We often think that the important things which happen, and the marvelous things that are created, are the products of “big city” people. It just seems right that those with the most exposure to society and education, would be the “doers.” It is often a surprise that some city-, country- or world-changing events are caused by small-town, backwoods boys (and girls).
On August 21, 1860, Aylesworth Perry was born in a tiny Ontario hamlet. Despite being a patriotic Canadian, interested in our history and heritage, I had never heard of him. It seems that this was the gentleman who went on to transform the North West Mounted Police – who would later become the R.C.M.P. – from a loose-knit band of rowdy frontiersmen, into the effective, respected organization it became.
What caught my eye about the little newspaper filler article was the fact that this strong, powerful organizer of tough, gritty men, in a tough, dirty landscape, was from the tiny-rainbow-pissing village of Violet. Like the famous….whatsisname, above, I’d never heard of a place in Ontario named Violet, so I began to do some research.
The officially-issued, Province Of Ontario roadmap refuses to even mention it. Time to go online! My first search for Violet, Ontario, got me Violet’s Violets, in Milton, ON, and Violets and Roses Flower Shop in Brampton, ON. My next step was my usual, Mapquest.ca, which located a Violet Hill, ON, not far from my home town. This magnificent megalopolis boasts almost 300 residents, which is probably why I’d never heard of it either.
When all else fails, go to Google, which had no trouble locating Violet for me. Where my town is almost as far west as possible, in Southern Ontario, this place is at the far, east edge, close to Ottawa and Montreal. To call this place a village is perhaps to stretch a point some. It’s more than just a wide spot on the road, with a house on both sides, but not much. It makes Violet Hill look like urban civilization. There is one road into town, which splits at a Y, and two roads leave town.
I was astounded that Google Earth had actually driven these roads. They must have been on their way to a real town. It had to have been a remote-controlled vehicle. A human driver would have dozed off. If it’s this tiny now, I wonder how much smaller it was, a hundred and fifty years ago.
At about the same time in history, a famous feminist/suffragette/ human rights proponent, named Nellie Mooney McClung, was born in a tiny village about 30 miles east of my home. She’s so famous, you’ve never heard of her either, and the only sign that she and the village ever existed, is a dedication plaque, and a small cemetery.
“Famous”, in Canada, means that two people know how to spell your name. More recently, just before I crawled out of the igloo, a famous female Canadian author was born in a small town 30 miles to my south. At the age of 76, she’s decided to stop writing, and retire back to her birthplace, to count up all eight Loonies she’s made from the Canadian publishing industries.
A couple of years before my birth, a man was born in a village of 300, twenty miles south-east. He went on to be the long-term editor of the Toronto Sun newspaper, until the Frogs from Quebecor Publishing hopped down from Montreal, and gobbled it up. You’d probably not notice his birthplace either, if it weren’t for the stench of the pig-processing plant, and the truckers’ restaurant, which is well-known for its ribs and wings.
All of this has generated great optimism in me. If people from places like Nowhere, and Never-Heard-Of-It, can become movers and shakers, it’s never too late for me to become famous also. (It’s spelled S.M.I.T.H.) Two more posts like this, and it’s onward and upward to FreshPressed, and fame and glory. Did I mention the money?….or I could just keep trying to amuse, entertain and educate you, my faithful followers.
Being famous, and from a small town is not always a good thing. We have a Canadian lady (?) from Wadena, Saskatchewan, a mighty little town of 1300. She’s been a television news reporter, and then anchor-person, who puts her pants on one leg at a time, just like all the other guys. The Prime Minister gave her a pork-barrel appointment to the Canadian Senate.
She now has to, grudgingly, repay $140,000 in expenses to the Government, because she was “confused” and “forgot” things like that her “primary residence” was in Wadena, not Toronto. She’s one of four recently appointed Senators under investigation by the R.C.M.P. I’m not sure how much of this type of thing the American system of electing Senators would prevent, but I’m pretty sure it couldn’t be much worse.
End of bitch! Insert comment here.