Phyllis’s Fight

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A controversy erupted at Queen’s University in 1961, twenty-six years after the death of Archibald Patterson Knight.

As a scientist, Professor Emeritus, and former member of the university’s Board of Trustees, AP might have been in favour of the plan for a new physics building on the Queen’s University campus. But the Board had chosen a site that would destroy the last large green space on campus. Students and faculty protested, demonstrations were held, and the Board was forced to change its decision.

An alternative site was chosen on Queen’s Crescent, where most of the property owners had agreed to sell. Just one person held out. It was Archie and Cordelia’s daughter, Phyllis Knight, who had lived at 52 Queen’s Crescent for nearly 70 years.

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Memorial to Cyril

1923-08-00 Photo of Cyril Workman KNIGHT b1879

After Cyril’s death in 1960 at the age of 81, the Royal Society of Canada printed a memorial about him. It was jam-packed with notes about his accomplishments. He’d been the author or co-author of 44 papers, member of no less than 10 associations or societies, one of the founders of the Geological Society of Canada, and the recipient of a Coronation Medal, by command of Her Majesty the Queen, in recognition of his services to the geological profession. But, like his father Archie, Cyril preferred to keep a low profile. He was a down-to-earth person, who enjoyed a joke on himself.

He told a funny story about a visit to Haliburton, where he’d gone for a summer holiday. Noticing a labourer at the side of the road, digging a trench, Cyril stopped the car and asked “Any work going on at Fission Mines?”

To his delight, the workman replied, “Nope. Just a couple of geologists friggin’ around.”

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This concludes the story about Cyril. Next up: his beautiful and talented sister Mona… Thanks for staying tuned!
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Image: Photo of Cyril Workman Knight, circa 1923, [detail]. Photo courtesy of Mary Elizabeth Clark, Cobourg, Ontario, 8 August 2014, scanned by John Carew.

Freddie: The End of the Story

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After the Huronia Regional Centre closed in 2009, lawsuits were brought against it for decades of neglect and abuse of residents. Eventually, the provincial government issued a formal apology and paid a $35 million dollar settlement.

For Freddie, this was too little, too late. He died in 1967, when the abuses at the Centre were known but not yet widely publicized. Freddie lived to be 91 years old, and spent more than 65 years in the institution. He is buried at Cataraqui Cemetery in Kingston, near his parents Archie and Corrie Knight.

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Coming up next on Storydello: the adventures of Freddie’s irrepressible sister Muriel. Please stay tuned!