Dawn Ford Senior Situation Room – Remembering Dwayne McKinnon & Queen Elizabeth II Visits Cornwall Ontario

DawnFord_SSRCFN – I was browsing through my old photo album where there are mostly pictures of the old high school days at CCVS .

I was looking for a photo of Dwayne McKinnon who had been in my classes. I couldn’t remember his nickname and I thought that maybe it would be with one of the photos I had of him.

You may be wondering why I was looking for a picture and nickname.

Well, I hadn’t seen Dwayne since high school and suddenly, in one year, I bumped into him four times. He doesn’t look any different than he did in high school except for a few grey hairs which all of us seniors have as signs of our maturity; we could call it that.

I had heard that he had become a teacher and later, a principal. I bet he was excellent at both. It was nice to see him and I realized, looking back, what a great young guy he was and always full of fun which made it so pleasant to see him again. Brought back a lot of memories.


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This is a great photo of Dwayne as a young lad ( with me) …still has that grin!

But look what else I found! A picture of some beautiful girls who are seniors today. It is a 1957/58 photo of the Acapella Choir which was led by music choir director Bennett Brown. I have to admit I cannot remember the names of a lot of these girls except for the ones I knew well at the time. You may know some of them.


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From the left first row is Frances McGillis, 4th. Grace Nesbitt, 7th. Sandra Lee-Copeland, 9th. Betty Shaver. Second row : Barbara Cottrell , Myrna Plumley, Peggy Lee, 6th. Rosemary Phillips, 7th. Judy Bush, 10th. Gail Shaver. On the stairs from the top is Wendy Moore , 6th. me.

Some of the memories made life seem so much easier in those high school days. And yet, at the time, busy with school work and other activities, I guess it seemed hard some days and easier other times to be a teenager growing up in the fifties.

One good thing was that we had a lot of great music and places to go to enjoy it and lots of opportunity for lots of dancing and fun. Teachers made a big difference. I think back to the ones I liked and others that were, I thought, so- so. Some students felt that the ‘brainy ‘ kids in the class got special treatment. I remember some teachers better than others.

I remember an incident that happened during those school days so many years ago and yet, I can recall it so vividly. Our English Literature teacher had asked us to write a story about ‘A Royal Visit’. I wrote a fairy tale about a Queen Bee visiting a hive and when a problem arose, it was a tiny insignificant bee who saved the day. I handed it in to the teacher. A couple of days later, she called me up in front of the class and said that everyone in the class had written about a visit of Royalty to Cornwall except me. I had written a fairy tale which was not acceptable in an English Literature class.


I was humiliated especially since my boy friend was in the same class. Talk about feeling small. If I had thought about being a writer, I would not have after that. I told my mother and she said, ” There are lots of fairy tales in English Literature. ” and went on to name quite a few. I felt better. Later in the year I wrote another story about a baseball player who had a ‘moment of truth’. The teacher liked it for some reason and put it in the yearbook. I felt as if I had been vindicated but I was leery of writing fairy tales after that. .

Here is a picture of a real Queen’s visit, Queen Elizabeth. I took this shot with a little Kodak Brownie camera. I had trouble with the year, though, because of her hat. In the fifties, if you took a film into Fullerton’s Drug store to be developed, they put it in a little yellow folder and stapled them. This photo of the Queen was in one with other photos taken in 1957, I thought.


Somehow, though the hat was bothering me because I knew I had seen it before, and I had: in a photo of her visit in 1959. I went on the Internet and it doesn’t look like she came to Cornwall on her visit to Canada in 1957. I know she came to Canada to Ottawa in 1952 ( as Princess) and also in 1957 and 1959 . I have a photo of her in 1959 when she was in Montreal at an Official ceremony of the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway and later came to Cornwall for the opening of the Power Project at the Saunders-Moses Power Dam. She appears to be wearing the same hat so this photo has to be 1959. She had also , while in Cornwall ,attended a gathering at the old Athletics Grounds at Fourth and Marlborough streets. My younger brother remembers that my Mom went with the Girl Guides to see the Queen. Mom thought the Queen was gorgeous and very gracious.. Here is the picture:

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All these memories and photos because I was looking for Dwayne’s nickname.

Here is a cute school joke:

A teacher wanted to teach her students about self esteem, so she asked anyone who thought they were stupid to stand up. One lad stood up and the teacher was surprised. She asked him, “Why did you stand up?” He answered innocently, “I didn’t want you standing up all by yourself.”

Have a good, week, Dawn


  1. Hi Dawn, The Princess & Prince Philip visited Cornwall also on Oct 12th, 1951. Enjoyed your article.

  2. Dawn I am impressed and these are very nice pictures indeed. I was a child during the Seaway and that old bridge is history and my husband and I were talking about that a while ago and he is sad to see it come down. Thank God that we have a few pictures on that old bridge. Dawn I have always said that you lived in a much better era than what I have. I am envious of my much older sisters who have had a much better time than my generation and especially the younger people of today. You have so many great stories to share. I really love to see those old pictures. I can see that they are pictures of the 1950’s era and they were my best years. Thank you Dawn for sharing.

  3. I remember seeing the queen in 57. I was 4 then and I couldn’t figure out what the fuss was about. Everyone was so exited.

  4. Hi Dawn:

    Dwayne McKinnon`s nick name was ” Skinny McKinnon “. Dwayne was one of our student managers on the football team. I had the pleasure of being around Dwayne for 4 years.
    I know your pretty face as well, but I did`nt know you as Dawn Ford. What was your maiden name? Please help me here!

  5. Ed: I remember you. Hi! My maiden name was Herrington. Nice to hear from you after all these years.

  6. Thanks Don. It was great to see the picture of the choir girls again. We can get together to fill in some more names. Sandra

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