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About Randy Richmond
Sure, Canada was built on dreams and hard work, but it was also built on failure - mix-ups, mistakes, screw-ups, and boondoggles. Failing at things, and laughing about them, has long been a characteristic of our citizens.
Where else but in Canada would governments send farmers to land that couldn’t be farmed? Where else would an argument over the metric system almost result in the death of hundreds? Who else but Canadians would march against non-existent enemies? Where else would lumberjacks be used to defend the borders?
Are there politicians better than ours at spending millions, against all odds and good advice, on things that just won’t work? Is there any nation better at re-electing those politicians no matter what they do? What other country should adopt as its national slogan "If we don’t laugh, we’ll cry"?
Here are more of the things that seemed like a good idea at the time.
The history of Orillia, told through the stories of its people, bringing to life the community’s heritage and significance.
The Orillia Spirit:
- Muddling through Canada’s first, and hilarious, experiment with daylight savings time, Mayor “Daylight Bill” Frost had it.
- Creating his own money and dreaming a drainage ditch would become a tourist attraction, Mayor Ben Johnson had it.
- Taking his town’s electric company by force, Mayor J.B. Tudhope had it.
- Inventing early forms of medicare and the first RVs, dreaming of universities and folk festivals, battling for decades over liquor and rinks, ordinary people had it.
Something about the place immortalized in Stephen Leacock’s classic Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town has always inspired its people to reach for their dreams. Turn-of-the-twentieth-century leaders coined the phrase “the Orillia Spirit” to describe their drive to make the town a social, moral, and economic leader of Canada. The results have been comic, tragic, and heroic, as shown in this colourful history of Orillia.