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Written by Harold McNeill on May 27th, 2016. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts


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A Tale of Two Cities

Written by Harold McNeill on April 16th, 2016. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts


These iconic symbols are central to the core of two cities that are close to being twins in terms of size and focus, yet it is their differences which set them worlds apart in terms of liveability.

New Orleans and Victoria

What is life without hope for the future?

While Victoria struggles to alleviate challenges posed by homelessness – at this moment a tent city that sprung up near the courthouse – it is still a city where the majority of our people live comfortable lives and look towards the future with optimism. There is another city on this continent that is in many ways a mirror image of Victoria, yet that city is on a downward spiral that leaves little hope for a better future for more than half the population. It is a port city like Victoria and at 360,000 is only slightly larger than our own.

As one of the most popular tourist destinations in North America, in 2014 that city attracted ten million visitors who left behind seven billion dollars, an economic windfall many times larger than that of Victoria. With that huge economic advantage it is hard to understand how the city has become one of the most poverty and crime ridden metropolitan areas in the United States. 

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Uber Taxi Good, Saudi Oil Bad?

Written by Harold McNeill on February 12th, 2016. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts


Uber vs Oil

National Post, February 10, 2016

(A quote modified from another source: “Montreal cabbies may be a monopoly, but at least they’re our monopoly.”)

An interesting contrast of ideologies was presented on the front page of NP on Wednesday as one headline decried the actions of Montreal Cabbies as they sought to protect their jobs from the unregulated, undercutting Uber system and the other whined about cheap Saudi oil forcing depressed prices in the world markets which, the article suggested, hurt Canadian production and cost oil patch jobs. First to the cabbies.   (Note: Comments added in footer)

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Santa Claus and Rudolph: New Plans and Directions?

Written by Harold McNeill on October 28th, 2016. Posted in Christmas Stories


Sean and Erika Christmas Eve 2014

December 24.  Christmas Eve reading of the Night Before Christmas by Sean McNeill with Erika Simonsen and Bailey handling the bells while Audrey Leclair and Lila Charko intently listen.  For more photos of the story go to Getting in the Spirit  (FB Friends)

NOTE: This post was originally posted on October 23, 2013.

Broadmead Runners 3

Link here to more copies of these photos.

Broadmead Runners 4

December 18, 2014:  Fifty members of the Broadmead Runners arrived at Santa’s Workshop to have their annual photo taken. (Double Click Photos to Open to Full Size)  (Scroll down to Christmas 2013 for the last year group).
The original small group of Runners (about 10) first appeared in 2011.  Link Here Christmas 2011 (and scroll down through photos to #9 and #10 for a few comments on two different groups that arrived that year.

Christmas 2014 Leney Place

December 6, 2014:  The first kids of the season take a trip down Candy Cane Lane to Santa’s Workshop.s:  Above: Alex, Kyle, Kenyon, Jasmine and Sophia, grandchildren of Julie Anne Coles.

Coming December 17, at 7:00 pm, about 60 members of the Broadmead Runners Group will be dropping by Santa’s Workshop for their Annual Photo. Group members dress for the season and many are covered head to toe with Christmas Lights and various other bells and whistles. If you have a few moments around 6:30 – 6:45 pm, drop by and watch the chaos as the group arrive. Hot chocolate will be served by the fire. Cheers Harold

December 14. The location of 72 residential Christmas Decoration Scenes around Greater Victoria is available in today’s Times Colonist.  The locations are also available on the TC Web Site at:  Christmas Light Up List
4402 Leney Place is #18 on the List.

Lights on 4:30 – 9:30 pm until December 20th, then extended until 10:30 pm through the rest of the season.

Welcome to the 2014 Rudolph and Santa’s
Christmas on Leney Place in Saanich (Royal Oak), British Columbia

December 6, 2014. Another year has rolled by and over the past few weeks Santa and his helpers were busy preparing for Christmas.  As outlined last year, Ruby, Rudolph’s daughter, will lead the Southern Team from their Leney Place base, while Rudolph Junior, moves to the North Pole base (see New Plans and Directions on the Blog Post at McNeill Life Stories – the lead story until Christmas).

While Rudolph has stopped flying on a regular basis, he and his wife are both very proud that their son and daughter who, last year, took over as lead Pilot/Navigator on the two teams of reindeer.

When you arrive on Leney Place (Royal Oak of Viewmont and Viaduct Avenue East) please feel free to mosey around by following the straw paths to the various scenes. There are several spots to get a good with the family. Please stay on or near the straw paths. When taking the path to Santa’s Sleigh and the Snowman Family from his workshop, you can return by the path behind Joy and Noel. For Joy and Noel, If your photographer stands on the driveway, you can get a nice shot with the two deer (see the photo links on the blog for samples from last year).

As your wander down Candy Cane Lane to Santa’s Workshop and along the other straw path keep an eye out for several smaller animals, birds and figurines waiting to greet you. Many have weird shapes as they have come in from other planets to see how Santa runs his gift giving business.

An Outdoor Movie Night is being planned for Sunday, December 21, 2013 (weather permitting).   Drop by for a Hot chocolate by the fire as we watch a Disney Christmas Movie under the stars (see, the weather will be great). 

Gifts and Dry Goods: When visiting, the metal container by the entrance to Santa’s Workshop is being used to collect items for needy families. Items collected will be delivered to local agencies before Christmas.

Merry Christmas
Harold and Lynn

PS: Check out the full story and photos on the Web at McNeill Life Stories. Santa and Rudolf will be the lead story until Christmas.  If you enjoyed the story and scene, please send a note to Santa and Rudolph via the Comments Section.

Continue below for the rest of the story…..

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Blue Tones Top the Charts

Written by Harold McNeill on March 7th, 2016. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts


Get a Job – The Blue Tones
(The slideshow is in HD, so you may need to pause for 15 seconds while it uploads.)

A full series of still photos from this video can be accessed at:
McNeill Life Stories Facebook Page

Lead Singer and Saxophone Player: Art Charlton
Backup Singers: Alana Charlton, Linda and Bjorn Simonsen; Lynn and Harold McNeill;
Clair Langford and Tom
Practice Backup Singers: Benji and Kevin Charlton; Erika and Kia Simonsen,
Daphne and Danny Langford; Jay, Kari and Christine McNeill

Years of Struggle: The Back Story

After years of struggle, a British Columbia band from Victoria, the Blue Tones, knew it was do or die as they concentrated on putting the finishing touches to their song “Get a Job”.

The lyrics came straight from the heart as the four men knew that the women who had backed them for so long wanted more stability in their lives and if that meant the men had to give up their guitars, saxophones and rakish style for more menial work and a regular pay cheque, so be it.

Then came their big chance, back in early 1980’s, when a spot opened in Canada’s “So You Think You’ve Got Talent.” TV show. Another little known band Lips Inc.” best know for their 1980 hit Funkytown failed to show for the taping of the show when another of those freakish July blizzards hit their hometown in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The Blue Tones were on standby and asked to step in. The rest is history.

Two months later Get a Job topped the charts in both Canada and the US.   The attached video is a composite of the band’s work during the time they wrote and practised the song, then presented on the talent show. As you can see in the video, every one of their family members participated in getting it just right. Now you know the rest of the story.

We hope you enjoy this video of our first Golden Hit.

Harold

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Happy Birthday Christine

Written by Harold McNeill on January 12th, 2016. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts


16859_264660227528_5504936_n

Good Morning Honey and Happy 40th Birthday!

Well, another shared birthday which, for each of us, is a milestone – you reaching forty as I commence my seventy-fifth. The moment you arrived on my birthday forty years ago, a special bond was created and forever treasured.

It seems like yesterday when your mother gave birth and, while life has presented challenges along the way, meeting those challenges in a positive manner and accepting them as part of the process of growing older has made each of us stronger and our love that much deeper.

When sitting down to start a slideshow capturing those many years, it was difficult to choose a theme and music that expressed it all. I browsed through hundreds of photos and dozens of songs along the way to the final cut while suggestions from family members helped to clear the path.

Our journey began with one slideshow but quickly grew as we reminisced over 40 years of memories and the life we’ve shared – soon evolving into 4 segments which, along with the attached poem, express the depth of our love for you, your sister, brothers, and families.

We hope you enjoy each moment as much as we have enjoyed creating this tribute to you and the rest of the family.

Love Dad and Lynn
(Grandpa and Nana)

THE WOMAN YOU’VE BECOME

With those big eyes and sweet little smile
Your contentment so grand, the hours you’d while
Alone or with others, it mattered not
The love from within shone forth with each thought

Through the years it continued, this skill to enjoy
A moment, a dream, a specially made toy
Always sharing with others to help them to grow
More than imagined, and more than you know

We’ve sat on the sidelines and watched o’er the years
Through happiness, struggles, and of course, lots of tears
With each challenge you’ve managed to rise and excel
Each pitfall and obstacle all handled so well

It’s with pride and much love that we watch you soar
Now a wife, a mother, and so very much more
And on this day, one with Dad you share
We send these memories with loving care

And with each tune, — so familiar to some-
We rejoice in the Woman that you’ve become.

All our love on your 40th Birthday and Always

Lynn and Dad

Happy Birthday, Christine
January 13, 2016

Note: The slideshow was uploaded as HD so, in some instances, may be a little slow in loading.

1. The Adventure Begins: A Wonderful World, Louis Armstrong

2. The Adventure Continues: Precious Memories, J.J. Cale and
Dream a Little Dream of Me, Mama Cass

3. Girls Just Want to Have Fun:  Cyndi Lauper

4. A New Family: I Have a Dream, ABBA

 

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Women’s Suffrage in Canada

Written by Harold McNeill on January 24th, 2016. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts


Womans Suffrage in BC

Women’ Rights in British Columbia

Much is said about the lack of rights of some women within some religions, yet we only need to go back fifty years to see the fight for basic women’s rights, including the right to vote, was still a battle in many parts of Canada.  It took until the 1940’s before the women of Quebec were able to overcome the church dominated political system and gained that right.  Other rights would slowly be gained over the following decades (e.g. right to enter drinking establishments), rights that today we all take for granted.

It took until 2015 and the last election for women to be fully represented in ministerial positions of our Federal Government and only in recent decades have we seen more women elected to lead Provincial Legislatures.

One 101 years ago, not one women in Canada had the right to vote or hold legislative or parliamentary office.  It was one hundred years ago today, in 1916, that the legislative and parliamentary house of cards controlled exclusively by men began to crumble when the women of Manitoba achieved the right:

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The New Face of Canada

Written by Harold McNeill on October 20th, 2015. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts


trudeau-family-photo-portrait-couch

Justin Trudeau, his wife Sophie Grégoire and their three children, Xavier, 7, Ella-Grace, 5, and five-month-old Hadrien ((Web Photo, October 2014)

This family represents The New Face of  Canada, a country where everyone who becomes a citizen knows they have made the right choice, a country where the mosaic of culture was stitched together in manner that sets us apart and a country were people care about helping others be it on the home front or around the world.

Link to Photo Album

Heading towards a New Era.

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  • McNeill Life Stories Illegal Aliens intercepted in Sarnia - McNeill Life Stories

    August 23, 2016 |

    […] Maxime Bernier, a leading contender in the Conservative race is calling for a “wall to be built along the border and claims that if he becomes the next Prime Minister he will force the Americans to pay for the building of that wall. (Border Security Gone Crazy) […]

  • McNeill Life Stories Keep the peace and be of Good Behaviour - McNeill Life Stories

    August 21, 2016 |

    […] If you happen to support Bill C-51, a bill that is related solely to ‘terrorism’ and, perhaps, support an even more invasive laws being included, what would you think about the entire Bill (present and proposed) being folded back into the Criminal Code and made applicable to every Canadian?  Would that give our police to much power to simply bypass checks and balances developed over the past 150 years. (Oversight) […]

  • Maurice Smook

    August 13, 2016 |

    Hi Jillian,

    I don’t know if you are still checking this site but I had to respond again. February of 2017 it will be 72 years since this battle occurred.

    What caught my attention about this incident was on the Go Deep Documentary that aired on the History Channel. First of all I never known that this battle having ever occurred.

    According to my grade 3 teacher WW2 had never occurred. That grade 3 teacher stated that the WW2 and the holocaust was all propaganda. All of my classmates they believed her. I hate to say this but all I knew was that soldiers shooting at each other.

    I almost was expelled from school. My

    Mom my Dad my brother and my Uncle would have been arrested for propaganda. I paid the price. It was ironic a grade 5 teacher told me that Smooks are all commies. Dad was Conservative.

    All the Smooks that I known are all Conservative. If I had the money I would have loved to sue those two teachers.

    As I said I never heard of this Battle. If it were not for that program I would have never had known.

    I started to do more researching to find out more about the history of this battle. The narrator of Go Deep mentioned the names of the pilots who died that battle.

    I missed 20 minutes of that program but the camera crew had the camera’s pointed towards the sign with the names of the deceits. That is how I known.

    According to the narrator There are three who are still missing. W.J. Jackson, Harry Smook and A. Duckworth. A couple of months ago the staff of Go Deep have located Harry and A. Duckworths aircraft. This is on you tube. Harry and A. Duckworth craft is approx 650 feet deep in the Fjord. The individual who is heading this expansionary mission made it known he will not rest until all three of the missing pilots
    will be retrieved. I am sure that A. Duckworth’s kin are hoping for the same.

    What really puzzles me is that I have sent emails to the Smooks. Not one ever replying. I presume its the same with you. Sad. Dad rarely spoke about his family. It appears there is a big secret of the Smooks. I too assume Harry is a kin to my Dad. Harry maybe a 4th 5th cousin to my Dad. I too would like to know. Harry and A. Duckworth served and died for our country. The other is W.j. Jackson – who is also still missing – having died for our Country.

    In conclusion I still ask myself why is this a huge secret.

    If you are still checking this site please contact me. Maybe we may be kin.

    Take care.

  • McNeill Life Stories Wedding Bells: Gordon McLean and Megan Corns

    June 28, 2016 |

    […] More amazing still is that many of those I met are now living and working in communities in or near cities and towns where I spent much of my early life (e.g. Vermillion, Turtleford, Westlock, Edmonton, etc.) For that matter one family from Edmonton lives no more than a stones throw from the home in which my family lived in 1949 at 12237, 95th Street, a time when Edmonton boasted a population of 137,000 and our home was on the very west edge of the city. Today the next block contains the Yellow Head Highway. Link: http://www.mcneillifestories.com/mcneill-family-edmonton/ […]

  • Valerie Heuman (Roddick)

    June 19, 2016 |

    Having just returned to the Okanagan Valley from a weekend in Pibroch, I am delighted to have stumbled on your blog to see the picture of the main street. My aunt and uncle Peggy & Gordon McGillvery owned and lived in the old Post Office on the North east corner of the main intersection and my brother Adrian currently lives south a bit backing on the School yard. We are Sheila’s cousins and still have a close connection to the town.

  • Sheila(Roddick) Allison

    May 19, 2016 |

    Hi. So fun to find your blog. I remember going to school with you and Louise. I loved my childhood in Pibroch which incidentally was named by my grandfather Aaron Roddick. I will never forget the night the garage burned down. Nice to see the landmark photo before the big fire!

  • George Dahl

    April 12, 2016 |

    What a great site. I’m trying to locate a woman named Sally Jennifer who was from the Cold Lake area back in the early sixties. I met her when I was stationed at Namao air base in Edmonton. I was serving with the USAF 3955 air refueling squadron from rhe fall 1963 till the spring of 64. Sally was 22 at the time I was 21. Sally was my first love. I had orders to ship out to South East Asia and we lost contact after that.
    If any of you know the where abouts of Sally I would like to get reacquainted with her. She is First Nation, Blackfoot I believe. She is Catholic and may have attended a Catholic school in Cold Lake.
    Thank You in advance, George Dahl

  • dave armit

    March 23, 2016 |

    good old fashioned police work done by good old fashioned policemen……….in regards to mr cain..i learned a few years ago that he was born on the same day in the same hospital that i was..my father was a close friend of the cain family…!!! interesting..d a

  • Joyce McMenamon

    March 1, 2016 |

    Haha, love it! We should probably eat rats and rabbits rather than beef. Also I’ve noticed that there are a lot less pests where dogs are not kept on leashes.

  • Kari

    February 27, 2016 |

    Thanks for a wonderful trip down memory lane Dad!!! That was an amazing trip and I am so glad that we had the opportunity to share that experience together!
    ❤️