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RCAC - Royal Canadian Army Cadets - the Making of a Master Cadet, 1956-1960

1 2 3 4 5 6

"Every life matters, a part of the main;
We shall not, none of us,
See your like again..."
- the Poet Laurier

"People should remember the lives they live, and how they live them, are important - they do matter; their experiences, their recollections, are an important part of Canada's heritage, and open a window
on Canada's past for future generations."

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure
A farm boy enrolls as a private in the Royal Canadian Army Cadets
September 1956

Who would ever guess that this awkward-looking boy would go on to rise to the top levels of the Cadet movement in Canada, and end up paying back, big time, the considerable investment his country had made in him?

RCAC, 1943 Pattern Cap Badge - Cadet John Goldi, 1956
Orig. brass - Size - 4 x 5 cm
Found - Watford, ON
Prov - Goldi Coll

The actual cap badge worn by 15 year old Canadian Army Cadet John Goldi at Watford (Ontario) District High School during cadet training from September 1956-June 1957.

He was a farm boy, living seven miles south of Alvinston, and took the bus to go to Watford, 27 kms away.

Like everyone else at his high school he automatically became an army cadet when he started Grade 9 in 1956.

During the year there would be time set aside for learning how to form ranks, do drills, and march. As spring approached, and the annual parade, with a march past in front of a notable officer, grew closer, drill time increased.

Right he is wearing the actual RCAC cap badge (above) and the standard 1943 pattern battle dress uniform that was issued at the time. It was thick wool, and very ungraceful looking. The collar and lapels stood up. The belt was separate, and made of cloth.

In fact, as a beginner, he was given "old stock." The senior cadets were wearing a more modern looking, 1950 pattern, battle dress tunic which was more comfortable, considerably shorter, cut off near the waist, and had the collar laying down (see below.)

He marched with no gaiters or puttees to tie in the leg cuffs and keep dirt off the bottom of the heavy trousers.

The only insignias on his sleeves were the red maple leaf RCAC on each shoulder, and the single gold chevron for a first year in cadets.

Still it symbolized a moment of pride in an immigrant family which had only been six years in the country.

His mother insisted that John pose for her Brownie Six-20 camera for this photo (no others were ever taken) in the front yard of the farmhouse. To her it was a symbol that the family was being successfully integrated into the society of the country they had adopted as their new home.

(At the age of 9, John, and his family, had emigrated from Switzerland, the world's oldest democracy, and a country with a phenomenal military heritage routed firmly in the readiness of every single male in the society to do his annual patriotic bit of military service throughout his entire life.)

Go to The Old Farm
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure The 1943 pattern RCAC cap badge was originally issued in brass but because of war-time rationing was produced in plastic, for awhile, far left.

In fact the beginning cadet had been given this plastic badge, along with his other old style kit, when he started.

When the photo top was made he had already graduated to the brass badge right.

The RCAC motto ACER ACERPORI is Latin for "As the oak, so the sapling."

In 1950s high schools everyone still took Latin. In fact in both high schools John Goldi attended he was the only one in his "A" stream classes who did not.

He took typing, something he thought might serve him better in the future... (At university he ended up having to type all his girlfriend's essays. She had taken Latin, and typing with one finger took her forever... Having been raised a good cadet he thought he should lend a hand.)

RCAC, 1943 Pattern Plastic Cap Badge - Cadet John Goldi, 1956
Orig. badges - Size - 4 x 5 cm
Found - Watford, ON
Prov - Goldi Coll

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure In fact within weeks of having this very picture taken the whole family had gone to Sarnia, to take their oath of Loyalty to Canada and the Queen.

Left the Certificate of Canadian Citizenship granted to 15 year old John Goldi in 1957. To get it, he had to swear an Oath of Loyalty before a judge.

As of April 16, 1957, Cadet John Goldi became a citizen of Canada. And he had a Certificate to prove it! Another hurdle to acceptance crossed.

The Certificate notes the compromises that the DPs who wanted to become real Canadians, in the 1950s, had to make - like "Get your DP name Canadianized... Eh, Dude!"

John had arrived in Canada as Hans Göldi, with an umlaut over the o, resulting in a sound Anglophones could not pronounce. The family quickly dumped the umlaut to accommodate the locals, and added an e after it, signifying the lost punctuation. The extra e was finally dumped also. The family accepted that after hundreds of years their family name Göldi would never, ever, be pronounced properly again... To them it was all part of the "adventure" in becoming Canadians.

John had already changed his name from Hans to John - at the thinly veiled urging of a country public school teacher/principal who said he had to decide - would he insist on being called a foreign-sounding "Hans," or change it to John, "a real Canadian name."

"Hans" changed his name in a hurry... John now hoped this would put a stop the public school yard taunts and he would no longer be called a DP - which he understood to be something bad, but which his father told him, merely stood for Displeased Person.

In fact he had the same names as his father, but in reverse order.

So "John" didn't last long. When school kids found out John's second name - a common Swiss name "Werner" - he quickly became known as "Wiener." But John didn't care in the slightest; he was always secure in who he was. Besides, if you wanted to be an immigrant, you had to have a good sense of humour about the locals.

If you had to be a "Wiener" to be a Canadian, he was for it. But his father got sick of being called that and changed his name to John. So from the mid 50s on, there were always two Johns in the family.

But not for John's mother - she continued to call her son, Hans, for decades to come... Which, as John saw it, was also a step up; for years she had called him "Hansli." (Sometime in the 1970s she too, switched to "John.")

This remains, very much, a living document. Throughout his life John has had to produce it. As late as 2010, he had to present it in order to get issued a Canadian passport.

In the spring of 1958, the family moved off the farm, and into the nearby town of Glencoe, with its high school and its own cadet corps.

Certificate of Citizenship to John Goldi - 1957
Orig. certificate - Size - 17 x 27 cm
Found - Sarnia, ON
Prov - Goldi Coll
The Gardes Suisses

Switzerland became the world's first democracy because of the fearsome reputation the Swiss fighting man gained in Europe, as supremely capable and rugged individualists ready and willing to fight to the death for what they believed was their right - their independence from foreign rulers.

In the Middle Ages, their prowess as fighting men was second to none. The Royal Houses of France, Naples, and Spain, were only some monarchies that recruited entire regiments of Swiss halberdsmen and pikemen as key elements of their armies.

From 1497-1830, the kings of France used Swiss troops: the Cent-Suisses, as the king's personal body guards inside the palace, and the Gardes Suisses regiment, which protected the entrances and perimeters of the palace. In times of war they took to the field.

In a legendary exploit, in 1792, when the masses rose up against the monarchy during the French Revolution, 900 members of the Gardes Suisses fought to defend the Tuileries Palace, and protect the Royal Family from mob attack.

Some 800 of the Swiss were killed in the fight, died of their wounds, or were executed.

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure Göldi Family Heraldic Crest

The Göldi men were no slouches in the military department.

The family heraldic crest (carved by Alfred Suter as a wedding present for his sister Ruth, in 1939 when she married Werner (John) Goldi Senior of the Göldi von Tieffenau** clan) features red roses from when Göldi men fought for the British House of Lancaster in the Wars of the Roses, in England (1455-1487).

The fleur-de-lis commemorates the Göldi men who fought as members of the fabled Gardes Suisses for the kings of France and then for Napoleon.

Napoleon used four regiments of Swiss troops in Spain and Russia (1812.)

Two of the eight regiments in France's Garde Royale from 1815-1830, were Swiss.

(**the proper family name for centuries was, Göldi von Tieffenau, a title which denoted the family's noble blood; but Werner refused to renew the nobility appellation and dropped it to simply "Goldi. Still his wife's relatives - they had a potatoe on their coat of arms - aware of the pedigree, mocked him behind his back as "Der Baron" - The Baron.

Besides he was kidnapping their baby; he was 12 years older than Ruth, and a Catholic. He had to get a Papal dispensation to be allowed to marry a Protestant. In fact, years earlier he had visited Rome with his two sisters, who were nuns, and had an audience with Pope Pius XI.)

The Papal Guard

The Pope has used Swiss Catholic soldiers in his Papal Guard since the 1300s, and exclusively since 1506.

In 1526, during the sacking of Rome by a Spanish-German army of 20,000 men, 200 of these Swiss guardsmen defended Pope Clement VII.

147 of the Swiss - including the commander - were killed.

But the remainder saved the life of the Pope by making a tactical retreat to Castel San Angelo (still standing in downtown Rome), and held out till a surrender - and the safety of the Pope - was negotiated.

In 2011, the Papal Guard, made up, exclusively, of Swiss Catholic men, in their medieval uniforms, has begun its sixth century of service to the Pontiff in the Vatican.

Hand-carved Göldi Coat of Arms - Alfred Suter 1939

Orig. wood - Size - 26 x 35 cm
Found - Romanshorn, CH
Goldi Coll

Werner Göldi married Ruth Suter, whose family ran a long established woodcarving and fine furniture making establishment in Romanshorn on the Bodensee, Switzerland, and were Lutherans.

Ruth's father, a Swiss, had moved to Hamburg, Germany, as a young man, and started a huge and prosperous woodworking business there. He lost it, and the family mansion, during the revolution and depression following World War I, and he returned to Switzerland, destitute, in 1923, to start life again.

He settled his family at Romanshorn, am Bodensee.

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure The end of a dream, the last two remaining bank notes of the Suter fortune that evaporated in the chaos that destroyed the middle class in post-World War I Germany.

These are the actual bank notes brought back to Switzerland after the Suter's lost it all in Hamburg, Germany in 1923. The bills were issued on May, 1, 1923.

They total 1 million German marks, and probably bought a loaf of bread at the time.

But it was worthless in Switzerland.

The Suter kids used this as play money in the 1930s.

When Ruth Suter married Werner Göldi in 1940, she brought these bills with her.

The Göldi kids played with them in the 1940s.

In fact John Goldi can clearly remember visiting grandfather's hilltop house, from which these bills came, in Romanshorn, in 1944 and 45, and joining the family as everyone watched the Allied carpet bombing of Friedrichshafen - bombers flying, and smoke rising - a few kilometres across the Bodensee. (Switzerland was neutral.)

They are reminders of the bankrupt values of Europe that caused Werner Göldi to leave post-World War II Switzerland, in hope of finding something better in Canada.

 

German 500,000 Mark Bank Notes - 1923
Orig. banknotes - Image Size - 9.5 x 17 cm
Found - Romanshorn, CH
Prov - Goldi Coll
In Lucerne, the home town of John Goldi's maternal grandfather, who owned the notes, is the famous sculpture, the Lion of Lucerne carved in 1820-21. It was already old when grandfather was born in the 1870s.

The Lion of Lucerne was commissioned by a survivor of the Gardes Suisses massacre of 1792, to commemorate his comrades who had died defending the Royal Family of France. It was designed by Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen. The American writer Mark Twain (1835–1910) praised the sculpture of the mortally wounded lion as "the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world."

This artistic tour-de-force is gigantic - compare it to the two blackbirds up front - and carved into the wall of an old quarry.

The dying lion is portrayed impaled by a spear, with his paws still protecting a shield bearing the fleur-de-lis of the French monarchy.

Beside him is another shield bearing the coat of arms of Switzerland. The inscription below the sculpture lists the names of the officers, and approximate numbers of the soldiers who died.

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure A proud immigrant father, "The Baron" in Switzerland, a "Wiener" in Canada, poses between his two sons, on the day they leave Glencoe to attend their first cadet camp, at Ipperwash, Ontario. The senior Goldi - he had brought his family to Canada from Switzerland in 1950 - was far from being a militarist, but he had unrivalled accomplishments as a soldier in his own right in the Swiss Army, which was an entirely civilian rooted organization; every Swiss male was in it.

And true to his Swiss roots - Switzerland is the world's oldest democracy - he had a healthy disdain for the "elitist officer class" and repeatedly refused promotion to non-commissioned or commissioned officer status.

His sons were unaware of any of this - including his huge military accomplishments - at the time; they only found out about them years later when they were adults and started to ask him about his past life overseas. He was no braggart or poseur; he had simply done his duty, by doing "what Swiss men do." There was no need, as he saw it, to bring any of that up. He had totally dedicated himself, and his family, to becoming Canadian, looking to the future for his family; his past was behind him, and was best left there. He never returned to the old country, and never saw his parents or his two sisters again...

He did not want his sons to become soldiers, but he knew the value of leadership and character that could be learned through the discipline required in the military.

He was a superb athlete and wanted his sons to strive for superior achievement by exposing them to life in a military cadet camp.

In fact his goals for his sons were exactly the same as those on which the Canadian Army Cadet Corps was based at the time - encourage young men in cadets by promoting physical education, shooting skills, and leadership challenges to create better citizens.

It's John's second year in cadets and he has been promoted to CSM (Company Sgt. Major) and Fred's first. So, early in their cadet careers, they have already achieved shooting awards.

They are wearing the pattern 1950 battle dress uniform a big stylish step up from the old uniform John had worn the previous year in the Watford cadet corps above.

The Glencoe cadet corps was affiliated with the Royal Canadian Artillery, whose badge both are wearing on their berets. (Cadet corps across Canada took up the cap badge and uniforms of local military units that came from their region in World Wars I and II.)

Cadet CSM John Goldi, John Werner Goldi Sr, Cadet Fred Goldi - July 1958
Orig. Brownie Six-20 photo - Image Size - 7.7 x 11.4 cm
Found - Glencoe, ON
Prov - Goldi Coll
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure
Swiss Army 5th National Championship Trophy - Pvt. Werner Göldi, 1941
Orig. stained glass - Size - 34 x 42 cm
Found - Basel, CH
Prov - Goldi Coll
So much for a DP - none of Werner Göldi's farm neighbours ever knew that the immigrant who dared move his family into a solid southern Ontario Scotch neighbourhood, had, at the age of 36, won the Olympics of the Swiss army in four sports discipline, in a competition against every male in Switzerland. After all, people with funny accents couldn't possibly have had accomplishments before coming to Canada...
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure
Swiss Army 6th National Championship Trophy - Pvt. Werner Göldi, 1942
Orig. stained glass - Size - 34 x 42 cm
Found - Fribourg, CH
Prov - Goldi Coll
And to show it was no fluke Wiener did it again, a year later - at the age of 37, at an age when Wayne Gretzky had grown stale and dreamed of his prowess in one sports discipline, when he was much younger. Werner won another large stained glass trophy by one of Switzerland's top artists. It was awarded to him (steel helmet below) by Switzerland's top General Guisan in front of a national crowd of thousands. Both trophies feature landmark heroes and events in Swiss military history.

The Hero of a Nation - "Der Baron..."

The Welder in Glencoe - "Wiener..."

The Goldi house, in Glencoe, now torn down, as it looked in 1958, and in back, the white picket fence against which the proud father had posed above with his two cadet sons.

One can make out where the DP welder "Wiener" hung his two precious glass trophies in the corner windows.

But no one passing would ever know that they were anything but a couple of yard sale acquisitions. Like many newcomers coming to Canada, losing one's "old country credentials" was part of the price you paid as an immigrant - whether star athlete or "Baron," doctor, lawyer, professor, or engineer.

Go to Switzerland's Top Soldier
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure
Goldi Family Kodak Brownie Target Six-20 - 1951
Orig. camera - Size - 9 x 11 x 13 l cm
Found - Aberfeldy, ON
Prov - Goldi Coll
This was the Goldi family camera - bought in 1951 - with which the early pictures on this page were taken. It is the first camera ever used by John Goldi csc, when he was 12, to take family portraits in the early 1950s.

Below is the very first photograph he ever took, in February 1953, of his mother and youngest brother, and already showing signs of good composition, and getting great poses from his subjects, which would serve him well in later life. Henry, the baby, is the only Canadian-born in the family.

He would go on to become one of Canada's top cinematographers, being honoured with a rare "CSC" designation after his name, by the Canadian Society of Cinematographers, the professional association of Canadian motion picture cameramen and directors of photography, for "outstanding achievements in the art of cinematography."

Go to the Making of a Master Photographer

His artistic genes came from his mother Ruth's side. Her family were skilled woodcarvers and she was a talented artist, had a fine eye for photography and took the early photos of her sons with the Six-20.

In this incarnation of the Brownie rollfilm camera, produced from 1941-1952, Kodak restyled its basic box with a metallic, linear, Art Deco faceplate design by Walter D Teague for the Beau Brownies in the 30s.

Go to The Goldi Dream Farm
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure
John Goldi's Brownie Hawkeye - December, 1956
Orig. camera - Size - 95 x 100 x 115 l cm
Found - Aberfeldy, ON
Prov - Goldi Coll
This was the first camera ever owned by Canadian cinematographer John Goldi csc, which he received as Christmas present from his parents in 1956.

It took the majority of pictures on this page, black and white and colour and remained his camera from 1956 till 1961, when he got a job and bought a 35 mm rangefinder.

Below is the very first photo he ever took with this camera, one of his family, on Dec. 25, 1956. It was the first Christmas without their father, for whom this picture was made.

The farm had failed; he lost the multi-thousands he had brought to invest in his "Canadian dream," and had gone, alone, to work in the iron mines in the remote north of Labrador, as a blaster, putting to work skills he had learned while directing construction teams building Switzerland's largest airport at Kloten (Zurich), during World War II.

The rest of the family stayed on the farm for another year as tenants to the conglomerate which took it over, before moving to the nearby town of Glencoe, where Ruth took work in a sock factory. There they were finally joined by their father, "Wiener," who now became a welder in Strathroy, to support the family.

The Hawkeye was an extremely popular camera in the early 50s (produced from 1949-1961) and took on the bulgy rounded styling of the cars of the period. It was extremely rugged compared to the rather fragile Six-20.

Below the format of the picture the camera produced at 1 1/2 times actual size on 620 film.

The two photos are shown in proper proportion to each other as they were returned from the photo lab. The oblong format of the Six-20 made it more versatile and gave you more negative surface since most pictures fit better into the horizontal format.

The Hawkeye format being smallish to start with did not provide very good enlargements since there was a lot less detail crowded into a very small surface area. Blow ups of faces, unless they were quite close to begin with, tended to be fuzzy or soft.

A lack of a zoom meant you had to physically move in to get good pictures. Most people did not and left the main subject too small.

Cadet Camp Ipperwash - the Summer of '58

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure The first cadet photo John Goldi ever took with his trusty Hawkeye, was of the Glencoe District High School cadet contingent in front of the school flagpole, just before leaving for Camp Ipperwash in July 1958.

Flashing Sergeant's stripes bottom is Kevin Cooper, beside Cadet Lt. Jack McKellar, and top Pete Ward, with Greg Knight on his right, and Frank Moores on his left beside Sgt. Doug Reycraft. Their service stripes show they had been in the cadets for two years.

For a small school this, plus the cameraman, John Goldi, was a big group.

The Goldi boys had only been in town a few months. It was Fred's (front right) first year in cadets.

John had been made a CSM, the senior NCO in the group in which Jack was the only officer.

Camp Ipperwash had been appropriated "temporarily" by the Government during World War II, by evicting the Aboriginal people there and bulldozing down their houses and farms, to convert the property into a training base for soldiers.

After the war it was "kept" as a cadet training facility and summer camp starting in 1948. The camp would carry on for 47 years, till a busload of determined Indian women and children repossessed it "by force" in July 1995, and the army fled.

Glencoe GDHS Camp Ipperwash Contingent - July 1958
Orig. Brownie Hawkeye photo - Image Size - 7.7 x 7.7 cm
Found - Glencoe, ON
Prov - Goldi Coll
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure The cloth insignia of Cadet Company Sergeant Major (CSM) that was awarded to Cadet John Goldi, and which he wore, on the outer sleeve of the right forearm of his tunic, during cadet training in 1958. He and brother Fred pose for their mother's Six-20 outside the gate beside a map of the Camp Ipperwash complex in July, 1958.

RCAC, CSM (Company Sgt.-Major) Insignia - Cadet John Goldi, 1958
Orig. cloth - Size - 23 cm
Found - Glencoe, ON
Prov - Goldi Coll

The rank badge was 1955 vintage, and the same as used by the regular forces and Militia. It was changed in later years to MWO - Master Warrant Officer.

Proud sisters - mother Ruth left - pose with her sons Fred left and John outside the gate.

50 years later, John, by then a top Canadian film and TV documentary maker, would return to this exact spot to film a program of a story that the military never told him about in 1958 - that the Canadian Army had literally stolen the land the base was on, under false pretences, from its legitimate original Aboriginal owners.

In fact, the military was teaching young boys about ethics and morality on land it had knowingly, and with malice aforethought, stolen from Indians early in World War II, and repeatedly refused to give back.

Then, in July 1995, the army, literally in total panic, over vocal Indian women and children protesters who invaded the base by driving a school bus through this same gate, fled in complete disarray the same way, to escape, and never came back...

Surreal as it may seem, it was reported, by people who saw the confrontation, that the military men on the scene were seriously contemplating shooting at women and children to retake control of a situation which, had gotten totally out of hand for the military authorities. Instead, they received orders to abandon the camp.

So Aboriginal women and children, in the best tradition of civil disobedience taught by Mahatma Gandhi, accomplished what 50 years of protest, appeals to government, and legal litigation, had failed to produce - repatriation of the land to its rightful owners.


Barely two months later, in September, when family groups of men, women, and children sat on picnic tables in Ipperwash Park - which was also part of the original Aboriginal land title - the confrontation resulted in the only killing, over a land claims dispute in the 20th century by Canadian police, of a civilian - the unarmed and peaceful demonstrator, Aboriginal Dudley George right..

The extreme right wing Conservative Premier of Ontario, Mike Harris, was widely quoted by many, including a cabinet minister who was there, to "get those fucking Indians out of the Park." The Ontario Provincial Police took that as an order and attacked the Aboriginal family groups with automatic weapons at midnight, when journalists were sure to be sleeping...

John Goldi's 1 hour documentary would win the top Platinum Award at Worldfest Houston, the world's largest film and television festival, in competition with the best producers from around the world.

It was also a Finalist in New York and at the American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco.

Go to Ipperwash - the Story
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure The first camp promotion, to corporal, was awarded to John Goldi, at Camp Ipperwash.

Left the stripes he wore. Shortly after, he got his sergeant's stripes, below. Both cadet insignias are exactly the same as worn by the regulars and the Militia.

Cadet camp rank was not related to home corps cadet rank. Everyone was reduced to private on arriving at camp, and a separate slate of officers and noncoms was appointed by the staff from cadets who were returning, or from big city corps.

Below brothers Fred (14) and John (16) in Ipperwash Provincial Park - located just beside the cadet camp - out for a Sunday picnic with the family before returning to their barracks in the evening.

The Goldi boys are entirely oblivious to the fact that they are standing on stolen property, that they are illegally picnicking on land taken by force from Indians in World War II, and that they will return to sleep in barracks set up on more stolen property.

At their young age they do not yet realize that Federal Gov't Prime Ministers can take money under the table in exchange for corporate favouritism, and that Provincial Premiers can be racist bigots, in short, that governments can be as creepy, crooked, and racist, as the people that run them.

Go to Platinum for Ipperwash

The one-and-a-half hour program on the event aired as the Season Premiere on CBC's showcase documentary series, the Passionate Eye, in 2005.

It is now in many university and school libraries across Canada, and used by Amnesty International.

RCAC - Corporal Stripes, Camp Ipperwash, Cadet John Goldi - 1958

Orig. cloth - Size - 12 cm
Found - Camp Ipperwash, ON
Prov - Goldi Co

Unbeknownst to John he is standing on the exact spot where, in 1995, the Ontario Provincial Police would kill First Nations protester Dudley George during a midnight police attack on the Indian men, women, and children who were protesting here.

Like all the mainstream media at the time, the Toronto Star believed the "police version" of the shooting, that police had fired back in self-defence after being shot at, and that the Indians "had it coming."

In fact, to its eternal shame, the Toronto Star had not published any articles on the Ipperwash scandal for a full six months after the shooting (October 1995-March 1996.) It chose to punish the Indians by ignoring their plight as they barricaded themselves, in fear, inside Camp Ipperwash and refused to let any outsider of any kind in.

In October John Goldi and his wife started a 5 month investigation, becoming the only media allowed in, and uncover an awful human rights abuse scandal by the police, the military, and the media, and start to publicize the real story of what went on here.

"Thank you so much for believing in us
when no one else would listen."

Cully George, sister of Dudley George
Aug. 2004
- to the documentary filmmakers
Joan Goldi & John Goldi csc

On Dec. 6, 1995, they presented the SIU's chief investigator with overwhelming evidence of rogue police behaviour that caused it to reopen an investigation he reported they were closing the following day without laying charges.

Months later, the media became interested again, with the sleepy and lazy Toronto Star starting to notice what others had done, and putting up an unctuous front to cover its earlier social irresponsibility. Thanks to our prodding the SIU investigation led to laying of sensational charges, which resulted in the conviction of a police killer, and ultimately triggered a huge public enquiry.

And what about the Toronto Star reporter, whom we admonished for the paper's poor response, his investigative slackness for a seven month period, and for swallowing the police cover-up, hook, line, and stinker?

He confessed to us, defensively, if sheepishly, "Look, we rely on the police for our stories. We can't publish stuff that alienates our sources." Oh, and we almost forgot - he ended up getting a medal, for human rights promotion...

Joan & John Goldi were the only media - in fact the only white people - allowed into besieged and barricaded Camp Ipperwash during the hysterical months after the police killed Dudley George, because of their long background of work with, and for Canadian Aboriginal groups. (In fact the police, the military, and the SIU were all barred from entering.)

By 1995, Joan and John Goldi had considerable experience in living and working (for six years) as teachers, educators (John as principal), and then for nine years, as filmmakers, in northern Canadian Aboriginal communities.

By 1986 they had made several landmark films on Dene Life on the land in Canada's Northwest Territories. Dene Family had won Gold at the American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco.

Their one hour My Land is My Life won the Golden Sheaf at Yorkton, Sk, Canada's oldest film & TV festival.

Canadian Aboriginal leaders considered it such a landmark film that Stephen Kakfwi (head of the Dene Nation) arranged that it should be premiered on Parliament Hill, Ottawa, the nation's capital. The premiere was held in the West Block of the Parliamentary Hill complex, in Ottawa, Ontario, Dec. 1986.

Stepping aside from a huge gala are: Left to right: Host Barry Turner MP, Smokey Bruyere (President, Congress of Aboriginal Peoples/Native Council of Canada), John Goldi, Joan Goldi, Georges Erasmus (National Chief, Assembly of First Nations), Stephen Kakfwi (later first Aboriginal Premier of NWT.)

Both Stephen and Georges helped the Goldis to get into Camp Ipperwash and film the historic interviews of the Aboriginal men, women, and children who were at Ground Zero when the OPP opened fire on them that midnight in September 1995. (Two local Kettle Point chiefs apologized to the Goldis that even they and their people were barred from getting into Camp Ipperwash and so could not help them get access.)

Thanks to Georges and Stephen, the Goldis were able to document, within only weeks of the event, one of the worst cases of human rights abuse - by two governments - in modern Canadian history.

Dudley's headstone, and grave inside Camp Ipperwash.

Fifty Years Later - Then and Now 1958-2008

Below standing on stolen property (a trusty Hawkeye shot), and right, on Indian land that it cost a life to restore to its rightful owners.

Cadet John Goldi returned to Camp Ipperwash and stands outside the window beside which he had slept, fifty years before as a keen 16 year old. He revisited some of the locations he and his chums had been to so long ago. The Canadian army had long gone, fleeing in a panic in 1995; First Nations people were now the bosses - again. Both the camp and the Park, continue to be barred to the public, as they had been since the original reoccupation in 1995.

Cavorting on stolen land, on top of the butts at the rifle range, as Capt. Widdis discusses his poor shooting scores with Kevin Cooper, are, left to right: Doug Reycraft, Pete Ward, Don Cunningham below, Jack McKellar, Fred Goldi.

During the year, cadet excursions to rifle ranges at Cedar Springs and Ipperwash, gave young people a chance to hone their skills at firing vintage World War II .303 rifles as well as the Bren machine guns.

They were farm boys and, in their homes, most already had rifles and shotguns which they used for hunting ducks, ground hogs, or squirrels.

Sadly, only ghosts now haunt the scenes, which are now overgrown and forgotten, of youthful high jinks and great camaraderie

Modern view of the same spot, fifty years later below left.

Above right: standing knee-deep in the grass that has overgrown the same spot where his brother Fred below had squatted while holding a magazine for the Bren gun on the range fifty years before.

Standing looking towards the butts and Lake Huron, beyond, is Jack McKellar, one of Canada's finest rifle shots and a member of the Bisley team that went on competitive shoots to England, and Ron McCrae.

Because generations of cadets, and regular army personnel used Camp Ipperwash for target practice with rifles, machine guns, and tank shells, the place is dangerously polluted and is as hazardous as Afghanistan is, to walk, if you dare to go off the roads on the property. The place is littered with toxic chemical dumps and unexploded ordnance.

The beginning cadet poses with his trusty Brownie Hawkeye with which he would take all the photos of his cadet career from 1958-1960, including almost all the photos that illustrate this page.

Standing where the K Company sign had stood 50 years before and he had posed holding his Brownie trusty Hawkeye Camera.

Below posing beside the K Company sign are left to right: Doug Dynes, George Haaslam, and Joe St. Dennis.

And on the same site, wondering what happened to all his boyhood chums whose laughter and joking once reverberated off these dilapidated walls so long ago...

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The Certificate of Qualification as a Cadet Leader was no cracker jack box give away.

You had to learn all kinds of military drill, and become knowledgeable with rifles (it was the World War II .303 we were using).

Only the most keen decided to take the qualifications course.

There were written and practical tests. Those who passed had them signed by a Brigadier-General from Central Command HQ in London, Ontario.

This was serious stuff and successful candidates could take no small measure of pride in the accomplishment.

These courses were designed to find the best candidates for promoting within the cadet corps and filling the ranks of the officers with the best qualified people.

RCAC, Cadet Leader Certificate - Cadet John Goldi, 1958
Orig. certificate - Size - 18 x 23 cm
Found - Camp Ipperwash, ON
Prov - Goldi Coll
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RCAC Best Company Member, K Coy, Ipperwash - Cadet John Goldi, 1958
Orig. felt - Image Size - 10 x 11 cm
Found - Camp Ipperwash, ON
Prov - Goldi Coll
Ipperwash Cadet Sgt. John Goldi was proud of this cadet badge, and being a member of the company that officers voted the best of many at Ipperwash in the summer of 1958.

 

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Glencoe DHS Achievement Badges - Cadet John Goldi, 1959
Orig. felt - Size - 10 x 11 cm
Found - Glencoe, ON
Prov - Goldi Coll
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Captain S. Ross Widdis - Glencoe GDHS, June 1960 (detail)
Orig. Brownie Hawkeye photo - Image Size - 7.7 x 7.7 cm
Found - Glencoe, ON
Prov - Goldi Coll
Ross Widdis, enthusiastic Latin and Phys Ed teacher, was held in especial great affection, by those fortunate enough to have known him, as a Captain in the Cadet Services of Canada, for taking his cadets on countless weekend excursions by bus, for target shooting at Camp Ipperwash and Cedar Springs, and for inspiring them to attend summer cadet camps.

But no narrow militarist, he was the finest exemplar of a devoted civilian teacher who took his cadets - now remolded into volleyball and basketball teams - on numerous bus excursions to high school tournaments in southern Ontario.

He was the bedrock upon which generations of young Canadians grew up to become fine citizens and outstanding contributing members of society.

Below a typically boisterous and joyful group that was together many times on buses like this during 1958-1960 thanks to the enthusiastic boostering of Captain Widdis - his captain pips on the right - sitting in the jump seat.

He must have thoroughly enjoyed the raucous hi-jinks behind him, as he had no children of his own.

He had brought apples for everyone, which they are eating with obvious relish.

Prominent up front, from the left, are Jack McKellar and John Goldi, then Neil McKellar and Doug Reycraft.

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RCAC- RCA Cap Badge , Cadet John Goldi - 1958-1960
Orig. brass - Size - 5 x 7 cm
Found - Glencoe, ON
Prov - Goldi Coll
The original Royal Canadian Artillery cap badge worn by Cadet John Goldi in 1958 above, and for the rest of his cadet career, till 1960. This is the one, with its red backing cloth, that he wears in all the photos.
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GDHS Cadet Badge - Cadet John Goldi, 1958
Orig. silk badge - Size - 11 x 12 cm
Found - Glencoe, ON
Prov - Goldi Coll
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DCRA Small Bore Shooting First Class - Cadet John Goldi, 1958, 1959
Orig. felt - Image Size - 10 x 11 cm
Found - Glencoe, ON
Prov - Goldi Coll
These proficiency badges were awarded to the best shots in competitions so that cadets could proudly put them on their sweaters or jackets for all to see their accomplishments. (It was the badge crazy, "high school letter" days of the 1950s.)

But John Goldi never did; he didn't think doing so was important, and has kept all his cadet mementoes (pictures, insignia, badges, plaques) out of public sight, in a closed box for the past 50 years. For him it was sufficient to "Just do it!"
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Wearing the DCRA Shooting Crests - Jack McKellar r, & John Goldi, Oct. 3, 1958
Orig. Brownie Hawkeye photo - Image Size - 7.7 x 7.7 cm
Found - Glencoe, ON
Prov - Goldi Coll
High school chums on many cadet excursions to shoot and attend summer camps, they had just completed six weeks at Camp Ipperwash two months before. Next year they would go to Camp Borden. Jack justifiably wears his DCRA shooting badges. He would become one of Canada's top marksmen and shoot in the international competitions in Bisley, UK.
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Canadian Army Recreat'l Shooting Award, First Class - Cadet John Goldi, 1958
Orig. felt - Image Size - 10 x 11 cm
Found - Glencoe, ON
Prov - Goldi Coll
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Canadian Army Recreat'l Shooting Award, Marksman - Cadet John Goldi, 1959
Orig. felt - Image Size - 10 x 11 cm
Found - Glencoe, ON
Prov - Goldi Coll
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Canadian Army Recreational Shooting Award, Expert - Cadet John Goldi, 1959
Orig. felt - Image Size - 10 x 11 cm
Found - Glencoe, ON
Prov - Goldi Coll
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Contestant, Strathcona Service Rifle Match - Cadet John Goldi, 1959
Orig. felt - Image Size - 10 x 11 cm
Found - Glencoe, ON
Prov - Goldi Coll
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RCAC, Cadet Signaler Certificate - Cadet John Goldi, 1958
Orig. certificate - Size - 18 x 23 cm
Found - Glencoe, ON
Prov - Goldi Coll
The Certificate of Qualification was awarded to those who wanted further training in signals.

Learning Morse Code was part of the course.

Certificates were again signed by a Brigadier-General, on behalf of the Commanding Officer of Central Command.

 

 

 

 

 

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DCRA (Dominion of Canada Rifle Association) Shooting Award (top)
Youth of the Empire Marksman (bot) - Cadet John Goldi, 1959
Orig. felt - Image Size - 10 x 11 cm
Found - Glencoe, ON
Prov - Goldi Coll
Cadet RSM John Goldi wore the Youth of the Empire Marksman badge on his upper left arm of his battledress tunic in 1959.

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Orig. pinback - Size - 23 cm
Found - Glencoe, ON
Prov - Goldi Coll
The St. John Ambulance badge worn on John Goldi's left forearm in 1959. It should have been cloth, but the corps had none so the pinback was issued instead.
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure John Goldi's hard work as a cadet was rewarded when he was promoted to Cadet RSM - the top non-commissioned officer in the corps in 1959.

(There is only one RSM per cadet corps, and only one commanding officer.)

Left the actual cloth insignia of Cadet Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) which he wore, on the outer sleeve of the right forearm of his tunic, during cadet training in 1958-1959.

The 1940s "From Sea to Sea" pattern badge was the same one worn by the regular forces and Militia.

In the back right is Jim Douglas heading home after Cadet Day 1959.

RCAC, CWO (Chief Warrant Officer) Insignia - 1959
Orig. cloth - Size - 8 x 9 cm
Found - Glencoe, ON
Prov - Goldi Coll

The RSM is the boss of the parade ground and is in charge of most of the training, while the officers are off doing paper and administration work, etc.

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure The original web belt buckle worn by Cadet RSM John Goldi in 1959, and for the rest of his cadet career.

Every cadet corps was linked to one of the regular regiments in their region. Glencoe was linked to the Royal Canadian Artillery. So all the cadets wore this artillery badge on their caps.

His left sleeve shows some of his other cadet achievements:

- Dominion of Canada Rifle Association badge (rifle),

- Master Signaller (crossed flags),

- Master Marksman (crossed rifles and crown),

- chevrons for three year's service, and a

- St. John Ambulance award (pinback).

Note how beautifully taut the pants drape down to the puttees...

The secret - ankle chains weighted them down and made a nice circle of the material at the bottom.

And how many times did one wrap around the puttees, lace up the boots, and then realize one hadn't slipped the foot through the chains first?

And had to undo boot laces and puttees all over again.

When he left his cadet career behind him he took with him the insignia and badges which he had worked so hard to get.

(Hawkeye photo by proud Mom, from Feb. 1959).

RCAC- RCA Web Belt Buckle, Cadet RSM/Major John Goldi - 1959-1960
Orig. brass - Size - 6.5 x 8.5 cm
Found - Glencoe, ON
Prov - Goldi Coll
What a difference 50 years makes. The yellow dot was where John Goldi stood in 1959, under a row of massive maples, and beside the Goldi house, now torn down, on the corner.

The only recognizable feature in the three photos, above and below is the house behind him which has had its old porch ripped off and replaced.

But the dip in the sidewalk, where the path came out of the old house kitchen, is still there, where his mom made him stand to take his photo.

Mom's Six-20 photo.



 

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure The plaque awarded to Cadet RSM John Goldi in June, 1959, for Best Cadet in the GDHS Cadet Corps.

Best Cadet was a considerable honour in the 1950s, and no small accomplishment, because the entire high school student body was enrolled in the Cadet Corps. Participation was not optional.

So Best Cadet was not just the best of the corps; you were the best of the entire school.

And the plaque was awarded in front of the entire school - teachers and students, all in uniform - assembled outside after the inspection of the corps and the march past.

There was no other leadership role in the school which matched the all encompassing role of the Cadet Commander.

A school valedictorian is only picked from among the graduating class; a Best Cadet was chosen from the entire school.

And no one competes to be valedictorian. But lots of people were motivated to do their best in cadets, and quite a few spent extra curricular time, on weekends, evenings in the Militia, and during summer camp, brushing up on their cadet skills.

Plaque Award, for Best Cadet - Cadet RSM John Goldi, 1959
Orig. oak - Size - 17 x 23 cm; wt 1 kg
Found - Glencoe, ON
Prov - Goldi Coll



Cadet Camp Borden (Camp Blackdown) - The Summer of '59

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure In the summer of 1959 four school chums from Glencoe, Ontario, pose at the train station before leaving for six weeks of cadet training at Camp Borden (Blackdown), Ontario.

Left to right they are Cadet Pvt. Kevin Cooper, Cadet Cpl. Fred Goldi, Cadet RSM John Goldi, and Cadet Lt. Jack McKellar. 50 years later, they are all still close friends.

All ended up going to university; but none entered the military.

It is the typical story of the military in Canada, a heritage that goes back to the founding days of Canada, and Madeleine de Verchères - "the military if necessary, but not necessarily the military."

They came off civvy street to do their bit, learning military skills that might prove necessary down the road, but then doffed their uniforms and pursued other, more fruitful, avenues of opportunity that Canada had to offer.

Kevin and Jack both became scientists at the National Research Council in Ottawa, working on aviation projects in the wind tunnel testing facility.

Fred became the head of his own "Head Hunting" executive recruiting agency based on University Avenue in downtown Toronto.

John Goldi became a high school teacher and principal, before becoming a leading Canadian cinematographer, and an award-winning educational and documentary film, television, video, and web site producer.

They are wearing the pattern 1950 battle dress and sport a variety of rank in the GDHS cadet corps.

Kevin is a private, Fred a sergeant (three chevrons), John an RSM (Regimental Sgt. Major, today called Chief Warrant Officer) and Jack is a Lieutenant (single bar on shoulder.) Their three chevrons on the lower left arm shows they've all been three years in cadets.

RCAC Chums off to Camp Borden - July 1959.
Orig. Brownie Hawkeye photo - Image Size - 7.7 x 7.7 cm
Found - Glencoe, ON
Prov - Goldi Coll

John has his heavy drill cane, the symbol of authority of the top-non commissioned officer in the corps, in charge of all the actual parade square drill.

He is posed with the seriousness with which he took his job.

Jack has his officer's swagger stick, a minimal cane that allows you to tell a commissioned officer at some distance, because he is the only one of the four that rates a "salute."

None of us were really aware of rank differences. It had no effect at all whatsoever on our personal relationships. To us it was all just cadet "administration detail."

John and Jack were then, and remain today the best of friends.

John, the top non-com in the corps - no salute - is one rank below Jack, the only officer in the group - though there were other officers in the corps.

Jack was a very popular guy and the best shot in Glencoe - actually, one of the best in Canada. He would go on to shoot with the Canadian Bisley team in England.

Proud Mom's Hawkeye Photo

Captain Heaver's Line Crew #2

Clockwise from top left: Reggie Cuthbert, Capt. Heaver, Jim Lennox, John Goldi, John Pritchard, Bob Allan.

Captain Heaver was one of many really fine officers who took time out of their private lives, and away from their families, to help train cadets in the summer. He was likely a professional - probably a high school teacher - in real life.

No shouting, no screaming, which corporal instructors - they had little or less education, but lots of insecurities - were notorious for doing in cadet camps.

With officers in charge it was always more like a family outing - a nice family outing. Everyone got on famously with them.

On this occasion the group drove into the wilderness areas surrounding Camp Borden to lay telephone cable during an exercise.

A dozen or so other trucks of cadets were spread out doing the same thing in other areas.

The black jumpers, with leather name tags, were commonly worn most of the time in camp.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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RCAC Name Tag - Cadet John Goldi, July-Aug 1959
Orig. leather - Size - 6 x 11 cm
Found - Camp Borden, ON
Prov - Goldi Coll
The name tag worn by Cadet John Goldi at Camp Blackdown in July-August 1959.

The picture gives a good idea of the layout inside a tent: two iron bedsteads, blue tin storage trunks underneath, a centre pole up the middle, board floor elevated on wooden blocks to avoid flooding during rain storms, tent skirts rolled up to keep the stifling heat inside to a minimum on hot days, the adjustable ropes to release tension on the tent when it rained.

Signals Line Crew #4:

From left: Lt. Fraser, driver, Tom Ion, Paddy Patterson, Steve Kenyon, Tom Walton, Aldous Huxley (top)

For historical purposes it is absolutely imperative that all photographs be properly identified on the back.

Countless very fine photographs are left behind by families and photographers where the backs are blank. No one can tell what the photo shows, were it was made, or who the people are. It makes them poor documents to tell the story of the historical period.

This is especially a problem with family people portraits, the vast majority of which are unidentified because, after all, the family knew who they were, so why bother writing it on the back.

Then time passes; people die; the estate comes up for auction. And tons of anonymous faces peer up from the auction table. No one is interested in people you cannot trace or develop an interest in. Many end up being trashed.

Seventeen year old John Goldi understood the importance of the historical record, and that 50 years later his memory might not recall the names and events. On the back of the photo above he carefully noted:

- the name/purpose of the group
- the names of the people
- the date
- the event
- the location
- the photographer

For the sake of posterity, and to preserve the names of people, places, and events of the past which, with the passage of time, become an important part of Canada's heritage, everyone should do the same with their photos.

Line Crew #2 stripping wire: Bob Allan, Reggie Cuthbert, John Pritchard, Jim Lennox, Capt. Heaver Lunch break - John Goldi, John Pritchard, Reggie Cuthbert
Left to right: Jim Lennox, Reggie Cuthbert, Bob Allan, John Goldi, John Pritchard, off to lay wire on an exercise Cadet Camp Commander "Paddy" Patterson, John Goldi, Camp RSM Reggie Cuthbert off to the mess tent
Left to right: Jack McKellar and John Goldi airing out Jack's tent - note the electric wires, not great in a lightning storm... and clowning around...
The bell tents with two beds apiece, and during a violent thunderstorm.
The mud after and the tent of Cadet Commander Paddy Patterson - he'd forgotten to loosen the ropes, things shrank, and the pole went through the roof
Captain Lawson, and Lt. Reilly, Lt. Le Sage

Without the dedicated service of generations of fine officers like them none of this story would have been possible...

Lt. Van Winkle, Captain Heaver, Lt. K. Wass; and Captain Heaver watching over Jim Lennox, John Goldi, and Bob Allan during a ten minute swim in a creek.

Most of the Signals Wing: July 24, 1959

From left top: May, Reggie Cuthbert, John Goldi, Prince Rupert, Piegaze, McIntosh, Steve Kenyon, Jim Martin, Bill Hughes, Tom Walton,

Left bottom: Kingsley, John Pritchard, Aldous Huxley, Tom Ion, Jim Lennox

Cadets learned how to operate radios of various kinds, the small portable ones, as well as the huge World War II 26 sets, visible in back, that were hauled about in 3/4 ton wireless trucks, right.

A dozen truck loads of cadets would spread out across the wilderness terrain and carry out a radio communications exercise.

Everyone had a distinctive call sign, like "Pappa Charlie Pappa," which they would use to identify themselves when they sent messages over the air.

They also had a protocol to follow - that after a signal was given for "total radio silence" that no one, under any condition, no matter what the provocation, was to break radio silence.

In war time sending radio signals could cause the enemy to target you and wipe out your radio unit, or detect the location of your troops. But of course, this wasn't war...

After an hour of normal radio communication among the numerous trucks, on the way home, suddenly the dreaded alert signal came on, warning everyone to maintain utter radio silence.

After five minutes of total silence John Goldi, saw an opportunity for a prank, and broke radio silence, by asking a question, but using someone else's call sign...

All the trucks heard it. They also heard the blistering rebuke from the command vehicle about breaking radio silence.

That was too much for the real owner of the purloined call sign.

He came on air, in anguish, loudly protesting "But it wasn't us. Someone else used our call sign."

For which he got an even more blistering rebuke for breaking their radio silence. And they had clearly identified themselves.

None ever discovered who the instigator was. And the wireless crew wasn't talking... But would have a good laugh over it for many years after...

The Night Prowlers...

Four chums standing in front of John Goldi's tent, the morning after...

Left to right: "Prince" Rupert, John Goldi, Reggie Cuthbert, "Patty" Patterson.

The photo is titled "Night Prowlers" because they had sneaked out of their tents the night before - of course strictly against regulations - to carry out some prank or other when everyone else was sleeping.

To show that the best people can be pranksters, and break strict rules, even among cadets, Patty was the Cadet Camp Major (the commanding officer of all the cadets) and Reggie was the Cadet Camp RSM (the top cadet non-com.). Both came from big city cadet corps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The victorious swim team from the Signals Section.

it won the most swimming awards in the competition between the various cadet groups at Camp Blackdown that summer, which included: Rifle coaching, signals, band, etc.

Left to right from top: Menard, Reggie Cuthbert, Lt. McIntyre, another great officer, John Pritchard, Arbuckle, kneeling Jim Martin, John Goldi, Aldous Huxley, Jim Lennox, Howie McKinnel

In the meet John Goldi won both the breast stroke and the side stroke competitions for the team.

But he got only one prize...

As an adjudicating officer explained it, "You've already won a prize; it's someone else's turn."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But there were other consolations. At night he wrote home to his girlfriend.

Sadly, in the interests of history, these letters have not survived. They would be interesting literature we are certain, judging from the intense face of John Goldi, ambushed with his own trusty Hawkeye during a private moment by chum Jack McKellar.

Note the electric wire coming down from the vent hole at the top of the tent, the plastic retro radio, and a vintage Coca Cola bottle on the table.

 

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure
The Girlfriend - Summer 1959
Orig. photos - Image Size - 7.7 x 7.7 cm
Found - Glencoe, ON
Prov - Goldi Coll
The actual historic photos John Goldi kept in front of him when he wrote his letters to the Girlfriend from Camp Borden.

They are not photos he took, but ones she supplied to him.

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure Good cadets were expected to do more than just march and shoot rifles, but to excel in sports and other areas of endeavour.

John was the centre on the school basketball team, and also on the volleyball team.

Then he thought he'd try public speaking, after being encouraged by Clayton Shackelton, a teacher at the GDHS, but not one he took classes with.

So he prepared a speech for delivery in the Canadian Legion's speaking contest and committed to memory "JAD McCurdy and the Flight of the Silver Dart."

He worked at it very hard, and had it firmly committed to memory on the evening of the competition. Then, only a couple of hours before the event, he came up with the perfect ending flourish he knew would make it a killer ending.

He sat in the audience and listened to all the other good speeches - several were by classmates - and then delivered his, the last of the evening...

50 years later, he can still remember the beaming face and enthusiastic congratulations as Mr. Shackelton - who was on the Legion jury - rushed up to commend him on winning - Third...

He gushed that the jury was blown away by how everyone in the hall woke up when John started to speak, and his spirited delivery throughout, and had unanimously decided to give him the top place, until the end, when he suddenly stumbled... Mr. Shackelton reported the jury was sorely conflicted, but saw no way out but to mark the speech down because of the ending flub.

In the full flight of his delivery, when John hit the new substitution point with his rhetorical ending flourish, all the while fretting if he could remember to switch, his memory got conflicting signals, took a wrong turn, and he was forced to correct himself after a muddled pause. It had proved to be a "killer ending" indeed...

The moral - don't change major speeches at the end, without cheat cards.

But 40 years later, John Goldi would live to fulfil the promise Clayton Shackelton had seen in the teenager, so many years before.

For the first time in his life, he would go before the camera, in a Boer War documentary on numerous South African battlefield locations, and do 27 stand-ups. (He set up the camera shot; his wife triggered the release.)

His walking and talking performances - which he made up on the spur of the moment on each historic site - would win him a Gold Medal in international competition for "Best Individual On-camera Talent."

3rd Place, Canadian Legion Public Speaking Award - John Goldi, 1959
Orig. award - Size - 23 x 30 cm
Found - Glencoe, ON
Prov - Goldi Coll

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure


Shortly after John Goldi returned from Cadet Camp Borden, a teacher from Glencoe GDHS, who knew of his interest in history, gave him several Canadian books on the Boer War. All were stamped by Clayton R Shackelton, and the grateful 18 year old went home and proudly added his name under that of his benefactor.

Inspired by the gift, 40 years later, on the 100th anniversary of the event, John and his wife would produce the definitive documentary series The Great Anglo-Boer War: the Canadian Experience. In an unheard-of accomplishment, they would do all the craft work, in the field and in the studio, of the 4 hour long documentary series, themselves, hiring only CBC's Linden MacIntyre to narrate their script.

Countless women hailed it as the first "military program" they were ever enthralled enough by to watch.

It would go on to win four Gold Medals at Worldfest Houston, the world's biggest film and television festival, in competition with the best productions from around the world: Best TV Program, Best TV Series, Best Writing, & Best Host (for John Goldi as on-camera presenter).

It is a Canadian first. We know of no other documentary program that has won so many top international awards at any festival.

Gift of Boer War Books, CR Shackelton to John Goldi, 1959

Orig. books -
Found - Glencoe, ON
Prov - Goldi Coll

THANK YOU MR. SHACKELTON

To promote the program and as a spin-off history project John Goldi continues to produce The Canadian Anglo-Boer War Museum to acclaim from around the world.

Go to "OUTRAGEOUS!"
Go to International Feedback
Go to The Canadian Boer War Museum



After making further progress in developing his cadet skills, in the fall of 1959, Cadet RSM John Goldi would be selected to jump ranks, and become Commanding Officer of 408 Cadet Corps in Glencoe, Ontario, with the rank of Cadet Major.

It caused not a ruffle of any kind among his friends.

None of this was one-upmanship. None of us were poseurs. We were all comfortable in our skins, uniform on or off. The promotion was met with a universal, "Hey, that's great."

Probably only the Girlfriend really cared...

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure A plaque awarded to 18 year old Cadet Major John Goldi in recognition of his selection as Officer Commanding #408 GDHS Cadet Corps.

These plaques were usually awarded in front of the entire school student body and teachers, assembled after the cadet ceremonies.

A new commanding officer is chosen every year.

On his sleeve he has from top on down:

- DCRA shooting award

- Master Signaller

- Master Marksman

- Master Cadet

On his shoulder are his slip-on three stripe major's epaulettes and two militia badges.

Picture taken by the Girlfriend on Cadet Day.

It is important to recall that thousand of boys his age - many were cadets - signed up fight in World War I, and hundreds died. Many won Victoria Crosses.

Go to Boys at War
Plaque Award, for Commanding Officer of the Cadet Corps
Orig. oak - Size - 17 x 23 cm; wt 1 kg
Found - Glencoe, ON
Prov - Goldi Coll





flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure Original cloth shoulder epaulettes worn by Cadet Major John Goldi in 1959-60 when he was Commanding Officer of # 408 Glencoe District High School Cadet Corps, which included all the students - both boys and girls - some 250, in the school.

In other cadet corps the convention was that the company commanders of battalions (the top ranked officers) were given lieutenant-colonel rank (four bars.) But at Glencoe the Cadet Instructor, decided Cadet Major was high enough a rank for his cadet Battalion Commander, with the other ranks adjusted downwards. (This anomaly caused quite a bit of amusement later, among other cadet corps commanders at Banff Cadet Camp - they were all "looey colonels.")

One bar for lieutenants, two for captain, three for major.

The cadet officer bars, in use from 1948-1977, had no relation to the regular forces insignia, where one and two bars denote lieutenants, and three bars or pips are captains.

In 1992 cadet officer ranks were abolished, with everyone in command positions given only non-commissioned ranks.

Cadet corps were affiliated with local units of the regular army. John Goldi was also a member of the 7th Field Division of the Royal Canadian Artillery Militia for two years. The slip-on insignia were worn just outside the major's tabs.

RCAC, Cadet Major & 7th FD RCA Militia Slip-on InsigniaS - 1960
Orig. cloth - Size - 6 x 6 cm (major's bars)
Found - Glencoe, ON
Prov - Goldi Coll
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure

The two shoulder flashes, as worn on John Goldi's battledress above, the dark RCA being militia, and the Army Cadets, being old stock, dating from before the corps received the Royal prefix in 1942.

For two years, along with several other members of the GDHS cadet corps John Goldi joined the Militia, the 7th Field Division of the Royal Canadian Artillery, in Watford, Ontario, the same town where his cadet career had begun.

Thanks to devoted militia officers - a Glencoe dentist, Capt. Bob Van Alstyne, and a druggist, Major Vern C Nelms - they were driven to Watford for evening training sessions.

There were foot drills, taking apart rifles and reassembling them, and learning the proper drill on how to fire the huge 105 mm artillery guns, which were a mainstay of the Canadian Army in World War II.

Six-20 photo by proud Mom taken at front corner of the old house above.

Shoulder Flashes, RCA & Army Cadets - Cadet Major John Goldi, 1960

Orig. cloth - Size - 2 x 12 cm (for RCA)
Found - Glencoe, ON
Prov - Goldi Coll

Above the shoulder flashes worn by Cadet Major John Goldi of the 7th FD, RCA during 1959-60. He wore the dark 7 FD slip-ons and the Royal Canadian Artillery flashes to signify his membership in the Royal Canadian Militia, in the 7th Field Division of the Royal Canadian Artillery in Watford, ON. Right in 1959 in his summer Militia uniform which has only these two dark - non-cadet - flashes.

Royal Canadian Militia - Unlike cadets, the militia was not play acting.

For 400 years it was the militia, civilians who practiced military skills for defending home and hearth against attack, who played key roles in defending Canada as early as Madeleine de Verchères during the French Régime, during the War of 1812, the Fenian Raids, and the Riel Rebellions.

It is instructive to recognize that, in 2006-11, numerous members of the militia reserves - who are really full time civilians - have taken time away from families and have volunteered to join the regular professionals to go and fight in Afghanistan.

A number have been killed.

There are very good reasons why you leave threads on historic artifacts like these. Read on...

The entire school watches Cadet Major John Goldi and the Watford Militia C1 105 mm howitzer demonstration team (LtoR: John Goldi, Bill McKellar, Fred Goldi, Bill Quick, Kevin Cooper, Jack McKellar). There is aiming and loading, but no firing, on Cadet Day 1960. This gun has remained a mainstay of the Canadian military since it was adopted just four years before. Hawkeye photos by the Girlfriend.

The reviewing party, with Cadet Major John Goldi, beside the reviewing general watching the GDHS cadet corps marching by.

Behind John Goldi l to r are Capt. Widdis, Major VC Nelms, Lt. Chuck "Scratch" Miller, grinning at the Girlfriend wielding John Goldi's trusty Hawkeye, and the Principal, who loved to tear shirts off the back of students, literally.

Above, from the right: Major VC Nelms, local Militia commander, Brigadier-Gen. Campbell, Royal Canadian Artillery, London, Ontario, John Goldi, General Campbell's staff officer.

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure
Cadet Major John Goldi Presents the Glencoe GDHS Cadet Corps to the Reviewing Officer - May, 1960
Orig. Brownie Hawkeye photo - Image Size - 7.7 x 7.7 cm
Found - Glencoe, ON
Prov - Goldi Coll
Cadet Major John Goldi presenting the Glencoe DHS Cadet Corps to the reviewing officer May 1960.

Behind him are visible only the female cadets in the corps; the male cadets are stretched out to the far left.

After the march past on the school athletic field, Cadet Major John Goldi led the entire cadet corps on a parade through the downtown core of Glencoe, Ontario.

Below behind him march Cadet Capt. Jack Davis, Cadet Capt. Jack McKellar, Cadet Lt. Bill McKellar, Cadet RSM Fred Goldi and Cadet Lt. Frank Moores.
'Twas Ever Thus...

Below kids run along and bicycles accompany a military parade as Cadet Major John Goldi and Capt. Jack Davis follow the flag party, and lead the cadet corps past the Anglican Church.

It was the end of an extremely rewarding career after four years in the cadets. At 18 John Goldi was only months from mandatory retirement from cadets.

And within a couple of weeks he and his family would leave Glencoe for Toronto, where he would enrol in Grade XIII.

But before it all ended, he would receive one more big honour...

Photos taken on his trusty Hawkeye, by the Girlfriend...

Goodbye Wiener: Complete integration

1 - the exact spot Cadet Major John Goldi's feet were frozen in time above, with his left hand over the newly planted sapling, today dying of old age, 50 years later, and 2, where the kid is walking along.

As the Cadet Major marches at the head of the Cadet Corps, he looks forward and sees this view of the corner with its three churches. Each one has a Goldi in the congregation: Younger brother Fred is a member of the Anglican Church right; sister Heidi is a Presbyterian, steeple left; John sings in the choir of the United Church, hidden in the trees, between the other two. The Goldis had "arrived"...

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure Cadet Major John Goldi and the Girlfriend pose, in June 1960, in her family home just before going out to the school prom which followed the cadet festivities among the "rites of passage" at the end of the school year.

John Goldi's girlfriend - to whom he had written from Camp Borden the summer before - was one of the most popular girls in the school.

They had been together for over a year. In fact they would be one of the longest lasting "items" in the school were most dating was rather sporadic.

Being Cadet Major meant you could date senior girls. While everyone else dated girls in their own class, or lower down, John dated "up."

He was only Grade XII but his girlfriend was Grade XIII which was really unheard of, since class divisions were really huge barriers.

Senior girls were as opposed to dating "down," as boys were scared of dating "up."

But John had been trained in cadets to be fearless, in "love and war." And to be steadfast and true to a fault.

Prom Night - The Girlfriend & John Goldi - June 1960
Orig. Brownie Hawkeye photo - Image Size - 7.7 x 7.7 cm
Found - Wardsville, ON
Prov - Goldi Coll



National Cadet Camp Banff, AB - the Summer of '60

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure
National Cadet Camp Banff - 1960
Orig. DND photo - Image Size - 23 cm
Found - Banff, AB
Prov - Goldi Coll
Sadly the site is now all returned to grass, with only a plaque there to mark the spot were several generations of young Canadians experienced an adventure highlight they would remember all their lives. Banff was by far, the jewel of cadet camps in Canada, and was set up in 1948, as "a special award camp offered to those cadets who had demonstrated excellent proficiency in army cadet skills by reaching a Master Cadet rating."
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure

Fifty years after being selected to attend Canada's premiere cadet camp, located in Canada's first national park, John Goldi stands where the flagpole once stood in front of the parade square in the 1960 photo of National Cadet Camp Banff.

Below the reverse angle. Cadets would remember the sound of the mountain stream rushing down the side of Mount Cascade for the rest of their lives.

Site of Former Banff National Cadet Camp - 2005
Orig. photo - Image Size - digital
Found - Banff, AB
Prov - Goldi Coll

He was one of the earliest cadets ever to attend the camp which had only been operating for 12 years. It would finally be closed after 50 years in 1998.

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure

Three chums are packing up at Wolseley Barracks, in London, Ontario, before shipping out by train for the far west. They would be gone for four weeks.

Left to right C/Lt. Col. JB Francis, C/Maj. John Goldi, C/Maj. RJG Dupuis, the first and last from Cornwall, ON.

Banff Cadets, Wolseley Barracks - July, 1960
Orig. DND photo - Image Size - 16 x 20 cm
Found - London, ON
Prov - Goldi Coll
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure Here on the parade square at Wolseley Barracks in London, Ontario, where the Banff cadets assembled and were outfitted, General Sparling approaches Cadet Major John Goldi during an inspection of the finest cadets in all of Canada.

Though they all look serious to a fault there were pranks afoot.

Every day there was a roll call on this parade square.

One Saturday John Goldi wanted to get leave to see his longtime Girlfriend in a neighbouring town but couldn't get permission. He hadn't seen her for a couple of months.

Several pals said just go AWOL - the dreaded Absent Without Official Leave, for which you could get shot in wartime - we'll answer the roll for you.

So John Goldi decided to risk it all, for the Girlfriend.

When the roll was called on Sunday morning,and the Duty Officer shouted out "Goldi," someone squawked out an unconvincing "Here" followed by a general titter in the ranks.

They all knew the real Goldi was AWOL.

General Sparling Inspects the Banff Cadets, Wolseley Barracks, London ON - June, 1960
Orig. DND photo - Image Size - 16 x 20 cm
Found - London, ON
Prov - Goldi Coll


The Duty Officer, not caring for the tepid reply, nor the laughing, stopped and barked, "And what's so funny, gentlemen?"

It was a dramatic moment. Would the deserter be exposed, then shot at dawn?

Everyone sobered up, fast.

He shouted again, "Goldi" and, from somewhere deep in the ranks, came the firm reply, "Present, Sir." This time, apparently to the satisfaction of the DO, and the roll went on.

Thanks to the comradeship of cadets and their motto, "One for all; and all for one," John, his trusty Hawkeye, and his Girlfriend, were able to spend a day together here on the breakwater at Eagle, on Lake Erie, apparently quite oblivious of the stench of decaying smelt littering the beach around them.

Their paths would soon separate as he left for Banff.

In the meantime, in the best tradition of men in uniform, far from home, he would dutifully write to keep in touch.

They would not meet again for several months...

In the fall she would enrol in the University of Western Ontario in London; John would return to Toronto, and Grade XIII.

He would be a high school kid again...

It's what happens when you go out with older women...

Hmmmh...

The Train Ride West
The Banff Cadets got one of the powerful new diesels being used to haul coaches up steep inclines in the Rockies. In the 50s, passenger railway transportation was still common. But in Ontario everyone was used to steam locomotives, which belched huge clouds of smoke that came in the windows.

A trusty Brownie Hawkeye action shot, leaning out the window.

The train with Banff cadets crossing the bridge at Terrace Bay, ON.

At Winnipeg the Countess of Dufferin was parked (removed long ago) outside the train station. She was the first steam engine in the Canadian west, having been floated on a barge down the Red River from the US, in 1877. The only other place of note in Winnipeg, was Portage & Main above, which is why, for many years, Manitoba had the distinction of having more people leaving it, than arriving...
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure A plaque awarded to Cadet Major John Goldi in recognition of his being selected for the honour of going to attend the National Cadet Camp in Banff, Alberta. Below during a cadet excursion to Lake Minnewonka shows the kinds of badges and insignia in use in 1960, and the way they were worn. (Note: he is now wearing the upgraded "Royal" Canadian Army Cadet shoulder flash which had been approved 18 years before.)

Plaque Award, for Being Selected as a Banff Cadet
Orig. oak - Size - 17 x 23 cm; wt 1 kg
Found - Glencoe, ON
Prov - Goldi Coll



flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure
RCAC Buttons for Dress Tunic, Banff Cadet - June, 1960
Orig. brass - Size - 20 & 25 mm
Found - London, ON
Prov - Goldi Coll
The Banff cadet experience was so great everyone wanted to take some of the magic back with them, from a truly high point in all their lives.

For three weeks the cadets had gone on excursions by bus and boat to explore the mountains and lakes of the Rockies.

They went on trail rides on horseback, and climbed - OK hiked - mountains.

And they camped under tents beside rushing mountain streams.

No wonder the cadets wanted souvenirs.

When they turned in their kit, after the adventure was all over, the buttons would often be missing, and any rank and other insignia cut away.

The items featured here are, in fact the exact same ones shown in the photo above, on the tunic of Cadet Major John Goldi.

The large buttons are from the front of the dress tunic. The small ones from the front vest pockets and the shoulder tabs. They were manufactured and inscribed on the back by Wm. Scully, Montreal.

The crossed rifles and crown denote a "Master Marksman First Class."

The "gold star" denotes qualification as "Master Cadet."

The chevrons denote three years' service in the cadets though he had been a member for four.

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure
RCAC Banff Insignia for Master Marksman First Class, Gold Star Master Cadet, & Three Year Service Chevron - June 1960
Orig. cloth - Size - 17 x 23 cm; wt 1 kg
Found - London, ON
Prov - Goldi Coll
There are two sets of these insignia, one from the battledress worn during cadet training in Glencoe (1959-60) and another set from the Banff Cadet dress tunic.

How do you tell them apart after 50 years?

By the ugly threads we've carefully left on them.

Dark threads were used to sew them on to the battledress, light threads on the tunic.

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure
Class of 1960, Cadets from across Canada selected to attend the Royal Canadian Army Cadet Camp in Banff, Alberta
Orig. Banff Springs Photo Services photo - Size - 19 x 23 cm
Found - Banff, AB
Prov - Goldi Coll
Selected from every province and wearing the badge and headdress of the Canadian Regiment their home corps were associated with. Some hoped that these fine men would go on to university and become officer material for the Canadian military.

Cadet Major John Goldi is in the back row, fourth from the right, wearing his RCA cap badge above.

He had plans to go on to Royal Roads Military College, near Victoria, BC, and become a naval officer. But life interferes with plans.

Probably all of these men went on to university, and pursued high level careers, but very few probably joined the military.

They all are very much a part of Canada's military history for 400 years, featuring keen civilians willing to train and do their bit to defend their country, but, until something drastic happens, pursue something more fulfilling and worthwhile in the fantastic array of other career possibilities that life in Canada makes available.

A sad note: Canada is a huge country; and life rushes by...

Though John Goldi had numerous good friends there, who had also attended other army camps with him in the past, he never saw any of them again... It was probably the case with all the others...

Canada's Finest... from a Bygone Era...

Since Banff was a "reward camp" for Master Cadets, excursions, and touring natural and historic sites took up most of the camp time.

The cadets travelled by bus in their TW's (tropical worsted) dress uniforms to all the leading tourist spots in Banff, Jasper, and Yoho National Parks.

Right, waiting for a bus with John Goldi centre.

After all, these cadets had spent years training (marching, drilling, doing parade management), becoming top marksmen (.303, .22s, bren guns), learning (map and compass, fieldcraft, Morse Code, wireless operation, stripping down weapons), and generally honing their skills and knowledge about things military for the past four years - though for some strange reason one never saw "four year service chevrons" on anyone.

They had proven to be the best that Canada could produce - which was why they were here in the first place.

In the 1950s colour pictures were expensive and still a rarity. Everyone was shooting black and white. In fact at theatres most motion pictures were still in black and white like "Never on Sunday" a big hit in 1960. Television, in its infancy, was black and white.

These were the first and only colour pictures John Goldi's trusty Brownie Hawkeye would ever take, as after four years of Hawkeye photography he would buy a 35 mm rangefinder camera with a bigger negative size, but still shoot black and white.

Fellow Banff Cadet Major RJG Dupuis of Cornwall, Ontario (earlier shown packing up above), is standing in front of Mount Rundle, holding a Brownie Hawkeye camera, like the one that took all the square colour and black and white photos on this page.

Because of the cost, in the four weeks of the Banff cadet adventure, John Goldi took only 30 colour photos in all. The ones shown here are the best of the lot. Not a bad ratio of keepers to rejects when one remembers that National Geo shoots 10,000 images per story.

Below the mess.

The bunkhouse, and the window beside the main door inside where John Goldi dutifully wrote letters to the Girlfriend; looking in the other direction, the memorable face of Cascade Mountain, usually the backdrop of every shot of Main Street in Banff.
The snowy peak of Mt. Lefroy where the first fatal North American mountain accident occurred (top US climber Philip Abbot) in 1896, triggering the introduction of Swiss mountain guides into the Rockies to make the sport safer. Emerald Lake and Mount Burgess, were featured on the back of the Canadian ten dollar bill from 1954 to 1971. John Goldi had a friend snap the shots.

John Goldi in front of the Chateau Lake Louise.

Below, the view in the opposite direction, the Victoria Glacier.

He did not know that in 1944, 16 years before, his future mother-in-law had been canoeing in the same spot, during World War II, with her husband on their honeymoon while he was on leave from flying Canso patrols over the Pacific. He was killed only a few months after he took this picture.

Go to Lest We Forget Joe Barfoot
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure A fine souvenir of a strenuous climb from the valley below up to the top of Mount Cooper, locally named after an outdoor cadet instructor Staff Sgt. Cooper above right regarded with affection by the Banff cadets.

To protect the stick's surface John Goldi, shown with the stick atop Mount Cooper, rubbed shoe polish, always in plentiful supply in any cadet camp, into the pores and cracks.

Walking Stick, Cadet John Goldi - Banff, July, 1960
Orig. wood - Size - 1.07 m
Found - Mount Cooper, AB
Goldi Coll
Banff cadets fill the pool left at the Upper Hot Springs at the Banff Springs Hotel. Between the hands: Bruce Elder and John Goldi.
Showing uncharacteristic poor leadership skills, Cadet Major John Goldi chose a white horse, which in the Boer War, meant you were the first to get shot. But then, Lord Kitchener did likewise, flouting the rules, and routinely mounted the only white horse among the officers on the March to Pretoria, February to June 1900.
Then and Now: Banff Cadet John Goldi and pal at Ipperwash, enjoying the military beach which was off limits to civilians in 1960, and 50 years later, the reverse angle of the same spot where the buses were parked is now exclusively used by children of First Nations landlords. John Goldi returned to this same spot to shoot his documentary "Ipperwash: A Canadian Tragedy" in 1995, and 2003.

Where the dream began and ended... Three Banff cadets, one regular - note the sophisticated pipe smoker - visit Camp Ipperwash, in August 1960, in the same K Company barracks where John Goldi had been a member of the "Best Company" in 1958, two years before.

They are off to swim in Lake Huron, on the large military property beach from which civilians and First Nations people had been banned since World War II.

(Today that same beach is private once again; the Stoney Point First Nations owners keep outsiders out.)

For all of them their four year life as cadets was at an end... a period of their lives that transformed them all and enriched them in innumerable ways.

Fifty years later... the same place, with the barracks number still intact, when shooting a documentary.

But the experience hadn't all been good... He and several others picked up pipe smoking on the train west, and he bought his first pipe when it stopped at White River Ontario, starting a bad habit he didn't quit until the 1980s. Still these were classy guys, opting for sophisticated pipes. No lowlife cigarettes for any of them.

Damn... but Mixture #79, with apple slices and orange peels mixed in, smelled and tasted so good...

Below a junkie's stash... the first, and the last: Canadian Brigham briars, corn cob, Eskisehir Turkish and Tanganyika Amboseli Meerschaum, African clay, Swiss Appenzeller tin, German porcelain, Queen Victoria clay & Swiss grandpa's old 1930s lathe-turned homemades... All were collected in travels to where they were manufactured. Most contain the cake from the last smoke

Postscript: Payback time...

Former Cadet Major John Goldi would go on to pursue university studies leading to an Hon. B.A. in Modern History, at the University of Toronto, a B.Ed., and an M.A. in History at Queen's University.

He would be chosen to become, for three years, a member of the Fort Henry Guard, a select squad of elite re-enactors at Kingston's Old Fort Henry and tour with it within Canada, in New York, and Washington, DC, where they were guests of the Presidential Guard at the Marine Corps barracks.

After graduating he and his wife, Joan, would go to Africa, to Uganda, and teach high school with CUSO (Canadian University Service Overseas). During university he had frequently been dissed by his many Left Wing friends for refusing to join any political demonstrations in which they participated regularly during the early 1960s. He thought it was a waste of time and accomplished nothing, though he allowed it made the placard wavers feel good.

Instead the Cadet Major chose to devote two years of his life to teach kids in remote regions of Uganda, near the home town of Idi Amin - who was head of the army at the time. None of his Left Wing friends did so, preferring to dive directly from university into lucrative careers on home turf. John and Joan got paid local salaries, the same as an ordinary African teacher got, a small fraction of what Canadian teachers got paid back home.

Below the young couple is off in September 1966, at Montreal airport in the days when you were allowed lots of carry-on stuff. Note the Cadet Major's beloved army bag that he carried in Banff, full of his camera gear that would lead to a second career after a 13 year career as high school history teacher and principal. With the banjo he would teach African kids French Canadian folk songs in French class which he also taught.

After 13 years the intrepid Cadet Major would change careers, and with his wife, begin making educational film and television documentaries on Canada-specific topics, dealing with heritage, First Nations, outdoor safety, and history. Their company motto: "Keeping Canadians in Touch with Canada." Some highlights:

Promoting Canadian Heritage - They would create a television series about Canadians and Canadian heritage called "Outdoor Adventure Canada" which pioneered an innovative documentary style never seen before, that dispensed, entirely, with the narrator everyone else was - and is still - using, and told the story entirely by laboriously and creatively, inter-cutting interview clips carefully shot on location, then paper them over, almost entirely, with superbly shot illustrative footage.

Their proposal would be selected out of 264 submissions from the top film and television producers across Canada to showcase the beginning of a new cable channel in 1996.

This unique and fast-paced documentary style would come to be widely imitated, but rarely pursued by TV executives because it took far more talent and skill on location and in the editing room than they wanted to bother with when they needed neither, to make the flood of cheap reality shows that were making them money for next to no expenditure. The series would gain outstanding television ratings, and win an astonishing 79 international film and television awards including 29 Gold and Silver medals in only 18 months, a record of excellence for Canada-specific programs never matched by anyone else.

John Goldi csc, would go on to become one of Canada's top cinematographers, being honoured with a rare "CSC" designation after his name, by the Canadian Society of Cinematographers, the professional association of Canadian motion picture cameramen and directors of photography, for "outstanding achievements in the art of cinematography."

Go to the Making of a Master Photographer

Goldi Productions would go on to win over 136 international film and television awards in the United States, including 41 Platinum, Gold and Silver Medals. It is an unrivalled accomplishment for a producer of Canada-specific television programs.

Joan Goldi was the top festival award winner at 8 US international television festivals, and the top Canadian at six others.

At three US international film and television festivals, three of her Silver Medals, were beaten by three of HER GOLDS, an absolutely astonishing accomplishment.

Go to "OUTDOOR ADVENTURE CANADA"

Saving Lives - After many years of living and traveling in Canada's far northern arctic and sub-arctic, they would create a series of outdoor safety programs, credited by the Canadian Coast Guard, among others, with saving countless lives all over North America, and which the Canadian Forces - which virtually never acquires programs from the private sector - bulk purchased to teach survival skills to all the members of the military.

Go to "Saving Lives all Over North America"

A website was created to give survival information on an ongoing basis.

Go to "Coming Back Alive"

Raising Awareness of Canada's Military History - John Goldi would create a four hour television series on "The Great Anglo-Boer War: the Canadian Experience" for which he and his wife did all the phases of production both in the field and inside the studio - an unheard-of achievement - and for which they would win an astonishing four Gold Medals at the world's biggest film and TV festival in 2003.

Go to "OUTRAGEOUS! FOUR GOLD REMIS!!!

His website that supported this series is probably the most stunning museum website ever created on the internet and has won rave reviews from all four corners of the globe.

Go to "TOO GOOD TO BE CANADIAN"

Cadet Promotion - The husband-and-wife team create a multi-cultural recruiting film for the Department of National Defence for Cadet Camp Whitehorse in Yukon, which the administrating Colonel for Cadet Services called " the best film anyone ever made for us."

Raising Awareness of Canada's Aboriginal History - They created a web site that makes people around the world aware of Canada's Aboriginal heritage - First Nations, Métis, and Inuit - which has won lavish praise from educators across Canada.

To Whom it May Concern at Goldi Productions,

I wanted to express my gratitude for your website, "Canada's First Peoples."  While teaching the First Nations unit to my Grade 4/5 class, your website was invaluable!   The lay out, pictures and information under clear headings really helped us find information for our projects.  Thank you again!  We've been blessed by your work.
- a Teacher, Toronto, ON

"Thank you for putting together such an awesome website on Canada's First People. I teach grade 4 in Kamloops, BC and it has been a great resource for my class. It is easy to navigate and has tons of great info and pictures. I just wanted to congratulate you on a job well done! Best regards." - a Teacher, Kamloops, BC

Hello,
"We used your website the first people of Canada yesterday for a S3 History lesson and my whole class was engaged and loved the information, format, and clear crisp images.  Thank you."
- a Teacher, Carberry Collegiate, MB

"Thank you for your quick response!  And thank you for such a wonderful website that is teacher/student friendly.  Third through fifth grade will be using it next week in our school computer lab."
- a Teacher/Media Specialist,
Cedar Wood ElementarySchool, Bothell, WA, USA

Go to First Peoples of Canada

Trailblazing in Promoting Social Justice - John and Joan Goldi began an investigation into the killing of Dudley George in 1995 at the site where John had been a cadet forty years before, and uncover information that he took to the SIU. He succeeded in getting it to agree to reopen its investigation into police criminality leading to the shooting. (A few months after the shooting John had created a historical audio visual record of the event by filming hours of interviews with all the leading Aboriginal men, women, and children who had been on the site of the midnight police attack. The police refused to talk or go on camera, in spite of our special request to OPP Commissioner Gwen Boniface.)

"Thank you so much for believing in us
when no one else would listen."

Cully George, sister of slain Dudley George
Aug. 2004
- to the documentary filmmakers
Joan Goldi & John Goldi csc

He actively facilitated getting SIU investigators access to the Aboriginal inhabitants of Camp Ipperwash - which was closed to media, and all outsiders, white and native.

As a result of their new invstigation, criminal charges were ultimately laid against a police officer, and a huge public inquiry ordered, which led to the property - both the camp, where John had been a cadet, and the park where he and his family had picnicked so many times - being returned to its original, legal, and proper owners.




Go to the Killing of Dudley George

Raise Awareness of Injustice to Canada's First Nations - John and Joan Goldi would create a one-and-a-half hour TV program on Camp Ipperwash and the shooting of Dudley George during a midnight police attack on Aboriginal women, children, and men who were sitting on picnic tables. It would win the top Platinum Award at Worldfest Houston, the world's biggest film and television festival in 2005. It was also a Finalist at New York and at the American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco.

Trailblazer on Internet Education - Goldi Productions was one of the first two Canadian television producers to open an internet site, and were the first in the world to launch a full-blown pictorial educational web presence in 1996.

This was years before the Imperial War Museum (UK), the Smithsonian (US), or the Museum of Civilization (Canada) did so.

Goldi Productions was also the first to put up video clips, audio clips, and huge pictures, on educational pages on the internet, literally years before CNN, BBC, ABC, NBC, CBS, and the CBC started doing so. The web sites have been much acclaimed international standard setters from the beginning.

WOW! History Education Innovator - In 1999, John Goldi, a trained historian, long-time history teacher, and multi-media creator, educator, and writer, introduced an innovative method of history education, as illustrated in the "Canadian Anglo-Boer War Museum."

Years before he had already launched a big, pictorially lavish, educational web site, years before any other museum, television broadcaster, or film or TV producer did so. And persisted against a howl of protest, in the days when everyone was on dial-up, that his pages and pictures took ages to download.

His innovative technique involved a multi-level approach including a creative mix of all the following elements:

- design a museum format for communicating history education,

- creating a virtual museum of real artifacts on the internet,

- emphasizing a lavishly pictorial format, instead of the usual, overwhelmingly print heavy, picture poor, standard,

- telling Canada's history of people, places, and events, entirely through actual and original Canadian artifacts,

- start every story with genuine historic artifacts, not as formerly, merely using a few pictures, sparsely scattered throughout the text, as illustration after-thoughts,

- showcase and focus the stories around numerous original historic paper, glass, metal, wood, guns, uniforms, books, photos, paintings, lithos, etc. that have never been seen by people before, not as formerly, just using the odd pic of them adorned with a throw-away phrase or title,

- tell the story with spin-off essays instead of the boring chronological narrative, previously the norm with history writers and professors,

- deliver the message with hyped enthusiasm,

- using multiple pages of "Wow,"

- use a provocative, journalistic, instead of dry and boring academic approach, to stimulate thinking, instead of the snoring that professors are good at inducing.

His innovative technique has won enormous praise around the world.

Go to Some International Feedback

His trailblazing educational technique has been widely copied, most notoriously by the book "The Museum Called Canada; 25 Rooms of Wonder" which appropriated all his elements above from the internationally praised "The Canadian Anglo-Boer War Museum" and its 100 Pages of "Wow."

The Museum's Canada-specific articles and its related support sites has now grown to about 1,000 pages. Many of its pages contain more pictures and information than many other entire museum web sites.

The book even copied our museum's title, brashly, by merely dropping "Anglo-Boer War," changing his web pages to rooms, and stretching "Wow" to Wonder. They hired Charlotte Grey to write the essays.

The publishers even call their book, get this, "a virtual museum for the 21st century" which brazenly describes, not their book, but our internationally recognized trailblazing museum web site, which they, with the thinnest of disguises, merely put between book covers to make money from someone else's innovative hard work.

There's more... In fact, long before the book appeared, John Goldi had written Random House publishers suggesting exactly such a book, outlining his ideas above, and directing them to his web site for content to see how the approach would work.

We Wuz Robbed! They must have loved his suggestion; the book was subsequently produced, and to add insult to injury, outrageously flagged as "Book Concept by Sara Angel."

Other reviewers, quoting Random House's publicity brochures, called it "the brainchild of Sara Angel and her colleagues at Otherwise Editions."

We'll let you be the judge, what's going on here...

Canadian book publishers are notorious for funneling all the government grant money they trigger by claiming to promote Canada and Canadian stories, into their own pockets, and side-stepping, instead of paying, the original creators, often with disastrous results.

Go have a laugh at how your tax money is spent in Ottawa on the Canadian Heritage book trade.

Go to James Lorimer's Great Canadian Howlers
Oh, and the Girlfriend...

On Cadet Day the Girlfriend had been on parade with all the other high school girls, loyally marching behind the Cadet Major. But only on the parade ground; it was thought too strenuous on the female cadets to march them on the downtown circuit with the boys...

Then later on, the gallant Major had loyally escorted her to the prom, with corsage below in June, 1960, putting on a different kind of uniform for which he never developed a fondness like that of the the Royal Canadian Army Cadets. But, he realized, we must all make sacrifices...


Within reason, of course... Because it was a bad world out there in the 1960s.

In fact he had seen the Glencoe high school principal - just a few feet down the hall above - literally rip the shirt right off the back of a student in the main hall outside the office as others watched. And it happened more than once... The Cadet Major believed it highly improper to give public vent to private rages that victimized powerless people under you. As a proud cadet he thought that showed poor leadership skills from a trusted community leader.

(When the Cadet Major became a school principal himself, in Inuit and Dene communities, fifteen years later, in Canada's North, the Director of Teacher Education for the then North West Territories, told him his school had the best staff relations of any school in the NWT (that then was a jurisdiction that included today's Northwest Territories and Nunavut combined) gratifying praise in a system which was plagued with a considerable racism problem among staff in many of its larger multi-cultural schools (Dene, Inuit, Métis, and White.)


Firing Offenses for a Raving Revolutionary -

Look Ma! - A coloured shirt... No tie... and an FHG beard...

John also knew women high school teachers in Toronto who were forced to resign when they got pregnant. And men teachers all wore white shirts and suits. Many wore cufflinks...

The Cadet Major would continue to show his leadership skills, at a time when straying from these norms were "firing" offenses.

At his first teaching job at a Toronto High School in 1968, the intrepid Major was the very first - on a staff of 160 teachers - to not wear a tie, wear a coloured shirt, grow a beard (from his Old Fort Henry Guard days), wear sandals instead of closed shoes.

When outraged colleagues asked why he wore sandals he replied, "Because I don't like walking barefoot." It seemed to end the conversation, but he would have to wait 40 years before the fashion world approved his sandals and socks.

Eventually, high school teachers loosened up, and followed the example of the trailblazing Cadet Major.

Oh yeah, the Girlfriend... Back in the 1960s female cadets were given only minimal training, at their home schools, learning how to march and do a few foot drills and form formations.

They were not allowed to go to cadet camps until 1974, when Parliament changed the regulations to create co-ed cadet camps.

Which was a good thing... but a bit late...

Because, sadly, the 60s girls - like the Girlfriend - missed out on all the character building experiences and instructions about proper behaviour, and upright deportment, that young male cadets got, and displayed every chance they got.

The Girlfriend would go to work for the summer at a tourist hotel in St. Andrews-by-the-Sea, in New Brunswick to earn tuition.

Alas, there the small town girl from Wardsville, Ontario, would discover there were other men more handy, than distant has-been, Cadet Majors...

Now he didn't seem to be nearly as appealing, out of uniform, as in it...

She would send former Cadet Major John Goldi the proverbial "Dear John" letter, announcing, rather coldly, that she had "found someone new" at the summer resort, and that was it... Well, thank God, it wasn't addressed to "Dear Wiener."

Luckily, he was not a naval cadet, or it would have knocked the wind out of his sails, for a long time to come...

OUCH...! The Cadet Major would not see her again for 32 years. Then, at a school reunion he spotted her approaching him, broadly smiling. He feigned a stern, strategic, look of non-recognition. When she stopped directly in front of him, he looked quizzically at her, then peered down deliberately, at her name tag, acting as if he wanted to jog his mind to see if the name should have some meaning...

Then, with eyes widening, he exclaimed "Oh, it's you!" She was clearly shocked:.. "You mean you didn't recognize me?" No woman likes to think she's aged beyond recognition...

"Dear John" savoured the moment... It had been worth the wait...

Then, never far from being the proper Cadet Major, and saving damsels in distress, he fessed up, saying he was just fooling around... The colour went back into her face...

She had ended up marrying her "someone new," and they raised two daughters, for awhile...

Then, one day, her husband announced he was leaving her...

For another man...

It had now become his turn to "find someone new."

Now a Cadet Major would never do something like any of that.

Because, thanks to the Royal Canadian Army Cadets, he had been properly trained in personal deportment, and to have high ethical and and moral standards in all areas of his life.

Still, obviously the uniform had not worked. So the Major turned to the "uke."

The singing Major, doing "Tom Dooley" in courting days, 1964.

Go to the Folk Crazed Cadet Major

It worked...

Well, not exactly. He, a poor student, putting himself through university by working in tobacco fields, had little or less money, and borrowed $300 from his college sweetheart above for tuition.

She gave him the ultimatum: pay me back, or marry me. The gallant Major having little leeway, and less money, accepted. (There were no 30% interest credit cards in those days.)

John Goldi married the tough bargainer, in his third year studying history at the University of Toronto, and thanks to his cadet upbringing, the Cadet Major has remained unwaveringly true to her for 46 years.

Tellingly, none of his non-cadet friends are still with their original wives, having moved on to others, once or twice...

The Royal Canadian Army Cadets made high school classmates and long-time cadets, John Goldi and Jack McKellar (Camp Borden July, 1959) "partners to die for." Jack too is still married to his high school sweetheart.

In 1979, after a 13 year teaching career John Goldi and his wife, launched Goldi Productions Ltd., becoming one of Canada's top educational film and television documentary producers, and a world leader as internet web creators.

Go to the Production Partners

Finally... Alas! The glory days of Royal Canadian Army Cadets were the 1950s and 60s when cadets were a part of the very fabric of every school. Everyone was involved in one way or another, all the students, most of the teachers. It was the premiere high school experience like the annual sports Field Day.

But unlike sports, where there were always winners and losers, where only the physically able could excel, and many were left out, cadets could involve everyone at some skill or participatory level. With parades and marching, it was a spectacular version of Boy Scouts and Girl Guides.

You could do it evenings, weekends, and summer holiday camps. All you needed were some dedicated teachers to keep the ball rolling.

World War II had helped too. In the 50s the war had only been over for a decade... Everyone, in communities across Canada, believed keeping the military tradition going, was important.

Still, for the cadets of the 1950s, cadets was not about the military. It was about group activities, learning outdoor skills, going on shooting excursions, summer camps, camaraderie with your fellow teens.

In fact, as teens - even as elite Banff cadets - everyone had a disdainful view of many of the idiocies common in the "military." It was a constant topic of conversation, something everyone put up with for all the other benefits.

We can not recall a single cadet we knew from 1956-1960 who actually went into the military. But they - we were all - immeasurably better people on civvy street, because of the experiences everyone had in the RCAC.

Sadly, as the years went by, people no longer felt the military link was necessary. Interested teens went to Scouts or Guides, or just dropped out altogether, as cadets was made optional. High school corps shrank, or like in Glencoe, disappeared altogether.

Hoping to stem the declining flow, girls were accepted "with open arms" as it were, in 1974. Co-ed cadet camps were begun, hoping to replenish losses from males who were dropping out.

Which created a whole set of problems never seen in the heyday of cadets in the 1950s and 60s.

Inevitably, being far from home and loosed from the bounds of parental guidance, girls and boys - who can say who is guilty? - acted out and became sexually involved.

Rape occurred. In fact in Camp Blackdown a mother launched a lawsuit against the Canadian Forces for the rape of her daughter in Camp Blackdown where we had attended when it was all male in 1959 above.

In 2010, an investigation into rape in the Canadian Armed Forces found a huge problem, far in excess to that occurring in the civilian population. The military bosses said it wasn't the adults who skewed the awful military statistics but those horny cadets in summer camps.

To the Cadet Major it's pretty clear. The abysmal sexual standards set by the media (film, television, videos, pop music) to make a buck, has degraded societal values incredibly, especially in the area of sexual mores.

And the young are inevitably the victims when the reprehensible "anything goes" morality espoused by their elders and role models on civvy street and in the military, are everywhere in evidence, no matter where they look for guidance.

Those are decidedly not the standards upheld by the Cadet Major and his generation of Royal Canadian Army Cadets.

And the world is a better place, because they passed this way...

Old Fort Henry - 1964-1966

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure The Corporal stripe from his artillery uniform and dress tunic button that John Goldi would wear while a member of the elite Fort Henry Guard. He was a member each May to September for the last three years while he was working for his Hon. B.A. in History at the University of Toronto.

Getting accepted into the 100-strong Guard was extremely difficult because so many apply, and only a very few new applicants are accepted every year.

The only Guard officers are a captain, and three lieutenants (two ensigns).. Getting or advancing in rank in the FHG is virtually impossible because most of the officers and non-coms come back for many years, some for over a decade.

The FHG was made up of university students who had elite cadet training, were notable Canadian collegiate football heroes, or had senior civil servant parents.

The Guard wore the uniforms, and did the drill, of British soldiers of the 1867 period, inside the massive stone walls of Old Fort Henry in Kingston, Ontario. Next to Niagara Falls it is the biggest tourist destination in Ontario.

The Guard traveled to do its tactical battlefield infantry and and Armstrong gun demonstrations in Canada, England, and the US.

1867 Artillery Tunic Corporal Stripe, Dress Tunic Button - Fort Henry Guard, 1964-1966
Orig. gold thread - Size - 16 cm
Found - Kingston, ON
Prov - Goldi Coll

The 24 pounder guns on the wall are fired several times a day by the gun crew, under a corporal.

The Guard is made up of the Drums and the Drill Squad. All take turns as members of the Armstrong Gun firing detail.

It is all designed to give tourists an idea of the military configuration as it existed for the defence of Canada in 1867, the year Canada became an independent Dominion under British protection.

 

 

 

Above after the last year in the Guard (1966) he and his wife of one year, would leave for a two year high school teaching assignment in Uganda, Africa, with CUSO, the Canadian University Service Overseas - the Canadian version of the US Peace Corps.

Like many guardsmen John Goldi wore a huge beard during the years he was a member, to look more like the soldiers of the 19th century.

One of the many public parades made by the Drums of the Fort Henry Guard, this one in Kingston, ON.

On the left John Goldi, and up front, Nordy Abramson.

The fife which everyone was playing was the standard instrument for military bands till the Boer War.