Candidates for currency

It brought a smile to my face. It made me prouder than I’ve felt about being a Canadian in a while. Although, I think we all might have felt better about the entire episode, had Ottawa considered making such a decision years ago. But there it was, the image of a Viola Desmond on the $10 bill. And when I saw her story in the news, I thought the comment from the Governor of the Bank of Canada was entirely appropriate.

“It was long past time for a bank note to feature an iconic Canadian woman,” Stephen Poloz told reporters last Friday.

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.”

When heroes let you down

Dr. Allan Dafoe and the Dionne quintuplets on display at Corbeil, Ontario, in May of 1934

It was a new idea at the time. In the late 1990s, students in college were certainly used to attending classes during which experts lectured them. But perhaps not quite the way I envisioned such a thing. I was interested in having the journalism and broadcasting students I teach at Centennial College meet contemporary media figures, who were highly visible in the profession. One of the first to agree to come to engage my students was quite eager.

“I truly enjoy, and still feel flattered when I’m asked to chair a symposium, referee a debate, or give a speech,” she told me in March 2000.

My guest speaker was Pamela Wallin.

Giant leaps for humankind

U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong during the Apollo 11 lunar landing in July 1969.

It was the summer I turned 20. It was also the summer of anti-war demonstrations on Canadian and U.S. university campuses. It was the summer of Chappaquiddick and then Woodstock. Then, in the middle of the night, on July 20, 1969, we heard those indelible words.

“One small step for a man,” Neil Armstrong said between bits of static on the TV feed from the moon. “One giant leap for mankind.”