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, 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