Monday, 23 October 2017

Kingston Trip – Part 2: Gord Downie Memorial

I had to put these photos into a separate post. We spent Friday night in Kingson and visited Market Square in the afternoon.

Moyia Misner-Pellow  - Flickr
Canada lost a beloved poet/musician. The Tragically Hip, Gord Downie's band, originated in 1984 in Kingston, with high school chums who were an amazing band over their 30 years. Unlike many Canadian artists, Downie refused to leave Canada to seek his fortune in the US. He was born in Amherstview, which we passed through on day 2 of our Kingston trip.

In 2016, the band announced that Gord Downie , their amazing front man, had a brain tumour. It was gioblastoma, that same kind of tumour that my dad had. Dad's was mostly surgically removed in 2005, then it came back with a vengeance in 2006. While Dad (1925 - 2007) ended up in a wheelchair, having difficulties with speech, Gord Downie's tumour was in a different region of the brain. Downie had radiation and chemo, but it was incurable. He was told not to go on the road, as he'd faced severe memory issues, but his doctor and his brothers made it so. He had six monitors at the shows, to cue him with the words. He had difficulty with facial recognition. During an interview, he'd write the name of the interviewee on his hand.

The Tragically Hip undertook a final Canadian tour, so that their fans could say goodbye to Gord Downie, and Gord could say goodbye to Canada. He was an amazing poet, musician, environmental advocate, humanist, with many awards and many, many Canadian fans. The final concert, in Kingston on Aug. 20, 2016, was broadcast across Canada, ad-free. It was spectacular.

Gord died Oct. 17th (1964 – 2017), and Kingston is in mourning. Flags are half-mast everywhere. There are many signs mourning his loss. There will be a celebration of life at some point, it'll be a grand event, I am sure. He was loved so much.

Gord Downie wrote songs that are authentically Canadian, diverse, and rich in feeling, images and emotions. Bobcaygeon is my favourite tune, and I hear it often in my mind's eye. The town of Bobcaygeon we passed often, travelling between Ottawa and Muskoka.
Population 3500,
10,000 in summer!
When I left your house this morning, 
It was a little after nine 
It was in Bobcaygeon, 
I saw the constellations 
Reveal themselves, one star at time

Downie's last work was "The Stranger, "(see theYouTube video) which chronicles the heartbreaking story of a young First Nations boy, who died trying to run away from residential schools. This is the first full chapter and song of The Secret Path. Adapted from Gord Downie’s album and Jeff Lemire’s graphic novel, The Secret Path chronicles the heartbreaking story of Chanie Wenjack’s residential school experience and subsequent death as he escapes and attempts to walk 600 km home to his family. He was not the only child to die this way. Gord was honoured by First Nations, for his work on this project, one of our steps in Truth and Reconciliation in recovering from the horrific treatment of our First Nations peoples by colonial settlers right across North America.

Today is the 30th anniversary of the day Chanie Wenjack died.
The Secret Path and Road to Reconciliation panel discussion can be watched at
This is the memorial in Market Square, with mural paper for signatures, as well as a book I signed. In the evening, people were gathering to sing Downie's songs, and celebrate his life, with the square lit by a red light.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Kingston –Part 1, here we come!

This trip had a goal. First, Kingston, visit with my mom's friends, Donna and Norma, then toodle around Kingston, including market Square. Hubby had researched a list of women's clothing shops, and other spots. Then, off to Amherst Island to visit Topsy Farm.


First, we parked and followed the shoreline. It's such an historical city. An eclectic mix of people. It's a fun city. You can rent bikes, city hall is an impressive building.
The Royal Military College is there, as well. I spotted an Invictus Games jogger, with his I AM sweatshirt. (The Invictus Games were held in Toronto in September.)


Donna and Norma had just gotten out of the shower. They are so busy, we juts popped in to see if they were about. We chatted, and I gave them one of my calendar. They sent us off while they got dressed, and we toodled around some more. First stop was the Touristy Information building. Inside, you will find a lamp post. They owned a heritage home, and while doing renovations for an addition on their old house, they found this lamp. The ladies dug this out of their back yard and carried it over to donate to the town.

We took the octogenarians out to a pub for lunch. They had been taken here with their retirement home as an activity, it took us a bit to figure out which pub it was. Ontario small towns have a lot of pubs!!!

We had a drink on the patio of the Holiday Inn, one of our favourite places to eat in summer. About four of these boats went by, they look highly classified!

Boat from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

Then, we drove to our motel, a little bit out of town. We passed the controversial statue of Sir John A. Macdonald.
The residence, apartments below, are where hubby lived when he went to Queens University back in the 70s. All of our colleges are on strike, protesting the number of part-time (70%) of full time staff. I know how difficult it can be only being part-time, and having a professor who is part-time.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Perth Town Traffic & Crosswalks

Courtesy crosswalk sign

Small town traffic

As we drove home at 6:30 p.m. in the dusk, we were hard-pressed to see people crossing at the new crosswalks. It is very dark. It's a problem with this time of year.

There is some controversy around the crosswalks, as they are 'courtesy' crosswalks. They have changes planned, thankfully. They've repainted the crosswalks, but just on one side. They are reducing the crosswalks, but making them mandatory.

Devoy, who writes for our local small paper, writes that they have recommended two solar-powered automated pedestrian crossing systems along Gore St. They cost $29,000 each. They are considering it as part of the 2018 budget. This is a good thing. It's a brilliant idea! ('Scuse the pun!) Sadly, people are hard to spot, with cars parked on corners outside legal parking. This is something they need to monitor, as well.

The camera automatically lightens the photo, but you see where they aren't in our headlights.

They are pretty dark, all things considered. You cannot see people at the left side.
Perth Crosswalks from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

Then there is this intersection.

Gore St & North where we nearly witnessed an accident. It is a two-way stop.  The car on the right doesn't have a stop sign, they have the right of way. We beat the truck to the stop sign but we let a pedestrian cross, then the truck began to move. The dark-coloured car had to put on its brakes.
I'm thinking this should be a 4-way stop to prevent many incidents.

It's pretty scary out there. We could use a ring road, but that's big bucks for a small town.
Education would be a good idea, but people are so distracted. There were two drivers in the truck, but pretty scary.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Another sunny day!

Daisy helped me in the backyard. I had to repair my rainbow windsock. The strings broke. I used fishing line to repair it.
I sent a Twitter message to a US acquaintance, who has chronic disease, is constanttly fighting doctors, saying "sometimes we catch the rainbow." She said it cheered her up.

We spotted a Monarch, feeding on clover. It's highly unusual, both the temperature and the Monarch!

Then, in the forest, the largest pile of bear scat I have ever seen! No bear on the trailcam, though. Junior Bear doesn't like it! (Junior Bear is back)  I've moved it see if I can fool him... He hasn't bothered with it since he ripped it off the post. (Junior Bear, Sept. 27)

Daisy snuck up on Dorah. Dorah was non-plussed. I hope you enjoy our walk.