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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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Gift Tag Reads: From: Nova Scotia To: Boston

I just learned about Nova Scotia giving Boston a big tree every Christmas. Absolutely amazing. Let me tell you about it.

Christmas Tree for Boston from Nova Scotia.

Christmas Gift for Boston from Nova Scotia.

Since 1971, Nova Scotia has given a Christmas tree to the people of the City of Boston in gratitude for their help and support after the Halifax Explosion in 1917. You can read my post on it at

In 1918, Halifax sent a Christmas tree to the City of Boston in thanks and remembrance for the help that the Boston Red Cross and the Massachusetts Public Safety Committee had provided immediately after the disaster. That gift was revived in 1971 by the Lunenburg County Christmas Tree Producers Association, who began an annual donation of a large tree to promote Christmas tree exports as well as to acknowledge Boston’s support after the explosion. The gift was later taken over by the Nova Scotia Government to continue the goodwill gesture as well as to promote trade and tourism.

The tree is Boston’s official Christmas tree and is lit on Boston Common throughout the holiday season. Knowing its symbolic importance to both cities, the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources has specific guidelines for selecting the tree. It must be an attractive balsam fir, white spruce or red spruce, 12 to 16 metres (40 to 50 ft) tall, healthy with good colour, medium to heavy density, uniform and symmetrical and easy to get access to.

This year, John and Ethel Ann MacPherson of Purlbrook, Antigonish Co., are donating the tree for Nova Scotia to give to the city of Boston.

The 13-metre (43-foot) white spruce is about 55 years old. It was cut during a festive public ceremony Monday, Nov. 17. Each year, the Nova Scotia tree for Boston stands proudly in Boston Common throughout the holidays. The annual event attracts more than 30,000 people each year and 300,000 more tune in to watch the live televised event on ABC.

The Nova Scotian government is always looking for the best tree to send to Boston. If you think you have what they want, here are the criteria and ways to get in touch: If you have or know of a white or red spruce or balsam fir with the following characteristics we want to hear from you.

Here’s some of the criteria we look for:

Twelve to fifteen meters (40-50 feet) in height
Healthy with good colour
Medium to heavy density
Uniform and symmetrical
Easy to access.

Please take a photo to the nearest Department of Natural Resources Office or send one to Tim Whynot at Tim can also be reached at 424-3615.

To read more about this special Christmas gift and its origin, I highly recommend clicking your way to Nova Scotia Government information pages; you can follow the tree’s transport via twitter and facebook. A few media site that have covered it this year are the CTV News Atlantic, the CBC News and the Bostinno.


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Formerly a Slave, Now an Inhabitant of Canada

Did you know that as early as 1501, Portuguese explorers enslaved 50 Amerindian men and women in Newfoundland and Labrador?  In 1619, slavery began in North America with the arrival in Jamestown, Virginia of a Dutch slave trading ship carrying 20 Africans.  Not too long after that, in 1628, a six-year-old boy from Madagascar is the first Black person to appear in records as being brought directly from Africa and sold as a slave in New France for 50 crowns. He is later baptized and given the name Olivier Le Jeune.

Today in 1830 marks the day that Josiah Henson, his wife and four children moved from Maryland to Upper Canada (now Ontario) via the Underground Railway. If you don’t remember the name, perhaps you know his story.  It is thought that Harriet Beecher Stowe modelled her story in Uncle Tom’s Cabin on his life.  The book, by the way, that Abraham Lincoln said started the U.S. Civil War, was published on March 20, 1852.

Photo of Josiah Henson

Josiah Henson in 1877

Henson was born on June 15, 1789 in Charles County, Maryland; he died on May 5, 1883, at the age of 93 in Dresden, Ontario.

In 1793,  Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe passed “An Act to prevent further introduction of Slaves, and to limit the Term of Contracts for Servitude within this Province.” The legislation did not immediately end slavery, but it did prevent the importation of slaves, meaning that any U.S. slave who set foot in what would eventually become Ontario, was free.

When he arrived in Upper Canada with his family, he founded a settlement and laborer’s school for other fugitive slaves at Dawn, Upper Canada. By the time Henson arrived, others had already made Upper Canada home, including Black Loyalists from the American Revolution, and refugees from the War of 1812.

He first worked on farms near Fort Erie, then Waterloo, moving with friends to Colchester by 1834 to set up a Black settlement on rented land. Through contacts and financial help there, he was able to buy 200 acres (0.81 km2) in Dawn Township, in next-door Kent County, to realize his vision of a self-sufficient community. The Dawn Settlement eventually prospered, reaching a population of 500 at its height, and exporting black walnut lumber to the United States and Britain. Henson purchased an additional 200 acres (0.81 km2) next to the Settlement, where his family lived. Henson also became an active Methodist preacher, and spoke as an abolitionist on routes between Tennessee and Ontario. He also served in the Canadian army as a military officer, having led a Black militia unit in the Rebellion of 1837.

He traveled to England three times to raise money for the settlement, and he met Queen Victoria in 1877. After his first wife’s death, Henson married Nancy Gamble, a widowed free black woman, in 1856.

Though many residents of the Dawn Settlement returned to the United States after slavery was abolished there, Henson and his wife continued to live in Dawn for the rest of their lives.

Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe may have passed the Act that ensured freedom for so many, but Josiah Henson certainly helped many blacks achieve success after slavery. To read more about Henson, I suggest the following sites: Documenting the American South, and Dictionary of Canadian Biography. There’s a 5-page biography at Digital History (I suggest looking around this site as it has so much information!) Two legacies are  National Historic Person plaque, and cemetery photo near Dresden, Ontario and Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site, also near Dresden, Ontario.  You may also like to read Henson’s autobiography  The Life of Josiah Henson: Formerly a Slave, Now an Inhabitant of Canada and the free Kindle version of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.


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Drop-Ins Invited

VisitFacebook I love Canadian history. I love Canadian trivia and facts. I have, therefore, just set up BiteSizeCanada’s Facebook page. I would like to urge you to visit it and introduce yourselves. Encourage your friends to visit and introduce themselves.


Posted by on September 21, 2014 in Canadian-related Links, Entertainment


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Black History Month Part Six

Sundown (Gordon Lightfoot song)

Sundown (Gordon Lightfoot song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is a repost from December 2, 2013.  As I continue with this series of Black History Month, I would like to introduce you to Gordon Lightfoot, and particularly, to his song “Black Day in July” published in December 1968.

Amazingly, it is banned on many of the United States’ top 40 radio stations.

The lyrics are about the 1967 race riots in Detroit.

The riots were set off by a police raid in an inner-city bar raid. The rioting lasted five days. Tally aftermath was 43 dead, 467 injured, 7,231 arrested and 2,509 stores burned down or looted. City officials estimated damage cost at between $40 and 80 million (US).

CBC Archives did a great job reporting on this.


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Black History Month Part Five


Entrance to a Springhill, Nova Scotia mine. This is the entrance for a shaft that is open to the public. Taken by me in 2003.–RobNS 18:40, 30 May 2007

Last February, I posted this post.  As it is Black History Month, I’d like to see more people know this story.  And so today, I’d like to introduce you to Maurice Ruddick.

The Bump (underground earthquake)  of October 23, 1958 in Springhill, Nova Scotia, was the most severe bump in North American mining history!

A small bump occurred just as 174 coal miners began their 8 to 11 P.M. shift at the Cumberland Pit Shaft Number Two.  An hour later, a second and more intense bump happened.  Immediately, seventy-three miners were killed by a massive cave-in.  Within 24 hours, more than half of the survivors were rescued. Amazingly, six days later, on the morning of October 29, twelve more miners who were trapped 8,000 meters down, were saved.

By then, the Canadian and international news media had made their way to Springhill. The disaster actually became famous for being the first major international event to appear in live television broadcasts (on the CBC). Teams began to arrive from other coal mines: from Cumberland County, Cape Breton Island and Pictou County.

On Friday, October 31, 1958 the rescue site was visited by various dignitaries, including the Premier of Nova Scotia, Robert Stanfield and His Royal Highness Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh who had been at a meetings in Ottawa.

On November 5, 1958, the last group of survivors was found!  The men, and their stories of survival, made the news in Canada and abroad.  “If it wasn’t for Maurice Ruddick, they’d all have been dead” was often quoted in these news reports.

Even though the forty-six year old father suffered a broken leg, he did everything he could to keep everyone’s morale up, especially with his singing.  For instance, on November 1, the men shared their last sandwich and water, Ruddick leading them in a loud “Happy Birthday” to Garnet Clarke.  As they waited to be saved, day after day, he kept telling jokes and singing!  When the rescuers finally arrived, Ruddick is quoted as saying, “Give me a drink of water, and I’ll sing you a song.”

One person who was so taken aback by the miracle of such heroics was the Governor of the Georgia  (United States), Marvin Griffin.  He invited the survivors to vacation and recuperate at one of his state’s luxurious resorts, Jekyll Island, usually reserved for millionaires. However, when he discovered that one of the miners was black, Maurice Ruddick,Griffin amended his offer, and said that Ruddick would have to be segregated from the others. When Ruddick heard this, he refused the offer.  But when he learned that his fellow miners would not go if Ruddick wasn’t also going, he changed his mind and accepted the offer.

So Ruddick, his wife, and the four of his twelve children, accompanied him on the trip all stayed in a separate area of the island, in trailers built by Griffin especially for the occasion, and attended separate ceremonies from the white miners.

Ruddick was named 1958’s Canadian Citizen of the Year, awarded by Ontario Premier Leslie Frost.  He described him as “an inspiration to all … a man with the divine attribute of common sense.”  For his part, Ruddick accepted the honour, “for every miner in town.”

UPDATE: an interesting legacy is his daughter, Valerie Macdonald’s, song she wrote about it.  Heather Sparling, an ethnomusicologist, has done a study of ‘Disasters Songs in Canada,’ from the Atlantic Canadian disaster songs at Cape Breton University (

To learn more about today’s post, I would suggest first is CBC Archives. Another very good page with the story, followed up with many other links is Black History Month by Historica Dominion Institute site. You still want more? No worries. A few other sites are Find a Grave.


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Newfoundland’s Tib’s Eve

English: Newfoundland and Labrador Province wi...

Newfoundland and Labrador Province within Canada.(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

December 23 means Tib’s eve in Newfoundland, Canada. I’d never heard of this either, until last year, anyway.

Quite interesting. Tib’s eve, from what I’ve read, means “never”. As in, “it’ll be Tib’s eve before you get that done!”

Tibb’s Eve, also known as Tipp’s Eve, Tip’s Eve or Tipsy Eve, originated on the south coast of Newfoundland.  It’s also widely recognized in other parts of the province stretching from Port-Aux-Basques to St. Anthony. The term is substantially less well known on the more urban avalon portion of the province.

The wild festivity started sometime around the mid-20th century as the first night during Advent when it was appropriate to have a drink. Advent was a sober, religious time of year and traditionally people would not drink alcohol until Christmas Day at the earliest. Tibb’s Eve emerged as an excuse to imbibe two days earlier. According to Dr. Phil Hiscock of Memorial University’s Folklore Department the tradition of celebrating Tibb’s Eve is similar to 19th century workers taking Saint Monday off from work.

“The more contemporary explanation of St. Tib’s comes from the association of the day with a Christmas tipple. In the 1500s if you were to go out for a drink you went out to a tipple, or alehouse, and were served by a tippler, the alehouse keeper. In Newfoundland – St. Tib’s became – the first real occasion to taste the homebrew, a day where the men would visit each other’s homes for a taste.”

Page update December 24, 2014


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