July 29, 2013

Happy 25th to Heritage College

This July marks the 25th anniversary of Heritage College as an autonomous English-language seat of higher learning.

First established in 1972 as an English pavilion of the Cegep de l'Outaouais (originally Cegep de Hull), the branch moved into its own modest space on Eddy Street in a renovated bowling alley, then to a renovated school on Maisonneuve Boulevard in 1977 and to another renovated school on rue Laurier in 1984.

After much lobbying by the anglophone community, focused by the efforts of advocacy group Outaouais Alliance, the pavilion earned independent status as a self-governing institution on July 1, 1988. The College finally got its own purposely-built campus in 1994, with a lovely facility and grounds nestled beside Gatineau Park on Cité des Jeunes Boulevard. 

I arrived at Heritage College in August 1988 and I ended up becoming a member of the executive of the first student association of the new College. I was at the school as part of the pre-university program and I took courses from the departments of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. 

I only spent a year at Heritage, as that one year made me eligible to apply to universities in Ontario. Although I had seriously considered schools in Quebec, I had made the decision to run away to Ontario, specifically Queen's.  It's been 25 years so I doubt that my amazing teachers are still teaching at Heritage. Standout faculty members I recall included Terry Nevins (Law), Geraldine Finn (Philosophy), Margaret McDoom (Philosophy), Jane Rabb (Psychology),  and the one-of-a-kind Gerry Cammy (Political Science).

I have very fond memories of my year at Heritage College. I blossomed under some excellent teachers, made some quality friends, and was solidly prepared academically for my demanding studies at Queen's.

July 11, 2013

Office Space

My office (Development & Alumni Relations) moved buildings last Friday and we have settled into our new space rather nicely on a higher floor across the street from where we used to be. One of the nice benefits of the move is that we are now on the same floor as our colleagues in Marketing & Communications. They have the north half of the floor and we have the southern half. They are one of our closest collaborators and campus partners so it's great to be able to have them now physically close as neighbours, since they used to be on a different floor at our former building. Thought I would share pictures of my great view...

Looking across my office from my meeting table.
Looking into my office from the doorway

The southern view from my desk. 

The view east, looking onto Richmond Street, out my other window.

July 2, 2013

Long Island Locations

The Barone house from "Everybody Loves Raymond".
I have always loved finding TV and movie filming locations.  I had successfully found the "Friends" (1994-2004) apartment building in Greenwich Village and the rather scary building used for the location of "Rosemary's Baby" (1968). I had also found "The Exorcist" (1973) house in Georgetown, DC and The Tombs pub that was the inspiration for the location of brat pack classic "St. Elmo's Fire" (1985), also in Georgetown. Alas, I learned only after our last trip to New York that our rented apartment had been just a couple of blocks from "The Jeffersons" (1975-1985) apartment building. Darn!

It turns out that we were really close to two very popular settings during our recent trip to Fire Island, one for a beloved family TV sitcom and the other for a terrifying horror film. Since we were in the train we did not get to visit them, but we were just within a couple of miles away. I now wish we had been in a car. Oh well.

So one of the stops on the Long Island Rail Road is Amityville. When I saw the sign I did a double-take. Amityville?? Yes, that Amityville. The location of the terrible murder in November 1974 and alleged subsequent haunting that would produce many books and the 1979 film "The Amityville Horror". The house is still there at 108 Ocean Drive, although it has been modified. I watched this film as young teen, while babysitting my two younger sisters. It terrified me so much that it left an indelible impression on me. To have been within a mile of the house was a bit unnerving.

The other location we were near is for a much happier setting-- the homes of Ray Barone and his parents, Marie and Frank, for the show "Everybody Loves Raymond" (1996-2005). The houses really are across the street from one another on Margaret Blvd in Merrick, NY. The show is set in Lynbrook, Long Island but the actual houses are in Merrick, which is just to the east. Again, it was bittersweet to be so close to homes that we had watched for years.

Of course, now that we are living in Toronto there are many locations used for stand-ins for New York and Chicago. For some reason, the 3 blocks south of my office building are enormously popular for TV shows, and I have seen about 10 shoots nearby since we arrived.