Tag Archives: Canada

The Abdictation of King Edward VIII Original Clippings – From the Sabourin Scrapbook 1936

The Abdictation of King Edward VIII Original Clippings – From the Sabourin Scrapbook 1936

From the Sabourin Scrapbook 1936

After ruling for less than one year, Edward VIII becomes the first English monarch to voluntarily abdicate the throne. He chose to abdicate after the British government, public, and the Church of England condemned his decision to marry the American divorcée Wallis Warfield Simpson. On the evening of December 11, he gave a radio address in which he explained, “I have found it impossible to carry on the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge the duties of king, as I would wish to do, without the help and support of the woman I love.” On December 12, his younger brother, the duke of York, was proclaimed King George VI.

Edward, born in 1894, was the eldest son of King George V, who became the British sovereign in 1910. Still unmarried as he approached his 40th birthday, he socialized with the fashionable London society of the day. By 1934, he had fallen deeply in love with American socialite Wallis Warfield Simpson, who was married to Ernest Simpson, an English-American businessman who lived with Mrs. Simpson near London. Wallis, who was born in Pennsylvania, had previously married and divorced a U.S. Navy pilot. The royal family disapproved of Edward’s married mistress, but by 1936 the prince was intent on marrying Mrs. Simpson. Before he could discuss this intention with his father, George V died, in January 1936, and Edward was proclaimed king.

The Middleville Chair that Ended up Rocking John F. Kennedy President of the United States

Making a Difference Linda Knight Seccaspina

My Personal Story About Royalty

The Queen’s Cousins — Locked in a Mental Ward

Taking Sexy Back with Brothel Bertie aka Edward the VII

 In the Year 2022 — Linda Knight Seccaspina

 In the Year 2022  — Linda Knight Seccaspina

My husband Steve finally became a Canadian Citizen last week. It was done on ZOOM  with me sitting beside him at the kitchen island. After immigrating here in 2015 from Berkeley, California, he finally cut up his permanent residence card and was officially allowed to say “EH” last Tuesday.

Steve began the day at 8:15am and sat patiently while they allowed 30 folks in at a time into ZOOM. I wondered what the contrast was to those who landed in Halifax or Montreal for the first time years ago with a suitcase in hand and less than ten dollars in their pockets. In the 1900s the immigrants had heard that the streets were possibly paved in gold. They quickly learned that the streets were not paved in gold and actually, not paved at all, and some were expected to pave them. Steve on the other hand had no issue finding a job, and he wasn’t expecting streets of gold, except maybe to talk about the weather all the time.

Just like the long lines standing in the early immigration places, the Zoom site was soon filled up with many languages all chattering at once. Some wore suits, some had Canadian flags on their back walls, and folks were constantly posting congratulations to everyone in CHAT. Steve thought that was amusing. So amusing, he had to mention it to me eight minutes later when he posted a beaver with a Canadian flag into CHAT.

When Steve immigrated here in 2015 he had to pass a medical and as he was older, some things in the exam were not easy for an older man. But, they were kind and he passed. However, it was nothing like my great grandfather who emigrated to Ellis Island in New York after leaving his wife and my grandfather in London. Alexander was part of the British Music Hall scene and thought he could make a fortune in the United States. Alas, he caught something on the way over and died when he reached his destination. He never even made the immigration line. I still have the postcard photo of his gravesite, and it was once nailed to the wall in my grandfather’s family home. Apparently my great grandmother Mary used to remind him every single day:

“Your father ran away to the USA without his family. If you look at this photo of his grave, that is why you should never leave your family- this is what happens– you die!!!”

At 9:30 am Steve is finally speaking with a real person on the screen, checking his ID and then sent back once again to a Zoom waiting room. Steve is Jewish, and had he tried to immigrate in 1927 to Canada he would have been out of luck. After 1927 Jewish immigration to Canada came to a near halt with new restrictive immigration laws. It was explained that it was a result of a depressed economy, but was later admitted it also reflected the antisemitic attitude of some very key politicians of the day. Between 1933 and 1939 Canada only accepted 5,000 Jewishimmigrants out of 150,000 people. 

By now excitement is building in the waiting rooms and voices are practising Oh Canada in unison. Did you know two Quebec City locals wrote O Canada and it was originally called Chant National.  There were no English lyrics,and while Chant National was making the rounds in the 1880s, Anglophones stuck to their songs of choice: The Maple Leaf Forever and God Save the King. It wasn’t until 1980, 100 years after its premiere that O Canada became the official anthem.At 10:30 am Steve said his oath along with the others, and just like that he became an official Canadian. 

Steve, walked away from family, friends, and a wonderful job in California  to come here to be with me. It reminded me of the war brides immigrating to Canada for their loved ones. My Grandmother immigrated to Canada after the first world war. In Cowansville, Quebec there were many women who had married military personnel in times of war or during their military occupations of foreign countries.

Mary Louise Deller Knight said she found herself coming over to Canada in a ship loaded with women. The war brides came because of the man they loved, and most had no idea what life in Canada would be like. They arrived tired, dusty and weary, and some were met by their husbands and some had no one as their husbands were still deployed in the service. 

No matter if your family immigrated here for safety, a job or a loved one today or years ago —you can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change your ending.

Welcome to Canada Steve!

Things that Steve will have a right to complain about now.

-When you watch a show that’s supposed to take place in New York City, you can clearly see a Scotiabank in the background.

-The anxiety of not being able to text back in the winter because you can’t take your hands out of their mittens.

–Trying to open that little tab on the side of the Kraft Dinner box.

Just Another Day in Paradise

Just Another Day in Paradise

Photo– Linda Seccaspina San Francisco =Snapshots from an “Occupied” nation Open Salon 2011

This was the thirteenth in a series—- a column I used to do called “Horse with No Names” about the strangers that I met in my life.

May 2004, San Francisco

On Wednesday I stopped at a crossing light next to a homeless man that was pushing an overloaded shopping cart. I said good morning to him, he nodded and returned the greeting. I had not written anything in awhile for my column ‘Horses with No Names’ series because quite frankly there was no one that really stood out. When I write, I want words of honesty to come from my heart or I will not tell the story.

I really wanted this man to know someone gave a damn so I asked him his name. He told me it was Tony, but everyone called him “Caveman”. I looked directly into his eyes and could feel he had a story in him that I wanted to know.  I asked him if I could take a picture and he nodded affirmatively and we crossed the street.

As I took his picture I asked him how he got his name and he told me that he had received it when he belonged to ‘The Rainbow Family Gathering’. Not quite knowing what that was I Googled it and found out it was communities of people, who congregate in remote forests around the world for one or more weeks at a time with the stated intention of living a shared ideology of peace, harmony, freedom, and respect. 

Tony told me that at one of the gatherings someone had given him two large bones for his dogs and he ran around with one in each hand like a mad man. Looking at his wild dreads and envisioning the scenario in my mind I had no problem seeing this vision quite clearly how he got the name. He then told me he was exactly 36.9 years old as he counted the 9 months that he was in his mother’s womb as part of his age.

Tony was a really good person in his heart. I asked him what he would like people to know about him. Immediately words rushed out telling me that all he cared about was his fellow man. He told me he lived his life much like the film “Pay it Forward”. In one of my favourite movies 11 year old Trevor (Hayley Joel Osment) carries forth a teaching assignment to put into action a pyramid scheme based on doing good deeds rather than for profit. The recipient of the favour passes the favour to someone else and so on. How grand would this be if we all lived like this?

Tony told me if anyone needed a coat for the Bay area chill he was the first one to offer his and he asked for nothing in return. For Tony it is all about unconditional love. He has no worldly goods, so he looks for nothing else and he loves life. As I grasped his hand to thank him I could feel the energy of love come through his hand to mine.

When we get up every day do we live our life like Tony?

Do we appreciate what we have?

Do we take life for granted?

I walked away from Tony with a lot of questions in my mind.  Who is giving Tony the unconditional love that he so richly deserves? There are so many cuts to county, provincial and federal  budgets that have left little for people that need it the most.

Who loves them?

Most people have never really sat down and got to know a homeless person. I do stories on them because they are no different than you or me– they just have a different story.

Photo– Linda Seccaspina San Francisco =Snapshots from an “Occupied” nation Open Salon 2011

Update July 2022

So why did I decide to tell this story this week?

Last week I had a woman who was 62 call me and ask if I knew a good place for her to camp. I asked her why she was camping, and she immediately told me she had been evicted. What if your own mother told you she was camping because she was homeless? 

For far too long we have dealt with homelessness by warehousing folks in emergency shelters — if you can find room. Things will never change if politicians, media and most importantly us think the current solutions are okay. I was lucky after being on the phone for a few hours to find a temporary roof over her head– but, nothing is permanent. So when life gets hard, try to remember the life you complain about is only a dream to some people.

Poverty and homelessness have become the norm. Homeless people that die on the street is not news. In contrast– a drop in the stock market is. Just remember that person on the street is someone’s father or someone’s mother and they all have a story. Unfortunately, we have come dangerously close to accepting the homeless situation as a problem that we just can’t solve.

Photo– Linda Seccaspina San Francisco =Snapshots from an “Occupied” nation Open Salon 2011

The Lady Who Sang the Blues-Time Travel

Horses with No Names- The People’s Father Christmas

So I Met This Ticket Scalper – Horses With No Names

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 9

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 8

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 7

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 6

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 5

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 4

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 3

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 2

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past Part 1

The Magic of Television — Linda Knight Seccaspina

The Magic of Television — Linda Knight Seccaspina

The Magic of Television — Linda Knight Seccaspina

I once wrote a story about writing letters as a child to the media and it got me thinking.The first TV program I remember watching as a child was the Mantovani Show, and not only was it boring, but it was in black and white. But then exciting things came to television like Coca Cola and Dick Clark. Here were some of my favourites:

Cartoon Corner and Howdy Doody 

Cartoon Corner, Friendly Giant and Howdy Doody were daily favourites of mine in black and white on CBC. I also remembered having to unplug the TV when a thunderstorm occurred in the afternoon as my Mother said it was “going to blow the house up if one of those bolts wrapped around the venetian blinds”.

Razzle Dazzle

Every night at 5 in 1961 I would watch the CBC- TV show Razzle Dazzle hosted by Suzanne Somers’ husband, Alan Hamel. I had entered a writing contest and was eagerly waiting to hear if I won a pen with my “meatless meat pie” essay. A few weeks later I found out that I had indeed won a Razzle Dazzle pen for my story along with a photo of Howard the Turtle.

Hockey Night in Canada

In 1967 the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup and I was a member of the Dave Keon fan club who scored the winning goal that year for the last game. I was a proud card carrying member, and for 25 cents you got a signed glossy photo of him and a membership card. 

The day after the playoffs I brought in that black and white 8 by 10 photo of him and taped it to the classroom blackboard. My teacher Mrs. Shufelt, who was not a fan of Dave Keon or said team, had an upset look on her face when she saw it. Yes, it was worth the 25 cents I had spent on it. I can still see the frown on her face like it was yesterday.

Hello Boys and Girls, it’s time for Magic Tom!

Every afternoon as a child, I was glued to the TV set awaiting my beloved Magic Tom Auburn on CFCF TV out of Montreal. Tom once described himself as a “man who played with silk hankies” but to me and every child he was a man with something new up his sleeve every single day. Canada’s Man of Magic was never fully appreciated by my Father as he constantly said Magic Tom needed to polish his act up. 

Magic Tom once said that little girls only wanted to be three things in life: a Mommy, a Nurse, and an Airline Stewardess. It was the same thing I heard a few years later in the Cowansville High School Vice Principal’s office when I told him I wanted to be a fashion designer.  I often wondered if they were related.

Tom began his career at age 13 with a bout of scarlet fever, a magic book and a lot of time on his hands just outside Cornwall. It is the unspoken ethic of all magicians to not reveal the secrets, and once in a blue moon Tom did. Sometimes the kids thought he was cheating and expressed their sentiments– but the next time you saw the same trick, maybe you didn’t see that glass of milk sinking under the red cloth– and wondered if you had been right the first time.

Each day I waited until the end of the show to see the empty silver dish suddenly become full of candy for the kids with a simple mere tap of his magician’s wand. No matter how hard I looked I could not find out how Magic Tom did this trick. 

I later found out however that this same trick was performed in WW11 by a small group of French Patriots who were being held prisoner by the Germans. They made a deal with their captors that if they performed this trick they would be let go. There was a happy ending and they were freed. 

Magic Tom and his wife Dolores have long passed and are buried in the Cornwall region at the St. Lawrence Valley Cemetery near Long Sault/Cornwall. I hope people remember Magic Tom as a  kind man who brought magic to the people as he pushed the boundaries of wonder for all of us. 

Some people say there isn’t magic. Some people say there is. I say there always will be— as in a way, we are all magicians, and so was television when I grew up in the 50s and 60s. They provided a wonderful open door to the everyday pleasures when life was just  a simpler world.

The British Home Children — The Trip to Canada

The British Home Children — The Trip to Canada

Between 1869 and 1932, over 100,000 children were sent from Britain to Canada through assisted juvenile emigration. These migrants are called “home children” because most went from an emigration agency’s home for children in Britain to its Canadian receiving home. The children were placed with families in rural Canada.

Douglas G Barbour of Brockville who was sent out in 1927 on the very day he turned 16 recalled being very sick on the voyage. The journey which took seven days “wasn’t a bad crossing” he said, “but the first day out was rough. All the children were put down below to get out of the way of the waves which were just swishing over the deck.

Another lad and myself just had to see the waves so we walked out on deck. A big wave came along and swept over us and we were washed overboard. I grabbed the rail so hard I think the marks are still there on my hands and I saved myself.

His companion was washed overboard but was rescued. On the same ship was his friend John Thomson now of Gananoque who had been in a home for five years. His father was killed in an accident at the creamery where he worked and he and his four younger brothers had all been sent to live at Quarrier’s Home. He also was 16 years old.

British Home Children in Canada

Both boys along with the 40 or 50 others in their group were sent to receiving homes in Brockville. From there Thomson was sent to the market garden farm of Howard Keyes in Cataraqui which then was well outside the city of Kingston.

“It was all right” he said “but it was all work. If you want to eat you’ve got to work they say.”

He worked on the farm from 1927 to 1931 when he married and rented the farm next to Keyes and set up market gardening with his wife. “It turned out OK” he said with a smile, But a lot weren’t as lucky as I was to get a good home.” 

Diana Thompson of Huntsville had a sizable display of family photos and documents detailing the experiences of her grandmother Margaret Watt who was with her twin sister Sarah and was sent over in 1890 when they were 14.

Their mother had died when they were three and their father, a joiner, remarried. When he was killed in an accident on a ship his wife gave the girls to their uncle to care for. However one day when he was at work his wife and her sister took the girls to the Quarrier’s Home and left them there.

Quarrier Homes at Bridge of Weir. Read more here click

Their crossing took 21 days and after landing at Quebec the twins were separated and sent to farms in the Brockville area “My grandmother wouldn’t talk about her life story” Thompson said, “She had left two older sisters and a brother behind.” 

Beth Bruder, chair of the Canadian organizing committee, also touched on the theme of separation and loss – loss these children suffered going into the home loss when they came to Canada and especially loss of innocence. Many she said were shocked to find that they were viewed only as workers, not as equals in their new country.

Bruder recalled her own mother telling her of overhearing someone ask who she was on her first Sunday in church. “Oh she’s just a Home girl” came the reply- a reply whose sting was never forgotten “Today however” Bruder said “I want to focus on the success that many of these children had in a country that gave them a chance to grow and prosper.”

with files from

The Kingston Whig-Standard

Kingston, Ontario

Ernest Kennings — Home Boy — British Home Children

Robert Laidlaw Home Boy — British Home Children–Buchanan Scrapbook Clippings

Did You Know About Dr. Barnardo’s Baby’s Castle? British Home Children — Home Boys

Canadians Just Wanted to Use me as a Scullery-Maid

Laundry Babies – Black Market Baby BMH 5-7-66

More Unwed Mother Stories — Peacock Babies

The Wright Brothers– British Home Children

Home Boys and Family–Mallindine Family — Larry Clark

Clippings of the Barnardo Home Boys and Girls

Lily Roberts of Drummond The Rest of the Story

British Home Children – Quebec Assoc click

Ontario East British Home Child Family click

British Home Children Advocacy & Research Association click

Respecting Each Other in Canada – Skyler Seccaspina

Respecting Each Other in Canada – Skyler Seccaspina

Photo Taryn Card

My son wrote this from his heart – whether you agree with it or not is up to you – well written Sky we are all suffering in one way or another – We should all be working together as one.

Written by Skyler Seccaspina

I stood along the 417 in Ottawa with my family and waved my Canadian flag for four & a half hours today. I hadn’t seen that much highway action since Ryan Hawkins and I played ‘follow the Good Housekeeping’ on highway 29 back in grade 6 (his grandmother, Isabelle, put an end to that pretty quickly🤣).

It is incredible to think of how divided we’ve become as a country, a country that was once a benchmark for unity. Yes, I agree, it starts at the top. It’s hard to think of a leader in the history of this country who has divided so many Canadians. Blame it on whoever you want, though. At the end of the day we all control ourselves. We control our thoughts and how we express them.

I’m always reminded of the days when my Nonna would tell me to SHHHHH!! Or, even my dad’s advice that he would instill in me as a kid: “Keep your mouth shut!”They were right. If I didn’t have something nice to say, I shouldn’t say it at all.

It’s hard to hold back though, and for everyone that is true, especially in the situation we find ourselves in. We’ve all had our fair share of COVID discussions with one another. We’ve been heated. We’ve been keyboard warriors. Even if we disagree though, for the most part, we listen. It’s been frustrating, lonely, and hopeless. We’re struggling, especially our kids. In what was supposed to be “2 weeks to flatten the curve” almost two years ago, we seem to have arrived at a crossroads.

Everyone has an opinion on how and when we should move on from this pandemic. Some folks are already done with it, while some are still isolating themselves from the rest of the world. Opinions are so far entrenched in some that they are determined to stay in their narrative, regardless of the facts.

We have politicians, national/independent news outlets and social media all telling us different things.We aren’t all going to agree on the right time to move on, but we should respect each other. We should respect everyone’s choices, regardless of how they makes us feel. After all, we are all going to get out of this at once, together.

Ernest Kennings — Home Boy — British Home Children

Ernest Kennings — Home Boy — British Home Children
The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
14 Sep 1898, Wed  •  Page 3

“When I could not go to school my stipend from the Home was stopped. Mr. Bradley was supposed to pay $125 over three years into a fund controlled by the Home. I am supposed to receive this money after I reached the age of 21. One thing that bothers me is Mr. Bradley had a son and a daughter–why did they want me?

I worked all day for the man while his children went to school, and I was younger than them. The only time I got to go to school was when the weather was too cold to work outside! I fell out of favour with the life I had and left.”

Name:Ernest Kennings
Arrival Age:11
Birth Year:abt 1885
Departure Port:Liverpool, England; Londonderry, Ireland
Arrival Date:8 Aug 1896
Arrival Port:Quebec, Quebec, Canada; Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Search Ship Database:Search for the Scotsman in the ‘Passenger Ships and Images’ database

The trail ended there…:(

Robert Laidlaw Home Boy — British Home Children–Buchanan Scrapbook Clippings

Did You Know About Dr. Barnardo’s Baby’s Castle? British Home Children — Home Boys

Canadians Just Wanted to Use me as a Scullery-Maid

Laundry Babies – Black Market Baby BMH 5-7-66

More Unwed Mother Stories — Peacock Babies

The Wright Brothers– British Home Children

Home Boys and Family–Mallindine Family — Larry Clark

Clippings of the Barnardo Home Boys and Girls

Lily Roberts of Drummond The Rest of the Story

British Home Children – Quebec Assoc click

Ontario East British Home Child Family click

British Home Children Advocacy & Research Association click

The Canada Character Civilization Award — Doris Quinn

The Canada Character Civilization Award — Doris Quinn

Photo- Doris Quinn

Doris Quinn wrote:

Linda, my Great Aunt Rose Quinn is in this picture , I think 5th from rt. In back row. Not sure what occasion this was. I know she was a teacher and taught locally and further away. She later went into Convent. Her name is on back of this old group photo. I googled Canada Character Civilization for late 1800’s to early 1900’s and lots of old historic group photos came up. Still no idea what it stands for unless it’s a group of graduating teachers. Do you have any idea? Picture was taken at “McIntyres Can.”

Doris, I had a question like this a few years ago. It was similar to a good citizen award that was presented to good community citizens.

Willis House Clippings Photos and Comments

Have you Ever Seen the Praying Station? The Buchanan Scrapbooks

The House on the 511 — Thanks to Lanark Village Community Group

Did You Know They Moved St. Paul’s Cemetery?

Soaps of the ‘ Home Cleaning Institute’ — Today it is Surprise Soap!

Soaps of the ‘ Home Cleaning Institute’ — Today it is Surprise Soap!
1923 Almonte Gazette

I think I have been fascinated by soap since my younger years. I watched my late grandmother try every single new soap made to mindkind through the years. Mary Louise Deller Knight was not a fastidious cleaner, much like her granddaughter, but she loved new things and soap was one of them. For years I watched the old MIR soap stand by the kitchen sink gathering gobs of hard residue knowing that frolicing bacteria was gathering on that yellow plastic bottle. She always went back to MIR or her Sunlight Soap after she tired of a new soap and I often wondered why she bothered. But seeing that her grandaughter bowled over with a great smile when the Mr. Clean Freak showed up at the door yesterday, I guess the apple does not fall far from the tree.

The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
26 Jul 1979, Thu  •  Page 33

The Factory who was owned by the Ganong Brothers ( yes the chocolatey ones) closed in 1946 and the real surprise is the factory disappeared into the earth and was not found until a collection of milling stones was unearthed this month at the construction site of St. Stephen’s new civic centre. See video below.

As they say SURPRISE!!!

The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
06 Apr 1922, Thu  •  Page 13

So what was Surprise Soap?

I thought that it had some sort of surprise inside, but there was none. Instead the surprise was that you were supposed to get your clothes cleaner.

Canadian grocer January-June 1908. If your customers say SURPRISE Soap is thebest Soap, the most economical to use, and want it,you give it to them of course—its business to do so.A satisfied customer brings you more money thanone whose wants are ignored and overlooked.. Made by The St. Croix Soap Manufacturing Company BRANCHES—Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Vancouver,West Indies. Factory at St. Stephen, N.B-

Ottawa Daily Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
29 Aug 1896, Sat  •  Page 8

In 1896 at the Toronto Fair look there was a huge Surprise soap exhibit. There was a big cake of Surprise soap stationed at the Heintzman piano on exhibition. Some one would end up having that piano for nothing if a guess won it– free of charge. The object of this guessing contest was to promote Surprise soap; and to know its good qualities, you will then use it. That’s what we We are satisfied to give this handsome present and get nothing in return but have you interested in Surprise soap. It is the best soap. THE SURPRISE SOAP MFG. CO., St. Stephen, N. B.

Photo click

Crews at a worksite in the New Brunswick town of St. Stephen have found the remains of a long forgotten soap factory – once a big industry in the U.S. border area.

A collection of milling stones was unearthed this month at the construction site of St. Stephen’s new civic centre.

“We got down to…about eight metres in the ground when we got the last ones out. They were way down. They’d been there for some time,” says project manager Kingsley Bailey. “They were in the heavy compacted clay at the bottom.”

Bailey says the area was once home to the St. Croix Soap Manufacturing Company, which was founded in the 1880s by the Ganong Brothers – the same brothers who went into the candy-making business a few years earlier.

The company made Surprise Soap which was marketed across Canada and in the United States and was a big seller for decades. The plant closed in 1946.


What Happened to the Towels in the Soap Box?

What Did You Use MIR Dish Soap For?

Desperately Seeking Effie Elsie McCallum — Part 2 — Jaan Kolk

Jane McCallum — The First Lady of No-Rub Laundry Flakes

Peter McCallum — From Brown and Wylie Mill Employee to The King of Mack’s No Rub Laundry Soap

In Memory of Peter McCallum –Almonte’s Grand Old Lady

More on Jane McCallum/Jane Moore McNeely — The First Lady Of Soap

Spittle Spatter and Dirty Faces of Yore

Gym? I Thought You said Gin!

I will Wash Your Mouth Out with Soap!

Remember Halo Shampoo?

What the Heck was Electric Soap? Chatterton House Hotel Registrar
The Windsor Star
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
20 May 1937, Thu  •  Page 30

I was Part of the French Revolution and I Forgot

I was Part of the French Revolution and I Forgot

Tensions were high here in the nation’s capital — and across Canada.

On October 16, 1970 — 51 years ago today — the Canadian government, under Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, invoked the War Measures Act following the kidnappings of British diplomat James Cross and Quebec MLA Pierre Laporte.

The Ottawa Citizen’s Bruce Deachman took a look back at the FLQ cris


Photo: Peter Bregg, Canadian Press

Ben Weiss shared a post.–Old Ottawa And Bytown Pics

I try to lay low on weekends, but once again Ben Weiss’s posting made me think of that era– so here is a piece I wrote years ago and seldom share.

I was Part of the French Revolution and I Forgot Linda Knight Seccaspina

Last year I wrote a blog on French Canada, and it seemed to rip open a box of memories that had been filed away in my mind for many years. I had actually lived through an important part of Canadian history and forgot all about it.

When Pierre Elliot Trudeau became Prime Minister in April of 1968 it changed Canadian history. The night he won I was at the Cowansville, Quebec Hotel with my friends and my father, who was a campaign manager for Jean Jacques Bertrand.

My French Canadian friends ran in and grabbed my arm for a night of celebrating. The feelings in the air were the same as when Barack Obama won in a 99% African-American neighborhood forty years later. My friends were thrilled that hopefully help was on the way for French Canadians.

My best friend kept teasing me, asking me if I was angry that a French Canadian man had won the election. Being Sally Sunshine all my life, I never take sides. Life should be about people working together, and not against each other. But, I was thrilled he had won, as I really liked him and hoped there would be no more taking sides. Even my stepmother and father were taking sides as she loved Trudeau also, and the conversation had gotten so unpleasant in my home that she had taped a giant poster of Pierre Trudeau to the living room wall. Sadly at one point, the people of French and English Quebec did take sides, and a revolution was born. Out of this unrest came the notorious FLQ (Quebec Liberation Front).

There were bombings, and declarations from them that called for a socialist uprising against those considered Anglo-Saxon imperialist oppressors. Yes, it felt just like the ‘play wars’ we always had in the lumber yard with my French friends as children, only on a bigger scale, and very real. They called for the overthrow of the Quebec government and the independence of Quebec from Canada.

At age 16, I started dating a French Canadian boy whom I will call Yves. His father had completely radical opinions about the English and did not mince words when his son brought home an English girl. It turned out that he had known my grandfather, and considered him one of the Anglo-Saxon imperialists, as he had money and what he considered “British airs”.

My father was equally concerned.  Not that Yves might have some radical tendencies, but the fact that his hair looked a little long. This was typical of my father. Never worry about the important stuff, just make sure he cuts his hair. It certainly would be a travesty if people talked about it. It was all around town anyways that Arthur Knight had trouble with his oldest daughter.

He also did not like the fact that his daughter was not dating a nice Anglican boy, and he told me to “kiss him goodbye”. In Quebec, the age of consent to marry was 21 and he would not allow me to marry Yves until I reached that age. Maybe he had the right idea as the marriage only lasted a year and a half, but I knew the only reason was because he had long hair and worked at Vilas in Cowansville. Not good enough for his daughter.

On October 15, 1970, more than 3,000 students attended a protest rally in favor of the FLQ. The FLQ then kidnapped James Cross, the British High Trade Commissioner, and when their demands were not met they kidnapped the Minister of Labour and Vice Premier of Quebec, Pierre Laporte.

When a CBC reporter asked Prime Minister Trudeau how far he was going to go to stop the FLQ he said,

“Just watch me!”

On October 16th, at 8 am I stepped out of my apartment building on Pine Ave. in Montreal what I saw was unbelievable. Prime Minister Trudeau had invoked the War Measures Act at 4 am, and military forces lined my street like there was a war going on. That’s when all hell broke loose.

The next day, October 17th, 1970, Pierre Laporte was found dead in the trunk of a car, strangled to death.

Living in Montreal during the time of the War Measures act was like living in a war zone. Soldiers halted anyone they felt was suspicious, and I was even stopped at the Greyhound Bus Terminal and asked for my passport. All they said was that I looked like someone who was on a list.

Of course I have been on lists all my life. For years, I was considered a threat to the Canadian population because of “those” Viet Nam War protests and I sold subversive literature in my store. Subversive literature would be the alternative music and radical fashion magazines that I sold in my store Flash Cadilac in the 70’s and 80’s. Thankfully, things have changed.

In the end of all this chaos: 453 people were rounded up, and some were given asylum in Cuba. The five flown to Cuba were jailed when they returned to Canada years later. Yves and I split up, and I have not seen him in 47 years. Most of my generation moved out of Quebec and went to Ontario after they graduated. They sadly left because of too many rules and regulations about language and cultural issues. I often wonder what could have been, I really do. I will always miss ‘Ma Belle Province’ –language issues or not.


Troops march in the streets of Montreal Oct. 20, 1970. Bob Olsen Toronto Star-

Dedicated to my Weekend Protesting Hippie Generation — Nothing Changes Does it?