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Fire Painter

tkmorin:

No words are good enough here. All I can say is, watch the video …

Originally posted on Live & Learn:


French Canadian artist Steve Spazuk is from Lery, Quebec. Here’s his bio from Spazuk.com:

For the past 14 years, Spazuk has developed and perfected a unique technique that allows him to use the flame of a candle or the flame of a torch as a pencil to create his paintings with trails of soot. Using various tools, he intuitively sculpt the plumes of soot left behind in response to the shapes that appear on the canvas.

Spontaneity and chance are the heart and soul of his creative process. He does not censor. He does not direct. Spazuk opens himself to the experience. This in-the-moment creative practice coupled with the fluidity of the soot, creates a torrent of images, shadows and light. Fuelled by the quest of a perfect shape that has yet to materialize, he concentrate in a meditative act and surrender to capture the immediacy of the moment…

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Posted by on October 28, 2014 in Canadian-related Links

 

Formerly a Slave, Now an Inhabitant of Canada

Did you know that as early as 1501, Portuguese explorers enslaved 50 Amerindian men and women in Newfoundland and Labrador?  In 1619, slavery began in North America with the arrival in Jamestown, Virginia of a Dutch slave trading ship carrying 20 Africans.  Not too long after that, in 1628, a six-year-old boy from Madagascar is the first Black person to appear in records as being brought directly from Africa and sold as a slave in New France for 50 crowns. He is later baptized and given the name Olivier Le Jeune.

Today in 1830 marks the day that Josiah Henson, his wife and four children moved from Maryland to Upper Canada (now Ontario) via the Underground Railway. If you don’t remember the name, perhaps you know his story.  It is thought that Harriet Beecher Stowe modelled her story in Uncle Tom’s Cabin on his life.  The book, by the way, that Abraham Lincoln said started the U.S. Civil War, was published on March 20, 1852.

Photo of Josiah Henson

Josiah Henson in 1877

Henson was born on June 15, 1789 in Charles County, Maryland; he died on May 5, 1883, at the age of 93 in Dresden, Ontario.

In 1793,  Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe passed “An Act to prevent further introduction of Slaves, and to limit the Term of Contracts for Servitude within this Province.” The legislation did not immediately end slavery, but it did prevent the importation of slaves, meaning that any U.S. slave who set foot in what would eventually become Ontario, was free.

When he arrived in Upper Canada with his family, he founded a settlement and laborer’s school for other fugitive slaves at Dawn, Upper Canada. By the time Henson arrived, others had already made Upper Canada home, including Black Loyalists from the American Revolution, and refugees from the War of 1812.

He first worked on farms near Fort Erie, then Waterloo, moving with friends to Colchester by 1834 to set up a Black settlement on rented land. Through contacts and financial help there, he was able to buy 200 acres (0.81 km2) in Dawn Township, in next-door Kent County, to realize his vision of a self-sufficient community. The Dawn Settlement eventually prospered, reaching a population of 500 at its height, and exporting black walnut lumber to the United States and Britain. Henson purchased an additional 200 acres (0.81 km2) next to the Settlement, where his family lived. Henson also became an active Methodist preacher, and spoke as an abolitionist on routes between Tennessee and Ontario. He also served in the Canadian army as a military officer, having led a Black militia unit in the Rebellion of 1837.

He traveled to England three times to raise money for the settlement, and he met Queen Victoria in 1877. After his first wife’s death, Henson married Nancy Gamble, a widowed free black woman, in 1856.

Though many residents of the Dawn Settlement returned to the United States after slavery was abolished there, Henson and his wife continued to live in Dawn for the rest of their lives.

Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe may have passed the Act that ensured freedom for so many, but Josiah Henson certainly helped many blacks achieve success after slavery. To read more about Henson, I suggest the following sites: Documenting the American South, and Dictionary of Canadian Biography. There’s a 5-page biography at Digital History (I suggest looking around this site as it has so much information!) Two legacies are  National Historic Person plaque, and cemetery photo near Dresden, Ontario and Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site, also near Dresden, Ontario.  You may also like to read Henson’s autobiography  The Life of Josiah Henson: Formerly a Slave, Now an Inhabitant of Canada and the free Kindle version of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

 

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Watch “RCMP releases surveillance footage of gunman rush…” on YouTube

RCMP releases surveillance footage of gunman rush…: http://youtu.be/eoHQpUAZles

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2014 in Canadian-related Links

 

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Watch “RCMP releases surveillance footage of gunman rush…” on YouTube

RCMP releases surveillance footage of gunman rush…: http://youtu.be/eoHQpUAZles

 
4 Comments

Posted by on October 25, 2014 in Canadian-related Links

 

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Beautiful Joe

As an inspiration for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), in November, I would like to introduce you to a great author who has known success and is behind great works as a conservationist.

Margaret Marshall Saunders

Margaret Marshall Saunders. Source: Harkins and Johnstone (1902) Little Pilgramages among the Women Who Have Written Famous Books, L.C. Page & Co., Boston

Margaret Marshall Saunders was born on May 13, 1861 in the village of Milton, Nova Scotia; she died on February 15, 1947, in Toronto, Ontario. She is buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Toronto.

She was a teacher in Nova Scotia who thought something was missing in her life.  Her friends and family encouraged her to write a novel.  She did just that.  Her first published novel was a melodramatic romantic story, My Spanish Sailor. [A Tale.]. Afraid of how other women would react to this book, she published under the name Marshall Saunders. And so began her writing career.

A chance encounter with William Moore in Meaford, Ontario, inspired her to write his real-life tale of a dog rescued from a brutal owner who clipped his ears and tail. The book is Beautiful Joe. It told the story of an abused dog from his point of view. Not only did her 1893 story win first prize in an American Humane Society competition, but Saunders was the first woman – the first Canadian – to sell more than a million copies. Her book was also translated in over fourteen languages!

“I don’t believe that a dog could have fallen into a happier home than I did.”

How’s that for inspiration?

In 1934, Saunders was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE). Together with fellow Canadian author, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Saunders co-founded the Maritime branch of the Canadian Women’s Press Club.

Following the success of Beautiful Joe, Saunders wrote more than twenty other stories, a number of which provided social commentary on such things as the abolition of child labor, slum clearance, and the improvement of playground facilities.

In 1994, the Beautiful Joe Heritage Society was formed to celebrate the life and story of Beautiful Joe and the achievements of Margaret Marshall Saunders. A park dedicated to Beautiful Joe has been established in Meaford, Ontario, Canada.

2014 Participant of the NaNoWriMo challenge

Natioanl Novel Writing Month http://nanowrimo.org

 

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Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Cpl. Nathan Frank Cirillo

Cpl. Nathan Frank Cirillo, image source Facebook

Canadians felt anger and sadness when Cpl. Nathan Frank Cirillo ( a reservist member of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders) was fatally shot while taking a turn as part of the Ceremonial Guard watching over the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, at 9:50 a.m. on October 22, 2014.

If there is a silver lining here, it is because of Kevin Michael Vickers, Canada’s Sergeant-at-Arms. Kevin Vickers came out of his office carrying a pistol, and shot the gunman.

Kevin Vickars, Sergeant-at-Arms of the House of Commons
Image source: http://www.reddit.com/r/pics/comments/2k0f0d/this_is_the_man_who_fatally_shot_the_terrorist/

But what of the National War Memorial (also known as The Response)?

It stands in Confederation Square, Ottawa, and serves as the federal war memorial for Canada.

National War Memorial in Ottawa, Ontario (Canada)

H.M. King George VI and Queen Elizabeth unveiling the National War Memorial, Ottawa, Canada, May 21, 1939.

It commemorates the First World War, and was rededicated to include the Second World War and the Korean War. It symbolizes the sacrifice made by every Canadian who has died or may yet die for their country.

 

 

The contract for the construction of the arch was awarded in December 1937 and the entire cenotaph was completed on 19 October 1938, after which the landscaping surrounding the memorial was laid out and installed by Toronto contractors. On May 15, 1939, the Post Office Department issued a stamp called National Memorial.

On May 21, the memorial was officially unveiled by George VI, King of Canada, in the presence of an estimated 100,000 people, months before the Second World War began.

The memorial serves as the focal point of Remembrance Day (November 11) ceremonies in Ottawa.

A national scandal arose following Canada Day (July 1) in 2006, when a group of young men were photographed urinating on the memorial at night, after celebrating the national holiday. This incident prompted the establishment of a Guard of Honour at the site, though the soldiers of the Ceremonial Guard are only present between 9 am and 5 pm from June through August. The navy and the air force also do rotations here in the summer months.

Yesterday, a Canadian Forces soldier on ceremonial duty at the memorial was shot and killed by an armed man. The gunman then crossed the street and entered the Centre Block building of the nearby Canadian Parliament complex, where a firefight ensued between the shooter and members of building security. A security guard was wounded and the suspect was killed. The slain soldier was Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, 24, from Hamilton, Ontario.

Whenever the monarch or another member of the Royal Family is in Ottawa, they will, regardless of the date, lay a wreath at the monument. Other prominent dignitaries who have laid wreaths at the memorial include President of the United States John F. Kennedy in 1961 and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990.

Let us never forget.

 

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I Am Canadian … more than beer!

I’ve recently come across the Molson’s “I Am Canadian” printed ad.  Such genius advertising!  So for those who aren’t familiar with what I’m talking about, here it is; oh, and if you do know what I’m talking about, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this!

Lyrics to Molson's I Am Canadian

Molson’s I Am Canadian

It was an extremely popular ad campaign centred on Canadian nationalism, the most famous examples of which are “The Rant” and “The Anthem”, and then there was Canadian William Shatner’s version.

In March 2000, using nationalism as a platform, the ad starred a man named Joe: an “average Canadian”, standing in a movie theatre, with a cinema screen behind him showing different images relating to Canadian culture. Joe proceeds to give a speech about what is it to be a Canadian and what it is not to be a Canadian.  It was performed by Canadian actor Jeff Douglas and directed by an American, Kevin Donovan, but written by a Canadian, Glen Hunt.  Interestingly, this commercial premiered during the Academy Awards, which, in that year, included Robin Williams singing the song “Blame Canada”, a satirical song from the movie South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut.   The commercial won an advertising industry Gold Quill award in 2001.

The first one is Joe’s “I Am Canadian” on Vinko’s YouTube channel, who has quite a collection of ads:

The second is William Shatner’s “I Am Canadian” on BuryMeInGames’s YouTube channel:

The third and last one is Molson’s “Canadian Anthem” on cymbaline’s YouTube channel:

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s post!

 

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