James’ Brand New Blog

#ldnont history mystery: Which ambassador to the UN once played touch football at old Sunshine Park?

- September 7th, 2012

Back in the day, we would play touch football on the big fields of “The Sem” or “The Seminary” off Huron St. and facing Waterloo. There was also baseball, often at an impromptu diamond nearby on the area where Merrymount is now.

Those football games of the mid-1960s came to mind with the happy news the Historic Sites Committee of the London Public Library Board is honouring the founding of seminary in 1912 with the unveiling of a plaque next week. (Those details, slightly edited, follow). The area had been known as Sunshine Park long before we began our pigskin pursuits. That lovely name had faded from general memory by the time we got there.

At least one of the players from Old North and Broughdale who starred in those games went on to a career of great distinction. He would become a Canadian diplomat and Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations.

JBNBlog likes to think his diplomatic skills developed early in those games. The demands of playing touch football on an undefined field with a v. loose interpretation of steamboat counting, the line of scrimmage etc. could produce many a fool disagreement that needed to be settled before somebody stomped home with the ball.

For the usual JBNBlog prizes, who is he? A photograph of him presenting his credentials to Kofi Annan in 2006 is also part of this post.

For bonus points, what piece of furniture in his family’s Huron St. home played a key role in supporting Pierre Trudeau during a 1968 federal election campaign stop?

Thanks to LPL’s media ace Manager, Marketing & Communications Ellen Hobin for the plaque invitation & these details:

From its humble beginnings in the rectory next door to St. Peter’s Cathedral on Dufferin Ave., to
its resplendent setting in the former “Sunshine Park” in north London, St. Peter’s Seminary has
a many stories to tell.
Next Friday, September 14, The Historic Sites Committee of the London Public Library Board
will unveil its 67th Historic Plaque outside the Seminary, in recognition of the founding of St.
Peter’s Seminary on September 15, (1912).
In 1912, Bishop Michael Francis Fallon, OMI of the Roman Catholic Diocese of London
founded St. Peter’s Seminary in the bishop’s house, now the rectory of St. Peter’s Cathedral.
Having outgrown its small home, the Seminary moved to its present location in 1926, a 25-acre
field known to locals as Sunshine Park, a popular spot for picnics and baseball games at that
time. When the Seminary was built it certainly stood out amongst the fields and the quiet of the
north end.
Since its beginning, a century ago, St. Peter’s has educated 1,042 priests (of whom 23 were
made bishops and one a cardinal), 43 permanent deacons, and 118 lay graduates who have
served in communities in Canada and abroad.
We invite the media and the public to join us for Friday’s plaque unveiling and official greetings
which will recognize the historical significance of St. Peter’s Seminary
to London and beyond.
Plaque Unveiling: St. Peter’s Seminary
Historic Sites Committee of the LPL Board
Date: Friday, September 14
Time: 11:30am – noon
Location: 1040 Waterloo Street North (outside at side entrance)
.
Access to the
Seminary and the parking lot is from Colborne Street at Huron (beside Merrymount)
The Historic Sites Committee of the London Public Library Board identifies and marks historic
buildings, places, and people of local significance. Their Walking Guide, available in print and
on the Library website, provides brief histories of the 49 sites marked by the committee from
1970-2000.
 . . .  & here is JBNBlog’s long ago friendly foe in those football games making a hand off of a different sort to a good man who continues to do his best to quarterback the world toward peace & justice.

Amb_Mcnee_122856-SG Meeting_31-07-2006_lg

The Canadian Ambassador, a former Londoner whose name was taken out by JBNBlog because it’s the answer to today’s quiz, presents his credentials to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, at UN Headquarters in New York. Date: 2006/07/31. Credit: UN Photo/Paulo Filgueirast.

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