Friday, July 28, 2017

"Girls ~ Believe in Yourself!"

Sophia Gregoire Trudeau kicked off a
United Nations-led girls' conference in Washington.
Submitted by Sean Kilpatrick of The Canadian Press,
the following are excerpts from his article.

Washington: Sophia Gregoire began with a pep talk, urging young women to believe in themselves and in their ability to shape the world. The prime minister's wife referred to her own past eating disorder and talked about the ways young girls often lack confidence in their appearance or in their ability.

She opened the Girl Up Leadership Summit Monday, urging hundreds of young women in attendance to 'fight back against that lack of confidence.' She also promoted Canadian international development programs tailored to helping women. Gregoire said, “It's a basic economic truism that societies with empowered women are more prosperous.”

When women rise, men rise as's based on facts. We've more women in the boardroom...more women in classrooms...more women in community life. We can inject peace and compassion.”
She received an ovation from the crowd at the beginning and at the end.

She concluded by paraphrasing the South Asian-Canadian poet Rupi Kaur,
who wrote about her heart aching for sisters more than anything.
My heart aches for women helping flowers ache for spring,” Gregoire Trudeau said. “You are loved, girls...I wish you could see just how beautiful you are...
and how possible it is to 'self-love...and be at peace .”

Farah Mohamed's G(irls) 20
A Canadian citizen, living in Toronto for many years, who is the “Founder, Advisor and CEO of G(irls)20” which galvanizes the world's greatest resource ~ girls and women ~ and cultivates a new generation of leaders through education, entrepreneurship and global experience. Farah knows the power of making an impact at a national and international level.
As a small girl she immigrated with her family
from Uganda to Canada, settling in Southern Ontario.

Through Farah's G(irls)20, launched in 2009, she organizes an annual global 'summit' that takes place in the G20 host country with one delegate from each G20 country plus a representative from the European and African Unions, from Afghanistan, Pakistan and the MENA region. Delegates participate in workshops focused on building their skills in technology, entrepreneurism, community and leadership. The past 'summits' have taken place in Toronto, Paris, France...Mexico City...Moscow, Russia...Sydney, Australia...and Instanbul, Turkey.
Like me, you may question what the '20' represents.
I contacted her mother, Dilu ( a personal friend who resides in Burlington),
the significance of '20'...I had guessed, concluding it may be for the 20th century.
No,” she advises me, “At each annual 'summit 'Farah invites 20 representatives
to attend the host country for G(irls)20.”

The Malala Fund: Of this charity located in England, Farah is the CEO. Designed for every girl in the world to Learn and Lead without fear. “Malala is a Pakistani student and education activist who began speaking out for girls' education at the age of 11. After surviving an assassination attempt by the Taliban at age 15...and residing now in the UK with her family, she co-founded The Malala Fund with her father in 2014. She is the youngest ever 'Nobel Laureate'. Malala Fund champions every girl's right to 12 years of free, safe, quality education.
Malala and Farah state: “We believe girls are the best investment
in future peace and prosperity.”

Government Supporting Women's Rights...and another issue re 'Bishop lashes Liberals over abortion'.
A Dundas resident responds: Canada's government should be complimented for supporting women's rights for contraceptives and abortions. The planet, that bishops claim was created by their God, cannot handle the increasing mass of Homo sapiens. The irresponsibility of the Catholic bishops to encourage this mess is creating famines...and ultimately the problem will be solved by bombs if they have their way. Already, we are watching the massive decrease and in some cases the disappearance of other species God created. The phrase, “Be fruitful and multiply” should be removed from Genesis.
Oath of Today's Girl
I have a brilliant heart and a beautiful mind...I am Me: a perfectly flawed, beautiFULL work in progress, I promise to lift other girls up...have their backs...and make it safe for them to be exactly who they are. I am on a mission to raise the standards for how we treat each we treat ourselves...and how we treat the world. Every time I look in the mirror, I'll remind myself that I'm not alone...that I'm beautiful...that my voice matters...that I'll be enough to have an impact on others!”
Eleanor Roosevelt said:
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent!

Information compiled by Merle Baird-Kerr...July 20, 2017

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Birthdays are Momentous Occasions

Humans celebrate, annually the year, the month and the day
on which they were born.
When considered, that special day is actually the first day of the following year...
because the given date celebrates the days lived and enjoyed previously.

Definition of Birth: The act of coming into life; the backround or lineage.

Isn't it great that “Canada 150” is a recognized and advertised celebration for the entire year in which we live: 2017...365 days! Canada offers us much...and pondering this, I ask,
What Can We Offer as a Gift to honour our homeland's Birthday”?

Glen Peloso, who offers suggestions, wrote: As our country marks a milestone 
150th, consider these five uniquely Canadian home accessories that are enjoyed
and often emulated, around the world.

Group of Seven: Renowned around the world, artworks by masters of Canada's Group of Seven are iconic in their depiction of our country. Most of us, though, could never afford originals. Lawren Harris's Mountain Forms from the McMichael Canadian Art Collection sold for a record $11.6 million in November 2016. Instead, celebrate 'Canada 150' by adding a good reproduction to your home...or as a gift to family and/or friends. I love the icy details of Harris's Mt. Lefroy. Reproductions of the painting run from $5 up to $200 in McMichael' s online gift shop. As well, the gallery, in Kleinburg, celebrates Canada with a festival.

Moose: A well-recognized creature of the Canadian fabric...from highway crossing signs and commemorative a notable and well-loved beer company. Home decor has gravitated toward reproductions of mounted animal heads, so consider a moose mug to mark our 150th. These various and artistic styles of heads suit a range of room decor, from a mere sophisticated look, often done in ceramic, metal and origami; to kid's rooms with stuffed animals designed to hang on the wall. This kid's collection from HomeSense is playful and gives parents a wonderful opportunity to discuss Canada's heritage.

Muskoka Chairs: Why not sit back and enjoy Canada Day in the comfort of a Muskoka chair? The wide arms are almost a side table, offering a two-in-one value. The chairs were originally designed in 1903 by Thomas Lee and became a staple at Muskoka lakes' cottages; eventually, all of the rest of the country caught on. Synonomous with Canada, the enduring design is now available in cedar, plastic, pine and metal...and is made by a range of manufacturers...but the one most common to the Muskoka lakes is still made by the same company: Muskoka Chair Company.

HBC 'Point' Blanket: Recognized around the world, its iconic green, red, yellow and indigo stripes have come to a testament of Canada's shared heritage. These blankets are created in the traditional European weaver's 'point' style...with short black lines above the bottom set of stripes that tell how big the blanket is while still folded. Originally commissioned by the Hudson's Bay Company in 1810, the blankets are 100 per cent wool and (ironically) still made in England...this year's blankets bear a special crest. This is the kind of blanket you pass from generation to generation.

Neighbourhoods alight: The Vancouver Candle Co. celebrates Vancouver and Toronto with candles named after communities in these cities. Made of a soy-wax blend, each has its own scent and comes in two that burns for 30 hours and another that lasts 60 hours. These make great “Happy Birthday, Canada!” gifts to take to a Canada Day party in a neighbourhood that was used as the namesake for the candle. If your budget isn't up to a chair or a blanket, this is a great choice. The glass container can be kept as a souvenir of the celebration.
(Glen Peloso is a principal designer of Peloso Alexander Interiors,
national design editor of Canadian Home Trends magazine
and a design expert on the Marilyn Denis Show on CTV.)

Appreciative Gifts
Tokens of Thanks: When my daughter was equestrian riding, she along with other teens from her stable, travelled to 'out of Canada Horse Shows'. Our riders were billeted by families in the 'show area'. Always we sent a gift for the 'host family'. “Canadiana” was the theme of any gifts I sent with her...and the most loved by a family in Caracas, was a set of small totem poles, artfully crafted and painted.

When visiting American friends over a period of a few years, I'd take bottles of Niagara wine, a hand -crafted Canadian pillow, an Afghan I'd crocheted...all greatly enjoyed. The senior of the family told me of his love for Canada's maple trees. Upon next visit, I took a pair of framed prints byThe Group of Seven. One of course was A. Y. Jackson's 'The Red Maple' which he painted of a young maple growing beside the Ox Tonque river rapids in Algonquin Park; the other was The White Pine painted (in northern Ontario I believe) by A. J. Casson. (Naturally these were not 'numbered prints' but bought in a small gift shop in Oakville). Nevertheless, these became beloved art pictures of CANADA!

The Tree in a Land of Forests
(excerpts from an article by Jim Polin, published in The Hamilton Spectator)
Ah, “The West Wind.” Out of seemingly solid granite, a pine tree defiantly emerges, giving rise to a painter and, along the way, adding definition to a country. “The West Wind” is said to be among Tom Thomson's final canvases and considered among his greatest works...a painting that defined an artist and arguably the spirit of the country.
One hundred years ago today, Thomson disappeared...
his body surfaced on Canoe Lake eight days later on July 16.
His death in Ontario's Algonquin Park remains a mystery.
Did he tip his canoe and accidentally drown? Was he involved in a quarrel and murdered after being struck on the head with a paddle...the lake and his canoe used merely as cover-up props?
Tom Thomson, at age 39 was part of an emerging art movement
that gave rise to the Group of Seven.

Even 100 years later, a person can hike, drive or paddle to spots in Ontario to see what Thomson saw. You can portage to spots in Algonquin Park...walk the Oxtongue River or wade the shorelines of Canoe Lake where his pigment and passion came together. Thomson's anniversary allows us to pause for an artist who was timeless. He lived close to the ground...and felt the rain and the wind...and saw beauty in dead branches. The early critics were wrong about him and his fledgling artist friends.

Thomson left us much, including The West Wind,”
the tree in the forest ...a sweeping tree in a land known for its forests.

Compiled by Merle Baird-Kerr...July 8, 2017

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Canada's Four Corners

In perusing my 'suggestion file' for potential writings, I found an article forwarded to me by my son. In reference to my blog Five Basic Senses ~ Part 3: TOUCH written June, 2014, I commented on visiting The Four Corners in United States on my return drive home from California. They were the States of Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico...the borders of these four states TOUCH! Most of this region belongs to Native American nations. A most fascinating place to visit: state flags blowing in the can place both hands and both feet to 'touch' these four states...with native arts and crafts and food available to view and/or purchase.
My son discovered our Four Corners from a map observation.
However, this destination is not really approachable...too much wilderness!
But it's a great suggestion for someone to develop...with a few million dollars.

The Four Corners of Canadian political subdivisions hypothetically meet at a point near 60 degrees N 102 degrees W. These are the provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan and the Territories of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

The Four Corners are located between Kasba Lake to the north and Hasbala Lake to the south at a place which, according to the Canadian Tourism Development Corporation is “extremely remote and inaccessible.” It is located by an area of marginal taiga forest, the only place in Nunavut which is not Arctic tundra or ice cap. It is in remote northern wilderness...hundreds of kilometres from any road or railway. The site can be accessed from neaby Kasba Lake Airport/WaterAerodrome. Alternatively, it is possible to fly from Points North Landing near Wollaston Lake to Hasbala Lake.

The intersection of the boundaries of Manitoba and Saskatchewan with NWT is marked by a metre-high aluminium obelisk inscribed to say it was erected in1962. At that time Nunavut was part of the Northwest Territories. On the top there is a disc warning of:
five years imprisonment for removing or destroying the monument.
About 8,000 other such monuments are used to mark borders aound Canada.

The establishment of Nunavut in 1999 led to the creation of Canada's only “Four Corners” at this same place. In the legal definition of Nunavut, its border is specified as “Commencing at the intersection of 60 degrees 00N latitude with 102degrees 00W longitude,being the intersection of the Manitoba, Northwest Territories and Saskatchewan borders.
To ascertain whether the four areas meet at a quadripoint,
surveys began in2011.
(Notation: This page was last modified on 4 October2013)

If interested in checking the website you will find 5 informative boxes:
A map highlighting the corners of the 4 Canadian provinces and territories which theoretically meet.
The obelisk as seen from the Manitoba (southeast) side, with a survey tower in the Territories.
The disk on top of the obelisk.
NASA map showing Kasba Lake and the 4 corners.

See also: Geography of Canada...List of regions of Canada...
Four Corners Monument, a surveyed quadripoint in the United States.

Merle Baird-Kerr...compiled from article June 28, 2017

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Painting Canada

Tom Thomson and The Group of Seven

In the early decades of the 20th century, circumstances brought together
several artists who explored and fell in love with various Canadian landscapes.
They agreed that the country's magnificent wilderness regions
needed to be recorded in a painting style that captured an untouched beauty
of the landscapes that inspired them.
Tom Thomson's paintings...The West Wind and The Jack Pine are 2 of the Group's most iconic pieces.
A large collection of the work from The Group of Seven can be found at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto...the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa...the Ottawa Art Gallery...and the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, Ontario.
A. Y. Jackson's Red Maple (1914) was painted in Algonquin Park.
The artists of this group travelled throughout Ontario...from the southern wilderness areas to those of Lake Superior...and further north into the Arctic searching to brush-record Canada's beauty.

Wild Women Painters of the Wilderness”: Linda Sorensen, residing in the Madawaska Valley (in the Ottawa area), the daugher of a long-time friend, attended Lord Nelson High School in Burlington and was fortunate in having Robert Bateman as her Art teacher. Today she is a painter of recognition, who with a couple other artists in her locale, travel to Algonquin Park and by canoe, search locations to 'wilderness-paint'! This past year they published a wonderful table-top book displaying their work.
Linda comments: It is my aspiration to convey my vision of our natural world
and its beauty...and in doing so, to inspire humanity to respect nature
and be stewards of our wilderness and wildlife habitat.

Robert Bateman: Born in Toronto and residing in Burlington several years, he is a highly recognized Canadian Wildlife artist of birds, animals and their woodland habitats who states, “Nature is an infinite source of reason, inspiration and environment. Enchanted by the natural world around me, my sensibilities extend beyond a passion for conservation.
(As the writer of this article, I am so fortunate to have a couple sizeable
numbered prints of his of wolves and the other an eagle;
in addition...several small framed prints hang in my bedroom.)

From Sea to See: Celebrating 150 Years with 150 Works of Art.
Regina Haggo, art historian, public speaker, curator and former professor at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, teaches art at the Dundas Valley School of Art. Weekly, in The Hamilton Spectator, she publishes articles of interest. To celebrate Canada's 150 birthday, she wrote and displayed colour renditions of Canadian artists, whose works are presented currently at Gallery on the Bay...located at 231 Bay Street, N. In Hamilton.
The exhibition comprises 150 paintings, prints, sculptures and textiles
by 25 artists celebrating Canada. The landscapes are complemented by images
of human figures, animals and birds.
In addition to works by their current stable of artists, they invited three others who paint the Yukon, Nunavut and The Northwest Territories. Four colour pictures appeared in The Spec's June 30, issue.
Fiona Ellis, one of the invited artists offers drama and colour in
McKenzie Mountain Barrens, Nunavut”
We find ourselves in an uninhabited tundra landscape that moves upward along a narrow river, painted white with occasional blue and mauve dabs. Diagonal streaks of mostly mauve and yellow add a strong sense of mood and movement to the sinuous hills.
Michael Dobson's Double Harvest
paints Alberta as a sunny and spacious place. He divides his composition into two almost equal parts, placing low-lying farmland under a big blue sky.
Jody Joseph took to the streets of Dundas in a series of house paintings.
Each home flew its own flag, but there was a statement of unity, pride, allegiance
and identity that related them to one another.
The home illustrated was a two-storey white stucco of heritage era.
(Each of the foregoing paintings was titled with a phrase from our national anthem.)

The fourth illustration published was a Woodland Buffalo designed silk scarf
by Angela DeMontigny...a well-known native Canadian designer
who grew up in Vancouver and now lives in Hamilton.
The skull of a buffalo, centred on the scarf reflects the importance of the buffalo
to the plains nations. Woodland flowers embellish the skull
and eagle feathers encircling it refer to the artist's Cree/Metis heritage.

From Coast to Coast to Coast
Last evening CBC had a wonderful musical presentation from Canada's provinces and territories...each honouring Canada Day. I was impressed with all...especially from Nunavut. What a delight it was, ending the day, uniting the peoples of our vast nation...“our home and native land”!

Merle Baird-Kerr...written July 2, 2017

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy 150th Birthday Canada!

As with Mother's Day, Father's Day, Birth Days, Christmas and other event days,
we should celebrate Our Canada every day of the year!

For years I have supported two charities...
one of which is The Canadian Wildlife Federation.
The info they send me is amazing ~ plus a calender of wildlife photos.
This calendar I daily view, as it is my 'date/data organizer' which sits atop my desk printer.
Today I received by invitation to enjoy Canada's nature every day.

Oh, Canada! 150 years young. The true north, strong and free. As Canadians it's time to express our true patriot love with a celebration worthy of this great land. At the Canadian Wildlife Federation, it's in our nature to celebrate the awe-inspiring wildlife that people around the world associate with Canada. And so, in the spirit of Canada Day celebrations coast to coast, we've got some great ways you can join us as we inspire Canadians to #ConserveTheWonder for the next 150 years.

Bioblitz Canada 150: Join CWF and partners at one of our Bioblitz Canada events...a series of FREE outdoor initiatives that let you contribute to real science. Get outside, get dirty and have fun!
Find a blitz near you.
Limited Edition Canada Day Adopt-an-Animal: Take an active role in conservation with this program, the newest edition, “The Painted Turtle.” Buy a limited edition Canada Day adorable plush animal with a Canada scarf...and your purchase will directly impact CWF's species at risk program.
150 Ways Wildlife Celebrates Canada: How has Canadian wildlife inspired the world? Find out in our list of 150 fun and unique ways wildlife has been celebrated by Canadians. What do you think made the list? Browse the List.

Hinterland Who's Who: In honour of the 150th Anniversary of Confederation, HWW has released special videos highlighting the importance of Canada's most iconic wildlife species and celebrating the heritage of Indigenous peoples in Canada. Check out our latest video ~ the Right Whale!
Watch the video.

From all of us to all of you, a very happy Canada Day. We hope, no matter how you chose to celebrate today, you take a moment to appreciate the natural wonders that make Canada, well, Canada!”Yours in 'conservation'...Rick Bates,
CEO and Executive Vice-President.

Party on Canada...Party On!
(The Spectator's John Roe)

The time is July 1, 2017, all day and night.
The place is wherever you are in Canada.
From Vancouver Baffin Prince Edward Island...and every city, town, village, farm, forest, farm, forest or lake in between, if you're here, you're in.
From sea to sea, everyone's welcome.
Citizens, landed immigrants, refugees and visitors lucky enough to be here
at this moment ~ or young if you consider our glowing future.
The men, women and children who welcomed the creation of the Dominion of Canada ~ as it was then known ~ on that momentous July 1, 1867, could have never predicted how big and wonderfully that child of a nation would grow. That Canada, with a population of just 3.4 million included Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the southern portions of today's Quebec and Ontario. (In the next 50 years, the new country expanded and grew to the north and west.)
Railways were built to the Pacific Ocean, crossing prairies and mountains.
New cities rose up. Newcomers streamed in.
In the 50 years after that, Canada fought two world wars, suffered through and overcame the Great Depression, experienced a population surge with the baby-boom-generation and watched its economy boom too. More newcomers arrived. In 1965, we started flying our own Maple Leaf flag.

By July 1, 1967, the population had hit 20 million and jubilant Canadians partied heartily in our Centennial Year. But more changes were coming. Official bilingualism, official multiculturalism, open doors to newcomers from around the world, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the patriation of our Constitution. These were the major accomplishments of the late 60's, 70's and 80's.

At the top of the list is Canada's First Nations who have too long endured racism, inequality, poverty and what, at times, amount to Third World living standards. Canadians are sincerely trying to set things right with Indigenous People...and even at 150, Canada is not a finished product.
Whatever our regrets, we have much to be proud of!
This country is the greatest gift any of us could receive.

Suffering from Aggressive Violence to Canada's Freedom and Opportunity
Photographer, Cathie Coward, has been documenting citizenship ceremonies in Hamilton since the beginning of the year ~ and was deeply moved by each one. “ Our newest citizens come from around the world ~ from Lebanon and China to Yemen, England, Trinidad and beyond.”

Portraits of New Canadians: Her portfolio of colour photos in The Hamilton Spectator's Friday issue (many of them) mirror the happy and proud faces of children dressed in their finest wear...teens sharing joys with other teens...mothers and tots...husbands and wives. The photo capturing my attention was of Roy Ifeanyi Ayeh's pride as he patriotically sings the Canadian national anthem for the first time as a Canadian citizen in June (without any reference to the words of Oh Canada on paper). With flag clasped in hand and right hand on his chest, he was dressed in a suit with purple shirt and tie.

Cathie comments, “All of these families and individuals are brave risk-takers. Each time, it reminds me how lucky I am to have been born into a country where we share much freedom and opportunity.”

Cathie, my cudos to you for your heart-warming photographs
and sentiments of our new citizens.
Most immigrants here consider Canada...a safe harbour
for themselves and their children's future.

Compiled by Merle Baird-Kerr...July 1, 2017