Last June, my brother Reg and I decided to take a train trip across Canada.
We planned to hook up in Toronto at the Royal York Hotel in the afternoon and have a few toddies with friends.
However, when I got to the ticket counter at PBI with my vaccination card and passport, I was told I also needed a Can Card. a WHAT!
By the time it got straightened out, I’d missed my flight, so they booked me on another through Philly, where thankfully, they felt my pain and treated me well. (See above)
However, when I hit the Royal York at 1:30 in the morning, Bruce from India, at the front desk, never heard of me, so I had to wake Reg up to come and get me.
We were up bright and early the next day and headed across the street to the first-class lounge at Union Station. (shown above)
Once aboard “The Canadian,” we found our compartment and then went for breakfast in the dining car.
After breakfast, we headed for the dome car and watched Ontario and its many lakes slip by. (shown on top)
Unfortunately, after you see a few lakes, you’ve seen ’em all, so other than our stop in Sudbury, where I used to be the PD of CKSO, it was pretty dull, prompting Reg to ask me if they had a movie car.
Fortunately, things got a little better when we found the Bullet Bar & Lounge way in the back and discovered that most of the onboard staff was from St. Boniface. (Bullet bar shown above)
To work for VIA, you have to be bi-lingual, so they recruit people from St. Boniface because, unlike their counterparts in Quebec, they don’t have accents.
The next evening when we were finally done with Ontario’s never-ending lakes, we pulled into Winnipeg.
Reg and I both had bands there and worked in radio, albeit years apart. (Pulling into Winnipeg shown above)We spent the next three days with the help of Fran, the super server, greeting friends and family at the magnificent Fort Garry Hotel. (shown above)
The meet and greets started the following morning when some of the legendary Transcona Nationals, Jim Quail, Syd Hepworth, David Low, and Hugh Coburn, dropped by for breakfast. (Shown above)The festivities continued later that evening when a couple of my bandmates from the Jury, Bruce Walker and Terry Kenny, showed up along with a couple of Reg’s guys from the Mystics, Harry Crowder and Larry Martineau, who stopped by for a few adult beverages. (Shown above)
The day began with a massage and then greeting some family, including my brother-in-law Ronnie Boychuk and his daughter Jackie, cousin Donna, and some radio folks, Buster Beau Dean, Heidi Bock, and Tom Milroy. (Shown above)
Hey, even Lindsay Boychuks parents, Ron and Rhonda, showed up for a glass of wine; how cool was that? (Shown below)
Because we were boarding the train again that night, the day was reserved for roaming around Transcona.
We picked up Reg’s buddy, Jack, we headed for our old stomping grounds. When we drove by our original home, it brought back a few memories, but nothing like the ones that showed up when we stopped in front of our house where Reg and I spent most of our time growing up and where The Jury was born. (Shown above)
Speaking of the Jury, color me shocked when we went into the Royal George, and while walking around checking out all the memorabilia hanging on the walls, I spotted two of the Jury Records. (Shown below)
Later that night, once again, we boarded “The Canadian” and immediately bedded down as we began the long trek across the prairies on our way to the magnificent Rockies.
When we awoke the following day, we were greeted by a beautiful sunrise that only the big sky in the prairies can produce. (See below)Before long, we stopped in a place where I could see Saskatoon. This is the place I became a program director for the first time at CKOM. (Saskatoon in the distance below)
After breakfast in the dining car, we headed for the Bullet Bar & Lounge to watch the prairies slowly slip by until it was time to bed down. (Both are shown below)
When we woke up the next morning, we found ourselves in Jasper, Alberta, the gateway to the Rockies.
And as the day continued, so did the incredible scenery. (see below)
We woke up the following day just as our train was pulling into Vancouver (See below), and because it was too early to check into our hotel, we drank coffee for a couple of hours at an outdoor cafe.
The weather was just great, and I was looking forward to hooking up with some friends that night.
Later that afternoon, Marc LaFrance, drummer and backup singer for Randy Bachman’s band, joined Reg and me at the hotel bar, where we caught up on who we all knew in the early Winnipeg bands. (Marc is pictured below)After Marc left, Canadian radio legends Doc Harris and Stirling Faux joined us for a few toddies and a lot of old radio stories. (Doc and Stirling are shown below with Reg and me.)Before too long, we were joined by Willy Parasiuk, who now resides in Vancouver but has the distinction of being Transcona’s only Rhodes Scholar. (Willy is shown below with me)
DAY #10,11,12, and 13
Time to head back to America, where we would visit with a couple of our friends in San Jose, the Hilliards, and the Smiths.
I was staying with the Hilliards and Reg with the Smiths, and after having dinner when we first arrived and lunch the next day, Reg and I went our separate ways.
Reg flew back to Boston, and I stayed behind and caught two movies with Jim and Barb, Top Gun and Elvis, which were superb. (Me and Jim pictured below)
DAY 14, 15, & 16.
Time to climb back on the train again and head to Camarillo, California, where my friends Bob and Jan live.
Unfortunately, Bob, who cooks too well, does so while pouring me huge Martinis as Jan also keeps my glass full of expensive wine.
The result of all this is not only am I going to gain weight, but I’m gonna have to check into rehab when I get home. (Me with Bob, Jan, and their good friend, Big Ray, below)
Once again, I was back on the train, but instead of getting off in Burbank to visit with my Grandson Nathaniel, I go to LAX instead and check into the Hilton. (His Mother had come down with a mild case of Covid)
Time to board American Airlines and return to West Palm with another adventure scratched off my bucket list.
The best part of this adventure, though, was getting to do it with my brother. Love ya, Bro!
Geo’s Media Blog is a politically incorrect inside look at Radio, TV, Music, Movies, Books, and Life, written primarily with men in mind.
For a peek at some upcoming Blogs, or to see some that you may have missed, go to GeorgeJohns.com. On Twitter @GeoOfTheRadio. Sharing and commenting is not only encouraged; it’s appreciated.