• By: Dan Donovan

Publisher’s Message: Gone Too Soon

OLM_Mar05_Editor_HarveyTwo things I really love in life are playing pickup hockey with my pals and working at the magazine. The past couple of months have seen sad events on both counts. Harvey Chartrand, a longtime editor of Ottawa Life Magazine passed away suddenly last month. Harvey was a funny, gentle and generous soul who had a very quirky sense of humor and loved anything old—especially films and the film noir genre. He loved to do impressions and I laugh every time I think of On the Waterfront or The Godfather, because instead of seeing Marlon Brando, I see Harvey doing his impressions of Marlon Brando, same for Pierre Trudeau , Al Pacino and Pewee Herman. He was the only person I ever met who could do a good impression of Meryl Streep (he’d yell the dingo got my bay…by). Harvey was a fine editor and features writer. He struggled with mental health issues (depression) and addiction for many years. His awareness of these challenges made him sympathetic to the plight and pain of others and he wrote many great pieces on these topics.

In the early years, Ottawa Life Magazine would never have made it without the dedication, loyalty and hard work of Harvey Chartrand. To honour Harvey, we will continue to put him on our Masthead as Editor Emeritus. He would have liked that, as he was so committed to the written word and to Ottawa Life Magazine. Rest in peace Harvey. We will miss you.
Another man I want to call attention to is Joe Thomsen. On a regular basis since 1989, Joe put together a Monday night nine p.m. hockey scrimmage at Brewer rink on Bronson Avenue. The core of the group was about 15 guys who would come out each week, along with a few guest skaters and the occasional ringer. Over time we’d start to call it Joe’s Monday nights or ask, “Are you playing on the Monday Night Joe’s?” Joe always took care of booking the rink and made sure we got an additional six weeks in at Tom Brown arena each spring. After each game, like thousands of other “Joe’s” across the region, we’d all go out for beers and wings and talk about work, family, politics, life and anything else.

monday joeJoe was the epicenter of the group and respected by all. If any hotheads came out he would gently pull them aside and tell them to chill—usually he’d say “Listen, we’re all working tomorrow and this ain’t for the Stanley Cup. It’s about friends having fun, so relax.” That always worked. Joe was one of those rare people that everyone liked. He had a great smile and hearty laugh. He came to Ottawa as a researcher for the Federal Liberal Caucus in the mid 1980 from his cherished Saskatchewan and decided to stay. He loved Ottawa and with his wonderful wife Patricia and two great kids. Joe passed away suddenly while cycling in the Gatineau’s in early July. As his good friend and fellow Monday Night Joe, Mike Pearson said at a recent gathering in his honour, “Joe was the just the best of the best.” Hear hear. To honour Joe, the guys now wear a Monday Night Joe’s hockey jersey. It truly reflects our love for Joe and for our national sport. To all the thousands of other ‘hockey Joe’s’ out there, remember his advice: “We’ve all got to work tomorrow so have fun and don’t be so serious. This ain’t for the Stanley Cup. It’s about friends having fun”

Finally, this is the issue where we begin our nine part series on the Métis Nation in Canada. We are excited to bring you the history of one of Canada’s founding peoples. We hope the insights provided by this series will ensure all Canadians support the Métis as they continue to fight for their treatment and rights in the Canadian Federation. Merry Christmas to all.