across the street from the millcanada 2016 – july(6)
click to read the canada 2016 posts


This morning I walked the neighborhood south of Wallace Terrace. When I was living here back in the early 60s, it was full of Polish immigrants. The elementary school in the neighborhood was St. Stanislaus. Like St. Veronica’s, the grammar school Frank, Ron and I went to, is was made over in the 1970’s with a new skin and modern lines and like St. Veronica’s the building is now abandoned and graffiti covered. The thousands that filled these Catholic schools have all left. (In the 1970s the Soo reached 90,000. But when the steel industry went to China and South America, the immigrants stopped coming and the population dropped to 75,000. It has never seen an increase again.)

I don’t remember walking these streets before. Back then, there was no reason to go below Wallace Terrace. We had our neighborhood and they had theirs. The only Polish person I knew from this part of town – Jerry Obierski – I met in high-school.

Today the area is a mix of old Italians and Polish Canadians and families who have fallen through the social safety-net. The houses in the above image are almost derelict, but still have people living in them. They are across from mill Gate #3. It’s the Canadian version of the left-over, 1940’s mill-towns that dot the Western Pennsylvania landscape.