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In 1931, the Poldens built a refreshment stand, with an attached screened-in tea room. All the cooking was done on a wood stove, which meant the extra work of stoking, and cleaning out ashes. Appreciation of their services was made evident by the hundreds of people who patronized their place during the summers, from 1931 to 1946 when they retired. Mrs. Polden catered to wedding parties during the winter of those years, in her home.

Robert Polden has passed away. Mrs. Pol den still resides in their home on the beautiful little Island that she loves.


When La Verendrye followed the Assiniboine westward he found the great grassy plains abounding with wildlife. The civilization that came later pushed back the buffalo and elk, leaving only the fields of grain. By 1896 the depletion of the wildlife had reached such a point that a group of farsighted citizens of Portage la Prairie set about to create a sanctuary of four square miles within the city limits. The wildfowl soon became aware of the protection offered here, and the unusual sight of wild ducks leading their broods across the lanes and over the lawns bordering Crescent Lake drew attention to all who were interested in wildlife. Soon farmers and hunters were bringing injured ducks and geese from neighboring fields and marshes. Fishermen on Lake Manitoba found crippled swans on the ice and brought these in as well; and here is where Jim Inglis came in, and performed an extra needed service.

He was a tall rugged Scot who had been trained as a gardener in his native land, had come to Canada in 1911, and made his living by his gardening ability and horticultural knowledge here. In 1927, as we have mentioned previously, he became custodian of the Park. While nursing wildfowl was not a requisite for obtaining this position it was, because of a deep and compassionate understanding of all wildlife, an extra duty that he assumed voluntarily. With skill and patience he nursed sick birds to health again, and from such a begin­ ning developed the free-winged flock of three species of geese. Thus it came to pass that Portage Island Park became the only city park in North America with a breeding flock of Canada, Snow and Blue Geese free to migra teo Each Spring they returned to build their nests near paths in the underbrush, and to settle down and raise their