Lennon passes up visa, flies home
by Richie Yorke
Canada's leading music reporter for The Globe and Mail, article dated
Friday, June 6, 1969

John Lennon flew out of Toronto last night en route to London, but not before he had been mobbed by hundreds of fans outside the Windsor Arms Hotel, and missed his scheduled flight because of a mixup in bookings.

Lennon and entourage left the hotel at 7:10 p.m. More than 250 fans had milled around entrances, and when Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, fought their way to the limousine, there was hysteria rivalling the old Beatles' tours. Girls screamed and boys took pictures. Lennon took it calmly.

The party arrived at the airport at 7:50, and Lennon and Yoko, with Yoko's 5-year-old daughter Kyoko, were ushered into a vacant room at the rear of the ticket counters.

Earlier, Lennon's hearing with the Department of Immigration over his admissibility to Canada had been conducted at the airport. The Beatles' aide, Derek Taylor, told reporters after the 2 1/2-hour meeting that Lennon had been invited to re-apply for a visa but declined, "We've decided to return to London to be with our friends and families."

The party had been booked aboard a 9:05 p.m. Air Canada flight to London, added Taylor. But airline officials later said there'd been a mixup. Consequently, the party left on a 9 p.m. flight to London, via Frankfurt.

The group was clearly unhappy. Taylor said: "We'd made arrangements to be met by the press and our families, and now they'll have to wait for hours. It's a conspiracy against us."

The party left with an addition, an 18-year-old bellhop from the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal. The youth, Tony Parsons, said on his days off he'd helped Lennon and was invited to return to London and become a road manager at Apple. "My parents," he said, "think it's very good."

Several other people -- Canadian additions to the entourage -- who'd gone to the airport with hopes of taking the flight on Beatles' money were disappointed. One was overheard begging Taylor for a ticket. Others hung around till the end, looking weary and depressed.

Lennon said he was returning to London to await news of his application for a visa to visit the United States. The visa had been turned down because of Lennon's conviction last November for possession of marijuana.

"We are very happy with the results of our visit and the Montreal bed-in," said Lennon, dressed completely in black, as opposed to his white-suited arrival.

"It's been great," agreed Taylor. "We've enjoyed ourselves immensely and it's been a nice change for us."

"You can't change things overnight," Lennon said, "but I believe we've made a lot of people think about peace. We're going to keep plugging away."

Lennon wasn't sure if he'd return to Canada to continue the peace crusade but said there was a possibility of it.

He left behind thousands of autographs, countless interviews, millions of photographs and a new Beatles' single which was recorded bed-side in Montreal. It was called Give Peace A Chance. "That's all we ask," he said.

Copyright by The Globe and Mail, June 6, 1969. All rights reserved.

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