Category Archives: Medium Entries

How Well Do You Know Canada?

Here’s a quick quiz to test your knowledge of Canada.  Don’t worry, the answers are further down on the post.  If you don’t want to quiz yourself, just learn some trivia, it’s all here!  Have fun, that’s all I ask.

Graphic for Canada Day 2015 Quiz1. Where is the highest mountain?
a) Mount Logan, Yukon
b) Angel Peak, British Columbia
c) Mount Walsh, Yukon

2. What is Canada’s longest river?
a) Mackenzie, Northwest Territories
b) Athabasca, Alberta
c) St. Lawrence, Quebec/Ontario

3. Where can you find Canada’s oldest maple tree?
a) North Pelham, Ontario
b) Gaspe, Quebec
c) Richmond, British Columbia

4. What famous person opened the first post office in Canada?
a) Sir John A. Macdonald
b) Benjamin Franklin
c) John Molson

5. Where can you find the longest covered bridge?
a) Souris, Manitoba
b) Lethbridge, Alberta
c) Hartland, New Brunswick

6. Where can you find Canada’s biggest salt mine?
a) Goderich, Ontario
b) Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
c) Calgary, Alberta

7. Where was the first emergency number implemented?
a) Winnipeg, Manitoba
b) Toronto, Ontario
c) Ottawa, Ontario

8. When did Canadian John R. Connon patent the first panoramic camera in the world?
a) 1788
b) 1800
c) 1888

1. b) Angel Peak, British Columbia at 6,858 m. The second is Mount Logan, Yukon at 5,959 m.
2. a) Mackenzie, Northwest Territories at 4,240 km. The second is St. Lawrence, Quebec/Ontario at 3,060 km.
3. a) North Pelham, Ontario. It is estimated to be approx. 500 years old and is 30.5 m tall!
4. b) Benjamin Franklin. He was joint deputy postmaster-general for the British colonies in 1753.
5. c) Hartland, New Brunswick at 391 m it is the longest covered bridge on Earth!
6. a) Goderich, Ontario where it’s the world’s largest salt mine. Sifto extracts 6,577,089 tonnes a year.
7. a) Winnipeg, Manitoba on June 21, 1959 with the number 999. Most of Canada’s 911 was adopted on June 22, 1975.
8. c) 1888. Even if you find earlier patents, Connon’s was the first to actually capture vistas of up to 360 degrees in a single exposure.

Happy Canada Day!


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♫ They Did It Their Way! ♫

Canadian music. It’s actually interesting.  Here are just a few highlights:

Canadian Pop Music Highlights

  • “American Woman” by the Guess Who (based in Winnipeg, Manitoba) hit the top of the Billboard Hot 100 list for three weeks in May 1970.
  • Musician Burton Cummings was born on December 31, 1947 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He was a member of The Guess Who and was the first Canadian to have a quadruple platinum-selling album in the U.S. for his 1978 album Dream Of A Child.
  • Bryan Adams, Singer/songwriter, was born in Kingston, Ontario on November 5,1959.  He was the first Canadian musician to sell one million alburms in Canada with his 1984 album Reckless.
  • Anne Murray was born in Springhill, Nova Scotia on June 20, 1945.  She was the first solo Canadian female artist to be awarded an American Gold album (500,000 sales) in 1970 with her second album This Way Is My Way.  It featured the well-known hit “Snowbird.”
  • Shania Twain, Canadian country music star, was born Windsor, Ontario on August 28, 1965.  Her second album (1995) The Woman in Me, holds the record for most weeks at Number One on Billboards’s country album chart.  It resided there for 29 weeks at the top and has sold more than 7.7 million copies.
  • Alanis Morissette, musician, was born in Ottawa on June 1, 1974.  She still holds the record for the best-selling American début for a female solo artist, for her 1995 album Jagged Little Pill.  The album won four Grammys and has sold more than 33 Million copies.
  • The band April Wine (from Halifax, Nova Scotia) became the first Canadian group to make a Platinum album (100,000 sales) in Canada just for advance sales, for The Whole World’s Goin’ Crazy which was released in September 1976.  They also hold the record as the first tour to gross $1 million.
  • Céline Dion was born on March 30, 1968, in Charlemagne, Quebec.  She was the first Canadian to receive a Gold Record in France.  She did this in 1983 at just 15 years old.
  • Justin Bieber was born in Stratford, Ontario, on March 1, 1994.  He is the first Canadian musician with five Number One albums on the Billboard 200 chart before turning 19 years old.  He achieved this for his  album My World 2.0 (2010),  Under the Mistletoe (2011), The Remixes (2011), Believe (2012), Believe Acoustic album (2013).

I hope you enjoyed the post.  Who are your favourite Canadian musicians?



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Apples and Computers!

Mac, also known as the McIntosh, or McIntosh Red, is an apple that  has red and green skin, a tart flavour, and tender white flesh, and ripens in late September.   It is also  considered an all-purpose apple, suitable both for cooking and eating raw.

Apple trees were first introduced to Canada at the Habitation at Port-Royal (now Port Royal, Annapolis County, Nova Scotia) as early as 1606 by French settlers. Following its introduction, apple cultivation spread inland.

The McIntosh’s discoverer, John McIntosh left his native Mohawk Valley home in New York State in 1796 to follow his love, Dolly Irwin, who had been taken to Upper Canada by her Loyalist parents. However, she had died by the time he found her.  He went on to settle as a farmer in Upper Canada. In 1801, he married Hannah Doran, and they farmed along the Saint Lawrence River until 1811 when McIntosh exchanged the land he had with his brother-in-law Edward Doran for a plot in Dundela, which is about 70km south of Ottawa, (the Canadian capital).  In around 1835, John McIntosh’s son Allan learned grafting; with this cloning the McIntoshes could maintain the distinctive properties of the fruit of the original tree.

McIntosh apples on a tree

McIntosh apples, origin: Dundela, Upper Canada, 1811

A house fire damaged the original McIntosh tree in 1894; it last produced fruit in 1908, and died and fell over in 1910.

Horticulturist William Tyrrell Macoun of the Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa is credited with popularizing the McIntosh in Canada. He stated the McIntosh needed “no words of praise”, that it was “one of the finest appearing and best dessert apples grown”.  The McIntosh made up 40% of the Canadian apple market by the 1960s.  Horticulturalists from the Upper Canada Village heritage park saved cuttings from the last known first-generation McIntosh graft before it died in 2011 for producing clones.

Photo of a Macintosh personal computer

Apple Inc.’s Macintosh line of personal computers was named after the fruit.

Did you know that Apple Inc. employee Jef Raskin named the Macintosh line of personal computers after the fruit?

Next time you are in the grocery store, why not pick a few of these delicious apples for a bite of Canadian history!


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Making Do …

In the tough Depression years, a newly hired 16-year-old working at Dare’s Kitchener factory was paid 17 cents an hour. Ontario’s minimum wage for adults was 22 cents an hour!

Photo of a food line in Toronto during the Great Depression

Food line at the Yonge Street Mission, 381 Yonge Street, Toronto, Canada, during the Great Depression in the 1930s.

The worldwide Great Depression that started in the United States in late 1929 quickly reached Canada, and was hit hard. Between 1929 and 1939, the gross national product dropped 40% (compared to 37% in the US). Unemployment reached 27% at the depth of the Depression in 1933. Many businesses closed, as corporate profits of $398 million in 1929 turned into losses of $98 million as prices fell. Farmers in the Prairies were especially hard hit by the collapse of wheat prices.  The Depression ended in 1939 as World War II began.

Denyse Baillargeon, historian and author, uses oral histories from 30 women to discover how housewives in the depression handled shortages of money and resources. Often they updated strategies their mothers used when they were growing up in poor families. Cheap foods were used, such as soups, beans and noodles. They purchased the cheapest cuts of meat—sometimes even horse meat—and recycled the Sunday roast into sandwiches and soups. They sewed and patched clothing, traded with their neighbors for outgrown items, and kept the house colder. New furniture and appliances were postponed until better days. These strategies, Baillargeon finds, show that women’s domestic labor—cooking, cleaning, budgeting, shopping, childcare—was essential to the economic maintenance of the family and offered room for economies. Most of her informants also worked outside the home, or took boarders, did laundry for trade or cash, and did sewing for neighbors in exchange for something they could offer. Extended families used mutual aid—extra food, spare rooms, repair-work, cash loans—to help cousins and in-laws.  Half of the Catholic women defied Church teachings and used contraception to postpone births—the number of births nationwide fell from 250,000 in 1930 to about 228,000 and did not recover until 1940.

If you would like to read Baillargeon’s book, click here, Making Do: Women, Family and Home in Montreal during the Great Depression.


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Who Joined the Party?

We are approaching Canada Day, on July 1st.  As we celebrate, I thought it would be interesting to note when the provinces and territories joined our great country.

  • 1867 – New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec (July 1)
  • 1870 – Manitoba and Northwest Territories (July 15)
  • 1871 – British Columbia (July 20)
  • 1873 – Prince Edward Island (July 1)
  • 1898 – Yukon (June 13)
  • 1905 – Alberta, and Saskatchewan (September 1)
  • 1949 – Newfoundland (March 31)
  • 1999 – Nunavut (April 1)

When Canada was first seen by the Europeans, they were governed by their Kings and Queens.  Both French and English have had a significant influence on our country’s development.  So here is a list of these royals.  First, the French:   crown

  • 1515 – 1547  Francis I
  • 1547 – 1559  Henry II
  • 1559 -1560   Francis II
  • 1560 -1574   Charles IX
  • 1574 – 1589  Henry III
  • 1589 – 1610  Henry IV
  • 1610 – 1643  Louis XIII
  • 1643 – 1715  Louis XIV
  • 1715 -1774   Louis XV

Second, the English:

  • 1760 – 1820       George III
  • 1820 – 1830       George IV
  • 1830 – 1837       William IV
  • 1837 – 1901       Victoria
  • 1901 – 1910       Edward VII
  • 1910 – 1936       George V
  • 1936                 Edward VIII
  • 1936 – 1952       George VI
  • 1952 – present   Elizabeth II

Just a little bit of trivia for the day!



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The Exchange Bandit

Inside a casino

Original uploader was Ingolfson at en.wikipedia

Further to yesterday’s post of a bank robber, I am inviting you today to meet another Canadian bank robber: Kevin John Pinto.

A former financier, as vice-president at an investment firm, he was also known as the Exchange Bandit because of his habit of engaging bank tellers in conversation about U.S. exchange rate before giving them a holdup note.

Beginning in 2002, Pinto robbed 10 banks throughout Ontario; in October 2008, he surrendered to police. He then pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to six years in prison.

Pinto would commit his robberies during his lunch hour.  He was a compulsive gambler who turned to crime in trying to pay his accumulated gambling debts, which far outweighed the total amount he stole.

Pinto is out now, and he says the corrections system doesn’t know how to properly handle gambling addiction.  In 2012, he shared his experiences at the  Ontario Problem Gambling Provincial Forum, along with health experts such as researchers from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.  He wants to help gamblers, and get the word out there that gambling should be better recognized as an addiction.  He suffered withdrawal, like nightmares and major anxiety, just like other addiction.  He says the corrections system just don’t know how to handle gambling addicts.



Posted by on May 2, 2014 in Crime, Medium Entries


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Machine Gun Molly

In this post, I’d like to write a little about Monica Proetti, a bank robber.

Pic of Monica Proietti

Monica Proietti, mieux connue sous le nom de « Monica la mitraille », était voleuse de banques et héros populaire. Date 5 September 2007 Source Own work Author:  Hellebore


Monica Proietti, was born on February 25, 1940; she died on September 19, 1967.  She was a Montreal bank robber and folk hero better known as “Machine Gun Molly” and in French, she is known as Monica la Mitraille.

Monica came from a poor Montreal family, and crime was not foreign in the house.  For instance, her grandmother served time in jail for receiving stolen goods; she reportedly ran a school for crime for the neighbourhood children.

In 1956, at the age of 17, Monica married Anthony Smith, a Scottish gangster, who was 33 years old. The couple had two children. Smith was deported from Canada in 1962. She then became romantically involved with Viateur Tessier, but he was jailed in 1966 for armed robbery.

When she was 19, four of her seven siblings perished in a fire in downtown Montreal.

Monica and her accomplices held up more than 20 banks, stealing over an estimated $100,000. On September 19, 1967 Monica died after crashing into a bus and being shot twice by an undercover police officer following a high-speed chase through the north-end of Montreal. Reportedly, this was to have been her last bank robbery, intended to fund a new life in Florida.

A 2004 Quebec film Monica la Mitraille (Machine Gun Molly in English) was loosely based on her life. The film was adapted from the book Souvenirs de Monica by Georges-Hébert Germain.


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