My husband rushed into my office the other day with one of his wonderful tidbits, this one about Innisfree, a farm just outside of Otterville, Ontario. Quite by accident he had found out about Harold Innis, born on this farm, who went on to become pretty well-known in academic circles; in fact, Innis College at the University of Toronto is named for him. (Innis)
How interesting to me who grew up a half mile north of Zorra Station (Oxford County) where Oswald J. Smith, founder of The Peoples Church in Toronto, lived. I remember reading his book about his childhood in Zorra Township when I was very young. And now, I am as interested as I was then that these two men came from such humble beginnings. Of course there are many other famous names from the area, all of which have me thinking of going back and researching these famous folks.
Harold Innis, 1894-1952, is commemorated on a small plaque near the Innisfree farm where he was born. Innisfree first came to my attention when I attended workshop sessions there in the 1980’s. The barn had been made over into a meeting place and I went there for a singing retreat as a member of the Woodstock Choralaires, and for a professional development day during my secondary school teaching career. I had no clue as to the rural place’s history.
When I checked Wikipedia I got just a small portion of eye-opening information about Innis’ life. He was a professor of political economy at the University of Toronto, wrote several books on media, communication theory and Canadian economic history, and was so revered in his profession that the famous Marshall McLuhan “lamented Innis’s premature death as a disastrous loss for human understanding.” (Wikipedia)
These are just two of the amazing and famous people who hail from small beginnings. Our American friends will mention the incomparable Abraham Lincoln, I’m sure. And now that our world is so Internet-based getting out into that world is possible for virtually anyone with Internet. These people did it when travel was torture, education a luxury and communication very limited. Time to step up and toss aside our excuses, isn’t it?