Canada's History

The Packet


Capturing family history. The test of time. The question of commemorat­ion. Misleading words.

What a surprise it was to see a photo of my father, Robert Westley Christy (far right), as a young RCMP constable in “Magnetic North” ( Canada’s History, December 2018-January 2019). My dad did two northern postings. The first was at Pond Inlet, in what was then the Northwest Territorie­s, from 1932 to 1934, and the second was at Arctic Red River, a tributary to the Mackenzie River, in 1936 — which is likely when Richard Hourde took the picture. My dad had an attack of appendicit­is in 1937 and was sent to a hospital in Aklavik, which was a turning point in his life: He met my mom there.

My parents came out of the North in the spring of 1939, and when they arrived in Toronto to plan their June 1940 wedding they were stunned to find out that my dear, bossy maternal grandmothe­r had organized the whole show for — are you ready? — the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month (11:00 a.m. on November 11, 1939). My parents were married for thirty-five years and had five children. Mom died in April 1975, and Dad died in January 1996.

Robert J. Christy Ottawa

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