Ever since I can remember I've heard the comment that there is "no difference" between Canadians and Americans. I respectfully beg to differ as there is a difference on so many levels! We have unique Canadian culture consisting of Canadianisms, a Canadian perspective on world events, Canadian cuisine as well as products and foods only available in Canada. This blog is dedicated to celebrating all things Canadian from "my perspective" as a Canadian. Please enjoy your visit and be sure to visit often.

Garden Gnome
Americans should never underestimate the constant pressure on Canada which the mere presence of the United States has produced. We're different people from you and we're different people because of you. Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is effected by every twitch and grunt. It should not therefore be expected that this kind of nation, this Canada, should project itself as a mirror image of the United States.
- Pierre Trudeau

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas 2009

Merry Christmas 2009 snow globe ornament

Friday, December 4, 2009

Economic Action Plan Road Signs

Leave it to Canada's funny man Rick Mercer to point out the irony of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Economic Action Plan road signs being made in the great old USA rather than Canada. Say what? Stephen Harper, for shame! Do you mean to tell me there is not one Canadian company that could have made your signs? This just speaks volumes about how much you really care about Canada!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Illegal Immigrants

[received by email with my response below]

Let me see if I understand all this ~ ~ ~ ~

  • If you cross the North Korean border illegally you get 12 years hard labour.
  • If you cross the Iranian border illegally you are detained indefinitely.
  • If you cross the Afghan border illegally you get shot.
  • If you cross the Chinese border illegally you may never be heard from again
  • If you cross the Venezuelan border illegally you will be branded a spy and your fate will be sealed.
  • If you cross the Cuban border illegally you will be thrown into political prison to rot
If you cross the Canadian border illegally you get a job, a driver's license, social security number, welfare, food stamps, credit cards, subsidized rent or a loan to buy a house, free education, free health care, a lobbyist in Ottawa and in many instances you can vote. !!!!!!


First and foremost, anyone entering Canada illegally can and does result in several severe penalties including deportation. Even those caught living illegally in Canada for several years and being rather productive without contributing to the tax base other than through sales tax have been deported with the most recent case an elderly woman. While the above is making the email rounds it clearly was not written by a Canadian. We do not have Social Security Numbers we have Social Insurance Numbers (SIN). In order to legally work in Canada you need a SIN. To get a SIN you need to have proof of Canadian citizenship or eligibility to obtain a temporary SIN that begins with the three numerals 905. If you do not qualify for a temporary SIN then you can apply for a work permit jointly applied for by you and your employer. You will require a legal passport in order to apply for a work permit. Now you can technically work illegally under the table without a SIN but you wouldn't want to get caught doing so. Illegal workers in Canada can be found working as seasonal farm labour as well as the sex, adult entertainment and drug sector so while it is possible it definitely is not going to be very appealing. To obtain a driver's license you need to present a valid driver's license from your previous residence. Those within Canada have no problem obtaining a driver's license from their new province or town of residence. Those presenting a driver's license other than Canadian will need to show they have gone through the hoop of getting all the necessary permits such as SIN or work permit. Health care is free (to some degree) in Canada for Canadian citizens. Non-residents must apply to the appropriate provincial health care with appropriate documentation to prove they are Canadian citizens and wait for the require time (usually 3 months). Illegal immigrants are technically out of luck with respect to Canadian health care. Social Assistance (welfare) is administered at the county levels. You must be a Canadian with proof of citizenship residing in that county for at least 3 months to be eligible for social assistance. Food stamps are non-existent! That is a US concept not a Canadian one. In extreme emergency situations a Canadian citizen could qualify for a food voucher that could be taken to the grocery store but it is not the norm. Illegal immigrants are not going to get subsidized for housing or loans for buying a home. Just to buy a house you need proof of citizenship! You will not get a lobbyist in Ottawa and illegal immigrants do not get a chance to vote. If you're lucky you might get a human activist to act on your behalf but again that is usually in extreme cases.

Sorry as convincing as the actual email sounded any Canadian would recognize it for the ignorance and bigotry it displays.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remembrance Day 2009

[Note: This is a repost from my personal blog, My Journey. It was originally posted on November 11, 2009. The video is well worth watching several times. Please take a moment to watch the video and ponder the price so many have paid to make Canada the great nation that it is.]

I come from a strong military family with ancestors that were instrumental in shaping the history of Canada. I grew up surrounded by relatives who had fought for this country. Some of them made the ultimate sacrifice and while they are no longer here they live forever in our memories. If this video does not bring tears to your eyes, nothing will. On the 11
th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month we honour our fallen with 2 minutes silence from shore to shore of our great nation, Canada. Please join our nation in showing our respect and how thankful we are for enjoying the freedom they fought so hard for.

Remembrance Day Tribute
courtesy of
Global TV Edmonton

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Issue of Local Television in Canada

Television reception in Canada is received through antennas, satellite dishes and cable. Telecommunications is controlled by the CRTC. Many Canadians do not think fondly of the CRTC because they basically dictate what can be shown on television or listened to on the radio with a mandatory percentage of Canadian content.. In addition to that the CRTC has recently made a very unpopular decision for those using satellite internet by allowing the satellite internet providers to continue throttling bandwidths under FAP (fair access policy). What this means to users of satellite internet is if you reach a certain bandwidth threshold which is not disclosed the satellite internet provider will slow your speed to about 40% for anywhere from 1 to 24 hours depending on the provider. In essence you pay 100% for the service but at times only get 40% of the service. No other service or retailer would be able to get away with giving you 40% while charging you 100%. In addition to the CRTC's problems they will now have to decide on the issue of local television. They don't have a good track record for deciding in favour of the Canadian consumer either.

Local television programming has always been free for Canadians guaranteeing all Canadians equal access. However, with recent network changes going to digital there are fewer free channels available. Canadians have been turning to satellite and cable providers for their television programming consisting of both premium and local stations. These providers are charging for local television but they are not giving any of the money they charge to local television. Essentially the satellite and cable providers are profiting by selling something they get for free while local television loses. As if Canadians were not paying enough for television programming and it is expensive the Big Local Networks (CTV, Global) want to apply a $10 tax that would help local television. The CRTC will begin reviewing this proposal on November 16, 2009.

As in all debates there are two sides to consider. I recommend reading through both Stop the TV Tax and Save Local TV for more information on the local television issue from both sides. The bottom line is no one wants an additional charge on their television. Canadian should not have to bail out local television when they are already paying for it through their satellite or cable providers who are profiting from it! They should be the ones paying the local television stations.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

American Oil Industry Parody

Once again thanks to Canada's favourite funny man, Rick Mercer. There is always an element of truth in humour and he is so good at finding it. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Canadian Internet

I seriously fought all day trying to get my high speed pay through the nose satellite internet to go faster than a crawl today. Now the CRTC allows throttling which basically means if you have high speed your ISP can slow your speed to make it fair to others. What it really means is I pay 100% of the cost for X speed but at best I can expect 40%. Let's put this in perspective. I go into a burger joint and order a burger and pay for it BUT only get 40% of the burger. Hey, that sounds really fair because that is the Canadian way!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Part of Our Heritage - John Humphrey (Human Rights)

John Peters Humphrey was born in Hampton, New Brunswick on April 30, 1905. He studied at Rothesay Collegiate School (now Rothesay Netherwood School), Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick, and McGill University in Montreal. Humphrey practiced law from 1929 to 1936, when he joined McGill's Faculty of Law as a professor.

In 1946, Professor Humphrey was appointed as the first Director of the Human Rights Division in the United Nations Secretariat. He was a principal drafter of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. At that time Eleanor Roosevelt chaired the executive group of the Commission. The General Assembly unanimously adopted the Declaration, dubbed by Mrs. Roosevelt as "the international Magna Carta of all mankind" on December 10, 1948. In 1963, he proposed the idea of a United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights that while initially received quite positively took more than thirty years to become a reality, under Secretary-General Dr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali. He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1974, "in recognition of his contributions to legal scholarship and his world-wide reputation in the field of human rights". Professor Humphrey remained with the UN until 1966 when he retired to resume his teaching career at McGill University. On the 40th anniversary of the Declaration (1988), the UN Human Rights Award was bestowed on Professor Humphrey.

Professor Humphrey remained a human rights advocate in Canada and internationally until his death on March 14, 1995 at the age of 90. He was a director of the International League for Human Rights; served as a member of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women; and part of the team that launched Amnesty International Canada. Professor Humphrey with colleagues from McGill University was instrumental in creating the Canadian Human Rights Foundation.

Professor Humphrey left a lasting legacy regarding human rights worldwide. The McGill University Faculty of Law has held the John P. Humphrey Lectureship in Human Rights since 1988. This is an annual lecture on the role of international law and organizations in the worldwide protection of human rights. The John Peters Humphrey Model United Nations is an annual May event in Fredericton, New Brunswick. The John Humphrey Freedom Award, presented by the Canadian human rights group Rights & Democracy, is awarded annually to organizations and individuals worldwide for exceptional achievement in the promotion of human rights and democratic development. In June 2008, a memorial to Dr. Humphrey located just a few h hundred yards from his childhood home, was unveiled in his hometown of Hampton, New Brunswick.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cross Border Shopping

Canadians living near the US border have coined a phrase, cross border shopping. When the Canadian dollar is higher cross border shopping increases. Some restaurants in US border towns encourage Canadians to spend their dollars on the US side by offering Canadian dollar at par meaning there is no exchange rate either. At one time most goods brought back into Canada from the US were subject to duty and appropriate provincial and federal taxes. With NAFTA the situation has changed considerably with most goods being duty free but the provincial and federal taxes are still collected on the Canadian value of the goods. Despite that some individuals continue to try sneaking goods into Canada without paying what they see as duties even though in reality it is only taxes (GST/HST). This is officially known as smuggling. If you are caught smuggling there are some rather hefty penalties ranging from fines, seizure of goods, seizure of personal property (vehicle, boat) and possible criminal charges that will prevent you from traveling to the US again. There are also restrictions as to the amount of certain items an adult can bring back and some goods are strictly prohibited. There are personal exemptions for stays outside of Canada greater than 24 hours. For a comprehensive guideline for what can be brought into Canada and what duties and/or taxes apply please refer to the Canadian publication put out by the Canada Border Services Agency titled I Declare.

With this in mind here's a chuckle from Canada's favourite funny man, Rick Mercer.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Canada's National Cocktail

The CaesarCanada's National Cocktail
The Caesar (cocktail)
September 17, 2009

What is Canada's national drink? The immediate answer from anyone who isn't Canadian is beer! Well, yes Canadians like their beer but it is not Canada's national drink. Canada's national cocktail is the Caesar invented by bartender Walter Chell at the Owl's Nest Bar in the Calgary Inn (now Calgary Westin Hotel) in Calgary, Alberta in 1969 for the opening of Marco's restaurant. The original Caesar contained tomato juice and mashed clams. The same year with the help of Chell, the Mott's company began producing Clamato (a blend of tomato juice and clam broth). The Caesar is a cocktail containing vodka, Clamato , Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco sauce served on the rocks in a celery salt-rimmed highball glass. The cocktail is typically garnished with a stalk of celery and wedge of lime. It is often garnished with a dill pickle wedge and stuffed green olives in addition to the stalk of celery. A Virgin Caesar is the cocktail without vodka. Although Mott's printed the Caesar recipe on bottles of the Clamato juice sold in the United States during the early 2000's the cocktail remains relatively unknown there. In 2002 Mott's began marketing pre-mixed Caesars in 12-ounce bottles.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Canadian Impostor Detection

[from my email files]

As a Canadian, you have to be extra vigilant. There are a lot of impostors out there. If you suspect that someone is falsely trying to pass themselves off as a Canadian, make the following statement - and then carefully note their reaction:
"Last night, I cashed my pogey and went to buy a mickey of C.C. at the beer parlour, but my skidoo got stuck in the muskeg on my way back to the duplex. I was trying to deke out a deer, you see. Damn chinook, melted everything. And then a Mountie snuck up behind me in a ghost car and gave me an impaired. I was S.O.L., sitting there dressed only in my Stanfields and a toque at the time. And the Mountie, he's all chippy and everything, calling me a "shit disturber" and what not. What could I say, except, "Sorry, EH!"
If the person you are talking to nods sympathetically, they're one of us. If, however, they stare at you with a blank incomprehension, they are not a real Canadian. Have them reported to the authorities at once.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Everything you always wanted to know about Canada...

Canada's leading funny man Rick Mercer explains everything you wanted to know about Canada but were afraid to ask. Enjoy the chuckle :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Few Canadian Fun Facts

  • The name Canada derived from the Huron-Iroquois kanata meaning village or settlement.
  • Canada is the world's second largest country by land mass.
  • There are 6 time zones in Canada.
  • Canada's (and in the world) northernmost settlement is Canadian Forces Station (CFS) Alert (just north of Alert, Nunavut) on the northern tip of Ellesmere Island - latitude 82.5°N - just 834 kilometres (518 mi) from the North Pole.
  • Middle Island, located in the centre of Lake Erie, is Canada's most southern island as well as Canada's most southern point of land - co-ordinates 41°41'N, 82°41'W, or about 41.7 degrees north latitude
  • The distance across Canada is 5768.9 km +/- 1000km depending on starting point and destination.
  • The Canadian population is estimated at 33,212,696 as of July 2008.
  • Canada's longest river at 4241 km is the Mackenzie River in the North West Territories.
  • The Hudson Bay Company established in 1670 is Canada's oldest business.
  • The CN Tower in Toronto, Ontario built in 1976 is Canada's tallest building. It is 553.33 meters (1,815' 5") tall.
  • Canada has two official languages - English and French
  • Under the Canada Constitution Act 1982, Canada recognizes First Nations, Innuit and Métis as Aboriginal People.
  • The logging and oil industries are two of Canada's most important industries.
  • International trade especially of natural resources makes up a large part of Canada's economy.
  • Canada's largest trading partner is the United States.
  • Canada is one of the largest suppliers of agricultural products, particularly wheat and other grains.
  • By population Toronto, Ontario is Canada's largest city. By land mass (sqKM) Montréal, Quebec is largest.
  • Mount Logan (co-ordinates (140o 23' W, 60o 34' N) located in the scenic Kluane National Park and Reserve is Canada's tallest mountain. It is 5,959 metres high at its peak.
  • Great Bear Lake on the Artic Circle lies entirely within Canada. It is Canada's largest body of water at 31,153 sq km (12,028 sq mi) with a shoreline 2,719 km (1,690 mi) and the total catchment area of the lake is 114,717 km² (44,293 mi²).
  • Although each province and territory has a national flower there is no national flower for Canada.
  • The national emblem of Canada is the maple leaf.
  • Canadians eat more salt than any other country in the world.
  • The United States is the only country to border Canada.
  • As a nation Canadians eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, more frozen fruits and vegetables, more flour, more fish, more nuts, more pulses and drinks more tea and 2% milk than Americans.
  • The national winter sport in Canada is hockey. The national summer sport is lacrosse.
  • Superman, a fictional character and one of the most famous and popular comic book superheroes of all time was created by a Canadian-born artist Joe Shuster and American writer Jerry Siegel in 1932 while both were growing up in Cleveland, Ohio.
  • Canada's first female doctor was Emily Howard Stowe (May 1, 1831 - April 30, 1903) graduating the New York Medical College for Women in 1867.
  • Kraft Dinner topped with ketchup is reputed to be Canada's national food while others declare poutine Canada's national food.
  • Canada's national drink is the Caesar, a rather spiced up version of the Bloody Mary followed closely by beer.
  • Canadians are well reputed to be the politest nation in the world.
  • Canadian humour has a decidedly very British influence. When we aren't poking fun at ourselves or fondly at Britain you can rest assured we are poking fun at the rest of the world!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Huron Carol

Canada's first Christmas Carol titled The Huron Carol was written by Father Saint Jean de Brébeuf (1593-1649) in 1643. He was a Christian missionary at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons in Canada. Father Saint Jean de Brébeuf is the Patron Saint of Canada. The original title was Jesous Ahatonhia (Jesus, he is born) set to the tune of a traditional French folk song, Une Jeune Pucelle (A Young Maid). The lyrics were written in the native language of the Huron/Wendat people hymn translated from the Huron language is also known as Twas in the Moon of Wintertime. Jesse Edgar Middleton wrote the well known English lyrics in 1926.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Canadian Firsts

  • first Canadian Thanksgiving - was celebrated in 1576 by Martin Frobisher and his English sailors in thanks for a safe journey across the Artic
  • Canada's first Christmas Carol - written by Father Saint Jean de Brebeuf (1593-1649) the Patron Saint of Canada in 1643, titled "The Huron Carol", translated from the Huron Language
  • Canada's first Christmas tree - erected by German Baroness Riedesel, December 25, 1781 in Sorel, Quebec
  • first Prime Minister of Canada - Sir John A. McDonald (July 1, 1867 - November 5, 1873; October 17, 1878 - June 6, 1891)
  • first universities - Université Lavel (French, 1663), University of New Brunswick (English, 1785)
  • first person to traverse the Crowsnest Pass - prospector, trader and HBC employee Michael Phillips, 1873
  • first official Japanese immigrant to Canada - Manzo Nagano, 1877
  • world's first wireless message - received by G. Marconi 1901 in St. John's, New Foundland
  • first Canadian train robbery - Bill Miner, September 10, 1904, British Columbia
  • first man to walk across Canada - John (Jack) Gillis, arrived in Vancouver, BC, 1906
  • first controlled-power flight in Canada - J.A.D. McCurdy flew the "Silver Dart" off the ice of Baddeck Bay in Cape Breton, NS, February 23, 1909
  • first person in Canada to design, build and fly his own aircraft - William Wallace Gibson, September 1910, Victoria, BC
  • first woman elected to the House of commons - Agnes Campbell Macphail, 1921
  • first 'Miss Canada' - Winifred Blair of St.John, NB, 1922
  • first Nobel Laurette in Medicine - Sir Freerick Bating, 1923 for discovery of insulin
  • first commercial satellite - ANIK A1 launched in 1972
  • first Canadian astronaut in space - Marc Garneau, 1984 on space shuttle Challenger
  • Canada's first artificial heart recipient - Noëlla Leclair, a resident of Orléans, Ontario, May 1, 1986
  • first Canadian female astronaut in space - Roberta Bondar, 1992 on space shuttle Discovery
  • first Canadian to walk in space - Chris Hadfield, 2001 on space shuttle Endeavour
  • first Canadian female Prime Minister - Kim Campbell, June 25, 1993 - November 4, 1993
  • first Canadian McDonald's restaurant - opened in 1967 in Richmond, BC

Saturday, August 15, 2009

God Save the Queen

Canada was formed as a federal dominion of four provinces under the British Commonwealth in 1867. The federation was extended to include 10 provinces and 3 territories as a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy, with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state. The Canada Act of 1982 severed Canada's legal dependence on the British parliament. While Canada now has it's own constitution it remains loyal to England and continues to be a British ally.

The British national anthem, God Save the Queen was either sang or played up to 1982 as part of elementary and secondary schools' opening exercises. It is still played as part of any ceremonies performed by the Royal Canadian Legion. It is often played at other social, historical and Canadiana events. As a child it was one of the first songs learned and most children knew at least the first verse before they started school. Of note a picture of Queen Elizabeth II is displayed in public halls, schools, arenas, Royal Canadian Legions

God Save the Queen (standard version)

God save our gracious Queen,1
Long live our noble Queen,
God save the Queen:
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us:
God save the Queen.

O Lord, our God, arise,
Scatter her enemies,
And make them fall.
Confound their politics,
Frustrate their knavish tricks,
On Thee our hopes we fix,
God save us all.

Thy choicest gifts in store,
On her be pleased to pour;
Long may she reign:
May she defend our laws,
And ever give us cause
To sing with heart and voice
God save the Queen.*

* When the monarch of the time is male, beyond the other alterations mentioned above, the last line of the third verse is changed to "with heart and voice to sing/ God Save the King". Also where it says "Scatter Her Enemies" that will be changed to "his".

Friday, July 17, 2009

Tim Hortons - A Canadian Icon

Tim Hortons Sign
July 11, 2009

Tim Hortons was founded in 1964 in Hamilton, Ontario by Canadian Hall of Fame NHL hockey player (1949 - 1974) under the name Tim Horton Donuts. The name later changed to Tim Horton's then Tim Hortons. In 1967 a partnership was formed with investor Ron Joyce. Joyce quickly took over operations expanding the chain into a multi-million dollar franchise. Tim Horton died in 1974 at which time Joyce bought out the Horton family share of the chain. In 1990 the name was changed to TDL Group Ltd. in an effort to diversify. In 1992 Tim Hortons merged with Wendy's in Prince Edward Island with Daniel P. Murphy and in on August 8, 1995 TDL was acquired by Wendy's International Inc. with Joyce as the major shareholder although TDL continued to have headquarters in Oakville, Ontario. In March of 2006 the company went public and Wendy's announced it would spin off the rest of the Tim Horton shares by the end of that year citing competition between the two chains and Tim Hortons increasing self sufficiency. On September 29, 2006 the spin off was complete with Tim Hortons it own separate company. In June 2009, TDL left its American parent (Coldstone Creamery, Kahala Group) returning to its Canadian roots to be reorganized under the Canadian Business Corporations Act for tax purposes incorporated as Tim Hortons Inc. with shareholder approval expected by September of 2009. There are currently over 2,800 Tim Hortons across Canada and 400 in the United States. On July 13, 2009 a handful of Tim Hortons opened in New York City, New York. Tim Hortons trades on the NYSE and TSX (THI).

Timmies is well known for the uniquely Canadian terms double double and roll-up the rim to win. A double double refers to a coffee with 2 creams, 2 sugars. Just pull up to their drive through and ask for an extra large double double and they know what you mean. This Canadian term has become so popular there are very few coffee or doughnut shops that don't know what it means! The roll-up the rim term refers to a promotion that Tim Hortons started. Once you drink your coffee, you roll up the rim at a certain point to win free prizes ranging from a free coffee to a vehicle. This promotion has been so popular other coffee chains have copied it.

I doubt there is a Canadian living that hasn't been to a Tim Hortons at least once in their lifetime! Tim Hortons is located in just about every small town and city across with multiple locations in larger centres. Tim Hortons or affectionately called Timmies is part of the daily routine for many Canadians. Timmy's specializes in coffee and doughnuts but they now offer other beverages, soups and sandwiches as well as cakes and pies. In most cases Tim Hortons is open 24 hours a day. It's the meeting place as in meet me at Timmies. It's the senior citizen gathering place every morning. It's the starting point for directions to get somewhere as in 'when you see Timmies, turn right then turn left on the next street'. Every Canadian sports coach, hockey mom, bus driver and hockey fan knows where the closest Tim Hortons is! Tim Hortons has become the social epicentre of many Canadian communities!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mike Plume Band - This is Our Home

I am always excited to discover another talented Canadian. A few days ago we were watching CMT when this wonderful video of a clearly Canadian themed song called This is Our Home came on. I just had to find out more about the song and the band. The song is on The Mike Plume Band 8:30 Newfoundland album released earlier this year. It is a wonderful tribute to Canada!

The Mike Plume Band formed in the mid 1990's performing into 2003. Mike took a break from his music moving back to Canada from Nashville. In 2006 he returned to Nashville, reunited with the old band members and began performing again.

This Is Our Home lyrics
Album: 8:30 Newfoundland: 2009
written by: Mike Plume, Jason McCoy (Road Hammer)

From the rollin fields of wheat to the busy city streets
There's a feelin and a spirit all our own
True North, strong and free, stand on guard you and me
From the East to the West we've roamed
This is our home

From Norman Wells at the top all the way to the Rock
There's a wind that always blown
From down Summerside to the Queen Charlotte Islands
There's a way of life we've always known
This is our home, this is our home

I've seen the Northern Lights dancin over Yellowknife
While standing in the middle of a field
From Pier 21 all the way to Flynn Flon
You gotta cross that Canadian Shield
And no one knows winter like we know winter
Blowin in off Lake Ontario
From the Ottawa Canal to ?????
There a little place I love in the Gatinaux
With a covered bridge and a swimming hole
Yeaaah, this is our home, this is our home

Yeah, from Portage in Maine, to Yonge and Queen
And every street corner in this world
No matter where you go in this rugged land
There's on thing we all understand
Every woman, child and man
8:30 Newfoundland
(8:30 Newfoundland)
8:30 Newfoundland

Way up in Peace Country and down East in Kings County
And clear across to Thunder Bay, where Winnipeg is like forever
And hope feels like never, let alone out near Campbell River way
And when you cross the boarder and you see a Caribou on the corner
Then and only then will you be home

I've driven from the Peg to the Chuck and Yankees call us Canucks
But together well never stand alone, yeah, together well never stand alone
Yeah, forever the Maple Leaf will be flown
'Cause this is our home (this is our home)
Yeaaah, this is our home (this is our home)
This is our home (this is our home)
Man, this is our home

Tar Sands and Fort Mac, Redwood Strands and Kitimatt
(This is our home) and down in the Shuswaps too
I've seen many nights feel like high noon from the dawn of Saskatoon
There's Confederation Bridge and Butternut Ridge (this is our home)
Sudbury in the Sioux, Ive lived in the Lakeland
I've been to the Badlands, head smashed in Buffalo Jump too
I've been snowed in for days on the Trans Canada Highway
And that was in the month of June and this is our home

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Huron University College, London, Ontario

Huron University College
July 3, 2009

Huron University College was incorporated on May 5, 1863 in London, Ontario. It is the founding college of University of Western Ontario (UWO) [my Alma Mater] and remains affiliated with UWO. The college is located at 1349 Western Road in London, Ontario. It is a small, self governing, independent educational institution undergraduate-focused campus with full access to UWO. Due to the small size, the class sizes are considerably smaller than UWO as well so there is a great opportunity for student and professor interaction. This photo was taken from the 9th floor of the Social Sciences Building on the UWO main campus. To the left approaching Western Road is the Collegiate Chapel of St. John the Evangelist. It was built in the early 1950’s to replace a building that had been built in the 1860’s. This Anglican chapel features pews that face one another and the chapel. The chapel can seat up to 160 people including the balcony. The chapel is always open for prayer and mediation and offers regularly scheduled services.

Huron College was founded by Bishop Benjamin Cronyn as a theological college on the original property that occupied the block bounded by Grosvenor, St. George and St. James Streets in London, Ontario. The college was incorporated on May 5, 1863 and is the founding college of The University of Western Ontario. Over the years, Huron University College evolved from its theological roots into a dynamic liberal arts university institution and theological college. Huron College moved to its present location in 1951. The college has two faculities - the Faculty of Arts and Social Science and the Faculty of Theology with a diverse student body of about 1100. It was originally established as Huron College but the name was later changed to Huron University College with Royal Assent in June 2000. To be part of Huron is to be part of one of the oldest university communities in Canada.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Original 'Maple Leaf Forever'

The original Maple Leaf Forever was written by Torontonian Alexander Muir (1830 - 1906) in 1867 the year of Canada's Confederation. This patriotic song with a strong British perspective made it unpopular with French Canadians so the song never became the official national anthem even though it had been seriously considered for that role. Despite that, the Maple Leaf Forever has often taken on an unofficial anthem role. It was a song that was learned in elementary schools and often sang during school rehearsals. It was and often still is sung at Remembrance Day services and the Royal Canadian Legion events. The song was used as a Canadian symbol in Captains of the Clouds (James Cagney, 1942) and was the opening theme of each episode of The King Chronicle, Donald Brittain's 1988 NFB/CBC miniseries about the long career of Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King. Ann Murray sang a modified version of the song at the final Toronto Maple Leafs game in their former home stadium Maple Leaf Gardens in 1999.

In days of yore, from Britain's shore,
Wolfe, the dauntless hero came,

And planted firm Britannia's flag,
On Canada's fair domain.
Here may it wave, our boast, our pride,
And joined in love together,
The thistle, shamrock, rose entwine
The Maple Leaf forever!

The Maple Leaf, our emblem dear,
The Maple Leaf forever!
God save our Queen, and Heaven bless,
The Maple Leaf forever!

At Queenston Heights and Lundy's Lane,
Our brave fathers, side by side,
For freedom, homes, and loved ones dear,
Firmly stood and nobly died;
And those dear rights which they maintained,
We swear to yield them never!
Our watchword evermore shall be,
The Maple Leaf forever!

The Maple Leaf, our emblem dear,
The Maple Leaf forever!
God save our Queen, and Heaven bless,
The Maple Leaf forever!
Our fair Dominion now extends
From Cape Race to Nootka Sound;
May peace forever be our lot,
And plenteous store abound:
And may those ties of love be ours
Which discord cannot sever,
And flourish green o'er freedom's home
The Maple Leaf forever!

The Maple Leaf, our emblem dear,
The Maple Leaf forever!
God save our Queen, and Heaven bless,
The Maple Leaf forever!
On merry England's far famed land
May kind heaven sweetly smile,
God bless old Scotland evermore
and Ireland's Em'rald Isle!
And swell the song both loud and long
Till rocks and forest quiver!
God save our King and Heaven bless
The Maple Leaf forever!

The Maple Leaf, our emblem dear,
The Maple Leaf forever!
God save our Queen, and Heaven bless,
The Maple Leaf forever!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Canada Day 2009

“Canada is a country strong not in spite of its diversity but because of it. While we as a people embody huge differences in cultures, perspectives and backgrounds, from coast to coast to coast we are united by the shared Canadian values of openness, respect and a willingness to be there for our neighbours. Let's celebrate this loudly and proudly this Canada Day!”
-Justin Trudeau, MP for Papineau

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Truly Canadian - Butter Tarts

butter tarts
Homemade Butter Tarts
June 24, 2009

Butter tarts are a uniquely Canadian delightful treat! They were a staple in pioneer Canadian cooking and are considered one of the few recipes of genuinely Canadian origin. The sweet sticky filling is tucked into a flaky pastry crust. One of the earliest recipes for butter tarts is from northern Ontario. This recipe dates back to 1915. However, Sir John A McDonald (1815 - 1891), Canada's first Prime Minister was quite fond of butter tarts so this delicious treat dates back much earlier than the 1915 date.

Homemade butter tarts are common at bake sales, farmer's markets, bakeries and smaller family operated restaurants. Commercially made butter tarts are available in most grocery and variety stores. I made a dozen butter tarts (pictured) this week using the recipe in Kate Aitken's Canadian Cookbook, 1965 (recipe here). They did not last long!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Verified Canadian™ Certification

A couple of days ago I stumbled upon a site called Really Made in Canada while looking for information on the new rules pertaining to food labeling in Canada. Over the past several years there has been a growing concern over labeling with respect to origin. As a Canadian I want to buy Canadian and support Canadian workers. As a foodie, I want to know the origin of the foods I put on the table. I know the importance of supporting our local farmers and I want them to be recognized for their work in a fair manner that ensures they can put food on their tables. As a Canadian consumer I want to be informed as to the origin of the goods I purchase. As I read through their site, I kept thinking this is so in line with many of my ideals as a Canadian. At the same time I couldn't help but think something my readers would be interested in. I contacted them about displaying the logo with a linkback to their website not realizing my site would have to go through an application process and be verified Canadian in order to use the what I thought was another 125 x 125 card. I did not realize this 125 x 125 was a certification similar to the "certified organic" or "Fair Trade" logos on food packaging.

Verified Canadian™is an independently, privately owned brand of Made in Canada. Only projects, businesses or organizations that are solely owned by Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada are entitled to be considered for Verified Canadian™ certification. What does this mean? It means 100% Canadian including labour, detailed disclosures for products claiming to be "made in Canada" and grown in Canada produce. It also means the owner/business is practicing Fair Trade with respect to the environment. This certification ensures that you as a consumer are getting a Canadian product. As a Canadian author of a Canadian blog it means a great deal to me just in being recognized for Canadian content and my efforts in promoting Canada.

They sent me the application which I filled out and waited anxiously. I was elated with the reply! My blog is now has now been Verified Canadian™ certified. I am now able to proudly display the trademark in its permanent location in the top sidebar. Please click to visit their website. It is a very, very interesting read written by Canadians, for Canadians and with an overall goal of keeping Canadians informed. If you see this trademark on a product in a store you can be sure is has been Verified Canadian™ meeting all the criteria of a Made in Canada product.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Canadian Beaver

Canadian beaver
Canadian Beaver in the Wild
(Castor canadensis)
June 14, 2009

We live on the Great Lakes waterway where we not only enjoy the beautiful Great Lakes and supporting waterways. There are many smaller rivers and tributaries as well as cuts, small lakes, ponds and ditches all draining into the Great Lakes waterway. This makes the area rich in both flora and fauna some of which are found no where else in the world! Last Sunday we arrived home from a fun day of boating. As we were loading the car I spotted a beaver in the cut.

The beaver is a Canadian national emblem gaining this prestigious honourary honour bestowed on March 24, 1975 due to it's role in colonizing Canada through the fur trade. Europeans came to North America specifically to trap beavers and trade beaver pelts in the 1600s and early 1700s. The pelts were destined to make fur top hats that were popular in Europe at that time. The two fur trading companies operating in what was to be Canada were the Hudson Bay Company (English) with headquarter in London, England and the North West Company (French) with headquarters in Montréal. Both fur trading companies worked closely with the Native population. Out of that relationship arose a unique people, the Métis one of Canada's recognized Aboriginal peoples under the Canada Constitution Act 1982. [As an aside, many of my ancestors (French, Native) were active in the fur trade not only as trappers but as Coureur des bois and interpreters. I'll write more on that in later posts.]

The beaver appears on:
  1. the first North American Coat of Arms (created by Sir William Alexander)
  2. an 18th Century silver Canadian trading token valued at 10 beaver pelts was in the shape of a beaver
  3. the Hudson Bay Company shield
  4. the Canadian nickel (5¢ coin)
  5. the Three Penny Beaver stamp of 1851
  6. the masthead of Le Canadién, a newspaper published in Lower Canada
  7. the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) crest
  8. a special 3¢ coin issued by the Canadian Mint in 2001
  9. the Coat of Arms of: Manitoba, Newfoundland, Saskatchewan
Other Canadian beaver trivia:
  1. National Beaver Day has been celebrated since 1974 by the Nova Scotia Association of Architects
  2. the de Havilland Beaver is a single engine high-wing five seat bush airplane
  3. the youngest level of Scouts Canada is called Beavers
  4. a popular gas station in Canada is called Beaver
  5. several Canadian geographical locations have Beaver in their name
  6. Frank and Gordon (originally Jules et Bertand) were Bell Canada Inc. mascots from 2005 to Aug 1, 2008
  7. the beaver is used as mascot and symbol for Parks Canada
  8. the mascot of the 1976 Olympic Summer Games in Montréal was a beaver names Amik
  9. a wonderful, deep fried, oblong shaped, somewhat flattened doughnut with various toppings is called Beaver Tail
  10. the Canadian beaver is the largest rodent in North America1

Monday, June 8, 2009

This Land is Your Land (Canadian Version)

In 1940 Woodie Gutherie wrote This Land is Your Land which became one of United States most famous folk songs. In the 1960's the song became popular again due to its political message. As with many well known songs there have been variations. In recent times the two additional confirmed verses in the original manuscript included.

This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York Island
From the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me.

As I went walking that ribbon of highway
I saw above me that endless skyway
I saw below me that golden valley
This land was made for you and me.

I roamed and I rambled and I followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
While all around me a voice was sounding
Saying this land was made for you and me.

When the sun came shining, and I was strolling
And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling
A voice was chanting, As the fog was lifting,
This land was made for you and me.

This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York Island
From the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me.

The additional verses from the original manuscript but omitted in the 1945 pamphlet of the song are:

As I went walking I saw a sign thereAnd on the sign it said "No Trespassing."But on the other side it didn't say nothing,That side was made for you and me.

Nobody living can ever stop me,As I go walking that freedom highway;Nobody living can ever make me turn backThis land was made for you and me.

In Canada, the song the first verse was altered by The Travellers in 1955 to make Canadian geographical references:

This land is your land, This land is my land,From Bonavista, to Vancouver IslandFrom the Arctic Circle to the Great Lakes waters,This land was made for you and me.

The Canadian version of This Land is Your Land is now a well known part of Canadiana. It was likely sung as part of every music period in Canadian elementary schools and performed in many school concerts. It was learned in Brownies, Girl Guides, Explorer's and 4H. The song was quite popular during parades, ceremonies, Centennial celebrations (1967) and political/labour protests.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Canadian Flag

Canadian Flag
May 7, 2009

The National Flag of Canada aka the Maple Leaf was officially adopted on February 15, 1965. This date is officially celebrated as National Flag Day. While there are public ceremonies, education programs in schools and special community events, it is not a stat holiday.

I can remember the changing of the flags ceremony as we gathered around the town square. I can remember the excitement and a few tears as the new flag replaced the Union Jack. There was a large (well large for the size of our small little town of 1,800) parade with members of the Legion, Ladies Auxillary, IODE, Scouts, Cubs, Guides and Brownies proudly participating. My Mom took extra care dressing in her grey skirt, white blouse and navy blue Ladies Auxillary uniform. Several of her brothers would be marching as well. I was very excited as I would be marching with the Brownies. It was a day filled with celebration, one that I will long remember!

The Canadian flag is twice as long as it is wide. The centre is a white square with a red 11 point maple leaf in the center and bordered with a red rectangle on each side that is exactly half the size of the white square. The maple leaf signifies nature and the environment in Canada. The number of points on the maple leaf have no significance. The official colours of red and white were declared by King George V in 1921. The red is from the Saint George's Cross and the white from the French royal emblem since King Charles VII.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Saturday, April 25, 2009

CANADA PENSION - Only in Canada .

[From my email files.]

animated writer at computer

Do not apply for your old age pension...Apply to be a refugee. It is interesting that the federal government provides a single refugee with a monthly allowance of $1,890.00 and each can get an additional $580.00 in social assistance for a total of $2,470.00.

This compares very well to a single pensioner who, after contributing to the growth and development of Canada for 40 or 50 years, can only receive a monthly maximum of $1,012.00 in old age pension and Guaranteed Income Supplement. Furthermore if you had the wisdom to have a RRSP and made other income generating investments you may have earned the right to receive nothing from the Federal Government as they claw your Old Age Pension back because in their opinion you do not need it!!!!!

Maybe our pensioners should apply as refugees!

Let's send this thought to as many Canadians as we can and maybe we can get the refugees cut back to $1,012.00 and the pensioners up to $2,470.00, so they can enjoy the money they were forced to submit to the Canadian government for those 40 to 50 years.

---author unknown

[Note: This was not written by me, it was received by email with author unknown.]

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day 2009 Canada!

Today millions of Canadians join their fellow earthlings to celebrate Earth Day 2009. This is a world wide celebration to bring awareness to the plight of planet earth and what we as individual residents can do to help her. Throughout Canada there are specially planned events to quiet observance. There are tree planting events and students are learning more about earth friendly aka eco-friendly things they can do as individuals.

Ontario is currently the second greenest province in Canada, British Columbia is the greenest and Prince Edward is the brownest (here). Ontario continues to strive towards eco-friendly living. In some areas of the GTA even kitchen waste is recycled. Today the further banning of cosmetic pesticide first announced a year ago on Earth Day was strengthened today (more here) making the Ontario ban the toughest in Canada. Quebec is the only other province with a similar pesticide ban. Loblaws have announced the end to free grocery bags Canada wide. They will now charge 5¢ per bag in an effort to reduce the amount of plastic bags going into Canadian landfills. Toronto announced that city wide beginning in June all retailers must charge 5¢ per plastic bag also in an attempt to reduce the amount of plastics going into landfills. With this ruling it will only be a matter of time before this decision spreads across Ontario.

Please comment on this post as to what you did to celebrate Earth Day as well as any highlights that your province did for Earth Day.

Happy Earth Day!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Ron James on Tim Hortons

Most people south of the 49th parallel do not understand the Canadian fixation for Tim Hortons® one of Canada's national icons. For those who do not know Tim Hortons® is a national chain restaurant that specializes in doughnuts and coffee although they are now serving lunch time foods as well. Most of them have drive throughs. However, Tim Hortons® is not just about the coffee and food. It is a social experience! It is the way many Canadians start their day. Timmy's is where the senior citizens meander to to meet up with their friends to while away the morning hours. It is where you go if you want to catch up on the current gossip. It's where hockey Moms and Dads get their double double to keep their eyes open and hands warm during those early morning practices. Timmy's is the meeting spot as in "I'll meet you at Timmy's". It is the focal point for directions as in "You know where Timmy's is" [as if anyone wouldn't know where Timmy's was] followed by "Turn left just past Timmy's". It is so much more than just coffee and food! Now you understand a bit better what Timmy's means you will have a greater appreciation for Ron James on Tim Hortons®. I hope you enjoy the video and it gives you a chuckle.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

By now many communities have held their Easter egg hunts and parades. Today millions of Christian Canadians across Canada celebrate Easter Sunday through church services. Later there will be the coming together of families to enjoy Easter dinner most likely featuring ham. The Lions Club Easter Parade in Toronto begins at 2:00 PM.

Happy Easter,

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

It's Tax Time!

It's that time of year fellow Canadians. Yes you are right. It's tax time! We all know what that means. The inevitable is going to happen so there is no point fighting it. Simply get your 60% of income, assets and sanity and send them promptly to the Canada Revenue Agency. If you include a box of tidbits and a Timmy's double double with your offerings they might go easy on you. Remember the deadline is technically April 30 but who knows if that's written in stone. Note that the Rev Canada gives us 15 days longer to finally get our paperwork together than the US where the deadline is April 15. The Canadian deadline is likely to allow Canadians the wait time at their local Timmy's. In the meantime enjoy this little video clip on Canadian taxes courtesy of Rick Mercer.

Friday, March 20, 2009

This Hour Has 22 Minutes - Apology to America

I'm sorry but most Canadians do spend a good portion of their day apologizing. Canada is home to many comedians and even if they no longer live in Canada they don't hesitate to use that wonderful Canadian humour we are so proud of. Comedy shows are on Canadian television channels daily so there is no reason not to have a good chuckle. Here is a great video from This Hour Has 22 Minutes to give you a chuckle.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Merging the Canadian and US Dollar

For most intents and purposes the Canadian dollar reflects what happens in the US. Anyone who travels to or shops in the US is always concerned over that all important exchange rate. In fact if the exchange rate is too high the trip might even be cancelled and if you do go you certainly won't be spending much money. What a better way to get a few chuckles out the current economic situation than enjoying a video clip from Rick Mercer. If they actually do merge the dollars as suggested I would recommend the name tweenie. We already have a loonie and toonie so tweenie would fit quite nicely.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Day

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Canadian Humour

There is no doubt about it Canadians have almost a unique sense of humour. It has a bit of a British humour edge but it's different. There are several wonderful examples of our Canadian humour with one of the funniest being Rick Mercer poking a tongue in cheek fun at how much Americans do not know about Canada. If you haven't seen Rick Mercer in all his Canadian glory, here is a great video clip of him Talking to Americans. Notice how he can deliver the lines without cracking a smile? Well there you have Canadian humour at its finest, eh?

The best part of our Canadian humour is not about poking fun at other countries although we do take a good crack at England on occasion, we really take pleasure in poking fun at ourselves. This can be very, very funny stuff. Why? Well, why not? Hey, we have to do something during the 6 months of winter darkness we enjoy each year, snuggled in our igloos, watching our one and only tv channel (kudos to CBC!) while waiting for Wiarton Willy to come out and tell us that winter will now last another 6 months! This is always a bit discouraging because at some point one does have to fasten on the snowshoes and hit the rough hewn trails to go for maple syrup, peameal bacon, beer, Kraft dinner®, ketchup and poutine. It does not even fizz us that our navy (one canoe) cannot gracefully glide through the iced up waters. Despite all this no we are a friendly, polite bunch ready to poke fun at ourselves every chance we get.

Joel Klebanoff, a fellow Canadian, has been gratiously debunking myths about Canada on his blog. You can read four of his entries here, here, here and here. I will warn you to not be drinking anything while reading his entries unless you need to wash your monitor. His entries are another great example of Canadian humour. Funny, must read stuff!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Bit of Canadian Terminology

Canadians have their own unique terminology for certain things. It sets us apart from the rest of the world. Here are a few of these more common and uniquely Canadian terms with meaning in brackets are:

  • Canuck (Canadian)
  • loonie (dollar coin)
  • toonie (two dollar coin)
  • toque ( hat)
  • pop (soda)
  • pogy (Unemployment insurance)
  • a 24 (case of beer)
  • 6 pack (6 beers)
  • rye (whiskey)
  • Timmy's (Tim Hortons®)
  • timbits (donut holes)
  • double double (coffee with 2 creams, 2 sugars)
  • zed (last letter of alphabet
  • Francophone (French speaking Canadian)
  • Anglophone (English speaking Canadian)
  • brown bread (whole wheat bread)
  • runners (athletic sports shoes)
  • click (kilometres)
  • States (USA)
  • across the crick (Europe)
  • housecoat (bath robe)
  • Newfie ( a person from Newfoundland)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Canadian Tire

Canadian Tire Money

Every Canadian is familiar with Canadian Tire. Canadian Tire Corporation was founded in 1922 and remains a Canadian icon. The first Canadian Tire opened in 1925 on the corners of Yonge and Isabella streets in Toronto, Ontario. It is one of Canada's 35 largest publicly traded companies (TSX: CTC). Canadian Tire Corporation, Inc. head office is in Toronto, Ontario and operates Canadian Tire Retail, Canad's largest independent gas station network, Canadian Tire Bank and it owns Mark's Work Wearhouse (retailer of casual and work clothing) and PartSource (retailer of auto parts and accessories). Stores are located across Canada in most town of any size and multiple locations in larger cities. Some locations have pit stops, gas bars and/or car washes. The Canadian Tire Retail portion of the stores sells home products, hardware and tools, automotive, sports, camping, lawn and garden products while the automotive portion of the stores sells automotive parts and accessories as well as providing automotive repair and maintenance services.

What sets Canadian Tire apart from other retailers is Canadian Tire Money (pictured above). The man on the money is Scotty McTire, a fictional character. When you make a purchase you receive 0.5% of the value of your purchase before taxes in Canadian Tire Money (CTM). CTM can then be used as script in Canadian Tire stores or gas bars. It cannot be redeemed for cash. Canadian Tire money itself has become a Canadian icon. Some privately owned businesses accept Canadian Tire money as payment because they shop at Canadian Tire themselves. Some charities will collect Canadian Tire money as a fund raiser. Others simply save up their Canadian Tire Money to make a larger purchase at some point.

There are two problems with Canadian Tire Money. First they are not official currency so as one unlucky person who collected $3,000 worth of Canadian Tire Money found out the hard way when the CTM was stolen during a burglary. Their insurance company refused to cover the value of the CTM because it has no real monetary value. The second problem and one that has received complaints is if you return an item to Canadian Tire you need both the receipt and the CTM issued otherwise the CTM value in real currency is deducted from your purchase. So legally CTM is not currency but Canadian Tire itself treats it as money. Really, CTM is more of a loyalty program where you are rewarded for buying at Canadian Tire but penalized if you return any product. At any rate, Canadian Tire money is one Canadian icon that remains ingrained into Canadian culture.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Home Renovation Tax Credit (HRTC)

As part of Canada's Economic Action Plan the Canadian government announced as part of their budget the Home Renovation Tax Credit (HRTC). This is a $3 billion stimulus to encourage investments in Canada's housing stock. The main goal is to create economic activity by increasing the demand for labour, building materials and other goods in relation to the housing market.

The HRTC applies to home renovation expenditures for work performed or good acquired for home renovations after January 27, 2009 and before February 1, 2010. This is a tax credit not a grant or a loan. Once you spend over $1,000 in renovations the portion above the $1,000 up to $10,000 is eligible for a 15% tax credit to be applied to your income tax to lower your tax liability. The maximum credit you can receive is $1,350. The HRTC applies to the renovations costs for one or more of an individual's eligible dwellings including houses, cottages and condominium units that are owned for personal use. Routine repairs and maintenance does not qualify for the credit but renovations such as re-modeling a kitchen or finishing a basement do qualify. The HRTC can be combined with other grant and rebate programs such as ecoEnergy grants. The tax credit can be claimed on the 2009 income tax return.

The HRTC is a good tax credit for those who were either planning home renovations or making their homes more energy efficient by replacing hot water tanks with an on demand tank or installing a high energy efficiency furnace. It is not for those who decide to borrow funds for their home renovation simply to take advantage of the tax credit. If you are a frugal DIYer you will be able to maximize the renovation savings on materials and labour as well as taking advantage of the tax credit.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Important Canadian Links Added

Old Barn in Rural Ontario
September 29, 2008

If you have visited this blog you will note a few changes in the side bar. If this is your first visit to Canadian Perspective, welcome and please enjoy your stay. This blog is now a member of Entrecard. Each day a new blog will be a guest in the spot Today's Visitor. Any blog appearing in this spot has been approved by me prior to appearing on the widget. Clicking the ad in the Entrecard widget will take you to that visitor's blog. I have added quite a few links to the sidebar under three categories: Canadian Resources; Provincial & Territorial Government Links and Canadian Sites of Interest. More links will be added to these categories as I come across them. I hope you find these links both interesting and useful in your journey of discovering our great nation, Canada.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


On the Road
January 9, 2009

No, I'm not talking about a kind of bird. The term Snowbirds is a uniquely Canadian term used to describe permanent residents of Canada who travel to warmer southern states during our cold winter months. Most leave Canada November or December and return April or May. They are allowed to be out of the country for 183 days or less if they want to keep their Canadian residency status. The common destination points for snowbirds are Florida and Arizona however some go to other southern states. The primary goal is to escape the cold of the northern winters. By far the majority of snowbirds are retirees and senior citizens. In many cases they buy a pre-manufactured home (aka mobile home aka trailer) or condo for their southern lifestyle. Aside of warmer weather, golfing and good food are very tantalizing.

Medical coverage is likely the most important concern for snowbirds. In addition to provincial health plans that are free to every Canadian citizen but does not provide out of country coverage, snowbirds need to buy additional traveller's insurance that will provide health coverage while outside of Canada. Even day trippers (another Canadian term) to the US should carry traveler's insurance.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Fishing on the Great Lakes

Great Lakes Perch

The Great Lakes comprise the largest body of water for fresh water fish. We live on the Great Lakes waterways with the water's edge at our back door and we also boat so fishing just comes naturally. We commonly catch pickerel, bass (large and small mouth) and perch from our dock, a few fishing holes and occasionally from the boat. Bass season is wonderful! There are several areas that combine a marina with a campground. So in the wee hours of the morning the campers are awakened as the bass boats head out for a day of fishing. They return mid afternoon then all is quite until dusk then they fire up these huge cast iron fry pans and the party begins. They gladly share some of their catch. It is an every night fish fry!

In the early spring Lake Erie is the place to head for fresh smelt. Smelt are a bit bigger than finger sized fish that are a pain to clean but make for a tasty pan fried meal. You can fish for smelt or simply buy it but virtually all the restaurants along the Canadian edge of Lake Erie will have smelt on the menu. The rivers and tributaries draining in the surrounding area provide more fishing opportunities as well. Fishing for catfish is a rather popular activity so it is common to see folks sitting along the bridges spanning creeks and streams along the roads.

None of the fish mentioned are clearly Canadian and of course there are a lot of kinds of fish available in the Great Lakes that I haven't mentions. What is Canadian on the plate pictured from one of our fish fries is the French fry sauce. Instructions for frying the fish can be found on my cooking blog here and here. The dip pictured is Fry Dip made simply with Miracle Whip® or mayonnaise and enough prepared yellow mustard to give a creamy yellow colour. This is wonderful on French fries and something specific to Canada. If you don't want a heavy dip for your fries then another favourite fry condiment is white vinegar. You will find it in little carafes in restaurants along with malt vinegar (English influence) and in little packets at the fast food restaurants. Some border town American restaurants will have white vinegar for fries but not very often and once you get beyond a mile or two of the border forget it.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Working Man sung by Rita MacNeil

"Tribute to Coal Miners in Nova Scotia"

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year