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A stroll down memory lane at Spruceland

It’s funny, sometimes, what can trigger a memory, especially when you have to do some real searching in the memory banks to recall what it’s all about.

I had that happen last week when I was doing some shopping at Spruceland Shopping Centre. I was walking up the sidewalk from one store to another, and I happened to glance down and see a red, dotted line on the sidewalk, running from the parking lot to the storefront.

I doubt if one person in a hundred at Spruceland that day saw the line, and I’m sure an even smaller number knew what it represented.

That line was one of a number put down by the supermarket at the north end of the mall. I can’t remember if it was still Overwaitea at that time or if it had already become a Save-On Foods.

I didn’t take the time to go to the back parking lot at that end of the shopping, and I don’[t think I would have been able to see anything under the snow, but I know there were similar lines back there as well.

They were put in to deter shopping-cart thefts. Each cart, as I recall, had a little device on it that would lock the wheels if you tried to take it too far away from the store.

The distance was enough to cover most of the parking lot in front of the store as well as south down the parking lot for some distance. It included the back parking lot because at that time a lot of people used the back lot and walked through a narrow passage between the supermarket and the rest of the mall.

As I remembered that, I also remembered how much Spruceland had changed since our family moved in the mid-1960s.

The one grocery store has always been there, either as Overwaitea or Save-On Foods, and there was a Safeway at the other end of the strip. Pretty well right in the middle was a Stedman’s department store.

Some years later, a movie theatre was added at the south end, just past the Safeway.

A lot of stores have come and gone at Spruceland over the years. It would be fun to try and find a ‘map’ of what stores were there when it opened and see how much has changed.

Some of the stores moved to other locations; others had a second location open and then the one at Spruceland closed; still others simply closed.

A lot of memories brought back by a simple line on the sidewalk.

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