|Medicine Hat Railway station as Letty would have known it|
From there, the ride around the Great Lakes to Montreal was very interesting, and I thought we were to board our ship there. But no such luck. There are one or two things in Montreal that should interest you. First we were all taken to a bank, to have our money changed into British pounds, shillings, and pence, which took about two hours for fifty of us. I wore a money belt under my clothes, so I soon located a washroom, where I safely stored what I had. Just before I left home, Dad had given me a cheque to help us in our new home. We all assembled in a room at the bank, and the man helping us gave us a talk on British currency. He was rather nice, and when buses arrived to take us to "Stanley House," he wished us a happy life in Britain. "Stanley House" was a large old stately home that had been turned into a reception center for war brides to live in until they were sent to join certain ships from Halifax, or New York, USA, to go across the Atlantic Ocean.
Normal stay at Stanley House was two days; we were stuck there for four and a half days. This was no hardship for me, but Ron was worried, as it threw our supposed plans haywire. He and I made a plan so he would know when I left Canada, via Halifax or New York. We had family friends living in New York by the name of Bates. The cable I finally sent said "Not visiting Mrs. Bates." That way, he knew I was leaving from Halifax. (due to censorship she could not cable the departure date or location of the convoy lest the enemy find out.) I also had a school friend who was married and lived in Montreal, so I paid her two visits. She was so glad to see me, and she had a nice husband and two lovely tiny children.
|War Brides in Halifax, 1940s|
Letty told me that some of the women went on wild shopping sprees, spending their husbands' pay cheques with abandon, prior to the voyage.
Research about Stanley House reveals it was owned by Lord Stanley, of Stanley Cup fame. It is currently an art and meeting center.