Ottawa’s Ghosts of Christmas Past.

When Canada’s parliament shuts down for Christmas, the old grey halls along Ottawa’s Wellington Street welcome the respite. They have seen much since their construction for the Parliament of Upper Canada in the mid 19th Century. And they have been under constant repair since.

But it is the ghosts who wander those halls that own it on long winter nights.    There is Sir John A. Macdonald vainly in search of a proper drink and Sir Wilfrid Laurier wondering where the crowds await his next speech. It is Mike Pearson, arm in arm with John George Diefenbaker, telling each other outrageous tales. William Lyon MacKenzie King searches in vain for an Irish Terrier who answers to Pat. He wants to tell his dog of the news from mother in his shaving mug that morning.

Oh, the stories these ghosts can tell. And it is not just the ghosts of Prime Ministers past but the ghosts of aides and secretaries, Ministers and MPs, cleaning staff and protective services, Senators and executive assistants, and the scribes of the National Press Gallery. There are many thousands of stories to be told that unfolded in these darkened halls. There have been liaisons for profit and liaisons for pleasure—in the ways of men and women across the years.

The untold stories of those who knew and loved these dank tombs of acts and rulings, speeches and words spoken only for Hansard. They know the ropes and pedals to pontification as the carrilloner knows his keys to ring the bells of the Peace Tower.

It will only be on New Years Eve that the residents of old Bytown will gather with the ghosts of Parliament Hill to sing our song: Oh Canada. We will light the night sky with fire works and good cheer.

And the Ghosts of Christmas Past will eagerly await the gathering of parliamentarians in the New Year,


Copyright 2016 © Peter Lowry

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