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The Field Years

Erland William Field
Erland (a.k.a. "Earl") Field assumed the practice from Coyne in 1922 and maintained it until 1964, when declining health persuaded him to close the pharmacy after a continuous practice in the town of just under 150 years. Field followed Randall's and Coyne's practice of inserting his family name into that for the pharmacy. Thus it became "Field Drugs" on the upper part of the arches of the main windows and door, as well as "Field's Drug Store" on the edge of the awning. The signs for gasoline, cigars, and photographic supplies of Coyne's time had disappeared, thus giving a more professional look; however, the window displays do feature toiletries, cosmetic and hair products.

Field had apprenticed with Randall and graduated from the OCP School in 1913. He and his family came from nearby Virgil, where he continued to live. He attended high school in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Field enlisted in the Canadian Army Medical Corps, 21 June 1915, at Camp Niagara and went overseas five months later. He became part of the Fifth Canadian Field Ambulance, then in 1917 transferred to the First Canadian Clearing Station. After service in France, Belgium, and Germany for a total of two years, nine months, he returned to Canada in July 1919. That service was clearly recognized by Field, since he was an executive member of the local legion at its founding meeting, 18 May 1928.

Field's OCP diploma of 1913 is displayed prominently in the Niagara Apothecary with registration indicated from 1922, when he purchased Coyne's, until 1964 when he closed the practice. He died just a year later, in 1965, but not before he had agreed that the OCP and Niagara Foundation would have first rights of purchase.

Erland Field was buried in the St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church cemetery on Simcoe Street, not far from the Apothecary. St. Andrew's is interesting itself for dating back to 1794, but burned to the ground with the rest of the town, 13 December 1813, by American forces during the War of 1812. Re-built in 1831, St. Andrews is interesting as well for its relatively rare high pulpit just inside and in the middle of the front entrance. Consequently, worshipers seated in their box pews could, and still can, clearly see latecomers make their entries as surreptitiously as possible and with no admonishments needed from the minister himself, when all eyes had witnessed the reprehensible deed.

Field's 42 years of service to the residents of Niagara-on-the-Lake and the surrounding area meant that for some time after the pharmacy closed it remained "Field's." Some local residents remember traveling a distance to obtain specific medicinal or other supplies they couldn't find elsewhere.