A Voyage of Discovery

In 1992 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth reflected on her 40th year on the throne as being an “annus horribilis”.  Her children’s relationships were breaking down with the icing on the cake being the devastating fire at Windsor Castle. The monarchy was at a low point in its popularity. Over time, the Monarchy has taken steps to regain the support of the people.

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Remembrance Day

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
We will remember them.

In all my years on this earth, for the first time I experienced the solemnity that is Remembrance Day in Montreal where we remember those who fought for our freedom, in particular for those who did not return home. Continue reading

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Today I started taking my forced vacation days. Over the last few years I have been compelled to liquidate the excess in my vacation bank at work before the end of the calendar year. In planning my day off I had planned to:

  1. Visit the archives at Concordia University
  2. Visit the Bibliothèque et Archives Nationales du Québec (BAnQ)
  3.  Meet a journalist to help her with an article she is working on

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Just Vote, Please?

Here we are on the last day before voting for our next Federal representatives. Here in Quebec there are realistically four political parties with a chance to win some seats: Bloc Quebecois, Conservative Party, Liberal Party, New Democratic Party. Of those, the Conservatives generally have not been able gain traction in Quebec though they do have a consistent following in the Quebec City area. The NDP and the Liberals will make history if either of their leaders become Prime Minister. Thomas Mulcair would lead the first NDP Federal government and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, and his late father, would be the first father-son tandem to lead a government in this country since Confederation.

The bottom line is this: Get out and vote tomorrow. People in other parts of the world would (and have) die(d) to have the democratic rights and freedoms we enjoy. Who you vote for is unimportant. Just get to your polling station and do your duty, even if you have to stand in line for what you think is an unacceptably long time. It’s worth it, really.

If you’re not sure where you need to present yourself to cast your ballot, or who the candidate are in your riding, visit the Elections Canada site. You can’t go wrong.

Come Tuesday morning democracy will have spoken and, undeniably, democracy is never wrong.

An NDG’er Comes Home

Last year, NDG Baseball’s Board of Directors decided to bestowe its inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award on a native son who excelled for many years in his chosen profession. However, owing to his recovery from some health issues as well as the short turn around from the selection to the annual coaches’ banquet when such honours are normally awarded, it was mutually agreed that the award would be presented in 2015.

At the time of the selection, or shortly after, I was asked by Graham Nevin to work on media for this event despite stepping away from the NDG Baseball Board and I happily agreed.

Fast forward to July when I started to contact the usual media organizations. As is normally the case, I received zero feedback from the French language organizations and near 100% response from the English language organizations. I continue to regret that the French media is simply not interested in NDG Baseball nor a Quebecer whose career was of international reknown. I also continue to appreciate the English language media for the support it gives to NDG Minor Baseball when called upon.

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Stu Cowan: It has been quite a journey for former major-league umpire Jim McKean

Montreal Gazette

Jim McKean’s world will come full circle on Saturday when he umpires a few innings of the N.D.G. Baseball Major Championship game for the under-12 age group at Loyola Park.

McKean, now 70, spent much of his youth at Loyola Park as a star athlete in baseball, football and basketball. As a 12-year-old, he pitched three no-hitters and posted a perfect 18-0 record while leading Trenholme Park to the city peewee championship and also quarterbacked the Trenholme Park football team to a provincial title. He later earned the Principal Trophy at Monkland High School after winning championships with the school’s football and basketball teams. And in 1963, as QB of the N.D.G. Maple Leafs, he led his team to the Eastern Canadian championship.

McKean would then spend two years with the Alouettes in the Canadian Football League, mostly as a punter and backup QB to Bernie Faloney. The Saskatchewan Roughriders signed him before the…

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Air India Flight 182 – Thirty Years Later

On the shores of Lac St. Louis in Lachine on The Fur Trade at Lachine National Historic Site is a monument erected to the memory of those who perished in the Air India Flight 182 disaster, which happened June 23, 1985.

On Tuesday evening a number of the leaders of the Irish community in Montreal attended a ceremony commemorating the 30th anniversary of the day Air India Flight 182 exploded off the shores of Ireland, killing all on board. The Irish welcomed the families and friends of the victims into their homes as bodies and wreckage were recovered.

IMG_0157And so it was fitting that members of the Irish community joined the families of the victims on this 30th anniversary. Also on hand was Government Leader in the House Hon. Peter Van Loan and Honorary Consul General of Ireland Dr. Michael Kenneally and his wife Dr. Rhona Richman Kenneally. I was particularly struck by the story of Mahesh Sharma, who told me that he was first going to Australia on business before joining his family in India. One of his daughters was set to travel to Australia with him however when his other daughter also expressed an interest in going to Australia, the decision had to be made that neither could go to Australia. They both boarded Flight 182 with their mother and maternal grandmother and perished in the explosion. How does one go on with life after losing one’s wife and children?

Also on that flight was a teacher from Loyola High School. Although I never had the privilege of having Mr. Mukerji as a teacher, I have never forgotten him. We at Loyola all knew his story. After years of attending night classes after full days teaching high school physics, Mr. Mukerji finally completed the work required to attain his Phd days before leaving on a two month vacation in India.

Thirty years on, those who lost their lives have not been forgotten. Let us hope that tragedies such as this one are a thing of the past.