Part of CNTU history…Mr. Harry Hunt
by Oskar Zovich
Harry Hunt didn’t immigrate to Canada from U.K. He was born and grew up in the good old Toronto, where he also lived all of his eighty one years (born February 04/1915 died December 19/1996) His father was Canadian born and his mother was born and raised in London England.
More then likely I knew Harry and his birds better than any one else because we lived practically on the same city block, roughly two hundred meters apart. So you see not only did I know the looks of his birds but also well aware of their good flying capabilities. They mostly flew no higher than hundred meters, if that.
According to what I was told many a times by Mr. Hunt himself the family consisted of Pee Wee, Pass and Waterfall. This type of Tipplers where brought into Canada in 1915 by Mr. Brooks and Mr. Simpson as well as Mr. Pollard. Apparently in 1923 Mr. Sam Laurie also brought some more birds of the same type and he bought out all the birds from the above mentioned importers.
Now, as for Mr. Hunt visiting England. The answer is never. However, his mother would be going there but according to him she never brought back any eggs or birds.
In 1956 Scotty Thomas brought eggs. I was never told from whom. Apparently somebody from south-west England or Welsh and supposed strain was Lincoln. Some of that blood was introduced into his family in the late fifties.
And I almost forgot to mention, if he would have ever exported any birds to Europe believe me I would have been aware of that. Many more families of Tipplers were brought into Toronto Canada in the thirties fifties, sixties, seventies and later.
The year he flew that great kit of young ones (FTA 555/79 FTA 566/79(Lovett) and FTA 569/79 at 10.35 pm was the last time we were able to spot them -17:20 hrs. on the wing.
You know he use to breed only a nest a half, (second nest one egg only per pair) I happened to drop by just as he was about to throw some eggs away. Since he was throwing them away I thought now is a good time to ask for two eggs one from the yellow Lovatt and one from black mottles. He wouldn’t give me the egg from the yellows (his reasoning was “the American boys would be upset”). Black was no problem as long as I don’t tell anybody I could have the egg.
Well, happy as a pigeon on a perch I took the egg,….hatched and turn out to be a beautiful grizzle hen. Wouldn’t you know Wayne Tomsic was coming from Cleveland, Ohio, so old Harry come to take the hen but only for couple of days and once he is gone hen is my again. Two, three day passed by and no Harry or the hen. I went over to see what was going on with my hen. “Oh well, you wouldn’t believe it. Wayne fell in love with the bird and I just couldn’t say no. But don’t you worry, I’m giving you a better hen”. Now I’m already calculating, thinking he is giving me the sister which flew over 17 hours – to which cock 566 was going to be bred to. How wrong could I be…566 was dead. But how, why? “Son, you didn’t want that hen”. I didn’t want that hen? But I…”no, no son, we have better stuff right here at 55 Astoria (his address) and you are taking 555 instead”. Thinking, why not after all he was giving me the bird that he flew over 17 hours. Unfortunately I could never find out how good a breeder the hen would be. After taking only one nest from her (which by the way I gave to Gord Chatter FTA 608/9-80) she together with eleven more birds was poisoned by my neighbor. However here is proof of the great potential she held. The young kit of birds flown by Gord Chater in 1985 for the NA record of 16:02 hrs. were all children or grand children of 555 hen.
And that is a testimony how good Mr. Hunt’s birds were.