The scene highlighted above is the Peace Bridge. It is a free standing structure that spans the Niagara River and joins the City of Buffalo, New York with the Town of Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada.
For more information please visit: PEACE BRIDGE
GOING OVER THE BRIDGE
Back in the day, before Homeland Security and terrorist threats, crossing the bridge into Canada was an afterthought. It was a trek we made on a weekly basis. And we were just kids.
Growing up on the border with out great Canadian neighbors, we were exposed early to the game of hockey. A good pair of “rabbit ears” could squeeze the signal for CHCH-TV (Channel 11 around the Buff) and a chance to view CFL (Canadian Football League) games and curling on Saturday afternoons. But the kids up and down the street would congregate to whose ever house had the best reception to catch the Maple Leafs playing hockey at Maple Leaf Garden in Toronto. Buffalo had a minor league hockey team, the Buffalo Bisons who had served as an affiliate to the Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers and the storied Montreal Canadiens over the years. We made the game our popular favorite long before we would land our own NHL team (Buffalo Sabres)
It stood to reason that having caught the “bug” that we would attempt to imitate our hockey heroes. A bunch of American kids with little equipment available to them, but a load of frozen creek to make our rink. We wanted to play hockey. Pond hockey was fun, providing an all day escape in the clear, crisp frozen air that graced Western New York when late November came to call.
But somehow, even that wasn’t enough. We needed an actual ice rink to play upon. Not many facilities in the area in those days, so our obvious solution was north of the border, across the bridge. 3 AM we loaded a few cars of the older guys who could drive and with our make shift pads and rusted skates, we would pool our little cash from a paper route, of grass cutting (a few of the older guys had jobs) and we would rent an hour of ice time in Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada.
The Peace Bridge was more than a crossing over the Niagara River, more than a portal into Canada. It was a lifeline to the game we loved. Early morning across the bridge.