Sandy Hill lost one of its great ones on May 9, when Peter Twidale died at the age of 83. A Marlborough Avenue homeowner for more than 30 years, he was regularly seen on his bike, out dogwalking in Dutchy’s Hole, at community meetings and/or pursuing some curious topic or other with teasing questions.
Peter, who studied journalism and worked as a news service journalist for some years before landing as a writer with Transport Canada, was a regular contributor to IMAGE from 2006-2017. His articles were personal, fun, relevant and to the point.
And he could surely write a catchy opening paragraph.
Here, in his memory, are some of our Twidale favourites.
—Charlotte was 12 years old last year when she agreed to distribute The Ottawa East News. Fortunately, Charlotte had signed up her dad, Alain Laurencelle, making them a team.
—Marcia Lea, a well-known Sandy Hill artist, never had the worries of trying to find a career. She was five years old on the day she publicly announced her dedication to art. The audience that day was her Grade 1 classmates.
—I don’t bicycle in winter. But I walk my dog. And that’s how I met the three “crazy winter cyclists,” as they’re sometimes called. .
— It was jazz pianist Bill Evans who said everyone has what he called “a universal musical mind.” I can’t verify that everyone in Sandy Hill has it, but I can tell you that on my city block (that’s Marlborough Ave. between Somerset and Templeton) it was easy to find six residents who are or were into music in a big way.
—It helped to be working in Sandy Hill when movie producer Lee Demarbre lived across the street for five years. That’s how Sako Torossian got his dream assignment—a chance to be in a movie.
— How well does infill housing please local residents? On this September morning I’m driving John Leaning along Goulburn Avenue, heading north from Mann. John is with me as an expert commentator.
—“Next in line. Step up, please.” It’s an audition. They sing, dance, and read a dramatic piece. Eighty-two kids, mostly girls, auditioned for 10 roles at the audition for “Annie”,. It was a good day for Sandy Hill. Three Sandy Hill kids nailed down roles, including the lead.
—Oprah Winfrey’s book club has a million or more followers, and is to be praised as the driving force behind the book industry. Not surprisingly, though, Oprah’s book club is nothing like the book clubs in Sandy Hill.
—If there were an award for “Public Service in Sandy Hill,” it might go to the folks at the Sandy Hill People Food Coop. This is not a food story. It’s a traffic story.
— Dan Grant will finish high school next month. Not a big deal except Dan celebrates his 51st birthday in April.
— My house has become an adventure for me. I’m getting to know those who lived here in the 72 years before I moved in. Learning the history of a house is as easy as spending an hour with city directories. I can’t guarantee the results, though.
— There’s a saying, “If you are doing as an adult what you did at 11, you are a happy man or woman.” Few of us are so lucky but I recently met someone who fits the bill. Laura Nerenberg has been playing the violin, not from the age of 11, but from the age of three.
—Gerry Daoust is going against the grain. He’s opened a bar in the Byward Market that isn’t trendy. There’s no theme, just tasteful decoration. The bar is Chez Lucien .
Peter Twidale: gone, but not forgoten!