Pat Mella at Canadian Tire

My parents and my brother Mike live approximately 20 minutes from each other, in and around the city of Burlington, Ontario. I asked my mother yesterday if she ever ran into Mike at the grocery store or the like, and she said she doesn’t. Such is life in the densely packed Golden Horseshoe.

This made me recall the time I was in Canadian Tire here in Charlottetown, and I ended up in the line in front of Pat Mella, at the time the Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly. It felt like being in line in front of Sting, or Nelson Mandela (well, okay, maybe not that weird, but still pretty weird).

It has taken me a decade to come to terms with the Island’s compressed personality-o-sphere, where public school teachers become Lieutenant Governor and the guy fixing your car might be Minister of Environment come the next election.

Monday afternoon I was trying to get back in the work groove, and went out to get a frozen yoghurt at Just Juicin’ mid-afternoon to procrastinate. Who should I run into on the way home but Minister of Development and Technology Mike Currie, the man who is ultimately responsible for half of my weekly pay cheque. Fortunately he didn’t recognize me, and I was able to eat my yoghurt in anonimity.

As if by magic, who should walk by Timothy’s (the coffee shop on Kent St. where I type this note) but Premier Pat Binns and his staff. I should run out and ask for his autograph. But I’ll probably see him at Canadian Tire this weekend.


Alan's picture
Alan on May 28, 2003 - 16:53 Permalink

The bigger world is just as small.

In around 1990, I was walking towards the door of a Spring Garden Road mall, when I walked by a familiar late 40’s lady who got a big “how are are you now?” from me. I thought she was somebody I knew through my mother’s shop — one of the dreaded south end ladies. When she, quiet surprised, gave me a big smile and said in a UK accent “very well indeed” the wheels started turning and I realized on the street 30 seconds later that it had been the actress Helen Mirren. I think a concord landed in Halifax by accicent that day…

Andrew Chisholm's picture
Andrew Chisholm on May 28, 2003 - 18:37 Permalink

A few weeks ago I served John Manley and his family a mint at the Wendy’s I work at in Halifax.

hannah's picture
hannah on May 28, 2003 - 19:40 Permalink

during a stint at an office on Charing Cross Road, London (site of every bookshop you could ever want) I rescued Sting from a mob crowd who showed up for a book signing (I think it was in his rain-forest phase). He hung out in the staff room for a while and politely drank bad coffee until his minder could get a car to the loading door. but Island celebs will chat while they buy groceries or whatever, and generally act like the real people they are.

Alan's picture
Alan on May 28, 2003 - 19:44 Permalink

Your joking aren’t you? The minor “celebrity” — if the subject matter here could even be described as such — is the most apt to have airs. I remember getting a look from one Minister when I called him his name instead of Minister. Then again, maybe it was the look on my face which he was really responding to…

Patarazzi's picture
Patarazzi on May 28, 2003 - 20:08 Permalink

Are you sure it was Pat?
Coulda been her double, her twin sister, Peggy Forbes…

Rob MacD's picture
Rob MacD on May 28, 2003 - 20:28 Permalink

Un-famous people meet me every day.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on May 29, 2003 - 01:15 Permalink

I met Randy “Macho Man” Savage once.

Rob Paterson's picture
Rob Paterson on May 29, 2003 - 10:09 Permalink

Ah Alan Helen Mirren — my heart throb!

Rob Paterson's picture
Rob Paterson on May 29, 2003 - 10:16 Permalink

Pat’s sister Peggy is I find indistinguishable from Pat — it is very confusing.

Many years ago a friend of mine (we were in in our early twenties) was dancing with my then girlfriend. Esme (the man) said in a loud voice “Did you know that Hot Lips Windsor is here tonight?”

He felt a jab in his back and turned to see an angry Princess Ann glaring at hime. “Esme”, she said, “in the good old days you could have been exceuted for saying things like that”

I know she seems very horsey and all that but in person and in her twenties she had a certain sexual presence that we all found attractive but then she was so far up on a pedastal that she was also unreachable

steve rukavina's picture
steve rukavina on May 29, 2003 - 14:28 Permalink

It was much the same vibe in saskatchewan…it became a sort of game amoing CBC reporters there for the most mundane, run-of-the-mill sighting of a noted political figure. My favourite was a colleague who saw the queen’s vice-regal consort, Lieutenant-Governor Lynda Haverstock, toting two newly purchased “Swiffer” sweepers at agribition in Regina.

Alan's picture
Alan on May 29, 2003 - 14:49 Permalink

In halifax in the 1980’s there was a similar watch for Ministers in Buchanan’s Tory government. But it was focused on the bar scene. I recall the glee in a friend walking by and saying hello to Minster X, his local MLA, while he was dancing at 11 pm Friday with “not Mrs. X.”

Ken's picture
Ken on May 29, 2003 - 15:34 Permalink

As part of my CBC OJT I pinned a microphone on Loretta Swit the original Hot Lips. She was in Charlottetown saving seals from being slaughtered and was being interviewd by Valerie Pringle on the noontime show.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on May 29, 2003 - 16:41 Permalink

This afternoon on the way home from Shaddy’s Shwarma Palace, I spotted our local MLA, Bobby Macmillan, walking out the the Coles Building with his dirty laundry (actual dirty laundry, not state secrets or anything). Makes politics seem much more grounded.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on May 29, 2003 - 17:52 Permalink

I think most celebrities are inexperienced in the position. Not sure how to interact with the regular guy, some assume the role of “mucky-muck” requires a distancing from the commoners. Hockey players, entrepeneurs…it does not matter. They are held to a higher standard in many cases, and therefore sometimes feel the need to put up some sort of a wall to protect themselves. And, when caught, usually claim they “never inhaled”.

This does not work on PEI as far as politics is concerned. The kiss of death to any politician is the reputation of becoming too “high-feelin”. With the way most Islanders are connected (and I don’t mean digitally)you gotta remember where you come from to get re-elected here.
I call my Island MLA by his first name, and find this a comfortable arrangement for both.

Ken's picture
Ken on May 29, 2003 - 22:07 Permalink

I agree with Wayne, first names for MLA’s and MP’s since they need to respect us as much as we respect them. After all, it is called the House of Commons.

Rob Paterson's picture
Rob Paterson on May 30, 2003 - 12:50 Permalink

A few weekends ago I was in the car park of the Market and I saw this young man who seemed to look familiar talking to two other folks. So in the Island way as I walked by I said hello in a warm way assuming that we did know each other. He looked a bit surprised — I could see the neurons firng as he stuggled to recall who the hell I might be — but then as the true policitian that he naturally is, Robert Ghiz beemed back and said hello to me.

We have never met before — I was responding to seeing him on TV

Wayne's picture
Wayne on May 30, 2003 - 17:25 Permalink

What needs to come natural for a succesful politician on PEI was not demonstrated during this encounter. He will learn this during his unsuccessful first campaign, and probably be elected in his second attempt, as did his Papa.

Rob Paterson's picture
Rob Paterson on May 31, 2003 - 00:01 Permalink

I agree

John's picture
John on May 31, 2003 - 01:15 Permalink

god where do you guys think you live? Remember, you live on PEI where everyone knows everyone, except for that couple down the streets uncle.