Posts Tagged ‘Ken Townend’


Today is my Dad’s ninetieth birthday. He was born on February 3rd, 1922 in England and grew up in the seaside community of Cleethorpes. He often told us stories of his boyhood days with his pals, a happy time for him. In the photo above, he is enjoying a ride on a donkey on the sands by the sea with his proud Mom looking a little nervous.


Dad, front row, second from right.

Like many of his generation, Dad’s life was shaped in major ways by the intervention of World War II. Here he is in his uniform during his days in the Royal Air Force. Many young men he knew became rear gunners, a position with a high casualty rate. But because of Dad’s superior knowledge of Morse Code, learned from his father, he was assigned to a position as a Radio Operator, operating a direction finding set which guided aircraft back to base. He was at RAF Hemswell in Lincolnshire, which had a squadron of Lancaster bombers crewed by Polish airmen. Later, he was sent to work at training facilities at Mount Hope near Hamilton.


Dad loved Canada from the beginning. He told us how that first winter, the beauty of the snowy landscape enthralled him. It was in Hamilton that Dad met Mom. After the War, they settled in the area and started a family. Dad’s passion was photography and he made his living working for several different photography firms and finally starting his own business. Photography remained his passion throughout his life, and last summer his accomplishments were celebrated at the Art of Living show, which I wrote about here.

Happy Birthday, Dad. Thanks for everything.


Dad and I, Autumn 2011.

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Ken and granddaughter Gaelan

My Dad, Ken Townend, has loved photography since he first discovered cameras as a young lad growing up in Lincolnshire. Throughout his long life, photography has been a central theme. Through the War years, when he was a radar operator in the Royal Air Force; through the years of raising a family; through retirement, when he spent many happy hours in the darkroom, developing the glamour shots of young women that he specialized in during his later years, making pictures has always brought him joy and satisfaction.

These days, his memory isn’t what it once was and he is confined to a wheelchair. He lives in a long-term care facility and his darkroom days are done. However, his art show days aren’t over! Leisureworld, the corporation that manages a chain of care facilities, recently presented their 3rd Annual Art of Living Exhibit at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. It featured the creative expressions of a selection of Leisureworld facility residents and Dad was one of the exhibitors.


I attended the opening reception on the evening of June 23rd. What a wonderful presentation! Some 28 artists were represented by an array of creative work. There were paintings and drawings and fine needlework and sculptures all on display. There was even poetry by several residents stencilled on the walls.


I arrived early, before the room was very busy, so was able to peruse the show at a leisurely pace. The gallery filled up as the evening progressed.


Here is a selection of Dad’s photographs. A really fine job was made of displaying all the art work to perfection.


One section of the gallery was reserved for photographs of the artists. A beautiful programme was also prepared to accompany the show, with a double page and photograph devoted to each artist. Exhibitors were invited to respond to a set of questions about their art and philosophy. In response to “What is your motto?” two answers predominated. Many offered a version of the golden rule: Do onto others as you would have done to you, while many others said: Live life to the fullest and enjoy every day! Good advise from people who have lived long lives and enjoyed the pleasures of artistic expression.

I was so impressed with this wonderful undertaking. Thank you to Leisureworld for bringing a terrific idea to fruition, and congratulations to all the artists.


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