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L. B. Pearson Building Photo

On January 19, 2007 T. E. (Buck) Arbuckle and his wife Norma had a nice dinner party where they disclosed their intention to "downsize" their home on Castle Hill Crescent in Ottawa prior to moving to a retirement suite in the future. In preparation for this move Buck wanted to distribute for safekeeping some of the larger pictures that he had acquired at the Department of External Affairs. It is his wish that they be shared with the Communicators and Technicians of the Department and added to the historical record of "Telecommunications - The Backbone of External Affairs". This picture has particular significance to technicians employed during Buck's career which started as a technician and culminated with his retirement as Director of Telecommunications.

The initials "WEG" discretely applied to the photo confirmed it was photographed, developed and printed by W. E. (Ed) Graham.

Ed was a Senior Technical Security Inspector and a skilled professional photographer who operated the Canadian Diplomatic Technical Security Service (CDTSS)  photo laboratory between 1972-73 and 1976-80.

After seeing the photo in 2007 he recalled taking it with a Minolta 35mm camera, perhaps from the apartment of another senior Technical Security Inspector M. E. (Mel) Perras (left) who lived for a time on Botler Street.

The photo was likely taken on a weekend in 1973 given the lack of traffic on and off the McDonald-Cartier Bridge and the lone car visible in the parking lot.

David R. L. Smith, a historian for the Association of Former Foreign Service Communicators has custody of the photograph on behalf of the AFFSC. They are in the early stages of production of a book capturing the history of telecommunications in the Department where this photo will likely figure prominently.

I asked David for some comments on what could be learned when he removed it from its glass-covered frame for photography:.

"The frame had the usual brown paper sealing the back from dust. Cutting this open did not reveal what I had hoped. After removing the "diamonds" and removing the photo and mat,  I was disappointed to see that the photo was glued to a stiff backing and alas, there were no markings to be found as a result.  The paper is Matte (as you can see from my blow-up of the initials) but there is no way of knowing which company made the paper. The photo itself is 15.5" high by 19.75" wide."

While the photograph appeared to be in good condition considering it had hung originally in Buck's office and later in his home for more than 20 years, its removal from the frame and surrounding mat revealed discoloration. David used his magic:

"I simply placed the photo on my kitchen island counter and, with no direct lighting or flash, hand-held my digital Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T30 7.2 MP. I activated the SteadyShot feature - and voila. To clean up the result, I used both Corel Photo Album 6 and their heavy duty photo manipulation program,  Corel Paint Shop Pro XI."

Buck's original framed photograph returned to the L. B. Pearson Building for a short while where it is displayed (left) in the office of Janice E. Attree-Smith on A3. The photo was moved to her home upon her retirement in 2014.

If you have recollections associated with this photograph or the people mentioned in the above article please send them to so that we might share them with visitors to this site and our collaborating communicator colleagues. The photo below is the "traditional" view that appears in the brochures.


Stan Fockner

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OFARTS Canada 2006-2007 Old Foreign Affairs Retired Technicians, Canada The opinions expressed here are those of the contributors. Accuracy of facts has not been verified in all cases.