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A S T R O N O T E S
The Newsletter Magazine of the Ottawa Centre of the RASC
Vol. 24, No. 8
$5.00 a year
Editor..... ..Rolf Meier...... 4-A Arnold Dr...... 820-5784
Addresses.... Art Fraser..... .92 Lillico Dr.......737-4110
Circulation...Robin Molson....2029 Garfield Ave...225-3082
again, Astronotes readers,
I heard many disappointed remarks about the lack
of an issue in August.
The reason for this is mainly the
enormous size of the July issue (26 pages).
It cost us
Not only in the duplication charge, but also in
It seems we were just over the magic number
programs which calls for 51¢ in stamps, instead of 34¢ . In
order to handle this problem in the future, we will not go
over 18 pages, with sometimes a centre insert. If there is
an overflow of articles, the less timely ones will be held
consistently-sized issues, and we won't go over the limit
for 34¢ postage.
How about this summer's weather! After a terrible
June, July was pretty good. August haa been so-so, with a
lot of frustrating clouding-over-when-you-get-there nights.
No hot or cold spells , though. And the bugs were down to a
reasonable level for most of the summer.
The big news for a while is going to be Halley's
Comet. It was first seen after it came around from behind
the sun at Stellafane, on the morning of August 17. It is
Just going to keep getting brighter for a while. I saw it
for the first time on the morning of August 23.
A committee has been formed to create an
information booklet for the public on Halley’s Comet.
hope to distribute it free, or for a nominal charge. The
membership of the Ottawa Centre will probably suffer from
information overload on the comet for a while.
case, the Handbook should be pretty good for finding it
until the end of the year, until you get the 1986 Handbook#
-1-OBSERVER'S GROUP MEETING - AUGUST 8
Chairman Doug George opened the meeting at 8:16 pm
with 46 people in attendance, of whom 36 (78%) were
Fred Lossing discussed the effects of various nebular
filters, including the UHC and Deep-Sky filters, on the
different types of city lights.
Doug George explained how his Super C-8 functions.
has a new type of mount and computer controls, as well as
John Molson was up to give a talk on his recent solar
flux variations project and showed some slides of the
Frank Roy discussed the importance of selecting the
correct type of film for various astrographs.
Brian Stokoe showed some slides of the southern
constellations as seen from Australia.
telecompressing and hypersensitization.
Brian Burke gave a slide show on his summer vacation,
which included a visit to 3 planetariums , 3 observatories,
and the General Assembly in Edmonton.
Doug George closed the meeting at 10:35 pm.
* * *
OBSERVER'S GROUP MEETING - JULY 5
Chairman Doug George opened the meeting at 8:22 pm
with his RASC introduction speech. There were 34 people in
attendance, of whom 29 were members.
Planned activities were:
Brian Burke's graze on July
23, an IRO star night on July 12 or 13, a public star night
on July 26 or 27, Starfest, and Stellafane conferences.
Planetary and comet coordinator Rolf Meier spoke about
Comet Machholz, the expensive Halley tour, and the Brent
Meteor Crater in the northern end of Algonquin Park.
crater is about 4 km in diameter, and is not very well seen
in the slide which was taken from a tower.
discovery was by air, which with so many trees isn't
He also presented slides of the Algonquin
Instrumentation coordinator Max Stuart presented his
3-inch reflector which he called "VLBT", or Very Low Budget
The total cost was under $40, and its
-2-magnification is about 30. He also presented slides of the
Astrophotography coordinator Simon Tsang talked about
that he had photographed
Riverside Telescope Makers Convention in California.
also had a slide of the Palomar Observatory.
Daniel Rollin gave his presentation "Setting Circles
for Altitude and Azimuth at Night".
Included were slides
of his telescope with the azimuth and altitude protractors.
Chairman Doug George showed his astro cards and spoke
about the International Halley Watch.
There is a manual
availble for about $12 which includes charts, information,
observation forms, etc.
He explained the 6 types of
observations for comets:
One tip he gave is not to use comet filters, for they
may bias observations.
Meteor coordinator Frank Roy gave us a slide show
comparison of M 13 using Agfachrome 200 and Fujichrome 400.
Chairman Doug George closed the meeting at 10:16 pm.
* * *
1985 ANNUAL DINNER
Friday, November 22, 1985
$17.50 - same as last year
Details such as speaker to
come later this fall
* * *
-3-REPORT ON JULY 26 PUBLIC STAR NIGHT
The public star night proceeded as planned on the
Friday night, with the skies clearing a few hours before
the event (despite previous weather forcasts).
brought out at least a dozen telescopes, with which the
public were able to view the moon, Saturn, Jupiter, M 13,
M57, Alberio, and other objects.
Vincent Massey Park may have trouble with light
pollution, but the central, well-known location more than
made up for it with a large public attendance.
difficult to estimate how many people visited over the
course of the evening, but at least 200 people attended.
The public particularly enjoyed the planets, and were
impressed by Saturn's rings, Jupiter's belts, and the tiny
moons circling the planets.
They also enjoyed the moon's
People were surprised to notice how the objects
rapidly moved out of the eyepiece as the earth turned.
I would like to thank all the members who brought
their telescopes out. I would especially like to thank the
media, including The Citizen, CJSB, CKCU, CHEZ, CBO, and
CFRA for publicizing the event.
CJSB and CKCU deserve
special thanks for airing interviews.
* * *
COUNCIL MEETING - MAY 7
Members of the Ottawa Centre Council met at the NRC
building on the above date.
Following acceptance of the minutes of the previous
meeting in February, Council proceeded to discuss various
topics of interest and concern.
Of major importance was the evaluation of the IRO
equipment, buildings, and inventory for insurance purposes,
a subject which had arisen at the February meeting.
reported that an inventory of everything at IRO had been
taken, but the evaluation had not yet been completed. With
estimates on various amounts of coverage and discussion on
valuations for individual pieces of equipment followed.
was decided to raise coverage for a short-term period,
pending completion of the evaluation.
Various committee reports were then tabled.
Observatory Committee chairman, Robin Molson, reported that
the lock to the clubhouse had been changed in April, with
-4-new keys given out, and mention was made of work to be done
on IRO buildings, including repairs to the clubhouse roof
and completion of the long-awaited outhouse, Rob McCallum,
in charge of the Annual Dinner, reported that Algonquin
College had again been booked as the location for the
meeting this year on November 22. Other locations would be
considered at the next council meeting, but it was agreed
that a site be booked as early as possible in the year to
avoid disappointment at a later date. Art Fraser reported
that our membership was now over 200, and we are entitled
to send 2 representatives to National Council.
our Centre's second
accompanying Brian Burke.
The Program Committee chairman
Brian Burke gave a brief rundown on Centre meetings held so
far this year. Frank Roy reported that 420 of the Centre’s
library books were now on a computer, and it was suggested
that this information be published in Astronotes.
Meier tabled her report and financial statements, and
discussion followed on the higher costs we are encountering
distribution of Astronotes.
The Chairman noted the success of Astronomy Day
activities within the Centre, and a committee was formed to
coordinate a program for the public with regard to the
upcoming Halley’s Comet apparition. The committee is to be
composed of Rob McCallum, Rolf Meier, and Brian Burke.
In addition, it was suggested that a record of any
decisions made by Council be compiled, and Brian Burke,
Robin Molson, and Sandra Ferguson were assigned to the
For the next Council meeting, it was hoped that a
summary of the results of the Centre Questionnaire would be
All business having been completed, Council adjourned
and the date of the next Council meeting set for August 20.
* * *
COUNCIL MEETING - AUGUST 20
After the meeting was called to order, a review of the
minutes of the last meeting was made and accepted with one
small change - room 2001 should have read room 3001.
Perhaps the typo occurred due to the fact that we are
looking for a more SPACIOUS room to accommodate the crowd.
Rob McCallum arrived just in time to provide his
-5-Dinner Meeting report.
Again, it looks like Algonquin
College is the best bet to hold the annual dinner meeting.
It is to be held on November 22, 1985, and wonder of
wonders, at the same cost as last year of $17.50. A motion
was made to accept Algonquin as the place for the Annual
Dinner and it was so passed, with everyone in favour,
Brian Burke mentioned his attempt to have a Canadian
astronaut as guest speaker. He has writted to the National
Research Council public
affairs to see
if Dr. Roberta
Bondar could be our speaker, as she is a member of our
comprising of Rolf Meier, Rob McCallum, and Brian Burke,
advised that they will be making a booklet similar to the
one provided by Sky and Telescope.
However, it will be
relevant to our city. They also hope
to obtain free
Brian will be advising
further on this.
star nights will also be planned during times when it is
hoped Halley will be visible. Brian is also trying to have
Ian Halliday come and speak to us at a Centre meeting.
Doug George commented that he has heard his talk and that
it is very good.
The Membership Committe reported that in 1985 we had
181 regular members, 18 of whom were youths (double the 9
from last year) and that we have 32 life members.
It was mentioned that our outhouse is nearly
Brian Burke raised 2 points regarding purchases
All purchases are to be cleared by the Chairman or
Frank Roy was provided with a tax receipt for
his donation of a transformer to correct the Dec brake.
Doug George also is to be given a tax receipt for the
Telrad he donated.
Program Committee chairman Brian Burke again mentioned
he is endeavouring to find speakers for Centre meetings.
Frank Roy advised that he spoke with Rheal Marseau of
Quebec at Stellafane and asked if he would be willing to
talk about his brass tesseracts, for which he has won many
awards. We will be notified about this in the future.
Discussion began on obtaining a P.O . Box for the
Centre mailing address, at a cost of $25 per year.
accepted with all in favour, and members will be informed
of the new address in Astronotes.
Brian Burke then presented his General Assembly
report, a good deal of which you heard at the last
Observer’s Group meeting.
Some items of interest with
-6-regard to the National Council meeting are as follows:
Since it has been cancelled,
Council has been trying to have the grant reinstated, so
far to no avail. An attempt will be made again.
2) Dale Armstrong: He was presented an award for his
Survey of Amateurs project.
This is usually presented to a
University of Toronto student for excellent work, and it
has been questioned as to why only U. of T.
has been appointed to discuss this.
Honorary President and Membership:
Covington has been named Honourary President and has
accepted same. Also Stephen Hawking has accepted honourary
membership in the RASC.
Dr. Ralph Chou is the new treasurer.
He presented the 1985 budget which was found to exclude
reinstatement of $700 for centre speaker exchanges.
6) Handbook Price: The Observer's Handbook 1986 will
be sold for $9.
A revamping of the Constitution of the RASC is
being done to enable other centres acros Canada to more
easily incorporate with their respective provinces.
On other business, a number of points were raised,
some of which were:
Lee Warner, of Ottawa Cablevision
would like to film a night at the Observatory on Friday,
August 30, at 6:30, with members and their telescopes.
Rolf Meier mentioned that the Centre d ’Astronomie de
Montreal has asked a private film company to do a film on
Halley’s Comet. Rolf is to be inteviewed in this film.
Frank Roy has found the master plates and some
Doug George presented the very interesting results of
the questionnaire, to be presented in Astronotes.
Rob McCallum mentioned that we should have the GA in
Ottawa in 1988. Also, he thought that it would be great if
the Ottawa Centre once more entered displays like no other
at next year’s GA in Calagary, and attempt to win all the
So let’s get all our observations and ideas
together and go for it!
The next Council meeting is to be held on Monday,
September 23, at 7:30 in 1120B.
The Chairmen of the
information to the treasurer prior to that date - I ’ll be
looking for you! The Nominating Committee is to provide a
slate of nominees. The meeting then adjourned.
-7-THE NEVER-ENDING-TWILIGHT GENERAL ASSEMBLY
The 1985 General Assembly was hosted by the Edmonton
Centre from June 28 to July 1.
Unlike other years, I
decided to take this year's G.A. at a leisurely pace by
arriving a day before the G.A. started and not leaving
until the day after it ended.
This proved to be a good
I arrived at the Edmonton International Airport on the
afternoon of June 27, took a shuttle bus to a local hotel,
and was met by Bob Carson, president of the Edmonton
He then drove me to the Unviversity of Alberta
campus where the G.A. was being held, and of course where
the delegates would be staying.
The first item on the agenda for me was the National
Council meeting during the afternoon of June 28. However,
the first opportunity to meet other delegates came at the
wine-and-cheese reception that evening held in the Old
Power Plant on the U. of A. campus. An informal slide show
was held during the reception followed by a song contest.
The paper session began on the morning of June 29 and
continued that afternoon.
Down the hall from the paper
session was the display room. The most interesting display
was a computer-controlled Celestron 8 telescope designed
and built by Karl Miller of the Vancouver Centre. Needless
to say, Mr. Miller won the award for best display in the
One of the most interesting
papers was presented by H. van Asperen of the Kingston
Centre entitled "Determination of Sunspot Latitudes" and
his display on the same subject won best display in the
That evening the banquet was held at the Edmonton
Our trip to the Convention Centre
involved a short trip on the Light Rail Transit to the
city's centre and a brief walking tour of downtown
The tour included a brief guided tour of the
This complex contains numerous theatres
for live performances, an art gallery, restaurant, lounge,
drama workshops, and a multi-level garden and waterfall.
The Convention Centre is also a very impressive
place. The banquet was a terrific roast beef meal with two
bottles of wine per table.
Following the banquet there
were the presentation of display competition awards and the
RASC awards. The evening's speaker was Dr. R.E. Frolinsbee
of the University of Alberta and his talk was entitled
"Meteorites and Their Collectors - Close Encounters".
-8-Sunday morning we were all up early so we could take
the 7:30 bus to the Edmonton Space Sciences Centre. The
E.S.S.C. looks somewhat like an alien spacecraft.
would never guess that it contains a planetarium because
the distinctive dome of other planetariums is not present.
interactive exhibit, and a ramp leading up to the Universe
Here is where a full-scale model of the Canada
Space Arm is located.
After a cold Buffet breakfast we entered the Star
Theatre to watch the presentation "Stars Over China". This
show was presented using some 200 slide projectors, because
the Zeiss-Jena Star Projector was under repair after it had
been accidentally damaged.
We then made our way to the
IMAX Theatre to watch the film "Grand Canyon". Watching a
70-mm film projected onto a screen 18 metres wide and 12
metres high with a 4200-watt 6-track sound system certainly
gives you the feeling of being there.
The E.S.S.C. also has a roll-off-roof observatory with
a C-8, C-14, and a couple of other telescopes including a
Sunday afternoon’s activities consisted of the General
Assembly meeting followed by the second National Council
Sunday evening it was off to Fort Edmonton Park. Fort
Edmonton portrays the city as it appeared in
Elsewhere in the park there are streets depicting Edmonton
at the turn of the century and in the 1920’s.
The final activity of the G.A. was a trip to the West
You must see this place to believe it.
500 stores, salt-water
aquariums, bird aviaries, monkey cages, an NHL-sized indoor
skating rink, and of course, Fantasyland.
If I told you
what Phase III will contain when it opens in September, you
will not believe me.
The trip to the mall was on Monday
morning, July 1st, a holiday in Ontario but not for stores
in Alberta, it seems.
All the stores were open for
This was an incredible G.A., and the Edmonton Centre
It is amazing to think that this was the third
G.A. in Edmonton in the last 13 years!
A great job,
We have all been invited to Winnipeg for next year’s
Genral Assembly, which will also take place at the end of
June, and it appears that it will be another great G.A.
-9-R O YA L A ST RO NO M IC AL
B r i a n Burke
521-8856 Robin Molson
Speaker: Mr. Real Manseau, Le club d ’astronomie de Drummundville,
Association de groupes d ’astronomie amateur du Quebec
Topic: The Construction of Historical Instruments in Brass
Real Manseau is well known for his excellent brass instrument
Several of his historical instruments have won first
prize at the telescope making convention in Springfield,
Vermont. He will describe his construction techniques used to
build the different parts of the instruments. Among his
instruments are a Theodolite and a Tellurium-Lunarium. A few
of his instruments will be on hand for demonstration. He will
also cover some historical aspects of the instruments. Réal,
an avid amateur astronomer, will also describe his observatory
Date and Time: Saturday, September 21, 1985 at 8:00 p.m.
Place: Auditorium of the National Museum of Science and Technology,
St. Laurent Blvd. and Russell Road
R T A N T
N O T I C E
Members are reminded that the membership fee for 1986 is due October 1.
You may pay at the October Observers’ Group Meeting. Otherwise, please
mail your payment to the address shown along with the completed form by
October 1. It is also requested that Life Members return the completed
form so that we can be sure that our records are accurate. Thank you.
ENCLOSED: membership application/renewal formSYMPOSIUM ON THE STUDY OF VARIABLE STARS USING SMALL
A week and a half after the G.A., Frank Roy and I
travelled to Toronto to attend a conference at the
University of Toronto dealing with observing variable stars
with telescopes in the 0.2-m to 0.6-m range.
conference ran from July 11 to July 14.
Thursday evening there was a wine and cheese reception
in the residence.
This gave everyone the opportunity to
meet one another.
I met Russ Genet, co-founder of the
I.A.P.P.P., for the first time, and Dr. Douglas Hall of the
Many interesting papers were presented during Friday
and Saturday including one by Russ about an automated
telescope for making photoelectric observations of variable
This system was recently described in Sky and
observatories on the roof of the Physics Building.
dome contains a 20-cm f/15 refractor which is used
exclusively for teaching. The other dome contains a 40-cm
f/18 Cassegrain telescope which is used for both teaching
Former Ottawa Centre member and graduate
student Doug Welch was on hand to answer questions.
Since this symposium was part of the celebration of
the 50th anniversary of the David Dunlop Observatory, we
visited D.D.O. on Friday evening.
The first order of
business was a beer and pizza supper.
Afterwards we had
the chance to roam around the site.
Before this, though,
Don Fermie, director of D.D.O. gave a talk about the
equipment and observing program at the obseratory.
There are 3 telescopes at D.D.O.
On the roof of the
telescopes. The main telescope is the 1.9-m reflector, the
largest optical telescope in Canada.
Although it is a
45-minute drive to the observatory, the skyline of Toronto
can still be seen.
The banquet was held Saturday evening at the Hungarian
Village and what a feast that was.
The final day of activities involved a show at the
McLaughlin Planetarium and tours of the Royal Ontario
Museum and Scienc Centre.
This was an excellent conference and Dr. John Percy
and the other organizers must be congratulated.
UPCOM ING EVENTS
The following events will take place during the next
September 14 (or 15) - Annual RASC Ottawa Centre Picnic,
hosted this year by Irmi Underwood.
There will be a
pot-luck supper. The event will be located on Irmi's farm,
the "Woodhouse Tree Farms", which is in a dark sky
location, and fairly near IRO.
Observing will take place
following the supper.
For more information, see the map
opposite, and contact Irmi at 839-5563 or 839-3390.
September 20 (only)
- IRO Public Star Night.
will be visible until about 10:30, so members can come and
show the public the moon, planets, and other objects, then
stay for fine dark-sky viewing. The public will be invited
out from Almonte. Viewing starts at 7:30.
October 11/12/13 - Annual Deep Sky Weekend! Come out to
IRO for an entire long weekend of deep sky viewing. With
new moon this year falling on Thanksgiving, it will be a
fine way to commemorate the orignal opening of our North
Mountain Observatory (later relocated to IRO).
October 18 (or 19) - The last "regular" public star night
Location to be announced.
We will also be
hosting Comet Halley star nights in November and the new
For more information, contact Doug George at 725-0668,
or Sandy Ferguson at 829-7514.
The deadline for the Observer-of-the-Year Award is the
November 1 Observer’s Group meeting.
include either your observing log or a summary of your
observations and programs for this year.
Submit your data
to Doug George.
Entries for the Variable Star Observer of the Year are
also due at the November O.G. meeting. Submit your data to
For those who are pursuing the Messier Race announced
of Astronotes, you
observations on a regular basis to Doug George, at each
11-month’s Observer’s Group meeting.
include observing conditions, the instrument(s) used, and a
brief description of the object as it was seen.
submitting observations will receive a certificate next
Articles for the October issue of Astronotes are due
by September 23.
* * *
* STAR PARTY *
BAR-B-QUE AND PICNIC
at the Underwood’s Woodhouse Tree Farms
(839-3390 or 839-5563)
Star Party on Friday, September 13 after 7pm. Observing,
refreshments provided, but you may bring your own poison!
Two observing sites, 1 near the house; another for the
serious observer, 1/2 mile down the road, power supplied.
Barbeque and Picnic on Sept 14, (rain date the 15th) after
W e ’ll provide salads, hot dogs, and the barbeque.
Bring along your "goodies", ie food.
Don’t forget desert;
marshmallows). Requirements: a) yourselves (of course!),
b) observational instruments, c) a chair for everyone inFrank Roy
HIGH PROPER MOTION STARS
Omicron 2 Eridani A, B, C
A naked eye star with a visual magnitude of 4.48, and
a triple star sysem. It is is the 8th nearest star known.
The B component is a white dwarf.
position: RA 04h 12m 58s, Dec -07 43.8' (1950.0)
04h 15m 16s
-07 39.2' (2000.0)
4.079” per year
16 light years
40 Eridani, LHS 23, BD -7 780, HD 26965,
SAO 131063, GL166
This is a white dwarf star.
position: RA 13h 34m 13S , Dec +03 57.0' (1950.0)
13h 36m 32s
+03 40.8' (2000.0)
3.870" per year
constellation : Virgo
LHS 46, G062-053, LFT 1023, Ci20-791, GL518
An astrometric binary with a visual magnitude of 5.15,
the companion is about 3 mags dimmer and is a red dwarf.
position: RA 01h 04m 56s , Dec +54 40.6' (1950.0)
01h 08m 16s
+54 55.2' (2000.0)mR:
SAO 22024, GL53
3.762" per year
26 light years
L726-8 A, B
A pair a red dwarfs with
star. Also among the faintest of
position: RA 01 h 36m 25s , Dec -
h 39m 02s
3.368" per year
9.0 light years
UV Ceti, LHS 9,
Burnham's Celestial Handbook,
Om icron Eridani 2 - 890-893; Mu
L726-8 - 641-644
Willem J. Luyten and Henry Albers, 1979
LHS Catalogue (second edition),
Sky Catalogue 2000.0 (volume 1),
Willem J. Luyten, 1979
Alan Hirshfeld and Roger
Lowell Proper Motion Survey, The G numbered Stars,
Giclas, R. Burnham Jr., and N.G. Thomas; 1971
L726-8. Identification chart for the UV Ceti System, made
from a Lowell Observatory 13-inch telescope plate. Circle
diameter = 1° with north at the top. Limiting magnitude
-15-- 16 -OMICRON 2 ERIDANI — The Proper Motion over a 31 year interval. The
Total Displacement it 12 6 ". From Lowell Observatory photogra phs .
OTTAWA CENTRE R.A.S.C
LIST OF KEYHOLDERS , INDIAN RIVER OBSERVATORY
726 - 0136
-17-A VISIT TO THE WILSON COULEE OBSERVATORY
After the General Assembly I moseyed on down to
Calgary to visit friends.
While in Calgary I had the
opportunity to visit the Wilson Coulee Observatory, the
observatory of the Calgary Centre.
There was a paper
presented at the G.A. last year in Hamilton about this
observatory so I decided I would try to visit it this year.
Bill Krosney, secretary of the Calgary Centre, was
kind enough to take me out to the observatory late one
afternoon and give me a guided tour.
The observatory is
located about 25 km south of downtown Calgary and a
four-lane highway is travelled on for most of the trip.
The site is on land owned by a private school and is
accessed by driving through the school grounds.
building is about 9 m by 5 m and here is where the monthly
Observer’s Group meetings are held. The meeting room seats
about 50 people, and it also contains the library. Back of
the meeting room is another room that contains a desk,
telephone, and bunk beds.
A third room can be used as a
work room and in fact one member had his computer there at
the time. The washroom is in the fourth room and it has a
The basement has plenty of room for storage.
had a refrigerator, ping-pong table, TV, and couch.
The observatory has two levels.
Underneath the main
level is the base of the telescope and there is more room
for storage. The observatory houses a 32-cm f/7 Newtonian
reflector and has a power operated dome. At the time I was
there the mirror had been removed and was being sent for
The observatory building measures about 3 m
by 3 m.
Outside, the parking lot was being expanded and it
appeared there would be room for at least 30 cars.
outside there are 9 permanent piers with power that allow
Celestron telescopes to be mounted on them.
A very good
Although we did not stay until it got dark, I was
told that the skies are very good.
This very impressive obseratory was made possible
through a $47,000 grant from the Alberta government.
total cost was about $55,000.
It appears that the Calgary
Centre is booming and they have a very active membership,
which is great to see.
I am sure we will be hearing more
from this centre.
* * *
c/o H e r z b e r g
In s titu te
of A s tro p h y s ic s
N atio n al R e s e a rc h Council of C a n a d a
O ttaw a
K 1A 0R6
NATIONAL SECRATARY RASC
136 DUPONT S T .
M5 B 1V2