The people of Eric Bunnell: “All are my parents”


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On a day like today – on our first National Truth and Reconciliation Day – the city’s new mural, All Are My Relatives, is a must-see sight on the west wall of the St. Thomas Public Library.


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The mural is the work of Nancy Deleary, an accomplished artist and cultural coordinator for the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation. It was commissioned as part of the community’s Track to the Future mural project supported by the Donna Vera Evans Bushell estate.

Fittingly, since it features a storyteller, the artwork overlooks the library’s reading garden.

And what is the story that the fresco tells?

Nancy Deleary is quoted in an artist statement: “I grew up knowing nothing of who I am as a member of the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation.

“I couldn’t speak my native language; I didn’t know what the Chippewa were doing and hadn’t heard any stories about where we came from and what we had done.

“This situation that many of us were and still are in was designed to be so.”

But, she also says, “There is currently a movement across the First Nations and Native Americans of this continent to revitalize and reclaim who we are. “

And, most importantly, she says that by sharing this understanding, there is a way forward for all.

“We were told to share our knowledge because it is our perspective that will help with the situation our land is in now. The adverse effects of climate change are triggered and decisions must be made to secure life for the future.

“We remember now, and we speak now. “

And, perhaps, on a day like today – and tomorrow and the days after, for the good of all of us – we may now hear of a divided past, but of a future together.


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A fair memory

This weekend would have been the 2021 Wallacetown Fair weekend, each year the last Elgin Fair of the season. But it doesn’t and we all know why this one and others here haven’t happened this year, and, maybe, enuff finally said about it!

Note, however, that Standardbred Canada, the online publication of the harness racing industry, took a very good look last week at the old-fashioned trotting in Wallacetown, one of the many small agricultural fairs where races were a big star.

And lots of photos too, courtesy of the Elgin County Archives, including a stunning photo of Olive Diefenbaker receiving the gift of a box of local raspberries when she and Prime Minister John D.’s husband visited during the centennial of the fair in 1960.

A quote from the original photo read: “Ms. Diefenbaker assured the two world war veteran that she and Mr. Diefenbaker would like to eat them when they got home that evening. Wouldn’t it be nice if life were still that simple.

The article observes that many fairs in small towns, such as Wallacetown, have been hit hard by the pandemic. (Shoot! And didn’t I just promise not to bring it up?)

But the piece also rings an optimistic note: “They will rise above and return soon.”

Indeed, the Wallacetown Fair on its website has promising dates: Fair 2022 is scheduled for September 30 and October 1-2 of next year. Click on

And to enjoy reading Standardbred Canada, click on and search for Wallacetown Fair. Easy peasy!


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The Grand Grand Road Trip

Although it is virtual, Wednesday this week was the opening night, all the same, of the 2021 high school project of the Grand Théâtre.

The respected youth program features The Great Grand Road Trip, a 20-minute video (and 10-minute behind-the-scenes documentary) in which London-area students visit London venues to reinvent moments of musical theater under the direction of ‘Andrew Tribe, an Alun High School Project and director of his 2019 offering, Titanic: The Musical.

Dennis Garnhum, the artistic director of the Grand, calls the show “20 minutes of joy and brilliance”.

The young company includes three high school students from St. Thomas, although Grand was not able to immediately connect the names to local schools (CECI, Parkside and St. Joe’s). Hope to have it for entry next week.

The video is online until October 11, and viewing is free. Register online at to receive a link by email.

Go ahead

GO Transit has now set the price for its London-Toronto test train service. The four-hour ride will cost $ 30 each way (half for seniors) when the weekday round trip begins on October 18.

That’s less than a discounted VIA Rail ticket or an Onex bus seat, but more than the cheapest Badder / Megabus fare. (And all three significantly faster.)

GO says its service schedule has not been finalized, but CBC reported the pilot will see a train departing London daily at 5:20 a.m., arriving at Toronto Union at 9:15 a.m., and a round-trip train leaving. Toronto at 4:19 p.m. arrival in London at 8:17 p.m.


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Here is!

A stormy end of summer

“When I was in Paris…” my grandmother remembered, and even though it was 30 years earlier, it was still yesterday because time in memory stops like the hands of a stopped clock. that has passed.

So even though it was just three years ago – when travel was still possible before the pandemic – when * I was in Saskatoon it snowed… on the last day of summer. Snow! … The last day of summer! (Maybe I’ve mentioned this before, but bear with me.)

And there we were, my Saskatoon buddies and I, sitting at the window of a downtown restaurant, just enjoying the sight of the first snowflakes of the coming season.

A pleasure craft wrecked and half-sunk in Port Stanley after breaking loose in the late summer storm last week and crashing into the King George VI Lift Bridge Eric Bunnell
A wreck and half-sunk pleasure boat in Port Stanley after breaking loose in the late summer storm last week and crashing into the King George VI Lift Bridge Eric Bunnell jpg, DEO

Floating in the air and never representing much on the ground, those first flakes are always so magical, aren’t they? How come we never think about the miserable, cold and wet months ahead that they herald, I’ll never know. A bad memory that we block out, I guess, which is why I never get to buy that new pair of warm, dry winter boots that I plan to wear every winter.

But damn it. That late summer three years ago in Saskatoon was nothing like the late summer last week in southwestern Ontario. What a storm! Noah would have battened his hatches and weighed anchor, I’m sure!

A People Pal says more than one boat lost its moorings in the wind, rain and rough waters of Kettle Creek in Port Stanley and headed downstream. Admittedly, one of them crashed into the newly renovated King George VI Lift Bridge and was wrecked. The span sustained minor damage and was lifted and stood for a day, to make sure it was out of harm’s way. And the sight drew quite a few people to stop to watch and chat about what had happened. And me too.


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While The Weather Network has predicted that the beautiful fall we are currently enjoying will turn into a harsh winter, I hope last week’s late summer storm did not bode well for the future.

Signs of the weather

So here I am puttering the other day in the backyard – and the other day, I mean just the other day – and there’s a sign the end is near.

It’s not as dramatic as the sign this man wears around his neck, walking down Talbot Street and urging onlookers to REPENT! I’m sure you’ve seen it.

But a sign, all the same.

It was the sight of the first woolly caterpillar of fall, hiding under the watering can that I picked up to fill in the hopes of keeping the flowerpots for a few more days.

The end of the garden for another year is near.

Stay well!

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