Monday, 27 March 2017

Pizza, pesto and a trip up country ........... getting closer to my Canadian history

Until recently I had no idea just how deeply my family’s past was linked to Canada.

Our connections with Germany and Italy were pretty straightforward but the Canadian side rested on a few stories of my great aunt Dolly who crossed the Atlantic in 1925.

Of course if I had thought hard enough it would have been obvious that a fair few of the family would have chanced their arm and started a new life on the other side of the world.

After all with an empire upon which the sun never set there were plenty of open spaces.*

I knew about Uncle Charles who had gone out to East Africa and later India in the 1930s and pretty much never came back but was totally unprepared for the rest.

These included the brother of our great grandfather who had slipped off to New Zealand before settling in Australia the relative who had plied the high seas as a ships engineer and great grandfather Montague who in the course of serving in the old Queen’s army had seen the sun rise in the West Indies, idled his spare time in Gibraltar and spent three years in South Arica.

All of which could be the story of many British families but what I never expected was the great uncle migrated to Canada in the spring of 1914 by the Derby Poor Law Guardians because my great grandmother “was incapable of caring” for him and his siblings which included my granddad and great aunt Dolly.

Once established he persuaded Dolly to join him which she did but in her own words not “fancying the open wilderness of the far west” she settled in Ontario got married and that is how we now have an extensive Canadian family who in turn can draw on French and British settlers from the late 18th century along with a Mr and Mrs Pember who set out from Salford in the 1840s and never looked back.

And in the winter of 2015our Saul wass there in Ontario,.

He did the tourist bit of visiting New York, Memphis and Texas before making the 36 hour bus journey north from New Orleans to Ontario crossing the border at 6 am on a cold Saturday morning and has spent the last week with our cousins.

During that week he met more of the family, saw some stunning countryside and in return dished up homemade pizza and pesto and in the process brought all of us a lot closer.

All of which could be a prelude to a shed load of family stories but instead it will just be a thank you to Chris and Andrea and their two sons for making him so welcome and to our  Jac who sent me the first picture of them all together.

Andrea has more photographs ready to send but for now that’s it.

Pictures; a meal and the landscape of Ontario from the collection of Saul Simpson

*Possibly according to one American journalist because God didn’t trust the British and so wanted to always be able to see what we were doing.

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