My first time ever at the racetrack was a very, very reluctant one. It was August 1983.Now, I will backtrack a sec. I grew up in Montreal until I was 13. I also lived on one side of town, Laval, while my Grandmother lived on the other side of town, which was close to downtown, but a neighborhood within that. In between, you had to take the Jacques Cartier bridge to get there.
|Jacques Cartier bridge at sundown.|
I spent much of my youth at my grandmothers house. At least the days, and even slept there many nights. So, it was a trip I made thousands of times.
I remember that bridge because I passed over it so many times. Once past that part, you went through various parts. I don't remember anything else on that trip other than one thing. No, two things.
|The big Orange dome from the Orange Julep stand.|
First, there was a big Orange Julep. You had to see it to understand how significant it was. If I was with the right relative on those drives, we always got to stop at the Orange Julep and get a big Julep and very greasy, great fries. Both freshly made on the premises. With lots of ketchup I might add. (I love ketchup and always have).
|The big Blue Bonnets sign I passed on the corner. When the races were on, there was a light on the arrow part that guided you into the track.|
The other thing I remember was passing Blue Bonnets Raceway. They had a big neon sign out near the street and what looked like a long driveway into the racetrack. There was a very long stoplight at that intersection, and you could see the sign with the arrow on it very clearly. At night, it glowed.
I used to watch Citypulse News religiously, and one of the Sports reporters and anchors, Peter Gross, would show a stretch call from the nights races. I was much more interested in the baseball or hockey scores, but I did find it somewhat interesting. If you know anything about Peter Gross, he was a racetrack regular and probably bet too much for his own good. But, he did have character and made it sound somehow romantic. That still wasn't enough to get me to go, but it was in the back of my mind.
|The Golden Star. It was only 5 minutes from school, and a lot of us skipped school and hung out there for lunch many a day.|
The racetrack was off the lake, downtown, and we lived north in the suburbs. So, he drove his newly bought Black Camaro down the Don Valley Parkway and we arrived at the track.
|The very first race I ever witnessed and bet on. Mark of Smog, he 7 horse.|