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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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Image

No More in Canada

Stores that have left Canada

 
15 Comments

Posted by on February 2, 2015 in Canadian-related Links, Infographics, Trivia

 

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Canada’s Worst Avalanche Disaster

The 1910 Rogers Pass Avalanche killed 58 men clearing a railroad line near the summit of Rogers Pass across the Selkirk Mountains in British Columbia on March 4, 1910. It is Canada’s worst avalanche disaster.

Photo of workers recovering bodies from the avalanche

Workers recover bodies and clear the tracks on March 5, 1910.

The winter of 1909–1910 provided conditions particularly conducive to avalanches; many slides experienced during January and February. On March 1, 96 people were killed further south into the Wellington avalanche in Washington State.

Three days later, on the evening of March 4, work crews were dispatched to clear a big slide which had fallen from Cheops Mountain, and buried the tracks just south of Shed 17. The crew consisted of a locomotive-driven rotary snowplow and 59 men. Time was critical as westbound CPR Train Number 97 was just entering the Rocky Mountains, bound for Vancouver.

Half an hour before midnight as the track was nearly clear, an unexpected avalanche swept down the opposite side of the track to the first fall. Around 400 metres of track were buried. The 91-ton locomotive and plow were hurled 15 metres to land upside-down. The wooden cars behind the locomotive were crushed and all but one of the workmen were instantly buried into the deep snow.

The only survivor was Billy Lachance, the locomotive fireman, who had been knocked over by the wind accompanying the fall but otherwise remained unscathed.

When news of the disaster reached nearby Revelstoke, a relief train consisting of 200 railmen, physicians and nurses was sent to the scene. They found no casualties to take care of; it became a mission to clear the tracks and recover the bodies beneath 10 metres of snow. Several of the dead were found standing upright, frozen in place. Among the dead were 32 Japanese workers.

The disaster was not the first to befall the pass; in all over 200 people had been killed by avalanches there since the line was opened 26 years before. The CPR finally accepted defeat and in 1913 began boring the five-mile long Connaught Tunnel through Mount Macdonald, at the time Canada’s longest tunnel, so bypassing the hazard of Rogers Pass. It was opened on December 13, 1916, and the railway abandoned the pass.

To read a wonderfully written article, with photos and a map, I suggest clicking your way to the Weather Doctor.

Stay warm and safe everyone!

 

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My Top 5

It is said that the weather is something Canadians talk about a lot.  I find myself counting the weeks left to see Spring temperatures.  For today’s post, I decided to describe my top 5 weather stories of 2013.

Photo of a street in Alberta during the floods of 2013

Alberta Floods in 2013

 

1.  Alberta’s super flood of May/June washed across one-quarter of the province and through the heart of Calgary – the fourth largest city in Canada.  The damage losses and recovery costs from the flood to exceed $6 billion, including a record $2 billion in insured losses. Trees were literally skinned of their bark 10 metres above the ground by gravel and boulders barrelling along in rushing waters. In Calgary’s downtown, 4,000 businesses were impacted and 3,000 buildings were flooded. Water rose at the Saddledome up to the 10th row. In Stampede Park, stables and barns were under more than two metres of water.

2. Toronto’s Torrent of July  when the city faced two separate storm cells – one on the heels of the other – that slowed then stalled over the city. The one-two weather punch delivered more rain in two hours than Toronto usually sees during an entire July. Exacerbating the storm’s impact was the 38 mm of rain that had fallen on the city the day before. The Insurance Bureau of Canada estimated the July 8 storm costs at close to $1 billion in damages – the most expensive natural disaster ever in Ontario. Videos captured cars bobbing up and down on streets and highways, sinkholes opening up and snakes swimming inside stalled commuter trains. Thousands were stranded, necessitating rescue by boat in some instances. About 500,000 households were without power for as much as days.

3. February Fog on Fogo. No one got off Newfoundland’s Fogo Island for five days at the end of the month because heavy ice conditions and dense fog shut down ferry and air travel. The Island’s school closed, stores ran low on supplies and residents were unable to attend off-island medical appointments. Feelings of isolation and frustration only increased as strong winds blew more fog in on the Island instead of blowing it away.

4. The Nightmare during Christmas, happened the weekend before Christmas as a vigorous winter storm coated parts of eastern Canada with a thick mixture of snow, ice pellets, rain and freezing rain that plunged large parts of the region into days of cold and darkness. Thick glaze left roads and sidewalks slick and dangerous and knocked down power lines, leaving over 500,000 people without electricity. Though

Downed trees on a road

Nightmare During Christmas

picturesque, the Christmas storm created extremely dangerous conditions as fallen power lines intertwined with broken tree limbs dangled across streets and property. The affected area extended from Lake Huron, across the Greater Toronto Area, east along Highway 401 to Cornwall, through Quebec’s Eastern Townships and across the central Maritimes centred on the Bay of Fundy. The epicentre of the freezing rain was in southern Ontario between Niagara and Trenton where between 20 and 30 mm fell – more than two-year’s worth in two days. It crippled North American transportation at one of the busiest travel times of the year.

5. Prairie Perpetual Winter. Environment Canada considers the months of December through February as winter. Tell that to Canadians on the Prairies, where cold, snow and ice went on for seven months from October 2012 to April 2013, inclusive – the longest and coldest period in 16 years. Snows came early, stayed late and never disappeared. As a result, it felt and looked like winter from before Thanksgiving to a month after Easter. And with deep snow on the ground any warm-up was stalled until late May. Persistent cold – between March 1 and April 30, the average temperature in Regina was -8°C; eleven degrees colder than the previous year and the coldest period in 113 years. The prolonged winter was especially costly for governments. By the end of January, Saskatchewan had already spent $6 million more than usual on snow and ice control with much more to come.

I guess this year’s winter isn’t so bad after all.

 

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May West and a Jos Louis

Vachon has treated us since 1932. From the beginning on a farm to its popularity now, they have come a long way. Maybe if you knew about their history, you might enjoy the taste better. Though really, its delicious whether you think of it or not.

Picture of box of Mae West

May West from Vachon

For those who may not be familiar with these tasty treats, a May West is a round dessert cake with cream filling.  A Jos Louis is a delicious sponge cake with vanilla-flavoured crème filling coated in a chocolatey layer.

The company that brought Canadians Jos Louis snack cakes and a variety of other tasty pastries was launched by a modest family with a dream, a bank loan, and hardworking children.

From its beginnings as a mom and pop bakery operated by Arcade and Rose-Anna in Quebec’s Beauce Region, Vachon Cakes evolved into a multi-million dollar business, which was referred to by one media commentator as a “treasured morsel of the province’s food industry heritage.”

In 1923, Arcade, 55, and his wife, who was 10 years his junior, left Sainte-Patrice de Beaurivage, Quebec, after spending 25 years as farmers there. The couple borrowed $7,000 and bought the Leblond Bakery in Sainte-Marie de Beauce, about 60 kilometres from Quebec City under the direction of Rose-Anna. They had 15 dollars in the bank at the time.

Their first employee was their son Redempteur, who made bread, and with his father crisscrossed the surrounding area in a buggy selling loaves for six cents apiece.

Always looking to increase sales, Rose-Anna diversified into other baked goods, including doughnuts, sweet buns, shortbread, cakes, pies, and even baked beans, which she made in her wood oven in her kitchen of the family home. Simone, one of two daughters, helped sell the tasty treats after school. In 1928, two of the Vachons’ six sons, Louis and Amedee, returned from the United States to help out. The business prospered when it began exporting to Quebec City.

By 1932, the company had 10 employees and introduced the Jos Louis, which soon became its most popular cake. By 1937, the ongoing company was peddling its products in Ontario and the Maritime.

On January 15, 1938, at age 70,  Joseph-Arcade Vachon passed away . His wife and sons kept the company running and moved to a shoe factory, where an 8,000-square-foot extension was constructed and modern production equipment installed. The family then decided to focus exclusively on snack cakes.  During the Second World War, Vachon supplies cakes to military bases in Vancouver (British Columbia), Halifax (Nova Scotia), Nanaimo (British Columbia) and even England.

In 1945, at age of 67, Rose-Anna retired and sold her interest in the company to her sons Joseph, Amedee, Paul and Benoit, who broadened the product line to 111 items. Rose-Anna died on December 2, 1948.

In 1961, with sales across most of Canada, the company changed its name to Vachon Inc.  A decade later they had 12,000 employees.  83 percent of Vachon shares were sold to Quebec banking co-op Movement des Caisses Populaire Desjardins, leaving 17 percent in the Vachon family’s hands.

Some snack lovers believe the Jos Louis is named after the legendary American boxer Joe Louis. In fact, the chocolate cake’s moniker is a combination of the names of two Vachon sons – Joseph and Louis.

Photo of a box of Jos Louis

Photo of a box of Jos Louis

The May West cake’s name was originally identical to that of the movie star that inspired it, but got changed in the 1980s to its current spelling. The original creme filling was custard, however it has since then been replaced by a shortening-based vanilla creme close in taste and texture to the filling found in Twinkies.

The Vachon home in Sainte-Marie de Beauce, Quebec, where Rosa-Anna did her bookkeeping and used her own recipes to bake breads and snack cakes, is now a historic museum.

To learn more about Vachon, I suggest visiting the Official Vachon History . There was also an interesting article in the Montreal Gazette about Rene Brousseau, the inventor of the May West snack cake..

 

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