An Image Trip down Memory Lane

Written by Harold McNeill on January 4th, 2014. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts

Google Image Search

Since opening the McNeill Life Stories Blog in late 2009, over 400 life stories and articles have been posted.  Each post contains images (sometimes several) that relate to the particular post.

Google does an amazing job of indexing not only the stories, but also the images attached to the story.  An interesting feature of the index is that hundreds, perhaps thousands of the indexed images can be found in one location with one search and the order of those pictures can be altered by simply changing the search parameters. Following is screen shot of one image search. You can link to this particular full set at:  McLeish Chronicles + McNeill Life Stories.

Screen Shot  with McLeish

As you scroll down the images you will likely find the faces of family, friends, acquaintances and others whose photo was posted. If your photo (or a group photo) appeared in a story (e.g. New Years Eve 2012), it will likely appear within the search results. Just click the photo and you will be taken to the story. Note: This is separate from the McNeill Life Stories Facebook Page.

In order to get this number of related photos combine two category names (Categories are listed on the left side of the blog). For instance, the above was search conducted using “MacLeish Chronicles + McNeill Life Stories“.  Different two-category, or a category combined with McNeill Life Stories will bring up different results.

Images will not appear in date order although  the most recent entries will often appear at the beginning. After going down several pages, images from other sources will begin to appear. You can tell whether it is a related story by scrolling over the top of the photo.

If you have a blog or post pictures outside Facebook, try the search technique.

Happy New Year

Sample from several pages down

Screen Shot 3


The True North Strong and Pot Free —– Not

Written by Harold McNeill on December 20th, 2013. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts, Editorials


 The True North Strong and Pot Free —– Not
Vancouver, April 20, 2012. Over 20,000 people, the largest crowd to date, attended the Four Twenty Protest.
At 4:20 pm (precisely), a sweet smelling cloud lazily drifted over the Library and across downtown Vancouver.
Twenty thousand people just had a group toke.

It has long since been ordained that the ubiquitous Mary Jane would one day become, if not legal, at the very least a controlled substance sold in Government style Liquor Stores. Marihuana grow ops will be popping up across the country like dandelions on a newly planted lawn. Now that a few States in that bastion of extreme conservatism south of the border have begun to decriminalize the substance, can the Province of British Columbia’s five billion (that’s right five, with nine zeros) pot growing industry, be far behind? For BC  this is not a trivial amount of untaxed ‘free enterprise’ money by any count.

Seeing an opportunity in this trend, Medbox Inc., a U.S. based company, is set to introduce into Canada, automatic Pot Vending Machines (PVMs) for use by those licenced to toke as permitted under the Canada Health Act (link to story).  Apparently the PVMs provide easy and secure 24 hour access. Imagine, pot on demand at your nearest 7-11. It was also reported the RCMP is looking at installing machines in their remote detachments (link). City members, of course, will be able to pop by the nearest 7-11.


Tim Hortons Morning Tidbits

Written by Harold McNeill on October 9th, 2013. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts

Human Rights Abuse: A Selective Policy

The Raeside Cartoon  ( October 9, 2013) in the Times Colonist this morning makes an important point about how we choose our battles.  It is always better to pick a small PR battle you might gain some points than to pick a big battle you know you will lose big time.


Smokers, An Endangered Species

The CRD in Victoria seems set to introduce some strict new rules concerning smoking in public places.  In addition to all the usual prohibitions (restaurants, bars, work place, in cars with children, etc.) and recently extended to public parks and beaches. It will not be long before smoking in a public place (e.g. parking lot, sidewalk, etc) will be taboo.  This may seem harsh, but on a recent visit to Kyoto, Japan, a city of 1.47 million, smoking in all public areas is prohibited (that includes all streets and parks).

On October 1, the price of a cartoon of cigarettes when up by $2.00 bringing the package cost closer to $10.00.  Later in my smoking life, I sometimes smoked two packages a day, so today I would fork over up to $600 a month ($7,200 per annum), a tidy sum.  Having been a long term smoker (age 1 5 – 45), I finally chucked the habit and have never looked back.  That’s a lot of dollars in my pocket, to say nothing of the health in my lungs.

Fifty years ago about half the population of Canada smoked on a regular basis, but today that number has dropped to 17% nationwide and to 14% in BC. In the Victoria Capital Region, only 11% light up.  Perhaps the lower rate in BC can be explained by the number of high (oops, I mean, high number) of marihuana smokers.  (Details and statistics from Jack Knox, Times Colonist, October 9, 2013).

Smoking in Victoria



Mount Albert Edward, Climbers Found Alive

Written by Harold McNeill on October 3rd, 2013. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts

Christopher Yao and Jean Simon-Lessard

Climbers Found Alive on Mount Albert Edward

This morning’s headline in the Times Colonist brought back memories of an adventure that my sister Dianne McNeill, her partner Michel Payeur and I shared last year about this same time when we tackled Mount Albert Edward. (Link to Story and Photos)

In the present incident, “Jean-Simon Lessard, 22, and Christopher Yao, 31,(pictured above) were found in good condition after four days stranded in frigid weather at the 1,500-meter level near Moat Lake, three to four kilometers from Mount Albert Edward, which is where the men intended to go.”  (Times Colonist, Thursday, October 3, 2013, Link to story and Photos)

In the McNeill – Payeur challenge, taken in late September 2012, the weather was clear and crisp on our outbound trek to Moet Lake and even seemed promising the next morning, but by late afternoon that second day things deteriorated quickly when a storm front moved in. The temperatures dropped and the surrounding mountains were soon covered with heavy cloud that produced rain at the lower levels and snow above the freezing level at 1000 meters.

While Dianne and Michel proceeded with our plan to tackle the mountain by main route along Circlet Lake, I opted to cross Moet Lake by boat with a young man camping at the same site. On the north side of the lake, snow from previous slides had nearly reached the shoreline and, combined with the steep terrain and slippery conditions, made climbing conditions nearly impossible. We were not able to reach the main trail to intersect  Dianne and Michel by that time faced their own challenges and had to make their descent after dark in weather and trail conditions that were very dangerous.

Full Story and Photos join Dianne, Michel and Harold at:  Mount Albert Edward: An Adventure:

Full Story and Photos of Jean and Christopher go to: Times Colonist:


O’Canada, A Gender Neutral National Anthem

Written by Harold McNeill on October 2nd, 2013. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts

O’Canada, A Gender Neutral National Anthem

1920: The World is Going to Hell in a Hand Basket
I rather expect these gentlemen thought it was…

I see the “Let’s change the National Anthem”  tag line is back in the news.  Hmm, seems that was news about three years ago when the subject was brought up in Parliament.  Why is this small change such a hard thing to accomplish. I suppose we like to keep our caves looking and sounding the same (and our women in line). Gosh, I liked Rock and Roll in the 1950s, why did they have to start bringing out a bunch of new stuff that I didn’t like as much.  See the original 2010 comments on changes to the anthem at:

O’Canada … In All Thy Son’s Command


What is Canada Worth?

Written by Harold McNeill on October 1st, 2013. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts


Pax Canadiana

A Canadian debates the issue with representative of Uncle Sam.  Could that guy on the right
be Don Cherry or Rob Ford in disguise?

What are We Worth?

An article in the October 1, 2013, issue of the National Post (A10 Link), reviews a new book by Diane FrancisMerger of the Century. In the book Diane suggests Canada could extract reparation payments in the order of $17-Trillion or about $492,529 per woman, man and child.

A tidy sum indeed, but why sell our soul to the United States when all we need do is wait as that country slowly melts down, then take over.  We have the lions share of every resource (water, oil, natural gas, land, etc) so all we need do is gain access to US Citizens (we would deal with them as migrant workers) to help us develop our resources. Our dreams of world supremacy could be realized within two decades.

In a previous post, “Pax Canadiana” I explored this possibility in depth and after watching events in the US House and Senate over the past few weeks, I think the dream of Pax Canadiana may be closer at hand than I had previously anticipated.  As of midnight last night, the US can’t even pay their own bills let alone raise $17-Trillion to purchase Canada.  Nice try Diane.

Link Here to Pax Canadiana



Dietrich Family Visit

Written by Harold McNeill on September 28th, 2013. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts

Dietrich Family Visit

Dietrich Family with Lynn McNeill
Photo (Mout Tolmie Lookout): Lynn, Paul, Jodi and Griffin

Link Here to Facebook Photos

After a quick stop at Tim Hortons, it was a whirlwind tour of Victoria with the Dietrich family (Paul, Jodi and Griffin) who hail from Belwood, Ontario (not far Debbie and John in Guelph). While the weather was blustery in the early morning, it cleared by 10 am, so we were off and running for the “Six Hour” McNeill Family, Tour Special.

After a city orientation spiel at the top Mount Tolmie, we followed the waterfront to the breakwater, were we scouted out a few starfish and watched as a dozen or so novice scuba divers made their way into the murky depths. This particular dive appeared to include several several boys and girls in their early mid-teens.

Looking across the Strait we could see what Paul and I thought it was a large cargo ship sitting at anchor, but Lynn, with those sharp travel agent eyes, told us it was a cruise ship waiting to dock. Guess who won…(damn women). As the noon whistle sounded, the Holland America MS Westerdam, came into view and was soon nudging its way toward the jetty.

Not one to shirk an opportunity, Griffin rushed over to assist the Coast Guard Pilot and shore crew with docking (photo below). We suppose the pilot did not see Griffins frantic call for a full stop as the ship nearly rammed the jetty. Reading the paper later that day, we learned the Westerdam would be the last cruise ship to visit the city this season so we had timed our little tour rather well.

Our next stop was Fisherman’s Wharf to chow down on a couple of platters of Barb’s Fish and Chips with the required side of deep fried oysters. We even managed to get a few seals to join us for our early afternoon snack.  I think Paul or Griffin posted a video of Griffin offering an outstretched hand to on of those cute the little seals.

We capped off the tour with a visit to China town and then home. It was a short, but great visit with another branch of this amazing  extended family we hold so near and dear. Perhaps we will catch them for another day on their return trip.


Photo:  Griffin Dietrich works at getting the MS Westerdam into position at the Cruise Ship Dock.

Dietrich Family Visit with MS Westerdam


Papal Infallibility

Written by Harold McNeill on September 24th, 2013. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts


Papal Infallibility: A Cornerstone of the Catholic Church

As a one time practicing Catholic (1), I have always been troubled by the ever changing positions taken by the Church. A large part of this stems from the churches concept of Papal Infallibility (2). It struck me that this concept tended to place the God (the Catholic God at least) in a very negative light as He was constantly changing his (or her) mind on key subjects held near and dear to church teachings.



  • Harold McNeill

    February 28, 2022 |

    Hi Robert, I do remember some of those folks from my early years in Cold Lake (Hazel was my aunt and our family spent many fond times with Uncle Melvin, Aunt Hazel and Family. I knew Lawrence and Adrian. Having read a half dozen accounts it is clear their were many false narratives and, perhaps, a few truths along the way. I tried my best to provide an even account from what I read. Cheers, Harold. (email:

  • Robert Martineau

    February 25, 2022 |

    Its been a long time since any post here, but its worth a shot. My Grandfather was Hazel Wheelers brother Lawrence, and son to Maggie and Adrien. Maggie Martineau (nee Delaney) is my great grandmother. The books and articles to date are based on the white mans viewpoint and the real story as passed down by the Elders in my family is much more nefarious. Some of the white men were providing food for the Indians in exchange for sexual favors performed by the Squaws. Maggie was the product of one of those encounters. Although I am extremely proud of my family and family name, I am ashamed about this part of it.

  • Julue

    January 28, 2022 |

    Good morning Harold!
    Gosh darn it, you are such a good writer. I hope you have been writing a book about your life. It could be turned into a movie.
    Thanks for this edition to your blog.
    I pray that Canadians will keep their cool this weekend and next week in Ottawa. How do you see our PM handling it? He has to do something and quick!
    Xo Julie

  • Herb Craig

    December 14, 2021 |

    As always awesome job Harold. It seems whatever you do in life the end result is always the same professional, accurate, inclusive and entertaining. You have always been a class act and a great fellow policeman to work with. We had some awesome times together my friend. I will always hold you close as a true friend. Keep up the good work. Hope to see you this summer.
    Warm regards
    Herb Craig

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Hi Dorthy, So glad you found those stories and, yes, they hold many fond memories. Thanks to social media and the blog, I’ve been able to get in touch with many friends from back in the day. Cheers, Harold

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Well, well. Pleased to see your name pop up. I’m in regular contact via FB with many ‘kids’ from back in our HS days (Guy, Dawna, Shirley and others). Also, a lot of Cold Lake friends through FB. Cheers, Harold

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Oh, that is many years back and glad you found the story. I don’t have any recall of others in my class other than the Murphy sisters on whose farm my Dad and Mom worked.

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Pleased to hear from you Howie and trust all is going well. As with you, I have a couple of sad stories of times in my police career when I crossed paths with Ross Barrington Elworthy. Just haven’t had the time to write those stories.

  • Howie Siegel

    November 25, 2021 |

    My only fight at Pagliacci’s was a late Sunday night in 1980 (?) He ripped the towel machine off the bathroom wall which brought me running. He came after me, I grabbed a chair and cracked him on the head which split his skull and dropped him. I worried about the police finding him on the floor. I had just arrived from Lasqueti Island and wasn’t convinced the police were my friends. I dragged him out to Broad and Fort and left him on the sidewalk, called the cops. They picked him up and he never saw freedom again (as far as I know). I found out it was Ross Elworthy.

  • Herbert Plain

    November 24, 2021 |

    Just read you article on Pibroch excellent. My Dad was Searle Grain company agent we move there in 1942/3 live in town by the hall for 5 years than moved one mile east to the farm on the corner where the Pibroch road meets Hwy 44. Brother Don still lives there. I went to school with you and Louise.