Tiens, cherchons le mot juste

Tonight, I watched a pair of amaz­ing home-grown doc­u­men­taries at the Evans The­atre: the 3rd film in the Warpaths tril­o­gy, sub­ti­tled Sil­ver Cross­es, for the memen­to received from the gov­ern­ment by moth­ers and wives of the men killed in action dur­ing the First World War; and Shaun Cameron’s Tales from the Eddy, a look back at Bran­don’s famed Prince Edward Hotel, whose open­ing was delayed by the loss of its fur­ni­ture in the Titan­ic dis­as­ter, and whose igno­min­ious end could have (per­haps) been avert­ed if the list of pro­pos­als before City Coun­cil had been ordered differently.

Warpaths: Sil­ver Cross­es, like its two pre­de­ces­sors, was an amaz­ing look at the effects of a glob­al con­flict on the lives of local folks (specif­i­cal­ly, the Bowes fam­i­ly of Bois­se­vain, MB). I enjoyed it immense­ly, as I knew I would. Kudos to Marc George and Gra­ham Street for a fit­ting cap­stone to an impor­tant series.

Tales from the Eddy was an eye-open­ing expe­ri­ence. I moved here years after the hotel was demol­ished; I nev­er knew a sky­line with its impos­ing bulk in it. For the last two decades I’ve heard peo­ple rem­i­nisce about the Eddy, usu­al­ly with that far­away look in their eyes, and I must admit, I rolled my eyes a lit­tle (inward­ly, any­ways). It’s just a hotel, I would think. How grand could it be, really?

Very grand.

I learned a lot about Bran­don’s hey­day in the hour-and-change that the doc­u­men­tary was up on the screen. Dozens of still frames of the hotel’s inte­ri­or and exte­ri­or showed me just how amaz­ing the Prince Edward was in its day. For what­ev­er rea­son, see­ing the skate park that has been built where the hotel used to stand — com­plete with help­ful paint­ed labels mark­ing LOBBY and PLATFORM to indi­cate rough­ly the extent of the build­ing’s one­time foot­print — struck me quite hard.

Entropy grinds away at us. That could be tonight’s theme, I sup­pose. But we keep push­ing back against it, and I think I like that theme better.

Watch­ing Shaun’s doc­u­men­tary, I felt a strange emo­tion, a nos­tal­gia for some­thing I nev­er knew. If the Ger­mans don’t have a name for it, sure­ly the French do.