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Page Index of A History of Portage la Praire
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Thousands of children and adults have learned to swim since 1949. A person needs only to stop for a moment> on an afternoon in the summertime, and hear the happy, healthy squeals of excitement and joy emitting from scores of children, to realize what a wonderful contribution the Lions have made to the city.
CRESCENT LAKE AND ISLAND PARK
The lovely lake and Island Park, as you see them today, are products of the imagination of several pioneers.
Maybe it was R. Hill who was responsible for sparking their imagination by renting two or three boats to rowing enthusiasts in the summer of 1892, and .incrcasing the number for hire the following year.
The Weekly Review of July 27, 1892, said, (CIt is not generally known that there are three splendid stretches of clear water where one's rowing powers can be tested quite enough to satisfy even the most boastful. Boating on the Slough is now a favorite pastime with many of the young folks".
When this spot took on the unglamorous name of "Slough" is uncertain. Stories by early settlers indicate that there was a con siderable amount of water in it in their time. It certainly wasn't a place of deep mud or mire, that we associate with the word "slough'>, back in 1874 when children were going from the mainland to the school on the Island in canoes. However, it is true that as time went on the name became more applicable to it.
The gradual drying-up process left holes of mud and mire where the water had been deep, and excellent hay-land in the shallower areas. T. W. Boddy, H. Ogletree, vV. M. Smith, W. Dunsmore, Nicholas Garland, Alex Mcl.ean, W. J. Cooper, Jos. Martin and the H. B. Co. were some of the owners of Slough bottom property that "vas producing this valuable commodity.
On the Island, by 1896, there were park grounds and those of the Agricultural Exhibition Society and Turf Club including a large Exhibition Building; well appointed livestock stables; especially con structed racehorse stables; a big grandstand; attractive and appropri ately arranged athletic grounds, and the fastest half-mile oval race track in Canada. These features were probably conducive to popular izing the town of Portage la Prairie at that time. A paper of that da te said, "A larger number of excursionists have visi ted Portage this season than at any other point in the West",