Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

Archive for the ‘Canada’ Category

Want Beer? Go to the Source.

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What better way to get our Canadian-beer fix than to head to where it’s brewed. So we blew into the Steam Whistle facility in the Roundhouse at the foot of the CN Tower. Got a bottle and glass of fine pilsener (and a souvenir tasting glass) before heading out into the reconstructed station and pump house and locomotive roundhouse that was a loud and major working railway yard about a century ago. With appetites whetted, we headed west on the Queensway to Prego where Lou reviewed memories with owner (and chef) Angelo before we feasted on one of the house specialities — roasted rabbit. Sun’s out but wind off the lake still has teeth in it…

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Written by Cecil Scaglione

April 18, 2013 at 7:43 am

Posted in Canada, Travel

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Time Out in Toronto

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It’s been a week gone by already and we’ve finally found the sun.

The flight here a week ago Tuesday was extremely pleasant because we had to shift seats twice: as the Airbus doors slammed shut preparing for takeoff, Bev had the seat across the aisle from me  and I had an empty row. A flight attendant asked me to make room for an elderly woman from up front to sit in my row (number 26)  because she wanted to be closer to the bathroom. She noticed Bev and I talking and figured out we were together so she (flight attendant) agreed to have Bev move over with me and the woman take her seat. Then another flight attendant tapped me on the shoulder and asked if we’d change seats with the people right behind us — a young mother with two kids — because the audio system in one of the seats wasn’t working and her kids need them to stay amused with video. So we tumbled one row back but still had three seats for us two. Because we were so cooperative, the flight attendants gave us free food — Air Canada charges for their in-flight lunch.

Brother Lou picked us up in the 10 p.m. rain and we slept through the first day of chilly rain and clouds and got out the second day here to stretch our legs and stumble thru the cold. Lou lent us his Jeep to drive to Kitchener on Sunday during the first clean break in the weather for an auld-lang-syne gathering with three long-time friends — an ex reporter, photographer and sports editor — from the Kitchener-Waterloo Record.  We’ve had dinner with old friends here in TO, have done a bit of shopping, and Lou and I spun thru Steamwhistle Brewery in the shadow of the CN Tower.

‘We’ll catch up on the rest later…

 

 

Written by Cecil Scaglione

April 17, 2013 at 6:26 am

Edison Linked to Canadian Baseball

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By Cecil Scaglione    

 Mature Life Features

ST. MARY’S, Ontario —- You could say the chronicles of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame are crafted in concrete. The St. Mary’s Cement Co., founded in 1912, is to Canadian cement what Louisville is to baseball bats.

The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame was opened in 1983. It was housed in the American League Toronto Blue Jays’ original home in the Canadian National Exhibition stadium on the Lake Ontario waterfront.

It was dispossessed in 1989 because it was not included in the baseball team’s new home – the massive Skydome built in the lee of the CN Tower, the world’s tallest free-standing structure that looms over the lake.

That’s when the cement company came to the rescue by donating 32 acres of land for a museum-and-sports-field complex. We stopped by this hidden gem a couple of hours east of Toronto while on a mission to dip our toes in the three Great Lakes – Huron, Erie and Ontario — that lap the shores of Southern Ontario.

This bustling industrial town also produced Arthur Meighen, who was prime minister of Canada during the early 1920s, and Timothy Eaton, who launched a coast-to-coast department-store empire. It also was a brief stopover for Thomas Alva Edison, who worked as an itinerant junior telegrapher for Western Union in his teens.

A near-disaster vignettes his brief career in St. Mary’s first railway station, although other towns claim this bit of notoriety. As the story goes, he displayed his creative bent while serving as the local night telegraph operator. To prevent night operators from sleeping on the job, the company required them to tap out “six” every half hour. He invented a device that automatically sent out the code when a crank was turned and he slept while the night watchman turned the crank every 30 minutes.

One night a message came through to hold a train in a passing track. Edison failed to relay this message to the train crew. Fortunately, the engineers saw each other’s train in time to stop. And the young man slipped out of town before the subsequent inquiry was completed.

A new structure on the Hall of Fame site is a bleacher section erected at the recently built ball fields. The museum is a house that was built on a comfortable knoll in 1868 and rented to cement-company employees.

Among the more renowned of the mostly Canadian players memorialized here is Chicago Cub’s pitcher Ferguson Arthur Jenkins, who was born and raised in Chatham, Ontario. It’s about 50 miles east of Detroit and was a major terminal on the underground railway used by slaves fleeing the United States. He’s also inducted into the Cooperstown, N.Y., baseball Hall of Fame. His 1971 Cy Young award for National League pitcher of the year is on display here.

Also in this baseball circle is Jackie Robinson, who played for the Montreal Royals, a Brooklyn Dodgers farm club, before he broke the color barrier in the major leagues.

While hanging around to listen to the echoes dancing around the uniforms, mitts, bats, spikes, caps, and photographs was enthralling, it soon was time to return to our original mission – to dabble in the three Great Lakes.

We had left Goderich on the blue-water shores of Lake Huron a couple of hours earlier after a couple of days roaming around the rustic region along its eastern shore. We went antique gawking in such fanciful towns as Tobermory, Kincardine, and Southampton. Villages in this area boast stone-and-brick churches that look large enough to house all the remaining buildings in the community.

From St. Mary’s, we dropped down to the north shore of Lake Erie. The water there appears to reflect the tone of the earth around it. We took time in Port Stanley to sample the sweet and succulent Lake Erie perch, a lunch you’ll always remember once you’ve tried it.

Our next leg was east around the metropolitan Toronto complex to Prince Edward County, an island on the north shore of Lake Ontario. This lake serves as a weather monitor – angry black-and-white when it’s stormy, crisp and translucent blue when sailing is at its best, and steel-grey cold when the temperature plummets.

We devoted some time here to view the area picked by loyalists to the British cause during the War of 1812 as they scooted across Lake Ontario to this land of milk and honey that has become Canadian wine-and-cheese country.

Picton, about 90 minutes east of Toronto, is the major town that anchors the eastern end of the Ontario wine country, which winds westward through the Niagara peninsula and on to the junction of the Detroit River and Lake Erie about 300 miles away.

The pub in the Waring House Inn, a cozy 17-room hostel and cooking school, proclaims its heritage in the Barley Room. Barley from this little island was in demand throughout North America during the latter half of the 1800s.

All this is within a two-hour drive of Gananoque, on the U.S. border at the head of the Thousand Islands leading into the St. Lawrence River; Ottawa, the country’s capital, and Toronto, often cited as the most cosmopolitan city on the continent.

Mature Life Features Copyright 2003

Written by Cecil Scaglione

August 12, 2011 at 7:48 am

Posted in Canada, Travel

Tagged with , , , ,

Two Good Men

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By Cecil Scaglione,  Mature Life Features

It isn’t every day I get to have lunch with a couple of priests.
Nor is it every day I travel a few thousand miles to nosh with a couple of high-school buddies whose friendship can be traced back to the 1940s. They grew up around the block from each other in the shadow of the Pro-Cathedral of the Assumption in North Bay, Ontario.
Monsignor John H. Caswell was already in the parking lot of the lakeside roadhouse when I arrived. The Right Rev. Father Dennis J. Murphy slipped in seconds later. Our last gathering had been more than a quarter century earlier when a handful of the old gang set aside an evening at Murphy’s cottage on the south shore of Lake Nipissing. It was during an alumni gathering at Scollard Hall, the North Bay high school we attended in the 1950s when a dozen or so Resurrectionists molded a couple of hundred boys into shape each year.
Since graduation, Caswell crafted a television network in Sudbury for the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie and Murphy carved a career in Catholic education.
This Cas-Murph-Scag lunch was set up after my wife and I, now living in San Diego, decided to take an R&R (relatives and reminisces) swing up to Pennsylvania to visit her folks and to Toronto to visit my brother Louis. An auld-lang-syne visit to North Bay seemed appropriate. A quick e-mail to Caswell was all it took. His ready response was that, while both men manage crammed calendars, such meetings deserve priority since old friends are passing away with regularity.
As we greeted each other, neither priest showed signs of his recent battle with cancer. Caswell trumped esophagus cancer a few years earlier. Murphy had just completed a radiation program for his prostate problem. “I thank God for Cas’s presence during my treatments,” Murphy said later.
There was no table talk of the awards and accolades these two retired reverends logged over the years. For example, Caswell’s work with Cath-Com Productions earned him a prestigious Gabriel Award in 2005 from the Dayton, Ohio-based Catholic Academy for Communications Arts Professionals. Sharing the awards program that year was U.S. television icon and NBC news senior vice president Tim Russert, who died recently. That same year, Murphy was cited by the Ontario Catholic School Trustees for his support and service as, among other positions, director of Catholic education.
Our lunch was punctuated with a lot of pauses over the passing of associates and acquaintances, grins and nods over accomplishments by colleagues and classmates, and guffaws over dredged-up happenstances of long ago. The two clerics were eight years old when they met in 1943, shortly after the Caswells moved to the Bay from Smith’s Falls. “One of my earliest memories was being invited to play ball after supper with his family,” Caswell said. Not only did Murphy have a few brothers and sisters, he had “a big side yard.”
“We certainly played road hockey – the R.H.L (Road Hockey League) – from that time on,” Murphy added. There were touch-football games with other kids on the block. And the pair played on the same midget hockey team at Scollard Hall.
“Dennis was ahead of me in school, so he had a jump start on giving the seminary a try,” Caswell recalled. “Remember, at that time there were a number of guys from our home parish who were already ordained or in the seminary. This was inspiring in itself and, when Murph went, it was only natural that I should give it some serious thought.” Murphy attended St. Augustine’s Seminary in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough while Caswell chose St. Peter’s in London, Ontario. Caswell was unable to make Murphy’s 1960 ordination in the church that dominated their neighbourhood because St. Pete’s was not yet out for summer vacation.
But Murphy made Caswell’s two years later. “He was on Bishop (Alexander) Carter’s staff and master of ceremonies for the diocese (of Sault St. Marie) for all such events as ordination,” Caswell said. “It was a special moment for me,” Murphy added.
Murphy continued his studies in such faraway cities as Rome and Brussels, did parish work at the Pro-Cathedral and Corpus Christi church in North Bay, held administrative and leadership posts in local, provincial, and national religious and secular boards and commissions, and wrote extensively on Catholic education. He was also appointed co-ordinator of Pope John Paul II’s September 1984 visit to English-speaking Canada.
Caswell applied further education, experience and expertise to building the diocesan communications network into a polished professional organization centred around its weekly Mass for Shut-Ins telecast while taking on parish work, including several years as pastor of Christ the King church in Sudbury, Ont.
And over the decades, they nurtured and nourished their friendship. “It really is quite remarkable,” Murphy said, “that during the last almost 50 years, although I worked many of those years in Ottawa and Toronto and Cas was in the diocese, we managed to see each other often. There were the summers when I was home. The same was true for many long weekends, Christmas and Easter holidays, and so on. It didn’t seem to be any big deal, but we just stayed together.”
“We try to stay in contact as much as possible without getting in each other’s way,” said Caswell. “I have always had the enormous blessing of being considered part of his family and he was always considered part of mine. It’s a given that he and I are always there for each other, in good times and bad. If there has been any mentoring, it’s been more by example than words.”
“The business of being there for one another is true,” Murphy added, “We certainly have prayed for and remembered each other not only in … less-felicitous moments but on all the happy occasions that have been part of our lives. I don’t recall us being much into offering spiritual advice or guidance to each other but I am sure we have communicated to each other much of what we hold of value.”
Such as their ongoing friendship.

Source: http://www.foreveryoungnews.com/article/13751

(This article originally appeared in Forever Young News)

Tuesday Apr 20, 2010

Written by Cecil Scaglione

July 24, 2011 at 9:05 am

Surprise Visit

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The visit was not a surprise. We’d planned it for at least half a year. What happened was a surprise.
We flew into Toronto, where brother Lou was to lend us a car to drive down to Pennsylvania – our original destination – to visit Bev’s folks for a week. The savings from the use of his car made it possible to fly into Toronto and extend our getaway a couple of weeks.
Then we’d beatle back to Toronto and visit with Lou and his wife, Jean, and maybe get to see a few more long-ago and long-time friends. There was even a Kitchener-Waterloo Record alumni dinner on the calendar.
That all was aborted.
The week before our Tuesday departure, I gor a pertussis (whooping cough) shot because the disease has been declared an epidemic in California and Michigan. I had a flu shot the week before that and there were no after-effects. My concern was (and still is) my current immune-system quandary.
The Friday after the w.p.shot, I got ailing – shivering and shaking and quaking and sweating. But nothing more than most folk get with a flu attack. Saturday wasn’t much better, nor was Sunday. I sent my Internist (G.P.) Dr. Land and endocrinologist Dr. Chang a e-mails explaining my plight, pointing out I was due for a flight on Tuesday. Neither one said stay home. Land said stay hydrated and the endo said it was not a reaction to my meds, which I knew because I’ve been on the meds for three months now.
N.B. The meds are designed to stabilize what has been diagnosed as autoimmune hepatitis, weaning me off one as they wean me onto the maintenance drug. I had been progressing nicely to the point where I can eat a regular diet, eschewing booze until the final hurdle is cleared when the stabilizing med holds fort.
Then my immune systems was overwhelmed, as my GP e-mailed today – but still will not state flatly that the pertussis shot did it.
So rather than spread my doom and gloom, we headed back home Saturday.
Gave lab blood this morning (Monday) so hope for some sort of definitive news later today. Weighed 140 pounds this a.m,, which means I’ve lost eight pounds in the last 10 days and more than 45 pounds since January. Nothing, but nothing tastes good. Some food even turns me off.

Home Is Where the Garbage Is
It’s always psychologically comforting to get home, but it’s muuuuuuuuuuuuch better to get home when you’re ailing.
Even when it’s all torn apart.
Fortunately, our bedroom had been restored so we camped there about 90 minutes after we deplaned about 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
But portions of the rest of the house look marvelous: we’re having the place re-floored. Laminated wood and carpeting. What’s done looks wonderful. Workers doing a fine job. The rest stinks. But we were supposed to be away for another two weeks.
Dave, our neighbor, is a home renovator/remodeler and he’s honchoing the project.
Workers returned today and it looks like they’ll be here a couple of or three more days. We’ve emphasized that I don’t want them to rush. We want the job down well, not fast.
So got out of the way earlier today by going to get lab work done, then went to breakfast. Oatmeal is actually one of the few things that taste good.

Canadian Medical is Spelled O-b-a-m-a-c-a-r-e

For those who know, this is a reminder; for those who don’t, this is to remember:
I was born and raised in Canada and spent my first 3 ½ decades there. So I’ve grown up with the Canadian medical system. The closest thing to it in California is Kaiser Medical, for those familiar with that.
As my body was reacting in Canada to a pertussis shot, Chang said get a blood test and fax her the results asap.
HAH!
Lou retired recently after a 35+-year career that included being head of the photography department at Sick Children’s Hospital in Toronto – one of three premier sick kid’s hospital’s in the world until the Canadian medical system began to tatter more than two decades ago. That’s when “universal health care” meant there was no room for such a highly specialized research facility in the system and doctors fled to the U.S. – Rochester, Menninger, etc. In fact, Sick Kids now rents operating rooms to doctors from Buffalo and Niagara Falls, NY and Cleveland and other U.S. neighbors.
Jean is an operating room nurse at Cedar’s Sinai Hospital in Toronto. So we aren’t muddling around in a dark closet when we talk Canadian medical.
It was 10 a.m. California time, 1 p.m. in Toronto, when Chang faxed a blood-test work order to jean’s work station at Cedar’s Sinai. I couldn’t get a blood test at that hospital. Lou called a clinic he worked with and goes to regularly. They said they could take the work order BUT it would have to be authorized and rewritten by a Canadian doctor. We would have to take the work order – you need a piece of paper in your hand before doing anything medical there – to the clinic and,  while they didn’t have a doctor on site, they would send us to one of their regular medics to handle the matter. Then we would take the Cdn-signed work order back to the clinic for the blood work, which would have a minimal fee – less than $50.  We would be brushing the clock really close to get the test done before 5 p.m. Assuming we did, we asked how long it would take to fax the results to Chang in California. The response was “About five working days.” This was Friday afternoon before their Thanksgiving weekend, meaning, that if we got the test done before 5 p.m., it would take more than a week for Dr. Chang to get the results. Even a rush is 24 – 48 hours. The turn-around time at Scripps is 40 minutes. That will certainly change as “universal coverage” creeps through the U.S. system.
So Bev called the airline and we got home in about 28 hours.
A handful of years ago, our surrogate mother in Toronto fell as she was hit by a heart attack/fainting spell/stroke/whatever while she was moving from an apartment to an assisted-living complex to be nearer her son. They rushed her to the hospital, where she was asked for her medical card. She didn’t have it but this was a facility where she’d been treated poked and prodded several times over the years and she was in their records. NO MATTER. She didn’t have that piece of paper in her hand so she had to lay in a gurney in the admitting corridor for nine – NINE – hours (NO FOOD, NO MEDICATION, NOTHING) while her family rummaged thru her stuff to find her medical card and get back to the hospital.
The process trumps the patient.
And folks, they said it can’t happen here.
Duck.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

October 11, 2010 at 7:06 pm

Posted in Canada

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Changes

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Among the changes in preparing for this trip was having to clean out several  bookcases, and store away heirlooms and antiques and stuff from shelves so contractor  won’t spill or break as much when they remove  the existing floor to replace it with hardwood and carpet. They start Tuesday, the day we leave. Ross and neighbor who remodels and renovates houses are honchoing the project. Should be thru Friday or Saturday. Neighbor Dave will do a walk-through a week from Tuesday and then give the contractor the final check.

Also this time, because I’m on this medication testing and switchover, I’ve had to marshal what seems like several gross of  prescriptions and supplements and still have room left in my carry-on.

Also learned it was a good thing to have called credit-card company and bank to let them know we’re traveling because the changing rules probably would have caused their systems to refuse our credit and debit  cards, especially out of the country — Canada.  So it’s a good idea to call before you go  and  give them the dates and travel sites.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

October 2, 2010 at 3:10 pm

Posted in Canada

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Weeeeeeeee’re Back!!!

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I’m already packed and making plans for my lunch for the 4 1/2 hour Air Canada flight to Toronto next Tuesday. We’re going to drive from there to Reading, Pennsylvania,  to spend a week with Bev’s relatives and then back to Toronto to hang around with my brother Louis and his wife Jean for a couple of weeks. On schedule is an alumni gathering of the K-W Record crew, where I worked in Kitchener — about 45 minutes west of Toronto — for about 5 years in the late ’50s, early ”60s before moving on to the Windsor Star.

On the day we leave, workers will begin to tear out our existing floor covering and install new laminated wood flooring and  carpeting some areas. Dave, our neighbor, who renovates and remodels homes, is honchoing the project.  To make life easier for the workers, and to protect some of our goodies, I’ve boxed  my books and shelf things along with antiques and heirlooms and stashed them in my garage office.

Will try to keep y’all up-to-date along the way.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

October 1, 2010 at 6:06 am

Posted in Canada

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