Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Summer of '75

Chronologically, the events written about here happened six months before the trip to Hollywood, California.

It was my kid brother - Dan's - turn to come east for a visit and he arrived by train on Wednesday, June 4. Knowing my kid brother, I was not at all surprised by his choice of transportation and I guess that he spent as much time during that trip across Canada by watching the operation of the train as looking out the window at the passing scenery.

Dan was born on November 4, 1949 a mere 3 months before my 14th birthday so, due to our big age difference, we were never 'brothers' in the usual sense of the word. Also, I was away in Australia and, later, in Prince George and Newfoundland while he was growing towards adulthood. He was the one at home with Mom when Dad died and a lot of the organizational duties fell upon his young shoulders. However, there never was any animosity or jealousy between us.

On his first day in Ottawa I drove him around the downtown area and to the Parliament Buildings. We tried to gain access to the Visitors' Galley but there were too many other tourists in front of us so we drove by the embassies in Rockcliffe, out to Hogsback Falls and then to the seniors' building where Uncle Edgar and Aunt Bea were then living. As there was a severe thunderstorm and heavy rain that evening, I took Dan to the Aeronautical and the Science and Technology Museums knowing that he would really enjoy them.

The following day was dampened by hard showers and thunderstorms but I took Dan to Kingston, Ontario and Old Fort Henry which we toured in a drizzle. While the weather continued to threaten we did get in some touring which included a drive along the edge of the St. Lawrence Seaway where we were fortunate to be able to watch a freighter going through one of the locks.

Our trip to Quebec was by my favorite route - across the Ottawa River to Hull and then across country through Joliet, Berthierville and Trois Rivieres to Quebec City. Naturally we did some touring there (even taking a ride in a caleche around Old Town) and walked around the Chateau Frontenac and the Plains of Abraham. There I noticed one large difference between Dan and I. When I was in Quebec City I did a lot of people watching while Dan, on the other hand, spent the entire time by leaning on the parapet and watching the shipping passing up and down the St. Lawrence River between Quebec City and Levis.

On we went to Montreal - with Dan doing some of the driving on the freeway. In that City we pulled into a parking garage downtown and went sightseeing through Old Montreal and to Notre Dame Cathedral and Notre Dame de Bonsecours. Then we went on the Metro to Atwater where we walked past the old Montreal forum (Dad and Dan were both huge Canadiens fans) and to the Grey Nun Convent on rue St Mathieu. By this time Tante Marie-Anne had retired and returned to the Mother House so we saw both her and Tante Cecil.

Our stay in Ottawa was over night - we left the following morning to drive home to B.C. The Canadian Provinces do have different ways of controlling traffic on highways. For instance, in B.C. where there is a three lane highway, the sign reads "Keep Right Except to Pass" while in Ontario the signs read, "Slower Traffic Keep Right". Being from B.C., Dan thought that the Ontario rule was ridiculous so I did the 'Big Brother' thing and explained that different regions had different ways of dealing with problems so we should not complain.

I don't believe that Dan accepted his Big Brother's explanation!

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I tried to call in on people whom I knew at Union College. One of those couples were Dal and Helen McCrindle who were ministering at a church in Winnipeg so that was where we stopped in that city. The same was true in Medicine Hat, Alberta where one of my classmates - Graham Dickie and his wife - were then ministering and we spent the night with them.

The next day we drove on to Kamloops where we spent the night with Babs, Hubert and the girls and then went on to Mom and Dan's home in New Westminster.

At about the time that I graduated from Union College, another school was formed - Regent College - and I was registered there to take some courses during the next week.

In Ottawa I had become friends with Don Carter and he flew out for a two week vacation. Our first visit was with the son - Doug McCay - of one of the elders at Westboro United Church. Doug was working in Victoria and he and his bride - Lynn - were living in the suburb of Oak Bay.

This was my first visit to Victoria since I had been there for the Older Boys' Parliament years before. Also, this was summer and not the middle of winter.

Victoria truly is the 'City of Flowers' and there are well-maintained gardens everywhere. The 'creme de la creme', though, is Butchart Gardens which we toured in an evening starting before the sun had set and then continuing after the artificial lights had been turned on. It was breathtaking.

We returned to New Westminster after two days in Victoria and I - along with Mom - took Don touring in the Fraser Valley, I drove up the new freeway to Cultus Lake and then across the Fraser River and further east to Harrison Hot Springs. Returning to New Westminster I drove through Mission, Ruskin and the Dawes Hill area of Coquitlam.

A couple of days later we left to drive back to Ottawa. However, instead of going directly along the Trans Canada Highway we went north to Prince George and then to Jasper on the Yellowhead Highway and then through Edmonton, Saskatoon and Regina where we rejoined the Trans Canada Highway.

East of Kenora, Ontario - and on a whim - we turned down the highway that leads to Fort Francis and across the border to International Falls, Minnesota, Duluth and across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to Sault Ste Marie. From there it was a direct run back to Ottawa.

No comments:

Post a Comment