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

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