Interview by Jim Donaldson
The first part we’d like to talk about is why you decided to become an architect and why McGill.
Oh, I decided to become an architect when I was about fifteen years old. I was very interested in construction. Well, my younger brother and I, we built all sorts of things for the summer: treehouses, boats. Up in the woods, behind our farm near Sainte-Agathe, on the lake, we built a raft and called it the Queen Mary. We, well, our parents didn’t argue with us and we ordered barrels of nails. And one summer, we built a boat and shingled the bottom. And then we stained it green. Well, of course, we had more stain on our hair and our bodies than ever got on the boat. But the winter of ’35 or ’36, I saw winter construction for the first time, under wraps, under big canvas tarpaulins. And they poured concrete during freezing weather. And I think this was the first in Canada. This was about sixty, more than sixty years ago. And I was interested. And I designed an addition for our family house while I was still at high school. And when I was ready to enter McGill, or enter university, well McGill was just around the corner within walking distance. I didn’t choose any other schools of architecture. I just automatically went to McGill. And that was in the-
What year would that have been?
September 1939. That’s-
Quite a year that a lot of people won’t forget.
That’s right, that’s right, yeah. And that was also the year that the girls entered the School of Architecture. They had applied previously and been turned away. And the reason they were turned away was there were no washrooms for the girls in the engineering building. In those days, architecture was a five-year course, and I think there were forty of us in all five years. And we had one, big, common drafting room that we all worked in. And there were several smaller rooms where we’d go for lectures. The girls that came on, they made a whole difference to the study of architecture. What finally decided, some of the deans, some of the professors in the engineering building had lady secretaries. And it dawned on them that these lady secretaries must have had washroom facilities so they reasoned that if there were washroom facilities for lady secretaries there could be washroom- the girls could use the same facilities. And Kay Chard, who had got her Bachelor of Arts degree from McGill then applied for a Bachelor of Engineering. And she was the first girl to graduate. And this time last year, she was given an honorary doctorate degree. And she came out from Vancouver and stayed with me and my wife. And her daughter came along and then another daughter and a son. And it was a nice gathering. And it was lots of fun to see Kay dressed in her doctoral robes. I asked one of the guys at the School of Architecture why she was getting an engineering degree, because I knew that Faludi, an Italian who had come to lecture to us before the war, he was a Doctor of Architecture, why couldn’t they give her a doctorate in architecture? But anyway, she calls herself Dr. Wisnicki now and her children are very proud of her.
Did you ever get an answer to that question that you asked why she didn’t get a Doctor of Architecture?
No, no. I don’t know where Faludi got his doctorate, probably in Italy but he was on the staff at the School of Architecture in Toronto and would come down to lecture at McGill every now and then.
Can you recall some of the types of classes or courses that you pursued when you were at the school in those years?
Well, Percy Nobbs was on the staff. He had resigned as director of the School of Architecture and he gave courses in heraldry, stained glass window and wrought iron. And these were all requisite courses when the School of Architecture followed the Beaux-Arts routine. And of course, when John Bland came on strength, he subbed for- oh, who’s the name of the man.
Just a second. It will come to me too. Ramsay Traquair?
No, this was after Traquair. A nice man but he was sick. And John Bland was his assistant, so John Bland just stepped into his role. And having been- John was a graduate of the AA, the Architectural Association in London, and modern design- the schooling for architecture was not a Beaux-Arts routine. It was more practical. It was reinforced concrete, design of steel, acoustics, air-conditioning. These were all subjects that later were put into the curriculum while I was off in the war. Well, I did two years of architecture and then went into the Air Force. And when we came back-
That would have been, what, 1941 that you joined the- was it the RCAF?
The RCAF, yeah, joined the RCAF. I had to wait six months before they could take me on because there was a- I suppose they had a great waiting list and, anyway, I trained in the RCAF for a couple of years and then went overseas. And the European world war was pretty well over by this time and so we all were shipped back and my squadron regrouped in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia and we started to training for the Japanese theatre of operations. And did a couple of months training and then the Japs gave up, thanks to the bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Interestingly enough, when VE Day rolled around, I was in London, actually at the time. Well, I came up to London, we were all given leave from our squadrons and we all gathered in London and had a bit of a party. And VE Day in Halifax, the troops trashed Halifax. The citizens of Halifax, maybe they were okay but they were, maybe they treated the Navy kindly but the Army and the Air Force were not made to feel welcome, so downtown Halifax, I understand, was pretty well trashed, like a Stanley Cup playoff.
This was VE Day, then, okay.
VE Day, yes. So when VJ Day rolled around, they decided that we’d all better stay in our barracks and have a great party there rather than go downtown Halifax breaking windows.
Makes sense, yeah. So they broke open the whiskey and the beer and that was a bit of a party too.
So then what happened? You came back. I guess you got-.
Yeah and a lot of guys stayed on in the Air Force. I don’t know what they did but those of us whose university educations were interrupted, we all went back. And the Department of Veterans’ Affairs made it possible. I don’t think I paid any tuition for my remaining years at McGill from ’45 to ’51. The DVA paid the shot and they also paid me a hundred dollars a month living allowance. And I got married, we got married in 1950, Shirley and I, and when I told my kids that we lived on two hundred dollars a month, they don’t believe it. Two hundred dollars, you can go out and blow that in one evening at a party.
We had an apartment on Ridgewood and I had a little motorcar and living was easy. And Shirley was a graduate of the Museum of Fine Arts School and used to come down to the School of Architecture and help apply washes and put in scenery and we used to work- our- at that point, the School of Architecture was on the corner of Milton and University, where the extension to the engineering building is now.
And we would be there- we had the run of the building for twenty-four hours of the day, because when you’re doing your thesis, you don’t want to be disturbed by janitors and bells telling you that you had to go home. We would work there until two or three in the morning and get our washes done and get all these marvelous-
All the renderings and the [unclear].
All the renderings, that’s it, the renderings, yeah.
That practice, of course, still exists today, working on a charrette all night long and so forth.
That’s what, I guess, makes architecture rather unique compared to engineering and so forth. One of the unique qualities of it. Some of the other course that you took when you came back, can you remember some of them?
Well, I came back and discovered that my two years of architecture were absolutely nothing. I had to start in the science. And we went out to Dawson College in St. John’s, Quebec. And I spent a year out there. And we were all vets out there, a pretty wild bunch, I guess. And we used to swim in the quarry near by and got home on the weekends. Then we had to do three years of engineering, I guess, civil engineering: strength of materials, design of steel structures, design of reinforced concrete. And then the final three years, I guess, well, I mean this is a long time ago, I finally got out in ’ 51, we studied acoustics and air conditioning and some planning, some landscaping; did a lot of model-building and of course Sketching School. So that was a great plus, too.
Did they have the Sketching School in Montreal in those days or was it-?
Well, I’m trying to think. No, I think we went down to Sorel for Sketching School. And I borrowed the Jeep from my mother’s farm, which was a great help because we drove down in the Jeep, and of course the Jeep could take us almost anywhere in Sorel. Sorel was where all the Navy ships that were mothballed went to and it was like a Sargasso Sea of maritime equipment. And we would wander around all these wonderful old ships with a screwdriver or a blowtorch trying to take, you know, useful bits of equipment like brass handles and signs on the doors and that sort of thing. But, of course, people had been there before us so there really wasn’t much to strip, but we did a lot of sketches there.
When you were at McGill, you mentioned John Bland took over as the director or the dean. Was he teaching as well at that- did you take any courses from John Bland?
Yes, he used to do crits of some of our schemes. That was in third, fourth and fifth years, I guess. I’m trying to think. I don’t know that he actually-. There was- who were some of our professors?
Was Gordon Webber there at the time?
Yes, Gordon was on strength. And of course it took us about six months to understand Gordon’s language. And Hazen Sise was-
Oh, Hazen Sise was there?
Yeah. And, oh, Turner, that was the man’s name. Old Mr. Turner was the director when I first joined the School of Architecture.
And John Bland replaced him.
And John was his assistant and replaced him because Mr. Turner was in frail health. I wish I could find the old photographs. It’s what I’ve been digging down in my basement for. We used to have annual photographs and we’d stand out in front of the engineering building steps. And then I’d get everybody to sign them and I would know who was who. We had some very nice people lecturing to us. The man that ran the Survey School, he was from Jamaica, an Englishman from Jamaica. He had a wonderful, soft, almost like a southern accent. I can’t think of his name.
Those- between the Surveying School and the Sketching School, at the time, they were always difficult but they certainly provided some fine memories because of the fun that you probably had when you were on them.
Yeah, the Survey School, we did a handheld survey of Mount Johnson down by St. John’s, Quebec. The toponomy commission, in their wisdom, quote-unquote, succeeded in changing the names down there. It’s Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu now and Mount Johnson is now called Mount- goodness knows.
I wouldn’t know either. I remember Mount Johnson.
How about, Pat, some of the classmates in those years? I imagine- the thing that I always heard about the years right after the war that all the students were very serious and I imagine they were also very fun-loving but they were very determined to work diligently and get their degree.
Was Ray in your class?
No, he was ahead of me.
And how about- I’m thinking Arthur was ahead of you, I guess.
Well, no, Arthur and I were classmates at one point and then he moved ahead. I was never a terribly serious student. In fact, about half way through my studies, I went to a firm of management engineers, Stevenson and Kellogg, I think they were, and took a three-day, I don’t know, examination to find out if I was really bound for architecture. And the net result was, they said, “Yes, you couldn’t sell a bag of peanuts. You’re much better to be an architect”. Well, I ran an office for forty years and I didn’t make much money at it but at my wife said, it kept me out of the taverns.
Some of the time!
So in terms of the classmates, are any of them still practicing around Montreal or do you keep in touch with any of those? Or like a lot of other people who graduate, they sort of lose touch with a lot of their-.
Yeah, yeah, well, I see them. Every five years, we have a gathering. In fact, it was our forty-fifth anniversary. We had the guys and their wives here at the house. I think only three or four of them showed up. I forget how many. I used to be the- well I still am the class agent for collecting for what they- they keep changing the name of the fund now, too. It was started by-
But that’s the Alumni Fund.
The Alumni Fund, yes!
The interesting thing, of course, is there are not too many people left to canvas from, I guess, eh? The longer you stay around, the less people who will be staying around with you.
That’s right, yeah.
And who were the people? Do you recall who came when you had your last reunion?
Oh, Roy LeMoyne, okay, yeah.
Jim Robb, yeah, that’s a good old name. Roy LeMoyne, I know him.
I’m so dependent on class books and-
Aren’t we all!
Yeah, as aide-mémoire.
Yes! We can always come back to that, but tell me a little bit about your career after you graduated in 1951.
Oh, yes. As a matter of fact, I was just- I’ve just mailed or am mailing off a thing to John Bland. When I graduated in the spring of 1951, I had enjoyed a year of marriage and my wife and I had decided that what we would do is we would put our furniture into storage and sublet our apartment and go abroad for a year to travel in Europe and study. And I had a nice, little, red Ford convertible that my mother had given me as a wedding present. So we packed what we thought we would need for a year in a couple of suitcases and loaded up the trunk of the car and sailed across to Liverpool. And then drove down to London, or the English people say ’up’. When you’re going to London, you’ re always going up, up to London. And we had friends and relatives and we were in London for a while and I went to see- John Bland had given me a letter to the secretary of the AA, a man by the name of Alexander. And he in turn gave me eight or ten letters of introduction to all the principal architects in Europe: Aalto, Peresutti, Corbusier. And we just traveled around Europe. And we just traveled around Europe. And people would said, “Well now, very interesting, we don’t get too many Canadian architects. What notable commission had your husband done?” Well, at that point, I really hadn’ t started my office but I had designed a pig house for my mother’s farm. So- it was a very scientific pig house too. I got all the latest information from the Department of Agriculture in Ottawa. Pigs are very clean animals, and if you give them the proper surroundings, they keep them clean. And the pigs on my mother’s farm all had nice sleeping platforms and they had sloping pits where they did their business and the farmer then would come along with a- like a snowplow thing and push everything through the drains and into a big compost bin and the pig manure is mixed with straw and spread on the fields. I’m sorry to say that that building has been pulled down now by the current owners. But we spent a year going around. We visited every country west of the Iron Curtain except Portugal. We sailed to Greece. We left the car in storage in Naples for a week, ten days, two weeks. Sailed to Greece the same day that King George died of cancer of the lungs. And we got to Athens and I had a letter of introduction to the Canadian ambassador who is a friend of my aunts, and there were no diplomatic functions while the court was in mourning. So we spent a week with the ambassador and his wife and the ambassador’s limo and chauffeur traveling around the countryside. And one of my school friends from Upper Canada College was the first secretary at the Canadian embassy and we drove with him to some very historic site.
It wasn’t the Acropolis?
No, no. This was outside Athens. Delphi.
Oh Delphi, yeah.
We went to Delphi. Delphos, I guess. And that was interesting. I’ve been back to Greece a couple of times since then. It’s a remarkable country.
I guess every architect feels that they want to go to Greece at least one time in their lifetime.
That’s right, yes.
Did you- eventually, you came back to North America and back to Montreal?
That’s right, that’s right, yes. And got our apartment back again. And Phil Goodfellow, who was several years ahead of me, took me on and I worked with him for three or four years and then opened up my own office. Well, I guess it was only two years I worked with Phil. And that was interesting. He was doing a lot of apartments on Ridgewood, where I lived, and so I worked with him on the apartments. I brought some business into the firm and then when I had enough going, he was going to move to other premises so I moved upstairs to the eighth floor of the Drummond Building and I was there from ’52 to ’92, I guess.
Yeah, as a matter of fact, I recall when you were in the Drummond Building because I was across the street on Ste. Catherine and my partners were Derek Drummond and Lloyd Sankey.
And we used to envy you because we would be working and we’d look out the window on Ste. Catherine at about four o’clock on Friday, you’d be ambling along the street, whatever the time was. And we said we had to reach that status one day. But of course, nobody- they always look at what time you’re leaving. They never think about what time you arrived in the morning. Do you remember projects in which you were involved? Was there any particular one that you have a great memory for?
Well, I ended up doing a lot of theatre architecture. Norma Springford, who headed the drama department at Concordia-. Well, I met Walter Massey. He was doing summer theatre up at Sainte-Agathe one summer. And when we were all back in town again, he came to see me in the office and he said, “There’s a move in the Eastern Townships to rebuild a theatre in the sort of North Hatley area. Would you be interested?” And I said, “Sure”. So the result of that was the Piggery, the Piggery Theatre, which really was a piggery. One of the local people helped finance the purchase of a pig barn and it was converted from a piggery into a four-hundred or three-hundred-and-ninety-nine-seat theatre. And that was very successful and as a matter of fact, it’s still going.
It’s in its thirtieth year now. And one year, they put on Dracula. And I said to my wife and children, “It’s my great-uncle’s play and it’s your father’s-,” to the children, “it’s your father’s theatre. It’s a wonderful excuse for you all to come”. And we all went out to North Hatley and watched a great performance of Dracula. I don’t know who the producer or who the actors were but it was certainly well done.
We were talking about the work that you were doing and you were saying that the difficult thing is to get it and then to try and match the client up with-.
Absolutely. Matching a client’s aspirations with his- with the money in hand is a tremendous part of an architect’s work. The clients have million-dollar ideas and hundred-thousand-dollar budgets and you have to mesh the two together and you have to make the client understand that some of the things he wants done are not practical or not possible or not allowed by the building code. Then again, people’s ideas change and suddenly when they realize they can’t afford what they had in mind, they pack it in and are very surprised when you send them the bill for the work you’ve done. “What do you mean you’re sending us a bill? We haven’t built anything!” “Oh, I know, but we’ve spent hundreds of hours in the drafting room and I’ve got overhead and I’ve got draughtsman’s fees and engineering fees to pay and this is all part of it.
And quite often, friendships won’t survive situations like that.
Well, I’ve been lucky. I can’t remember having lost a friendship that way. I particularly like designing theatres. Well, maybe my great-uncle’s love of being a theatre manager has rubbed off on me. I’ve designed a number of theatres for Norma Springford to replace the Mountain Playhouse.
And in fact, I built a spectacular model and it was sitting in Mayor Drapeau’ s office for a number of years. He had the bright idea that perhaps the building materials would be donated by the interested companies that made them in the Montreal area and the city would provide the labour. Well, it was a wonderful thought. It never took off.
I remember that playhouse. That was up near Beaver Lake, on the south side of Beaver Lake. Wasn’t it up on the- where the ski hill is there now at the top of that area?
It was originally the Montreal Park and Toboggan Slide Club. And I remember when it did things like The Boyfriend, it had no backstage. It was like the old Avon Theatre in Stratford before it was brought up to modern-day requirements. I think they had five feet of backstage and of course, they had no fly tower and no room for trucking so that the scenery was very minimal and most of the things they put on, it was just one scene. Another job that I liked very much was a concert hall that I did for some clients out in West Brome. There was an old church, Methodist or Baptist; I’m not sure what denomination. It was built in 1853, a stone foundation on bedrock and the building was a post and beam frame with a slate roof. And fortunately, the roof hadn’t leaked. The building was as sound as the day it was built. And it continues now. It’s a concert hall owned by a family that put on free concerts in the summertime every Saturday and Sunday afternoon, I think. And there had been a parish hall behind the church, no connection between the church and the hall and I brought the- created the green room and public washrooms and changing rooms for the musicians and built a nice terrace in front of the church. And I believe it runs at a great success. I’ve been to at least one of the concerts, but-.
That work that you did, I remember a number of years ago when I guess Arcop or Affleck’s firm, Affleck Desbarats won a couple of competitions and they actually got in as part of the- the projects, I guess, the Fathers of the Confederation and the National Theatre in Ottawa. They had theatres in those buildings too. Did you ever get involved with them at all?
And how about one or two last questions in terms of friendships, did you ever- I always ask this question and I’m always surprised at the answers [unclear] architects as friends.
Well, Mike Ellwood is a good friend. Of course, we’re fraternity brothers. Maybe that’s the link. We never stepped on each other’s toes architecturally-speaking. Who else?
I guess if Ray were alive he would be about the same age as you are, eh?
And Hazen Sise I remember many years ago because I worked with him in the old days of Arcop.
No, his son is an architect now, too.
I didn’t know that.
Yeah. I had a nice conversation with the son a couple of years ago. The son studied in Germany so he’s fortunate enough to speak German. I can’t remember what his name is.
Well, let me ask you, maybe our final question, too, but in terms of your career in architecture, knowing what you know now, would you do it any differently if you had to do it any differently if you had to do it all over again? 20/20 vision is usually a little simpler afterwards.
Well, would I do it over again? I think I would. I think I’d ask more questions. I prefer to- up to now, I just sort of stay in the background and absorb what is dished out, so to speak. I’m not a sort of rambunctious type who hammers his fist on the table and say, “What is this and what is that. And I don’t believe this and I don’t believe that”. I’m too easy-going, maybe. Yes, I would- I’d do it again, sure.
From the way you talk, I think I could surmise that very easily. Because one thing about architecture, it certainly gives you an observation or perspective that you wouldn’t have in most other professions. I mean, when you travel, seeing the culture and the buildings of any community or city is a lot more interesting than just being an average person seeing this.
Oh yes, absolutely. Every building you go into, you analyze. You can’t go into a strange house and not know where the john is.
I mean automatically, it’s- and you can look around and see how people don’t take the best advantage of their roof over their heads. They- some of them they clutter up the rooms too much. What am I saying, with all the furniture here!
Actually this is- let me ask you, are you still practicing?
No, thank- no, no, no.
Oh, no. You were going to say thank God…
Thank God, no. Well, the reason I- there were two reasons, well three reasons. I was widowed. My wife of forty years died, which, you know, kicks the stuffing out of you, and my lease was expiring and the other thing was, I felt I was obliged to go into computer-assisted design. And I didn’t have the money for that. I wasn’t going to, you know, undertake a major purchase or lease of computer-assisted design. And I thought, well, the fates are telling me that this is the time to get out, so I retired gracefully. I wrote a letter of thanks and farewell to all of my clients and contractors and building suppliers. And I quoted Khalil Gibran in the letter and I never looked back. And then I came- well, for years, Shirley, my first wife would say, “For God’s sakes, why do you go down to that bloody office every day? Why don’t you move down into the basement and it would be- you would have everything there?” Well I thought, hell, then I’d be tied to the house. I wouldn’t be able to get out and get around. It’s nice to, you know, separate your life.
What year did you retire?
Oh, okay, that recently.
So I was practicing from ’42- ’52 to ’92.
Oh, I see. A good part of the century.
A good run at it. And I met a lot of interesting people. Went on some very interesting trips. One of the trips, I remember an RAIC convention out in Vancouver in 1962, I think it was. And one of the post-convention tours was a two-week trip to Japan. So my wife and I and we were six architects and their wives and a man who was in the antique business. And we flew to Japan and we were going to stay in the Imperial Hotel and for some reason, the travel agent hadn’t followed up on the original part. But we spent one night in an adequate hotel in Tokyo and then moved into the Imperial the next day. We were there for three or four days and that was very exhilarating. You know, that was one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most interesting commissions. And oddly enough, Frank Lloyd Wright was not studied at McGill and people when we were in Europe in 1951-52, architects, kept asking us about Frank Lloyd Wright. Well, we didn’t know what to say. He was an unknown person as far as we were concerned. But certainly, his Imperial Hotel was a-. And oddly enough, we were in Canberra, Australia two years ago and stayed in a hotel, a Hyatt Hotel, and it’s a dead ringer for the Imperial. So if you’re ever in Canberra…
Isn’t it interesting!
…go to the Hyatt and there it is, almost room for room. I mean, it’s the same nice layout, low ceilings, high spaces. Frank Lloyd Wright played with volumes very effectively. And he had some very good ideas, bringing materials together that you wouldn’t normally.
And, of course, he designed his house you know right from the overall concept right down to the furniture and the [unclear].
Oh yes, oh yes.
And everything else too. He was sort of the complete architect. Plus he had a fascinating life.
Wasn’t he? Yes he did. I didn’t run off with one of my client’s wives, though, the way he did!
The opportunity didn’t present itself!
Well, no actually, it didn’t. But, yes he was kind of a scandalous fellow, but look at him, in his nineties designing the Guggenheim in New York.
That must say something about his lifestyle!
Do you have any final thoughts on architecture?
No, I don’t think so. I think it’s a wonderful discipline. It enlarges your life. It makes you very acute of your surroundings. I can’t walk anywhere in the world without looking at a building and thinking of how it’s designed and how it works and how the light falls on it and the circulation in it. I think it’s wonderful that women are in the profession now. It’s stupid to exclude women from any discipline. And well, they had strange reasons for it. A hundred years ago, they thought that women who had university degrees couldn’ t bear babies. Now did you ever hear anything so stupid in your life?
We, when we were in Stockholm, we put the car in storage and flew over to Helsinki for a week to look at Alvar Aalto’s buildings, and if we were lucky, to meet him. This was in the spring of’52. No, it was in the fall of ’51. And the nights were getting longer and we were pretty far up north. And we flew over to Helsinki and stayed in a bed and breakfast. And I phoned up Aalto’s office and he said, “Certainly. Come around at eleven o’clock tomorrow morning” , which we dutifully did. And his office was in his house and he had a staff of maybe four or five people and they all spoke English and German and, of course, Finnish. And he was busy designing the new University of Helsinki. They were building a new campus the way University of Victoria built a new campus outside the city. And the buildings that he was particularly interested in were the buildings that were going to be used for the 1952 Summer Olympics, which were in Helsinki. And he had designed tremendous wide-span, built-up wooden arches using Tico connectors, you know, these things like a bear trap where the bits of wood were clinched together very, very strongly. And here were wonderful grandstands with lovely curving roofs over them for the various buildings he was doing. And I’m sure they’re still standing as strong today as they were when they were put up. And we thought perhaps we would, you know, be an hour or so at his place and then get back to downtown Helsinki and have lunch. But nothing would do. About one o’clock, he said, “Come on, we’ll hop in my car”. And he had a Mercedes. It reminded me of the one that old Spence-Sales had at the School of Architecture. And he and his principal draughtsman, Shirley and I hopped into this Mercedes and he drove us all around Helsinki and showed us all these various buildings. And it got to be about three o’clock and we were- pangs of hunger. And we went to the Engineers Club that he had designed and he was the head of the Engineers Club. And we got to drinking, well, drinking Slivovitz and beer on an empty stomach. And Shirley’s face showed terrible fatigue and he said to her, “Are you hungry?” And we both said, “Well, we haven’ t had any lunch yet. And he said, “My God! We have lunch- don’t you know Finnish hours?” They have- well, actually, Scandinavian hours. They have breakfast, I suppose, at six in the morning. Then they have sort of a lunchtime snack at eleven. And when they get home at four in the afternoon, they have afternoon tea and then maybe at eight thirty or nine o’clock at night, they have dinner. Well, we didn’t know those hours, so here we were, we had had breakfast at seven or eight or something like that, at three in the afternoon, Slivovitz and beer, so he ordered steak for us. And we sat around this table. And he said, “ I would like you to meet my wife”. And this was his second wife. His first wife had died. This pretty girl, a young girl, swept into the room wearing an ankle-length mink coat. And he introduced her to us. He said, “This is”, I forget her name. “Her father killed more Russians in the winter war than anybody else”. And so that was fun. We sat around and ate and talked for another couple of hours and then said goodbye to them. But at one point, he didn’t know that we were Canadians. And he’d just finished designing some dormitories for MIT, I think, on the Charles River. And these were sort of serpentine, brick dormitories with cantilevered stairs hanging outside. “Oh”, he said, “you’re Canadians”. He said, “I had Canadian bricklayers on my Charles River dormitories. They were the most wonderful workmen. They did the most beautiful work. And he filled up our glasses, I guess, and had another toast!