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On this day in Canadian history

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Guess What Day Today Is???

Two Teddy Bears hugging

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2015 in Entertainment, Fact of the Day, June, On This Day

 

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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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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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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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Mr. New Year’s Eve

To remember Guy Lombardo, you have to be of a certain age. To appreciate Guy Lombardo, I’m sure you qualify. Allow me to introduce him to you.

Photo of band leader Guy Lombardo

Photo of band leader Guy Lombardo, 28 June 1944.

Gaetano Alberto Lombardo was born on June 19, 1902 in London, Ontario. He died in November 5, 1977, at the age of 75, in Houston, Texas. He was a Canadian/American bandleader and violinist.

“The Royal Canadians” was formed by Guy Lombardo in 1924 with his brothers Carmen, Lebert, and Victor and other musicians from his hometown, Lombardo led the group to international success.  They billed themselves as creating “The Sweetest Music This Side of Heaven.”  The Lombardos are believed to have sold between 100 and 300 million phonograph records during their lifetimes.

Lombardo and his brothers formed their first orchestra while still in grammar school and rehearsed in the back of their father’s tailor shop. They first performed in public with his brother Carmen at a church lawn party in London in 1914.

In 1938, Lombardo became a naturalized citizen of the United States.

Although Lombardo’s “sweet” big-band music was viewed by some in the jazz and big-band community of the day as “corny”, trumpeter Louis Armstrong famously enjoyed Lombardo’s music.

Lombardo is best known for almost a half-century of New Year’s Eve big band remotes, first on radio, and then on television. Lombardo’s orchestra played at the Roosevelt Grill in the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City from 1929 to 1959, and from then until 1976 at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Live broadcasts (and later telecasts) of their performances were a major part of New Year’s celebrations across North America; millions of people watched the show with friends at house parties. Because of this popularity, Lombardo was called “Mr. New Year’s Eve”.

The Royal Canadians were noted for playing the traditional song Auld Lang Syne as part of the celebrations. Their recording of the song still plays as the first song of the new year in Times Square.

Guy Lombardo has three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles (I didn’t know some have more than one!).  There is a bridge named after him in London, Ontario near Wonderland Gardens, as well as Lombardo Avenue in north London near the University of Western Ontario.

I would highly recommend you listen to this New Year audio clip from CBC. You could also listen to an interview in 1959 at Radiotapes.com. And if you would still like to hear more, I suggest listening to Paper Tape Archive: Guy Lombardo at Hotel Roosevelt (1949).

If you would like to learn more about Lombardo, I will suggest the The Guy Lombardo Society, the “Duh! Dick Clark is proof that older people are here to stay. Hey, sick people too!” at the Noir Dame.  And for a very special treat, I recommend reading USA Today‘s article, “For auld lang syne: Guy Lombardo’s history needs a home.”

 

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Snapshots of Canada’s Past: Armistice Day

What a perfect post to honour our past and what we have to be thankful for today! -tkmorin

All About Canadian History

Snapshots of Canada’s Past: History is more than just words on a screen or from a textbook; this series is a thematic look back at Canadian history through visual imagery.

Armistice Day
In 1918, on the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, the Armistice of Compiègne came into effect, ending World War I. As a prelude to the Treaty of Versailles, its terms made it impossible for Germany to resume fighting. Germany agreed to turnover “2,500 heavy guns, 2,500 field guns, 25,000 machine guns, 1,700 airplanes and all submarines they possessed” in addition to a number of warships and  their prisoners of war. [x] The Armistice was signed in the Forest of Compiègne, about 60 km north of Paris in a railway carriage owned by French military commander Ferdinand Foch. Canada was not present, only representatives from France, Britain, and Germany were there. However…

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St. André of Montreal

Born August 9, 1845, he is credited with thousands of reported miraculous healings. So allow me to introduce you to André Bessette.

St. André of Montreal

St. André of Montreal (9 August 1845 – 6 January 1937)

Especially in Montreal, he is commonly known as Brother André (French: Frère André).   He was declared venerable in 1978 and was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1982.  Pope Benedict XVI approved the decree of sainthood for Blessed André on February 19, 2010, with the formal canonization  taking place on October 17, 2010.

Born Alfred Bessette in Mont-Saint-Grégoire, Quebec, (a small town situated 40 kilometres (25 mi) southeast of Montreal.)  He was so frail when he was born that the curé baptized him “conditionally” the following day, completing an emergency ritual performed at his birth.

His father, Isaac Bessette, was a carpenter and lumberman, but tragically, he lost his life in an accident, crushed by a falling tree, when Alfred was only nine years old. His mother, Clothilde Foisy Bessette, found herself widowed at the age of forty with ten children in her care. She died of tuberculosis within three years, and Alfred found himself orphaned at the age of twelve.

Brother André had great confidence in Saint Joseph.  On his many visits to the sick in their homes, he would rub the sick person lightly with oil taken from a lamp burning in the college chapel and recommend them in prayer to St. Joseph.

An example of his devotion was witnessed when an epidemic broke out, and André volunteered to nurse. Not one person died. The trickle of sick people to his door became a flood. His superiors were uneasy; diocesan authorities were suspicious; doctors called him a quack. “I do not cure,” he said again and again. “St. Joseph cures.” In the end he needed four secretaries to handle the 80,000 letters he received each year.

Bessette died on January 6, 1937, at the age of 91. An estimated million people filed past his coffin.

His body lies in a tomb built below the Oratory’s Main Chapel, except for his heart, which is preserved in a reliquary in the same Oratory. The heart was stolen in March 1973, but was recovered in December 1974 with the help of famous criminal attorney, Frank Shoofey.

This, as you can imagine, is just a part of his life story.  To learn more about St. André, I would suggest St. André Bessette: Pope Benedict XVI’s Canonization Homily, and The Canadian Encyclopedia. If you want to read a book about his life, I would suggest Brother Andre: The Miracle Man of Mount Royal as well as Brother Andre of Saint Joseph’s Oratory.

Prayer of Oh, St. Joseph:

Oh, St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God. I place in you all my interests and desires. Oh, St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession, and obtain for me from your divine Son all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. So that, having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers.

Oh, St. Joseph, I never weary of contemplating you, and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me and ask him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls – Pray for me.

This prayer was found in the fifteenth year of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In 1505 it was sent from the Pope to Emperor Charles when he was going into battle. Whoever shall read this prayer or hear it or keep it about themselves, shall never die a sudden death, or be drowned, not shall poison take effect of them; neither shall they fall into the hands of the enemy; or shall be burned in any fire, or shall be overpowered in battle. Say for nine mornings for anything you may desire. It has never been known to fail, so be sure you really want what you ask.

 

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