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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


P1170295The above scene is from 2016. This year (2020) we have moved  Santa’s workshop back to this location in a slightly altered form.

Location: 4402 Leney Place at Viaduct Ave East (off Viewmont, behind the Royal Oak Shopping Centre)

November 23, 2020.  Over the past couple of weeks, we have been busy adding new home crafted decorations on the tree at the corner.  These decorations were made from laser-cut items along with odds and sods from our laser leftovers box.  Lynn McNeill (Santa’s helper) is a whiz at whipping these crafts together, then painting the pieces of 1/8th inch plywood (photo below). The ornaments range in size from 6 – 11 inches.


For a full line of art kits produced by the rest of Santa’s team at the McTavish Academy of Art (1720 Mctavish Road, North Saanich) link to their web site.

December 14, 2013, 4402 Leney Place, Saanich, B.C.
(A Note from Santa Claus and his wife Angelina)

 Santa Claus and Rudolph: New Plans and Directions?
A message from Mr. and Mrs. Clause

Hello Santa Believers,

The new Santa Workshop and Team Training Area are ready. Just to let you know, Mrs. Clause and I  have stepped back from full-time work but we will be around to manage this new shop while my younger brother, Kris Kringle, takes over delivery duty his new sleigh. Rudolf’s oldest son, Rudolph Junior, will now lead the team.  The full story of these changes is posted in the October story below.  Many thanks to all the animals, elves and young people who worked day and night to get things ship-shape for the new season.

In the current shop set up, a small pathway leads to a photo area in front of the Workshop. If you email a copy of your photo to harold@mcneillifestories.com, it will be posted and linked to the blog story. If anyone wishes to leave a note for Kris Kringle, Rudolph, or one of the other deer or workers, please place it in Santa’s Mailbox. Answers will be posted in the comments section of this post.  You may also post your comment below.

You are invited to walk up to the front door of the workshop, but please stay within the confines of the path

In the past the McNeill Family have set aside various nights for Carol Singing, Hot Chocolate and Marshmallows Roasting “on an open fire” but due to the current COVID19 lockdown, we are just happy to have you drive by and enjoy the scene.

The display will be open from dusk until 1:00 am daily and on weekends until January 2, 2021.  The tree on the corner will remain lite until the Covid19 lockdown is over.

The best of the season to you and your family.

Santa and Angelina Clause

October 28, 2013: Original Story (continues)

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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


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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’ Suffrage in British Columbia
(Jan 2018 1300)

The Long Slow Climb

Over the past few years, considerable attention is given to the lack of women’s rights within many religious orders, with Muslims taking the brunt of the heat over the past fifteen years.  Yet, we only need to go back fifty or sixty years to see the fight for basic women’s rights, including the right to vote, was an ongoing battle in many parts of Canada.

It was not until the 1940’s that the women of Quebec were able to overcome a church dominated political system and gained that right too vote.  Other rights would slowly be gained over the subsequent decades (e.g.  removal of abortion and prostitution from the criminal code, equal rights within marriage, right to enter drinking establishments, and the list goes on), rights that today we take for granted.

It took until 2015 for women to be fully represented in ministerial positions within the Federal government and only in recent decades have we seen more women elected to lead Provinces. It’s no real surprise to anyone, that these women were and are powerful leaders. The United States has yet to break that barrier, but there is no doubt it will happen one day soon.

Over the nearly 150 years since our Confederation, these were big steps as it was just over 100 years ago that not one woman in Canada had the right to vote or hold legislative or parliamentary office. It’s hard to imagine it was only 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. The right soon flowed across Canada as outlined in the following timeline.

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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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Comments

  • Harold McNeill

    January 15, 2021 |

    Wow, Graham, I was taken by surprise (but then again that’s not too hard). Having all you fine folks (my children by other fathers and mothers) would have been great. I’m hopeful that sometime in the not too distant future, we can reprise that trip. Perhaps we’ll just set aside a time for someone else’s landmark day, and we can surprise them. Love to you two. Harold

  • Graham and Nazanin

    January 15, 2021 |

    How could we miss this historic event my friend!!!
    Nazy and I were booked for that cruise Harold, we were looking so forward to it.
    We will be together soon! We both wish that continued unconditional love you receive from everyone to continue as you are that special someone that makes a difference in this world.
    Happy birthday sir, cheers!

  • Harold McNeill

    January 7, 2021 |

    Glad you found the site and that Dorthy enjoyed. I’ve added a lot of school photos in other locations linked to the High School Years stories. Cheers, Harold

  • Shelley Hamaliuk

    January 2, 2021 |

    Hi there, I am Dorothy Marshall’s (nee Hartman) daughter. Mom was quite excited when she discovered this site while surfing the net yesterday, so excited that she told me to have a look! She quite enjoyed taking a trip down memory and seeing old pictures of herself.Keep up the great work!

  • Harold McNeill

    April 14, 2020 |

    Hi Rick,
    Great to hear from you and trust all is going well. Our family members are all doing well but it must be pretty tough for a lot of people. I had once heard you were going to do some writing but never heard anything further. I would be most interested, but do you think the OB News have archives back to that time. Any link or information you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Did you keep copies? Regards, Harold

  • Rick Gonder

    April 14, 2020 |

    Hi Harold
    About 22 years ago I spent several weeks going through the OBPD archives. I wrote several stories that were published in the OB News. Feel free to use if they are of value to what you are doing.
    Keep this up, I’m enjoying it and it brings back memories.

  • Harold McNeill

    April 12, 2020 |

    Hi Susan,

    Glad you had a chance to read. I decided to update these stories by proofreading as there were several grammatical errors in many. Hopefully, many of those glaring errors have been removed.

    Many of the stories carry a considerable amount of social comment regarding the way the criminal justice system is selectively applied. Next up involves a young woman from near Cold Lake, Alberta, who was abducted by an older male from Edmonton. Her story is the story of hundreds of young men and woman who have found themselves alone and without help when being prayed upon unscrupulous predators.

    Cheers, Harold

  • Susan

    April 8, 2020 |

    Great read, Harold!…and really not surprising, sad as that may sound.
    Keep the stories coming, it is fascinating to hear them.
    Love from us out here in the “sticks”, and stay safe from this unknown predator called Covid.

  • Harold McNeill

    February 17, 2020 |

    Update:  Times Colonist, February 16, 2020, articles by Louise Dickson, She got her gun back, then she killed herself,” and,  Mounties decision to return gun to PTSD victim haunts her brother. 

    Summary: I don’t know how many read the above articles, but they contained the tragic details about young woman, Krista Carle’, who took her own life after suffering for years with PTSD. While tragedies such as this play out across Canada every week, the reason this story resonates so profoundly is that the final, tragic, conclusion took place here in Victoria. Continued in the article.

  • McNeill Life Stories Index to Police Notebook - McNeill Life Stories

    February 16, 2020 |

    […] Part I, Police solidarity and the push for amalgamation. Part II, Comparing police cultures and implementing change Part III, The past as a guide to the future Part IV The integration of police services […]