I looked at the spot where there stood an active train station fifty years ago. Today, this spot boasts a fence and a small park. How this town has changed, I thought silently. Even though I grew up in this town, I had never before noticed the subtle changes that were occurring around me.
Even though the train station was before my time, I still marvel at the thought of what it must have been like to see Petitcodiac as it was in another time. But I all I have to do, is look at it now because I am looking at it in another time.
The local library is now in the basement of the Masonic Hall. The building that housed the library is now call center – home to the central reservations office of the Morgans Hotel Group (A group of hotels owned by Ian Schrager, the man who co-owned the legendary Studio 54). Imagine that in our little town!
The local department store was rebuilt thirteen years ago after it was consumed by fire (a Halloween prank turned arson). The local grocery store recently merged with a nationwide chain of grocers.
Just three years ago, our police force was discontinued. They are now dispatched from a town twenty-five miles away. However, there is talk of bringing them back to a new headquarters on Main Street.
The drugstore has moved and expanded their location. Because of this, our furniture and home appliance store is no more. This move paved the way for the new location of 10,000 Villages, a small fair trade shop home to arts, crafts, and food from countries the world over.
The Irving’s built a new gas station just off the highway, and is home to the only Subway within thirty miles. They also financed the construction a park and trail behind the high school. It was done in celebration of the school’s expansion seven years ago, making it a kindergarten to Grade 12 school. The local pool was renovated six years ago, the first upgrade since it was built in 1972. The water safety program I taught during my summer as I lifeguard/instructor was different from the one I myself learned as a child.
I remember when the field up my street was just that – a cornfield. Now, it is a high-end sub-division. The long journey down Renfrew Street used to give direct access to the Trans-Canada highway. Nine years ago, a new highway bypassed this section of the highway, and now, there is about a kilometer of unused road that is a dead end. It is quickly becoming a place where some are building homes, while privately owned businesses are relocating to this area of deserted land. Not to mention that Petitcodiac now has a fitness center, a bar, and access center, and two new apartment complexes.
In all of my twenty years as a resident here, these changes have transformed the small community into a more diverse and modern place to life. Still, I can’t help but wonder how those who lived in the days of Petitcodiac’s train station would react of they could see it today.