Peace in Our Time

In 1953, Ross and Marg Brioux moved 2.5 kms west — from Wilgar Rd. to 5308 Dundas St. West in Etobicoke. The two storey farmhouse was one of a handful of heritage residences that remained on the ever-widening, commercialized street known as Hwy 5. In that house they raised their first born, Tippy — an adorable mutt who eventually chased one too many cars — and Billy, who arrived in 1957. Much of their life there revolved around the nearby parish of Our Lady of Peace church and the neighbouring school. As can be seen in these home movies, that’s where Billy celebrated his first communion in 1964, joined the Cubs and Boy Scouts and graduated from Grade Eight in 1971.

On the left, above, is Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church, which opened in 1953. The first pastor was Fr. Percy Johnston, later a monsignor, a former army chaplain who stood on the steps and pumped hands at the parish for 30 years. Johnston died in 1983.

On the right, above, is my cousin Margie (Margaret Petersen), five years my senior, seen admiring the iPhone somebody gave me as a First Communion present. Actually no, it is a prayer book — iPhones weren’t invented for another 30 or so years. Don’t let the carnation and the fancy duds fool you — I was an absolute devil that day, egged on by my pal, Tim McBride.

Scouting was a big deal back in the ’60s, at least in central Etobicoke. It seemed like every kid from school was a member of the 14th Etobicoke Central Pack B Wolf Cub contingent. All of us (or rather our parents) had to get our uniforms at a store called Eassons at Cloverdale Mall. There were many camping trips, at places such as Camp Samac in Oshawa. Making it all work were a number of very dedicated parents who we all called Baloo or Bagheera or Akela after we pledged to DOB, DOB, DOB — Do Our Best.

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