Karen Young

I always wanted to live in Westdale. I remember many times when I was attending McMaster University that I had dreams of a home in this community. Buying my little house on Barclay Street was a dream come true. I hope to stay here in Westdale for the rest of my life; I think it is one of the best places to live. I also have a lot of family history here in Westdale.

Karen Young in her back garden

My grandfather, Robert Johnson, worked for Mr. H. C. Nunn, who owned Halliday Company, which built some of the houses in the Westdale area. Eventually my grandfather was able to afford a Halliday home himself—at 27 Paisley Ave. N.

My grandparents moved in right after its completion on Sept. 3, 1939, which my grandfather remembered as the “day the war broke out.”They had lived in a rented apartment on Bold Street in Hamilton, where they paid $25 a month. My grandfather told me that the house and lot on Paisley cost them $4,971. He and my grandmother, Muriel Johnson, and their children, Pauline (my mother) and Robert (my uncle), lived in that house for several years. At the corner of Paisley and North Oval, across from Westdale United Church, it still is one of the many pretty houses around here.

The house then passed to my grandfather’s brother, Dr. Fred Johnson, a well-known pediatrician at McMaster University Hospital, and his wife, Helen. They lived in that house until the early 90s. My great uncle’s obituary notes that he was the former chief of obstetrics and gynecology at what was then Hamilton Civic Hospitals; he was on staff at McMaster University Medical Centre; was the first president, Chedoke–McMaster Hospital; first professor, first chair, and professor emeritus, obstetrics and gynecology, McMaster University. He died July 15, 2003, aged 93.

While my grandparents lived at 27 Paisley Ave. N., my mother started kindergarten at our local public school, George R. Allan, one of the beautiful historical schools in Hamilton. Now 75 years old, and living in Mississauga with my father, David Young, she has lovely memories of Westdale. My grandfather died in May 1999 at age 87. He really enjoyed knowing that I live in Westdale so close to his much-loved first home.

Karen Young has been an AWWCA member since 1999.

Karen Young, Autumn 09 newsletter, p3