- by Dennis Thompsett

The Goat Path is a rough little footpath from the classy end of my East Hill down to  Mudtown.

 It starts at 5th Avenue and 16th Street, between the Catholic Church parking lot and Mosquito Park. It comes out at 4th Avenue, about 1/3 the way up 15th street hill. And right on the ever busy downhill lane, too, Which  adds to it's goatiness.

The Goat Path has been a very popular short-cut for generations. It's the quickest way to get down the hill. But that convenience comes at a price. Like all old short-cuts, the Goat Path was never planned. It just evolved. So it's dark, dank and dangerous.

It starts off seductively with a gentle incline as you'd expect in the better part of town then suddenly civilization ends and you find yourself at the edge of a deep ravine on a curve that, because of the tree cover, is always dark. Before you know it you come out of that curve onto a very steep section that puts you out, quickly and rather rudely, right into the down lane of 15th street hill, one of the busiest streets in town. No lights at night. No sidewalk. No refuge from the traffic.

There used to be a rope on one of those tall trees so a screaming chimpanzee like me could swing down from Mosquito Park right onto the Goat Path and scare the bejesus out of you.  Luckily it was close to the Church so you could get Him back.

Of course when you've done your shady business below the hill, you'd  have to climb back up again to a better place.

Well come on. It is better up on the hill. Everyone knows it, but no-one will say it out loud. However some things in Owen Sound we just take to be self evident: The OSCVI was always a better high school than West Hill. The East side was always better than the west side. And up the hill always better than below the hill.

These are not new ideas. Years ago, in the Dark Ages,  so the story goes, one grumpy East Hillager staggered down the Goat Path and found himself immediately splashed from a passing truck. He was cursing all things below the hill, loudly and colourfully.

By strange coincidence that only happens in stories like this,  the Mayor and his entourage was passing by and could not let this stand. "Good Sir" he said, not meaning a word of it. "Down here we have factories and make products sold all over the world. What do you make up on your bleak and stony hill?", he smirked.

The East Hillager took a look at the Mayor and his flunkies and said: "Men and women, Mr. Mayor. We make men and women."

All East Hillagers agree - still true today. 

Photo: John A MacDonald


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