Roger Gardiner

9 Grosvenor Street

Huron College stood on the south-west corner of St. George and Grosvenor Streets from 1863 to 1951. In 1951, Roger Gardiner was playing near the buildings after they were abandoned and before they were demolished. One day, he tried a door, slipped inside, and wandered its long corridors. Inside, he found two abandoned 19th-century books and an opportunity for mischief.


In the following story the narrator, Roger Gardiner, tells a story about wandering the halls of the old Huron College whose campus sat to the west of St. George Street between St. James and Grosvenor.


All I remember were fairly wide yellow brick buildings and maybe one of them had an open—I don’t want to call it a cloister—but a long open porch along one side of it. Huron moved out of that campus in—was in 51?—and it would be in that period that I would have been in high school, and it would have had to do with my tending to hang out along the river and down towards Gibbons Park.

I can remember being down there in the evening at some point, building a little fire and cooking beans in a can over—over the fire or something like that. So that whole area would have been much more rough and tumble, with the back-end of the Huron College campus just sort of merging with the slope that goes down to the river.

But that area, while it was secluded, was still open, and that’s why I would have strayed up onto the campus and wandered around through these buildings, and realized, well, there’s nobody here!

And so you know, one thing leads to another, and so you try a door, it’s unlocked, you wander through the buildings’ long hallways, and bedrooms, and various rooms that just didn’t register what that would have quite all have been about—because I hadn’t been to university at that point. And on one occasion I was in there with my bow-and-arrow, and shot out—as I said—shot a transom out of a window, out of sheer mischief.

But then I found a couple of abandoned books—late 19th century or middle 19th century—and as I recall they were books of poetry or something like that, that somebody hadn’t felt strongly enough about preserving. They had been left behind, and I cadged them and took them home. I was still a poor kid at that time!


If you’d like to hear more stories from the Great Talbot area, walk along St. James Street and look for the orange Hear, Here sign.