Queen Elizabeth Visits Rankin Inlet in August, 1994.

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Since Queen Elizabeth’s birthday is top-of-mind right now, here’s a short story…

I was covering Queen Elizabeth’s arrival at the airport in Rankin Inlet in August of 1994 when I see our son, Anoee, in my camera’s viewfinder along with The Queen! As she walks along the tarmac, she pauses, looks down at our son and says, “Are those flowers for me, little boy?” Anoee is too shy to reply. My wife Helene encourages, “Give your flowers to The Queen, Anoee!” Her Majesty looks at Helene for a brief moment to see who had spoken, she then returns her gaze to the shy little boy with curly blonde hair. Ever-so-slightly, Anoee shyly raises the little bouquet of plastic flowers Helene had put together for him to offer.

Anoee is wearing a parka made for him by Martina Anoee, just for this special occasion. Martina wanted “her husband” (our son’s namesake) to look his best because her husband had often talked about meeting the Queen, and well, THIS was the day his wish might finally come true!

Her Majesty picks up the flowers, says, “Thank you SO much”. She then proceeds to walk with the flowers for quite some time as if they were a VERY expensive arrangement of fresh flowers flown in for the occasion.

Prior to Her Majesty’s visit, Helene feigned indifference about this event. Can you make out her expression? 😉 The whole sequence was also captured and aired on both the CBC and CTV National News that night, much to the delight of our family and friends.

Finally, Anoee had his dream come true through our son, thanks to a very special lady, who took the time to stop and care.

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Best Friends

I want to wish a most heartfelt Happy Birthday to my dear friend David “Fitz” Fitzpatrick. I can’t recall a time when I didn’t know him. We’ve been friends since childhood. We grew up in the same neighbourhood, went to the same schools.

Fitz, you’re just about the only person who can call me “Ned” and know what that means.

We played football together for the better part of a decade. We cheered on the Ottawa Rough Riders (then) and the Calgary Stampeders now. We’ve shared the joys of Grey Cups having WAY more fun than we could ever divulge. THANK YOU Tom Clements, Tony Gabriel (and Kahlua)!

We worked our butts off to pay for school trips to Europe, conquered the Acropolis and Ouzo in Greece and saw Agent 99 in Italy!

At Laurentian High School there were lots of City Football Championships. We had Key Club dinners at the Capri. We ate lunch under the “Cone of Silence”, modelled the “Strap de Bordeau”, streaked at initiation and danced ’till we dropped with live bands in our gym.
Then there was the Stones’ concert. How did our parents EVER let us go to T.O. alone? ….

We sweated together, bled together, laughed and cried together, pushed and supported one another proudly through Queen’s University. Do you remember what a blast we had when Queen’s won the College Bowl in our senior year?!

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Thank you for being my Best Man when Helene Belsey and I were wed. In fact, Fitz, you knew I was going to ask Helene to marry me before she did! Oh ya, thanks for throwing that stag party for me Fitzy, it was really “NEAT”…

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We’ve shared the pride and joy of watching our kids grow up, one day sitting on Santa’s knee and in what seemed like a blink-of-an-eye, graduate from University the next.

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We shared grief at the loss of our dads. Your dad, Mr. Mike Fitzpatrick, the “Mayor of Belair”, was a second father to me. Our fathers didn’t hesitate to give us both hell when we deserved it and were always there for both of us when we needed them. I will never forget him. I still have your father’s picture beside my dad’s in my classroom to this day.

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David, my life has been so much richer with you in it; in fact, I can’t imagine it without you. Along with my wife and sister, you’re the best friend I’ve ever had and the brother I never had. Every man should be so lucky to have a friend like you.

Happy birthday Fitzy, “You’re simply the best!” Luv ya bud!

In Memoriam: The Honourable Flora MacDonald

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In 1999 I had the honour of working with the Honourable Flora MacDonald who was then the Co-Chair of the United Nations International Year of Older Persons initiative in Canada. I’m not impressed by too many politicians, but her intellect, integrity, knowledge and passion soon won me over. As a senior herself then, she often skated down the Rideau Canal into downtown Ottawa. Ms. MacDonald was the first female Secretary of State for External Affairs in Canadian history and almost became our first ever female Prime Minister. She had a great love for Canada and a commitment for social justice and human rights in Canada around the world. May she rest in peace.
FMI, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flora_MacDonald_(politician)

First Computer in Any Canadian Arctic Classroom Was Mine! -1982 (then) Eskimo Point, NWT

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I graduated from the Concurrent Teacher Education Program at Queen’s University in 1981. One of my professors had recently returned from working with Dr. Papert at M.I.T. and subsequently got me excited about the potential of putting computers in the hands of kids, something Dr. Papert advocated for in his modest, yet revolutionary book called “Mindstorms”

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I taught my Inuit students how to code using the LOGO programming that was developed by Dr. Seymour Papert and his team at the M.I.T. Media Centre.

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