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Date: November 16th 1943

Salvation Army Red Shield Hostel, St. Thomas, Ontario.

November 16, 1943

Dear Mom,

I've been to Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto! Art would have liked to have been with me. Stewart and I arrived in Toronto, by train. In the Gardens we sat high up in the arena, so that we could get a good view of the ice surface. The place was packed since it was Saturday night. It can hold 15,000 people. You probably remember that the score was 4 to 1 for Chicago over the Leafs, so , in spots it was a bit lopsided, but it was all good hockey. I bought a few pictures. Hope you and Art like them.

It was in Toronto that I met Stewart's Aunt and Uncle. We stayed at their home for the 36. The Aunt is a Scottish lady, over 62, and has an accent. She's very nice, and just as lively and humourous as can be. Mr. Lively is somewhat the same, but not so vivacious. It had a homey atmosphere for our two days there.

In the morning Mr. Woolsey was to lead his band in an Army parade to the United Church, so we went along. It was quite a parade, Reserve Army and some Army Cadets.

Then we had a swell dinner, and Mr. Woolsey took us to The Royal Ontario Museum. That was the largest museumthat I had seen so far. We spent almost three hours walking through many rooms seeing many things, including an eight foot high pillar of coal from No.9 Colliery in Glace Bay. Then we went to see the skeletons of dinosauers and mastadons, and a display of stuffed animals, birds and insects. There were creatures from the ugly to the beautiful, including albino peacocks and moose.

Some of the animals I had seen alive in Buffalo, but there were many more here in the stuffed state, including flying fish, sea cows and dogs. This was the first time I had seen stuffed dogs. We visited the Ancient Egyptian rooms, which had two mummies, with their brown shrunken features, wrapped in brown cloth. Only the head and feet were uncovered. They still had their hair, and they were thousands of years old.

In the Chinese and Japanese rooms there were wonderful statues, carvings and bronzes. When we left the R O. M. we went to Casa Lorna, a castle built quite near Stewart's Aunt's home. It is now under the auspices of the local Kiwanis Dub, and is used as a source of income to help them help others. We were guided through the castle by a girl. I've put some of the details on post cards which I'm sending to you later.

After a very full day and evening we went back to Stewart's Aunt"s and listened to their Philco radio and read in some encyplopedias and Books of Knowledge, just as I had done at home. So the 36 was one of the best I had ever spent so far. Everywhere I go I'm seeing something new and terrific. I'm enjoying every minute of my leaves.

I've inquired about visiting Aunt Lola in Kirkland Lake, but since it's over 400 miles one way, I could never make that on a 48, so, unless I get a leave to come home for Christmas, I'll see her then.

Oh, yes, I made out o. k. on my Trade Board tests, so I'm half way through my course here at St. Thomas.

(Could you send me my winter underwear, and all my wool socks. They'll come in handy for more frequent changes with my Air Force issue.)

Well I've been working on aero-engines for a long time, but it's been only this week that we actually worked on an engine which our instructor run up today. It's a pretty good feeling. even though the aeroplane didn't leave the ground. It was good to know that we made all the right connections.

The rules for Christmas leave have changed, since now we can only go as far as Moncton. Love, Lewis.