Sven Nielsen's Memoirs Part 5

A new life in Canada

Weekends on Toronto Island

In 1955 Eric was born, he was a lot of fun. We now had a complete family and struggled to save money for furniture. On weekends we would go to Toronto island for recreation, at that time a TTC ticket cost 7 cents, it included a free transfer ticket to the ferries, today you pay over $ 7 for that.

Knud's wife didn't have a bathing suit, but that didn't deter her, on the island she would go around in her see through panties and king size bra, much to the delight of all the young Italian construction workers. She was a real flirt. She would play beach balls with them, bumping her huge boobs up and down enjoying the attention she was getting.

Eric in 1955 Eric in a paper basket Eric in the kitchen sink

The car breaks down

Moosonee, Cochrane

The car started to give trouble and burn oil, so I completely dismantled the motor up in our apartment, had the cylinders rebored, the crankshaft ground down, polished all the valves, fitted new piston rings, put it all together again, it was quite an experience. I got books from the library to see how it was done, and now it ran fine again.

One summer vacation we drove up north to Cochrane where the car broke down out in nowhere. I checked and found that the fibre timing gear wheel had broken, I went to a garage where they repaired trucks, he said he didn't know anything about English cars, but if I wanted to I could use the facilities.

So I ordered a new gear from Toronto, it would take a couple of days, in the meantime, we took our tent and boarded the train up to Hudson bay, where we camped a couple of days, went sightseeing in a canoe we borrowed from a local Indian. When we got back to Cochrane I was running out of money and phoned the bank, and they wired me $ 10. I then installed the new gearwheel, which had arrived in the meantime, and we returned home.

In about 1954 there was an extremely hot summer, and nobody had air conditioner, so it was common at that time to sleep in the parks down at the beaches. People would come there by the thousands, bring blankets or sleeping bags, it was one huge open air bedroom, but it was comfortable cool and very social.

A piece of cake gets me promoted

At work I worked as a technician, and at the time Philips were having problems with a new installation of x-ray equipment with image intensifiers in Montreal. It was a huge order, first one of its kind, and all the other hospitals in the country were watching it closely. They couldn't get it working properly and threatened to cancel, then somebody suggested to send me up to fix it, and the management agreed.

I flew up there and got it working in no time. There were all sorts of doctors and engineers asking me questions. One of them was the vice president of Philips, I didn't know who he was when he asked was it difficult? I said no it is nothing, it is a piece of cake, he was quite impressed with my performance and had me promoted to Ontario service manager for scientific equipment.

Here my first job was to fix some problems we had with an electron microscope installation at the university of London, the fellow in charge there of the lab had a ham station, so we hit if off very well, and I fixed all the problems. After I got back he sent a letter to my new boss, praising me to high heaven, and thanked him for finally having sent some one who knew what he was doing. My boss never showed me the letter, but his secretary did.

Traveling and working

In my office at Philips

Dog sled

In my new position as service manager I had to travel a fair bit, one of the first job was a trip to Uranium city in the Northwest Territories. I flew to Edmonton then changed to an old warplane owned by the company I was doing the job for.

There were no seats in it, and it was filled with all sorts of stuff, a refrigerator someone had ordered from sears, bags of fertilizer, meat and vegetables, a snow lover, a couple of snowmobiles etc. etc. I sat next to the pilot in the flight cabin; he was a friendly chap and answered all my curious questions.

It was a long flight but finally we reached the town, it only had a population of 163 people and a uranium mine. It was freezing cold minus 38 degrees, the inhabitants were wearing fur jacket and fur pants, looked like Eskimos. All I had was city clothes.

The radio station was a homemade one in someone's basement, he would get programs sent up from CBC on tape, and he would read the news himself, when he came home from work.

During the day he worked in the mining company in the office. He invited me to his home for dinner, the next morning I saw a snow sled with a dog team, it was quite a sight

Dance hall in New York

Dance hall in New York

On another trip I went to Seven Isle Iron Company in Quebec. They had trouble with the electronic equipment from Philips in New York, so I flew up there and fixed it.

There was no road going up there, only a railroad, there were no hotels, but the company had a barrack set up for guests, and I stayed there. It was very isolated, no entertainment whatsoever, but I was busy working so that was ok. I solved the problems and went home.

Frequently I had to go to New York, Philips had partnership with Norelco there, + who made analytical x-ray equipment. I got to know the city very well, went dancing at Roseland almost every night, walked through Harlem and Central Park at night - I didn't realise the danger.

I worked hard in those days. I would get up at 4 am and drive 150 km, unpack an induction heater, install and teach the customer how to use it, and then drive back often putting in 14 hours a day with no extra pay for overtime.

Once fixing an electron microscope in Jordan I didn't get home before 4 am. During my years with Philips I visited most of the cities in Canada, plus trips to Philips' factory in Eindhoven

My workbench

In my apartment I had a workbench and did miscellaneous work. One order I got was for 12 power supplies to recover silver from X-Ray negatives used in hospitals, and a few other pieces of Equipment, which was not available on the market. Another one was for a remote controlled camera to take photos of wild animals in the jungle.

Divorce and a new marriage

A few years later in 1962 Tonny wanted to go back to Denmark, so we separated and she left [Eric Bentzen: actually it was in August 1959.]. I was by myself, free to enjoy the beautiful Canadian summer. I did a lot of traveling and enjoyed the freedom for a while, then met Fay Woolf.

Fae Woolf

She was English; both her parents were killed during the war by V 2 bombs. She lived by herself in a room, she suggested to move in with me in my apartment on 951 Eglington Ave W. I agreed, since it was nice to have company. We traveled a bit and had fun dancing, but eventually I got tired of her, so she left, and I was again on my own, visited Denmark and finalized the divorce.

When I got back, I joined a club called "Jack & Jill". It was a singles organization, which holds dances and tours to different lodges on weekends. I went on lots of trips, where I would volunteer to take passengers. They would call me to pick up 3 or 4 girls at their homes, who would contribute to the cost of gas.

On one of those trips I met Elizabeth Hall. We started dating, she was a good skier and tennis player, I helped her with her essay for her bachelor of arts degree, we went on trips for archaeology in midland, where we would excavate old Indian sites, for pottery and bones etc. and I helped her taking pictures of monuments in cemeteries for another essay. I found out that I could have passed the exam quite easily without ever gone to school.

Sven and Elizabeth

Eventually we decided to marry, but since my divorce was obtained in Denmark we couldn't get married in Ontario. So we went to Lake Placid, went to a church where the minister told us to wait to after the service. It was on a Sunday, he then asked if we had any witnesses, I said no but I would get some, and went outside and found an old lady in black with her daughter.

She looked poor so I thought I could give her a dollar for her effort, she said she would be delighted, we then got married, and when we got outside we saw the woman had her limousine with private chauffer waiting. Apparently she was very wealthy and owned half the county, so I didn't give her a dollar. Later she sent flowers to our motel.

The next day we checked into a dude ranch. Elizabeth wanted to go for a ride. I wasn't going to tell that I had never been on a horse before. They split us up in groups, beginners, intermediate, and experienced. She was experienced, and I thought it can't be that difficult, I waited to be the last one and they showed me my horse.

I have never in my life seen a horse that big, it was enormous. They helped me to climb up a tall ladder to get on the monster, it was tripping around impatiently, and finally I got in the saddle, and they said ok take off. I said sure, the only trouble was I didn't know to get it started - there didn't seem to be any lever or clutch.

I pulled the bidet but it still didn't move, so I kicked the heels in the side. That seemed to work, it toke off in full gallop, I was hanging on for my dear life, lucky enough the horse knew which way to go, it went down on a very steep trail through the mountains, I was really scared, but managed to stay on and finally after a lot of prayers got back to the ranch, very relieved. The only trouble was I couldn't sit down for a week.

Around the world


We moved into an apartment on 150 Corsburn Ave, in a brand new building with balcony facing south, lots of sunshine, and we could walk to the tennis court. A year later we bought a house on Cottonwood Dr.

We did a lot of skiing and travel. We toured Europe from Copenhagen through Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, and England by Eurorail 1st Class and we took a trip around the world through Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, India, Singapore, Indonesia, Bali, Australia, Hawaii, San Francisco, and Toronto. We had good times, but eventually split up due to un-reconcilable differences.

Fishing boat Me at Coliseum in Rome

Women in India Taj Mahal

I retire

In December of 1974 I quit my position at Philips Electronics after 24 years and had to leave my company car there, so I bought a Ford Pinto, one year old, and retired.