So, there was this kid who grew up in the wilds of Etobicoke who looked to the distant pastures of the Big City, known as Toronto (or Torrona to some) and, gradually, he became resentful that Torrona had so much to offer while Etobicoke was … well, just an inconsequential municipal appendage of sterile subdivision after sterile subdivision where sparrows and starlings cohabited with the residents; where the highways ran out of town to the rest of Canada and the big, wide world. So Doug, for that was his name (Duggie to his close friends) vowed that, when he grew up. he would take on the world – especially Torrona. Which he did, becoming the leader of the provincial Conservative… Read complete articleThe Passing Scene: For The Birds
Over the years I have developed a routine when it comes time to write this column; with an early publication week deadline, I start working on the idea I’ve been mulling over in my head, oh, from about the previous Wednesday or Thursday, with a writing target of two days later. But this week, not feeling 100%, I procrastinated, tossing ideas around before rejecting one or the other …. almost passing over the ever growing story of sexual assault at Toronto’ s all-boys, Saint Michael’s School. Having been raised in the English school system of segregating male and female students, with all its attendant stunted social growth, stories about sexual assault by teachers on male students was fairly commonplace, reported… Read complete articleThe Passing Scene: The Ignored, Dark Secret
I was reading a recent column in the Globe and Mail by Elizabeth Renzetti on the ancient custom, in certain private schools, that dress codes dictate the permissible length of a female student’s skirt – the students often subjected to the embarrassment of having their skirts measured in front of the entire class – including boys who .. well, who knows how they react? It took me back eons to my own early school days in England where, at the age of 11 (or younger) boys and girls were separated in class and at recess. Never shall the twain meet … until years later, disgorged from the system, full of gaucherie and embarrassment when having to socialize and interact with… Read complete articleThe Passing Scene: Ahh, The Changing Times
Last Saturday, opening the weekend papers for a feast of reading, choosing first the multi-sectioned Toronto Star, I found myself, almost as a reflex action, removing the Sports section, scanning it fleetingly, before tossing it onto a small pile of Friday’s papers waiting for their final journey. It caused me to pause and ponder how my habits have changed. As a kid I was raised in a newspaper house; three morning and two evening. Safe to say, I was weaned on newspapers, at first attracted to the numerous photographs, which I cut out and stored in a piano stool vowing, when I grew up, to become a newspaper photographer. New habits die hard, carried with me across the ocean where,… Read complete articleThe Passing Scene: It’s an Age Thing
So, imagine this; for two terms you’ve been mayor of a (sort of) progressive small town on the shores of Lake Ontario, a town whose first mayor took office in 1837. But, since that mayor was inaugurated 181 years ago, it has only had one female mayor – which makes the word progressive, very questionable. But, be-that-as-it-may; it is now 2018 and, after two terms serving as mayor of this small town, you will be putting yourself out to pasture to enjoy some well deserved retirement years. But, before you do savour that moment – you just can’t resist taking one last kick at the can; writing to your chosen target, the Cobourg Tax Payers Association (CTPA) which has been… Read complete articleThe Passing Scene: We the People
Driving along King Street one morning last week I glanced, as though through a camera, at Victoria Hall’s tower, caught in the early sun – a striking image that is so much a part of Cobourg; as is, on a sleepless night, hearing the tower’s clock striking mid-night, its chimes seeming to linger endlessly in the darkness. It struck me how Victoria Hall is such an intrinsic part of Cobourg, an example of the perfect small-town main street; perhaps something we take too much for granted because, well, it’s simply there. But there was a time when Victoria Hall was, infamously, at risk of being demolished. The year was 1971 …. but, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s flash back… Read complete articleThe Passing Scene: Cobourg? Life is Tough
Recently, I had medical incident that, in the last week of August, took me to the pride of the county, Northumberland Hills Hospital (NHH), where I was seen quickly and treated – and then referred to a Cobourg specialist who referred me to the Kawartha Cardiology Clinic in Peterborough; which, in turn, referred me back to NHH, having scheduled another cardiac exam on January 23rd 2019. Or five months since my initial appointment. Now, I’m not a young lad any more, except in spirit, though I like to think I present as a sprightly older person, notwithstanding the the cane I am now carrying (just in case). Heck, just a couple of years ago I was cycling over 1500 kilometers… Read complete articleThe Passing Scene – Thinking Out Loud!
Recently, I was writing about Cobourg and the delights of small-town life, commenting on one of the town’s many low-key features; the spontaneous, out-of-left-field interactions between its citizens, aided by modern creations such as email. Last week was a prime example, producing a celebration of the life of long-time Cobourg resident, Alberta ‘Bert’ MacMillan. I wish I had known her. Like so many in our town, she was a force to be reckoned with, flying just below the community radar, a mover-and-a-shaker who, sadly, died on August 4 at Northumberland Hills Hospital. But, thanks to Cobourg resident Alma Draper and the many friends of Bert, the following is a short selection of the vast number of tributes and memories of… Read complete articleThe Passing Scene: Remembering ‘Bert’