I also swam from the concrete steps from the empty (at the time) dirt parking lot beside where Findlays was or swim to the dam from the little park near the Powerhouse, occasionally off the roof of the Powerhouse (over the strands of barbed wire) to the water in front).
The “new” bridge on Highway #7, but best of all was in the tunnel where the water was released to the river! There was a ledge to get there and the water 💦 was as filled with bubbles, the waterway was shallow (perhaps 5’ or so) but the aerated water pushed you to the surface and would carry you downstream hopefully as far as the railroad bridge depending on the depth of the river although there were many times when the river was only knee deep but we loved it anyway.
Most of these places were theoretically “off limits” and I can distinctly hear my Mom saying “if Wayne Robertson jumped off the #7 bridge does that mean you would too?” The answer of course was “yes” but I knew that was not the answer she was soliciting so I had to bite my tongue 👅 not to say it!
So no matter where you grew up, there was a rock or a log that you swam out to and caught your breath. Some would even tie a rope to a tree that sat on a river bank so you could swing out and drop into the water. I remember some of my friends jumping off bridges and having their Mother find out, and in reality we should have known better. But fear and danger was always at the back of my mind, so usually I stood by the sidelines.
I never crossed off number 5 on my bucket list of swimming to Alactraz, and honestly, swimming stopped being a thing to me after falling off the pier that day. But, it was definitely the film Jaws that made me never ever step into a body of water again. So what was my rite of passage? I’d like to think the movie Footloose was, and like Bob Seeger once sang that— I finally got to a higher ground. Or did I?
SMITHS FALLS, Ontario, Canada; Children’s swimming Rideau River 60s
The Old Swimming Hole in Perth–Perth Remembered
From Merrickville & District Historical Society — Back in 1915, Ina Bigford and Ruth McCaw sure did! These ladies are pictured here, in their swim suits at the Merrickville Dam (my, how styles have changed!). Ina Bigford would have been about seventeen years old when this photo was taken.
Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and Screamin’ Mamas (USA)