Chapter 28 of the Peter and Gertrud Klopp Story – Part I


 Cross Country Canada


My dream is for people around the world to look up and to see Canada like a little jewel sitting at the top of the continent.

Tommy Douglas – 7th Premier of Saskatchewan

Late Start in Montreal

It was almost noon when after hours of waiting we finally got our turn to go through Canada customs. The officials were friendly and efficient. The long delay was due primarily to the large number of passengers whose innumerable suitcases, boxes and crates that needed to be checked. Afterwards we locked away our stuff in rental lockers and took a taxi to the City of Montreal. Our sister had already said good-bye to us, as she was going to board the next available train to Calgary. So Adolf and I were on our own in search of a car dealer. My brother needed a vehicle that would carry us across the North American continent.


Queen Elizabeth Hotel at Montreal – May 1965

Near the city center we got off the taxi and decided to make use of the much cheaper transit system or cheaper and healthier yet to just walk. Now I had a chance to take a few photos of the new office buildings that were popping up everywhere like mushrooms after a heavy rain. I found that the Elisabeth Hotel towering over a much smaller church building was especially interesting, as the structures symbolized the transformation of Quebec from a church dominated province to a secular society. I was getting a little worried, while Adolf dragged me from one car dealer to another. He had not yet found, what he had in mind and was already talking about taking the train as well.


Typical Outside Staircases in a Residential Area

As we were roaming through the streets of a residential area searching for another car dealership, I noticed the peculiar construction of most of the houses. In order to gain more living space, they had no interior staircases but had metal stairs leading up to the entrance doors at the second and even third floor. I was thinking of the densely populated cities back in Germany, where floor space for renters was at a premium. How much more apartment space could be generated with this typical French-Canadian building concept.


Proud Owner Adolf of Used Pontiac

Finally Adolf had found a good, used 8-cylinder Pontiac at an equally good price of $2,500. The manager, apparently very pleased with my courageous attempt to communicate in French with him, made an arrangement with Adolf that quickly consolidated the sale. It happened exactly the way my brother had once explained to me on our summer wine tour to Trier. He paid the full amount in cash. In return M. Gagé allowed him to travel with the dealer’s license plates to Alberta to save him the high provincial sales tax. Those were the days when business transactions were concluded with a handshake based on mutual trust. M. Gagé expected Adolf to mail back the plates to Montreal.

I had never sat in the such comfort of a huge and powerful American car before. It was even equipped with automatic transmission quite rare in Germany during the mid 60’s. I really enjoyed the ride back to the storage facilities, where we picked up our suitcases and wooden crates with all our belongings. It was already getting late in the afternoon, when our cross-country Canada trip began.


  1. Pat Dion · May 19, 2017

    I love it! I grew up in Montreal and I really liked seeing the pictures of the old city.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Peter Klopp · May 20, 2017

      Thank you, Pat! I am so glad the pictures of more than 50 years ago brought back some fond memories.


  2. Scott · May 19, 2017

    Outstanding. A very worthwhile project.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Peter Klopp · May 20, 2017

      Thank you, Scott, for your kind words of encouragement!


  3. cornelia1972 · May 19, 2017

    Der Pontiac ist klasse!!! Liebe Grüße, Cornelia

    Liked by 2 people

    • Peter Klopp · May 20, 2017

      Der Schulleiter der deutschen Samstagsschule schenkte mir später seinen Pontiac, der viel älter war. Jahrgang 54. Wenn ich den noch hätte, der würde ein Vermögen darstellen. Vielen Dank, Cornelia, für dein Interesse!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. arv! · May 20, 2017

    A good start to a new journey

    Liked by 2 people

  5. taphian · May 20, 2017

    Really interesting how Canada looked at that time. Always a pleasure to read your stories, dear Peter, have a nice weekend, kind regards Mitza

    Liked by 2 people

    • Peter Klopp · May 20, 2017

      I guess apart from the personal story the account of the family history represents a reflection of the times we experienced during the course of our lives. Thank you for your continued support and encouragement, dear Mitza!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Inge Kind · May 20, 2017

    Love your Arrival in Canada as pictures, Takes me back when I arrived in Canada with my Family, every thing was so exciting
    and new, Loved the houses – cars -etc. but also missed my old Germany still do.

    Thank you Peter for the wonderful memories and your Story. so Glade you mad it to Canada, also being my wonderful neighbour. —
    and Friend.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Peter Klopp · May 20, 2017

      I guess we will never lose that feeling of excitement and adventure. But there was also a bit of fear and apprehension mixed in. Canada made us feel welcome and that was the most important thing. Thanks for following our story, Inge!


  7. jeannette-paterakis · May 21, 2017

    wonderful story and great pictures,dear Peter.Thanks a lot for sharing with us once again your first steps in Canada .I wish you and your family all the best.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Klopp · May 21, 2017

      Vielen Dank, liebe Jeannette, dass du an unserer Lebensgeschichte so viel Interesse zeigst, die mit der Reise durch Kanada gereade erst so richtig in Schwung kommt! Liebe Grüße aus dem endlich sonnigen Kanada!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Bun Karyudo · May 27, 2017

    I’m not sure how many large purchases nowadays would be based on a handshake and mutual trust. It’s a pity that has changed.

    Liked by 1 person

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