sum up a life in 1,200 characters? Maybe a three-year old!
So; I was born in Verdun (then considered a suburb of Montreal) in 1948. My father had survived two-years as a rear gunner in a Halifax bomber, an 18-year old Canadian in 578 Squadron RAF. Both my mother's and my father's families were from Montreal and my ancestors were anglophone Quebecer's who arrived from the British Isles around 1824.
I spent my childhood in various Montreal area suburbs, graduating from Riverdale High School in Pierrefonds in 1964. My father worked as a construction superintendent, as did his father before him. My mother was your typical (for the day) stay-at-home mom. I had three brothers (one adopted) and two sisters (one adopted). My mother is living in Winnipeg and I have many cousins in the Montreal/Ottawa region. During our childhood, we all spent summers a few miles north of Lakefield, Quebec. Those were good days!
After a couple of years studying electronics at Montreal Institute of Technology, I visited Edmonton in 1969 after my parents had moved there and my grandparents had moved to Victoria. While in Edmonton, I was hired by (then) Department of Transport as a radio operator, thanks to my Second Class radio operator's licence and my long-time involvement in ham radio. There was almost no work in Quebec in those days, especially for an anglo! After a few weeks working at the Edmonton International Airport, and then six-months of training in Ottawa, I was posted to Coppermine (now Kugluktuk) in the Northwest Territories (now in Nunavut) where I worked as a Marine/Aeradio operator until 1973. We had the last point-to-point CW (Morse code) link in Canada. We took hourly weather observations, passed current weather information to airplanes and forecasts to ships, sent telegrams, etc.
After leaving DOT, I worked for three-months for Pacific Western Airlines at their Contwoyto Lake weather/beacon station out in the middle of nowhere.
Back in Coppermine, I got into business for myself with a little arcade. We had no TV back then so the arcade was a good money maker. I should have kept it! Later, and at different times, I owned the local hotel, a taxi business and a restaurant.
In 1982 I bought an old RCMP patrol boat and spent the next six summers fixing it up, in between building our present house. I was married by then and by the time the boat was ready to work I had three young sons. From 1988 to 2001 I ran the Fort Hearne all over the region, hauling trappers, prospectors and their supplies and doing some work for the Coast Guard. Like most things that are a lot of fun, this one made no money at all. But I'd do it all again!
Anyway, I got into scuba diving and also managed to get my 350-tonne Masters papers by the time this chapter in my life was over.
In 2001 the Fort Hearne was sold and I took the money (a small fraction of what I had invested), got a pilot's licence and bought a little ultralight airplane. In 2005 a friend and I flew it over 2,000 miles from Montreal to Edmonton and in April of 2006 I flew it the last 1,200 miles home. My Challenger II (registration C-INUK) sits at the Kugluktuk airport in her own hangar, seasonally equipped with tundra tires, wheel/skis, and amphibious floats.
I'd like to be able to tell you my present occupation and employer, but apparently I have to keep that information top secret.
Currently, my three sons live in Yellowknife and are pretty much on their own now. My wife and I live in a fairly large, waterfront home which we hope to convert to a Bed-and-Breakfast over the next few years. We're hoping that this will provide some income when I retire.
Photo: The author as a radio operator c. 1971. Note the morse "bug" on the operating desk. No tape-recorded logs in those days, everything had to be typed!
Don't you just love that Canadian dinner jacket and the Hansen Brothers glasses?