Thursday, 19 April 2018

Q is for Québec, Québécois ...

This largest province in Canada shares borders with Ontario, New Brunswick and Newfoundland ... as well as being neighbours with four American states: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York.

Canada showing Quebec Province

Its name Québec was inspired by the Algonquian word meaning "where the (St Lawrence) river narrows".  The French in New France (1534 - 1763) used it solely to refer to the city of  Québec; leaving the British to use it in its now more common accepted usage.

Canada (the Province of Quebec) 1774

Québec feels like a country within a country ... France within Canada ... it is the only predominantly French speaking Province ... with French as the sole provincial official language.

Quebec City montage

It's a stunning part of the world ... with lots going for it - in the way of history, tourism, natural resources and innovative economic sectors ...

Québec city is the province's capital ... while Montreal is considerably the larger city ...

Rue du Cul de Sac in the heritage
part of Old Quebec city

Yet Québec gives Canada that extra French zip to life ... the historic neighbourhood of Old Québec ... now a UNESCO World Heritage Site ... confirms this area as a unique cultural iconic region ...

Old Quebec

Québécois ... the French Canadian spoken is not like the Parisienne French, even a Frenchman had trouble trying to understand it ... this is from Jo - thank you!

That is Q for Québec the ubiquitous French section of Canada  .... from Aspects from a British 'girl' in Canada ...

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

P is for Peter Pond's use of Pemmican ...

It is thought that Peter Pond (1739 - 1807), the fur trader, realised the value in the native people's staple food ... named Pemmican from the Cree word 'pimikan' ...

Some Pemmican made up

Peter Pond opened up the Canadian West ... with proverbial Yankee shrewdness realising the rich pickings away from the Great Lakes area ... before fading south in disgrace ... 

Showing N America and Canada
with the spread of the Saskatoon
berry tree - also giving an idea of the
territories needing to be surveyed,
explored and developed

Trading occurred between the natives, and the explorers and settlers - the Hudson Bay company's (incorporated 1670) trading posts along with expansion by entrepreneurial intrepid explorers searching this new land.  Pemmican as a food sustained people in these early days, as it had for the natives for centuries before ... 

Peter Pond's second-in-command during 1787-88, was Sir Alexander Mackenzie after whom the Mackenzie River basin is named.  Such interesting history here. 

The pomes of the
Saskatoon plant
Traditionally Pemmican is made from dried, ground meat, usually bison (moose, caribou, venison or beef), mixed with an equal quantity of fat (where the name Pimikan comes from - you might want to look away now! - "manufactured grease")  to which occasionally saskatoon berries, cranberries were added ... or on special occasions other small fruits.

A North American bison

It was then cooled and sewn into bison-hide bags in 41 kg (90 lbs) lots, which were easily transported across the trading regions - the prairies and further north ...

Fridtjof Nansen

Subsequently Pemmican has been recognised as 'an essential' - being used by Mackenzie on his crossing of Canada in the 1790s - twelve years before Lewis and Clark.

First Edition cover 1930

Other North American traders used it, as well as being taken up for use in the Boer War, the polar expeditions ... Shackleton, Scott, Amundsen, and by the Norwegian Fridtjof Nansen (1861-1930) ... another extraordinary person ...

Arthur Ransome, in his Swallows and Amazons series, had his children refer to their bully beef potted meat tins as Pemmican ... adding to their fantasy world ...

That is P for Peter Pond's sustaining Pemmican ... from Aspects by a British 'girl' in Canada ...

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

O is for Okanagan Valley and Osoyoos ...

The landscape of the 'O's - Okanagan and Osoyoos ... are found in a rich luscious valley over the coastal mountains in British Columbia before reaching the Rockies proper ... if going west to east ...

Okanagan Lake - Peachland, British Columbia

 This is where I'll be going in September to visit the Golden Mile for wine tasting during the harvest season ... and where foodies flock ...

Osoyoos area

Tourists too love visiting for the wonderful outdoors ... rivers, sandy beaches, hiking, biking and skiing ... or inquisitive bloggers, who will take all 'O' for opportunities to find out more ...

and parks with O for Odd names!
... an area of superb scenery, pristine lakes, tumbling waterfalls, pioneering settlements, and Canada's only true desert environment ...

 ... hot springs, silver mining, ghost towns and steamboats to add to the mix ...

Oliver, southern end of the valley
whose motto is
'borne of the waters, blest by the sun'

... the Nk'Mip Desert Cultural Centre is owned and operated by the Osoyoos Indian Band, just north of the USA border ...

... and sits at the northern most point of the Great American Desert, which extends southward to the Sonoran Desert in Mexico ... where tours are given explaining the uniqueness of the plant species found ...

... that is my   'Oh my!!'  O for Okanagan, Osoyoos planned visit later in the year ... from Aspects by a British 'girl' in Canada ...

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Monday, 16 April 2018

N is for National Anthem of Canada ...

This could have been for 'O' ... as the anthem is titled "O Canada" - but whatever brain cells are working half-way in decided this as 'N' day for the National Anthem ...

Canada Heritage - c/o Anthems

Originally called "Chant National", it was first performed in 1880 in Quebec to music by composer Calixa Lavallee, with words by Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier.

Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier c1890

The sentiment started to spread out in French Canada and then went further in various English-language versions, of which the best known is by Robert Stanley Weir in 1908.

The lyrics in English have been amended several times over the years, with the most recent one, making it gender neutral, occurring in February this year; the French lyrics though shortened, have otherwise remain unaltered.

'O Canada We Stand on Guard
for Thee' - stained glass window
to be found in the Royal Military
College of Canada

The actual anthem was officially adopted under the National Anthem Act on 27 June 1980 ... receiving Royal Assent, on time for Canada Day, on 1 July 1980.

There are three versions: English, French and Bilingual ... here's the Bilingual one below

O Canada! Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all of us command,

Car ton bras sait porter l'épée,
Il sait porter la croix!

Ton histoire est une épopée
Des plus brillants exploits,

God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

Cover of first edition -
courtesy Musee du Seminaire de Quebec:
O Canada - its history

The music bears a resemblance to Mozart's "March of the Priests" from 'The Magic Flute' ...

That is N for the National Anthem 'O Canada' ... but there is a lot of history to it ... which can be found in the link below.

Canadian Encyclopedia - "O Canada" ... its history ... 

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Saturday, 14 April 2018

M is for Motto: the Canadian Motto ...

The Canadian Motto is "A Mari usque ad Mare" ... the English translation of this Latin motto means "From sea to sea" ... very appropriate for this huge land ...

Canada's Coat of Arms
(c/o artwork by Karen E Bailey/
courtesy of Library and Archives Canada

... but the Dominion of Canada wasn't born out of revolution or a sweeping outburst of nationalism. 

Rather, it was created in a series of conferences and orderly negotiations, culminating in the terms of the Confederation on 1 July 1867.

The Union of the British North American colonies of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and the Province of Canada was the first step in a slow but steady nation-building exercise ... eventually fulfilling the dream of a country 'a mari usque ad mare'.

Lower Canada - c/o The Canadian Encyclopedia

This term comes from the Bible's Psalm 72:8, which reads in Latin: 'Et dominabitur a mari usque ad mare, et a flumine usque ad terminos terrae.'

The King James version puts it into English: "He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth." 

Upper Canada - c/o The Canadian

However, "From Sea to Sea" did not geographically apply to Canada until 1871, when British Columbia joined the Confederation, when the Dominion did then extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

The first official use of the motto came in 1906, when the phrase was engraved on the head of the mace of the Legislative Assembly of the new province of Saskatchewan. 

Ocean Currents - map

In 2006, the leaders of Canada's three northern territories (Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut) marked the 100th anniversary of Canada's motto by proposing a new one:

"From Sea to Sea to Sea"

Map of Canada from World Atlas
... thus incorporating Canada's third oceanic border, the Arctic Ocean ... colloquially the three seas are usually referred to, but the official motto remains as "from sea to sea."

That is M for the Canadian Motto ... from Aspects by a British 'girl' in Canada ...

This abbreviated post on Canada's motto and its origins was 'borrowed' from The Canadian Encyclopedia - Motto ... please check for further and fuller details at their site

Please note the images come courtesy of their site ... and the World Atlas (link above) 

To revert back to 'L' ... please could you all tweet out     #levidrome     for Levi's word and to put a few dollars into the food banks ... 

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Friday, 13 April 2018

L is for Levidrome and languages ...

A Canadian lad aged 6 suggested 'levidrome' as a new word for the Oxford English Dictionary ... it is being promoted ... even by the Captain of Star Ship Enterprise: Canadian William Shatner himself ...

Levi Budd, aged 6 - now 7!
c/o Times Columnist

There are now Levidrome Word Searches ... as depicted here in the Victoria News, where Levi Budd lives ... so let's encourage usage of Levidrome and those words ...

I came up with 'draw' and 'pool' ... but my brain doesn't work too quickly ... of course it (my brain!) is fine - but I think I need time to work some other levidromes out - still world-wide the concept is gaining... go Levi.


By the way ... levidromes are words that spell another word when spelt backwards ... as my two above: draw and pool ... and I wrote about them in an earlier post - link below ... 

I'm not going into the ramifications of all the languages spoken here in Canada - except to say I'm glad they are being preserved for posterity ... we learn so much from different peoples with their specific words.

A bi-lingual sign in Montreal
(part of the fief given in 1658 to
Lambert Closse, one of the first
colonists of Montreal)

English and French are the main ones ... while a thought has been expressed that language is at the core of Canadian experience ... there are a multitude of languages used in Canada.

64 indigenous languages are listed in Wiki, as well as 21 minority languages ... then there's sign languages and more ... and of course two English ones! ... but language evolves ... as we are all finding out ...  

I'll leave you to comment in English! - with a levidrome please ... yet our word-play makes up so much of our world today ... here's to a now 7 year old - Levi Budd and his new word 'Levidrome' ...

That is L for Levidrome and Canada, the land of Languages ... from Aspects by a British 'girl' in Canada ...

To you all - this is from Levi's Dad:   Tweet a levidrome - per the request below ... pretty please!!

There is currently a charity #levidrome initiative on twitter. For every levidrome posted to twitter in April, $1 goes to a food box for families in need. IF you are on twitter, tweet a levidrome and don't forget to include "#levidrome" :)

Thank you ...

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Thursday, 12 April 2018

K is for Klee Wyck ...

Klee Wyck ("Laughing One") was the name given to the legendary Canadian artist and author, Emily Carr, by the Native people of the west coast ...


... I've been finding out about her since I arrived ... and recently went to an exhibition at the Victoria Art Gallery ... so will write a separate post in due course.

Her book with the story sketches
she wrote during her early visits into
and up Vancouver Island as well as inland

But it's lovely to have been given a nick-name that's withstood the test of time ... so I had to use Klee Wyck for my K in this year's A-Z ...

Emily Carr: Kitwancool (1928)
{It is now a national historic site}

Emily Carr (1871 - 1945) was primarily a painter, but she first gained recognition as a writer ... in the book above are twenty one sketches she wrote after visiting and living with the Native people, painting their totem poles and villages, many of them in the wild and remote areas.

That is K for Klee Wyck, Emily Carr's affectionate nickname by the Native peoples she met in British Columbia .... from Aspects by a British 'girl' in Canada ...

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories