"Tales of pioneer hardship and deprivation have been told many times. Yet still we remember in wonder, that people accomplished so much with so little; that men and women with simple tools, their bare hands, and their own inventiveness cleared the land, drained the swamps, made their own clothing and provided their own food. Through all these difficulties God was with them and they wanted their children educated intellectually and spritually." from Norfolk Street United Church history

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ancestry.ca Discovers 'Princess Kate' and Jane Austen are Related

Canada's leading family history website finds common ancestor between the Duchess of Cambridge and the legendary Pride and Prejudice author

TORONTO, June 28, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - As the royal newlyweds embark on their first official tour of North America, arriving in Canada on June 30, Ancestry.ca, Canada's leading family history website1, today announced that the former Catherine Middleton and Jane Austen, one of the best known and most popular novelists in the English-speaking world, are related.

Catherine, Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge, and Austen, best known for her novels focusing on lower gentry or middle class women and their romantic interactions with men of higher rank and wealth, are related through their common ancestor Henry Percy, the 2nd Earl of Northumberland. Percy, who lived in the first half of the 15th century, is Kate's 16th great-grandfather and Jane Austen's 10th great-grandfather, making them 11th cousins, six times removed.

Though her work touched on many topics, from economics to equality, Jane Austen is largely considered to be the pioneer of the romantic fiction genre. Her novels are known for their biting social commentary and her heroines for their spirit, intelligence and wit; they are readers and walkers; they are loyal friends and sisters.

"Finding this connection between the Duchess of Cambridge and Jane Austen is very exciting since, in many ways, Catherine is the modern Jane Austen heroine: a middle class girl marrying the future King of England," said Lesley Anderson, Family Historian for Ancestry.ca. "Jane Austen may have written about happily-ever-after but it seems Catherine has found a nonfiction hero to spend her life with - far past the epilogue."

Sisters and Friends

Throughout her life, Jane Austen's best friend and strongest supporter was her elder sister Cassandra. In fact, when Cassandra was sent off to boarding school at age 10 in 1783, eight-year-old Jane refused to be separated from her sister, demanding to go also.

The close relationship between the Austen sisters is easily comparable to the bond Catherine shares with her younger sister Pippa, who served as Catherine's maid of honor at her recent wedding, attended the same boarding school as her older sister and then followed her to Scotland for university.

While all her novels conclude with a happy marriage between the heroine and her hero, neither Jane nor Cassandra ever married. There is, however, every expectation that Pippa will follow her sister's example and marry her own prince charming.

Fame and Fortune

As the Royal Couple's visit will demonstrate, the celebrity and fame surrounding Catherine has only increased since her wedding.

Born in 1775, Jane Austen is perhaps best known for her works Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, two of six novels she wrote in addition to lesser known short stories and unfinished works. Her writing brought Austen little fame or fortune during her lifetime, though today a cult of "Jane-ites" has emerged around the world. Numerous sequels to her works have been penned, various film adaptations of her novels produced, and a new generation of female readers, often speculating on their romantic endeavors, asks themselves "What would Jane do?"

Royal Connections

Henry Percy, the ancestor who connects Catherine and Jane, was born in 1392 at Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, England. Percy was a 2nd great-grandson of King Edward III - meaning that King Edward is also a distant great-grandfather of Catherine Middleton.

Percy spent his youth in Scotland because his father and grandfather were killed fighting against King Henry IV of England. He reconciled with King Henry V (after Henry IV's death) and was tasked with protecting the Scottish border. He was killed in 1455 during the first battle of the War of the Roses, at St. Albans, England. The Wars of the Roses were a series of English civil wars fought over the English throne.

About Ancestry.ca

Canada's leading family history website, Ancestry.ca has 128 million Canadian records in such collections as the complete Historical Canadian Censuses from 1851 to 1916, Ontario and British Columbia vital records from as early as 1813, Quebec Vital Records (The Drouin Collection), Canadian Passenger Lists and U.S. / Canada Border Crossings.

Ancestry.ca was launched in January 2006 and belongs to the global network of Ancestry websites (wholly owned by Ancestry.com Operations Inc.), which contains six billion records. To date more than 24 million family trees have been created and 2.4 billion names and 60 million photographs and stories uploaded. (Figures current as of April 1, 2011)

The Ancestry global network of family history websites -Ancestry.ca in Canada, www.ancestry.com in the US, www.ancestry.co.uk in the UK, www.ancestry.com.au in Australia, www.ancestry.de in Germany, www.ancestry.it in Italy, www.ancestry.fr in France, www.ancestry.se in Sweden and www.jiapu.com in China.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Homewood Museum open for the summer

photo credit: Ontario Architecture

MAITLAND, Ontario, June 27, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - This summer, visit Homewood Museum for guided tours and events. A highlight of the season is the annual Homewood Family Day - on Sunday, July 31 - with special activities for visitors of all ages.

One of the oldest houses in Ontario, Homewood was built by Dr. Solomon Jones, a Loyalist who came to Augusta Township with his young family c. 1784. He was the area's first physician and the second member from Leeds County to be elected to the Parliament of Upper Canada (1796-1800). This large two-storey stone house (built in 1799-1800) reflects his aspirations and accomplishments. It remained in the Jones family for seven generations.

Homewood Museum is located between Maitland and Prescott, just over one hour from Ottawa. This National Historic Site is owned and operated by the Ontario Heritage Trust, an agency of the Government of Ontario dedicated to identifying, preserving, protecting and promoting Ontario's heritage.

Provincial plaque commemorates The Armenian Boys' Farm Home, Georgetown

TORONTO, June 27, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Today, the Ontario Heritage Trust and the Armenian Community Centre of Toronto unveiled a provincial plaque to commemorate The Armenian Boys' Farm Home, Georgetown.

"The arrival of Armenian child refugees at Cedarvale Farm in Georgetown helped to lay the groundwork for this country's international humanitarian efforts throughout the 20th century," said Dr. Thomas H.B. Symons, Chairman of the Ontario Heritage Trust. "We are proud to honour this significant event in our history with this provincial plaque."

The plaque reads as follows:


On July 1, 1923, a group of 50 Armenian boys arrived at this farm site from an orphanage in Corfu, Greece. The 'Georgetown Boys,' as they came to be known, arrived in Canada between 1923 and 1927 - 109 boys in all. The orphans were survivors of the Armenian Genocide (1915-1923). Their plight touched the hearts of thousands of Canadians, who raised significant funds and lobbied the Canadian government to bring them here. Under the care and supervision of the Armenian Canadian Relief Fund's Farm and Home Committee, the children lived at Cedarvale Farm located on this property and were taught English and farming skills. By 1928, the orphans were placed with farm families in Southwestern Ontario. As adults, most of the Armenians became Canadian citizens and chose to remain in this country. By providing assistance to non-British Commonwealth refugees, the Armenian Boys' Farm Home was the first humanitarian effort of its kind in Canada.

"The plight of the Georgetown Boys is a powerful reminder of our deep conviction as Ontarians and as Canadians to help those in need," said Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism and Culture. "This plaque helps to honour our history and commemorate this experience that has shaped the cultural fabric of this community and the province."

The unveiling ceremony took place at the Armenian Youth Centre - Hamazkayin Theatre in Toronto. The plaque will be permanently installed at Cedarvale Park in Georgetown, the site of the Armenian Boys' Farm Home.

"Canada's humanitarian efforts in aiding the 109 orphaned Armenian children who survived the Armenian Genocide of 1915 must be remembered and commended," said Armenian Community Centre President Vatche Kelebozian. "This provincial plaque will immortalize the memory of the Georgetown Boys and act as a permanent reminder of Canada's proud humanitarian tradition and its unyielding commitment in aiding Armenians."

The Ontario Heritage Trust is an agency of the Government of Ontario, dedicated to identifying, preserving, protecting and promoting Ontario's heritage.

Quick facts:

...The Ontario Heritage Trust's Provincial Plaque Program commemorates significant people, places and events in Ontario's history.

...Since 1953, over 1,200 provincial plaques have been unveiled.

...There are 110 provincial plaques in the city of Toronto.

For more information on the Provincial Plaque Program, visit www.heritagetrust.on.ca.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Government of Canada Announces New Director of the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation

GATINEAU, Quebec, June 27, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, today announced the appointment of Mark O'Neill as Director of the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation.

"I am pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. O'Neill," said Minister Moore. "I am confident that under his leadership, Canada's Civilization and War Museums will continue to play a key role in strengthening Canadians' understanding of our history."

Since 2001, Mr. O'Neill has held various executive positions within the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation (CMCC). Prior to this appointment, he had been the Director General of the Canadian War Museum, while also assuming the responsibilities of Vice President and Corporate Secretary of the CMCC. From 2004 to 2009, he held the position of Vice President, Public Affairs and Publishing at the CMCC.

During his public service career, which started in 1986, Mr. O'Neill has held various managerial positions in the Department of Canadian Heritage, including Director of the Cultural Property Directorate and Secretary of the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board; Manager of Access to Heritage; and Team Leader, Multiculturalism Secretariat and Race Relations and Cross-Cultural Understanding Directorate.

The Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation operates the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the Canadian War Museum, and the Virtual Museum of New France. As part of their mandate, the museums function as centres for research and public information on the social, military, and human history of the country. Their principal role is to preserve and promote the heritage of Canada for present and future generations, thereby contributing to the enhancement of Canadian identity. For more information, visit the Corporation's website at www.civilization.ca.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The War Amps has re-released a documentary "The Blue Puttees" about the volunteer Royal Newfoundland Regiment

War Amps - Letter To The Editor
Dear Editor,

July 1st marks the 95th anniversary of the Battle of Beaumont-Hamel - one of the most significant battles fought by the Newfoundlanders in the First World War. The Royal Newfoundland Regiment sent 801 soldiers to battle at Beaumont-Hamel. Only 68 members of the unit answered roll call the next day.

As a member of The War Amps Operation Legacy, a group of committed young people who are dedicated to preserving Canada's military heritage, I would like to highlight this anniversary.

The Royal Newfoundland Regiment - also known as the "Blue Puttees" because of the colour of the uniform leggings the soldiers wore - was literally a band of volunteers built from scratch. Following their near annihilation at Beaumont-Hamel, they regrouped and distinguished themselves in other significant battles throughout the war. They earned themselves the reputation as one of the best fighting forces of the "war to end all wars." Perhaps the ultimate honour, they were awarded the prefix "Royal" to the regiment by the British War Office before the war was even over.

To mark this anniversary, The War Amps has re-released its documentary The Blue Puttees to regular and specialty TV channels. As part of The War Amps Military Heritage Series, it is also available at a cost-recovery price of $12 by calling 1.800.250.3030 or visiting waramos.ca.


Erica Noonan, 20
Operation Legacy Member, Stephenville

L.M. Montgomery's Granddaughter to meet the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on Prince Edward Island

TORONTO, June 24, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - As part of the upcoming Royal visit, Kate Macdonald Butler, granddaughter of L.M. Montgomery, will attend a reception in honour of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Dalvay-by-the-Sea in PEI on Monday, July 4, from 12 to 4 p.m. Kate and her daughter Eliza will fly to PEI, the birthplace of Anne of Green Gables, with the hope of presenting the Duchess with a special 100th Anniversary Edition of the book she is reported to have loved as a child.

Lynne Missen, Publishing Director, Young Readers Group, Penguin Canada says: "Anne of Green Gables holds a very special place in the hearts of Canadians, and at Penguin, we were thrilled to hear that the Duchess of Cambridge shared our love for such a beloved Canadian heroine."

Anne of Green Gables, Before Green Gables (a prequel written by award-winning Canadian author Budge Wilson), and Imagining Anne: The Island Scrapbooks by Elizabeth Rollins Epperley were published by Penguin Canada in 2008 to mark the 100th anniversary of Canada's beloved literary heroine.

The 100th Anniversary Edition of Anne of Green Gables was created using the exquisite original cover by George Gibbs and interior illustrations by M.A. Claus and W.A.J. Claus. Two of Montgomery's grandchildren, Kate and David Macdonald, provided a new introduction for this special edition of the novel. Throughout her years, L.M. Montgomery kept diaries and scrapbooks, and two of these, known as the Island Scrapbooks, reveal her creative imagination, interests, and inspirations from the years 1893 to 1910, covering the time she wrote and published Anne of Green Gables.

While millions of readers across the world may have a dog-eared, much loved paperback edition of Anne of Green Gables at home, it is the wish of the Montgomery heirs to bestow the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with their own special, signed editions of these famous books, to be handed down through generations.

Kate Macdonald Butler, one of L.M. Montgomery's grandchildren, lives in Toronto with her two teenage children. Kate is the daughter of Ruth Macdonald and the late Dr. Stuart Macdonald, who was L.M. Montgomery's youngest son. Kate wrote The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook in 1984, published by Oxford University Press. She is a board member of the Anne of Green Gables Licensing Authority Inc. and manages the Toronto office of the "Anne" Authority. The "Anne" Authority was formed in 1994 and is jointly owned by the province of Prince Edward Island and the heirs of L.M. Montgomery. Kate is the President of Heirs of L.M. Montgomery Inc., a family owned company that oversees all L.M. Montgomery related inquiries and projects. She is also a patron of the L.M. Montgomery Society of Ontario, a board member of the L.M. Montgomery Heritage Society

Penguin is one of the world's leading children's trade book publishers, publishing some of the world's bestselling and award-winning authors and brands, including The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Winnie the Pooh, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and the works of Roald Dahl. Penguin Canada is proud to be the official publisher of the 100th Anniversary Editions of Anne of Green Gables.

*Anne of Green Gables, Before Green Gables and other indicia of Anne are trademarks of the Anne of Green Gables Licensing Authority Inc.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Ontario Heritage Trust to commemorate site of province's first parliament buildings and War of 1812

TORONTO, June 23, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Today, the Honourable Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism and Culture, and Dr. Thomas H.B. Symons, Chairman of the Ontario Heritage Trust, announced a new interpretive centre commemorating the site of Ontario's first parliament buildings and the War of 1812.

"This commemorative centre will provide a unique opportunity for citizens and visitors to learn about and mark significant events from our collective past - a fitting and timely initiative as we prepare for next year's celebration of both the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, events that will highlight and reinforce the Crown's important role in our parliamentary democracy," said the Honourable David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.

"The opening of the new interpretative centre is an innovative approach in the commemoration of the province's first parliament site," said Minister Chan. "The bicentennial of the War of 1812 is a wonderful opportunity to highlight such significant sites and honour these chapters in our history."

The commemorative centre will open in February 2012 at 265 Front Street East in Toronto, on a property acquired by the province and transferred to the Ontario Heritage Trust in 2005. It and three adjoining properties comprise the site of Ontario's first purpose-built parliament buildings. Opened in 1797, the buildings were burned by invading American forces during the War of 1812. They were later rebuilt, but were destroyed by fire again in 1824.

"This new commemorative centre will not only shed light on the history of this site, it will also put that history in a provincial and national context," said the Honourable Glen Murray, Minister of Research and Innovation and MPP Toronto Centre. "It will be an excellent addition to the other attractions that bring visitors into this historic neighbourhood."

"Next year's bicentennial is an ideal time to draw attention to the importance of Ontario's first parliament buildings, which were destroyed in battle during the War of 1812," said Dr. Symons. "We are delighted that the new commemorative centre will showcase this history, exploring the evolution of our democracy and the significance of the war, both of which have played major roles in shaping the province and the country we know today."

The existing building on the property, a former car dealership, will be adapted to house the new commemorative centre. The front showroom area will accommodate interpretive exhibits and displays, as well as provide space for educational activities and special events. A request for commercial leasing proposals for the remainder of the building will be initiated in the near future, to assist with the operating costs of the centre.

"Many citizens of Old Town Toronto and local organizations have been eager to see this site commemorated and interpreted, particularly as the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 approaches," said Rollo Myers, who has been actively involved for many years with the protection of the site of Ontario's first parliament buildings. "I'm delighted that the Trust's centre will celebrate the bicentennial and showcase the critical early years of Upper Canada, as many of Ontario's most important institutions - social, political and religious - trace their beginnings to this site."

As the Trust begins to plan for the centre, it will develop opportunities to involve community groups, provincial and federal partners, War of 1812 regional groups and educators to ensure that the site's programming reflects its significance from a local, provincial, national and international perspective.

The Ontario Heritage Trust is an agency of the Government of Ontario, dedicated to identifying, preserving, protecting and promoting Ontario's heritage.

Quick facts:

...The first parliament site in Toronto is located on the block bordered by Front Street East on the north, Berkeley Street on the west, and Parliament Street on the east.

...Burned during the War of 1812, it is the only parliamentary site in Canada to have been attacked in an international war.

...Today, the site is historically significant as the birthplace of democratic government in Ontario.

Learn more:

Information about the history of Ontario's first parliament buildings is available on the Trust's website at www.heritagetrust.on.ca. Details about the interpretive centre will be posted as they become available.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Will Climate Again Drive US Internal Migrations?

Dust Bowl, 1936 Image credit:Flickr, erjkprunczyk

from TreeHugger.com
by John Laumer, Philadelphia

US demographic history includes several major internal migrations (in-migrations). Everyone knows how First Peoples were pushed West and South as European colonists settled in and dispersed from the East. The Erie Canal, built in the 1820's, opened up the Great Lakes for commerce and drew settlers from eastern states. The Dust Bowl permanently displaced Oklahoma and Texas farmers to California and other states. In the early 1900's, African Americans left the rural south for Chicago and Detroit and Milwaukee in pursuit of jobs. After WWII, city folk began the continuous, nationwide slog to the suburbs. By the 1970s retiring Snow Birds, many leaving the first and second ring suburbs in northern cities, began their exodus to Nevada, Arizona, Florida, Utah, Colorado, & New Mexico. What's next?

Pay no mind to what economists offer.
All large scale migrations have both a 'pull' and a 'push' component. Economists focus mainly on the pull: 'they came for political refuge' - 'better jobs' - 'access to resources' and lately 'freedom from government regulation.' That's because economists have metrics and data sources for what happens post-migration, but few to none for what had 'pushed' people away from an existing home and on to a new one. Very often, environmental mismanagement plays heavily into the push factor. (See footnote for discussion of impact on GDP.)

There is no mystery, for example, about root causes of the Dust Bowl: the clearing of trees and simultaneous plowing of short grass prairie soil over vast areas, baring soils to the wind. (Today's drought in Texas is every bit as bad, but farming practices have improved and tree lines were re-established.)

There are few measures of the extent to which colonial era tobacco farmers of the US mid-Atlantic coastal states - the Virginias most notably - ruined their land producing only tobacco for export, and thus had to move. (The process is well documented in genealogy records, however, as family names on land deeds can be tracked westward.)

Historic pull-politics of US in-migration.
The economic development of many southern states has been strongly dependent upon Federally constructed water projects needed for moving coal and other commodity goods, for provision of potable water, and upon coal-fired power - TVA is a Federally created utility - advantages that recently have been leveraged with' right to work' laws.

Take any one of these three advantages away and the southern economic 'pull' could be diminished. (If you need an illustration of how important Southern water projects were, look back to the Atlanta-area drought that led to states suing each other and to Georgia challenging the location of it's boundary with Tennessee (so it could get access to the northerly Tennessee river basin).

Climate push factors.
It's fairly straightforward to envision a continued regional pattern of severe flooding and/or wind damage or, conversely, of severe, extended drought encouraging large numbers of city dwellers and suburbanites to start a new life elsewhere. Texas is practically headed down this path already. (Farmers these days are so few and far between that, unlike in the Dust Bowl era, not even their total displacement from the entire State of Texas would be viewed as massive.)

Climate pull factors.
Here's an easily foreseen scenario. Hydroelectric power, the dominant source of electricity in the Pacific Northwest, remains cheap decade after decade, long after Cap & Trade becomes a reality - which it most certainly will. As stated above, highly coal-dependent southern states, on the other hand, could gradually lose a bit of their economic pull as coal slowly becomes more costly. That gradual loss of economic draw could divert some of what might have been a southern economy to the northwest.

Water is the nexus in both the push and the pull scenarios (above).
If southern states suffer both increased frequency and intensity of drought while paying more for coal-fired electricity, and if the north western states do not suffer a similar level of drought, well then you can see as well as I can where the next great in-migration might be headed.

A parallel push pull scenario can be drawn up for the Great Lakes vs Southern states, if, and only if, Great Lakes states are able to massively scale up offshore wind power and maintain the existing nuclear fleet. Southern coastal states could overcome that advantage with their own offshore wind farms. Seems iffy, given the propensity for coal dependency in both regions.

No climate model needed.
Climate change has been modeled well enough to see that planetary level physics are shifting. But, climate models are of little use on their own for understanding the combined effects of the pushes and pulls that could drive in-migration.

I believe that congressional delegations from coal-dependent states know exactly what they risk if coal loses an economic edge, and that understanding is why they resist climate action with every tactic they can muster. Water, however, is a wild card that no politician can shunt with spin and the campaign power unleashed by the Citizens United ruling. Water, or the absence of it, will be the main factor behind the next great in-migration and also the main factor behind the next major political trend.

If I were a southern state governor I would do everything I could to encourage water conservation.

At the same time, out of pure economic self interest, as hypothetical governor I would offer encouragement and political support for northern state labor unions, including the continuance of collective bargaining rights for public employees in those northern states. That way, if southern coal-fired power did have to become more costly, my state's lower labor costs would help make up for the lost advantage.

Footnote: Believe it or not!
Every time a Federal disaster declaration is made, and taxpayer dollars are given for the cleanup and rebuilding afterward, all that money is counted to the plus side of gross domestic product (GDP), That's right. The more hurricane tornado flood or drought disaster dollars that are spent, the greater our nation's GDP. Is that screwed up or what?

Economists not only focus just on the 'pulls,' they absurdly continue the archaic process of making adverse climate impacts look like a good thing, economically. Climate change is good for the economy. Yea!

I know pretty well what you Ayn Rand fan boys are about to say in the comment field. 'See..if we just get big government out of the way (and small enough to drown in the bathtub per Grover Norquist's oft quoted dictum) everything will be good.' Is that what you want? Mass migration from the Lower Mississippi River Basin? A big chunk of Texas moving to where...Atlanta or Seattle?

This land was made for you and me. Let's keep it that way together.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

St. Thomas Canada Southern Railway Station commemorated by provincial plaque

ST. THOMAS, Ontario, June 17, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Today, the Ontario Heritage Trust and the North America Railway Hall of Fame unveiled a provincial plaque to commemorate the St. Thomas Canada Southern Railway Station.

"We are extremely fortunate to have this architectural landmark here in St. Thomas," said Dr. Thomas H.B. Symons, Chairman of the Ontario Heritage Trust, "to remind us of the proud railway heritage we enjoy in our province. The Ontario Heritage Trust is delighted to be here today to commemorate that history."

The plaque reads as follows:


The St. Thomas Canada Southern (CASO) Station, financed by American railway promoters, was constructed between 1871 and 1873 to serve as both the passenger station for St. Thomas and CASO's corporate headquarters. During the 1920s, the station was one of the busiest in Canada. The Canada Southern rail route through southwestern Ontario ultimately linked Chicago and New York City, and was instrumental in the economic development and growth of St. Thomas. Designed in the Italianate style by Canadian architect Edgar Berryman (1839-1905), the impressive building is embellished with classical details such as pilasters, arched windows and passageways, wide eaves and a heavy cornice supported by paired brackets. The building's design, scale and quality of interior finishes make it unique within Canadian architectural history and it stands as a symbol of the importance of railway development in southern Ontario.

"The St. Thomas Canada Southern Station strongly influenced the economic development of southwestern Ontario and the city of St. Thomas," said Minister of Tourism and Culture Michael Chan. "We cannot forget the impact these stations had in shaping our province - both from the community impact and their heritage significance."

The unveiling ceremony occurred at the CASO station, where the provincial plaque will be permanently installed.

"The railways helped build this community," said Joe Docherty, Executive Director of the North America Railway Hall of Fame, "and the workers they attracted helped settle the surrounding area. St. Thomas has rallied behind the efforts to restore this landmark building through their financial contributions and volunteer labour, showing how the railways continue to influence this community and keep it strong."

"The heritage of St. Thomas is strong," said Steve Peters, MPP Elgin-Middlesex-London and Speaker of the Ontario Legislature. "Provincial plaques such as this one identify people, places and events from our past that help define our future. The City of St. Thomas is proud to be recognized again today with this unveiling to commemorate the CASO station."

The Ontario Heritage Trust is an agency of the Government of Ontario, dedicated to identifying, preserving, protecting and promoting Ontario's heritage.

Quick facts:

...The Ontario Heritage Trust's Provincial Plaque Program commemorates significant people, places and events in Ontario's history.

...Since 1953, over 1,200 provincial plaques have been unveiled.

...There are 229 provincial plaques across Ontario commemorating transportation systems and communications.

...There are 11 provincial plaques in St. Thomas - including Alma College and Jumbo the elephant.

Learn more:

For more information on the Provincial Plaque Program, visit www.heritagetrust.on.ca.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Chief Justice of Canada becomes Vice Patron of Heraldry Society

"The Coat of Arms of the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada (CNW Group/Royal Heraldry Society of Canada - RHSC)"

TORONTO, June 10, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - In February of this year, the Right Honourable Beverly McLachlin PC, Chief Justice of Canada, accepted the invitation of the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada [RHSC] to become their Vice Patron. This acceptance was followed by a formal dinner at the Rideau Club in Ottawa on 28 May 2011. The Chief Justice joins the Governor General of Canada as Patron of the RHSC.

For over four decades, the RHSC's unwavering mission is the promotion, encouragement, education and practice in the art and science of heraldry, particularly Canadian heraldry. The Society also assists Canadians and institutions in the acquisition of properly granted coats of arms.

More details can be found at the Society's blog at (http://canadian-heraldry.blogspot.com/) or website ( http://www.heraldry.ca).

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Canadian National Household Survey now underway

OTTAWA, June 8, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - The National Household Survey (NHS) is underway. Statistics Canada announced today that 4.5 million Canadian households are being asked to participate.

The information collected is vital to communities for planning services, such as child care, schooling, family services, housing, roads and public transportation, and skills training for employment.

Households can fill in the NHS questionnaire online by using their secure access code. It's easy and secure. Or, they can complete a paper questionnaire.

Yellow packages, containing a questionnaire, information on how to complete the NHS and the secure access code are being delivered to each selected household. Respondents who need more information can call the Help Line at 1-877-308-2777. TTY users may call 1-866-753-7083.

The NHS includes questions on citizenship and immigration, ethnic origin, Aboriginal identity, language of work, education, labour market activity, child care and support payments, income and housing as well as a question asking for consent to release the personal information collected to Library and Archives Canada after 92 years.

Statistics Canada strongly encourages selected households to complete the NHSso communities will have the information they need to make decisions.

Bill 185 Official! September 28 Proclaimed British Home Child Day

Cornwall Free News – June 2, 2011

Queen’s Park Ontario - On June 1st, 2011, MPP Jim Brownell’s Private Members’ Bill, Bill 185 - An Act to Proclaim British Home Child Day, received Royal Assent by the Chief Justice of the Province of Ontario, the Honourable Mr. Justice Warren K. Winkler.

In a brief ceremony in the Lieutenant-Governor’s suite at Queen’s Park, Chief Justice Winkler signed his name to the bill.

MPP Brownell presents Bill 185

British Home Child Day will be celebrated on September 28th of each year in Ontario.
Bill 185 received second and third reading in the Legislature of Ontario on May 19th, 2011,
and was then sent to the Lieutenant-Governor’s office for Royal Assent.

Bill 185 was co-sponsored by MPP Cheri DiNovo (Parkdale-Highpark) and MPP Steve Clark (Leeds-Grenville).

“May we long remember and honour the courage, strength and determination of our British Home Children ancestors, and celebrate their wonderful legacies,” said Jim Brownell, MPP for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry.

(Will the other provinces also pursue a Home Child day?)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Historic Barnum House Museum opens June 4

GRAFTON, Ontario, June 2, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Join us this summer at the historic Barnum House for another season of guided tours and special events! Approximately two hours east of Toronto, Barnum House Museum is located in Grafton, in the beautiful setting of Northumberland County.

At Barnum House, visitors can explore furnished rooms throughout the historic home. The house was built in 1819 by Eliakim Barnum, who was a successful entrepreneur. Barnum immigrated to Haldimand Township from the United States around 1807 and subsequently opened a tavern, a small distillery and a grist mill. By 1820, after the house was built, he added 900 acres of adjoining farmland. The home's design was influenced by American architecture that was popular in the New England states at the beginning of the 19th century. Today, it remains one of Ontario's finest examples of neoclassical architecture.

Barnum House is a National Historic Site owned and operated by the Ontario Heritage Trust. The Trust is an agency of the Government of Ontario dedicated to identifying, preserving, protecting and promoting Ontario's heritage.

Hours of operation:

Wednesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Open Canada Day (July 1) and the Civic Holiday (August 1)


$3 for adults
$1.50 for seniors and children (up to age 16)
Free for children under 4

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Interviewers starting door-to-door activity for 2011 Census

OTTAWA, June 1, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Census interviewers have started going door-to-door to visit households that have not yet completed their 2011 Census questionnaire. If your household has not returned its questionnaire, it's not too late.

Interviewers carry out their door-to-door activities to ensure all households are counted. All interviewers have an identification card that features their photo and census logo.

By law, each household must provide the information requested in the census. By the same law, Statistics Canada must protect the personal information provided by the respondents.

Statistics Canada thanks everyone who has already completed the census.

New Book Tells Story of History-Filled Guelph Guitar

GUELPH, Ontario May 30, 2011 - University of Guelph News Release

A University of Guelph professor who crafted a made-in-Guelph guitar to share stories about the University and city is now telling the tale of the instrument’s origins — using a more traditional storytelling medium this time around.

In his new book, Storyteller Guitar, Doug Larson discusses how he built an acoustic instrument using items from immigrants, entrepreneurs and researchers who worked around the world but lived in Guelph. The guitar has effectively been billions of years in the making and its materials span the globe, said Larson, a professor emeritus in Integrative Biology who is also a musician and luthier.

“The goal was to build not just a guitar but also a great storytelling device, an instrument to talk about history, art and science.”

Larson believed his lectures would be more effective if students knew the history and stories behind the lessons. He built the guitar between 2006 and 2008.

“Students could pick up the guitar and play it knowing the stories behind the various materials incorporated into the overall instrument.”

He was inspired by the Six String Nation guitar built by Nova Scotia luthier George Rizsanyi from 60 pieces of Canadiana ranging from Pierre Trudeau’s canoe paddle to Lucy Maud Montgomery’s house.

The Guelph guitar parts include bones, fossils and wood from historical trees; most of the relics relate to the University. Even for the pieces he gathered from around the city or beyond, Larson traced their roots to U of G research and scholarship in biology, physical science, social sciences and the arts.

“The message is that these apparently different parts of culture are actually a part of the same human condition,” he said.

For example, the guitar’s back and neck came from a felled sugar maple planted on campus nearly a century earlier. The instrument’s front soundboard is made of Norway spruce, salvaged from a U of G windfall. That tree had been planted by Scottish immigrant William Brown, Guelph’s first professor and field superintendent. On the soundboard, a comma-shaped pick guard consists of turtle shell scutes donated by another biology professor.

“This was the most challenging and fun woodworking project I’ve ever done,” Larson said. “It’s an object that unites art and science, but it's also a lens to history.”

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Labatt donates "significant and valuable corporate archives" to The University of Western Ontario and major art and artifact collection to Museum Lond

LONDON, Ontario, June 1, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Labatt Breweries of Canada is donating two of Canada's most significant collections of historic corporate materials and art to The University of Western Ontario and to Museum London.

Today, Labatt's President, Bary Benun, officially turned over The Labatt Brewing Company Archival Collection to Dr. Amit Chakma, President and Vice-Chancellor, The University of Western Ontario and the Labatt Material Culture Collection to Brian Meehan, Executive Director and Chief Curator of Museum London at Labatt's brewery in London, Ontario.

Two decades before Canada attained nationhood, with Queen Victoria just a few years into her reign, John Kinder Labatt founded the enterprise that would become the globally recognized brewery that bears his name. This began an historical collection that would grow into the most significant and valuable corporate collections and archives in Canadian brewing industry history.

Bary Benun, President of Labatt, said,

"This is the first historical collection in Canada to represent the brewing industry and we are very pleased to hand over its custodianship to The University of Western Ontario. This means that Labatt's invaluable corporate legacy will be available to academics and the public alike, providing valuable insight into the brewing industry and business in general, industrial relations, the economy, society and work forces and labour relations of the past 164 years."

He continued, "We are also delighted and proud to be able to add our artifacts and original art to the Museum London's renowned collection where it is now accessible to all the people of London and Ontario."

Among the most significant corporate archives donations, the two collections have been examined by the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board which determined them to be of "outstanding significance and national importance" and of "historical cultural significance." The collections have been appraised at more than $8.3 million. The Labatt Brewing Company Archival Collection is now stored and managed within the Archives and Research Collection Centre at The University of Western Ontario. The Labatt Material Culture Collection will be available to the public at Museum London.

Until four years ago, the material that Labatt had gathered since its founding in 1847, along with other material (some of it from even earlier) acquired as a result of the acquisitions of various smaller Canadian breweries over the years, resided in tens of thousands of boxes, drawers and filing cabinets throughout the country.

With the help of professional archivists Labatt gathered, catalogued, itemized and organized virtually all its irreplaceable corporate documents. The materials illustrate the evolution of corporate governance and management models and include market research; commercial advertising which mirrors Canadian cultural values and trends; research, technology and engineering materials related to brewing processes and innovations; and iconic images of corporate branding, packaging and memorabilia. The collection also provides interesting and meaningful details on key phases in Labatt's corporate history, including the origins of John Labatt's brewery in London, John Labatt's growth to a national brewer, the diversification of John Labatt Limited, and Labatt's acquisition by Belgian-based Interbrew. The total Labatt Collection material required more than 2,600 boxes.

At the ceremony today, Labatt also donated $200,000 to The University of Western Ontario to assist them in digitizing portions of The Labatt Brewing Company Archival Collection. This will help preserve some of the key content of the collection and make it more accessible.

The material donated to Museum London - the Labatt Material Culture Collection - includes: original art, brewery artifacts and collectibles, and Labatt family memorabilia dating from 1850 to 2005. Each piece in the collection was created, designed or commissioned by Labatt. The original art includes works by renowned Canadian and international artists, photographers, sculptors including: A.J. Casson, Jean Paul Lemieux, Harold Town, Greg Curnoe, Robert Doisneau, Sigmar Polke, Tye Adla, Noah M. Anguhalluq, Barbara Astman, Iain Baxter, Aba Bayefsky, W. Roloff Beny, Brian Boigon, Simon Brascoupé, Robin Collyer, Alasua Amittuq Davidialuk, Mina Sala, Ikseetarkyuk, Suzy Lake, Norval Morrisseau, Neil Newton, Freda Pemberton-Smith, Peter Pitseolak, George Raab, Arnold Shives, Gordon Smith, Serge Tousignant, Bill Vazan, and George Zimbel.

"This is a unique opportunity for Western, especially because we are located in Labatt's home town and have enjoyed a long relationship with the company," said Amit Chakma, President of The University of Western Ontario. "In fact, we have benefited greatly from the generosity of the Labatt family and the corporation ever since the founding of our university in 1878. It is an honour to be associated with one of Canada's oldest companies, and to be entrusted with the stewardship of a rare and historical collection that has been preserved and maintained in such excellent condition."

Brian Meehan, Executive Director and Chief Curator of Museum London said,
"It is generous of Labatt to share their valuable Material Culture Collection with us. We look forward to sharing these works with the patrons of Museum London."

Labatt, The University of Western Ontario and Museum London celebrated the donation with local government officials, The University of Western Ontario students and faculty, Museum London employees, local historians and artists, and current and retired Labatt employees at the John Kinder Labatt Room at the brewery.

About Labatt Breweries of Canada

Labatt Breweries of Canada is one of the nation's longest-established and most successful brewing companies. Today, the company is a proud member of Anheuser-Busch InBev, producing over 60 quality beers, employing 3,000 Canadians, and operating seven breweries from coast to coast.

About The University of Western Ontario

The University of Western Ontario is dedicated to advancing knowledge and transforming lives through teaching excellence and research. With more than 1,400 faculty members and 35,000 full-time and part-time students at 12 Faculties and 3 affiliated University Colleges, Western delivers an exemplary university experience by engaging the best and brightest students, faculty and staff. One of Canada's top ten research-intensive universities, Western is recognized nationally and internationally for its contributions including in the areas of neuroscience, wind engineering, medical imaging, earth sciences and ethics in science that are driving discovery on the world stage.

About Museum London

Museum London is Southwestern Ontario's leading establishment for the collection and presentation of visual art and material culture. Through public and educational programming, special events and exhibitions, Museum London strives to promote the knowledge and enjoyment of regional art, culture and history. At the heart of a great museum is its collection and Museum London is proud to have one of Canada's most important art collections, and one of the most significant historical artifact collections in Ontario.

1754: Bon-Secours Burns

MONTREAL, May 30, 2011 /Canada NewsWire Telbec/ - Between June 1st and September 4, 2011, the Marguerite Bourgeoys Museum in Old Montreal presents 1754: Bon-Secours Burns. Offered every afternoon from Tuesday to Sunday, this discovery tour shines a light on the terrible fire that destroyed Montreal's first stone chapel, founded by Marguerite Bourgeoys.

Visitors are invited to gather on the archaeological site in the basement of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel, jewel of Montreal's heritage. On this unique site, they can contemplate the ruins of the 17th-century chapel and a number of artefacts that confirm just how destructive the 1754 fire was. The visit will also include the magnificent 18th-century stone crypt with a fascinating exhibit on the history of the chapel and the surrounding neighbourhood.

During the 1996-1997 dig, the archaeologists were astounded by the quality and quantity of the artefacts discovered. More than 5000 items were uncovered on strata covering a period of over 2400 years. In fact, built on an embankment along the river, the chapel stood right beside a number of First Nations artefacts that were found during the dig. Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel, centre of Montreal's first neighbourhood outside the original settlement, has been closely connected to the history of the city since its beginnings.

Information :

1754: Bon-Secours Burns
June 1 to September 4, 2011
French: 1:00, 2:00, 3:00 and 4:00 p.m.
English: 1:30, 2:30, 3:30 and 4:30 p.m.
Marguerite Bourgeoys Museum
400, rue Saint-Paul Est, Old Montreal
(514) 282-8670