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Reminiscences of June, a Traveling Grandmother

Chapter: 21 - 1976-1998 - June's Canadian Travels -Year of Diagnosis









Toronto and CN tower

 (Toronto and the CN Tower)


June has visited the Canadian cities of Montreal, Toronto (twice) and Vancouver. All four of June's visits to Canada have been in connection with forensic science conferences.

June also had lunch in the Toronto CN Tower's "360 Restaurant" at the 1100 foot level (See Photo Above) with Stan during her Toronto visit in 1997. The overall Towers Height is 1815 Feet.


June's Visits to Toronto - 1976 - 1998

June's first week long visit to Toronto was in May- June of 1976. This stay in Toronto was to attend the conference and seminar of the Association of Firearm and Tool Mark Examiners.

During this week June stayed at the Chelsea Inn. She was also a guest at a dinner given by the Government of the Province of Ontario. (The Honorable William G. Davis, Premier of Ontario)

The most memorable part of this visit was a side trip to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. June remembers that the view of the falls was not only spectacular but also very wet. Everyone had to wear a raincoat at one of the viewing points as that particular observation point subjected the spectators to spray from the falls.


(June - Niagara Falls Observation point - Canadian Side )  

June at Canadian Niagara Falls 1976


Stan and June's last week long forensic visit to Toronto took place in late September/October 1998. The purpose of this visit to Toronto was in order  to attend the conference of the  International Association of Bloodstain Pattern Analysts. The IABPA conference was a joint forensic conference with the Toronto Police Forensic Identification Services.

June stayed at the Royal York Hotel. The name "Royal" is more than just a name. The Queen (Elizabeth) of England stayed at this hotel in 1997. June did some sight seeing. She also shopped at Eaton Center. The Eaton Center is Canada's 2nd largest shopping center. June also tried out the Toronto Subway system when traveling to Eaton Center.


Note: 1998 was a sad year for June. January 1998 was the month in which June was diagnosed with Alzheimer's following noted 1997 symptoms of short term memory loss.

June first noted her short term memory problems in 1997 and discussed them with her doctor of Geriatrics during her annual physical examination in December 1997. He told June what she was experiencing was not normal for her age. He made and appointment for June to have a series of tests at the University of Minnesota. Their report in late January of 1998 indicated a diagnosis of early stage Alzheimer's disease with severe short term memory losses.

June and Stan's life would never be the same. June managed to keep the disease at bay and remained in early stages of the disease through the year 2002. June did very well during the period of years from 1998-2002. June and Stan were very active and did the many things they had previously put off doing...they did much traveling including a final goodbye trip to London during the Sherlock Holmes Festival in 1999. June and Stan literally completed all items on their "Bucket" list.

The early symptoms of Alzheimer's are short term memory losses with some associated confusion. Stan recalls very vividly the incident in the last visit to Toronto in 1998 in which June had trouble returning to the Hotel from the Eaton Center where she had gone shopping. She was long overdue at the Hotel and Stan was getting very anxious, worried and concerned. This was very unlike June as she had always been very capable and efficient in finding her way around and about large cities and metropolitan areas.

Eventually June returned to the hotel approx. 1 hour late. June had gone shopping at the Eaton Center with a Canadian conference friend. They had split up for a time and were to meet at a pre-arranged later time and place. June had become mixed up on directions and on the time. June then tried to return to the Hotel on her own by using the Toronto subway system.  

She asked for and was given help, direction and assistance from the subway personnel. This was a significant turning point and a sad day in June's and Stan's life - it meant a loss of June's normal independence. Thereafter June could not and did not travel about large cities alone. June was the lady who in earlier years had given Stan instructions and demonstrations on how to travel around London by way of the London Underground. While all ended well, it was a frightening experience for both of them and a fore-shadowing of the future.


(June dining in "360 Restaurant" - CN Tower -1100 feet)


June Berg CN Tower Toronto 1998


The highlight of this week was visiting the CN Tower. (Canadian National) This was at that time, the world's highest freestanding structure. It rises to a height of 1815 feet. June and Stan had lunch at the 360 Restaurant located at the 1100-foot level.

This is a revolving restaurant with a breathtaking view. Just under the restaurant, is a general observation deck. Part of this level has a section of glass flooring. June could not bring herself to walk on the glass floor. The view straight down was somewhat chilling. June noted that some of the children tourists would delight in pushing each other onto the glass floor.

Note: Stan received a letter in September 2009, from June's cousin Donna Jean Vaughan in Livingston, TX in which she forwarded a friendly letter she had received from June dated Sunday October 11, 1998. She thought I would like to have it. The last part of her letter referred to this trip to Toronto.

"We were in Canada last week. The weather was nice. Toronto is a beautiful city. We had nice dinner at a restaurant near the top of the CN Tower. It was a beautiful scene. It rotated so we could see all over the city. It had been 20 years since we were there last...Love June."

Friendly little letters of this type sent to June's relatives and friends were so typical of June.

Note: The CN Tower was completed in 1976 at 1815 feet. Currently the Burj Dubai Tower in Dubai, United Arab Emirates is at 2,625 ft. and expected to top out at 2,684 when completed later this year and claims the title of "World's Tallest Structure." The Willis Tower (former Sear's Tower) completed in 1974 in Chicago stands at 1,451 feet. (June visited the Sear's Tower during a visit to Chicago in the early 1990's.) The Taipei 101 Tower completed in 2004 in Taipei, Taiwan is 1,670 feet tall.

June in Vancouver - 1987

June's and Stan's week long visit to Vancouver took place in August of 1987. The purpose of this visit to Vancouver was to attend the 11th International Meeting of Forensic Sciences, hosted by the International Association of Forensic Sciences. During their visit June and Stan stayed at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

June was very impressed with the beauty of Vancouver and compared it favorably to Switzerland. Their room looked out on a bay surrounded by mountains.

June's and Stan's activities for the week included, a visit to the VanDusen Gardens, a skyride to the top of Grouse Mountain, a bus and ferry trip to Vancouver Island and the scenic Gulf Islands, a ride on Royal Hudson Steam Train and finally cruising Howe Sound.

(Here June is Cruising Howe Sound, Vancouver BC)


June Berg cruising Howe Sound BC


The American Heritage Dictionary defines a "Sound" as (1) a long, relatively wide body of water larger than a strait or a channel, connecting larger bodies of water - (2) a long wide ocean inlet. 

Howe Sound is roughly triangular in shape with a network of fjords and is located northwest of Vancouver in British Columbia.

The mouth of the sound is at the Strait of Georgia and located between West Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast. The Sound opens on it's Southeast towards the Strait of Georgia. There are several Islands in the sound, three of which are large and mountainous.

The steep sided mainland shores serve to funnel the breezes as the daily thermal build the winds on a typical summer day to 20 knots (23 mph) plus at the Northern end of the Sound.

A small outcrop of volcanic rock is located on the Eastern shore of the Sound.

Spanish explorers were said to have observed the sound in 1791. However, Captain George Vancouver of the Royal Navy entered the Sound in 1792 and named it after the British Admiral Earl Howe.

June Visits Montreal in 1991 




June and Stan visited the city of Montreal in September of 1991. This visit to Montreal was to attend the conference of the International Association of BloodStain Pattern Analysts.

During the week in Montreal June and Stan stayed at the Hotel Des Gouverneurs Le Grand, 777 rue University. On the evening of her arrival, they were treated to a wine and cheese reception.

Montreal is a bi-lingual city. (As is all Canada now.) It was noted however that the street and highway direction signs were remarkably larger in French then in English. This had a tendency to confuse English-speaking visitors. June noted that everyone seemed to be speaking in French, however, as soon as June would speak in English they would then quickly revert to English. See notes below on language.

The area that is known today as Montreal is said to have been inhabited by the Algonquin, Huron and Iroquois Indians for 8000 years although the oldest known artifact is only 2000 years old. 

Jacques Cartier, a Frenchman, became the first European to reach the area of Montreal in 1534.

Montreal was incorporated as a city in 1802. Montreal is the second largest primarily French speaking city in the world after Paris. The 2006 census reports 1,620,693 people residing in Montreal making it the 2nd largest city in Canada and the 6th largest overall in North America. French is the language most spoken at home for 70.5% of the population per the 2006 census..