06 May 2013

Fifty Years of Walking Around Belleville - Part 3

Saturday May 4th 2013

The second walk, Back Side for Your Backside, was an accessible fitness trip following the Riverfront Trail along the Moira River.

Led by fitness expert Ashton Calnan, geologist Hannah Chittenden, and BDIA executive director Sarah Tummon, around 50 participants explored downtown's back side the buildings on the west side of Front Street and the east side of Coleman Street.

Guest speakers included the Greenleys, erstwhile booksellers, and Shane Ross, owner of The Old Firehouse restaurant, who discussed the history of their buildings.  Lots of stories, including how the former Eddie Thomas Cigar Store (now Earl & Angelo's) hosted a 30-year-long gambling game on the second floor.  Police department insiders would tip off the gaming room in advance of any police raids.  Two house rules: answer phone calls immediately, and don’t spit on the floor.

As the leaders wrapped up the Walk, one participant declared it to be “fabulous, nobody wanted it to end.”
And another observed, “History and fitness, life doesn’t get any better!”

Story: Nick White & Anthea Weese; photos Marianne Scott.

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