, but larger than most backyards. The grown-ups coast down the steep bank of the Canal, taking a chance on the open water below. Ice in the stream makes a good skating surface if the weather keeps consistently cold. Otherwise, it is ruined by tidal movements. Had funds been available our intention was to erect a four-foot height of concrete wall across the cribwork at South Street, so as to preserve a certain depth of water at all times for boating in summer and for skating in winter.