Jiquilillo, Nicaragua: Community Support Fundraiser

Written by Harold McNeill on February 7th, 2014. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts

GNS Group to Nicaragua

Photo (GNS Newsletter) (March, 2013).  Cheryl Murtland and staff from SMU with another group of students at
Monty’s Surf Camp in Jiquilillo, Nicaragua. The little kids are from the nearby community of Jiquilillo.

Fireside Grill, Victoria, BC (February 6, 2014)

It was a great evening of meeting old friends and making new ones as Cheryl Murtland and others from St. Michaels University School, continued their work with another group of students as they hosted a fundraiser for theSMUS Students Together Works Society (1).  The funds will be used to support projects in and around he remote community of Jiquilillo, Nicaragua.

Together Works Society, a Canadian non-profit Society, is the brainchild of Donald (Monty) Montgomery (2), a teacher from Parksville, British Columbia, who runs a Surf Camp near Jiquilillo on the northwest coast of Nicaragua.

Photo (Fireside Grill): A few of the many SMUS students who have diligently worked on the fundraiser.

In April, these students along with fifteen others will be travelling to Nicaragua to help with Surf Camp projects as well as taking time to savour the sun, surf and sand at the camp.

Given the -6C temperature and three centimetres of fresh snow this morning, the incentives to travel to Monty’s little hide-a-way is even more enticing.


McNeill Solutions and Seaside Magazine

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


Screenshot of the February Seaside Magazine Web Site
(also, page 7 of the February 2, 2014 Edition)
The Homepage of the Website changes each month to match the cover of the hard copy edition.
Link to Seaside Magazine

Link to Photos of the new Seaside Magazine Reception at Mary Winspear Centre

Link to the Most Recent Update (February 27, 2014)

Congratulations to Sue Hodgson, Publisher of Seaside Magazine on the launch of the new Magazine Website.  The site, designed by Sean McNeill of McNeill Solutions, provides a bold new online presence for the locally owned and published magazine.

Sue Hodgson and her talented staff, Editor in Chief, Allison Smith; Design Assistant, Kelsey Bormann, and Advertising Sales, Marcella MacDonald, have worked to create a dynamic magazine catering to community interests along the West Coast with particular focus on lower Vancouver Island.  Sue speaks to the collaboration between Seaside Magazine and McNeill Solutions:

“Seaside is all about celebrating the community, so we were thrilled to work with locally owned web design and marketing company McNeill Solutions. Designer Sean McNeill helped us to come up with a website that truly reflects Seaside Magazine.”

From his side of the equation, Sean states:

“It has been an exciting project to create with a magazine that’s so focused on local culture. Working with Seaside came to be through the strength of referrals in our community. We are excited to continue working with them in the future.”

Congratulations, Sean, on a job well done and to Sue and staff for their continued pursuit of excellence in the production of a quality magazine.

Harold McNeill

Link here to a January 2013 article on the launch of the Seaside Magazine 

SIC Beauties: A new post being written explores the efforts of a group of young people as they work to enhance their artistic abilities as well as bring a high level of social commitment to their entrepreneurial efforts. It is in this new world that many young people seek to find new ways to interact with each other and with their business contacts.  The photos below include several Young Entrepreneurs who are part of the SIC Beauty Crew.

SIC Beauty Crew Members

Sean and Crew 2



Written by Harold McNeill on February 3rd, 2014. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts


A Call for Justin to Come Home

Over 100,000 citizens of the United States have signed the petition calling for Justin Bieber to be expelled from the US and his Green Card revoked.  The petition claims Justin is not a fitting role model for young people in the United States.  US law requires the White House respond to any petition with 100,000 or more signatures.

Following is a partial list of celebrities that have signed the petition: Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, MacCauley Culkin, Charlie Sheen, Alex Baldwin, Anna Nicole Smith, Tonya Harding, Mel Gibson, Geraldo Rivera, Denis Rodman, Kobe Bryant, O.J. Simpson, Ozy Osborne, Keanin Reeves, River Phoenix, Exl Rose and Eminem. 

Perhaps Bieber should come home as it seems it is he who is being lead astray.

Oh, a good post of Facebook yesterday featuring O.J. Simpson and referencing to Denver.  The last time we had a Bronco chase that was so widely watched was in Los Angeles.



Canada: What are we doing with our resource wealth?

Written by Harold McNeill on January 30th, 2014. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts


Profit from ‘Stateoil’, the #4 ranked oil company in the world and 70% owned by the Norwegian Government, has made all Norwegians Crown millionaires   (Link to Article) (Link to Ownership). When our family visited Norway in the 1970s, hundreds of oil rigs were being built. The North Sea oil boom was well underway and from that date forward, Norway kept tight control of their share of the resource.

What can Canada learn?

As a result of a FB post made by the daughter of a Cold Lake High School friend about free university in Norway, and an earlier post I made about the quality of ‘birth to death’ social services in Oman as compared to Canada, a few folks were inspired to take me to task. My position in both cases was that Canada and the Provinces need to make better choices regarding the use of our natural resources. Let’s take a look at how Norway manages its resources.


Emotion Rules the Day

Written by Harold McNeill on January 8th, 2014. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts

Animal Collage

Those we Love and Those we Don’t

It is immensely interesting how we humans choose to differentiate between animal species (including other humans). Most often it seems it is the “cute and cuddly” factor that makes all the difference.  In the above picture, which would be the first and second choice for a pet?  Of course, who could resist that little pup seal, perhaps even a little piggy under the right circumstances, but a rat or a nest of snakes, very unlikely.

Now, take that seal pup. The WTO recently ruled the EU was justified in prohibiting the import to seal pelts and products based only on “public morals concerns” (National Post,). At the same time the WTO clearly stated there was no “legal, scientific or conservation” concerns with respect to seals.  In a word, “seals” are just so cute that no matter how much damage they do to the environment (fish stocks, etc.) or how much their overpopulation begins to degrade an area of other wildlife, they must be protected.

Pigs on  the other hand seem not so deserving of our consideration. I (and likely you) also think they are as cute a buttons when they are babies. Does if not seem strange that when they are treated badly (and in many cases very badly) we don’t raise any concerns. We so love our bacon, ham and pork chops that we don’t much care how they live and die. The same applies to cattle and all sorts of other ‘domestic’ animals raised as a food source. Compared to pigs, cattle, sheep and others held in captivity, seals live an awesome life of freedom, even if a few of them end up being killed for their pelts or taken down by a sea lion or killer whale.


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




  • Mike Fedorowich

    September 1, 2023 |

    I have gone through the above noted text and have found it quite informative.
    I am a former member with several law enforcement agencies from across Canada.
    I worked in the First Nations service under the authority of the RCMP with the over sight of the OPP. My law enforcement service was conducted under the authority of the Nishnawbe – Aski Police Service in North West Ontario the Louis Bull Police Sevice in Hobbema AB, the Kitasoo Xaixais Police Service in Northern in side passage on Swindle Island, the Lac Suel Police Service North West Ontario and the Vancouver Transit Authority Sky Train Police Service. I’m presently dealing with an RCMP member for falsifying a report against me for a road rage event. Court case is finished and the charge was dropped but I have an on going complaint with the member and have forwarded to the WATCH DOGS IN OTTAWA FOR the RCMP review and consideration. I believe the said officer is in violation of his oath of office and should be held accountable for falsifying his RTCC all the while dragging me through the court system here in Nanaimo. RCMP continue to stonewall the appeal but Ottawa and the crowns office are still looking into the matter. if your able and find the time or the interest in this very brief introduction, I would very much like to speak with you and would be grateful to hear any wisdom that may come across from your end. I served with First Nations Police Services for ten years in isolation and six years with Transit Police out of New West Minster. I do value and appreciate any time you could spare to chat for a bit on this particular subject matter. Respectfully with out anger but an open mind, Mike Fedorowich Nanaimo BC 250 667 0060

  • 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: Harold@mcneillifestories.com)

  • 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.