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AULD ACQUAINTANCES, DEC 2019 TO MARCH 2020 PART 2

 

 

Auld Acquaintances by Peggy Oldfield

December 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020 (Part 2)

In Part 2 of the column, I’m pleased to share excerpts from the newsletters of the CBC Pensioners’ National Association published in the past four months. Please note: Following this edition, this column will go into an indefinite hiatus.

First up we have news from two issues of The Transmitter from the Alberta, Saskatchewan and Northwest Territories Region, with appreciation to Bob Forrow (Regional President), Joanne Skidmore (Regional Secretary) and their publication team.

The Transmitter – December 2019

President’s Report (excerpt):

Our region’s annual general meeting was held in Edmonton on September 18, 2019.  We were very pleased to welcome Alain Pineau, PNA delegate on the Board of Trustees of the CBC Pension Fund, as our guest speaker at the Annual General Meeting.   Alain also made a presentation to the Past-President of the Region, Jim MacVicar. Alain thanked Jim for his exemplary contributions to the CBC PNA, in particular his work on the committee to recruit new members for the Association.

Bob Forrow CBC Pensioners National Association Alberta, Saskatchewan and Northwest Territories Region

                                                                

Guest speaker Alain Pineau thanked former regional president                                 Cécile Magnan,
       Jim MacVicar for his contributions to the CBC PNA.                        CBC PNA Regional Treasurer, Edmonton, AB

 

    

   Lutz Walsh, Cécile Magnan, Joanne Skidmore, Royal Harris   

Lutz Walsh, Cécile Magnan, Alain Pineau, Joanne Skidmore, Bob Forrow

 

A Half-Century Reunion Brings Back Memories
Marcel Bolen, CBC PNA, Regina, SK

Fifty years ago, CBKMT and CBKRT TV signed on for the very first time from their combined studios on Main Street in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. This was the culmination of a deal made by the CBC Television network to take over its former affiliate, CHAB TV Moose Jaw, and its twin, CHRE TV, which re-broadcast the station’s signal into Regina.

 CBC Moose Jaw alumni and spouses.

On September 14th, 2019 – 50 years and a day after this momentous changeover – 30 former staff and their spouses, including my wife and I, gathered at Carol’s Catering in Moose Jaw to celebrate this Golden Anniversary. The group included former staffers from Vancouver, Kamloops, Swift Current, Saskatoon, Kronau, Regina and of course, Moose Jaw.

The reunion supper began with a minute of silence to remember those who had passed away. Following the meal, stories of practical jokes, bats, mishaps and treacherous weather were told. Lutz Walsh also brought greetings on behalf of the CBC Pensioners National Association. The evening was capped off by viewing a mini-documentary produced in 2012 on the history of CBC Television in Saskatchewan.

Daryl Metz, one of the organizers, put it best when he said this was more like a family reunion than a workplace one. I can echo those sentiments, even though I only worked in Moose Jaw for 18 months. But what a memorable year-and-a-half!                                                Ron Petrescue recounting a memory from his days of
                                                                                                                                     working at CBC Moose Jaw.

I’d just finished my course in radio and TV electronics at the Saskatchewan Technical Institute (STI) in Moose Jaw in January 1982 and was hoping to land a job at CBC Radio in Regina when I was contacted by Gary Goudie, Production Manager for CBC Television. Gary asked if I would be interested in a temporary position as master control technician in Moose Jaw. Since there were no jobs available in Regina then, I jumped at the offer.

The best part of my job was inserting commercials into CBC’s programming from sign-on to sign-off.  

   The most challenging part was operating the gear during live sporting 
   events like Hockey Night in Canada, or CFL games. During games in
   those pre-computer days, operators like me would watch for a visual
   signal – called a “cue dot” – to appear in the upper right part of our
   TV monitors, or I would listen for an audio cue from the announcers,
   which would give me five seconds warning to get my local commercials
   playing properly.

   My least favourite task was inserting commercials into the late-night
   movies, which were played from one of two specialized movie projectors
   called telecine chains. The reason I didn’t enjoy this chore was the
        Photo: Courtesy Marcel Bolen                          movies weren’t always blockbuster hits and were rather boring to watch 
                                                                            and the telecine chains were notorious for giving problems. What kind of 
                                                                            problems? Well…

It was a Sunday night in February and one of my very first sign-off shifts. The late movie was some black and white offering from the 1950’s. Part way though the movie, I noticed that something wasn’t quite right. The audio was fine, the video wasn’t. Instead of the actors and the action, all I could see was a small dot in the middle of the screen. Something appeared wrong with the projector, but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out the issue! The movie continued to play with this small dot being the only visual. In full panic mode I rang maintenance technician Tom Fink, who, fortunately for me, took my late-night call. Tom immediately understood the problem and tried to talk me through the simple fix. But I was so rattled by then, I couldn’t follow his directions. So, way too late on a bitter cold February evening, Tom drove to the station and had the issue resolved in about 30 seconds. Afterwards, I thought my days of Master Control Operator were numbered but all was forgiven. I’ll never forget Tom’s good deed – or the rest of my good colleagues – from the very beginning of my career at CBC Moose Jaw.

CBC Moose Jaw 50 Year Reunion Thank You!
Daryl Metz, CBC PNA, Moose Jaw, SK

I’d like to thank everyone who attended the Golden Anniversary of the foundation of CBKMT and CBKRT TV Moose Jaw It was great to see so many people from CBC Television’s beginnings in Saskatchewan. And special thanks to everyone who helped     organize the celebration, including:
• Shirley Sanderson – who made up her mind that it was going to happen, no matter how many were able to make the trip, and who gave the reunion a big push.
• Marcel Bolen – “We’re the CBC, of course we can do it,” he said,       CBC Moose Jaw reunion organizers: Shirley Sanderson, and who helped promote the event on Facebook.                                  Lila Stanley, Daryl Metz,Carol Martynook, Colleen Tremel   
• Joanne Skidmore – who got out invitations to CBC PNA members.
• Carol Martynook – for writing emails and making calls.
• Colleen Tremel – who came on board and helped us organize this.
• Lila Stanley – who came to Moose Jaw for a meeting and gave us her input.
• Jim MacVicar & Ken Golemba – for connecting with people they knew. And…
• Lutz Walsh and Mireille Beaupré-Walsh – who supplied prizes for the best stories and a 30-minute video, “50 Years of CBC Television in Saskatchewan.” The video brought back memories of my beginnings at CBC and my youth. It was awesome.

Thank you for the tremendous effort from everyone!

 P.S. See you all in August 2023 for the 40th anniversary of CBC/Radio-Canada in Regina, SK consolidating in one building at 2440 Broad Street.

Moroccan Memories
Sean Prpick, CBC PNA, Regina, SK

 Magnificent Morocco Photo: Courtesy of Sean Prpick, CBC PNA, Regina, SK
A camel caravan carried Sean Prpick and his tour group from a Berber camp in southeast Morocco several kilometers into the Sahara Desert. The guides said if they could keep riding another 52 days south, they would reach the city of Timbuktu.

  This past September my spouse – and former Radio-Canada 
   colleague – Maud Beaulieu and I joined a tour of Morocco in
   Casablanca, Morocco’s commercial hub and the main port of
   entry for most visitors. A bustling city of nearly 3.5-million
   people, Casablanca is exciting, congested, noisy and polluted.
   Just crossing the street was an adventure for us, used to
   plentiful traffic lights, crosswalks and general adherence to
   traffic rules. Yet we soon learned to dodge traffic like the
   city’s most experienced daredevil pedestrians.

   In the M'Goun Valley members of our travel group in
   traditional
Moroccan costume (that's Maud dressed
                                                                                  in green) and our host
family. The head of the family,
                                                                                  Bea, is on the right.

But that’s not the whole picture of Casablanca. A few kilometers from the downtown core are the totally different and absolutely serene precincts of the Hassan II Mosque complex. Placed on the waterfront in Casablanca – evoking an Islamic tradition that Allah will be sitting on a throne floating on water on Judgement Day – the mosque is the largest in Africa and the third largest in the world. More than 20,000 worshippers can fit inside and nearly 100,000 in the courtyard outside.

The mosque is meant to impress visitors, including foreign ones like us (Morocco’s relatively tolerant brand of Islam means non-Muslims are welcome in most mosques). It was constructed from the late '80s through the early '90s and is so enormous it’s impossible to air condition. On hot summer days, or on important religious holidays when it’s packed with people, an Iman can push one button and the ornate and gigantic cedar roof rolls away, à la SkyDome, exposing the faithful below to fresh air and clear blue skies.  

Despite Casablanca’s many attractions – and no, we did not get to Rick’s Café, which was built by an American entrepreneur a few years ago to evoke the fictional Hollywood one run by Humphrey Bogart – it was a relief to get out on the road and into the countryside.

Over the next two weeks there were many highlights including an overnight stay in a village lining the walls of a steep canyon deep in the Atlas Mountains' M’Goun Valley. The village sustains itself by farming the canyon floor and then hauling the produce up the slope on the backs of donkeys and the farmers who are mostly women. We shared tea there in the home of a matriarch of a large working-class family. She was as curious about us as we were about her. She assured the young women in our group that if they stayed, she could fix them up with handsome and generous husbands (no takers!).

The stock of Canada and Canadians is high in Morocco because most Moroccans speak French very well, and emigration to Canada is common (most Moroccans I met seemed to have a cousin or a sibling in Quebec). Most of these emigrants send back good reports of our country and, quite often, money, so being Canadian in Morocco helps. So does a good supply of maple syrup candies. Maud made a lot of Moroccan kids — and their parents — very happy with those small tastes of the Great White North.

If you decide to visit Morocco, be prepared for a much higher level of pollution, disorganization, and poverty than you would at home (although if you get a chance to visit the glistening capital of Rabat, you’d swear you were in a Western city, like Victoria, or Geneva).           Looking over the village, Sean and Maud  visited
                                                                                                                                            Skoura in the Atlas Mountains' M'Gown Valley.
  Remind yourself you’re in Africa now. But also be aware that compared to a lot of nations in its neighborhood, such as Algeria, Libya and Saudi Arabia, Morocco is an oasis of stability, tolerance and modernity.

I will remember Marrakech as the most beautiful city we visited. Strict controls are imposed on the appearance of all the buildings, consequently none are tall and all are of the same sandy pink colour. Seeing Marrakech from a rooftop restaurant at sunset is magical - at that hour, the city literally glows.

What I will keep forever in my memory is the sight of the Sahara Desert. We were far from the nearest settlement and the desert was silent and pristine. While my travelling companions climbed a tall sand dune for a better view of the trade route to Timbuktu – only a 52-day camel ride south of where we were – I sat on the desert floor and stared into the vastness of the Sahara. Just doing that was awe-inspiring, peaceful and unforgettable.

Photo: Courtesy of Sean Prpick, CBC PNA, Regina, SK
Traditional outdoor leather tannery in the medina (old city) in Fez.
 Workers are treating their hides in large vats of animal urine.

 

It wouldn’t be Christmas without tourtière!
Cécile Magnan, CBC PNA/ ANR SRC, Edmonton, AB

Each November members of my family gather together to make tourtière. This recipe is influenced by recipes from Beaumont and St. Paul in Alberta, but this tourtière is my own!

NOTE: Makes 5 to 6, 9-inch tourtières.

3.5 pounds minced pork
2 pounds minced beef
3 onions, finely chopped
3 tsp. salt
3 tsp. pepper
1 cup uncooked rice
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. allspice
½ tsp. ground cloves
water

Cook the pork and beef together in a large pan, using enough water to cover the meat. You will use more or less water, depending on how fat the pork is (the cooked mixture should be moist.) Cook until the meat is no longer pink, stirring regularly. Add the other ingredients and continue cooking for 5-10 minutes. Cool the mixture.

Using your favourite pie crust recipe, fill the bottom crust with the meat mixture and cover with another crust (make a few snips in the crust before baking.)

Bake at 375o F for 30 to 45 minutes.

Enjoy the holiday season!

 

The Transmitter – March 2020

President’s Report (excerpt):

Bob Forrow, CBC PNA Regional President, Edmonton, AB

 

Winter has been truly with us and I hope you’ve managed well with the snow and cold.  The festivities of the Christmas season seem so far away now but I recall how happy I was that PNA members in Edmonton helped with the CBC Turkey Drive in aid of the Food Bank. Through raffles and draws before PNA social events in Edmonton we raised money for the Turkey Drive. It was also great to see PNA members at the Valentine Dinner at the Faculty Club of the University of Alberta on February 18. In spring I will visit members in Calgary, Saskatoon and Regina.

 

Dinner theatre Creelman style
Pat Hume, CBC PNA, Creelman, SK

 

   “We’ve got Allan, Cody, Winston and Malcolm. We still need one more guy.
   I think you should play Vernon, the local cop and taxi driver.”

   Lorna still hadn’t got the message. After being in 10 of the last 11 annual
   dinner theatres in Creelman, Saskatchewan, I wanted out. I’m feeling too
   damned old to be cavorting around a stage. I tried telling her the same thing
   last year, too, and before I knew it, she had me dressed in a nun’s habit.
   Mother freaking Superior in a little farce called Drinking Habits.

   Raising money by staging a dinner 
 theatre was the brainchild of a local schoolteacher, June Wilson. In 1981, the community desperately needed cash to pay for its new curling and skating rink, replacing a structure which had blown down in a windstorm. The one-time production of W. O. Mitchell’s The Black Bonspiel of Wullie MacCrimmon was such a hit, the cast spontaneously held another, and then another, finally calling it quits after six sold-out performances.

For 39 years, people from the surrounding area have been getting together once the harvest is done. Some, like Lorna, have been in on it since the beginning. I first got involved in the Creelman Dinner theatre when I retired from CBC and moved to the tiny village southeast of Regina in 2008. I’d like to say Lorna keeps coming back to me because I’m so good on the stage. Truth is, actors are hard to come, especially men. So, each year Lorna, her sisters Louanne and Sharon and others in a dwindling core group, work their charm. Lorna lines up actors and searches for scripts, with help from Louanne and me. Along with Sharon, they also drum up kitchen staff, bartenders, servers, and makeup artists.

  A day is set aside for volunteers to set up risers for tables, so dinner guests can look
  down onto the stage. More help is needed to build the set. Then, when the play is
  over, it all has to be torn apart, so the rink can get back its lobby. With a population
  of just over 100 people, Creelman relies on surrounding communities not only for all
  those volunteers, but for its audience as well. Year after year, people drive in from
  Weyburn and Regina, all over southeast Saskatchewan, and some from southwest
  Manitoba.

 

The payoff is huge. The dinner theatre has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars and ploughs the money back into the community. The rink was paid for long ago. Donations from the Dinner Theatre range from a couple of hundred dollars for school field trips, to a single payout of 50 thousand dollars to help Creelman expand its water treatment plant.

Year 40 awaits. This time, my message for Lorna – I’m in.

 

 

Stunning Sri Lanka

 

Photo: Courtesy of Aldo Columpsi, CBC PNA, Regina, SK

 

Aldo Columpsi and his family travelled to Sri Lanka in February of 2019. They came back with a deep affection for the people they met during their travels as well as an understanding of the importance of tourism to that country.

 

Touched by the people of Sri Lanka  
Aldo Columpsi, CBC PNA, Regina, SK

 

   Sigirya Rock and its palace gardens are a UNESCO World Heritage Site,
   which dates back to
the 5th century.

   I have a simple reason for why I travel – I want to see the world
   while I’m young and healthy enough to do it. A year ago, in
   February, my family took a two-week tour of Sri Lanka.  Words
   escape me to fully describe the stunning beauty of Sri Lanka and
   its wonderful people so I hope my photos will fascinate you.

Sadly a few weeks after we left Sri Lanka, it was hit with suicide bombings at some churches and luxury hotels. This horrible tragedy caused tourism to fall. The effect of the terrorism on the Sri Lankan people is very hard because tourism is a major source of their income.

  I contacted some of the people we had met on our tour and one of the drivers said
  things were so bad that he wanted to leave his beloved country.

  Fishermen cleaning & filling their baskets with fish.

 

 

I hope that with time many tourists – maybe even you - will support the people of Sri Lanka by visiting this amazing country.

My advice about travel? Do the hard stuff now while you’re fit  to do it. And keep in mind that the people of Sri Lanka need you.                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                       Ella Town Railway

 

                                         Photo: Courtesy  of Aldo Columpsi, CBC PNA, Regina, SK. 
             A Sri Lankan protects himself from the sun while climbing barefoot up a long set of stairs.

 

Windsor Reunion
David Kyle, CBC PNA, Regina, SK

  “Excuse me everyone” I said to the assembled group of CBC
  retirees. “Does everyone know Mr. Manera, our former
  president?”

   “Tony” he says. “It’s Tony, please.”

   The group bursts out in applause. A big grin spreads across
   Tony’s face. He’s wearing a driving cap, his once jet-black
   hair is now silver, but the accent (Italian, his first language)
   leaves no doubt: it is definitely the CBC President under
   whose watch CBET Windsor returned to the air on October 1,
   1994.
          Photo: Courtesy of Mike Fitzsimmons                              

Left to right: Phil Peck (former Executive Producer CBET TV News),                               
Tony Manera (Past President CBC), Gino Piazza (President, CBC
PNA South Western Ontario Chapter), Gerry Head (CBC PNA Ontario)

Tony and I had flown to Windsor from Pearson International, he en route from his home in Ottawa, me from Regina. We were headed for a reunion in Windsor, Ontario, of CBC Radio and Television staff from over the years. The “hook” was the 25-yearanniversary of the first broadcast of the Windsor Evening and Late News (local news in several locations, including Windsor, had been taken off the air a few years earlier.) It was also 25 years since the radio team had moved out of the downtown Security Building and into the riverfront location it still inhabits.

Waiting for us at the airport was someone I hadn’t seen since I left Windsor almost 20 years earlier, our affable host and the main organizer of the December 6-8, 2019 weekend, former Executive Producer of Television, Phil Peck. For the past three months, Phil and a small group had reached out to dozens of former colleagues and friends through email and social media, planned the itinerary, booked venues and menus for various events,assembled video tributes and generally carried the load.

Reunions start with someone saying “Hey, wouldn’t it be fun if…” and end with people like Phil carrying the burden. I saw it three years earlier at a reunion of CBC Saskatoon. But while the work is substantial, the reward is high as I was reminded every time two old friends shrieked, grabbed each other, hugged and laughed. Like when Carole MacNeil walked into the Friday night social and kickoff to the weekend. Carole, now host of her own show on CBC News Network, launched the CBC Windsor Evening News. I was the host of the Windsor Late News. We hadn’t seen each other in more than 20 years. Needless to say, there were hugs and selfies.

About 75 CBC Windsor retirees joined current staff, and other active employees from other locations, to celebrate working in Canada’s southernmost newsroom. A highlight of the weekend was the Saturday night banquet which piggybacked on the annual Christmas celebration and annual general meeting of the CBC PNA chapter of Southwestern Ontario. The room at Windsor’s iconic Caboto Club was booked until 9 p.m.; the last stragglers left closer to midnight. People didn’t want to let go. There was a sense that this moment might never repeat, that magic happened a quarter century ago and for many of us, me included, it was the highlight of our careers at CBC.     
                                                                                                                                       Photo: Courtesy of Mike Fitzsimmons
                                                                                                                                      Carole MacNeil, former host Windsor Evening News,  
                                                                                                                                              David Kyle, former host Windsor Late News.        

If you are reading this and have been thinking about a reunion where you are, go for it. Just be sure to get a Phil Peck on board early.

 

Nemeiben Notes:
Adventures of the Canadian Baitcasting Corporation
Norm Sawchyn, CBC PNA, Regina, SK

When the going gets tough (for instance during cutbacks at CBC) the tough go fishing. It was Aron Bergren’s idea.  Before he joined CBC, he had been a fishing guide on Nemeiben Lake, north of La Ronge, Saskatchewan. He said he knew the waters like the back of his hand and was going fishing when the season opened. Aron invited some colleagues to join him and, on that May long weekend of 1991, a small group drove from Regina to Nemeiben.  Gary Seib was among them. He remembers that, except for Aron, they weren’t very successful at catching fish.

What Gary did catch, however, was a serious case of fishing fever and the knowledge that you must have jigs.

On the way home, it was decided the trip MUST be repeated the following year. There would be three boats of three fishers for a total of nine. There would be jigs for pickerel and trolling gear for lake trout. Aron would pilot the lead boat; the others were to follow in close proximity or risk sinking on a rock. Gary volunteered to get it all organized. He would become the trip promoter, manager, accountant and chief cook-and-bottle washer.

It wasn’t hard to find committed fishers. The more we heard about the pickerel just waiting to be caught and the heroics of Aron the Guide, the more excited we got. Twelve months is a long time to spend in anticipation but we used it wisely. We filled our tackle boxes with the latest gear, got old rods in shape or bought new ones. Some even spent evening hours making jigs with molten lead and hooks and bright coloured paint. When at work, we gathered in the newsroom and listened to more tales from Aron the Guide. We became known as the Nemeiben Nine.

The expedition of 1992 was the trip of a lifetime. Pickerel were plentiful. Trout were huge. There was fresh fish for shore lunch every day and everyone brought home their limit. I took my video camera along and shot everything that moved. Back in my CBC edit suite I created a video called North to Nemeiben. We even published a newsletter called Nemeiben Notes – a collection of ideas published by and for those who would rather be fishing.

Plans for the 1993 excursion were so popular that the group expanded from nine to twelve. Joining the newly named Deadly Dozen were Ken Nyhuus from Ottawa and his friend Tim Armstrong, who came all the way from Australia. By 1994 excitement rose to such levels that even Executive Producer Mike Peitrus begged for a seat in the boat.

Alas, all good things must end. A combination of commercial and recreational fishing depleted fish stocks, catch limits shrunk, and the costs to fish became astronomical. 1995 would see the last expedition of the Canadian Baitcasting Corporation. A few years later, Aron Bergren died (2011) and in his memory I posted "North to Nemeiben" to YouTube. If you want to see what the fuss was all about here’s the link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_R47EZ7aFrM

Memories last forever.

 

Chapters Roundup

 

EDMONTON: The members in Edmonton get together for breakfast on the second Tuesday of each month (IHOP at 3921 Calgary Trail NW).  This winter’s cold weather has affected the turnout. In January, six people showed up and in February there were four eating together on a day that was for only the bravest of drivers because of a large dump of snow, traffic was snarled and there were many fender-benders. A week later, the Edmonton group held its Valentine Dinner at the Faculty Club at the University of Alberta.

                                            

 Even though it was 30 below zero outside, six brave                                  Photo Courtesy of Sylvia Follor.
souls made it to the IHOP Breakfast .  Left to right:                          Left to right:  Nancy MacVicar, Jim MacVicar,
Debbie Hetchert, Doreen Williams, Bob Forrow,                                        Julia Sargeaunt, Bob Forrow.
Bruce Cowen, Ralph Williams and Dan Hetchert.          

 

The side streets of Omonia
Costa Maragos, CBC PNA, Regina, SK

  As I emerge from the escalator at Omonia Metro Station, and my eyes adjust to the
  bright Grecian sun, I see the Athens that I love. A chaotic scene of cars, buses and
  brave motorcyclists navigate the ring road around Omonia’s famous square. The
  square is surrounded by high rises and a mix of small and medium-sized shops,
  restaurants and cafés.

  Omonia was once Athens’ most glamourous district. Those days are long gone.
  While the district’s core area is busy, Omonia’s side streets tell a different story
  reflecting the deep economic crisis that has gripped this country since 2008. My
  family and I visit Greece every year, and I’ve been cautioned many times by friends
  and relatives in Athens to steer clear of Omonia, particularly at night when the area
  is known as a haven for petty thieves.

My wife, Kathy, grimaced when I casually mentioned I was taking our two young adult sons, Anastase and Yianni, for an Omonia visit. “Please be careful there. I hear it’s dangerous,” she cautioned. While we laughed off her warning, we did ensure we were not carrying any valuables, just in case. I wanted my sons to experience a side of Athens many tourists avoid.

In Omonia Square we visited Loumides coffee shop where they’ve been selling their coffee for more than a century. We were overwhelmed by the aroma of freshly ground, powdery Greek/Turkish Greek coffee and tempting Greek sweets.

Across the street from Loumides is the coffee shop and bakery Veneti. This two-storey structure is marked by impressive marble columns and features a vast array of sweets, freshly baked goods and luncheon dishes. Along the busy Omonia

square we found people selling sesame-seed covered bread sticks known as koulouria. There were lottery ticket sellers, beggars (young and old) and umbrella-covered kiosks that sold newspapers and magazines, junk food, drinks, toiletries and too many other items to list here. Omonia is also home to Athens’ old City Hall with its vast square for cultural events and where street people feed the birds and ask passers-by for money.

  For all of its gritty features, Omonia happens to be home to one of Greece’s more cherished
  cultural institutions, The National Theatre. The theatre building, with its neo-classical
  design, has been staging plays since the 1800’s. We saw a play there one evening and
  the acoustics were amazing.

  But it’s Omonia’s side streets where we see the neighbourhood’s eclectic personality emerge.
  The people are a mixture of cultures; recent émigrés from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Syria and
  other countries now trying to make a life in Greece.

  One of the highlights was a stop at Stani Loukoumades, a cafe/dairy bar that has been in business since 1931.  The loukoumades, deep-fried pastries swimming in honey, were the best ever as was the shop’s famous homemade Greek Yogurt and a custard cream dish.

These side streets are also marked by rundown buildings, empty storefronts and seedy looking hotels. At times, it can be one long street after another of vacant, single level, graffiti-covered buildings. In contrast, along Omonia’s main areas we saw new high-end hotels opening or planning to open. The square itself has been renovated and will be officially unveiled to the public this year. My sons and I can’t wait to see it when we make our annual trip to Greece in September to visit our relatives, and Omnia, of course.

 

 

******************************************

 

With grateful appreciation to Gerry Head (Chapter President) and Leone Earls (Livewire Editor) and their team, following are excerpts from the Livewire Ontario Region CBCPNA newsletter, March 2020 Issue:

 

Back left to right:  Barrie Burhoe, Glenn Gray, Bob Waller, Mary Depoe, Nancy Flynn, Gail Carducci.
Front left to right:  Steve Athey, Gino Piazza, Gerry Head, Raj Narain, Leone Earls.

 

 TORONTO HAPPENINGS

Over 40 people attended a pre-holiday pub get-together at Factory Girl Restaurant on November 27th.  There were lots of good nibblies, conversation and a 50/50 draw.  Half of the money was donated to Sounds of the Season, CBC’s annual fund raiser to support local food banks.  The lucky winner was Patrick Russell shown here with his winnings!

ONTARIO REGION CHRISTMAS LUNCHEON

 

 WINDSOR REUNION

This year’s party was exceptional and special!  We celebrated our end of the year event with not only a Christmas Party, but also a reunion (spearheaded by Phil Peck) with the 25th anniversary of the Windsor Experiment group that included the return of the Windsor News.  The Reunion/Chapter group had many events over Friday and Saturday from tours of the old Security building (under renovations), walkthroughs at the CBC station, and get-togethers at MacKenzie Hall and the Rock Bottom Pub.  Completing the weekend with the SWO Christmas Party Saturday Night at the Giovanni Caboto Club.

This was not only our Christmas event.  It was also our yearly AGM where the Board for the next three years were introduced:  Gino Piazza (President), Sandy Tymczak (Vice-President), Jackie Kervoelen-Cheslea (Sec-Treasurer), Gerry Goulet and Manny Pacheco (Directors).  Santa was great once again with a total of 39 door raffles, a 50/50 draw and a special prize donated by LaSalle Travel.

Our Ontario Regional Prfesident Gerald Head attended and gave an update on National and Regional issues.  A total of 123 attended our party including some special guests who flew in for the event from across the country such as Carole MacNeil, Tara Weber and David Kyle.  They came in from Calgary, Regina, Toronto, Ottawa, Halifax and others from Boston and Savannah, Georgia.

A special guest who flew in from Ottawa was Tony Manera.  Tony was President of the CBC when big changes were made at CBC Windsor in 1994 – CBE and CBEF moved into the CBET building and local CBC TV news returned to Windsor.  Tony attended the Reunion to mark the 25th anniversary of the Windsor Experiment.  He talked about how it was one of the best thins he did while he was President.  Many attendees expressed their gratitude to Tony for making it happen.  While proud of his role, Tony humbly shared credit for its success wih the unions, the managers and the employees of CBC Windsor.

It was an incredible mix of retirees, current CBC Windsor employees and other former CBC Windsor Radio and TV staffers.  So many acquaintances renewed, photos taken and memories shared.  And the Reunion created a new set of memories too.  Many are already planning on attending this year’s Christmas party!

 

 

 

 

GOLDEN HORSESHOE CHRISTMAS

  

A Merry Christmas in the Golden Horseshoe

One hundred and ten pensioners and guests celebrated at the Golden Horseshoe Chapter’s Christmas Luncheon and Annual General Meeting held on Dec. 4, 2019 at the Burlington Legion.  They also shared more than 40 door prizes and elected a new Executive:  Bob Waller, President; Marie Clarke-Davies, Vice-President; John Bainbridge, Secretary-Treasurer; Joan Chilcott and Cindy Beatty, Directors.  Joan died of cancer 10 days later and Don Reynolds agreed to serve out her term.  David Knapp becomes immediate Past President.

 

 

TRENT CHAPTER

On November 28 we had our Christmas Luncheon at Baxter Creek Golf Club with attendance of 20 pensioners and spouses.  We had guests from the Durham Chapter and saw some new faces as well as the more familiar.  Everyone enjoyed themselves catching up on old times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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With appreciation to Barbara Saxberg (Chapter President) and her team, the following excerpts come from The Buzz Newsletter of the CBC Pensioners National Association, Durham Chapter in Ontario:

From the January 2020 Issue:

IN HEALTH NEWS…
The Importance of Exercise
By Bette Laderoute Sampson

Wow, not only is aging not for sissies, it isn’t for anybody who isn’t prepared. Time to start dealing with life’s changes before we can’t, and a good way to start is as simple as going for a walk.

That’s a sneaky way of bringing up the subject of how important exercise is to improve quality of life as we get older. Unfortunately, as we age, a lot of us forget that through the course of our lives, daily living required a lot more movement like running to catch the bus to get to work, for instance. Many studies of how our bodies start to betray us have proven that exercise is the older adult’s best friend.

Exercise is something many of us used to do. If you were never much of an athlete or it wasn’t on your “to do” list, it was boring or something you would get around to when you had the time. Take heed and start walking.

A recent recommendation from the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests getting “150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per week. This works out to about 20 to 30 minutes per day of activity like brisk walking, swimming or playing tennis”. Or choose your own activity and if you have lapsed into a sedentary life and are in the process of losing the muscle mass that comes with aging, start slowly and work up to it.

Among the many studies on how we age, most prove that weakness and illness is not necessarily part of the aging process. Yes, our bodies do undergo biological changes but studies have proved that activity can slow down the process. Also from WHO, more active adults compared to the less active have “lower rates of all-cause of mortality, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, colon and breast cancer, and depression”. There is more but that is scary enough.

Montreal-based exercise guru and PBS regular, Miranda Esmonde-White, famously concluded in her book Forever Painless: “We are only as old as our muscles are active.” Zoomer Magazine commented on an earlier book by Ms. Esmonde-White, Aging Backward: “If you’ve been meaning to start a fitness program but are put off by vigorous gym or yoga sessions, or are hindered by joint or muscle pain, pick up this book.”

I am forever grateful to have been given Forever Painless for Christmas a few years ago. I took it and chronic back pain to Mexico for a couple of months and came back pain fee. The trick is to keep at it.

 

MEET YOUR NEW TREASURER – DAN OLDFIELD

 

  Dan Oldfield has been a member of the PNA for several years. He 
  currently serves as our representative to the Consultative
  Committee on Staff Benefits and Chair of the PNA Sub-committee
  for the review of the Memorandum of Agreement on pension surplus
  sharing.

   Dan is a former legislative reporter for CBC Radio. He began his
   career in the National Newsroom in Toronto, then moved to
   Whitehorse, then Regina before returning to Toronto to take over
   as the Senior Staff Representative of the Canadian Media Guild.

   Dan retired in 2014 and became a partner in Syzygy Learning & Facilitation Inc., a company specializing in workplace training and meeting facilitation. Dan is married to Chapter President Barbara Saxberg. He is the father of three, stepdad of two, and grandad of six, and often comments that if he’d known how great it was being a grandfather, he’d have done it first.

TALES FROM THE ARCHIVES

Do You Remember CBC Jarvis Street ?
By Bruce Rogers

  This old house, once one of Jarvis Street’s mansions, became
   home of CBC’s top regional executives. Fondly known as The
   Kremlin, today it’s the home of the National Ballet of Canada.
   In the fifties and sixties it was just one of many CBC Toronto
   sites as the Crown Corporation grew to manage AM and FM
   radio, networks, the advent of television, and expanding
   production in all media. There were CBC offices on Jarvis,
   Wellesley, Gerrard, Yonge and Front.

  Under the giant transmission tower studios were busy with 
   newscasts, big musical and drama productions, and popular
   children’s shows like The Friendly Giant. Along with studios
   on Jarvis, Yonge, Mutual and Parliament, there were huge
   staging, painting and rehearsal operations on Sumach. One
   of the big studios for shows like Front Page Challenge and the
                                                                                            Tommy Hunter Show was the old Pearce Arrow automobile
                                                                                            showroom at Marlborough and Yonge.

Across the lot from The Kremlin was the old three story red brick radio building, heart of the place, full of offices and studios. Studio G housed orchestras and radio dramas. Samuel Hirschenhorn directed big orchestras and choirs. Musicians like Ellis McKlintock, Babs Babineau, Norma Lock and Mart Kenny performed. Directors like J. Frank Willis rehearsed top actors and actresses. Johnny Wayne and Frank Schuster wrote comedy skits and aired them live with full orchestral accompaniment.

Elsewhere, in the basement of what was once Havergal Girls College, a recording room made softcut discs of news feeds and shows from the studios above. Down the hall: the radio newsroom; typewriters, pipe smoke and newsprint. Studio B was CBL (Trans Canada Net) where news was read and at one o’clock each weekday an announcer (often Alan McFee) introduced the Official Time Signal, “The beginning of the long dash indicates exactly one o’clock Eastern Standard Time.” After that, the news.

  Next door was studio A, the booth for
  CJBC and the Dominion Radio Network.
  Across the hall was the “fish bowl” of
  Radio Master Control.

  Along the hall you might find Wayne and
  Shuster in the cafeteria getting a coffee
  or news writers on a break, or cameramen,
  lighting and floor directors taking five.
  Technicians huddled with drama directors
  and actors over script, soup and sandwich.

  Out on storied Jarvis Street traffic was a
  hazard for those headed to the Four
  Seasons for a tipple or to the Red Lion Pub
  or the renowned Celebrity Club.

  Remember? Those were the days when
  the CBC was a hot bed of creativity,
  when the technology of broadcasting 
changed almost hourly, when stars’ careers were built, and when a more generously funded Canadian Broadcasting Corporation built the foundation for Canada’s independent film and broadcasting industries of today. Those were the good old days!

 

From the March/April 2020 Newsletter: 

IN HEALTH NEWS…

HEARING HEALTH AND YOUR BRAIN
By Bette Laderoute Sampson

While lack of exercise is a main culprit when it comes to developing an unhealthy brain, right up there with smoking, high blood pressure and social isolation, recent studies are claiming hearing loss leads the pack when it comes to dementia onset.

A late last year item in The New York Times said, “according to two huge recent studies, [untreated hearing loss] increases the risk of dementia, depression, falls and even

cardiovascular diseases”. Without going into too much analytical jargon, to stay healthy our brains need the stimulation they get from listening and diminished hearing impairs our ability to listen.

The U.S. National Institute on Aging is currently sponsoring a trial of 997 people aged 70 to 84 with mild to moderate hearing loss to determine how effective hearing aids can be in diminishing the risk of dementia. Results of the trial, called Aging and Cognitive Health Evaluation in Elders, are expected in 2022.

Beltone, a major supplier of hearing loss information, testing and hearing aids, also promotes the link between hearing loss and Alzheimer’s citing social isolation as a major contributor. The company points to a study by the National Council on Aging (NCOA) of 2,300 hearing impaired adults which found that people with untreated hearing loss are more likely to experience loneliness, worry, depression, anxiety, and paranoia – and are less likely to join organized and casual social activities. The study, like many similar studies of people over 60, concludes that when a person withdraws from life, their risk for dementia intensifies.

Daniel Levitin, a popular cognitive psychologist, neuroscientist, musician and writer, perhaps best known for his book This Is Your Brain On Music, in the January 2020 issue of Zoomer Magazine, supports the premise that “if left untreated, hearing loss is correlated with many ailments as we age, including an increased risk of cognitive decline”.

Dr. Frank Lin, director of the Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health offers a preventive suggestion: “Without a doubt, the most important measure to preserve hearing is protection against noise.”

 
 

DID YOU KNOW…..

Several provinces offer some form of respite care for those who look after members of their families. Respite care is crucial for the overall well-being of caregivers because, without it, they are susceptible to experiencing feelings of extreme stress, including anger or resentment towards the person in their care or other family and friends in their lives.

Respite care helps family caregivers restore balance in their lives. It allows caregivers to take the time to recover from the stresses of caregiving and gives them the flexibility to take care of other important aspects of their lives. Respite care is a necessary tool to support a caregiver’s success.

Respite care services can often be found through local community service providers.

 

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Regarding January Issue – Tales from the Archives – Do You Remember CBC Jarvis Street? By Bruce Rogers

Congratulations on a great article. It brought back many memories for me.

I remember going into the TV building and going up to the 4th floor in the elevator which, I believe, had been the scene of a terrible accident in which a person had been killed. My Dad had set up the Kine Dept. on the 4th floor. It was always fascinating to walk around and see the operation.

I started my own career in the Radio Building as l was not allowed to be in TV where my Dad worked. I had no previous experience and there was no real training; they put you in a studio and good luck. I used to sit quietly in the back of the control rooms on my breaks watching senior tech do their jobs. That was my training. I remember the first few times l was really on my own, my hands were so sweaty that l got shocks off the console.

 

You mentioned Alan McFee. He was a legend! My favourite story about him was one which saw me coming to work from the Maple Leaf Gardens side of the CBC Radio Building. There was a parking lot in that area much used by CBC personnel. Mr. McFee passed me in his Ford sedan looking for a parking spot. He spied one and proceeded to drive his car over the curb, the sidewalk, and the concrete barrier which marked off the parking lot. All of this was accompanied by lots of lurching about by the vehicle. Later on, during the radio broadcast in which he was the host and I the technician, he took the opportunity to mention what a lousy car he was driving.

Somehow l managed to survive and go on to over 23 years with the Corp. They were great years!

Best regards,
Bob Ross