His undergraduate years at Penn State coincided with growing unrest on the campus in the late ’60s. Student protests became more ferocious as the war in Vietnam threatened to ensnare college men. Like many his age, O'Rourke went north at 21.
He wound up near the University of Toronto campus, where he worked at a crisis intervention centre. "I did druggies and drunks," he says.
The facility was named 12 Madison for its address just north of Bloor Street, near the University of Toronto campus. In three years of sometimes harrowing overnight shifts, O'Rourke handled most every crises that came his way, needing to call an ambulance only twice and the police but once.
He wound up in Vancouver, where he eventually got a job in which he handed out government money to the kinds of organizations for which he once worked. After being rejected for a job due to his lack of a degree, he decided it was time to return to school.
Now, much like his predecessor a century and a half ago, he administers titles, adjudicates disputes, and exercises legislative authority to reserve mineral rights to the government beneath such things as parks.
He hands over a business card crammed with tiny printing. It has the province's logo, the province's slogan, the name of his ministry (Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources), and its division (Titles and Offshore), as well as his contact information. His two job titles are in the tiniest print. It must be said the government has plenty of assistant deputy ministers, but only one chief gold commissioner. That makes Patrick O’Rourke the gold standard.
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