Canadian Club of Halton hosts Terry Fallis

Author’s “way with words” entertains Oakville audience

Leacock Humour award winner Terry Fallis kept the audience smiling and laughing at the Oakville Conference Centre on Thursday night.

Terry is the well-known author of light-hearted novels on a number of topics, beginning with his tales of fictional reluctant Member of Parliament Angus McLintock in Best Laid Plans, The High Road and Operation Angus. As Linwood Barclay puts it, if you like Stephen Leacock, Mark Twain or P. G. Wodehouse, you’ll enjoy Terry Fallis.

Copies of the latest novel, and many of his others, are available online and at Different Drummer books in Burlington.

That said, his latest book, and the subject of his talk, A New Season, is a departure, a more substantial look at the themes of aging, grieving, male friendship and music. The narrator explores life changes in these themes as he deals with the passages time imposes on our lives.

The story brings in elements of relationships around an adult recreational ball hockey league as the protagonist ages. While the book differs from his past novels, it retains his trademark wit, and will give you smiles and laughs along the way, if more subdued than in past efforts.

Terry kept the audience rapt for almost an hour on Thursday night, and his new book promises to do the same. Those who have read him can attest to his ability to keep you turning the pages.

The Canadian Club of Halton has a long history of Canadians presenting to Canadians. The next event is March 24, when Dr. Rob Goodman will address the erosion of American democracy, and how Canada can protect itself.

Chris Stoate holds degrees from Cambridge and the U. of T. He founded and operated LaserNetworks for 25 years, served on the Halton Learning Foundation Board and the United Way Board, and was a Ward 3 Oakville Town Councillor.

Reprinted with permission from Oakville News

Ted Barris appointed to Order of Canada

Ted Barris is a frequent speaker at Canadian Club of Halton dinner events. His enthusiastic manner and subject mater expertise makes him a welcome guest. The recent announcement of Ted being appointed to the Order of Canada was very exciting. He was appointed as a member with this description “For advancing our understanding of Canadian military history as an acclaimed historical author, journalist and broadcaster.”

On December 29, 2022, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada, announced 99 new appointments to the Order of Canada, including two Companions, 32 Officers and 65 Members. Three appointments were promotions within the Order.

Since its creation in 1967, the Order of Canada has honoured more than 7,600 people whose service has shaped our society, whose innovations have ignited our imaginations, and whose compassion has united our communities.

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada commented “What a beautiful way to end the year, honouring Order of Canada appointees and learning about the depth and range of their accomplishments. Celebrated trailblazers in their respective fields, they are inspiring, educating and mentoring future generations, creating a foundation of excellence in our country that is respected throughout the world. Their commitment to the betterment of Canada fills me with pride and hope for the future. Alianaigusuqatigiivassi. Congratulations.”

Ted was very appreciative when our President, Clayton Shold reached out to congratulate him, writing “I hope this doesn’t bump up your speaking fees too much.” (our speakers are not paid) Ted replied:

Hi Clayton…

How appropriate to receive such kind applause for this appointment from the loyal Canadian Club branch in Halton.

It’s both invigorating and humbling to learn this has happened to me. I think of all those writers who’ve worked in the trenches much longer than I, who’ve not been recognized, and wonder about the criteria for these appointments. On the other hand, I feel absolutely fired up to continue to dig and discover. I guess I’m kind of driven that way and would do it whether I receive recognition or not…

And don’t worry. My head and heart may be swollen with pride, but my fees will NOT swell accordingly (at least not for the moment).

Please invite me back. I have lots of great stories to tell anytime you want (whether I have the Order of Canada award pinned to my lapel or not)… Ted.

Ted, you will always be a welcome speaker at our events. On behalf of all our members, a hearty congratulations!

Donovan provided details of the Shermans’ murder

The Billionaire Murders – The Mysterious Deaths of Barry and Honey Sherman author Kevin Donovan was the engaging speaker at the November Canadian Club of Halton dinner/speaker event.

An investigative reporter for the Toronto Star, he continues to report on this case along with many other local and global tragedies. However, Donovan spent hundreds of hours researching these mysterious deaths for this book. Sharing what he discovered about the Shermans, the crime scene and walking the audience through the investigation had everyone entranced at the Oakville Conference Centre.

Donovan outlined in detail the last few hours of the victims, when and where they were discovered and how the police and family were intricately involved in trying to solve this horrendous crime.

The Shermans were a wealthy Toronto family and philanthropic in their generosity to those in need. Their murder was and still is a mystery! This is an ongoing police investigation, and all were entranced.

The audience was given enough information to be engaged and informed, but also to encourage many questions and to want more from the author. To that end, a question-and-answer session followed dinner, with his book The Billionaire Murders available for sale at the event by Different Drummers Books, which allowed Donovan, who arrived early and stayed late, to answer queries and autograph his books.

Canadian Club speakers volunteer their time and expertise at no charge. To acknowledge their generosity, each is given a selection of quality wines from a Niagara winery and a $500 donation to an organization chosen by each speaker. Donovan chose Sleeping Children Around the World (SCAW), a registered charity that supplies bed kits to needy children. Since its founding in 1970, SCAW’s global community of volunteers has helped over 1.7 million children.

The Canadian Club of Halton creates a dynamic forum to explore issues that matter most to Canadians by providing a welcoming social environment for inquisitive, influential, and engaged members. The club promotes Canadian identity by hosting notable, knowledgeable, and celebrated speakers on various subjects. It is a volunteer-driven not-for-profit organization.

Being Prime Minister

J.D.M. James Stewart author of Being Prime Minister was a most interesting speaker at the recent Canadian Club of Halton dinner/speaker event.  Held at the Oakville Conference Centre his insight and commentary about Canadian Prime Ministers proved an entertaining evening for all.  It speaks highly of Stewart as a teacher of Canadian History when his student brings their parent to hear him speak.

His introductory quote from Lester Pearson was a thought inspiring way to start his presentation, “Prime ministers require the hide of a rhinoceros, the morals of St. Francis, the patience of Job, the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the leadership of Napoleon, the magnetism of a Beatle and the subtlety of Machiavelli.”  Wow!  Who knew.

Everyone knows the improbability of one person, let alone twenty-three, owning all of those characteristics.  Given this perspective, it was an enlightening evening where the brightest moments reminded us of the every day commitments made by 22 men and one woman to hold Canada’s supreme office.  A truly delightful evening and most recently an engaging read into even more, lesser-known characteristics of being Prime Minister.  They are only human after all, but nevertheless care deeply for Canada.  The book, Being Prime Minister, is available at Different Drummer Books.

Canadian Club speakers volunteer their time and expertise at no charge. To acknowledge their generosity, each are given a selection of quality wines from a Niagara winery and a $500 donation to an organization chosen by each speaker.  Stewart chose “The 2 Intelligence Company Senate” a non-profit organization devoted to enhancing and enriching the lives of past and serving soldiers and officers of 2 Intelligence Company.

The Canadian Club of Halton presents a dynamic forum to explore issues that matter most to Canada. It provides a welcoming social environment for inquisitive, influential, and engaged Canadians. The Canadian Club is an opportunity for all who share a keen interest in contemporary Canadian life and who seek context, perspective and a deeper level of understanding. The club promotes Canadian identity by providing notable, knowledgeable and celebrated speakers on a wide variety of subjects. It is a volunteer-driven not-for-profit organization.

Author Ted Barris Shares Stories of Medics in the Line of Fire

Award-winning journalist, author and broadcaster Ted Barris was the guest speaker at the February 20th Canadian Club of Halton dinner. He discussed his latest book Rush to Danger: Medics in the Line of Fire, which shares the stories of medical personnel in times of war.

The book was inspired by Ted’s father’s experience in the Second World War. Ted’s father, Alex Barris, was a pioneer in Canadian television, remembered by many as host of The Barris Beat, named after his daily show-biz column in The Globe and Mail and later The Toronto Telegram.  What many don’t know about Alex Barris is that he served as a medic in the US Army during the war, and saw action in the aftermath of the Battle of the Bulge.

Ted began his talk with how his father became a medic for the US Army. When Alex Barris enlisted he was asked where he would like to be placed, to which he responded “wherever I’m needed”. Ted showed the audience a photo of his father’s application to the army, which stated his occupation as Sewing Machine Operator. Ted explained that his father’s aunt was a seamstress and his father sometimes helped by stitching the lining of jackets. Since there was a need for medics, Ted said he can only imagine the US Army saying “if you can stitch a jacket, you can stitch a body.”

Ted also shared his journey researching his father’s experience in the war. While looking through military records, Ted found a veteran who served as a medic alongside his father, Tony Mellaci. Tony shared that Alex developed a medical newsletter – The Weekly Dose – to which he was the reporter, writer, and editor and publisher. Tony gave Ted copies of the newsletters he still had. Tony also shared the story that on February 12, 1945 four medics were sent into Campholz Woods in search for wounded soldiers. They didn’t return, so that evening Alex Barris went into the woods by himself and brought them back. Alex Barris was awarded the Bronze Star for his act of heroism. Ted knew that his father received a Bronze Star from the Second World War, but never knew the story behind it.

Shortly after Ted finished writing Rush to Danger, he received an invitation from the 94th Infantry Division of the Historical Society and 319th Medical Battalion to join them for a tour tracing the Battle of the Bulge. Ted shared that he knew this was an opportunity he could not miss! Along the tour Ted met Al Theobald, whose childhood home in Borg, Germany served as a first aid station during the Second World War. It just happened to be that this was also the first aid station where Alex Barris served. Al walked Ted through the bunkers, trenches, fox holes and dense woods of Campholz, and took him to his mother’s home in Borg, the former first aid station. When Ted returned home, he rewrote the entire book. Ted shared that Al Theobald brought him closer to his father’s wartime experience than he’d ever been before.

In addition to his father’s story, Ted Barris shares the stories of medical personnel over the range of 150 years; from the American Civil War to the ongoing crises in the Middle East. This includes John McCrae, Edith Cavell, and Jacob Markowitz (whose story inspired the award-winning classic film The Bridge Over the River Kwai). Ted says he learned that Jacob Markowitz attended over 9,000 patients using only handmade tools. He personally conducted over 7,000 procedures, 3,800 transfusions and saved over 5,000 soldiers. While Jacob’s story inspired the movie, he is never mentioned in the film.

Ted ended his talk by saying that through his research and interviews, he was able to share insights as to why these men and women risk their lives in war zones and why they rush to danger.

About Ted Barris

Ted Barris is an award-winning journalist, author, and broadcaster. For more than 40 years, his writing has regularly appeared in the national press as well as in magazines as diverse as Air Force, esprit de corps, and Zoomer. He has also worked as host and contributor for most CBC Radio network programs, and on TV Ontario.

After 18 years teaching, he retired in 2017 as a full-time professor of journalism at Toronto’s Centennial College.

Ted is the author of 19 bestselling non-fiction books, including a series on wartime Canada. His 17th book, The Great Escape: A Canadian Story, was honored with a 2014 Libris Non-Fiction Book of the Year Award.

Article by Kristen Curry

The Making of the October Crisis

On October 5th, 1970 four young men riding in a stolen taxi pulled up to the property of British Trade Commissioner James Cross. Three men jumped out, one dressed as a delivery man carrying a package. He knocked on the door and the Cross’ nanny opened the door holding an infant.

“Birthday present for Mr. Cross” said the delivery man “but you’ll have to sign for it.”

 “I don’t have a pen” the nanny replied.

 “Here’s one” the delivery man said as he tore off the gift wrapping to reveal a machine gun. The two other men then revealed their revolvers.

The three men entered the Cross home and found James Cross upstairs in the master bedroom getting dressed and discussing the week ahead with his wife. The three men marched James Cross out of his house at gunpoint and put him in the back seat of the taxi. And so began the October Crisis of 1970.

This is how Journalist and Author D’Arcy began his talk at the Canadian Club of Halton on January 23rd at the Oakville Conference Centre. Jenish discussed his latest book The Making of the October Crisis: Canada’s Long Nightmare of Terrorism at the Hands of the FLQ in which he explores the origins of the FLQ, what kept it going for nearly eight years, and why the passage of time has not deepened and clarified our understanding of this traumatic period in the history of our country. The October Crisis led to over 500 arrests – although most were never charged or sentenced.

D’Arcy Jenish explained how the October Crisis was the culmination of a long campaign of urban terrorism that began in Montreal in the Spring of 1963 with a wave of bombings. It continued year after year with bombings, bank robberies, kidnappings and murder.

Jenish’s interest in these events began in 2010 as he was researching information for an article on the October Crisis for the 40th Anniversary. Jenish called a reporter from the Montréal Gazette who introduced him to Robert Coté, who was the Head of the Montréal Bomb Squad during the 1960’s. Coté oversaw the investigation of many bombings throughout Montréal including the 1968 bombing at City Hall, the 1968 bombing of the Montréal Stock Exchange, and the 1969 bombing of the Mayor’s Office. Jenish shared some of Coté’s stories including the time he dismantled 24 FLQ bombs with his bare hands and without any protection.

Robert Coté also shared the story of the arrest of Pierre-Paul Geoffroy. Police received a tip which led them to Geoffroy’s apartment – where they found three bombs and 160 sticks of dynamite. Geoffroy admitted to his role in 31 bombing incidents including the City Hall and Stock Exchange, but refused to identify any other FLQ members. To the shock of the court, Mr. Geoffroy pleaded guilty to 129 charges receiving 124 concurrent life sentences – this was the harshest sentence delivered in the British Commonwealth.

Jenish explained that he is the first writer, in English or French, to interview retired police offers charged with investigating terrorist acts and organizations. D’Arcy Jenish also relied on Québec government documents and the memoirs of former terrorists to reveal the meticulous planning that went into the kidnapping of James Cross and the recklessness behind the kidnapping of Pierre Laporte.

Jenish also discussed how the kidnappers evaded police for weeks and he provided an eyewitness account of the arrest of the Laporte kidnappers in December 1970. He continued to discuss the Cross kidnappers who spent nearly a decade in exile (in Cuba and France) and what became of the prominent terrorists.

D’Arcy Jenish ended the evening taking questions from the audience which included the reception of the book in Québec, the sentencing of the terrorists, and the outcome of the Cross and Laporte families.

October 2020 will mark the 50th anniversary of the October Crisis – one of the most serious terrorist acts carried out on Canadian soil, which led to the only invocation of the War Measures Act in Canadian history.

About D’Arcy Jenish

D’Arcy Jenish graduated from the University of Western Ontario with a degree in English. He began his journalism career at small town newspapers in southwestern Ontario, then returned to the West in 1979 and became a Senior Editor at Alberta Report in Edmonton. He stayed seven years, covering business, politics and sports amid a period of political upheaval and economic discord.

In the fall of 1985 Jenish became Alberta Report’s first Ottawa Bureau Chief. His mandate was to cover national affairs from a regional perspective and his work in the capital quickly came to the attention of a larger rival. In November, 1986, he joined Maclean’s, Canada’s National Newsmagazine, as a Senior Writer. Jenish interviewed and wrote about leading personalities in the worlds of sports, business, the arts and the sciences. He covered royal tours, federal elections and major trials, but always kept an eye open for the local or regional story that would touch readers across the country.

Jenish left Maclean’s in June, 2001 and developed a thriving freelance writing business. He writes magazine features, newspaper commentary, speeches, corporate histories and corporate reports. He has written for the Globe and Mail, National Post, Toronto Star, The Walrus, Toronto Life and Legion Magazine.

Jenish is the author of seven works of historical non-fiction. His histories of the Stanley Cup, the Montreal Canadiens and the NHL were national bestsellers. His two books about the opening and settlement of the Canadian West both won major national awards.

Article written by Kristen Curry

Barry & Angie Wylie Featured

Barry & Angie Wylie were featured in Neighbours of Glen Abbey in the November 2019 edition under the “Resident Feature.”

The article is appropriately titled “Establishing Connections and Helping Others.”

To read the full article, click on this link.

CCH now accepts digital payment to register

Over the summer, members of the Canadian Club of Halton Board explored ways to; 1) reduce the work effort in managing events, 2) provide greater convenience to register for events, and 3) reduce our banking and related credit card processing fees. We are pleased to say we made good progress in all three areas.

Now you can pay online (or use e-transfers) to register in advance of an event! E-transfers will go directly in to the CCH account rather than to Barry which was our past practice.

Out website has been upgraded to a “secure” site. You’ll note a little lock icon next to our URL name. This means there is an SSL certificate in place that ensures all transactions are encrypted, meaning we can now accept credit card payments via the website. You should always look for the lock on any website if you are entering personal or credit card information.

You will find a link on the speaker’s information page, a blue button “Purchase Tickets”. You can also click on “Tickets” on the main menu. Once you have completed your information, you can indicate if you wish your information to be securely stored, so you don’t need to enter it each time. You will set a password to log in to the secured area for next time.

Treasurer Spence Williams commented “by utilizing technology we are able to provide more convenience to our members and guests. When you purchase your tickets online, you will receive an email confirmation, and we receive a registration confirmation.” You will still be able to pay at the event as in the past, but our goal is to reduce the number of transactions at the event. “The more we can automate our registration process helps reduce the administrative work involved with each event” commented Barry Wylie, President of the Canadian Club of Halton. Making online payments by credit card or e transfers will eliminate standing in line to have your transaction processed the night of the event.

In addition to online purchase of event tickets for members and guests, we have also included the ability to purchase memberships. You will still receive an email from Barry advising your membership is due for renewal, then visit the site to make your payment. You can do a membership renewal and purchase event tickets on the same transaction.

These changes will allow us to be more efficient while reducing banking fees. Keeping expenses to a minimum helps keep membership fees as low as possible.

Season Starts with Co-Author of Empty Planet, Darrell Bricker

The 2019/2020 season of the Canadian Club of Halton (our 34th) starts on Thursday, September 26 with guest speaker Darrell Bricker, Global CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs.

Darrell Bricker and John Ibbitson (Globe and Mail Writer at Large), co-authoured Empty Planet: The Shock of Global Population Decline, published this past February.

Attached are 3 recent Globe and Mail articles from Darrell and John drawing attention to the impacts of declining birth rates and aging populations around the world that you may find interesting.

A multi-page feature article by Darrell & John titled “The Vanishing” was published in the Globe and Mail on January 24 prior to the release of their book. It can be viewed at:

When the world’s population shrinks, Canada is poised to grow and prosper

The book itself is very readable with the authors clearly stating what they see happening with global populations through to 2050 and beyond, and the consequences to countries that restrict immigration now or in the future.

The book is a real eye-opener!

Enjoy the summer and we hope to see you in September.



Janet Bedford – A Good Friend

To say the announcement of Janet’s sudden passing was a shock would be an understatement. Only days before, Janet was capturing photos at our speaking event and taking time to pen an article for Oakville News and our website.

It didn’t matter which event was happening in Oakville, there was a good chance that Janet would be there, giving of her time, with her camera in hand. For the past decade Janet has been a good friend to the Canadian Club of Halton. The photos you see on this website are hers. The articles capturing the hightlights of our speakers comments in our blog are hers.  As webmaster, I met Janet three years ago when I joined CCH.  She was very excited to know we had created a website and was quick to offer her talent and time to provide photos and a write up of out guest speakers. We had a good sytem going,  Janet would drop a USB key to Barry Wylie who would select the photos and identify those in them, then pass the USB to me. I would load the photos on the site and do the same with the article that usually followed shortly after. On Sunday afternoon she delivered the USB to Barry along with a 15 minute chat, I picked the USB up from Barry Monday morning and Janet emailed her article to Barry Tuesday at noon. Tuesday evening Janet was gone.

We are reminded how fragile is life, and also the impact one person can have in their community. At her visitations Friday evening and Saturday afternoon it was evident there were so many who had the benefit of knowing Janet. Her love of family, her work, her participation with so many community organizations will be her legacy. Her constant smile a memory for all.

The Canadian Club of Halton has made a donation to the McMaster Children’s Foundation in Janet’s memory.

Below are some of the responses received by Barry Wylie after he sent a note out to our membership and others in the community.

We will truly miss her smiling face and enthusiastic encouragement to get up from the table so she could capture our presence in a photo

Janet was a lovely person who brought joy and a fierce spirit to the world

Such an upbeat lady

She struck me as a very happy and engaging lady

She was such a vibrant lovely person

Janet’s gentle nature and smiling face

We always chatted when we saw one another – she was so positive and had a smile on her face every night

She was a spirited woman and will be very much missed

She was a memorable and kind person

I am going to miss her and her hugs greatly – she always made me smile

We met back in 2006 when I started to work in Oakville and I attended many of her art exhibits, talked to her at the Chamber events and got even closer over the Canadian Club dinners the last few years

She was such a positive, wonderful person

She was a good friend – I have known her for many, many years – she loved taking pics at all the Chamber events and thoroughly enjoyed talking to people

I will miss her big smile and generous heart

I always appreciated Janet’s upbeat attitude especially the first time I attended the Canadian Club – she was so welcoming and friendly

Janet used to come to our yoga class too – she was a lovely lady

She was such a lovely lady – your pic from last week sums it all up – that’s who she was

She never showed her stress, just her joy in taking photos for others

Such a humane, intelligent, and outrageously generous and warm-hearted soul

She was a kind and compassionate lady

She brought the community together through her camera lens

Clearly Janet touched many on her earthly journey. I’m sure she is adjusting her camera settings to account for the light in heaven as she watches over us.

Janet you will be missed.