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Month: September 2002

O Canada

North To Alaska

A worker drapes his head with netting to keep insects at bay. I have no recollection of my first journey north over the Alaska Highway, although years after our 1944 bus ride my mother recalled that my shenanigans amused the Greyhound driver. We were travelling from northern Alberta to the land of the midnight sun, where my 65-year-old father hoped to find work in Whitehorse, an American military boomtown in Canada's fabled Yukon Territory. The American army had built the 1,523 miles of pioneer road through British Columbia, the Yukon and Alaska ...

Horror Beyond Dieppe

by Robert Waddy   On Sept. 1, 1939--at the age of 18--I went to a party at a pharmacist's home in North Vancouver. The pharmacist was a good friend who had given me the opportunity to train as a boxer above his drugstore. While at the party I heard that the Germans had invaded Poland, an event that elicited ultimatums from both Britain and France. Two days later--on Sept. 3--Britain and France declared war on Germany and my immediate reaction was to head to the Bessborough Armouries where I enrolled in the 83rd Battery, part of the 15th Coast Brigade. My motivation stemmed ...

The Airman From The Crash

by John Lewis   One of my favourite pastimes during World War II was riding my bicycle out to the Royal Air Force base situated a short distance from our house in Heston, England. As a young member of Britain's Air Training Corps, I was interested in planes and the crews that flew them. I loved to sit on my bike and watch the planes take off and land; imagining that I was at the controls. Of course, I wasn't the only lad who enjoyed doing this, and the best viewing area was a place called The Dump, our nickname for a cinder patch that stretched between Cra...

In Her Majesty’s Service

by Rosalee van Stelten   It began in Winnipeg during the Great Flood of 1950. My schoolmates were stacking sandbags to keep back the swiftly rising waters of the Red River. Slight of build, I was not permitted to join them. Instead, I landed in the flood liaison office at HMCS Chippawa--a land establishment in Winnipeg--working for a jaunty, bearded lieutenant who enthralled me with salty dips about his life in the Royal Navy. It was not long before I was hooked. Eight years later, on a rainy day in Victoria, I was summoned to the office of the manning commander of Canada's ...
O Canada

Apple Country

From top: Beautiful apples sparkle under the sun in Nova Scotia's Annapolis Valley; Apple grower G.T. Turnbull examines his harvest at Goderich, Ont., in 1900. Canada grows more than 30 million bushels of apples a year. Some of the most famous varieties in the world have been developed in this country. We bake them, broil them, squeeze them into juice, cider and sauce or just eat them raw. Those we don't eat, we ship to places as far away as Finland, Hong Kong, Bangladesh and Australia. Unlike most other agricultural crops in Canada, production ...
War Art

Thurston Topham

An Ammunition Column. Thurston Topham was Canadian by choice, not birth. Born in England in 1888, he emigrated to Montreal when he was 23. His British education prepared him for architecture and interior decoration, but after his experiences in World War I he decided to pursue a career as an artist. In WW I, Topham joined the 1st Canadian Siege Battery, where he was put to work creating panoramic observation sketches as well as routine duties. He often worked on his personal paintings by moonlight during the Battle of the Somme. These drawings from the trenches are primarily in tones of sepia and grey and capture the muddy world our soldiers inhabited. Light filters into the cheerless canvases to illuminate his subjects, perhaps a wounded soldier or ...

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