"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

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Provincial plaque commemorates Syl Apps

PARIS, Ontario, May 31, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Today, the Ontario Heritage Trust and the County of Brant unveiled a provincial plaque to commemorate Syl Apps (1915-1998).

"Syl Apps was a tremendously gifted athlete, businessman and politician who was well regarded by many for his skill, dedication and the respect that he showed others," said Dr. Thomas H.B. Symons, Chairman of the Ontario Heritage Trust. "We are proud to unveil this provincial plaque, which will ensure that his great character and many accomplishments are remembered for years to come."

The plaque reads as follows:

Syl Apps (1915-1998)

Born in Paris, Ontario in 1915, Charles Joseph Sylvanus "Syl" Apps was a professional hockey player, businessman and politician. Throughout his life, Apps displayed remarkable breadth in his abilities and accomplishments. He was a varsity football star and as a pole vaulter won two national championships and competed at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. During an extraordinary 10-season hockey career with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Apps was renowned for his skill and impeccable sportsmanship. He was the Leafs' captain for six seasons and led them to three Stanley Cups. During the Second World War, Apps left the team for two years to serve in the Canadian Army. After retiring from hockey in 1948, he pursued a successful career in business and was elected member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario for Kingston in 1963 - a seat he held until his retirement in 1974. Apps believed in hard work, respect for others, loyalty, family and faith - and he upheld these values throughout his life.

"Syl Apps made significant contributions to sports, politics and the people of Ontario," said Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. "The unveiling of this plaque is truly a great honour to his memory and a proud moment for his family and community."

Today's unveiling ceremony took place at Syl Apps Community Centre in Paris, Ontario, where the provincial plaque will be permanently installed.

"The citizens of Paris have always been proud of Syl Apps - their famous son," said Ron Eddy, Mayor of the County of Brant. "The present citizens of Paris and the County of Brant are enthused about this most appropriate recognition of Syl - an outstanding athlete, a gentleman legislator, a genuine caring citizen and a role model for kids and adults in every walk of life . . . a hero indeed."

The 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 1956, over 1,200 provincial plaques have been unveiled.

...388 provincial plaques across Ontario commemorate people that have helped shape the province's history.

Learn More:

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

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Lessons From The Past: How Living Like Great Grandma Is Green

photo credit: © Matt's backyard circa 1913.

Gardens, root cellar, chicken coop, dog house, well, cistern, and outhouse all worked within the patterns of nature.

from TreeHugger.com by Lloyd Alter Design / Green Architecture

Steve Mouzon has noted that everyone used to be green:

Originally, before the Thermostat Age, the places we built had no choice but to be green, otherwise people would freeze to death in the winter, die of heat strokes by summer, or other really bad things would happen to them.

At the Old House Web, Matt Grocoff writes a wonderful piece about how people lived in the house he is in now, before the Thermostat Age.

A photograph of our backyard, taken circa 1913, documents several ways in which the Gauss family lived within their means in an elegant cradle-to-cradle, closed loop pattern. They grew much of their own food and canned, preserved and stored it in the cellar. In the far back yard we can see the chicken coop and rabbit hutch where they harvested fresh eggs and meat.

They didn't have indoor plumbing, but "of course there was the lovely outdoor compostable toilet, also known as the outhouse." It all sound so bucolic, but of course it wasn't; indoor plumbing is nice, and Matt acknowledges this, noting " I’m still not sure how they managed Michigan winters in 1901."

But the fact of the matter is, these lessons from the past can be templates for the future. Read it all at Old House Web: How to destroy the planet from the comfort of your own home; Part 2

Friday, May 25, 2012

Railroad Picture Archives

From The Scout Report,
Copyright Internet Scout 1994-2012.

Visit the Railroad Picture Archive at http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/

For fans of trainspotting, this website is a veritable cornucopia of wonderful images and conversation.

The site contains over 2.7 million photos, with images of over 125,000 locomotives, and over 25,000 documented locations.

Visitors can browse the collection by locomotives present in each photo and also use the New Photo Albums area to look for albums that cover Amtrak routes, Norfolk Southern divisions, and New Jersey Transit.

On the left-hand side of the homepage, visitors can use the View Photos area to look up materials by Contributor Picks and Editors' Picks, among other headings. Some of the more dramatic and wonderful picks include a shot of steam locomotive near Rock Island, Illinois and a steam passenger train making its way through Lawrence, Kansas. [KMG]

Monday, May 14, 2012

Art Exhibition Flaunts ‘Nature of the Beast’ at the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre

GUELPH, Ontario May 14, 2012 University of Guelph Release Animal imagery from the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre (MSAC) and the University of Guelph art collections will be featured in an MSAC exhibition, “Nature of the Beast,” May 17 to July 8. The event coincides with the 150th anniversary of U of G’s Ontario Veterinary College.

From 19th-century romanticized views of animals to more challenging contemporary perspectives, the exhibition includes painting, sculpture and works on paper showing how artists help shape our assumptions about connections between animals and humans.

“This exhibition reveals the breadth of the collections, which form a wonderful resource for the campus and the community,” said MSAC director Judith Nasby, who curated the exhibition. “It’s an opportunity for us to show off the treasures in both collections, ranging from rare 16th-century European etchings to transformation subjects by Aboriginal artists, as well as works by regional artists such as Robert Howson and Ken Danby.”

The MSAC collection focuses on contemporary Canadian art, especially outdoor sculpture, Inuit art and Canadian silver. The U of G collection, established in the 1870s, surveys Canadian art over three centuries with examples of European historical prints. Together, the two collections comprise more than 7,000 works by regional, national and international artists.

Aidan Ware, MSAC co-ordinator of education and development, said:

“The catalyst for this show was to examine how animals are depicted in art. “It is truly amazing to think about how animals have impacted many of our social, environmental, and personal histories. The exhibition addresses a really diverse set of topics ranging from agriculture to gender, and presents some of our finest pieces to the public in a completely new context. ‘Nature of the Beast’ is truly a celebration of this legacy.”

The collections continue to grow through national and international donations and bequests of artworks, and through purchases and commissions supported by individual donors, federal grants and funds raised by MSAC volunteers.

The opening reception will take place May 17, at 7 p.m. The exhibition will be opened by OVC Dean Elizabeth Stone and there will be a gallery talk May 22 at noon.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Canadian Government Invests in Kitchener's Homer Watson House & Gallery

KITCHENER, Ontario, May 13, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - An investment from the Government of Canada in the Homer Watson House & Gallery's exhibition Bringing Heritage Home will help boost the economy and create jobs and growth. Support for the special exhibition was announced today by Harold Albrecht, Member of Parliament (Kitchener-Conestoga) and Deputy Government Whip, on behalf of the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages.

With this funding, the Homer Watson House & Gallery will present an exhibition from May 5 to September 30, 2012, as a tribute to its namesake and in celebration of The Queen's Diamond Jubilee. The exhibit will feature two historic Homer Watson Paintings on loan from Windsor Castle's Royal Collection, The Pioneer Mill and The Last Day of the Drought. The paintings are travelling outside of The Queen's private residence for the first time since 1880. This exhibition will also showcase the achievements of Canadian artists and their contribution to their community and to the world.

"Our Government received a strong mandate from Canadians to invest in activities that celebrate our heritage," said Minister Moore. "By supporting this momentous exhibition at Homer Watson House & Gallery, our Government is delivering on its commitment to strengthen our economy and support our arts and culture."

"The Homer Watson House & Gallery is an important cultural attraction in our community," said Mr. Albrecht. "Thanks to this exhibition, visitors and tourists will discover the legacy of a remarkable local artist and celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee."

"Through the generous support of the Government of Canada, we are thrilled to have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to share in this very special exhibition, Bringing Heritage Home," said Faith Hieblinger, Executive Director/Curator. "These royal paintings are historically significant works of art that illustrate our pride in Canada. A wonderful way to come together and celebrate art, culture, and heritage in the 60th anniversary year of the reign of Her Majesty The Queen of Canada."

The Government of Canada has provided funding of $16,320 through the Diamond Jubilee Community Celebrations program. In 2012, Canada marks the 60th anniversary of the reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as Queen of Canada. To celebrate the Diamond Jubilee, the Department of Canadian Heritage is making available funding for community celebrations in honour of The Queen's 60-year reign, her service, and her dedication to this country.

The Diamond Jubilee is one of many milestones Canadians will celebrate in the coming years, including the bicentennial of the War of 1812, Sir John A. Macdonald's 200th birthday in 2015, and Canada's 150th birthday in 2017.

Bringing Wellesley Mill back to life

WELLESLEY, Ontario May 7, 2012 from southwesternontario.ca — Driving through Wellesley as a young boy, Dennis Shantz always wondered what was at the top of the village’s old mill, the biggest building in town.

Now, he owns the historic mill and is discovering the past while he updates the building for the present.

The building’s history is obvious to anyone wandering through the mill. The rooms are now mostly empty, but there are still remnants of its past 160 years hidden in some corners. Metal gears and wheels from grain-milling machinery, old wooden ladders, and the original metal boiler in the basement, all serve as reminders of the structure’s history as a water-powered flour mill. On one thick wooden beam, a weathered “No Smoking” sign warns workers from long ago not to risk a fire.

Shantz, as one of the mill’s owners, has already taken away many historical items that later could be displayed in the mill or given to a historical society. There’s no legal obligation to protect the building’s heritage, but Shantz said his priority is to save what he can and protect the mill’s original look.

“I’m in awe at how they could have done this 150 years ago,” he said. “I’m in awe that it’s still standing…now hopefully it will stand a couple hundred more years.”

Back when the mill was built in 1856, everything was run by belts and pulleys, Shantz said. There were many leftover gears sitting all over when the clean up of the building started.

“There are lots of little treasures in here,” he said, and he’s finding more all the time. As an example, he pulls out part of an old conveyor belt, with metal scoops for carrying grain. “These would have been hundreds of feet long,” he said.

Construction is currently underway as the Wellesley mill is modernized for new tenants to move in. Electricians, plumbers, and contractors are busy inside, and it will cost $27,000 to bring the 13,000-square-foot building up to code.

The original building was still in very good shape, said Shantz. But to meet modern building codes, the thick wooden rafters and support beams had to be reinforced with metal and wood.

A sprinkler system was also installed to fight fires in the old wooden building.

Once changes are finished, the We Chill N U Grill restaurant is working to move into the ground floor. The mill’s basement and upper floor are still empty and available for tenants.

That basement was built with rough stones two feet thick, and is Shantz’s favourite part of the building.

“It’s like being in the basement of a castle,” he said while admiring the dimly lit rooms. “You can see how well-built it is.”

On the main floor, the original brick walls are being covered up, but the original floor of wooden planks is staying.

“They say when the mill was running that floor just shone from all the feed bags polishing it,” Shantz said.

He bought the mill several years ago from Wellesley Township amid worries that the empty building might not be preserved.

“It really looks good compared to what is used to be,” he said. “It’s come a long way.”

The mill was originally built in 1856 by the Doering Brothers, a prominent family from Wellesley’s early days. In 1910, the building was expanded to add a third story and large front section.

Changes in technology over the years have seen the mill shift from waterpower to steam, and finally to electricity.

Visit the Wellesley Mill website and check out their photos here

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Master Shoemaker Roger Vivier Exhibition Opens at Toronto's Bata Shoe Museum

Vivier's early training in sculpture at l'Ecole des Beaux Arts found expression in the way that he sculpted the last, shaped the arch of the heel and angled tip of the toe. Photo credit: Image copyright © The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Image source: Art Resource NY (CNW Group/Bata Shoe Museum)

TORONTO, May 11, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Bata Shoe Museum is thrilled to announce that its newest exhibition Roger Vivier: Process to Perfection is officially open.

Roger Vivier was one of the most celebrated shoe designers of the 20th century. The exhibition features an exquisite display of his bejeweled and elegantly sculptural shoes which have been found on the feet of elegant women around the world.

Vivier rose to fame in the 1950s when he began to design footwear for Christian Dior and his shoes became the epitome of mid-century glamour. Often inventive in form and dripping with ornament, Vivier's footwear earned him a glittering clientele, an enduring place in the history of fashion and the title, "The Fabergé of Shoes".

"Vivier was fascinated by different heel types and some of his most influential pieces included innovative heels such as his refined needle heel, the choc heel and his iconic comma heel", says Elizabeth Semmelhack, Senior Curator at the Bata Shoe Museum. "We really want visitors to walk away from the exhibition with a newly formed appreciation for his stunningly beautiful designs and his ceaseless effort to hone his process while continually striving for perfection."

Roger Vivier's artistic sensibilities led him to study sculpture at l'Ecole des Beaux Arts between 1924 and 1925 but he was introduced to his life's profession by a family friend who offered him a job at a shoe factory in the late 1920s. By the early 1930s, Vivier was making shoes for famous clients such as Mistinguett and Josephine Baker as well as designing shoes for shoe manufactures such as Delman and Bally. It was also at this time that Vivier began to design shoes for the German tannery Heyl-Libenau through Laborémus, their Paris affiliate.

The advent of World War II required that Vivier close his shop. After a brief period of military service he left France in 1941 for work in the United States at the invitation of American shoemaker Herman Delman. On route to the United States, Vivier met milliner Suzanne Rémy and after Delman cut Vivier's hours due to wartime leather and shoe rationing, he and Rémy began to make hats together. They were so successful that they opened a boutique called Suzanne et Roger on Madison Avenue in 1943. Despite their success, however, at the end of World War II, Vivier once again returned to shoemaking and to Paris.

Roger Vivier first met Christian Dior at a dinner party in 1949. Due to Vivier's exclusive contract with Delman the conversation over dinner turned to hats, with Vivier suggesting that he become Dior's milliner. This idea was not embraced by Dior but at their next dinner the talk turned to shoes. Dior had collaborated with famed shoe designers Salvatore Ferragamo and André Perugia in the late 1940s and early 1950s but Dior was looking for someone new to join his couture house and work with him exclusively. Dior wanted Vivier.

In order to secure Vivier, Dior entered into a five year contract with Herman Delman in January of 1953. For the first two years of the contract the shoes designed by Vivier featured the names Delman and Christian Dior on their label but there was no mention of Vivier. However, there was a keen awareness in the press and with the public that Vivier was the creator responsible for Dior's shoes. In 1955 Dior rewarded Vivier's success by extending to him an honour he would not give to any of his other collaborators, he included Vivier's name on the label of Christian Dior shoes.

Vivier's press material from the first years after he opened his own boutique vaunted the fact that he now made shoes for the collections of designers such as Guy Laroche, Pierre Balmain, and Madame Grès. The most important designer that he worked with, however, was Yves Saint Laurent. While designing for Yves Saint Laurent, Vivier debuted two of the most defining forms of footwear of the decade, the thigh-high boot and the low-heeled buckle shoe. Both of these designs earned him instant recognition as a herald of the new mode but interestingly both styles were rooted in 18th century fashion.

His success was unrivalled as the 1960s progressed; he was "the busiest shoe designer in town". In 1968, the same year he was awarded the coveted Neiman-Marcus prize, he added scarves and gloves to his lines of accessories. In 1969, Vivier created a new department in his salon, Monsieur Vivier, where he offered made-to-measure shoes for men.

The Bata Shoe Museum's Vivier holdings are complemented by loans from world-renowned institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Deutsches Ledermuseum in Germany and Roger Vivier, Paris. The exhibition layout reflects the subtitle of the exhibition with one room exploring Vivier's working process and the other room allowing visitors to appreciate the artistry of his shoes. Beautiful graphics, elegant décor, including opulent chandeliers balance the stark white walls allowing the approximately 65 artefacts on view to dazzle. Due to the fragility of some of the artefacts, every three months will see several of the pieces change offering repeat visitors an opportunity to see additional Vivier shoes.

An exciting programming and lecture series has been developed to accompany the exhibition.

Roger Vivier: Process to Perfection will be on view until April 7, 2013.

About the Bata Shoe Museum

The Bata Shoe Museum is dedicated to uncovering the role of footwear in the social and cultural life of humanity. The Museum's growing international collection of over 13,000 objects touches on 4,500 years of history. A varied programme of events and exhibitions lets visitors discover the stories behind footwear from many lands and cultures. Further information is available at www.batashoemuseum.ca.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Bicentennial of the War of 1812

From The Scout Report,
Copyright Internet Scout 1994-2012.

Visit The War of 1812 website at http://1812.gc.ca

The Canadian government has created this engaging site to document the War of 1812 and to commemorate its 200th anniversary. The site has six primary areas, including Historical Overview, Resource Centre, and Official Messages.

In the Official Messages area, visitors can read a welcome from prime minister Stephen Harper and other elected officials.

Moving on, the Historical Overview area provides a summary of the conflict, told via short passages on the war at sea, major land battles, and the resulting peace settlement.

Moving on, the Media Centre contains photos from related media events, press releases, and speeches.

Also, the Teachers' Corner is quite a find, as it includes a Canada Day Poster Challenge contest, along with lesson plans that give students the opportunity to create their own 3-D model battlefields. [KMG]

Thursday, May 3, 2012

200th anniversary of the establishment of the Red River Settlement commemorated on a stamp

1962 issue for the 150th Red River Settlement Anniverary

WINNIPEG, May 3, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Thomas Douglas, the 5th Earl of Selkirk, dreamed of offering Scottish and Irish farmers their own land to work and encouraging western expansion. That dream became a reality in 1812, when the first wave of settlers reached Assiniboia—or the Red River Settlement, as it would come to be known.

While the settlers expected an unpopulated wilderness, they found established Aboriginal, trader communities, hardship and uneasy loyalties. Those Red River settlers planted the first grain crops in the prairies and built relationships with neighbouring Aboriginals. Two hundred years later, the original settlement is the City of Winnipeg. The stamp we issue today honours both the dream and the subsequent growth of our country that it inspired.

"The Red River Settlement is a source of pride for Manitobans, and formed the basis of what our province is today," said the Honourable Steven Fletcher, Minister of State (Transport) and Member of Parliament for Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia. "I am pleased Canada Post is honouring our shared heritage with this important stamp."

The stamp depicts various kinds of people involved with the initial wave of settlement. They are not drawn as individuals but as abstract representations of the different characters and ethnic groups in the area at that time. Métis, local trappers, a native Chief and the settlers, each playing a role in the establishment of this progressive colony, are represented on the stamp.

Mary Traversy, Senior Vice President, Mail, for Canada Post said,

"The complexity of the situation in 1812 is expressed visually. The mood of the stamp is not a joyous or happy one; the low clouds are ominous and perhaps representative of stormy times to come."

About the stamp

The Red River Settlement stamp measures 45 mm x 25.5 mm (horizontal) with 13+ perforations and is printed by Canadian Bank Note on Tullis Russell paper using lithography in five colours. They are general tagged on all four sides. The official first day cover will be cancelled in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The stamps are available in panes of 16 stamps.

Additional information about Canadian stamps can be found in the news section of Canada Post's website, and photos of these new stamps are also available. Stamps and other products will be available at participating post offices, or can be ordered online by following the links at canadapost.ca/collecting, or by mail order from the National Philatelic Centre. From Canada and the USA, call toll-free 1-800-565-4362, and from other countries, call 902 863-6550.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Cuts at Library and Archives Canada devastating for preservation of Canada's history

1920 Post Office in Guelph, Ontario photo credit: Library and Archives Canada (LAC)

OTTAWA, May 2, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Recent cuts to staff and programming at Library and Archives Canada (LAC) will have devastating effects on our nation's ability to acquire and preserve its history.

On April 30, LAC presented 450 members of its staff with affected notices, with 215 of those positions to be eliminated.

"The cuts to jobs at Library and Archives Canada are an attack on one of Canada's most important cultural institutions," said James L. Turk, executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers. "Staff at our national archives and library are the stewards of our collective memory."

"These cuts will further undermine the capacity of Library and Archives Canada to fulfill its legislated mandate to acquire, preserve and make accessible Canada's history."

The announced cuts include:

...the elimination of 21 of the 61 archivists and archival assistants that deal with non-governmental records,

...the reduction of digitization and circulation staff by 50%,

...a significant reduction in the number of staff that deal with preservation and conservation of documents,

...the closure of the interlibrary loans unit.

The National Archival Development Program (NADP), which supports programming at provincial, regional and university archives across Canada, will also be eliminated. Many of these are the small, local archives were to be part of LAC's new distributed Pan-Canadian Documentary Heritage Network.

As a result of the NADP cut, the Canadian Council of Archives office will be closed in Ottawa and many summer work projects already planned across the country will be cancelled.

"Canadians must act now to protect their cultural heritage," said Turk.

Please visit www.savelac.ca for updated information and to view the new video by historian Craig Heron on the importance of Library and Archives Canada.

HRH The Prince of Wales to Visit Historic Toronto Charity Yonge Street Mission

TORONTO, May 1, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales will visit Yonge Street Mission on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 to hear business leaders and young people discuss the barriers to employment at-risk youth can face.

The Prince of Wales will meet with top executives and at-risk youth as part of The Prince's Charities Seeing is Believing Program. The program is designed to give business leaders a clearer understanding of how they can help create solutions to a range of social issues. Yonge Street Mission is one of the first two Canadian charities to be selected to participate as the program is expanded to Canada.

The young people involved in the visit came to the Mission for help in turning their lives around. They include 26-year-old Korey Griffiths, who was once involved with drug dealing and prostitution. Korey has just been offered an internship with Toronto Printing House, which was arranged by Janice O'Born, CEO of The Printing House Charitable Office.

Yonge Street Mission was established in 1896, when the Prince's great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, was the reigning monarch. For 116 years we have worked to meet the needs of all people living with poverty, providing emergency care while fostering long-term transformation.

Yonge Street Mission offers 100 programs and services, including a food bank, meals, health care for street youth, computer camps, daycare, and summer camps. Last year, we welcomed 15,000 people in more than 184,000 visits.

The visit takes place Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 1:50 p.m. at 306 Gerrard St. E., just east of Parliament St.