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Man’s Best Friend Gets Saved!

Yesterday I was approached by a nice young woman requesting a monthly donation to the Ottawa Humane Society.  She told me of a story of a dog named Breezy.  Though I’m sure there are stories like this everywhere, this one was in my city and I hadn’t heard of it.  It doesn’t start happy at all, but there is a happy ending.

Stephen Helfer, 24, owned a Labrador-shepherd mix dog named Breezy.  “Helfer’s attack with a rake and a shovel left Breezy with skull fractures and a swollen brain. Rescuers found her in a garbage bin, where Helfer had tossed her to die.” (Quote from the Ottawa Citizen newspaper article of June 16, 2014.  See link below.)  Several calls came in from people who saw the attack.  It wasn’t long before he was rescued and treated for his injuries.

Helfer was given 1-1/2 credit for his 8 months of pre-trial custody, leaving a sentence of 361 days, he was also prohibited from owning animals for 25 years.  This sentence is the longest ever seen in Ottawa and maybe even in Canada’s history for animal cruelty,

A couple in Gatineau (Quebec), John and Sheila, adopted Breezy.  He is doing very well and is happy in his new home.  You can witness this in the videos below. I don’t know who’s luckier, Breezy or John & Sheila.  But I am happy that I heard the good ending, and not followed it through the stages.  But I do want to commend the Ottawa Humane Society, Leanne Cusak, John, Sheila, Agent Hammond, the Rescue and Investigation Services and everyone else who helped turn this into a happy ending.

 

Read more at the Ottawa Citizen newspaper’s article and another at CBC Ottawa News.  If you would like to donate to the Ottawa Humane Society, you can go to their site here.

 

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Happy (Belated) Birthday, John!

Yesterday, January 11, 2015, was Sir John A. Macdonald’s 200th Birthday.  I believe that such a date must be recognized.  And so, today, I will tell you a few things to know about him.

Canadian election campaign poster from 1891

Figure 1: English: “The Old Flag – The Old Policy – The Old Leader”. 1891 Canadian election campaign poster for Sir John A. Macdonald. Français : “Le vieux drapeau, les vieux principes, le vieux chef”. Campagne électorale de 1891.

Basic details of his life are:

  • He was born John Alexander Macdonald, on January 11, 1815 in Glasgow, Scotland, (UK)
  • He died June 6, 1891 at the age of 76 in Ottawa, Ontario
  • His final resting place is at the Cataraqui Cemetery in Kingston, Ontario
  • He was a Conservative
  • He married twice, first with Isabella Clark until her death (1843-1857) and Agnes Bernard until the day he died (1867-1891)
  • He had 3 children
  • He was a Lawyer
  • Though he was brought up a Presbyterian, he converted to Anglican
  • He was the first Prime Minister of Canada (1867–1873, 1878–1891)
  • The dominant figure of Canadian Confederation, he had a political career which spanned almost half a century
  • Macdonald served 19 years as Canadian Prime Minister (only William Lyon Mackenzie King served longer)
Animation of the changes to the borders of Canada

Figure 2: Animation of the changes to the borders of Canada. Date: 15 July 2009. Source Author: Golbez (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Golbez)

Macdonald was designated as the first Prime Minister of the new nation, and served in that capacity for most of the rest of his life, losing office for five years in the 1870s over the Pacific Scandal (corruption in the financing of the Canadian Pacific Railway). After regaining his place in the government, he saw the railroad through to completion in 1885, and it helped unite Canada as one nation. Macdonald is credited with creating a Canadian Confederation despite many obstacles, and expanding what was a relatively small country to cover the northern half of North America. By the time of his death in 1891, Canada had secured most of the territory it occupies today.  Figure 2 shows how the boundaries in Canada have changed since Confederation.

John initially attended local schools. When he was aged 10, his family scraped together the money to send him to Midland District Grammar School in Kingston. Macdonald’s formal schooling ended at 15, a common school-leaving age at a time when only children from the most prosperous families were able to attend university.  Nevertheless, Macdonald later regretted leaving school when he did, remarking to his private secretary Joseph Pope that if he had attended university, he might have embarked on a literary career. I wonder how different our history would be if hadn’t persued politics.

In March 1844, Macdonald was asked by local businessmen to stand as Conservative candidate for Kingston in the upcoming legislative election.  Macdonald followed the contemporary custom of supplying the voters with large quantities of alcohol.  In the era preceding the secret ballot when votes were publicly declared, Macdonald defeated his opponent, Anthony Manahan, by 275 “shouts” to 42 when the two-day election concluded on 15 October 1844.

Conservative Senator Hugh Segal believes that Macdonald’s true monument is Canada itself:

“Without Macdonald we’d be a country that begins somewhere at the Manitoba-Ontario border that probably goes throughout the east. Newfoundland would be like Alaska and I think that would also go for Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C. We’d be buying our oil from the United States. It would diminish our quality of life and range of careers, and our role in the world would have been substantially reduced.”

Macdonald’s biographers note his contribution to establishing Canada as a nation. Swainson suggests that Macdonald’s wish for a free and tolerant Canada became part of its national outlook:

“He not only helped to create Canada, but contributed immeasurably to its character.”

Gwyn said of Macdonald, his accomplishments were staggering: Confederation above all, but almost as important, if not more so, extending the country across the continent by a railway that was, objectively, a fiscal and economic insanity … On the ledger’s other side, he was responsible for the CPR scandal, the execution of Louis Riel, and for the head tax on Chinese workers. He’s thus not easy to scan. His private life was mostly barren. Yet few other Canadian leaders — Pierre Trudeau, John Diefenbaker for a time, Wilfrid Laurier — had the same capacity to inspire love.

To read more about Sir John A, I suggest CBC Archives where you can find a host of multimedia content; another impressive site would be the Dictionary of Canadian Biography article by J. K. Johnson and P. B. Waite; if you enjoy looking at archived documents, the best place would be the Library and Archives Canada: gallery of papers; another great place is the The Canadian Encyclopedia.

 

 

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Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Cpl. Nathan Frank Cirillo

Cpl. Nathan Frank Cirillo, image source Facebook

Canadians felt anger and sadness when Cpl. Nathan Frank Cirillo ( a reservist member of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders) was fatally shot while taking a turn as part of the Ceremonial Guard watching over the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, at 9:50 a.m. on October 22, 2014.

If there is a silver lining here, it is because of Kevin Michael Vickers, Canada’s Sergeant-at-Arms. Kevin Vickers came out of his office carrying a pistol, and shot the gunman.

Kevin Vickars, Sergeant-at-Arms of the House of Commons
Image source: http://www.reddit.com/r/pics/comments/2k0f0d/this_is_the_man_who_fatally_shot_the_terrorist/

But what of the National War Memorial (also known as The Response)?

It stands in Confederation Square, Ottawa, and serves as the federal war memorial for Canada.

National War Memorial in Ottawa, Ontario (Canada)

H.M. King George VI and Queen Elizabeth unveiling the National War Memorial, Ottawa, Canada, May 21, 1939.

It commemorates the First World War, and was rededicated to include the Second World War and the Korean War. It symbolizes the sacrifice made by every Canadian who has died or may yet die for their country.

 

 

The contract for the construction of the arch was awarded in December 1937 and the entire cenotaph was completed on 19 October 1938, after which the landscaping surrounding the memorial was laid out and installed by Toronto contractors. On May 15, 1939, the Post Office Department issued a stamp called National Memorial.

On May 21, the memorial was officially unveiled by George VI, King of Canada, in the presence of an estimated 100,000 people, months before the Second World War began.

The memorial serves as the focal point of Remembrance Day (November 11) ceremonies in Ottawa.

A national scandal arose following Canada Day (July 1) in 2006, when a group of young men were photographed urinating on the memorial at night, after celebrating the national holiday. This incident prompted the establishment of a Guard of Honour at the site, though the soldiers of the Ceremonial Guard are only present between 9 am and 5 pm from June through August. The navy and the air force also do rotations here in the summer months.

Yesterday, a Canadian Forces soldier on ceremonial duty at the memorial was shot and killed by an armed man. The gunman then crossed the street and entered the Centre Block building of the nearby Canadian Parliament complex, where a firefight ensued between the shooter and members of building security. A security guard was wounded and the suspect was killed. The slain soldier was Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, 24, from Hamilton, Ontario.

Whenever the monarch or another member of the Royal Family is in Ottawa, they will, regardless of the date, lay a wreath at the monument. Other prominent dignitaries who have laid wreaths at the memorial include President of the United States John F. Kennedy in 1961 and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990.

Let us never forget.

 

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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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Yousuf Karsh, Canadian Photographer

I recently did a post in which Doug of WeggieBoy reminded me of Yousuf Karsh, a famous Canadian photographer. So I would like to introduce you to him in today’s post.

Yousuf Karsh

Yousuf Karsh – Self Portret
Date 1938 / Ottawa, Ontario
Source This image is available from Library and Archives Canada under the reproduction reference number PA-212511.

Yousuf Karsh was born on December 23, 1908, in Mardin, a city in the eastern Ottoman Empire (present-day Turkey). His childhood wasn’t to be envied in the least. He grew up during the Armenian Genocide. He is quoted as saying, “I saw relatives massacred; my sister died of starvation as we were driven from village to village.” [Lucas, Dean (2007). “Famous Pictures Magazine – Churchill’s Portrait”. Famous Pictures Magazine.]

Winston Churchill 1941 photo by Yousuf Karsh

Winston Churchill 1941 photo by Yousuf Karsh

When he reached the age of 16, his parents sent Yousuf to live with his uncle George Nakash, a photographer in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada. Karsh would assist in his uncle’s studio. Nakash saw great potential in his nephew and in 1928 arranged for Karsh to apprentice with portrait photographer John Garo in Boston, Massachusetts, United States.

Four years later, he returned to Canada. In 1931 he started working with photographer, John Powls, in his studio at 130 Sparks Street in Ottawa, Ontario. When Powls retired in 1933, Karsh took over the studio. His first solo exhibition was in 1936 at the Château Laurier hotel.

Prime Minister Mackenzie King discovered Karsh, and he was so impressed that he arranged introductions with visiting dignitaries for portrait sittings. Karsh’s work further attracted the attention of various celebrities. On December 30, 1941, he took this now iconic photograph of Winston Churchill. His career took off and he became internationally known for his portraits.

He moved his studio into the Château Laurier hotel in 1973, and it remained there until he retired in 1992.

In the late 1990s Karsh moved to Boston. On July 13, 2002, aged 93, he died at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital after complications following surgery. He was laid to rest at Notre Dame Cemetery in Ottawa.

A good place to see Karsh’s portraits is through Google. Another place to visit would be his Official Website. Another site that I only discovered today is PhotoQuotes (Quotations from the world of photography). I also recommend visiting The Ottawa Citizen.

 

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S’Now Fool That One!

A map of Ontario highlighting Ottawa

A map of Ontario highlighting Ottawa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

This Ottawa 80-year old makes clearing a driveway look easy!

 

i would suggest going over to the Ottawa Citizen site to read (and view) this story!

 

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/ottawa/snow+dummy+Ottawa+makes+clearing+driveway+look+easy/9220504/story.html

 

 

 

 

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Hurry Up and Wait No More!

English: Breat Cancer ribbons

_

I was approached a while back and was asked whether I’d like to tell my cancer story for an upcoming book.  It didn’t take me long to decide.  If my story could help someone, then of course I would do it.  My experience with cancer, after all, was made less complicated because of all the women who went through the medical system before me.  They set the bar, through their pain and experience, so that women like me could benefit.

I just got an e-mail from Collette A. Henry, editor of the book Hope Shining Through The Darkness Of Cancer.  The book is now available.  An e-book for now.  I took the time to read other stories in the book.  Courage is a word that easily comes to mind.   It also brought back a lot of memories I thought I had crushed.

So if you, or someone close to you, has breast cancer, (or other cancer issues) I recommend this book!

 
19 Comments

Posted by on November 8, 2013 in Medicine, Publishing, Uncategorized

 

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