As we cycled home from the Marché la Récré yesterday, I told my daughter to stop outside 55 Bernard West at Georges Riddell's Fishing Tackle and Appliances. I was wondering how the 82-year-old fisherman had weathered our recent heatwave. I was shocked to see some withered flowers at his door and a few cards on the ground. I walked over and picked one up. Sadly, it offered condolences. Georges had passed away, and judging by the state of the flowers, it had happened more than a week ago. "Two weeks ago," the clerk told me at Montréalité, the shop next door when I enquired
I walked down to the Mile End Mission and spoke to the ladies sitting outside. Georges had apparently died on June 30, and some 20 people had held a candlelight vigil outside his shop a week later to say good-bye. He had apparently fallen down and hurt himself, never recovering.
In a previous post, I had described Georges as one of the last hold-outs in the Mile End gentrification process. He had opened his store on Bernard in 1960 and was described by his neighbours as a soft-spoken man who kept to himself. Fishing had been his life, and all the lures you see in the picture on the left, he made by hand.
I was happy to have had a chance to visit his shop and have a chat with him last March. I posted that chat on Twitter, and I had a fisherman from Lake Champlain retweet it. Georges was apparently well-known in that area of Vermont.
Georges, I wish you peace, happiness and some great catches in your next life. So many people miss you. Heather
The Lure of Fishing on Bernard
(My chat with Georges)