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Chambers’ Corner Revisited

When Pierre arrived he stepped into a frenzied, pushing, emotional crowd, trying everything to get a hand on him, or an autograph, a picture and often even a firm kiss. In the days before motor-drive cameras I was lucky to capture this perfect kiss. Note, we can see just one camera held by a spectator, today there would be dozens. (Tribune photos by Bob Chambers)

By Bob Chambers

This is Chambers’ Corner ….. the occasional occupant of a corner of this blog, where Bob Chambers, an Evening Tribune photographer from 1957 to 1970, will present some of his photographs from that era ……

This Chambers’ Corner is about the excitement concerning the campaign for Prime Minister by Pierre Trudeau in 1968.

It’s hard to believe it was 47 years ago. I decided to stay completely away from the fray during the current federal campaign, but now that the dust has settled here goes. The fever, this time, over Justin (Pierre’s eldest son), was bland compared to the “Trudeaumania” of the late spring and early summer of 1968. Yes it was practically the only word used by both Liberals and others, to describe the pandemonium that surrounded the man when he came to town.

Here are two of my pictures of the scene, taken just days before the June 25th election, at a rally for all Niagara area Liberal candidates at Fairview Mall in St Catharines.

Oh, and a quick quiz. Who is Canada’s youngest PM?

Imagine a politician of today having their face printed on girl’s mini-skirts. Well, here’s Don Tolmie, the well-liked Welland lawyer looking for his second term as an MP. I think the Trudeaumania girls were all from Welland.
We jump ahead two years to my favourite picture of Pierre Trudeau. I took it in 1970, also in St. Catharines, at the Third World Rowing Championships. Just a face in the crowd, but he exudes charm, warmth, confidence and class. And believe me I’ve never voted Liberal in my life.

AND… who is Canada’s youngest PM ?… 39-year-old Joe Clark, in 1979. OK, he turned 40 the next day, but still much younger than 44 year-old-Justin, or his 49 year-old-father.

Bob Chambers, Tribune photographer 1957-1970

Your comments are invited and appreciated by the photographer/author. Comments can be posted on the blog.

Editor’s note: Chambers’ Corner appeared on the blog a few years ago as a recurring feature, this submission in November, 2015. It is presented here unchanged. The series has been rebranded Chambers’ Corner Revisited and appeared at the request of readers. This is the last in the series.