The Milk Run: Alfred Bobinski's memories of Park Ex

Post date: Apr 04, 2013 8:43:35 PM

Door-to-door milk delivery was Joe Bobinski's business.

In the 1930s, the north end of Montreal's Park Avenue was mostly undeveloped fields. Joe Bobinski and his wife Mary kept a few cows on land where the Rockland Shopping Centre sits today, and began selling fresh milk to their Polish neighbours and other immigrant families who had begun settling the Park Extension district in the early 1900s.

Eighty-nine year old Alfred Bobinski, the third of Joe and Mary's four sons, was 16 in 1940 when new rules prohibiting the sale of raw milk forced his family to sell their livestock. They bought a small delivery truck and carried on as jobbers for a pasteurized milk factory and bottling plant.

It was Hitler's invasion of Poland that stirred Alfred to enlist in the Navy as a boy sailor in 1943. He would go on to serve in the engine room of the HMCS Rivière du Loup, a corvette that escorted convoys of essential supplies from Canada to Great Britain.

He speaks to the oral history project StoryNet about growing up in Park Ex, his memories of terrifying North Atlantic crossings and the German U-Boat that got away. Download the audio file to your computer to listen to it.

Note: Alfred Bobinksi passed away peacefully March 9, 2016. He was predeceased by his wife Sophie Zmarlak. Survived by his two daughters Barbara (Zdenek) and Dianne (Mike), five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. See his obituary, and sign his guestbook, here: