Guest post by Thomas Virany, B.ASc., P.Eng.

Some fifty years ago we moved to the west end of Ottawa from Toronto. After many years as mostly a journalist at Canadian Press, Maclean-Hunter and CBC Television News, my wife decided that I should get a secure job. The reason was that we had three children by then. Since I was a graduate in mechanical engineering from the University of Toronto, I managed to get a job in the Canadian Patent Office. It was a different life, but a good one. I took the bus to the Office in the morning, examined patent applications all day and took the bus back home at about 5 p.m. No overtime, no work at home. It was not allowed.¬† Off and on, however, I drove. One snowy day I drove, like so many others, on Ottawa’s main road, the Queensway. It was and is a beautiful limited-access superhighway crossing the City east-to-west. But it had one fault. The strip between the eastbound and westbound lanes was very modest and in snowy or icy weather cars slipped off into the middle and with traffic as dense as it was, there were frequent head-on collisions, often resulting in fatalities. One day there was one, right in front of me. Canada’s provinces had not built many such roads with an adequately wide median and the Queensway, in spite of its heavy traffic with a speed limit of 60 miles an hour was one of these. As an engineer, I knew exactly what should have been done to prevent the fatal collisions. There were many ways to prevent them although they all cost money. And as an investigative journalist I was furious. At home I sat down and wrote a letter to the Globe and Mail. Next day I walked around the Office with the letter and collected 12 professional engineers to support me. All signed, happily. Then I mailed it and the Globe¬†printed it as you can see. unnamedThe issue came up in the Ontario Legislature and the Government started building fences where there was too modest a median. download (4)Only a couple of weeks ago we drove back from Toronto and at times were delayed by construction. Guess what! A new and improved concrete cement barrier was being built to prevent collisions on the median. For the first time, we enjoyed the delays. They served a good cause. Frankly, I think that letter to the Globe is what I regard as my greatest achievement. It saved a lot of lives in Ontario and in other provinces, all of which have been following Ontario’s lead.