August 28, 2004
Saying goodbye to the Hart House
By BRET HART
Yesterday was just another day for most people but it was a monumental occasion for the Hart family. Believe it or not, to the best of my knowledge, yesterday was the first time in the entire history of the Hart house the doors were ever locked.
No one even knew where the keys were -- or if there ever were any. The doors had always been open to all comers.
And the phone number that had been listed for all these years is now disconnected.
What a strange feeling.
My way of saying goodbye was to simply ride by on my bike, the way I've done since I was small. A flood of memories came over me.
I remember staring up at big husky behemoths quenching their thirsts with my dad's homemade beer after tussling for hours in the not-yet-infamous dungeon. Some would be sprawled out on the grass but most sat on the stone steps that led to the dungeon. My brothers and I would often split up into teams for tackle football with some of the wrestlers joining in.
I remember waking up to a boarding-house atmosphere as busy as an ant hive. Hart kids everywhere. There was one time, when I was about five years old, that I got chewed out by my mom and dad for something. I sulked for a little while and finally made the decision to run away from home.
I wandered into the kitchen and chopped off a hunk of cheddar cheese with a butcher knife, grabbed myself a couple of huge red apples and wrapped it all up in a handkerchief. I think I even got one of my brothers to help me fasten the bundle to a broken tree branch. Then, I headed west.
I followed what was then called the old goat path that wound its way up past the CFCN tower. There wasn't much around there in those days, just a few houses scattered here and there. It was a warm summer day and I would have been wearing my hand-me-down hush puppies, brown shorts, a brown striped t-shirt and my prized Popeye sailor hat.
I wandered down the Old Banff Coach Road for what felt like miles, still brooding about getting into trouble in the first place. Finally, I sprawled out in a grassy field, not far from where COP is now.
Not long after, I decided running away wasn't such a good idea. I didn't want to worry my parents, so I headed home.
Yesterday, as I peddled away, I found myself humming the long and winding road, that leads to your door, will never disappear I've seen that road before, It always leads me here, lead me to you door. So much has changed. Houses fill the fields all the way past Fergusen's farm and they're making the Old Banff Coach Road into an expressway.
Hart House, well, she belongs to someone else now.
And I hear they're tearing the old Victoria Pavilion down next.