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Que Sera Sera

Today marks the Journée internationale de la Francophonie (International Day of the French-speaking). It is celebrated in the International Organization of La Francophonie’s 77 member states every March 20. There are over 274 million French speakers on Earth. The date celebrates the signing of the Niamey Convention in Niger on the 20th of March 1970. The convention established the Agence de Coopération Culturelle et Technique, the precursor to the International Organization of La Francophonie.

francophonie March20, 2015

“La francophonie, c’est un vaste pays, sans frontières. C’est celui de la langue française. C’est le pays de l’intérieur. C’est le pays invisible, spirituel, mental, moral qui est en chacun de vous.”   – Gilles Vigneault

“The French-speaking world, is a vast country without borders. This is the French language. It is the country from within. It is the invisible country, spiritual, mental, moral, which is in each of you.” -Gilles Vigneault

 

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2015 in March, On This Day

 

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101 Facts About Canada

Canada is interesting. I’ve said that many times. Some have asked me “in what way?” So here are a few ways:

 

  1. 10% of the world’s forest is in Canada
  2. 15.9% of the population is 65 or older. 68.5% are between the ages of 15 and 64.
  3. 17% of Canadians are daily smokers.
  4. 280,681 new permanent residents were welcomed to Canada in 2010. That number does not include temporary workers or foreign students.
  5. A 9.3 kg lobster is the largest documented lobster caught. It was caught in Nova Scotia in 1977
  6. About 90% of Canada’s population is concentrated within 160 kilometers (100 miles) of the Canada/U.S. border.
  7. Canada became a country on July 1, 1867
  8. Canada birth rate is 10 births/1,000 population
  9. Canada features the longest coastline in the world, stretching 202,080 kilometers (125,570 miles).
  10. Canada fertility rate is 1.59 children born/woman
  11. Canada has 198 jails.
  12. Canada has hosted the Olympic Games 3 times; 1976 in Montreal, 1988 in Calgary and 2010 in Vancouver.
  13. Canada has over 30,000 lakes.
  14. Canada has six time zones.
  15. Canada has ten provinces and three territories.
  16. Canada has the 9th lowest population density on the planet
  17. Canada highest point: Mount Logan 5,959 m
  18. Canada infant mortality rate is 5 deaths/1,000 live births
  19. Canada is home to 15 million cattle, 9 million of which live on the Prairies.
  20. Canada is home to about 55 000 different species of insects.
  21. Canada is rich in resources such as zinc, nickel, lead and gold.
  22. Canada is the largest producer of uranium in the world.
  23. Canada is the second largest country in the world by total area (Russia is the largest).
  24. Canada officially got its own national flag on February 15, 1965 — almost 100 years after it became a country (in 1867).
  25. Canada population growth rate: 0.77%
  26. Canada shares the longest land border in the world with the United States, totaling 8891 kilometers (5525 miles).
  27. Canada’s literacy rate is over 99%.
  28. Canada’s only desert in British Columbia is only 15 miles long and is the only desert in the world with a long boardwalk for visitors to walk on.
  29. Canadian sports icons include Wayne Gretzky (hockey), Steve Nash (basketball), Mike Weir (golf) and Cassie Campbell (women’s hockey).
  30. Canadians call the one dollar coin the loonie. When in full production, 15 million loonies can be produced per day.
  31. Canadians can deduct a number of things from their tax software, but I bet you didn’t know that dog food is tax-deductible in Canada.
  32. Canadians generate 640 kilograms per person per year of waste.
  33. Churchill, Manitoba sees one of the largest annual polar bear migrations.
  34. Daylight savings time does not occur in Saskatchewan.
  35. Despite being a huge country, Canada has the fourth lowest population density in the world, with only three people living per square kilometer! Almost half of the population in Canada were born in other countries.
  36. Fifty percent of the world’s polar bears live in Nunavut.
  37. Graeme Ferguson co-invented IMAX. There are over 500 IMAX theaters in 45 countries.
  38. Half of the country is covered with forests, which should come as no surprise considering one-tenth of the world’s forests are here.
  39. Ice hockey, football and baseball are Canadians favorite spectator sports.
  40. In 1576, Martin Frobisher discovered the strait that bears his name.
  41. In 1792-94, Captain George Vancouver painstakingly surveyed the west coast of Canada.
  42. It wasn’t until 1610 that Henry Hudson sailed through Hudson Strait into Hudson Bay.
  43. Its population density is 8.6 people per square mile, making Canada the ninth-most sparsely populated nation in the world.
  44. John Cabot was the first explorer to reach Canada in 1497.
  45. Mackenzie River is the Longest River in Canada
  46. Navigation of the north-west passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific was first achieved by the Norwegian explorer, Roald Amundsen in 1906.
  47. Newfoundland didn’t become a province until 1949.
  48. Newfoundland is nicknamed “The Rock.’
  49. Newfoundland was the first part of Canada to be explored by Europeans
  50. No cows in Canada are given artificial hormones for milk production.
  51. Prince Edward Island, Canada’s smallest province is only 225 kilometers long and 56 kilometers wide.
  52. Second-largest country in world.
  53. Six cities in Canada have a population of over 1 million: Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa.
  54. Some of the world’s largest wheat fields are found in Saskatchewan.
  55. The 2 main languages spoken in Canada are English and French.
  56. The Bank of Canada opened its doors in 1935 and issued its first bank notes.
  57. The CN Tower in Toronto was the world’s tallest free-standing structure until 2007.
  58. The Canadian motto, A Mari Usque ad Mare, means “From sea to sea.”
  59. The Northwest Territories is called The Land of the Midnight Sun because the sun barely sets around the summer solstice.
  60. The Royal Montreal Golf Club, founded in 1873, is the oldest golf club in North America.
  61. The S&P/TSX is the fourth largest exchange by market cap in the developed world.
  62. The US buys more oil from Canada than any other country.
  63. The US, the UK and Mexico are the top countries visited by Canadians.
  64. The West Edmonton Mall is the largest in North America
  65. The age at first marriage for men is 29 years, 27.4 years for women.
  66. The average Canadian watches 21 hours of television per week. 128,000 Canadian households have TV’s in the bathroom.
  67. The average household size in Canada is 2.6 people.
  68. The average life expectancy at birth is 81.16 years – the sixth highest in the world.
  69. The baseball glove was invented in Canada in 1883.
  70. The capital city of Canada is Ottawa.
  71. The coldest temperature ever recorded in Canada was -63C (-81.4F) on February 3, 1957 in Snag, Yukon.
  72. The east coast of Canada was settled by Vikings in about 1000 AD. It’s definitely worth a visit to L’Anse aux Meadows.
  73. The first indoor ice hockey game took place on March 3, 1875 at the Victoria Skating Rink in Montreal.
  74. The highest mountain in Canada is Mount Logan, Yukon Territory, 5959 meters (19,551 feet).
  75. The intersection of Portage and Main Street in Winnipeg has been called the windiest place in Canada.
  76. The largest non-polar ice field in the world can be found in the St. Elias Mountains, Yukon Territory. It covers an area of 40,570 square kilometers of which 16,900 square kilometers are in Canada, the rest being in Alaska.
  77. The license plate for cars, motorbikes and snowmobiles in Nunavut is in the shape of a polar bear.
  78. The longest highway in the world is the Trans-Canada Highway which is over 7,604 kilometers (4,725 miles) in length.
  79. The median age is 41 years.
  80. The most popular sport in Canada is ice hockey.
  81. The name Canada comes from the word ‘kanata’ which means ‘settlement’ or ‘village’ in the language of the indigenous St Lawrence Iroquoians.
  82. The official languages of Canada are English and French.
  83. The population in Canada in 2011 was about 34.3 million.
  84. The regent of England, currently Queen Elizabeth II, is the Canadian head of state.
  85. The world’s most northerly sand dunes are in Athabasca Provincial Park in northwest Saskatchewan. They are 30 meters high.
  86. There are 459 cars for every 1000 people.
  87. There are about 200 species of mammals in Canada.
  88. There are diamond mines in the Northwest Territories.
  89. There are nearly 2.5 million caribou in Canada.
  90. There have been 10 Nobel Prize laureates in Canada.
  91. Thirty two percent of Canadians are very happy, 55% are quite happy
  92. Thomas Ahearn invented the electric cooking range in 1882.
  93. Wasaga beach is the longest fresh water beach in the world.
  94. Whistler, British Columbia is consistently ranked as one of the best places in North America for downhill skiing.
  95. Winnie The Pooh Was Based On A Canadian Bear
  96. Winters can be very cold in Canada with temperatures dropping below -40 °C (-40 °F) in some parts of the country.
  97. You can swim with beluga whales in Churchill, Manitoba.
  98. You’ll find about 630 bird species in Canada.
  99. Recognised regional languages include Chipewyan, Cree, Gwich’in, Inuinnaqtun, Inuktitut, Inuvialuktun, North Slavey, South Slavey and Tłı̨chǫ.
  100.  Currently, the Governor General is David Johnston, and the Prime Minister is Stephen Harper.
  101. The Vikings were the first Europeans known to land in Canada, in what is now Newfoundland, led by the Viking explorer Leif Erikson.
 

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A Young Commonwealth

Commonwealth Day is the annual celebration of the Commonwealth of Nations held on the second Monday in March, and marked by a multi-faith service in Westminster Abbey, normally attended by Queen Elizabeth II as Head of the Commonwealth, with the Commonwealth Secretary-General and Commonwealth High Commissioners in London. The Queen delivers an address to the Commonwealth, broadcast throughout the world.

Commonwealth Day March 9, 2015

While it has a certain official status, Commonwealth Day is not a public holiday in most Commonwealth countries, and there is little public awareness of it.

Royal Commonwealth Society In Canada, the only official recognition is a federal government stipulation that the Royal Union Flag be flown alongside Canada’s flag at government installations nationwide, “where physical arrangements allow…. Physical arrangements means the existence of at least two flag poles”. The 1964 parliamentary resolutions creating the Maple Leaf flag also retained the Union Flag as an official symbol of Canada’s membership in the Commonwealth, and allegiance to the Crown.

You can participate via social media:  on Facebook or Twitter. Tag your social media posts with the hashtag #YoungCommonwealth.

For more information I suggest Event Brite for Toronto’s celebrations, and “The Commonwealth” webpage for lots of information, quiz, and more.

 

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Make It Happen

International Women's Week

March 1 – 8, 2015

For more information, there is U.N. Women and International Women’s Day‘s official website.

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2015 in Canadian-related Links

 

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Like the Apollo Moon Landings

Have you heard of Mars One?

It’s goal to establish a human settlement on the planet Mars. Human settlement of Mars is the next giant leap for humankind. Mars is the stepping stone of the human race on its voyage into the universe. Human settlement on Mars will aid our understanding of the origins of the solar system, the origins of life and our place in the universe. As with the Apollo Moon landings, a human mission to Mars will inspire generations to believe that all things are possible, anything can be achieved.

Mars One

Mars One

Mars One will select and train the human crew for permanent settlement. The search for astronauts began in April 2013. More than 200,000 registered for the first selection program.

The first humans to land on Mars are planned to start their journey from Earth In 2024. First humans will land on Mars in 2025.

In 2026, a settlement will expand with departure of Crew Two. With the second crew, the cargo for the third crew is also launched. The second crew lands on Mars in 2027. They are welcomed by the first crew, who has already prepared their living quarters. The hardware for crew three will land a few weeks later and will be added to the settlement. This process continues as more crews land every two years.

At the moment, there are 4 Canadians training and preparing for the one-way trip:

1.   Joanna Hindle, age 42.  In her self-introduction is a quote from James Stephens – ” Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will.” and continues to say, ” This adventure is full of hope and curiosity—two characteristics I believe have driven humanity’s most positive steps forward. I’m ready to give up everything I know to be a part of it. Her interests include learning, reading, pondering, writing, dreaming, outdoorsing, laughing.

2.   Sue (I could find no mention of her last name), age 42.  In her self-introduction she says, “Ever since I was a small child, I have dreamed of becoming an astronaut.  I am filled with wonder about what is out there in space, and I long to find out. I am a mom and a grandma, and while my life here on Earth has been a blessing, now that my daughter is grown and has a family of her own, I am ready for my next adventure.  It would truly be an honour to be selected to go on an amazing journey to colonize Mars.”  She quotes, “To infinity, and beyond!” from Buzz Lightyear.  Her interests, she tells us, “I love adventure!  You can find me hiking, backpacking and exploring the backcountry.  I enjoy SCUBA diving, yoga, learning about other cultures, volunteering in the community, and I aspire to travel to space one day.  I want to be a Martian!”

3.   Karen (I could not find any mention of her name either), age 53.  In her self-Introduction she says, “I’m a longtime TV journalist, freelance writer & teacher with a love of telling people’s stories and a real thirst for adventure. I freelanced as a reporter for network television (OBS) at the London 2012 Olympics. I’ve spent time in third world slums in Calcutta & Africa, volunteered in Haiti post earthquake, volunteered in New York after Hurricane Sandy & have taught in China.  I love to be a witness – to be other people’s eyes and ears. I love to tell a great story! Interests Committed to disaster relief & helping people in trouble.After the Tsunami in SE Asia,I helped launch a telethon at my TV station, raising close to a million dollars for the Red Cross. Have trained as a yoga/meditation & mindfulness teacher at the Kripalu Center in Massachusetts. Ommmmm ;-) Also have a certificate in Permaculture Design from The Omega Institute in New York.  This will come in handy when we start growing our own food on Mars and designing sustainable agriculture systems.  I can’t wait!”

4.    Daniel (Again I could not find mention of his last name, except where he says his name is Ben Cringer), age 28. In his self-Introduction, he continues, “I’m a PhD Candidate at the University of Waterloo, in Ontario, Canada. My research focuses on quantum error correction, but my real passion is colonizing Mars.”  His interests include Rocketry,  Light Gas Guns, and Space Elevators.

To learn more about the candidates and the program, you can start at Mars One Homepage.

 

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From Peach Basket to Fame

Basketball is a sports game that’s familiar to everyone worldwide. I don’t think there are many who do not know about basketball, or even a few rules of how the game is played.  But some do not know the history of the game.  Allow me to offer a quick refresher.

  • James Naismith, Canadian educator and a sports recreationalist, invented the game in 1891.
  • The game was created in Springfield, Massachusetts
  • It took Naismith and his team about 14 days to form the rules of the game.
  • That basketball was initially played using peach baskets as hoops.
  • That it was then played with 9 players on the court per team.
  • That the first ball use in basketball was actually a soccer ball.

Throughout the years, basketball has been polished and the rules were changed that only 5 players per team are now playing on the court. The peach baskets were also replaced by iron rims with nylon nets beneath. The point system was also refined. The soccer ball was replaced with an official basketball. Long range shooting or the three-point shot were also included in the game.

James Naismith was born on November 6, 1861 in Almonte, Ontario (Canada); he passed away on November 28, 1939 at the age of 78 in Lawrence, Kansas (United States).

He studied physical education in Montreal (Quebec) before moving to the United States, where he developed basketball while teaching at the International YMCA Training School (now Springfield College) in Springfield, Massachusetts.

First basketball team at the University of Kansas, 1899.  Coach James Naismith is on the far right.

First basketball team at the University of Kansas, 1899. Coach James Naismith is on the far right. Source http://www.kumc.edu/research/medicine/anatomy/sutton/biology_and_basketball.html Author: Clendening History of Medicine Library, University of Kansas Medical Center.

Naismith was also a National Guard chaplain with the First Kansas Infantry Regiment. He taught his soldiers basketball to control their excess energy. His effort helped increase morale and even lowered the rate of disciplinary actions among soldiers.

He lived to see basketball adopted as an Olympic demonstration sport in 1904 and as an official event at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, as well as the birth of both the National Invitation Tournament (1938) and the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship (1939).

Naismith’s contributions to basketball have earned him several posthumous honors, such as in the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame, the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame, the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, the Ontario Sports Legends Hall of Fame, the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame, the McGill University Sports Hall of Fame, the Kansas State Sports Hall of Fame, and the FIBA Hall of Fame. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, where he is a member of the original Hall of Fame class, was named in Naismith’s honour.

 

 

 

 

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National Flag Day

Today marks the 50th birthday of our flag.  Since Canada became Canada in 1867, you are probably wondering why the flag is only 50 years old.  Well, here is a quick explanation.

Canadian Flag Day 2015

Happy 50th Birthday,
Canadian Flag!

The year was 1964 and Canada’s centennial was fast approaching. Parliament voted to adopt a new design for the Canadian flag and issued a call for submissions. Almost 4,000 designs were submitted in many different colour combinations and motifs by Canadians from all walks of life, including A. Y. Jackson of the Group of Seven. Submissions came in all shapes and sizes and on a variety of materials: wrapping paper, tissue paper, wallpaper, cardboard, bristol board, mat board, pieces of cloth, etc. Some people used pictures out of magazines, the labels off commercial products or postcards or included petitions in support of their design.

The final design was announced on December 15, 1964, and the official ceremony inaugurating the new Canadian flag was held on February 15, 1965.

The maple leaf as found on the national flag is a traditional emblem of Canada. It was for many years the symbol of the Canadian Armed Forces and was used to identify Canadian contingents in the two world wars.

Did you know…

  • The flag on Parliament Hill’s Peace Tower is 4.6 metres (or 15′) wide and 2.3 metres (or 7′ 6”) tall. That’s taller than the average Canadian (1.7 metres or 5′ 6”)!
  • A Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) employee changes the Peace Tower flag every working day, except during unsafe weather conditions.
  • Flags flown on Parliament Hill never serve another official purpose, regardless of the time spent on the pole.

For more information, I would have you read an earlier post of mine from December 14, 2012, “That’s it!” that tells of the Canadian flag’s birth.

You can listen to composer Freddy Grant’s (1913 – 1996) song “Flag of Canada,” (published by Warner/Chappell Music Canada Ltd.) below.

Another interesting video to watch is the Great Canadian Flag debate:

 

Happy 50th Birthday to our flag!

 

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