I was born in Assiniboia, Saskatchewan in 1952, the third and last son. Both my grandparents had homesteaded in southern Saskatchewan. The original Perrier arrived in Canada in 1665 making me a tenth generation Canadian (actually eleventh on the maternal side and 13th through my great grandmother). I once believed that all Perriers in North America are descended from that one immigrant (although there is reference to a second Perrier who came in 1694). My eldest brother has done a huge amount of work on the genealogy of the family. Refer to the section at the end of this post for information on my family tree and the French brands with Perrier names (although none are known to be relatives).
At six months of age, we moved to Glentworth, Saskatchewan, a town of 100 people on the west end of Grasslands National Park. My father was an elevator agent and my mother was a teacher. After finishing grade 2 there, we moved again to Medicine Hat, Alberta where I graduated from grade twelve in 1970. I then attended the University of Alberta in Edmonton, graduating with a B.Sc/MD degree in 1976 and did a one year rotating internship at the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria, BC.
With my wife and 2 children, we moved to Castlegar where I joined a six man general practice. The West Kootenay in south central British Columbia is one of the best places to live in the world. It was the ideal town to be a GP in. With no specialists and several other GPs with “special interests”, I was able to develop my own interests and ended up having a dream general practice. The practice did almost everything – obstetrics, basic general surgery and emergency. We eventually had a third child and I now have 2 grand children. I was divorced in 1994. I have had the opportunity to live in several towns in the West Kootenay – along Arrow Lakes, Rossland, Warfield (part of Trail) and New Denver. I moved to Courtenay on Vancouver Island in 2010.
By the time I retired, most of my practice was devoted to things that few GPs like and nobody else wanted to do: dermatology, abortions and methadone. The West Kootenay, with only 82,000 people in a huge geographic area, did not have a board certified dermatologist and with some formal training and a lot of reading, I developed a referral practice in dermatology. It probably comprised about 40% of my eventual practice. It allowed me to work in the Canadian Arctic doing general practice and dermatology on five separate occasions. I eventually worked in every town west of Hudsons Bay at least once, an incredible cultural experience (read about that experience and the Inuit on the IDEAS page). I also did all sorts of skin surgery removing every kind of “lump and bump”.
I did most of the surgical assisting in our six man practice, and started doing therapeutic abortions. By the time I retired, I was the only physician doing TA’s in southeastern British Columbia (read about my experience doing abortions in the IDEAS page). With that I also did laparoscopic tubal ligations, often a necessary procedure in women having terminations. I performed vasectomies, circumcisions and all sorts of minor outpatient procedures. When one of my GP surgeon partners retired, as our hospital had an active obstetric practice, I did one month training doing caesarian sections and then did those.
Another opportunity arose to become a methadone prescriber, and after the necessary training, I obtained a license. I was the only methadone prescriber in the West Kootenay. This exposed me to another element of our society that was always interesting. I also developed a strong interest in addiction medicine.
With no specialists and predicated by the patients in my practice, I also developed an interest in several medical subjects – diabetes, AIDs and patients with liver transplants. This was in addition to all other aspects of family medicine. It was a very fulfilling career. Our practice had a rule that we all had to take nine weeks of holidays each year and a day off each week, great for life style and family. Since retiring, I have never thought of medicine again and have forgotten more than I ever knew. I could not return without retraining.
Since starting hiking in Waterton Lakes National Park, I backpacked the West Coast Trail and Della Falls (the highest waterfall in Canada), both on Vancouver Island, when interning. I was hooked. After moving to the West Kootenay, I joined the Kootenay Mountaineering Club, a wonderful organization. I hiked and climbed at every opportunity and have attended 20 hiking camps run by the club. I also belonged to the Alpine Club of Canada and went on several guided mountaineering trips with them in the Rockies. Over the years, I have hiked extensively in Olympic National Park, Hawaii, the West Kootenay, the Rocky Mountains of Canada, the desert SW of the US and everywhere I travel (refer to the HIKING page).
In 1999, I bought my first sea kayak which I still use. I have kayaked all the lakes in the West Kootenay, Baja Mexico, the Green River and Lake Powell in Utah and now extensively in the Queen Charlottes and around Vancouver Island. I have a second kayak and all the gear that is available for friends and partners. Sea kayaking is a dream way to camp. Weight is not an issue and with a backpack oven, you can cook anything.
Starting in 1994, I usually traveled to the desert SW of the United States twice a year. Up to the end of 2015, I have made 33 trips mostly to the Colorado Plateau and the Four Corners Area, but also to many parts of the western US. With so much to see, I could never exhaust the possibilities. I think the Colorado Plateau is the most beautiful place in the world and this area has become another passion.
I took my PADI open water dive certificate in Utilla, the Bay Islands of Honduras and my Advanced in the Andaman Islands of India and diving now forms an active part of all my travels. Some of the great places I have been to include Apo Island in the Philippines, Mergui Archipelago (5-day live aboard) in Myanmar, Sipadan in Sabah Malaysia, Palau (7-day live aboard. The Blue Corner and German Channel are two of the best dive sites in the world), Komodo National Park and the Raja Ampats (9-day live aboard) in Indonesia.
I have had a few other passions. I was an active duplicate bridge player and traveled to tournaments all over the northwest. I have about 1350 ACBL master points and am a life master but have rarely played duplicate bridge for the last 20 years, but regularly play online. At age 30, I started playing golf and was a member at a great golf course in Castlegar. I played to a four handicap most of my playing years, and was in many BC Amateurs and a Canadian Amateur once. I played golf courses all over the place but have rarely played since 1999. I also became an avid photographer and competed actively with my pictures. Upon retiring, I had plans to write a book on photography but abandoned that idea. When digital photography came along, I lost interest and have rarely taken a picture since. I do not carry a camera with me on my travels and find it very freeing. I look at things now for visual memory.
Since retiring in 2006, I have traveled every winter to warmer climates. I wrote extensive travelogues emailing them to friends and family and they form a big part of the section on travel. Refer to my Travelogue for an up-to-date list of countries visited. My goal was to wear flip flops twelve months of the year. I have developed a certain style of travel that is best described as vagabonding. I leave home with a rough plan and have the freedom to spend as much time anywhere I want and feel very fortunate to be able to travel with no constraints. I believe that I have at least ten more years to see the rest of the world.
My time in Canada is spent hiking and kayaking and occasionally hanging out at home, playing tennis, and often playing bridge on the internet. I love to cook. I read extensively and have a section with a reading list. I also travel a lot in Canada and the United States. My camper has a well-honed solar system and it is my second home.
I initially did not want to blog but have reconsidered that. I love to write and am a political junkie with subscriptions to Time, Atlantic, National Geographic and the Economist. Many of the posts in the section called Ideas come from those. This web site has become another passion. I have dreams to make it the premier travel web site in the world.
In September 2015, I met a wonderful young Chinese woman in Dunhuang, Gansu Province in China. I had been looking for a like-minded travel partner for some time. We spent time together in Lhasa Tibet and I visited her at her home over Christmas/New Years and we fell in love with each other. Hopefully we will have many travel adventures together.
THE PERRIER NAME
The earliest Perier appeared in the 1500-1505 Spanish census. There also were Periers in the 1500s in France, Switzerland and England. From the French registry, there are only 1000 people in France with the last name of Perier or Perrier. It is much more common in Canada than in France.
Perrier Ancestors in Canada
Jean Perier (Pyrenee Atlantic, FR 1615 -?) m Marie Dervie (Pyrenee Atlantic, FR 1615 -) in 1637
1. Jean Perier (1646/50 – 1682 Beauport, QC) m Marie Gaillard (1651 – ) in 1669 at Quebec City. Jean was born in the southwest of France at Pau in Bearn Province. Marie was born at Rouen, Normandie, France and was a Fille du Roi (King’s Daughter).
Jean was the first of our ancestors to come to Canada and he came from Le Pout, a small town on the Gestas River in the diocese of Bordeaux in Guyenne, France. Le Pout is just east of Bordeaux. There is some doubt, but it appears he left France on Feb 26, 1664 as a soldier in the Orleans Regiment which arrived in Quebec on June 30, 1665 via the Caribbean. He lived in Beauport, Quebec near Quebec City and worked as a farmer. He and Marie had nine children. Jean predeceased Marie and she remarried Jean Sabourin in about 1682 at Beauport. She and her new husband then moved to LaPrairie, Que.
2. Jean-Jacques Perier (Beauport, QC Dec 10, 1672 – Dec 21, 1737) m Marie Marguerite Pare (Lachine, QC June 17, 1693 – ) on Nov 11, 1711 at Lachine, QC
3. Jean Baptiste Perier (Pointe Claire Aug 13, 1720 – ) m Marie Charlotte Pilon (Pointe Claire, QC bap July 4, 1727 – ) on Jan 7, 1743 at Pointe Claire, QC
4. Hyacinthe Perrier (Pointe Claire, QC Aug 7, 1760 – ?) m Suzanne Amable Charlebois (Pointe Claire, QC Feb 5, 1763 – Aug 5, 1832 Pointe Claire, QC) on Jan 27, 1783 at Pointe Claire, QC
5. Joseph Perrier (Pointe Claire, QC Aug 9, 1798 – ) m Marie-Narcisse St Denis ( – ) on July 16, 1821 at Rigaud, QC
6. Hyacinthe Perrier (St Eugene, ON 1838 – Oct 1, 1904 Moose Creek, ON) m Marie Angele Labrosse (Moose Creek, ON 1832 – Sept 28, 1892 Moose Creek, ON) on Oct 13, 1856 at St Eugene, ON
7. Calixte Perrier (Rigaud, QC Sept 17, 1863 – Nov 1954 Moose Creek, ON) m Amanda Montcalm (St Isidore de Prescott, ON 1860 – 1908 Moose Creek, ON) on June 20, 1887
8. Joseph Irene Albert Perrier (Moose Creek, ON Nov 28, 1892 – Aug 16, 1968) m Dorthea Ofstedahl (May 7, 1890 – July 2, 1972) on July 1, 1916 at Malta, Montana
Albert Perrier was my grandfather. That makes me 10th generation Canadian and my grandchildren 12th generation Canadian on this side of the family.
However, through my great-grandmother Amanda Montcalm, I am 13th generation Canadian. She was descended from Abraham Martin, the owner of the Plains of Abraham.
Plains of Abraham
An ancestor through Amanda Montcalm, Abraham Martin (1589 – 1664), once owned the Plains of Abraham. Abraham Martin, a friend of Samuel de Champlain’s, also known as Abraham the Scot, came to New France around 1620. He was a pilot on the St Lawrence and an ocean fisherman. Accompanied by his wife Marguerite Langlois, with whom he had nine children, he moved to Quebec City and in 1635 received 12 acres of land from the Company of New France. Ten years later he received an additional 20 acres. His land was divided between the Lower Town and Quebec promontory, and extended from around the Saint-Charles River to the Grande Allee, encompassing a good portion of what is today the Saint-Jean Baptiste district of Quebec City. The following is the lineage between Abraham Martin and Amanda Montcalm:
1. Abraham Martin m Marguerite Langlois in France
2. Marguerite Martin m Etienne Racine on May 22, 1638
3. Madeline Racine m Noel Simard on Nov 22, 1661
4. Paul Simard m Genevieve Gagnon on June 10, 1716
5. Francois Simard m Agathe de Lavoye on July 16, 1756
6. Agathe Simard m Joseph Denisult on Aug 22, 1774
7. Marguerite Daigneau (suggests she may have been married before) m Francois Payant on Feb 16, 1801
8. Marguerite Payant m Alexis Tougas on July 12, 1833
9. Sophie Tougas m Noe Montcalm on Oct 12, 1857
10. Amanda Montcalm m Calixte Perrier on June 20, 1887
11. Albert Perrier m Dora Ofstadahl on July 1, 1916 (my grandparents)
When looking at the continuation of the Perrier name descending from my grandfather, it is interesting to see how things have evolved. There were 5 sons, 32 grandchildren, 7 of which were Perrier males. From those 7, there were 6 Perrier male great-grandchildren. From those six, there is presently only two male Perrier great-great-grandchildren (my grandson and my brother’s grandson) and unlikely to be more.
An iconic French family name, the name Perrier is associated with water and champagne. None are known to be relatives. I have included this part more for my interest than anything else.
The spring in Southern France from which Perrier is drawn was called Les Bouillens. It has been used as a spa since Roman times. Local doctor Louis Perrier bought the spring in 1898 and operated a commercial spa there; he also bottled the water for sale. He later sold the spring to St. John Harmsworth, a wealthy British visitor. Harmsworth was the younger brother of the newspaper magnates Lord Northcliffe and Lord Rothermere. He had come to France to learn the language. Dr. Perrier showed him the spring, and he decided to buy it. He sold his share of the family newspapers to raise the money. Harmsworth closed the spa, as spas were becoming unfashionable. He renamed the spring Source Perrier and started bottling the water in distinctive green bottles. The shape was that of Indian clubs, which Harmsworth used for exercise.
Harmsworth marketed the product in Britain at a time when Frenchness was seen as chic and aspirational to the middle classes. It was advertised as the Champagne of mineral water. (There is a genuine champagne by the name of Laurent-Perrier but there is no connection.) Advertising in newspapers like the Daily Mail established the brand. For a time, 95% of sales were in Britain and the U.S.
Perrier’s reputation for purity suffered a blow in 1990 when a laboratory in North Carolina in the United States found Benzene, a carcinogen, in several bottles. Perrier stated that it was an isolated incident of a worker having made a mistake in the filtering procedure and that the spring itself was unpolluted. The incident ultimately led to the worldwide withdrawal of the product, some 160 million bottles of Perrier.
From 1981 to 2005, the company sponsored an annual comedy award in the United Kingdom, the Perrier Comedy Award, also known as “The Perriers”. In 2006 it was announced that Perrier would no longer sponsor the award, which was renamed the “if.comedy awards”, after its new sponsor, Intelligent Finance.
In 1992, Perrier was bought by rival Nestlé, one of the world’s leading food and drink companies.
In 2004, a crisis erupted when the Nestlé group, owner of Perrier, announced a restructuring plan for Perrier. In 2005, Perrier was ordered to halt restructuring, because of a failure to consult adequately with staff.
In 2013, Perrier celebrated its 150th anniversary by launching a limited edition series of bottles inspired by Andy Warhol.
As of January 2013, Perrier is available in 140 countries.
The spring is naturally carbonated. Both the water and natural carbon dioxide gas are captured independently. Then in the bottling process, the carbon dioxide gas is added so that the level of carbonation in bottled Perrier is the same as the water of the Vergèze spring.
Composition in mg per litre: pH 5.46, Calcium 147.3, Chloride 21.5. Bicarbonate (HCO3) 390, Fluoride 0,12, Magnesium 3.4, Nitrate 18, Potassium 0.6, Sodium 9, Sulfates 33, Total dissolved salts 475.
Perrier is available in Europe in one liter, 750 ml, and 500 ml bottles, and in 33 cl cans. Most Perrier bottles are green and all have a distinctive ‘teardrop’ shape. In August 2001, the company introduced a new bottling format using polyethylene terephthalate to offer Perrier in plastic, a change that took 11 years to decide which material would best help retain both the water’s flavor and its purported “50 million bubbles.”
Perrier comes in five flavours. Unflavoured, lemon, and lime are the oldest flavors. In 2007, Citron Lemon-Lime and Pamplemousse Rose (Pink Grapefruit) flavours debuted.
Since 2002, new varieties of Perrier have been introduced in France, Eau de Perrier is less carbonated than the original, and comes in a blue bottle. Perrier Fluo comes in “trendy” flavours such as ginger-cherry, peppermint, orange-lychee, raspberry, and ginger-lemon.
Perrier and competitor San Pellegrino are owned by the Nestlé Corporation.
A former cooper and bottler in Chigny-les-Roses, André-Michel Pierlot settled in Tours-sur-Marne in 1812 as a négociant in the wines of Champagne. It was in this village, on plots named Les Plaisances and La Tour Glorieux that he founded what was later to become Laurent-Perrier. His son, Alphonse Pierlot, succeeded him and, not having any heirs, he subsequently bequeathed the House to his cellar master, Eugène Laurent.
Following his accidental death in 1887, Eugène’s widow, Mathilde Emilie Perrier, took the helm of the business and combined her own patronymic with that of her husband, naming the business “Veuve Laurent-Perrier”. With her strong character and reputation for integrity, she developed the business, restored its finances, and masterfully kept the House going throughout the Great War. In 1920, she paved the way for the international expansion of the brand by entering into a partnership with Sir Alexander Fletcher Keith McKenzie to invest in the British market.
Eugénie-Hortense Laurent succeeded her mother in 1925. Hard-hit by the economic crisis between the Wars and heavily in debt, she sold the estate to Marie-Louise de Nonancourt in 1939.
Bernard de Nonancourt and his elder brother Maurice joined the French Resistance. Only Bernard survived and joined the Maquis underground, where he met the founder of the Emmaus movement, Abbé Pierre. Later on, he was assigned to General Leclerc’s 2nd Armoured Division (2ème DB).
Bernard de Nonancourt dedicated his life to a single passion. When he returned, his mother insisted he undergo an apprenticeship to fully understand the business, being a vines labourer, cellar and office worker, and a sales representative. In October 1948, aged 28, he was appointed Chairman and Chief Executive of Laurent-Perrier. He was one of the rare owners of a Champagne House to have done all the jobs of his future employees. At that point, the House was employing around 20 people and shipping 80,000 bottles a year.
Fired by a passion for champagne, a respect for traditional values and, most importantly, for people, Bernard de Nonancourt inspired Laurent-Perrier with his independent spirit and creative audacity. He established privileged working relationships with the grape growers and cleverly combined innovation and tradition. He created the signature Laurent-Perrier style of freshness, lightness and elegance and developed a unique range of champagnes that are today exported to 147 countries worldwide.
Up until his death on 29 October 2010, he made his vibrant stamp on the House of Laurent-Perrier, which will remain forever.
JOSEPH PERRIER CHAMPAGNE
Joseph Perrier created the house in 1825. Five generations have owned and controlled this family house: Joseph Perrier (1825), Paul Pithois (1888), Pierre and Roger Pithois Perrier (1925), Georges Pithois (1950) and Jean-Claude Fourmon, the present president of Joseph Perrier and the fifth generation of the family. Today Joseph Perrier is the only house still making champagne in Chalons en Champagne.
The 21 hectares of family vineyards are situated above the Marne River facing south over Epernay. They are planted with the three classic grapes Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. The grapes are picked by hand into small baskets to ensure they reach the press in perfect condition. The chief winemaker and cellar-master at Joseph Perrier follows in his father’s and his grandfather’s footsteps and controls the production of Joseph Perrier, with about 20% of the grapes today coming from their own vineyards.
The cellars were originally Gallo-Roman galleries and have been extended for approximately three kilometers into a hill. Shafts were created soon after the founding of the winery in 1825, long before electric light, to bring sunlight into the cellars producing gentle natural light and ventilation. The bottles lie horizontally in racks in perfect conditions of constant temperature and light. These start immediately behind the winery and the labeling hall. An arboretum has been planted on the hill over the cellars to help naturally regulate the environment below.
The Cuvées Royales celebrate the relationship with Queen Victoria and King Edward VII, a distinction they proudly feature on the labels today.
They feel their champagne remains a hand-made, artisanal product. The 2002 harvest took place under ideal conditions with warm days and cool nights; perfect for excellent health and maturity in the grapes. The blend is half Chardonnay, the balance being mostly Pinot Noir with just a cloud of Pinot Meunier. The nose is elegant with floral notes and hints of spice with ripe fruit characters. On the palate the style is rich and appealing, disturbingly easy to enjoy, yet with the backbone and structure to match with rich fish dishes or with white meats served with a well-reduced intense sauce. It has the concentration and balance to be most enjoyable for at least the next three years. More discreet perhaps, with a citrus character and touch of nuts and butter is the Blanc de Blancs Vintage 2004. Elegant and long it is the perfect aperitif or accompaniment to delicate seafood dishes.