Day: January 1, 1999

O Canada

The Heart Of Hockey

Long after I had stopped asking about Santa Claus, I still believed that hockey in this country was a creation of The Royal Canadian Legion. In the fall of 1956, the year I turned eight, my mother gave me the two dollars necessary to sign up for town league hockey. With the two-dollar bill and my birth certificate in pocket, I walked with Brent and Eric, then and still the very best friends in the world, down the hill and along the leaf-splattered Muskoka River to the Huntsville, Ont., Memorial Arena. It was a typical rink of its day, large and bulky, erected in honour of those who had fought for their country, and the women of Branch 232 ran the snack bar. I was placed on the Legion Auxiliary team, which naturally meant we would be called the "Legion Ladi...
Memoirs

Solemn Moments In Mons

by Ray Dick "I was in a trench on the outskirts of Mons when the firing stopped," said Fred Evans, a 101-year-old WW I veteran from Summerville, N.B., while gazing out over the now-peaceful Belgian countryside he hadn’t seen for 80 years. Evans was part of a cavalcade of Great War veterans who had travelled thousands of miles to Mons last November for a Remembrance Day ceremony in a city made famous by war and peace. For it was in Mons where the Allies were first drawn into the war, where the war ended and where the tradition of remembrance began. "We thought it was only a ceasefire, not the end of the war," added Evans. "We didn’t even get an extra shot of rum that morning." He recalls walking into Mons the day the Armistice was signed at the 11th hour on the 11th day of...
Memoirs

Korea: A Landscape Of Wartime Memories

At first glance, South Korea looks like a landscape artist’s paradise. There are tree-covered hills rising in every direction and cities teeming with people. There are also war cemeteries decorated with bonsai trees that look like swirls of soft ice cream. It’s hard to square these images with the black and white photographs of the Korean War. Indeed, many of the photos I’ve seen show Canadian soldiers slogging through mud or along narrow dusty trails. I’ve also seen pictures of convoys on rough mountain roads and of men crammed into slit trenches. It must have been a different Korea back then, back during the war that lasted from June 25, 1950, until the Korea Armistice Agreement was signed on July 27, 1953. "At nighttime you had slit trenches," explained J.E. Clegg of Nanaimo, B.C....
O Canada

The Dawning Of Nunavut

The clock atop the Parniavuk Building in the capital city of Iqaluit on Baffin Island ticks away the days to the birth of Nunavut. Close by, construction workers, rugged against the cold of the arctic winter, are rushing to finish Nunavut’s new Legislative Assembly building. A few doors away in the igloo-shaped office of the Interim Commissioner, Jack Anawak considers his options, now that his job to oversee the design of the new Nunavut government is nearing completion. Nunavut’s first elected ministers will soon be at their desks. Further along the ice-packed street of this 4,000-strong community, John Amagoalik, nicknamed the Father of Nunavut, stands at the window of the Nunavut Implementation Commission office and checks the list of guests he’s invited to the biggest party Iqal...
War Art

Robert Buckham

Art was Robert Buckham's life—or at least his sanity. It got him through the hell of two forced marches during his time as a PoW in Germany during WW II. From top to bottom: On The March, April 1945; RAF Polish Officer. Born in Toronto in 1918, Robert Buckham didn’t go overseas as a WW II artist. He went over as a pilot with the Royal Canadian Air Force and ended up flying Wellington bombers over France and Germany. He was with 428 Squadron when his plane was shot down over Bochum, Germany, on April 8, 1943. The pilot and crew survived the crash, but were captured by the Germans and imprisoned at Stalag Luft III, 120 kilometres northeast of Dresden. It was from there that the Great Escape took place on March 24, 1944. On Christmas Day 1944—a small, green hardboard book was issued t...
Defence Today

The Canada Forces Today: Part 2 of 4 – The Army’s New Orders

by Tom MacGregor In Part 1 of this series we explained how the Department of National Defence is attempting to cut costs while maintaining a combat-ready force. In Part 2, we take a look at the challenges facing the army, the largest of the military’s three branches of service. And in a related story, we zero in on some of the quality of life recommendations made by the House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs. The army’s primary purpose is to defend the nation and–when called upon–to fight and win in war. This important function or obligation, says the Department of National Defence, is met when the army maintains a military deterrence capability that is "credible and visible during peacetime, and by being able to undertake combat operations if ...

Sign up today for a FREE download of Canada’s War Stories

Free e-book

An informative primer on Canada’s crucial role in the Normandy landing, June 6, 1944.