Imagine a pond at the corner of Vining and Stanley, black cottonwoods spreading their honeyed scent, bigleaf maples flying their leaves like hands stretched to the sky.
Rock Bay Creek rose here at the former Harris Pond and still flows into Rock Bay. In the early years, settlers skated on the iced-over pond. In summer, they used it as a bathing hole. The pond and the nearby springs provided drinking water for the fur trading fort, established in 1843, and the city that sprang up around it. The water was transported to the fort in barrels.
Around 1889, the pond was filled in and the creek was run through a brick culvert three metres or ten feet below ground.
The springs are still there, bubbling up in people's backyards, and rippling down neighbourhood streets, reminding us of the power of water, giving life to every living thing.