Lest We Forget

Lest We Forget 1200

In memory of

Sergeant Archibald Don Gordon, Royal Canadian Air Force,

405 Squadron

Served as flight engineer on a Halifax bomber which was shot down over the
Bay of Biscay.

Deceased. April 1943

Age 21

Veterans Affairs Canada

Archie Gordon

Archie was a happy Scottish lad. One of seven children who immigrated to northern Alberta with their parents in the early 1920s as part of the Soldiers Settlement Act. His father was a proud member of the Black Watch and had served proudly.

Archie had a keen sense of humour and was a true friend to his sister Alice, my grandmother, who felt his loss deeply.

If you want peace, be peace. This is the best way to honour the memories of those who gave their lives that we might live in peace times.

Thanks for visiting.



©Dorothy E. Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2019
Aimwell CreativeWorks

The Tonsorial Parlour

Weekly Photo Challenge: Community


Barber shops and beauty parlours ~ hubs of community gossip for as long as there’s been hair.

Calgary’s Heritage Park, Canada’s largest living historical village, depicts the history of Alberta during pioneer times.

A few years ago a barber shop/snooker hall (referred to in olden days as the “Tonsorial Parlour”) was moved to the Park from the village of Barons, Southern Alberta.

This building has been restored and outfitted to resemble the look of such an establishment in early 20th century Alberta.


The image below is from our family archives and features my great grandfather, Steve McDonall (leaning on the counter), and two clients in his Tonsorial Parlour in Youngstown, Alberta in 1912. No doubt in the middle of a good chin wag.

Maybe discussing the sinking of the Titanic?

The Tonsorial Parlour

Of course, I cannot take credit for this image, but it was fun to show it for the purpose of this challenge anyway.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂


©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

Shout Outs


Through The Luminary Lens

This, That and The Other Thing


A Place in History and in my Heart … Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

This past weekend my husband and I ventured to Niagara-on-the-Lake for some R&R.

We had tickets to a play at the Shaw Festival (Enchanted April ~ highly recommend it), and stayed at Queen’s Landing for two nights (also recommended).

The town itself, considered one of the prettiest in Ontario, is enchanting. Steeped in the earliest history of Canada, it sports many heritage buildings and monuments and resonates the spirit of its past. It’s main street, Queen Street, is lined with boutiques and restaurants. Niagara-on-the-Lake is, in fact, a popular day trip destination from Toronto.

It’s located in a fertile basin at the bottom of the Niagara Escarpment where the Niagara River meets Lake Ontario, an area burgeoning with wineries and fruit stands making a weekend excursion in the summer all the more inviting.

Still, I have my own reasons for enjoying an excursion to this pretty little town.

Many years ago I undertook to climb my family tree.

Thanks to my maternal grandfather’s carefully guarded, though messy, collection of family papers spanning several generations, I was able to learn that one branch of the family had distinguished itself during the American Revolution and War of 1812.

Originally from New York State, my Springer ancestor, Daniel, his father, David, and brother, Richard, all served as members of the notorious Butler’s Rangers. After the American Revolution, Daniel was among the first settlers of Niagara-on-the-Lake before moving on to the London, Ontario area where he received land for his services to the Crown and served as a magistrate.

David was killed in 1777 at the Battle of Stillwater, whereupon his wife, Margaret, and their youngest children abandoned all property and walked the distance from Albany to Niagara-on-the-Lake where they would settle until war’s end.

Though the details are sketchy, theirs is a story of courage, determination and loyalty to a cause in which they believed and I, like my grandfather, am proud of my United Empire Loyalist heritage.

Needless to say, I am a hopeless romantic too … Click on the images for my wistful commentary.

Whatever my ancestor’s experience, I am grateful for a special connection to a remarkably beautiful town, the role it plays in my heritage and the place it fills in my heart.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂


©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

Shave and a Haircut … Southern Alberta


A few posts ago I mentioned meeting some long lost cousins in Edmonton, Alberta. Our common ancestry begins with our great grandfather Steve who, by all accounts, was a rather cruel and troubled individual. Judging by some of the travails that have haunted our families since I see no evidence to the contrary.

The details are sketchy, but he was born in Tyre, Michigan in February 1877, and headed west across the U.S. to Montana with the building of the Great Northern Railroad. Later, some time in the 1920s, he landed with his wife and three sons in Southern Alberta. There he bought and farmed a section of land near Youngstown, not far from the Saskatchewan border, and set up a pool hall and barbershop in town. I’m told he lead a rather prosperous life.

These images depict a barbershop/pool hall which, in those days, inhabited the same space.

This particular pool hall was saved and moved from small town Barons, Alberta, to its present location in Calgary’s beautiful Heritage Park Historical Village — a spot I always love to visit when I’m in town. My personal collection of vintage photos includes one of great grandpa Steve in his barbershop standing behind his barber’s chair, so when I walked inside this piece of Alberta history it felt like I was, for a moment, stepping into his world. I found the experience to be quite moving, especially since I’d just visited with the cousins and the spirit of our family conversations still lingered.

Great Grandpa Steve lost everything during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl. This, no doubt, only exacerbated his already cantankerous nature making life even more difficult for his traumatized family. In the end, they migrated hundreds of miles to north of Edmonton where, in his 50s, Steve started all over again … securing land from the government in exchange for clearing and planting and creating a working farm.

That, however, is a story for another day.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂


Copyright Aimwell CreativeWorks 2012

Alberta Calling

Alberta is calling and this time under much happier circumstances than my last visit a month ago.

My family member, who was in such peril, is now on the mend and doing much better. Together we’re looking forward to some Stampede fun, heading to the mountains for a couple of day trips, and simply chilling on the patio with a drink in hand. Oh, and playing with the new addition to the family … a three-month-old Sh’Borkie (Shizu/Bichon Frise/Yorkie) named Rusty. (Cute as a button and spoiled rotten, I’m guessing …)

Speaking of family … a day trip to Edmonton will see us meeting some second cousins for the first time … all because of a common interest in unravelling the family tree and understanding the loose ties that bind.

I’ve already done a significant amount of research on our mutual ancestors, and having no children I am thrilled to be able to share it with relations who are interested in what makes this family tick.

When I was full tilt into doing my genealogy I loved to discover who my forebears were and uncover their stories, many of which were passed down through the generations in letters and by word of mouth. As well, there are a few ancestral families whose stories are quite well documented due to their involvement in the American Revolution (as United Empire Loyalists) and their settling of parts of Upper Canada following that conflict.

To know that my research has not been done in vain and that others in the family whom I have never met are willing to be its custodians and even build upon it does my heart good.

Yes, Alberta is calling, and I’m hoping to return home with my creativity once again intact.

Featured image: Three Sisters in the Rocky Mountains at Canmore, Alberta.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂

Copyright Aimwell Enterprises 2012