Don Young has a lot of fond memories attached to the Temple Gardens Dance Hall when he lived in Moose Jaw from 1953 to 1958.
“I used to ride down North Hill on my bike and in the summer, the windows (of the hall) were open. They didn’t have air conditioning and I could hear the bands playing and it just fascinated me. I did play in the Moose Jaw Lions Band here. Little did I realize that in five years, I would be playing in Temple Gardens.”
From 1963 to 1970, Young played at the hall with a bunch of different groups including The Chevrons, Andantes, double bandstands and Battle of the Bands with bands such as Moose Jaw rock band Mozart and the Wolfgang, which was the house band from September of 1965 to May of 1967.
“It was probably one of the best places that I played,” said Garry Brown, who was commonly known as Mister Brown and was the lead vocalist of the band Mozart and the Wolfgang. “We had a lot of fun.”
Heather Hodgson and Gord McCaw, who grew up in Moose Jaw, are putting together a book about the legacy of the dance hall from its inception until it was torn down in 1979. The hall was located on Langdon Crescent at the corner beside the old Grant Hall where a parking lot now resides.
Hodgson, the major writer of the project, said she is looking for any memories and photos of the hall, especially regarding the different bands that played there. People can either join the Facebook group called Temple Gardens Dance Hall or email Hodgson at email@example.com. The Facebook group has more than 100 members.
“We have a fair bit of information from the inception of Temple Gardens, we have information from then until roughly to the late ‘50s thanks to Leith Knight,” said Hodgson. “We want to pick it up to the day it was demolished and maybe people have pictures the day it was demolished . . . We want the public (to help us) if they have any photographs of those bands.”
Brown said on a Friday or Saturday night, the hall used to be packed full with more than 800 people. He estimated the band played there 50 times.
Melanie Churko said she remembers volunteering to work at the hall for free doing the floors and coat checks in the summer to check out the dances.
“When there were dances at Temple Gardens, everybody used to walk around the dance floor in a counterclockwise fashion and if there was a waltz you danced in a counterclockwise fashion and I don’t know why that happened,” said Churko. “Apparently it used to make bands dizzy.”
For more information, see an upcoming edition of the Times-Herald.