Medical Graduates of 1968
Year of 1968 40th Reunion or last of the summer wine
Barbara Alexander, who moved to Canada with her husband and six week old baby boy (Terry) after qualifying, offered to arrange and host our 40th reunion. Bryan Goodrich, Malcolm Lias and Eric Holmes flew to Vancouver with their wives (Meg, Ruth and Jan) to explore the Rockies before joining the rest in Toronto. We toured the city, Stanley Park and the waterfront. Martin Wood, who lives on Vancouver Island, was Bryan and John Bent’s flat mate and spent a day with us at the Capilano River and suspension bridge. After five days we picked up a hire car and the six of us set off for Whistler. Almost immediately Eric decided he would separate the wing mirror from the car! Subsequently we were held up for three hours because workmen decided to blow up a cliff face as part of road improvements for the 2010 Winter Olympics. If we had been ten minutes earlier we would have had a clear run. Fortunately we had kept some of the previous night’s pizzas.
Next stop was the remote Wells Gray National Park. Ruth was the first to spot a black bear and Bryan bear droppings and footprints. We drove on a very rough road to look for more bears and visit a waterfall. We met some well oiled Canadians and Germans at the end of the road. They were on a stag week and loaned us some bear bells and a spray in case we were attacked. Naturally we did not see any bears and attacks on humans are rare. We did see bald eagles, elk and salmon jumping. At Jasper the gondola was closed and the bears disappeared. Malcolm claimed he saw a magnificent elk stag but we wondered what sort of tobacco he was smoking in his pipe.
Ruth “Malcolm, have you got your pipe in your sock – driving?”
Malcolm “No, it’s not driving”
The sight of three retired doctors jumping into a freezing plunge pool at the Miette Hot Springs must have been a sight to behold!
Lake Maligne and Spirit Island was stunning. This drains into Medicine Lake, which dries up in the summer due to a fault in the rocks and emerges later as the Maligne River. The mountains are spectacular and we saw a golden eagle.
We drove to Emerald Lake through the Columbia Ice fields, which are shrinking due to climate changes. The accommodation and views were wonderful except that the cheapest bottle of wine was £20. We saw moose tracks but no animals. A steep climb at the end of the lake brought us to a glacial bowl.
We stopped at Lake Louise on the way to Banff. This is very popular with tourists and crowded but worth the visit. Banff is a lovely town with the Bow River and Falls. A black bear was shot behind Macdonalds a few days previously because it kept returning to the town, and there was a report of a bear killing a hunter in the local paper.
The best views of Banff are from the top of the gondola. We decided to hire canoes on the Bow River and Bryan, Meg and Ruth neglected to tell us that our baler was dragging in the water. It was no wonder that we found the paddling hard. They did however mistake a muskrat for an otter.
After Banff we flew from Calgary to Toronto to join Barbara and Tony Alexander, Ernie and Polly Robin, Steve and Sue Booth, Christina and James Byrne (née Fitzpatrick), Margaret Sealey, Annis and David Price (née Taylor), Bill and Pat Cooper (dental graduate) and Charles and Carla Stedwell from the USA. We were delighted to travel with Barbara’s Father, Professor Nosrat Ameli, who qualified at Birmingham in 1937 and was a neurosurgeon in Persia (Iran) during the Shah’s rule.
We toured Toronto, the Harbour and Islands then had dinner at the CN Tower with its revolving restaurant and glass floor. The visit to Niagara with a close-up view of the Falls on the Maid of the Mist was spectacular especially in blue see-through ponchos.
We stopped at Niagara-on-the-Lake, a very attractive town with historic buildings and London Routemaster Buses. Annis discovered one on which she travelled to school! Arriving at Ottawa we visited the Canadian Museum of Civilization but went in the exit by mistake and could not find the way round. That afternoon we paddled the large voyager’s canoes on the Ottawa River to Turtle Island for a native meal and were entertained to songs, dances and stories by members of the Mohawk and Algonquin tribes. Ottawa is a beautiful city with copper roofed buildings.
We followed the St Lawrence River visiting a large market with superb French produce and huge pumpkins. Quebec was the first French settlement in North America. It is a walled city full of old buildings and excellent restaurants. The Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre shrine and Montmorency Falls are nearby.
Montreal was our final city which is mainly English speaking and more modern but does have historic Districts. We returned to Toronto by train and went to Barbara and Tony’s house at Aurora for a superb meal and fine wines on the last evening, prepared by them and their son Terry and his charming wife, Koto. All in all it was a fabulous finale to a wonderful week touring the Eastern Capitals of Canada.