The day the moon swallowed Main St.

By  | September 30, 2011 | 13 Comments | Filed under: Local History

by Ruth-Anne McCauley

It was 1965, and it was not that late in the evening in Galt, Ontario. Fall had arrived the sun had set and the full moon was on the rise. Woolworths had one of their ninety nine cent sales, and the escalator ride had been as scary as ever. I had been walking down town and looking in the local shop windows before I realised how late it had gotten and the shops were all closed.

My family lived on the East side of Galt then, near Lincoln Park. The fastest way for me was to go up the hill past Dickey Stoyles and cut across over to Concession, grab some Chestnuts from two of the large chestnut trees for the next day of school (I was such a tomboy). I had my Mother’s darning needle and old shoelace all ready. My mind was working overtime on strategy on how I was going to beat the boys. My head was down, and I was avoiding the cracks, so ‘not to break my Mother’s back’.

The sky was that steel blue you see, just before it turns dark, still light enough for me to make it home as the lights were going on, well maybe I had better hurry. I looked up as I started to approach the Main Street hill. There in all its splendour was the Full Moon, not just any Full Moon, but hill swallowing, fire burning, shimmering Full Moon. Now if you lived in Galt and ever walked that street at night on a fall night you know what I am writing about. I felt I was walking into the Moon; better than that epic moon later to be shown in E.T. much better, and only in our town of Galt.

The splendour in Fall only to be matched by the many oak, chestnut, and maple trees lining our street, turning the Fall colors, the arched bridges, the magnificent churches, Central always being my favourite of course and the Grand River rolling through our town. Always a hill and a dale balanced by architecture I was so fortunate.

Although I know the scenery has changed somewhat. The Park up top has allowed some semblance of consistency. I hope one day I can take a picture of that very scene so it will always be a vision I can share with others. It still keeps the town of Galt in my memory, as I watched it grow beyond and amalgamate into Cambridge with Preston and Hespler. Galt was really never that small, when I think of it, but we walked it all in the 60, 70s and even some of the 80s. I will never forget that Moon that swallowed Main Street Hill.


Born in Kitchener/Waterloo 1957. Moved to Galt at the age of six. Attended Stewart Ave, Highland Public, St. Andrews, and Southwood Highschool. A resident of Galt Cambridge, all my life, I have for the past six months lived in Arthur and keep in contact with friends and family via Facebook and The Citizen which I extremely enjoy. I have a Business Administration Diploma with Social Psychology and Materials Management through Conestoga College. I served on The Housing Board in the 90s for Cambridge Housing Acting together, took abuse support courses, and volunteered on the Board of Directors for a single parent organiations for over ten years called Parent's without Partners before me remarriage 2000 raising two sons on my own for over seventeen years, in Cambridge Galt. I have experience and education in abuse support, A.D.D. and A.D.H.D. and youth support. My hobbies until my physical limitations kicked in were hobby farming and horses. I have raised, bred, imprinted, trained, and broke horses as well as worked professionally has a horse trainer. I also had a kennel for several years raising German Shepherds. For the past seven years of my live I had been facilitating my parents through their sickness and death, and dealing with the reprecussions of physical and mental stress of being a facilitator. Currently I am introducing my self slowly back into the grind and hoping to obtain a form of employment I can also enjoy for the rest of my employable days while utilizing all my scholastic, experience, and sharable skills. I love to write, something my Father always encouraged.

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13 Responses to The day the moon swallowed Main St.

  1. Jimm Hillis September 28, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Wonderful story, thank you for contributing this and I am sure we all look forward to story’s like this in the future.

  2. Allan Dettweiler September 28, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    A story with not a thing to do with the el……..
    I better not pee Jimm off.
    Thank you Ruth-Anne for the reminder of playing chestnuts. I had forgotten about chestnuts – and marbles.
    You know, I would kind of like to do that again… maybe put a little money on the game.
    Over a number of beers.
    Gotta see if my secret chestnut trees are still around.

  3. Allan Dettweiler September 28, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    Maybe we could start the annual Chestnut festival in Cambridge.
    We could play chestnuts and drink beer while the Krauts up the road in Kitchener are eatng schnitzel and drinking beer.
    I’m sure it would bring gazillions of dollars into Cambridge.

  4. Jimm Hillis September 28, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    I like your thinking there Allan, maybe we can rent out the Drayton Theatre for our round robin elimination tourneys.

  5. Allan Dettweiler September 28, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    I’m holding back on saying some things that might not be befitting of a Candidate. Oh, it’s tough!

  6. Allan Dettweiler September 28, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    The First Annual Chestnut Festval.
    Sponsored by the Cambridge Citizen.
    When are the nuts ready?

  7. Sandra Hill September 28, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    I can remember living in Galt – just a little girl when the grand river flooded in 1974 – Central School was my first and favorite school – I learned to play sports, got in my first fight, and worn my first long gown when I graduated which still today I still have.

    Dickson Arena was the hot spot for rolling skating.

    Yes I have to agree I miss those chestnuts too

  8. Ruth-Anne McCauley September 29, 2011 at 9:41 am

    haha remember how you would put the holes in the chestnuts and freeze them in the freezer before the game 🙂

  9. Ruth-Anne McCauley September 29, 2011 at 9:42 am

    was that cheating we all did it, so I don’t think so, is that keeping up with the election theme, oops sorry *smirk*

  10. Scot Ferguson-Barber September 29, 2011 at 9:48 am

    We had a huge chestnut tree right in our front yard growing up, it was great.

  11. Scot Ferguson-Barber September 29, 2011 at 9:50 am

    …not that I’ve grown up:)

  12. Allan Dettweiler September 29, 2011 at 9:52 am

    We used to bake our chestnuts to make them harder.

  13. Trevor Roach February 13, 2012 at 9:20 am

    I moved from Saskatchewan to Galt at the beginning of grade four, and went to Highland School for the first two years. The chestnut game was new to me, but I caught on quick to where to find the best ones in the neighbourhood. It was all in the wrist, and what tree you obtained the chestnut from. I soon became a champion at the sport, to the chagrin of the local kids, and I never froze mine ( cheaters!!!). I’m now living back in Saskatchewan, but miss that beautiful city of days gone by. It was a great place to spend my youth.

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