It’s a sad day in Canada. We are still reeling from the tragedy of April 6th when a bus carrying 29 members of the Humboldt Broncos Junior Hockey Team crashed in Saskatchewan, leaving 16 players and staff dead and 13 injured. The next couple of weeks were filled with sorrow, tears, questions, shows of support from far and wide…and funerals. Many funerals. How does anyone make sense of such a tragic accident?

#PutYourSticksOut:Humboldt Broncos

Yesterday, April 23, 2018, will be another day we’ll all remember. Not because of “a tragic accident”, but because of a senseless, violent, intentional act.  An act that left 10 people dead and 14 injured on the street in the middle of a bright, sun shiny day in North York, a suburban district of Toronto. One 25 year old man deliberately pointed the rented cargo van he was driving into pedestrians as they enjoyed the first spring-like day at the end of a very, bitter, winter. He didn’t stop. For 2.2 km (almost 1.4 miles for our American friends), he continued to smash into poles, benches, walls and people, leaving a trail of bodies along the way.

The times in which we live make it impossible (unless you live in a cave) to not know what happened. In graphic detail. The news outlets were on scene almost immediately as most of them are based in the city. Regular programming was cancelled and countless reports told the story along with endless on-scene videos and photos from every angle imaginable. Cell phones and social media supplied images all day.

I am very close to my younger sister’s children. They are as close as I can get to having children of my own. From the moment they were born I spent as  much time with them as possible. I used to take them everywhere. When Andrew, who is the older of the two kids, was about three, I strapped him into his car seat and drove about 130 km (about 80 miles) into Toronto for the annual Photography convention. It is a huge convention at one of the largest venues in Toronto, with thousands of people in attendance each year. We had a delightful drive into the city. I parked my car, then made my usual clumsy attempt at getting Andrew unharnessed. His eyes were big as saucers. I lifted him out and nonchalantly placed him on the pavement. As I watched his face, his eyes got even bigger. He lifted his head up, taking in his surroundings. He continued to lift his face heavenward as he tried to see the tops of the buildings and the CN Tower. Higher, higher, higher! Until he flipped over backwards. I managed to catch him before he hit the pavement. It hadn’t occurred to me that he had never been out of Niagara Falls. He had never seen the big city of Toronto in all its glory. Looking at our surroundings through his eyes made every thing seem brighter and shinier for me.

That was 30+ years ago.  It’s hard for me to imagine a child feeling that sense of wonder at seeing the tall buildings now. They would have seen it all on their tablet. They would have been exposed to all kinds of experiences on their TVs. Like the horrific scenes from yesterday’s tragedy. How do they “see” those things? How do they process what they see? And how, please tell me how we explain to the children why this would happen?


(This showed up on my facebook page this morning – April 25 – and it seemed appropriate to share it here)

Michael de Adder

From Micael de Adder – Cartoon for April 24. #HumboldtStrong #humboltbroncos #TorontoAttack #TorontoStrong #TorontoMapleLeafs #Toronto



We Did!

Last week He-Who posted something that caused quite a stir amongst hour Facebook “Friends” most of whom are actually friends and family. Well, actually, all he did was change his relationship status.

There were questions. A lot of questions. Most people automatically assumed we had done this in Vegas. People always thought we would get married in Vegas. As a matter of fact, so did we.

That’s not what happened.

My long time friend, Lauren, pretty much summed up the queries for everyone in her response…
“WHAT!?!?!?!?! (making a sound only a dog can hear). That’s fantastic, you two! Congratulations! Why, where, how, ???”

What? Yes, we actually did get married on Wednesday, February 21st. After 22 years of being “engaged” we did it! Here is the proof.

As for that dog noise, you would be surprised how many times I heard that on the phone in the past week. I didn’t realize most of the people we knew could make that high-pitched noise.

Why? Like I said, after 22 years of being engaged we figured we were probably in the Guinness Book of Records (with some padding) for the longest engagement on record. Honestly, it just felt like the time was right.

Where? After some deliberation and He-Who absolutely putting his foot down against going to the Drive-Thru Wedding Chapel in Niagara Falls, we decided to do it closer to home. There were a couple of quaint restaurants near where I work that I thought could double for lunch & vows. The first had stopped doing their restaurant and the other was under construction. I ended up booking the Card Room in our building for an hour. There was a nice fireplace and room for five of us (Bride, Groom, Chaplain and two witnesses) to have a picture taken and sign papers. The night before, He-Who was in the management office for another reason and mentioned what we were planning to do in the card room. The management office flatly refused to let us use the room. We promised we only needed it for about 15 minutes and there would be no food or drink or partying…but they dug in their heels and would not allow us to use the room. According to them you are only allowed to have two outside visitors in the room. We had three. So the morning of, we had to improvise and just did it in our apartment. There isn’t really room for five people in our apartment so we stood around awkwardly until we started. We said our vows. We all signed the papers and then we went to the Pickle Barrel at Sherway Gardens for lunch.

How? We went to City Hall in Niagara Falls and bought ourselves a marriage licence. I immediately began to plot for the Drive-Through elopement thing, but as I said before, He-Who was having none of it. He did contact his long time friend Shawn from Winnipeg who is now the Chaplain at Woodbine Racetrack. Shawn agreed to officiate and volunteered his lovely wife JoAnn (who is also from Winnipeg and also works at the track). All we needed now was one more witness. Another long time friend, Sandy, from Winnipeg, now a trainer based at Woodbine (is anybody sensing a theme here?) agreed to help us out. We had a great lunch and a nice visit.

Did I mention our wedding photographer was our wonderful waitress at the Pickle Barrel? Maybe we should be professional wedding planners.



With Love

All of my kids are rentals. They always have been. Which is just my adorable way of saying I have no children of my own. Not one. It also means that I can always give them back. I can get them all wound up, feed them sugary delights, let them experience their free will and then completely drop them off at home with their not so unsuspecting parents.

I’m in there somewhere!

It’s the price one pays for having an hour or two of freedom from this…

Apparently, it’s well worth the price.

My first couple of rentals came along when I was still really just a kid myself. I loved babysitting my nephews but they were a handful. Now those two boys have sons that tower over me.
Over the years I accumulated more nieces, nephews, God children and some that just called me “Aunt”. I played with them, fed them and put them to bed. I would take them to fairs, plays and shows. We would sing silly songs. I would tell them stories and we would make things. There was a time when I spent endless hours making them gifts. I always wanted them to have something special to keep that I made especially for them. Sadly, only a few of those things have survived. They made me gifts. I still have every one. I have files of pictures drawn and painted. When they come off the fridge they go into a file. Other things, I proudly display in my home.

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I would also buy them books. I love to read and I wanted to share that with them. I’m proud to say that most of my rentals do love to read and are more grateful for those books now than when they received them.
Now that I am a Grand Aunt, things are different. The biggest change, the one that brought on almost every other change, is the computer. Everything we now own  is computerized. I like to think I keep up pretty well, but at Christmas I got a real awakening. One of my grand nephews took the hand-written card I had attached to his Christmas gift over to his father and asked him to read it to him. I know my grand nephew can read, my penmanship isn’t that bad and it wasn’t a longwinded note (I know, hard to believe) so I asked him why he’d asked his dad to read it.

Grand Nephew: I can’t read writing.
Grand Aunt: What?
Nephew: They don’t teach you how to write in school anymore.
GA: Well, I had heard that, but for some reason it didn’t occur to me that they wouldn’t be able to read it.
N: If they don’t teach him how to write it, how are they supposed to read it.
GA: How does he write his name?
GN: I print it.
GA: No. I mean how do you do your signature.
N: He prints it!
GA: So if he signs a legal document at some point in his life he will just print his name?
N: That’s right.

Then he read the card to his son, “With love, Aunt Michelle and Uncle Paul”.

Over the years I have learned to keep my mouth shut when it comes to rearing children lest I hear those heartbreaking words, “you don’t know, you don’t have kids”, or a reasonable facsimile. How has this happened? I’ve always considered my signature part of my personality. Half the clothes kids wear today have someone’s signature on them.

I guess if I want to communicate with anyone younger than me I am going to have to pick up my printing skills. I have visions of future scientists uncovering some old Christmas cards and trying to decipher them much like we do the hieroglyphics in the caves from prehistoric man.

I feel so old!

There are a lot of things that come to mind when you talk “Canadian”. I mean truly Canadian.  The beer, Hudson’s Bay Company, peameal bacon, butter tarts and one of my personal favourites…this little ditty.

The list is endless. Of course there are some things we’d rather not take credit for. Justin Bieber comes to mind. But one thing that most Canadians (not me) love to brag about, is their “Timmies”. Yes, we even have a pet name for it.

Image from Facebook captioned “You can’t get any more Canadian than this”.

Tim Horton’s, named for the now deceased, original owner and long time defenceman for the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team. Ahh. Hockey. Another Canadian point of pride.

Image from Pinterest under Canadian images.

Tim Horton’s is the company that coined the phrase, “double-double”.  In my humble opinion, the reason double-double became so popular is because two sugars and two creams is the only way you can drink what they call coffee. (I can actually feel the hate mail being directed at me right now.) Every time I see a lineup at a Timmies kiosk or drive-through, I shake my head. For the record, I am not one of those fancy, shmancy $10 coffee drinkers either. I drink my coffee like my Scotch—straight up. No milk. No sugar. Just coffee! Quite frankly, one of the best cups of coffee also happens to be one of the least expensive. At McDonald’s. I have spent my share of time in a Tim Horton’s but you won’t catch me lining up for it.

Lately, Timmies has been in the news for their reaction to a recent Ontario minimum wage hike. It wasn’t pretty. Some franchise owners cut hours and benefits of their employees, which led to boycotts and protests. All in all, it has been a pretty messy couple of weeks for Tim Horton’s. It’s a mess that reminded me of a post I started and never finished and this seems as good a time as any.

First of all, I’m not even sure how “Canadian” Tim Horton’s is anymore. I’m not a business expert, but Tim Horton’s is owned by a Canadian company, Restaurant Brands International, a company created to merge with an American company, Burger King. However, Restaurant Brands International is majority-owned by a Brazilian investment company, 3G Capital.  Doesn’t that make it Brazilian? (You’d think they would have better coffee.)

So what’s my problem with Tim Horton’s anyway, other than bad coffee and not really being Canadian? This mess is my problem right here.

There’s a Tim Horton’s at the top of the road that leads to Lake Ontario, the boardwalk, trails and Frenchman’s Bay where I used to walk every day. There is a trail all the way down that road and in each of those areas…of Tim Horton’s debris.

Don’t get me wrong. I realize that the real culprits in this mess are the lazy humans that can’t walk a few steps to the garbage receptacle they probably just passed. I mean that literally. The city takes very good care of this area. There are garbage containers everywhere and they are emptied out constantly throughout the day by conscientious workers who actually take pride in the area. When I say a few steps away this is what I’m talking about…

just a few steps away.

Oddly, there is no McDonald’s, Wendy’s, corner store or any other kind of debris displayed along the same journey.

My big idea at the time, was for Tim Horton’s to hire students to just walk around all day and pick up Tim Horton’s debris. Each Timmies should be responsible for a certain radius around their shop. It would show community support, a concern for the planet and provide kids with jobs. How could they go wrong? All it would take is minimum wage…oh, yeah. That’s a problem.

Somehow, I don’t think this was the legacy Tim Horton thought he would be leaving behind.


Yes, I miss the beautiful area I recently left. It has been a huge adjustment, going from a spacious house near the waterfront to a big city high rise. I miss walking in all the beauty that was around me. Sure, there are treadmills down in the exercise rooms but it’s hardly the same. What I miss most, however, is the cast of characters I would see every day. Some I got to know—we would chat along the way until they could no longer tolerate matching my slow speed and they would be off. Some I just saw and amused myself making up stories about them.

The Black Queen – Selita is a beautiful black lady with the most enchanting smile. Even her name was beautiful. She moved with the grace and poise of royalty,  and always made a point of greeting me like I was a celebrity.

The Nun – She work at the Jesuit Spiritual Renewal Centre in Pickering. I swear she only comes up to my right boob (we all know it hangs lower than my boobette). And she’s so fast! There’s no way I could keep up with her little legs. She would always have to stop to talk to me. I don’t know how she did it, but even on the most hot and humid days she was fully clad in her heavy, dark brown habit.

The Celebrity – It took me awhile to figure it out but one of the women I talked to every day was someone quite well-known in the area. I had never seen her without her makeup, hair and wardrobe done to perfection. She was sweet and demure, always happy as she struggled to keep her two dogs (one almost bigger than her) under control. If it wasn’t for the fact that HeWho always had a crush on her she may have stayed incognito for ever. We were looking…ok, I was looking, HeWho was drooling…at one of her publicity shots when it clicked. She was the woman I talked to every morning. The revelation almost got HeWho walking with me.

The Nerd – We had a lot in common. We both worked from home and spent way too much time at our computers. I got to know her the best, as our chats were the longest and most personal.

White Dawg – A lovely man with a big white dog. He always showed a quick wit. He had a twinkle in his eye that you knew meant he could stir up trouble.

The Stretchers – Two very attractive young women who spent a great deal of time stretching. I never saw them walking or running, or anything else for that matter. They would stop their flexing to offer me an encouraging word or compliment on how much I was improving.

The Picnic People – When I walked along Frenchmen’s Bay I would see this elderly couple having a picnic. A full-blown breakfast picnic. They had the wicker basket and red gingham table cloth. Real glasses & silverware. He was dressed casually, but with a tie. She wore a lovely summer dress.  It was a picture right out of a 1950’s glossy magazine. They chatted, laughed and looked at each other like teenagers in love. I often felt like a voyeur watching them.

The Fishermen – There were all sizes and ages of anglers. They all had different gear and their favourite spots. Every one of them would give you a hearty, “Good Morning!” But nothing more. They were serious about their fishing.

Poke E Man – One morning the Boardwalk was just crazy with young people of a generation that are rarely out of bed at that time unless it was a school day. They were moving around erratically, holding their smart phones in front of them. It took me a few minutes but I figured it out. They were playing Pokemon Go. I approached one of them and it was confirmed that there had been a sighting. People were flocking in to capture a Pikachu, or whatever. My knowledge of the game stops there.

Frosty & Kilo –  On the coldest of days I would run into a wonderful character in a 3-wheeled, motorized chair and his beautiful dog, Kilo. It was anyones guess who was walking who. You could physically see the love between this dog and his human. The stories this weathered veteran told were well worth a stop and listen. His full grey beard would have icicles hanging off it but it never seemed to bother him. He was always cheerful and entertaining.

Nancy Boy – He calls me Nancy every time he sees me even though I tell him at least twice a week that my name is Michelle. He always looks surprised and says,  “Wow! I wasn’t even close”.

Neon Man – You could see him from a mile away. He always wore shiny neon yellow or green body suits and I would want to don sunglasses as he approached. There would be a smile (almost as bright as his suits) and a wave and off he’d go.

The Foreign Prince – I never quite figured out where he was from. He was very exotic looking and meticulously groomed. Well spoken with an accent I couldn’t place. He always had time for a chat and then he would be on his way.

It was quite the cast of characters. Always friendly, entertaining and encouraging.

The standout in this play, however, was the scenery. We all felt privileged to have it available to us and counted ourselves very lucky. Early one morning I found an arm of my route quite different. Someone had decorated the little pier in a mysterious way. The decorations were beautiful, very detailed and looked to be hand-made. As each of my fellow walkers/runners joined me, we all stood slightly stunned. It seemed almost reverent, but in this entire cast of characters not one of us had a clue what it was all about. I still have no idea. I did, however, take pictures.

Somewhere in the blogosphere I know someone can solve the mystery. I would love to know!

Things change. Sometimes rather abruptly. It may seem like I dropped off the face of the earth recently and it certainly feels like it.
The last six months have not been my favourite.
It all started the first week of July. I received a phone call from my sister. This particular sister and I share something that none of my other sisters do. We are both cancer survivors. Her news was not good. After 13 years her cancer had returned. Now, as my niece once put it, our family does cancer very well, but we all have our limits. We lost our mother to the same disease and quite frankly, this news hit us pretty square in the face. A few days later we returned home having spent the day getting “beat up” in a court case only to be presented with the news that we were losing our home. The owners of the house we leased were selling it. Immediately. Yes, it was their house, but it had been our home for four and a half-years and the timing could not have been worse. Rather sadly, I had actually spoken face to face with our landlord the previous weekend at length and she looked me straight in the face and gave me no indication that this was coming. Yes, I felt betrayed and a little dirty.

Thus began a whirlwind of preparing the house for pictures and viewing, packing up to move, finding a place to move to, trying to be there for my sister and continuing to work. HeWho has spent many years driving from the Durham Region down the 401 Highway to Woodbine Racetrack in Etobicoke. The 401 Highway is one of the worst highways known to mankind and it was killing him. He bitched and whined every day. You may think I am exaggerating but there is an actual TV show about it called “Heavy Rescue:401“. With the move forced upon us it was a no brainer that we had to move as close to the track as possible. That meant that we would be moving into a high rise. Something I never thought I would do. The first couple of places we saw were terrifying. Perhaps you think I am being overly dramatic…some would say it seems to be in my genetic makeup. Don’t judge. You did not see what I saw! We were, however, lucky to find out about a place: before it was advertised; in a nice building with a lot of amenities; and a really lovely couple renting a clean, renovated, two bedroom, two bath on the top floor.

While the move was going on, one of my clients asked me to post a job opening in their office. I told her I was moving closer to her location and asked if she would consider letting me have the position. She did and thus began a crash course in several new computer programs and duties, while continuing to service my existing clients evenings and weekends.

A lot of things have changed.

We live almost directly across from Woodbine Racetrack. Often it takes HeWho more time to get down the hall, down the elevator and out of the underground parking than it does for him to get to work.

Although I still work from home, I also drive 45 to 60 minutes to and from the new day job, depending on traffic. It has been 8-years since I worked outside the home.

We used to have 1,600 sq. ft. open plan area to make our home. We now have 800 (at a much higher price).

We had room for two cars in the driveway and a garage for storage. We now pay extra for a second parking spot and an extra storage unit.

Once a year, three fit young firemen would visit me to check my smoke alarms and make sure I knew what to do if there was a fire. Number one was to get out. We are now on the 30th floor, yes, I said the 30th floor. We know if there is a fire, we die. There is no way we would make it down 30 flights of stairs and no way the firemen could reach us.

Did I mention we are on the 30th floor? I thought it was my imagination when I could feel the building swaying in the wind. Apparently not. I have been informed by engineers that actually live here that the building has to sway or it would fall down!

Do your remember all the lovely pictures I use to post of the waterfront where I lived. I have yet to get a decent picture off my balcony because I can’t make my whole body actually go all the way out there and I am terrified of dropping my phone while taking a picture. But HeWho tells me there are at least four deer living in the conservation area below us. He worries about them getting enough to eat.


The weather is never the same on the 30th floor as it is on the ground floor. The temperature is different and quite often the visibility.

Now. I could not see a thing past the balcony. When I pulled out of the underground I had to switch to sunglasses and take off a layer of clothes.

If I bend over to take something out of the oven I get rammed in the butt by the cupboards. For those of you who know the actual size of my butt, that is not the problem. Well, maybe a little.

Food preparation is a challenge. My kitchen is now put together like a Jenga puzzle. I always have to move at least 3 things to get to what I need while risking the whole thing crashing down around me.

HeWho says you have to be a contortionist to use the toilet because it is in such a tight space. ‘Nuff said about that.

Feng Shui advocates would have a stroke if they came here. We have one love-seat and one chair. They do not fit in the living room area. We can only use three of our four chairs in the eating area. I think it’s adorable that HeWho still refers to it as a “dining room”.

The “office” area is so small that we have to do the dance of the computer chairs (use the music of “The Sugar Plum Fairy”) to both sit and work at the same time.

We can no longer fill the car with groceries and pull up to our front door and unload them quickly. Now we either have to borrow a bellman cart from the front desk or only buy what we can carry in two hands in one trip. Oh, our Costco days are over! There is no more bulk buying.

You know how it is when you have been out all day, or on a long drive, and you can’t wait to get home so you can pee? You run in and relieve yourself and then come back to unload the car. That can’t happen here. We usually stop at the closest public washroom to home, even if we have to eat a Big Mac. You may make it to the building, and you may make it to the underground parking. You may even make it to the elevator. You might be lucky enough to make it inside the elevator, but let me tell you, it doesn’t matter how many prayers you say to the elevator gods, or how many deals you make with the condo demons, that elevator is going to stop at least 15 times before you get to the 30th floor. This is the real reason people who are of a certain age that have retired, downsized and moved to a condo are wearing depends. It has nothing to do with bladder control or a prostate issue. It’s the damn elevator ride! HeWho’s eyes light up because he has a stop watch and knows that with no stops we can make it from Parking level to the top floor in less than 30 seconds. He’d like to bet on whether we will be the only ones taking the ride.

Lest you are under the impression that I really don’t like where we live, I will neither confirm nor deny it. But here’s a couple of other things that have come out of this.

HeWho is healthier and happier than I have ever known him to be. The stress that he endured doing that suicidal drive had put years on him and they now seem to have melted away.

We have both lost weight. It’s not as easy to run to the corner store for a snack. If there’s no junk food here neither one of us wants to get dressed and begin the long haul to the car and then the big search for what we want because there is nothing handy. HeWho has yet to find a Chip Wagon. But…he has discovered several restaurants with great burgers or deep fried halibut and awesome fresh cut fries.

A remarkable women, someone I admire deeply, gave this 60-year-old lady an opportunity to prove that she was still capable of learning new things and be a productive member of the workforce. I can’t think of anyone else who would do that. Most would have hired someone much younger and quicker to learn. I am determined to not let her down.

We can’t buy a lot of stuff. There’s no room for stuff. There has to be a lot of deliberation for something new to come into this confined space and most likely something else will have to come out. Like how my new Nespresso machine relegated HeWho’s deep fryer to the storage room.

My sister is doing well. She went through surgery and some excruciatingly painful radiation and rang the gong at the other end. As far as we are concerned she is cancer-free again.

It is officially a New Year. A bright, shiny New Year. I’m counting on it staying that way.

There’s a lot of hoopla going on in Canada right now. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy good hoopla especially about this country I know and love. I am a proud Canadian. Born and bred. I have always been grateful that I was fortunate enough to be born in Canada. Everyone loves Canadians. By reputation we are friendly, polite, clean and relatively quiet. The kind of neighbour everybody wants. We do, however, stand on our moral high ground and make judgements about other more despicable countries. Unfortunately, just like every other neighbour we have our share of dirty little secrets behind closed doors.

So back to the hoopla…Canada is celebrating its 150th birthday and I confess that I have mixed feelings about it. I’ve been thinking about it a lot. In 1967 Canada celebrated its Centennial year. It was one of the best years of my life. I have nothing but fond memories of my great nation celebrating being 100. I was a child. My Mother was still alive. In fact, it was the last great year with my Mom. The next couple of years would be filled with hospitals, chemo and radiation, only to lose her in 1969.

Centennial year was filled with celebrations and endless activities across the country and we didn’t miss any of them when they were in our area. My two older sisters were able to actually visit Expo 67 which was Canada’s main celebration during its centennial year and was considered the pinnacle of the celebrations. It was a Category One World’s Fair held in Montreal, Quebec from April 27 to October 29, 1967. According to Wikipedia,

“it is considered to be the most successful World’s Fair of the 20th century with the most attendees to that date and 62 nations participating.”

My adventures were closer to home. As a family we saw saw the Canadian Armed Forces Tattoo performed by the members of the Canadian military comprised of 1,700 military personnel from all three branches of the armed forces — the largest peacetime event in Canadian military history at the time.

We went to air shows that featured two Avro 504K planes, Canada’s first military aircraft that had been restored by The royal Canadian Air Force. They were joined by an acrobatic flying team called the Golden Centennaires, the predecessors of the Canadian Snowbirds.

We were lucky enough to see the RCMP Musical Ride and Band which toured the country and actually made its first visit to the Canadian Arctic that year.

Perhaps my favourite thing was The Confederation Train, a diesel locomotive with specially designed coach cars filled with exhibits showcasing Canadian history and culture. Front and centre on the nose of the engine was the Centennial logo. In purple and white along the sides of the car was “CANADA 1867 1967”. The Centennial Train started out on the west coast in Victoria, BC, January 9th 1967 and worked its way out to the east coast, reaching Nova Scotia in October. It made its final stop in Montreal in December.

There were also Centennial Caravans, which were tractor-trailers, travelling throughout smaller areas carrying similar exhibits to the train.

Music also played a big part in the celebrations. On a personal note, I was part of a choir that performed “100 Years in Song”, something, over the years, my family has regretted as I still sing the song, “I Don’t Want To Play In Your Yard” (1894) that was my featured duet with my friend Susie.

My niece recently walked in on me singing it to her young daughter. The little one was sitting there with a horror struck look on her face and her hands over her ears. Her mother immediately said, “Oh, no! Not the song!

I always pictured the reaction to be more like this than one of horror.

Let’s just say that my voice did not improve with age. It was good enough then, though, to be one of the children chosen to sing with Bobby Gimby, The Pied Piper of Canada, when he came to town with his jewel encrusted trumpet to perform his composition, “Canada”. It was considered to be the official theme song of Canada’s centennial celebrations and was performed as a children’s marching song with English and French lyrics.

Bobby Gimby appearing as The Pied Piper during Canada’s Centennial celebrations in 1967. (courtesy Harper Stevens, Wikimedia Commons)

Many years later, when I went back to college as a 30+ year old, I was assigned along with my much younger classmates to do some PR work for a local museum. As we went through the museum there was a display from Centennial Year. My first reaction was one of fond memories. Then I saw the photo of me with the “Pied Piper”. My next reaction was, “Oh, my gosh! I’m so old I’m in a museum!” Then my classmates began asking me what it was all about. They didn’t know anything about Centennial Year. I was stunned that something that had been so important to me had faded in history.

My best friend in college was Gilbert. Even though he now lives in Florida, I still consider him one of my best friends. Gilbert was younger than me but older than the rest of the class. As I lamented to him about this time in my life being forgotten, he pointed out that it wasn’t necessarily a wonderful year for everyone in Canada. Gilbert is one of the First Nation people. His talking to me about it was probably the first time that I, personally, became aware of the difference of opinion. In the years since then, a lot of things that we as Canadians can’t possibly be proud of have become more publicly discussed. Our treatment of the First Nations, probably most horrifically concerning the Indian Residential School Systemis a black mark against this country I love. In 1967 Chief Dan George very eloquently spoke his mind. His “Lament for Confederation” is one of the most heart wrenching, eye opening pieces I have ever listened to (sorry I couldn’t get it to embed but it is worth watching and listening to).

The thing is that at the time, I was a kid caught up in the excitement. I didn’t know about our dirty secrets. Now I do. Now I know how these things have affected friends and family that I care about. Is it any wonder that I am confused about how I should feel about all the celebrating? Many First Nations people have refused to take part in any of the events. Even Canadian actor Adam Beach, who has agreed to act as an ambassador, feels he is “walking a fine line“. The government is spending millions of dollars on this celebration of 150 years. Perhaps, the most embarrassing portion is being spent to bring  a 30,000 pound rubber duck replica to Toronto’s waterfront.  I do know there are a lot of better ways we could be spending that money.

This is not Canadian and in no way represents Canada.

As I said before, I love Canada and will always love Canada. I may not approve of or like the way we behave all the time, but I will always love Canada.

Now this is Canadian!                                                 Photo Credit- bc.rcmp-grc.gc.ca

Tom Lucas


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