Sour Gripes


How long ago was it that we were last told that electricity was the answer in home heating? It seems to me that I’ve encountered two or three electric heating systems in and around St. Marys over the years. In some homes, which probably dated back into the fifties, radiant ceiling heat was popular. In my travels I have seen the odd electric forced air furnace. The big push to electric heat must have been in the latter sixties and seventies. Houses of that era were better insulated if electric heat was used (almost all were base board heaters). In those days natural gas was not as common and oil heat was thought to be dirty. It was said that a black smudge accrued over time with oil heat although I find it hard to believe that a properly functioning furnace could mix exhaust with internal heated air (wouldn’t that prove fatal: co2?). I do however seem to remember smoke in my grandparents’ house when one of the darn kids messed with the choke and damper chains. So, it seemed that electricity was a clean plentiful and inexpensive alternative. In our early school years we were taught that flowing water (Eg. Niagara Falls) was more than enough to power our every need. Hence in Ontario electricity was and is known as Hydro.

I believe (correct me if I’m wrong) that there were subsidies for electrically heated home construction around the time that a great number of local houses were built. What years would Margaret and Ethel Courts been built? I suppose homes all around town in that time period were electrically heated. Truly it was a convenient way to heat a home. Each room was easily adjusted by its own thermostat. I guess no one expected the boom in electrical gadgets and an upward spiral in electricity costs.

Suffice to say that in my past career as a Realtor a home solely heated by electricity was a hard sell. Gas fireplaces as a supplement and gas forced air replacements have become a far less expensive alternative.

HORRORS: I returned from a great escape (and a lot of fun) back into cellular reception land and into a nightmare! Was it a hoax? Was it a red herring like the proroguing issue that surely gave Kathleen Wynne a chuckle? Was it or is it a distraction from ongoing scandals? Is this a test? How big a splash would this cause or how much can she get away with?. Surely our Premier would not slip the noose around our necks that will wean us off of natural gas and strangle us with Hydro costs!!! Is she on a personal crusade to turn back the ecological clock no matter how many of us it puts in the poor house or on the street? Of course the “leak” has been denied as a ban but does not bar incentives and barriers to drive out natural gas (fossil fuels). An example was sighted as an incentive of up to $20,000 for new construction with alternative energy sources. (That’s our money folks!) Goals of no fossil fuels in small buildings by 2030 and in no buildings by 2050 are part of the leak. Estimated costs of conversions to Hydro and monthly costs will floor you!

REMINISCING: Although the weather often did not co-operate the May 24th. Victoria Day long week end has long been considered more or less the official start of spring and summer activities. It was the first camping week end from scouting days on. The early heavy canvas floorless tents and a separate ground tarp gave way to lighter equipment. We moved up off the ground onto cheap air mattresses that inevitably leaked prior to morning. Better mattresses followed and eventually camp cots! I personally did not move up to a tent trailer (except for an occasional rental) or what we used to call “a house trailer” (anything with solid walls and roof) I took a hiatus from camping until the odd tenting venture when children were small. Although the trailers have become amazing I now prefer a cabin with a wood stove or a hotel room. A camp fire and a group gathered around though will always be an attraction and bring back great memories. Bring on summer!


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