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Mr. Hockey

Trading Card of Gordie Howe

Trading card photo of Gordie Howe as a member of the Detroit Red Wings. These cards were printed on the backs of Chex cereal boxes in the US and Canada from 1963 to 1965. Those collecting the cards cut them from the back of the boxes.

Gordie Howe, a great Canadian hockey legend, known for, among other feats, for his Hat Trick.

Here are a few facts:

* Born on March 31, 1928 in Floral, Saskatchewan.

* Died on June 10, 2016 in Toledo, Ohio at the age of 88.

* He was inducted in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972.

* He was ambidextrous.

* Played from 1946-1971 and 1973-1980.

* He was nicknamed Mr. Hockey.

* A 23-time NHL All-Star, he held many of the sport’s scoring records until they were broken in the 1980s by Wayne Gretzky. He continues to hold NHL records for most games and seasons played.

* He won the Stanley Cup with the Red Wings four times, won six Hart Trophies as the league’s most valuable player, and won six Art Ross Trophies as the leading scorer.

* Howe was most famous for his scoring prowess, physical stamina and career longevity. He is the only player to have competed in the NHL In five different decades (1940s through 1980s). Although he only accomplished the task twice in his own career, he became the namesake of the “Gordie Howe hat trick”: a goal, an assist and a fight in the same game. He was the inaugural recipient of the NHL Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.

* He was slightly dyslexic growing up, however, he was physically beyond his years at an early age. Already six feet tall in his mid-teens, doctors feared a calcium deficiency and encouraged him to strengthen his spine with chin-ups. He started playing organised hockey at eight years old. Howe quit school during the Depression to work In construction with his father, then left Saskatoon at sixteen to pursue his hockey career.

* Howe was an ambidextrous player, one of just a few skaters able to use the straight sticks of his era to shoot either left or right-handed.

* He experienced his first taste of professional hockey at age 15 in 1943 when he was invited by the New York Rangers to their training camp held at “The Amphitheatre” in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He played so well that the Rangers wanted Howe to sign a “C” form which would have given that club his NHL rights and to play that year at Notre Dame, a Catholic school in Wilcox, Saskatchewan, which had a reputation for discovering good hockey players. Howe wanted to go back home to play hockey with his friends, and declined the Rangers’ offer and returned to Saskatoon.








 

 

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Canadian Cuisine Timeline 1816 to 1890

Before I go on to the Canadian food inventions and innovations, I think it’s important to list in broad stroke of our timeline. Because of the length, I am breaking up the timeline into three posts.  This is post two.  You can find the introduction post at https://tkmorin.wordpress.com/2015/06/20/canadian-cuisine-intro/, and post one at https://tkmorin.wordpress.com/2015/06/27/canadian-cuisine-timeline-1497-1793/.

Canadian Food Graphic1816: The infamous “year without summer” caused by an 1815 volcanic eruption in Sumatra forced many settlers to abandon farms in eastern Canada and move westward into the central regions.

1832: The opening of the Rideau Canal in Ottawa enabled shipping from Halifax to Welland and beyond via the Welland Canal. For residents of Canada West, life improved considerably; more general stores opened, and goods became more diverse and less expensive.

1841: Cheap cornstarch had replaced expensive arrowroot and tapioca starch in every Canadian kitchen.

1843: English chemist Alfred Bird produced a workable baking powder by combining sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) with cream of tartar and cornstarch.

1844: The potato blight that struck Ireland and Scotland caused a famine and pushed a massive migration to Canada as far west as Manitoba.

1847: A stamping machine to mass produce tin cans is patented by American inventor Henry Evens, and tin cans became available countrywide. A taste of summer could be enjoyed in the dead of winter, which considerably improved the lives of settlers, prompting the creation of new and distinctly Canadian recipes.

In 1855, Red Fife wheat caused a home-baking craze, especially when baking powder, cheap sugar, flour and quick-rising yeast became more available in Canada. This created a huge demand for cooking stoves.

1853: New railways made it possible to ship goods from Halifax to Windsor.

1854: Construction contractor for the Rideau Canal, John Redpath, opened a sugar refinery in Montreal.

1855: Eben Norton Horsford of Providence, Rhode Island, discovered that calcium acid phosphate and baking soda worked well to raise bread and began to market Rumford Baking Powder in bulk.

1859: The government created Thanksgiving Day, a Canadian original; the United States instituted the holiday at the end of the Civil War in 1865.

1860: Mason jars became available in eastern Canada when inventor John L. Mason created the screw-top containers. With the completion of the railway in 1885, canning jarsMason Jar Photo became widely available in western Canada.

1861: William Davies opened a meat-packing plant in Toronto, eventually becoming the Canada Packers Limited.

1866: Samuel Platt discovered salt while drilling for oil in Goderich, Ontario. Salt was no longer an expensive import and became widely available.

1867: The Dominion of Canada is created. Also, two New Englanders, John Dwight and James Church, launch their Cow Brand, a baking powder that becomes greatly popular in Canada.

1869: The Hudson’s Bay Company signed over ownership to the Canadian government. The company’s focus changed from furs to goods, with trading posts stocking up with a more varied merchandise.
Also, a new catalogue was issued by the Toronto-based T. Eaton Company. The most popular items were John Lands Mason’s patented glass canning jars.

1870: The first salmon cannery is established at Annieville, British Columbia. The cans contained one pound of fish, and in its first year’s production was about 300 cases. Ten years later, production climbed to 100,000 cases, and by 1900, they shipped out over two million cases.

1881: La Compagnie de Sucre de Betterave de Quebec began refining sugar from beets in Farnham, Quebec.

1882: Thomas Ahearn, an Ottawa engineer and businessman, invented the electric cooking range for Ottawa’s Windsor Hotel.

1890: Emile Paturel opened a lobster-canning factory at Shediac, New Brunswick. He went broke three times, but eventually he managed to turn them into a culinary treat that he now ships around the globe.

Tomorrow’s post will cover the years 1907-1980, the last of the timeline.

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2015 in Canada, Food, Notable Canadians, Trivia

 

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Looney? See “Lunatic”

If you look up the Looney on Wikipedia, here’s the first sentence:

“This article is about the coin. For the Canadian dollar as a currency, see Canadian dollar. For a mentally ill person, see lunatic.

The Big Loonie in Echo Bay, Ontario.

The Big Loonie in Echo Bay, Ontario.

Here’s a bit of trivia you might not have known, or may have forgotten. The original design for the loonie was to be a sketching of a voyageur on the dies ([dahy] noun, plural dies; an engraved stamp for impressing a design upon some softer material, as in coining money.) that were created in Ottawa, and were sent to Winnipeg’s Royal Canadian Mint to be manufactured. To save a whopping $43.50, they were  instead shipped via a local courier. The Mint disagreed with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s later investigation’s contention that the dies were simply lost in transit, believing instead that they were stolen. The dies were never recovered.

Fearing the possibility of counterfeiting after the loss, the government approved a new design for the reverse, replacing the voyageur with a Robert-Ralph Carmichael design of a common loon floating in water. The coin was immediately nicknamed the “loonie” across English Canada, and became known as a “huard”, French for “loon”, in Quebec. The loonie entered circulation on June 30, 1987, as 40 million coins were introduced into major cities across the country, though an error by the banks resulted in some Calgary residents receiving the coins one week earlier.

Another story about the loonie, is how it became known as the “lucky loonie.”  For the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics, Dan Craig was invited as a National Hockey League’s ice making consultant, He invited a couple of members from the ice crew in his hometown of Edmonton to assist. One of them, Trent Evans, secretly placed a loonie under the ice.  Both men and women Canadian teams went on to win gold medals. Several members of the women’s team kissed the spot where the coin was buried following their victory. After the men won their final, the coin was dug up and given to Wayne Gretzky, the team’s executive-director, who revealed the existence of the “lucky loonie” at a post-game press conference.  You can view the coin at the Hockey Hall of Fame, and Canadians have subsequently hidden loonies at several international competitions. Loonies were buried in the foundations of facilities built for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

 

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Canada’s Roswell-Like Incidents

Shag Harbor Sign Identifying the 1967 UFO Incident.

Shag Harbor Sign Identifying the 1967 UFO Incident. Source: Wikipedia.org user 3h3dsfa4

I am reading Weird Canadian Places by Dan de Figueiredo, which is really entertaining.  It is a “Humorous, Bizarre, Peculiar & Strange locations & Attractions across the Nation.”

Here’s an example of what you can find in the book.  He writes about Canada’s version of Roswell, in Shag Harbour, Nova Scotia.  It involves an apparent crash of a UFO, many witnesses, government and military investigations, surveillance and strange and odd smells, sights and sounds.

Shag is a small fishing village at the southern tip of Nova Scotia.  At about 11:20 p.m. on October 4, 1967, witnesses saw strange orange lights, then it turned at a 45-degree angle and seemed to crash towards the water with a bright flash and an explosion.   According to witnesses, the object had bright yellow lights floating on the surface of the water, about 18.3 metres in diameter and trailed yellow foam behind it.  It also smelled of sulphur.

Many people contacted the RCMP to report the incident.  If you look at the official papers about it, you ‘d read that it was a large aircraft that crashed in the harbour — no mention of a UFO.

That’s because one witness in particular, Laurie Wickens, told the authorities that he had seen a large airplane or small airliner crash into the Gulf of Maine.  This prompted an immediate response.  Ten RCMP officers arrived at the scene within fifteen minutes, concerned that the downed passengers would drown.  Within a half hour of the crash, local fishermen arrived at the site.  Within an hour after the crash, the Canadian Coast Guard arrived.

The next day, the Canadian military sent the HMCS Granby to the site to investigate.  By then, however, all that was left was a bit of yellow foam.  They dived for four days trying to find “something,” but came up empty.

This incident is not the only one Canadians have reported witness to.  A few of the others are:

  • May 19, 1967, Falcon Lake, Manitoba. Stefan Michalak was burned by one of two flying saucers with which he reportedly came into contact.
  • January 1, 1969, Prince George, B.C.. Three unrelated witnesses reported a strange, round object in the late afternoon sky.
  • 1975-1976, Southern Manitoba.  Several sightings were reported of a red glowing UFO, sometimes described as “mischievous” or “playful”.
  • October 1978, Clarenville, Newfoundland and Labrador.  Constable Jim Blackwood of the RCMP saw a sighting of a flying saucer hovering over the harbour near the town of Clarenville and Random Island.  When he switched on the roof lights of his police cruiser the craft appeared to mimic the flashing lights.
  • November 7, 1990, Montreal, Quebec, aerial phenomenon.  Witnesses reported a round, metallic object of about 540 metres wide over the rooftop pool of the Bonaventure Hotel. Eyewitnesses saw 8 to 10 lights forming into a circle above them, emitting bright white rays. The phenomenon lasted three hours, from 7 to 10 p.m., and moved slowly northwards.
  • 2006, Ajax, Ontario.  A UFO was Photographed.
  • 2007, Chilliwack, British Columbia, UFO witnessed by Dave Francis and Kelly McDonald.
  • January 25, 2010, Harbour Mille, Newfoundland and Labrador. A photograph taken revealed one of the UFOs to resemble a missile. There was an investigation by the community’s police force and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Another minor report of this incident came from Calgary, Alberta, where boys playing hockey reported seeing similar objects, about which they stated “We thought they were transformers.”

If you are still intrigued about this, I can direct you to a few places on the ‘Net.  There is a large database at MUFON (The Mutual UFO Network), at Canadian UFO Survey, and at UFO Roundup Articles Canada.
 

 

 

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Nash Was the First

Pic of RCMP

Royal Canadian Mounted Police

The RCMP, who “always gets his man,” have been part of Canada’s identity since the 1870s.  In RCMP history, Constable John Nash, tragically, was the first Mountie to die in the line of duty.

Nash was one of the original members who made the voyage westward in 1874 from Fort Dufferin, Manitoba to present-day southern Alberta.

The specifics of his death near Fort MacLeod in the Northwest Territories remain a mystery, because most of his service records were lost in the 1897 fire that damaged the West Block of the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa. However, there is a document held at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police headquarters. It confirms that Nash was born in 1849, that he joined the force in Halifax in 1873, that he was nominated to the Honour Roll, and that his death was related to an accident involving his horse.

We also know that he served the RCMP from October 18, 1873 to March 11, 1876.

As reported by edmrcmpvets.ca, Nash signed up for a five-year term of service with the RCMP.  For his service, he received a salary of 75 cents a day and a promise of a 160-acre land grant after his term.  Even though he didn’t serve the full five years, the land grant was granted to his mother in Halifax.

He was 27 years old when he died.

His final resting place is where he died, at Fort MacLeod (now part of Alberta), in Union Cemetery, in the North West Mounted Police Field of Honour (row 5, grave number 24).

For an impressive list of RCMP’s Honour Roll, go to Royal Canadian Mounted Police. After that, you can find a wonderful site through Library and Archives Canada, Without Fear, Favour or Affection: The Men of the North West Mounted Police.

 

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This week in Canadian History – December Week 2

Canada’s Sherlock Holmes!

Murdoch Mysteries

Murdoch Mysteries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Detective John Wilson Murray was the Canadian version of Sherlock Holmes. Are you familiar with Canada’s Murdoch Mysteries, a Canadian drama television series on both Citytv and CBC Television, featuring Yannick Bisson as William Murdoch, a police detective working in Toronto, Ontario, in the 1890s? Well, it’s based on Murray.

For most of his thirty-one year career during the late 1800s, he was the only provincial police detective in a jurisdiction that extended east from Montreal to Rat Portage in Manitoba. He never gave up on a case and his tenacity earned him the nickname “Old Never-Let-Go.”

Murray was born in Scotland in 1840 and moved to New York as a child. At seventeen, he enlisted in the United States Navy and he had his first taste of detective work during the Civil War. In 1862, he uncovered a complicated plot to free 4,000 Confederate prisoners.

After working as a special agent for the Navy he joined the Erie police force and, ultimately, came to Canada as Head of Detectives for the Canadian Southern Railway. In 1874, Ontario Attorney General Sir Oliver Mowat persuaded him to accept the position of Provincial Detective of Ontario.

Murray proved to be a tireless investigator who was far ahead of his time in scientific criminal detection. Many a conniving soul found themselves convicted literally by their soles, since he was one of the first detectives in the world to realize the importance of footprints. He regularly requested an autopsy on murder victims and had clothing and murder weapons chemically tested for clues.

Between 1875 and 1880, counterfeiters embarked on a bold effort that sent over one million dollars in phony bills into circulation throughout North America. The plates used to make the bills were so finely crafted that even the bank officials could not identify the fakes. In the far north-west $200,000 of such money was used to pay for furs that were shipped to England, Montreal and New York.

After contacting known “con” men in New York, Murray determined the bills to be the work of John Hill and Edwin Johnson, who were very skilful engravers. After discounting Hill as an active suspect, Murray spent months tracking Johnson and his family to Toronto.

He staked out the Johnson house, and began conducting covert interviews with everyone from the family’s butcher to the milkman to find patterns of behaviour.

Everything appeared normal, until one day Murray followed Johnson on a boozy, bar-hopping session from Toronto to rural Markham. After many stops, the tipsy Johnson paid for a drink with a counterfeit one dollar bill, and continued to so so at various stops, culminating in a four dollar purchase of a neck tie. Johnson was arrested.

Plates valued at $40,000 were unearthed in a north Toronto wood-lot, where they had been carefully wrapped in oilcloth and encased in a protective coating of beeswax. There were twenty-one separate copper plates used to recreate seven different bills, including a U.S. five dollar note. Johnson’s wife and seven children had all been involved in the creation and distribution of the phony money, which was printed only once a year and quickly turned over to wholesale dealers known as “shovers.”

Johnson’s fatal flaw was his penchant for using the counterfeit money when he was inebriated. His nemesis, Detective John Wilson Murray, noted: “Crime lost a genius when old man Johnson died.”

Fascinating man, don’t you agree? This is just one anecdote. To read more about Murray, here are a few places to start: for instance, there is the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, and then the Mount Royal University, as well as The Torontoist – all great reads! To read more still about this great man, you can download the 500-page book, “Memoirs of a great detective” by Victor Speer from 1904.

 

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The Money Had to be Kept in Waste Paper Baskets!

Dingman #1 Derrick Replica

Dingman #1 Derrick Replica (Photo credit: Hschuyt)

Repost and updated from November 20, 2012.

If you would like to find an oil well (and who wouldn’t?), a vast part of Canada is still waiting to be explored. Here’s a tip to help you look for it. Petroleum is found in sedimentary rocks, underground, and Canada has about one million square miles do sedimentary basins, about one-quarter of the land area. Four-fifths of this is in western Canada, and includes the southwest corner of Manitoba, two-thirds of Saskatchewan, nearly all of Alberta, and a wide strip down the Mackenzie River to the Arctic. There is oil in British Columbia, Ontario and the Maritimes!

It might be said that Alberta’s oil boom began on November 20, 1946, when the famous Leduc well was spudded in. It began producing on February 13, 1892, however, the Edmonton Bulletin had reported indications of oil at St. Albert.

The story said: “Whether or not the tar is a sure indication of a profitable petroleum field, there is no doubt of the genuineness of the find, and as little doubt that it is not confined to that single locality.”

Alberta’s first producing oil field was the Turner Valley, and one of its pioneer was W. S. Herron. He noticed gas seepage near Sheep Creek and bought 700 acres of land in the area. His attempts to raise development money from Calgary businessmen were unsuccessful until he devised a spectacular sales plan. He persuaded William Elder and A. W. Dingman to visitation place where there was gas seepage, touched a match to a rock fissure, and the pulled out a pan in which he fried eggs over the flame! Elder and Dingman were so impressed that they bought more than a half-interest in Herron’s holdings and spudded in a well at Sheep Creek in January 1913.

Until this time, Calgary Stock Exchange had occupied a corner in a local butcher shop. Now so many people wanted to buy shares that the cash drawers were not large enough, and the money had to be kept in waste paper baskets!

The boom lasted only a few months, owing to the outbreak of World War I but fortunes were made and lost on the Calgary Stock Exchange.

 

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