The Family (Or most of them)

The Family (Or most of them)
The Family

May 30, 2008

My own little 9-11


But on Friday morning, I was on the 30th floor of our city's third-tallest building, wowed by the view from downtown and feeling very out-of-place and in awe of the elevation from the core of our city.

I try to avoid downtown if I can, and I certainly make every effort NOT to have to scale tall buildings in a single bound. Not that I'm afraid of heights...I just usually have no cause or business being there.

So I felt out of my element to begin with.

But there I was, waiting for a lawyer who kept me sitting there for 15 minutes at least, blown away by the view from 30 floors up near our most famous intersection, Portage and Main.

It was panoramic and mind-numbing and the pix I yanked off the Web below don't do it justice, but I didn't have my camera. Suffice to say the view, really, left me in awe.

But then, as I'm just taking in the view from 117 metres above Portage Avenue (admittedly, as I said, not even close to the height of New York's former Twin Towers), something happened that brought back images of this.

I'm trying not to over-dramatize this. I know it's a stretch. And there was certainly no purposeful intent, as those pictures we all dread, above, show in gruesome detail.

No, as I was standing in front of the huge window that showed most of the southeast side of our city, I was shocked and bewildered and amazed to see this fleet of jets do a fly-past a mere 50 or 100 or 200 metres away.

These are Canada's precision military flying team, the Snowbirds.

They weren't flying upside down as the pic above illustrates, but they did whizz past me in formation, as part of a 50th anniversary salute to NORAD (North American Aerospace Defence Command
The Snowbirds have, over the years, wowed the world. But they've also had fatal collisions.

And while I was there waiting for that lawyer to tell me what I already knew, it occurred to me how fully possible it was, should any of their wing tips touch, that one of those fighter jets could have crashed right into that building.

And blown me to smithereens.

Eek. My own little 9-11.

I guess life's kinda like that, huh, GWB?


  1. I have a fear I'll spontaneously combust.

  2. Or get trapped behind your filthy fridge.

  3. MJ:

    You MIGHT just spontaneously combust. And behind my filthy fridge...well that wouldn't be 9-11, that would be Armageddon.

  4. Life IS like that, death is always on the lurk from behind a corner, scary !!! that's why we try to forget that as much as we can (I'm not good in that) When I visited the medieval festival in Sedan I had an experience which is comparable to yours and I am still hesitating to put that photo and story on my blog because it scares me. Let's do something fun today to celecrate that we're still here :-)

  5. yeah, but what a fantastic view of them you had - that was worth am little risk surely? :)

    I loved air displays.

  6. Life is unpredictable, as is death. The truth is, you'd be more likely to get hit by a car just outside your own house! Anything can happen at any time. Just look at those 7 schoolchildren killed when a train hit their bus in the Alps. I bet they weren't expecting that!

  7. I love being downtown and wish I had more reason to be there more often. I love feeling lost in a crowd (as long as it is in an open space) and there's so much people watching available!

  8. Whenever I see a large plane fly overhead my mind automatically swings back to 9-11 and it's aftermath when there were no planes in the sky whatsoever.

    I don't think it's something that any of us will ever forget and images are triggered when we least expect it.

  9. I love views but heights, flying (and underground parking lots to be honest) all freak me out. I think I'll take my views without huge buildings and fast-flying planes. Please. Thanks.

  10. I 'do not prefer' heights because I am well aware of the gravity of the situation!

    Butch Cassidy's famous line to Sundance,
    "the Fall will probably kill you" is funny but not entirely accurate. It is the bone crushing, organ smashing, bloodsplattering, brain compressing, impact that is going to hurt like hell...

    and the fact that you will have a few seconds to actually contemplate how much it is going to hurt makes plumetting to your death even worse!

    Our city could have been so beautiful if we had developed the shorelines on both rivers...nobody had a clue back then...what a shame.

  11. Hildegarde:

    Do you REALLY think that? And do you fear death so much?

    What should we do for fun to celebrate?


    It was just very shocking, that's all. I knew they were in town, but to see them do that fly past at that particular moment, it was chilling...

    But worth the risk and the thrill, yes...


    Yes, you're right, for sure. Still, I felt a bit of my own mortality at that moment.

    And I've always felt immortal!


    Then the place to be, if you're not in old Montreal or Yonge Street in downtown Toronto, is The Forks in Winnipeg.

    It's so cool being where other people are, just part of the crowd...I love that...


    I'm glad you seem to understand that 9-11 affected the entire planet, not just the U.S., as did the assassination of JFK and MLK and others.

    Especially us in the Great White North.

    I would venture to say we have a deeper understanding of America than anyone because we're so similar in so many ways and so close.

    I do love our separateness, but there's no doubt we are two different peoples. And that's a good thing.


    But you fly so HIGH yourself! I wouldn't have thought heights would bother you.

    But then you are so grounded too. So it all seems to make sense...


    I so lament that you're no longer known as Homo Escapeons. Who can tease someone with a name like Donn?

    Heights are thrilling to me; I like my feet off the ground every once in a while, it's dangerous.

  12. aaah... so you're a bit like me- picturing the worst possible scenario?


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