It was a hot Ottawa summer day, 1968. A 23-year-old Canadian musician named Bruce Cockburn was hanging out at the Somerset Asylum, watching a movie being filmed which co-starred his poet friend and occasional songwriting partner, Penelope Schafer.
It wasn’t a real asylum. That was merely the nickname given to the old house on historic, artsy Somerset Street where Penelope (she went by her first name only) lived with her brain research scientist husband, Ted Schafer. The house received its alias due to the colorful cast of characters it attracted and the crazy things that would happen there.