For the past two decades, an annual summertime tradition in the McKechnie household has been the Model A Owners of Canada annual “Get-Away In A Model A” tour, usually taking place during the third weekend of August. Suitcases, lawn chairs, coolers, and umbrellas are packed into the back of our 1930 Model A Ford town sedan, which has been our family since my father purchased it from the late Doug Windrem, of Omemee, almost 30 years ago.
I am indebted to fellow Advocate writer, Jamie Morris, for allowing me to borrow the title of his column for this month’s installment of ‘Just In Time.’ As regular readers of the Advocate will know, “Friends & Neighbours” introduces the community to familiar individuals among us who have fascinating stories to share about their life, their culture, or their vocation.
Our past is full of interesting citizens who would have been regarded as friends and neighbours by their contemporaries. Whether it was the keeper of the local general store, the milkman, or the arena manager, small communities across Ontario could once claim a cast of characters who made an indelible impression on a generation of local citizens.
A boisterous crowd gathers in the Plaza del Toro in a charming small town, awaiting in rapt anticipation the entrance of the magnificent bull Ferdinand and wonders what might become of Matador Jorge Louis Bernal. Who will win — man or beast? Will the bull be vanquished? Will the matador survive? A year of planning this ‘ballet in three acts’ by organizers in the small town has come down to these tense few minutes. Our scene is not set in some small Mexican pueblo. This bullring is constructed out of plywood and the setting is old Lindsay fairgrounds where almost 5,000 people have gathered to see Canada’s first bullfight. The year is 1958.
Sometimes good ideas are merely a continuation of old ideas. What seems like a unique concept may actually be an echo of history, seized upon once again – perhaps at just the right moment.
While reading Looking for Old Victoria County, edited by Rae Fleming and published just last year, I came upon a chapter called The People of the 1861 Great Fire in Lindsay, by Lois Magahay. Under a section about local journalism, it was there that I found an astonishing fact:
It’s an annual ritual that occurs in the last week or so of June. Families and friends crowd into a hot auditorium and take their seats in front of a stage gaily decorated in floral blooms, the national and provincial flags, and the time-honoured school colours of red, blue, and old gold.
While the assembled multitude fan themselves with programs distributed at the auditorium door by student ushers, a long procession is forming in the hallway just beyond “the four corners.” Grade 12 students have donned dark blue robes and are being carefully marshalled into formation.
The forthcoming marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle has captured the interest and imagination of Canadians and other peoples in the realms over which His Royal Highness’ grandmother reigns as Queen. Once again, the magic, mystique, and mystery of monarchy is hitting the newsstands ‒ to the bemusement of some, and to the delight of many.
Newly-fallen autumn leaves blow across the vacant yards as the call of cicadas echo from east to west. A gentleman climbs up on top of a barren platform, his young son in tow. They gaze across the concrete, once humming with activity but now quiet. Weeds poke through ignominious cracks in the surface. Keep Reading
John Ireland loves history and he came to realize that he was surrounded by it, where he lives on Mill Street in Lindsay.
The area was the original centre of town, predating Kent Street.
The neighbourhood was home to one of Lindsay’s first banks (The Bank of Upper Canada) and of course St. Mary’s Catholic Church and its rectory, to name just a few.
Earlier this year, a story appeared in the pages of the local press revealing that the City of Kawartha Lakes ranked eighty-fourth on a list of “2018 millennial hotspots” compiled by a real estate think tank based in Saskatchewan.
Many residents were bemused by this story, with the municipality’s acting Director of Economic Development quoted in Kawartha Lakes This Week as asking “what on Earth are we doing on this list?”