A little taste of Canada in London

Canada House on Trafalgar Square - June 2016.
Canada House on Trafalgar Square – June 2016.

It was one of the quickest checkpoint passages I think I’ve ever experienced. Not that the security officer wasn’t thorough. Not at all. First he asked us about the nature of our visit. We said we wanted to visit the Canada Gallery just beyond the checkpoint. Next, he asked to scan my backpack. No problem there. Then, I offered my passport.

“Canadians?” the security guard said.

I nodded and in we went. My wife and I had just gone through the security check at Canada House, in London, England.

Kindness of strangers

Marg Wright at her 90th birthday celebration in Winnipeg.
Marg Wright at her 90th birthday celebration in Winnipeg.

The project seemed daunting. On paper, it looked as if I could pull it off. I was young. I had ambition. I had no sense of my limitations. And yet, the idea of actually travelling across the Prairies in search of eyewitnesses to help me document a piece of Canadian history, was just that – an idea and little more. It needed somebody, anybody to give it a vote of confidence. That’s when a couple of business associates offered me a lifeline. They knew I planned to begin my research in Winnipeg.

“Well, if you’re going to spend any time in Winnipeg,” brothers Jim and Hal Sorrenti told me, “you have to stay with Auntie Marg.”

Canada Day attitude

B. J. Byers presented a solo concert in Uxbridge on June 22, 2013… It was 15 years in the making.

Part way through B.J. Byers’ concert last Saturday night in Uxbridge, the young pianist finished one of his toughest pieces – an etude by Chopin. He wiped the perspiration from his face with a towel, smiled broadly – as if he had just conquered Everest – and acknowledged the packed house at Trinity United Church.

“There was once a time, I wouldn’t have been able to face this,” Byers said. “I would have just turned and run away.”