The Clock that Doesn't Tell Time

On Grafton Street in downtown Charlottetown there is a branch of the Bank of Montreal. On the front of the bank is a large outdoor clock. At one point this clock may have actually told the time, but for as long as I can remember — at least a couple of years — it has not:


Clock at the Bank of Montreal in Charlottetown

While this is annoying, and perhaps even irresponsible on behalf of the bank, more so it is just plain stupid marketing for the bank: if they can’t even fix their clock, I say to myself, what are they going to do with my money? Are their computers and adding machines and timelocks broken too?

I can’t imagine an amount of money that would be too much to prevent the Bank of Montreal from simply getting someone in to fix the clock and, if it cannot be repaired, simply replacing it with something else.

The Battle of Paardeberg

If you have visited the Coles Building, or Province House in Charlottetown, or even just driven down Richmond Street between Queen and Prince, you are sure to have seen the statue of a soldier on a Boer War Memorial battlefield, bayonet at the ready. The statue is old and green and not in the best of shape. Perhaps you’ve heard it referred to as the “Boer War statue.”

Somehow I missed the Boer War in school: it fell between the cracks between the Family Compact and World War I. Today I found myself, camera in hand, in front of this statue, and after taking a couple of pictures I decided I should find out more.

The Boer War, which began in 1899, was a war between two colonial powers, the Brtish and the Dutch, over control of (and fought in) South Africa. The war was supposed to be a quick affair but, like most wars, it dragged on much longer than the British thought it would, finally ending in 1902.

One of the major battles of the war was the Battle of Paardeberg, fought on February 18, 1900. Among the dead that day were two Prince Edward Islanders, members of the Second Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment. Their names were Roland Taylor and Alfred Riggs. And their contribution to the war, and their death in it, is memorialized at the base of the Boer War statue.
Boer War Memorial

The head of the Boer contingent at the Battle of Paardeberg was General Piet Cronje. Cronje made a stand in the path of the Canadians, and 60 yards west of this stand, known as Cronje’s laager, is where Riggs, W.A., Pte., R.C.R.I. 2nd (Special Service) Battalion, “G” Co. is buried.

The Boer War statue was constructed in July of 1903, making it 100 years old next year. To quote from Catherine Hennessey’s website:

It is a fine monument, too and it needs cleaning. The sculptor for it is prominent as well. Hamilton McCarthy, a British sculptor who had settled in Canada was one of the two artists for The Alexander MacKenzie monument on Parliament Hill, and he himself did the South African War Monument in Ottawa and that wonderful piece on top of the hill, near the Art Gallery, of Samuel de Champlain.

Although our piece of sculpture was not as grand as we had hoped for it’s pretty nice. On that July day in 1903 when it was unveiled what was lost in stature [so to speak] was made up for by the numbers that attended and “by the order, precision and dignity ” of the event.

Next time you’re walking by, stop for a second and remember.

Digital Island, RIP

Longtime readers may recall that the company now known as Reinvented Inc. was once known as Digital Island Inc. Back in 1998, at the height of the dotcom insanity, we sold our identity and our domain name to San Francisco-based Digital Island and reinvented ourselves.

It now appears that that Digital Island has bit the dust as well: good old digitalisland.com is now simply an announcement that the company has been subsumed into Exodus.

So, good-bye Digital Island: it was fun while it lasted.

My Famous Little Brothers

While Brother Mike and I toil away in relative obscurity, Brothers Johnny and Steve are piling on the fame.

Steve is acting as host for CBC Saskatchewan’s after program The Afternoon Edition for the next two weeks. You can listen in live every weekday from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Saskatchewan Time (which is 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Atlantic Time).

Johnny and his fiancee Jodi are famous for their wedding registry adventures. In last week’s Macleans magazine there was an article about registries in which Johnny was quoted as follows:

Johnny Rukavina and Jodi McLellan, getting married in Parksville, B.C., on Aug. 24, were initially wishy-washy about registering, but then common sense and memories of innumerable picnic baskets they’d bought as wedding gifts won out. “Something from the registry may not really be the special dream gift, but it’s also not a picnic basket,” says Rukavina. After registering at the Bay, the couple posted the following on their wedding Web site: “A disclaimer: we are not greedy materialistic fiends hell-bent on acquiring merchandise. We are not hermits who live in the woods and have eschewed all material possessions either.” In the new world of registering, there is a way around everything.
Mike and I will continue to wander along.