Update regarding MCHS grad Peter Parsons

Please note: This post is a repeat of an earlier post, which was deleted during a recent site upgrade.

A previous post is entitled:

We have a question regarding archives, files, photos, etc. regarding MCHS grad Peter Parsons

I am pleased to share the following message from Steve Leath:

Subject: regarding MCHS grad Peter Parsons

Hi Jaan,

A small note about Peter Parsons:

My wife’s family knew Peter well. After his parents passed he became like a son to them.

He used to work up in the Yukon for a mining company for 6 months at a time. He would save up enough to fly to England to meet his girlfriend and would buy a motorcycle with sidecar and travel the world. He would write to my wife’s mother and send photos of his travels. The stories he told of his travels were intriguing. In Africa, he ate poached antelope for Christmas after his motorcycle broke down and a poacher stopped to help out. He took commercial ships when he needed to get from one country to another and had to go to another African country when during the trip the original port of call was in a country that just erupted in rebellion. He wrote a travel log for a Russian car company’s (Lada) magazine. He went through Africa on one trip, Asia on another and Australia on another where he and his girlfriend got married in the outback. I think the only continent he didn’t travel to was South America.

He finally settled in London England with his wife. He visited us (in PEI) and was hoping for a white Christmas. I told him we often don’t get them but it turned out to be one of the snowiest Christmases here. It snowed and snowed and at first he and his wife thought it was great but after a while we couldn’t get out to parties and visits and the thrill was gone.

He wanted to learn to fly, and was taking flying lessons. While in the training plane with the instructor over London he died in a midair collision. A very sad end to a wonderful and interesting man. His wife came to visit us a few times after that but since has passed away as well.

Steve Leath



The original post featured the following comments:

4 Responses to: We have an update regarding Peter Parsons, subject of a previous inquiry-post at the Preserve Stories website

Doug Hambley

March 25, 2019 at 11:13 pm

Steve, thank you for the information about Peter Parsons. He was a close friend until after his Mother died and he and his sister Patricia moved. That family had so many tragedies starting with his Dad’s untimely death after lung surgery. I had heard many years ago about his motorcycle trip through Africa but by then had totally lost contact with him.

Funny that he worked as a miner and then traveled the World. At that period of my life (the 1970s), I was doing the same —working as a miner and mining engineer and traveling between jobs. I’ve only been a few places in Asia (Shandong Province and Inner Mongolia in China and South Korea) and all of those were on business. Like Peter, I have trekked around Aussie and New Zealand and have visited several countries in Africa (Congo-Brazzaville, Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia) more recently either on business or on Rotary projects.

Anyone know what happened to Peter’s older sister Patricia who graduated MCHS in 1963?

Jaan Pill

March 26, 2019 at 7:47 am

I would also be interested to know about Peter’s sister Patricia. I recall some time after 1963 (the year she graduated MCHS) I spoke to her briefly on Lavigne St. in Cartierville. As I recall, she was studying at McGill at the time. However, my memory of such conversations would be very hazy. I was living on Lavigne St. north of de Salaberry and she was living on Lavigne St. south of it.

Dan McPhail and his family moved into the same house on Lavigne St. where the Parsons family had lived, before the latter family moved away. Dan reports that when they moved in, in the basement he had found a message written on a wall: “Goodbye old house.” [Note from Jaan: I learned at an MCHS picnic in Toronto on Sept. 2, 2021 that the spelling had been “Goodbye ol house.” That is, “old” was spelled “ol.”]

Dan, who now lives in Milton, is among the MCHS grads who meet regularly for lunch (about every second month or so) at the Mandarin restaurant on the Queensway in Toronto. Dan has at times spoken about the message. It’s a memory that has stayed with him: coming across the message in the basement.

Louise Gaudette

March 26, 2019 at 1:16 pm

Hi Jaan,

Thanks Steve, Doug, so much for these stories about Peter. He was a good friend, another older brother to me. I first met him when in Grade 10 – at of course MCHS. I’ll never forget the look on my Mom’s face when he returned from one of his first Yukon mining tours. We lived in an apartment and Mum buzzed him in and then left our door ajar for him. She opened it properly when he knocked and Shrieked. The clean-shaven, firm-jawed guy with short, almost buzz-cut hair had transformed into a Mountain man – with lovely long Curly red locks and bushy beard! Inside he was his same sweet self.

After one of his Africa trips – I believe he participated in at least one leg of a Paris to Dacca ‘road’ race in that motorcycle & sidecar – he visited me in Vancouver (I had moved in ’72) he was the perfect house guest – polishing my wine glasses. He told me about his girlfriend – that they were to be married and then move to & live in Australia together. In those still unenlightened days, as she was no “WASP”, the Powers-That-Be had refused them once already. Patricia was living & working in Toronto at that time. Sad to say after that visit we corresponded a bit, but then lost touch. Remain in Light, Peter !

Jaan Pill

March 26, 2019 at 7:34 pm

Really wonderful to read the comments from Steve, Doug, and Louise.

I was interested in the learning about Peter’s Yukon mining tours, and about Doug’s travel experiences. The word-pictures that Louise creates are, as well, most vivid and interesting.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s I had a bushy beard and long hair and worked and travelled in a sparsely inhabited off-the-main-road location in interior British Columbia and also spent time (six weeks, living – very contentedly – in the roots of a gigantic hemlock tree, at the edge of a most amazing rain forest) on Haida Gwaii. Thus I was most interested to read of Peter and Doug’s travels and adventures.

I’m wondering if some features of the era, of the times we lived in, had something to do with all of these kinds of experiences in the late sixties and early seventies or thereabouts. Or perhaps it’s just part of a stage in life – part of what many people in any era tend to do, in their twenties and thirties.

In my own case, by the mid-1970s I had settled into life in Toronto. Soon my beard was gone, my hair was short – but what remained were the memories of everything I had experienced during seven years of study, work, and travel in B.C. In my case, those years gave rise to many of the key formative experiences of my life.


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