Canada proud

Final frames of Canada 67, the featured film at the Telephone Pavilion, Expo 67.

I stood in what seemed thunderous chaos. Horses galloped to the right of me, to the left of me. Lances appeared to whisk past my ears. The ground felt as if it were trembling beneath my feet. And I grabbed my dad’s arm, fearing if I didn’t I might topple over. Just audible above the din of the rhythmic panting of the horses and the pounding of their hooves, I could hear singing.

“O Canada. Our home and native land…”

Best Christmas present ever

Homemade Barris Christmas angel ornament (fashioned by our daughter Quenby in 1980s).
Homemade Barris Christmas angel ornament (fashioned by our daughter Quenby in 1980s).

It happened after I’d graduated from Ryerson in 1971. I’d learned about a position writing press releases and biographies about up-and-coming rock ‘n’ roll musicians. They called it A&R, an artist and repertoire position. My employer would be one of the biggest recording labels in the world – Warner Brothers. And, they told me, I would be working from a brand new office in Yorkville, the heart of Toronto’s pop music world.

I wanted that job so badly I could taste it. I applied in June, got it in September and was told I’d start in December. It would be my biggest, best Christmas present ever. Then, the roof caved in.

“Sorry to have to tell you this,” the Warner Brothers flunky said on the phone that December. “Changed their minds. No A&R office. No job.”