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LETTER: Prairie boy has great memories of Middleton

This photo ran on the front page of The Outlook on August 5, 1965From left are Hugh Arklie (Winnipeg, MB), Joan Mills (Eriksdale, MB), Janet Holowaty (Winnipeg, MB), and Robert Tonn (Ste. Agathe, MB).
This photo ran on the front page of The Outlook on August 5, 1965From left are Hugh Arklie (Winnipeg, MB), Joan Mills (Eriksdale, MB), Janet Holowaty (Winnipeg, MB), and Robert Tonn (Ste. Agathe, MB).

Today, Canadians are planning for the 150th anniversary of Confederation. However, 50 years ago, in 1965, we were already celebrating what we simply called ‘the Centennial.’ Included in that two-year head start was a program known as the Centennial Travellers, or Voyageurs en Francais.

From across Canada Grade 11 students applied to be part of a two-week summer exchange. They would travel to another province and be hosted there by local families. The only requirement was that a Centennial Traveller host another Grade 11 student from another part of Canada during the same summer. Travel was usually by rail which was cost effective by merely adding another coach to a regularly scheduled train. Accommodation and meals were provided by our hosts. School buses with volunteer drivers allowed us to see the sights upon reaching our destination.

We had no choice regarding our destination. My group of 24 students and two chaperones from Manitoba were selected to visit Nova Scotia. For 50 years I have felt that I hit the jackpot when that train rolled in to the Middleton station. From the Heart of the Annapolis Valley we toured the province and I have never forgotten the beauty of Nova Scotia and its people. My ‘Order of the Good Time’ signed by Robert Stanfield, and bearing the images of Damuel de Champlain and Georges Vanier, still graces my living room wall.

From across Canada Grade 11 students applied to be part of a two-week summer exchange. They would travel to another province and be hosted there by local families. The only requirement was that a Centennial Traveller host another Grade 11 student from another part of Canada during the same summer. Travel was usually by rail which was cost effective by merely adding another coach to a regularly scheduled train. Accommodation and meals were provided by our hosts. School buses with volunteer drivers allowed us to see the sights upon reaching our destination.

We had no choice regarding our destination. My group of 24 students and two chaperones from Manitoba were selected to visit Nova Scotia. For 50 years I have felt that I hit the jackpot when that train rolled in to the Middleton station. From the Heart of the Annapolis Valley we toured the province and I have never forgotten the beauty of Nova Scotia and its people. My ‘Order of the Good Time’ signed by Robert Stanfield, and bearing the images of Damuel de Champlain and Georges Vanier, still graces my living room wall.

Hugh Arklie today.

My host was the Bruce family, Carl and Isabel with son Calvin. I was privileged to reside at their cabin on Lovely Zwicker’s Lake. They were charming, kind people.

For me and my fellow Centennial Travellers all this happened 50 years ago this month. Those two weeks were the highlight of my youthful summers, never to be forgotten.

 

Sincerely yours,

Hugh Arklie

Dugald, Manitoba

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