Valerie Minden

ValeriWhy did I move to Westdale? After living in Dundas 17 years, virtually my entire married life, I needed to find an affordable home that would accommodate my two teenaged boys and me. Their dad had chosen an apartment in the east part of Dundas, and I wished to disrupt their lives as little as possible. My older boy attended Westmount Secondary School and needed good access to city buses. My younger son, who attended Dundas District Middle School, needed to be near friends.

Dundas homes that met these requirements were selling above the asking price even before the “For Sale” signs were put up, so my agent directed me to the listings in the west end of Hamilton. The house we chose certainly turned out to be ideal. The street is home to a mixture of young families, those with teens,”empty- nesters,” and student houses. Having chosen to live close to Princess Point, not exactly next door to campus, the students seem to be mostly in their later years, as opposed to “frosh,” and are usually quiet and studious. In fact, they have been friendly, courteous, and helpful. Oh, there have been a few occasions of less-desirable behaviour, but these incidents can and do happen in any neighbourhood.

I grew up in the southwest part of the city and had friends who lived in Westdale. One of my sisters had spent most of her child-rearing years in a house on Bond Street, so I was familiar with the area. Once here, I was pleased to exchange my walks through the Carolinian forest of the Dundas Conservation Area near my former home for trails of the Royal Botanical Gardens and my strolls or bike rides along the Rail Trail in Dundas for the Bayfront Trail, which is well lit at night and much more used. Best of all, these former haunts, as well as the friends and neighbours of my former home, are just a short distance away.

I love being able to walk easily into the “village” and visit the library, coffee shops, cafés, pubs, the theatre, all the stores and services—so convenient!

Churchill Fields is one of the best park facilities to be found anywhere, and we love to skate on the rinks in the winter. My hockey-loving son can always find some buddies to join in friendly competition. Then, of course, there’s nature’s rink at Princess Point, with toboggan hills too! In addition to all this free activity, we have the Dalewood Recreation Centre and Coronation Rink and Pool in easy proximity. My younger son is now enjoying new friends at Westdale Secondary School, where he has the advantage of access to wonderful, unique,and diverse programs. There is also a great diversity of cultures and religions, in an atmosphere of learning, acceptance, and understanding. My older son is now enjoying his first year at McMaster and has been making good use of the transit system to get around from our house to the Mountain, to Dundas, and to campus—it is all close and convenient. Our neighbours have made us feel welcome and safe—what more could we want?

First published in the Spring 2005 newsletter, p. 6. Valerie Minden lived in Westdale North. She joined the AWWCA at the Westitalia event September 2004. Sadly, she passed away March 25, 2008.