I went to Kindergarten in Hemer, Germany

Sadly I can’t recall my years as an Army brat in Canadian Armed Forces Base Hemer.

I can’t recall traveling to and from Europe by ship.

I don’t even recall the Mercedes my parents brought back to Canada on the ship.

I can’t recall speaking German well enough to have local ladies believe I was a local child. I was family translator. Dad would take me with him to the coal store to place his order.

I’d love to travel back in time to see what Hemer was like back in 1960.

In 1953 Canadian troops moved into newly built barracks in Deilinghofen (Forts Macleod and Prince of Wales) as well as two former German barrack complexes in Iserlohn (Forts QuèAppelle and Beausejour). Canadian soldiers and their families resided in two separate locations in Hemer.

We lived 17km from the base in a town Guest House. Three military families shared the upstairs of the small hotel. Parties and weddings were hosted downstairs.

One time I locked myself in the main hotel bathroom … then threw the keys out the window. They bounced into a street drain.

Rent was reasonable post-war. In fact my Dad’s monthly beer bill sometimes exceeded his rent.

The local German men had all fought on the Russian front. Astonishingly none had ever fought British, Canadian, Aussie or American troops.

related – Ruhrmemories 1953 -1971

Parksville sand sculpting 2017

Randy and Val arrived Parksville for a week holiday. First stop was the annual sand sculpting competition.

Theme this year was Canada 150.

Maple leaves, trees and water were recurring themes as 29 competitors devoted their creativity to the theme of Canada 150 in the 2017 Quality Foods Sand Sculpting Competition at Parksville’s Community Park last weekend.

In the end, the winning entries were those that focused on Canada’s people — particularly those of its First Nations. …

Parksville sand sculpting competition honours Canada

Canadian Mosaic, a 360-degree series of pillars featuring five Canadian icons — Neil Young, Buffy St. Marie, Terry Fox, Chief Dan George and David Suzuki won a prize.

Excellent detail impresses me.

My brother liked best another winner, with an indigenous figure on one side and a uniformed Mountie on the other.

I voted for one called Little Iron Horse celebrating a certain breed of Canadian horses.

more photos

cycling the new Coombs to Parksville Rail Trail

It was busy Jan 2, 2017.

The trail only officially opened Dec 23, 2016.

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I rode the 7km from Parksville out to Coombs.

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Checked out the tourist trap. Then returned to Parksville.

Cost is in the $3-4 million range for the Parksville-Coombs stretch alone. Instead of ripping out the rails they built a trail parallel to the rail line.

  • Approximately 7 km of 3 metre-wide tread surface trail finished with compacted high fines gravel.
  • Except for the first 200 m of trail in Springwood which has an 8 % grade, the Coombs to Parksville Rail Trail is fully accessible, that is, no more than a 5 % grade.
  • The Rail Trail is multi-use and NO ATVs, DIRT BIKES OR OTHER MOTORIZED VEHICLES ARE PERMITTED.

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