Wherever the Road Leads

Re-living Some Teenage Years

Prior to the fork in the road…

A number of weeks ago I returned to Canada’s Capital – Ottawa – where I lived from age ten to age sixteen. My most gracious host, Ian Wilson, was a good friend from back during those years with whom, like many, we have been able to reconnect with acquaintances from days gone by through Facebook.

As we age – eventually retire for some of us – we reflect back upon the choices we made in our lives and wonder what the outcome might have been if we had chosen Door Number One instead of Door Number Two. In a way, this was my opportunity to go back to get a hint of what my life might have been like if my brother and I had not encouraged my father to accept a promotion and move to Toronto.

Ottawa, the country’s Capital, as you can imagine, is a government city. Most would leave school then get a career in the federal government, live their lives then retire with a safe, guaranteed, comfortable pension. On the other hand, I have some stories.

It was a lot of fun playing tourist in the city I used to live in. But the fun came later when another friend from back in the day came to dinner with high school yearbooks from those pre-historic days back in the late sixties, when I got to play, “Whatever happened to…?”

 

Here’s “Chunky” helping to spell Ottawa…

 

Where the government sits, Canada’s Parliament Buildings including “The Peace Tower” clock…

 

Another view of the Parliament Buildings…

 

One of Canada’s most famous and prestigious hotels, The Chateau Laurier…

 

My bold host, Ian, suggested we go inside the hotel where we saw this portrait of Winston Churchill, shot by the famous Canadian photographer, Yousuf Karsh..

 

Just down the road is the American Embassy….

 

The Cenotaph, apparently now called The National War Memorial, dedicated to Canadian soldiers lost in battle…


 

I’m torn… was she a Patriot or a Turncoat? The Laura Secord Memorial…

Laura Secord (13 September 1775 – 17 October 1868) was a Canadian heroine of the War of 1812. She is known for having walked 20 miles (32 km) out of American-occupied territory in 1813 to warn British forces of an impending American attack. Her contribution to the war was little known during her lifetime, but since her death she has been frequently honoured in Canada.

Laura Secord’s father, Thomas Ingersoll, lived in Massachusetts and fought on the side of the Patriots during the Revolutionary War (1775–1783). In 1795 he moved his family to the Niagara region of Upper Canada after he had applied for and received a land grant. Shortly after, Laura married Loyalist James Secord, who was later seriously wounded at the Battle of Queenston Heights early in the War of 1812. While he was still recovering in 1813, the Americans invaded the Niagara Peninsula, including Queenston. During the occupation, Secord acquired information about a planned American attack, and stole away on the morning of 22 June to inform Lieutenant James FitzGibbon in the territory still controlled by the British.[1] The information helped the British and their Mohawk warrior allies repel the invading Americans at the Battle of Beaver Dams. Her effort was forgotten until 1860, when Edward, Prince of Wales awarded the impoverished widow £100 for her service on his visit to Canada.

The story of Laura Secord has taken on mythic overtones in Canada. Her tale has been the subject of books, plays, and poetry, often with many embellishments. Since her death, Canada has bestowed honours on her, including schools named after her, monuments, a museum, a memorial stamp and coin, and a statue at the Valiants Memorial in the Ottawa…

Across the street from the Parliament Buildings, where the CIBC bank now occupies, used to be a Woolworth’s Five and Dime where, in the basement snack bar, for a mere thirty-five cents one could purchase the world’s greatest malted milk served in, what I didn’t realize at the time, a draft beer glass…

 

Celebrating with old friends….


 

 


 

 


 

The Ottawa home that we moved into, new, in 1960, looking unchanged from the outside….

The grade school that we all attended, Fisher Heights Public School, now the Ottawa Islamic School. Oh how the times have changed…


Taken on the Quebec side, in the Gatineau Mountains, overlooking the Ottawa Valley…

 

 

A lot of memories. It was fun going back.

Perhaps the surprise of the weekend was in finding out that many of the students that we looked up to in high school – The “A” Listers – their title didn’t carry through into the real world. They ended up putting their pants on one leg at a time, just like the rest of us. Some of them even struggle with that.

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Comments

  1. elayne  September 3, 2018

    Thank you for the wonderful pics and blog Gordon . It is awesome as usual. Many distant memories came flooding back that night and it was a fun walk down that long ago lane . Please keep on keeping on with your blog writing and often unique take on things.. Hugs Elayne

    reply
  2. Alistair Mair  September 4, 2018

    Great read. Nice journey into the past. Sorry to hear that the PM was not available for lunch with you.

    reply

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