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And it works!

You’ve got to give Frank Buckley credit. This savvy Canadian came up with one of the best (or worst, depending on how you look at it) marketing slogans.  William Knapp Buckely moved to Toronto from Nova Scotia in 1914, where he worked as a pharmacist.

Bottle of Buckley's Cough Syrup

 

During the flu epidemic in 1918, he invented a cough remedy called Buskley’s Mixture.  It included herbal ingredients such as ammonium carbonate, potassium bicarbonate, camphor, menthol, Canada balsam (Abies balsamea), pine needle oil, and a tincture of capsicum. It is promoted for relief of coughs and sore throats for up to six hours.

He set up the W.K. Buckley Ltd company in 1920 and, within 20 years, went global with its marketing. When senior Buckley died in 1978, son Frank became president of the company and came up with the slogan, “It tastes awful, and it works!” When asked about the famous concoction, Frank admitted they “can’t get rid of the taste. If we do, we will be just another ‘me too’ cough medicine.

It has been rumoured to sell on Amazon for ten times the original price.

 

 


 

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Let’s Talk about Confederation

Confederation:
The coming together of the colonies in British North America. Three colonies were made into four provinces. These were Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. They became the Dominion of Canada on July 1, 1867. The other provinces and territories joined later.

For all of the reasons the Province of Canada began to plan for Confederation, as outlined in yesterday’s post, the leaders from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island had already considered joining together in a Maritime union and were planning a conference. They accepted the politicians from the Province of Canada to join them in the upcoming conference on the subject.

The Charlottetown Conference, September 1st through 9th 1864:The politicians from the Province of Canada convinced the politicians from the Maritime colonies at New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island to think about an even larger union. There was no one working at the public wharf at the foot of Great George Street when the Canadian delegates arrived on the steamship SS Victoria, so Prince Edward Island representative William Henry Pope had to handle receptions by himself, including rowing out to greet the new arrivals. The Canadian delegates stayed each night on board the SS Queen Victoria, as circus-goers and the Maritime delegates had taken up the lodgings in town.

The Quebec Conference, October 10 – 27, 1864: The Conference began on October 10, 1864, on the site of present-day Montmorency Park. The Conference elected Étienne-Paschal Taché as its chairman, but it was dominated by Macdonald. Despite differences in the positions of a few of the delegates on some issues, the Quebec Conference, following so swiftly on the success of the Charlottetown Conference, was infused with a determined sense of purpose and nationalism.

The delegates from the Maritimes also raised an issue with respect to the level of government– provincial or federal– that would be given the powers not otherwise defined. Macdonald, who was aiming for the strongest central government possible, insisted that this was to be the central government, and in this he was supported by, among others, Tupper.

Prince Edward Island emerged disappointed from the Quebec Conference. It did not receive support for a guarantee of six members in the proposed House of Commons, and was denied an appropriation of $200,000 that it felt had been offered at Charlottetown to aid in buying out the holdings of absentee landlords.

On the issue of the Senate, the Maritime Provinces pressed for as much equality as possible. With the addition of Newfoundland to the Conference, the other three Maritime colonies did not wish to see the strength of their provinces in the upper chamber diluted by simply adding Newfoundland to the Atlantic category. It was Macdonald who came up with the acceptable compromise of giving Newfoundland four senators of its own when it joined.

The London Conference, December 1866 – January 1867: This was the last conference, and it took place in London, England. Leaders from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and the Province of Canada had to take the rough draft of the Quebec Resolutions and come up with a final agreement. The document they created was called the British North America Act. Once British Parliament approved it, Confederation could go ahead.

They all agreed that the brand-new nation needs to be called Canada, and that Canada East must be relabeled Quebec and that Canada West need to be relabeled Ontario. Inevitably, the delegates chosen to call the brand-new nation the Dominance of Canada, after “kingdom” as well as “confederation”, among many other choices, were denied for different reasons.

After the Quebec Conference, the Province of Canada’s legislature passed a bill authorizing the union. The union proved much more questionable in the Maritime districts, Nevertheless, it wasn’t until 1866 that New Brunswick and Nova Scotia passed union resolutions, while Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland continued to opt against joining.

The Act was presented to Queen Victoria on February 11, 1867. The bill was introduced in the House of Lords the next day. The bill was quickly approved by the House of Lords, and then also quickly approved by the British House of Commons. The Act received royal assent on March 29, 1867, and set July 1, 1867, as the date for union

Confederation, July 1, 1867

On this date Canada became a country with four provinces. New Brunswick and Nova Scotia hardly changed, but the Province of Canada was split into two new provinces: Ontario and Quebec. A look at the map of Canada in 1867 will show a very different Canada from that of today.

It would take more than a century to add the other six provinces and three territories that today make up Canada.

 

 

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Building Canada, Why Confederation?

In the 1860s, the British colonies were facing various issues. One resolution for each one of these was that the colonies come together to form one country. These are the problems that brought about Confederation:

The Province of Canada was made of a lot of people and was later made into the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. The government of the Province of Canada did not run smoothly because the English-speaking and French-speaking halves each had different ideas about how things should be run. Leaders from both areas of the province decided that joining other colonies might help solve their own political problems.

In order for their economies to do well, the colonies needed to be able to sell their goods to other markets. One solution was to bring all the colonies together.

Since America had fought Britain to gain its independence, the relationship between British North America and the United States had never been stable. Many Americans wanted to take over all of what is now Canada.

Britain didn’t want to have to pay for the cost of defending its colonies. Hence, it decided to encourage the colonies to amalgamate, because the United States would be less likely to attack Canada if it were a self-governing country in lieu of separate colonies of Britain. This fear of the U.S. helped to strengthen the decision for Confederation.

Leaders from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island had actually already begun discussing the idea of signing up for a Marine union and had also planned for a meeting.  The political leaders from the Province of Canada asked if they could come to their conference to recommend a bigger union of all the British North American colonies.  The Maritime colonies were given invitations and so started the quest of Confederation.

 
 

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Canadian Cuisine Timeline 1497-1793

Canadian Food Graphic

A lot of the food and dishes that are “Canadian,” are in fact a result of the early years’ immigrations.  As such, before I go on to the Canadian food inventions and innovations, I think it’s important to list a broad stroke of our timeline.  Because of the length, I am breaking up the timeline into three posts.

1497: Giovanni Caboto (better known as John Cabot) sailed from Bristol, England, in search of a trade route to the Orient. Three months later, he returned home to tell of finding a whole New World of tall trees and waters so thick with fish that could be hauled aboard in buckets. This secured him a five-ship voyage to return. It was disastrous for him as he died on the voyage, but his ships returned and corroborated his fishy tales.

1534: Jacques Cartier sailed into the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Chaleur Bay, where he met a group of Iroquois. He was invited to a feast of seal, cod and sturgeon, maple sugar-glazed moose loin, corn soup and cakes.

1580: New varieties of food were discovered on a regular basis: avocados, chili peppers, corn, peanuts, potatoes, tomatoes, pineapples, just to name a few.

1606: Samuel de Champlain, cartographer and explorer, established Port Royal. He created the Order of Good Cheer (L’Ordre de Bon Temps). Prominent members of the settlement took turns hosting special meals. The benefits were a healthy competition within the group, better nutrition and, it made it easier to wait for the spring. You can view my earlier post about this at https://tkmorin.wordpress.com/2013/05/11/order-of-the-good-time/

1670: England’s King Charles II granted the lands to the Hudson’s Bay Company. They, in turn, built trading posts and kept them supplied with trade goods and food. Every post was well stocked with butter, tea, biscuits, coffee, cane sugar, salt beef, and other necessities from home.

1755: The deportation of the Acadians from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and New England began. Many were transported back to France but most dispersed to southern areas such as Louisiana where they became known as Cajuns. Years later, almost half the Acadians returned to Canada, bringing not only their old Acadian cuisine but also their new Cajun style of cooking.

1759: Immigration to Canada increased. Consequently, ships were loaded with settlers arriving almost daily, and the Canadian food experience switched from a pork, fish, wine and sauce-based cuisine to one built upon mutton, beef, peas and beer. Taverns became popular with beer and roast beef with mushy peas.

1769: The Experienced English Housekeeper, written by Elizabeth Raffald, was published in London, England, and became essential reading for those headed for Canada.

1775: The American Revolution began. Staples such as salt, molasses, spices, citrus, tea and coffee become unavailable.

Because of losing the Seven Years’ War (1756 – 1763), France ceded Canada to Britain, which precipitated a mass migration, especially from Ireland and northern Scotland. Britain offered emigrants free passage along with some provisions – such as tools, salt, food rations, and armaments. Big meat ruled, but it was all tough as nails. Luckily, the English had learned the trick of tenderizing meat from the Romans, and after a few weeks of hanging and a bit of mould scraping, there was your Sunday dinner. It was a bit ripe, but a good long roasting fixed that, and from this habit of culinary utilitarianism came the British reputation for overcooking food.

Late 1700s, potatoes became as ever-present as corn and apples. Potatoes did very well in the Maritimes because the soil was suited to growing them. In addition, just like grain and apples, the excess could be easily distilled into alcohol.

1783: United Empire Loyalists fleeing the American Revolution arrived in all parts of Upper Canada and the Maritimes. They brought both their cuisine and their slaves, with each having an impact on the evolution of Canadian cuisine – roast duck laced with cayenne pepper was a culinary eye-opener for Canadian settlers.

1786: John Molson bought a small brewery in Montreal and began creating a financial, nation-expanding empire that would include banks, lumber, steamships, a railway and larger breweries. Called the nation’s greatest entrepreneur, John Molson and his business endeavours created a demand for timber and grains.

1790: A salt boiling operation was established at Twelve Mile Creek (now St. Catharines, Ontario) by William Merritt, an immigrant from Liverpool, England, a city with a long history of salt production. The British government in Upper Canada discontinued the practice of supplying each settler family with a barrel of imported salt.

1793: Slavery was abolished in what is now Ontario. Therefore, villages opened inns and taverns whose kitchens offered employment to displaced cooks, escaped U.S. slaves and returning Acadians. Some of them were famous for their dinners that were usually Southern-inspired dishes like slow-baked Virginia-style ham and biscuits, crayfish pie, fried fish, frog legs, cornbread, yams, tomato salad, corn on the cob and syrupy dessert pies, along with traditional roasts of beef, mutton, and wild game. A treat for travellers, Southern-style foods found approval in home kitchens, a fact that led to the design of Canadian cooking stoves with tops that facilitated iron frypans and boiling pans.

Some of my earlier related posts:

https://tkmorin.wordpress.com/2015/01/15/may-west-and-a-jos-louis/
https://tkmorin.wordpress.com/2014/12/17/today-we-celebrate-maple-syrup/
https://tkmorin.wordpress.com/2014/11/16/making-do/
https://tkmorin.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/only-in-canada-you-say/
https://tkmorin.wordpress.com/2013/06/28/pushing-his-luck/

Tomorrow’s post will cover the years of 1816 to 1890.

 

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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 https://tkmorin.wordpress.com/2014/10/09/halifaxs-worst-explosions-tsunami-and-snow/

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 whynottw@gov.ns.ca 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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Today we celebrate Maple Syrup!

Did you know that December 17 is Maple Syrup Day?  How well do you know of this golden liquid? Allow me to present you with a few tidbits of information.

Picture of a bottle of maple syrup from Quebec, Canada

Bottle of maple syrup from Quebec, Canada.

  • Though it can vary depending on the weather, the sap is collected between February and April.
  • Quebec produces 91% of Canada’s pure maple syrup.  With Ontario, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, that makes up 71% of the world’s supply.  New York and New England states also produce a large measure of maple syrup.
  • There are more than 8,600 maple syrup businesses in Canada. The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup (FPAQ) ensures the economic, social and ethical interests for the more than 7,400 maple businesses in Quebec.
  • Collecting sap from maple trees is regulated, in part, by the International Maple Syrup Institute (to promote the use of pure maple syrup and protect the integrity of the product).
  • The maple is the symbol depicted on Canada’s flag and is a state tree in New York and Vermont.
  • Most “maple flavoured” syrups contain corn syrup and has little or no maple syrup.
  • Maple Syrup has more calcium than milk (per unit volume) and more potassium than bananas (per weight volume).  It also has Manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, and iron, not to mention vitamins.  Compared to processed white sugar, maple syrup can be a healthier sweetener. For more information about this, see the Maple Syrup Nutritional Information.
  • Choosing a tree to sap, it must be 25 cm (10 inches) in diameter, and it must be at least 40 years old.
  • The tree has a healing process called walling-off, which prevents the same hole from being used a second time.  However, a single tree can be tapped for more than a century.
  • Each mature tree can produce about 40 litres (10 gallons) of sap per season.
  • In order to create 1 litre of maple syrup, 40 litres of sap is needed.
  • Sap is 95% water.  The process for making maple syrup is to boil the sap at 4° Celsius (7 ° Fahrenheit).  After this stage it is about 66% sugar and is classified as sugar.  Pure maple syrup is sap that has been condensed further by evaporating the excess water.

There are many sites on the internet dedicated to maple syrup.  A few are Eat North which has a “10 things you didn’t know about maple syrup” page; the CBC Digital Archives which has a lot of videos and links; you can find a lot more at Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association, including lists of maple syrup festivals; Coombs Family Farm has a nice collection of maple syrup recipes;

The National Post as an article, Maple syrup ‘fraud’ could be a thing of the past under new joint Canada-U.S. rules which is interesting. And if you remember, recently there was the $30 million theft of maple syrup – CBC News has a great article about it.

 
 

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Remembering a Hockey Legend

Earlier this week we lost a hockey legend, Jean Béliveau.  Can I introduce you to him?

He was born on August 31, 1931 in Trois-Rivières, Quebec.  He died on December 2, 2014 at the age of 83, in Longueuil, Quebec.

Photo of Jean Béliveau

Hockey legend Jean Béliveau

He was a professional Canadian ice hockey player who played parts of 20 seasons with the National Hockey League’s (NHL) Montreal Canadiens from 1950 to 1971. He began to play professionally in the Quebec Major Hockey League (QMHL). He made his NHL début with the Canadiens in 1950, but chose to stay in the QMHL full-time until 1953. By his second season in the NHL, Béliveau was among the top three scorers. He was the fourth player to score 500 goals and the second to score 1,000 points. Béliveau won two Hart Memorial Trophies (1956, 1964) and one Art Ross Memorial Trophy (1956), as well as the inaugural Conn Smythe Trophy (1965). As a player, he won the Stanley Cup 10 times, and as an executive he was part of another seven championship teams, the most Stanley Cup victories by an individual to date. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972.

Nicknamed “Le Gros Bill” (The Big Bill), Béliveau ranks among the ten greatest NHL players.

Interestingly, Béliveau can trace his ancestry to Antoine Béliveau, who settled in 1642 in Port Royal, Nova Scotia. The Béliveaus were expelled along with the Acadians in 1755 and the family settled in the Boston area before moving to Québec to the Trois Rivières area in the mid-19th century.

He suffered from many ailments for decades now.  He’s suffered two strokes, and was diagnosed with cancer (he recovered after a punishing course of treatments).

Another defining moment in his life, Prime Minister Jean Chretien offered Béliveau the position of Governor General of Canada in 1994.  However, he declined the offer to be with his daughter, Hélène, and two grandchildren, Mylene and Magalie. Their father, a Quebec police officer, committed suicide when the girls were five and three.

Of many legacies he leaves behind, one of the greatest (I think) is the charitable Jean Béliveau Foundation, established in 1971. In 1993, Béliveau transferred the foundation to the Society for Disabled Children.

We have missed him on the ice and admired him for his steadfast vigour for living life to its fullest.  Thoughts and prayers for his family, friends and fans.

 

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