Lautens a stamp, barrett’s toilet democracy, and more sweet vermouth cocktails

In the mid-to-late 1950s I covered magistrates court – now a vanished rung on the court ladder – for the hamilton spectator. One day a new lawyer showed up, tall, elegant and handsome.

Also, he was black. This was rare. The first black lawyer in town had retired. Around that time an american black comedian touring canada quipped: “canadians are very kind to its negroes.” perfectly timed pause. “all 13 of them.” great gag, with the sly jab of classic high wit.

Born in 1922, the son of a maid and a railway porter (also classic for blacks of his time), he’d served in the RCAF and used his veteran credits wisely, as insistently advised by his beloved mother: “go to school, you’re a little black boy.” that’s also the title of his memoir.25th year

Linc, as everyone called him, graduated from mcmaster – an aside: the vancouver art gallery is currently displaying a fine collection of the mcmaster museum of art – and osgoode hall.

He fought through prejudice, won five elections as a conservative MP in a hamilton riding where ellen fairclough had served in the john diefenbaker government as canada’s first woman federal cabinet minister (my nod to international women’s day yesterday), and topped his avalanche of honours as ontario lieutenant-governor. A newspaper poll chose him the greatest hamiltonian ever.

A confessed hearty drinker and party-goer in youth, he absolutely credited his wife yvonne – there’s a second accolade for women’s day – with his amazing success.25th year he died in 2012 but lives on in the name of a major hamilton parkway, affectionately called the linc. In february he and radio host and women’s advocate kay livingstone were honoured with stamps saluting black history month.

Vaughn palmer, vancouver sun, march 1: the affluent (sit up, west vancouverites) should be petrified that “ten days after launching a tax on real estate speculation, the new democrats are still working out an exemption for british columbian owners of both homes and rental property.” also vulnerable: albertans with high-priced B.C. Vacation homes. (haven’t we infuriated them enough?)

I hate recommending other newspaper scribblers. Readers might instantly drop this column – before getting to the good parts – and hotfoot it out to grab such superior work.25th year

But, most emphatically, read mark milke’s long essay in the feb. 28 maclean’s, “the trudeau family’s love of tyrants.” small taste of milke’s critique: “the elder trudeau’s acolytes always thought of him as a ‘philosopher king’ – that he knew better than markets and ordinary mortals and business owners how to manage the economy efficiently from the top down. … Justin has continued in that tradition in his own political life, with his fawning (fidel) castro comments and his weird china-worship on environmental matters.”

Tireless, and an admitted strict taskmaster with his young musicians, doug macaulay is in his 25th year as leader of the here-there-and-everywhere west vancouver youth band.25th year this september, “I tie the great arthur W. Delamont (WVYB conductor 1933-1958) as the longest-serving director.”

And the north shore light opera society is turning a remarkable 70, while roger nelson celebrates his 25th year as its producer and sometime president. Wife nancy has been with the NSLOS even longer, 35 years.

Roger has made sweet noises, almost an aria, about retiring, but he could linger a while to help when a transition takes place: “at the moment, I’m thinking of myself as an assistant producer.”

But the show is confirmed: stephen sondheim’s into the woods, running for five performances, may 9 to 12, at centennial theatre. Roger explains: “since this is the organization’s 70th anniversary year, we decided to do something more modern and present it in a bigger, celebratory way.”

25th year

Barrett forthrightly abolished pay stalls in public washrooms. Until then it cost 10 cents to patronize the relatively clean up-market stalls for the affluent, rather than the seedier free ones.

Well, I won’t quote the rude final words in what used to be called “a family newspaper,” which, come to think of it, is also a vanished term.