Category Archives: CLUBWEST

‘At the going down of the sun we will remember them’

ClubWest

(To view our November/December 2017 issue of ClubWEST online, click here.)

by Joanne McDonald

Standing on perpetually dedicated Canadian soil in a cemetery far from his West Niagara home, Retired Warrant Officer Second Class Christian Leonard wrapped his heart around the grave of a 15-year-old soldier who left his own home a century ago, and died in the freezing sleet and snow-swept battlefields of the First World War.

“You can’t fathom the sacrifice until you stand on that ground.”

The victory at Vimy Ridge was a defining moment for Canada.

Soldiers earned a reputation as formidable, effective troops. But it was a victory at a terrible cost with more than 10,000 killed and wounded.

Two weeks in August marked a second time that 17-year-old Christian, now retired from the 62 Grimsby Phantom Squadron Royal Canadian Air Cadets and attending university in a dual science and aviation program, travelled to Europe, first as a 12-year-old for the 95th anniversary of Vimy Ridge and most recently for the 100th anniversary.

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(For this complete article and to view our November/December 2017 issue of ClubWEST online, click here.)

From the Publisher November/December 2017

ClubWest

(To view our November/December 2017 issue of ClubWEST online, click here.)

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
– Benjamin Franklin

This edition of ClubWest Magazine is very interesting.

That is not a brag. The intent is not to trumpet how awesome we are, the features are or any such thing.

What I want you, good reader, to do is note that none of the other features in this publication would matter one iota if not for the result of the lead feature on Vimy Ridge.

What a different world this would be.

Our economy would not be the same, so who knows what kind of freedoms we would have with agriculture and food.

The cruise highlighted in the this month’s travel feature down the Danube certainly would be different had Canada not stepped up to the plate and turned back the enemy at Vimy.

As for the Sears Wish Book, it is a good guess we might have been wishing the Allies were victorious at Vimy should they have lost that battle.

I will always believe the government did a disservice to all when Remembrance Day was taken away as a stat holiday. No, not because I miss the day off (in the media game no day is a day off, really) but because of the importance of our soldiers’ sacrifice. For that matter, the sacrifice of their family and friends as well. There really is no separation there.

With Vimy, it is very easy to get behind the flag, tell all how awesome Canada is and all that, but remembrance of battles won and lost, the human loss, in the name of freedom is a far larger force deserving of our attention.

Canada, as a nation, has been very lucky in recent years with very little to no military actions on the home front. This makes our soldiers sacrifices even more pronounced as they travel around the globe in the name of freedom and peace to help others.

Taking 30-45 minutes of your time, at some point, and dropping by Grimsby Museum at some point to view the Vimy exhibit – which is on until Friday, Nov. 17 – is well worth your time and would be an excellent conversation with children.

When I was a kid, we got Remembrance Day off. Sure, we met up with friends, goofed around outside and did whatever kids of the day were doing (road hockey, building a fort some place) but if I was not in front of our huge console TV at 11 a.m. to see the Remembrance Day service on CBC broadcast from Ottawa, I would have my own price to pay.

That was not a life decision, but it might have involved a limb or two and I was not going to risk it.

Seriously, check out this exhibit. You will be glad you did.

Publisher, ClubWest Magazine
Mike Williscraft

Drinking It In

ClubWest

(To view our September/October 2017 issue of ClubWEST online, click here.)

The sights, sounds & smells of Italy

By Lorraine Simpson

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The feature image with this article:
A gem in Tuscany, Potentino Castle.

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It’s incredibly difficult not to fall in love with Italy when there is so much incredible history to be explored, food to be savoured and wine to be tasted.

In Rome one can simply not go without visiting the Colosseum from inside or out, posing for a photo with a gladiator, or throwing coins in the trevi fountain…

Rome will inescapably grab you with its charm, history and character. We spent two jam-packed days here on our journey through Rome and Tuscany and would highly recommend getting the skip the line passes when you visit the sites you most want to see. Next we spent a morning in the town just outside of Rome called Frascati. This gem is one of several attractive historic hill-towns to the south-east of Rome known collectively as the Castelli Romani.

Every weekend these towns, and Frascati in particular, fill up with Romans looking for a change of pace, clean air, good food and wine. The wealthy built villas here, many of which are still standing although they’re not open to the public. The most impressive is the Villa Aldobrandini, designed by Giacomo Della Porta for the nephew of a pope. This palace dominates the town, hovering above the central piazza in faded splendour.

We were greeted by Alexander Minardi who is fifth generation winemaker at the Minardi Winery and he took us on a very interesting walking tour of his village before introducing us to some of the local delicacies such as the Porchetta on the wood fired focaccia bread which was to die for! Then we went to his family owned trattoria where we learned “hands on” how to make home made pasta and gnocci. This was such a fun experience in this authentic setting and our host was an Italian grandmother giving us her secrets to pasta making which felt all the more special. The pasta had to dry for an hour or so before eating so we went on a tour of the winery and tasted his wines before returning to eat a delicious antipasti platter followed by the pasta and gnocci we made ourselves with delicious sauces prepared by the chef.

The next day it was time to leave Rome and head for Tuscany.

When you close your eyes and imagine Tuscany, you’re likely to envision rolling, sun-kissed hills dotted with olive trees, grape vines and the occasional farmhouse or villa. It’s a place where time slows and you can savour the rustic, earthy foods and wines that prevail here. As with all regions in Italy, uniquely bold food traditions pervade the area, …

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(To read the full article, please click here to view our September/October 2017 issue of ClubWEST online.)