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Today we celebrate Maple Syrup!

Did you know that December 17 is Maple Syrup Day?  How well do you know of this golden liquid? Allow me to present you with a few tidbits of information.

Picture of a bottle of maple syrup from Quebec, Canada

Bottle of maple syrup from Quebec, Canada.

  • Though it can vary depending on the weather, the sap is collected between February and April.
  • Quebec produces 91% of Canada’s pure maple syrup.  With Ontario, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, that makes up 71% of the world’s supply.  New York and New England states also produce a large measure of maple syrup.
  • There are more than 8,600 maple syrup businesses in Canada. The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup (FPAQ) ensures the economic, social and ethical interests for the more than 7,400 maple businesses in Quebec.
  • Collecting sap from maple trees is regulated, in part, by the International Maple Syrup Institute (to promote the use of pure maple syrup and protect the integrity of the product).
  • The maple is the symbol depicted on Canada’s flag and is a state tree in New York and Vermont.
  • Most “maple flavoured” syrups contain corn syrup and has little or no maple syrup.
  • Maple Syrup has more calcium than milk (per unit volume) and more potassium than bananas (per weight volume).  It also has Manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, and iron, not to mention vitamins.  Compared to processed white sugar, maple syrup can be a healthier sweetener. For more information about this, see the Maple Syrup Nutritional Information.
  • Choosing a tree to sap, it must be 25 cm (10 inches) in diameter, and it must be at least 40 years old.
  • The tree has a healing process called walling-off, which prevents the same hole from being used a second time.  However, a single tree can be tapped for more than a century.
  • Each mature tree can produce about 40 litres (10 gallons) of sap per season.
  • In order to create 1 litre of maple syrup, 40 litres of sap is needed.
  • Sap is 95% water.  The process for making maple syrup is to boil the sap at 4° Celsius (7 ° Fahrenheit).  After this stage it is about 66% sugar and is classified as sugar.  Pure maple syrup is sap that has been condensed further by evaporating the excess water.

There are many sites on the internet dedicated to maple syrup.  A few are Eat North which has a “10 things you didn’t know about maple syrup” page; the CBC Digital Archives which has a lot of videos and links; you can find a lot more at Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association, including lists of maple syrup festivals; Coombs Family Farm has a nice collection of maple syrup recipes;

The National Post as an article, Maple syrup ‘fraud’ could be a thing of the past under new joint Canada-U.S. rules which is interesting. And if you remember, recently there was the $30 million theft of maple syrup – CBC News has a great article about it.

 
 

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Montgomery’s Anne

So many people around the world are familiar with Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery.  It doesn’t need much introduction, but maybe I can remind some of you about the story and the author herself.

Photo of Lucy Maud Montgomery

Lucy Maud Montgomery in a photograph believed to have been taken when she arrived in Halifax to work at the Echo. (1897)

This Canadian literary classic is the story of 11-year-old orphan Anne Shirley who is sent by mistake to live at Green Gables in Avonlea with a brother and sister, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert. The Cuthberts were ready for a boy to help out with the daily chores at the farm. But within a few days Anne has fallen in love with the Cuthberts and Green Gables and wants it to be her permanent home. Matthew and Marilla are quickly drawn to Anne in return and cannot envision life without her, despite all the awkward situations this scrappy, talkative, red-haired child gets into.

The traditions and lifestyle of Prince Edward Island where Avonlea is situated are based on Montgomery’s own experiences growing up in this unique place. She also includes descriptions of its beautiful landscapes.

Since its first publication, Anne of Green Gables has sold more than 50 million copies and has been translated into 20 languages. Numerous sequels were penned by Montgomery, and since her death another sequel has been published, as well as an authorized prequel. The original book is taught to students around the world.

It has been adapted as films, made-for-television movies, and animated and live-action television series. Anne Shirley was played by Megan Follows in the 1985 Canadian produced movie. Plays and musicals have also been started, with annual productions in Canada since 1964 of the first musical production, which has toured in Canada, the United States, Europe and Japan. Others have been produced in Canada and the United States.

Lucy Maud Montgomery was born on November 30, 1874 in Clifton, P.E.I., and died on April 24, 1942 in Toronto, Ontario at the age of 67.  She was called “Maud” by family and friends and publicly generally known as L. M. Montgomery.  The first story was published in 1908. Anne of Green Gables was an instantaneous success.  Perhaps a not so well-known fact about Montgomery is that she went on to create 20 novels as well as 530 short stories, 500 poems, and 30 essays. The majority of the novels were set on Prince Edward Island, Canada, and places in the Canadian province became literary points of interest. She was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1935.

Mindful of her fame, by 1920 Montgomery began editing and recopying her journals, presenting her life as she wanted it remembered. In doing so certain episodes were changed or excluded.

Freckles was popularized in the book ‘Anne of Green Gables’ in which Anne Shirley has freckles over her face.  Freckles, also known as sun’s kiss.  It is often said of freckles that they give that ‘girl next door’ look.  At the time, many young girls became proud of their freckles.

There are so many links I can offer you about the book series and about Montgomery, but allow me to offer you a select collection. You can get free audio readings of her books at Librivox; Ryerson University has created the Anne of Green Gables Centenary; the University of Guelph has put together the L. M. Montgomery Research Centre; I also suggest the The L. M. Montgomery Literary Society.

“You’re not eating anything,” said Marilla sharply, eying her as if it were a serious shortcoming. Anne sighed.
“I can’t. I’m in the depths of despair. Can you eat when you are in the depths of despair?”
“I’ve never been in the depths of despair, so I can’t say,” responded Marilla.
“Weren’t you? Well, did you ever try to IMAGINE you were in the depths of despair?”
“No, I didn’t.”
“Then I don’t think you can understand what it’s like. It’s very uncomfortable feeling indeed. When you try to eat a lump comes right up in your throat and you can’t swallow anything, not even if it was a chocolate caramel. I had one chocolate caramel once two years ago and it was simply delicious. I’ve often dreamed since then that I had a lot of chocolate caramels, but I always wake up just when I’m going to eat them. I do hope you won’t be offended because I can’t eat. Everything is extremely nice, but still I cannot eat.”

 

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When Are We At?

Map of time zones in Canada

Time Zones of Canada

 

Lately I have been in contact with people around Canada and I’ve done a lot of “if it’s three o’clock here, what time is it there?” and I get confused.  So today I’m posting about our different time zones.  The map included above should help visualize as well.

The Canadian Sir Sandford Fleming first proposed time zones for the entire world in 1876, and Canada, being a continental country, is included coast to coast with multiple zones.

GMT -8 Pacific Time (Yukon, British Columbia)

GMT -7 Mountain Time (Alberta, Northwest Territories, Nunavut)

GMT -6 Central Time (Saskatchewan, Manitoba, portions of northwestern Ontario, Nunavut)

GMT -5 Eastern Time (Ontario, Quebec, Nunavut)

GMT -4 Atlantic Time (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, portions of Labrador and eastern Quebec)

GMT -3.5 Newfoundland Time (Newfoundland and a few Labrador points on the Strait of Belle Isle)

Daylight saving time, when clocks are moved forward by one hour, is observed in most of the country (except Saskatchewan) from 2AM on the second Sunday in March until 2AM on the second Sunday in November; during this time, such as, British Columbia uses GMT -7 while Alberta has GMT -6.

Anglophone Canada mostly uses the 12-hour clock system, but the 24-hour clock is generally used in francophone Canada. The 24-hour notation is also often used in English in such contexts as train and airline schedules.

 

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Tommy Douglas’ Dream

CdnQuoteTommyDouglas

 
12 Comments

Posted by on December 8, 2014 in Canadian-related Links, Quote

 

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Remembering a Hockey Legend

Earlier this week we lost a hockey legend, Jean Béliveau.  Can I introduce you to him?

He was born on August 31, 1931 in Trois-Rivières, Quebec.  He died on December 2, 2014 at the age of 83, in Longueuil, Quebec.

Photo of Jean Béliveau

Hockey legend Jean Béliveau

He was a professional Canadian ice hockey player who played parts of 20 seasons with the National Hockey League’s (NHL) Montreal Canadiens from 1950 to 1971. He began to play professionally in the Quebec Major Hockey League (QMHL). He made his NHL début with the Canadiens in 1950, but chose to stay in the QMHL full-time until 1953. By his second season in the NHL, Béliveau was among the top three scorers. He was the fourth player to score 500 goals and the second to score 1,000 points. Béliveau won two Hart Memorial Trophies (1956, 1964) and one Art Ross Memorial Trophy (1956), as well as the inaugural Conn Smythe Trophy (1965). As a player, he won the Stanley Cup 10 times, and as an executive he was part of another seven championship teams, the most Stanley Cup victories by an individual to date. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972.

Nicknamed “Le Gros Bill” (The Big Bill), Béliveau ranks among the ten greatest NHL players.

Interestingly, Béliveau can trace his ancestry to Antoine Béliveau, who settled in 1642 in Port Royal, Nova Scotia. The Béliveaus were expelled along with the Acadians in 1755 and the family settled in the Boston area before moving to Québec to the Trois Rivières area in the mid-19th century.

He suffered from many ailments for decades now.  He’s suffered two strokes, and was diagnosed with cancer (he recovered after a punishing course of treatments).

Another defining moment in his life, Prime Minister Jean Chretien offered Béliveau the position of Governor General of Canada in 1994.  However, he declined the offer to be with his daughter, Hélène, and two grandchildren, Mylene and Magalie. Their father, a Quebec police officer, committed suicide when the girls were five and three.

Of many legacies he leaves behind, one of the greatest (I think) is the charitable Jean Béliveau Foundation, established in 1971. In 1993, Béliveau transferred the foundation to the Society for Disabled Children.

We have missed him on the ice and admired him for his steadfast vigour for living life to its fullest.  Thoughts and prayers for his family, friends and fans.

 

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Hockey Legend Gordie Howe

On October 26, 2014, Howe suffered a stroke in Lubbock, Texas, and as a result has lost some function on the right side of his body.  As we send him and his family our thoughts and prayers, let me introduce you to Gordie Howe.

Gordie Howe Trading Card

Gordie Howe trading card via Chex cereal,
Ralston-Purina Company.

He was born on March 31, 1928 in Floral, Saskatchewan.  He grew up mildly dyslexic, and by his mid-teen years he was already six feet tall.  Doctors feared a calcium deficiency and encouraged him to strengthen his spine with chin-ups. He began playing organized hockey at eight years old, then left Saskatoon at sixteen to pursue his hockey career.  Howe was an ambidextrous player, one of just a few skaters able to use the straight sticks of his era to shoot either left- or right-handed.

Howe made his NHL début on October 16, 1946 playing right-wing for the Detroit Red Wings, scoring in his first game at the age of 18.

He established himself as a great goal scorer and a gifted playmaker with a willingness to fight. Howe fought so often in his rookie season that coach Jack Adams told him, “I know you can fight. Now can you show me you can play hockey?” The term “Gordie Howe hat trick” (consisting of a goal, an assist, and a fight) was coined in reference to his penchant for fighting; however, Howe himself only recorded two such hat tricks in his career, on October 10, 1953, and March 21, 1954.

Please note that a “Gordie Howe Hat Trick” is not the same as a “hat trick.”  A “hat trick” means scoring three goals in a single match.  There are a few stories out there about the origin of the term “hat trick,”  but the one that is most often told is of Montreal hatter Henri Henri, that between 1950 and 1970 he would reward any NHL player who scored three or more goals in a game at the Montreal Forum with a free hat.

As Howe emerged as one of the game’s superstars, he was often compared to the Montreal Canadiens’ Maurice “Rocket” Richard. Both were right wingers who wore the number 9, were often contenders for the league scoring title, and could also play rough if needed. During their first meet in the Montreal Forum, when Howe was a rookie, he knocked Richard out cold with a punch after being shoved.

Howe has set many records that have not been surpassed, such as:

  • Most NHL regular season games played: 1,767
  • Most NHL regular season games played with a single team: 1,687
  • Most NHL and WHA regular season games played: 2,186
  • Most NHL and WHA regular season and playoff games played: 2,421
  • Most NHL seasons played: 26 (tied with Chris Chelios)
  • Most NHL and WHA seasons played: 32
  • Most NHL regular season goals by a right-winger: 801
  • Most NHL regular season points by a right-winger: 1,850
  • Most NHL regular season points by a father/son combo (with son Mark): 2,592
  • Most consecutive NHL 20-goal seasons: 22 (1949–1971)
  • First player to score over 1000 goals (WHA and NHL, regular season and playoff combined)
  • First player to reach 1,500 games played in NHL history.
  • Most times leading NHL playoffs in scoring (six times)
  • Oldest player to play in NHL: 52 years, 11 days (no other player has played past the age of 48)
  • First in Red Wings history in points, goals and games played, second in assists
  • Most NHL All-Star Game appearances: 23

Canadian actor Michael Shanks portrayed Howe in the Hallmark movie Mr. Hockey: The Gordie Howe Story. The film aired April 28, 2013 on CBC and on the Hallmark Channel in the US on May 5.

We wish you speedy recovery, health and peace.

 
 

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It’s official now!

I am proud to say, officially, that I’m a winner of the NanoWriMo 2014 challenge of 50,000 words!  I also want to congratulate every other participant, winner or not!

I’m still a little ways off finishing the book, but I’ve got a heck of a start on it, and will keep going at this pace ’till November 30th!

Winner 2014 badge

Winner of the 2014 Nano challenge!

 
60 Comments

Posted by on November 20, 2014 in Author, Canadian-related Links, November, Publishing

 

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