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Sunday Newsletter 2001-21Su.
May 27, 2001.
I'm sure you've all noticed that we've been late three weeks in a row this week. No excuses, except to say that Craig and I are trying our best and we are sorry. At least we have not missed one completely. You know, I've looked at many other Canadian-oriented Web sites during the past year and I still find that FactsCanada.ca is the only one that comes out with a supporting newsletter on a regular basis -- we don't just update our site occasionally. We try to bring you the most interesting Canadian facts possible while still trying to cater to the wide range of interests represented by our readership. We also try (by definition) to be as factual as possible and I believe that, for the most part, we have done just that -- allowing for April Fools' Day and our humour sections.
== TABLE OF CONTENTS ==
= Question of the week
= Biography -- Bruce Cockburn
= Notes from the notable -- Alanis Nadine Morissette
= Some Canadian history -- The Dionne Quintuplets
= Place names -- Choiceland, Esterhazy, and Estevan, Saskatchewan
= Quote of the week
= Oops (a minor one)
= This week's idiom
= Also born this week
= On what we do
= Answer to this week's question
= Links and resources
= Legal and subscription information
== QUESTION OF THE WEEK ==
The Ottawa River is historically one of Canada's most important rivers, in terms of its effect on the development of its surrounding area, and its strategic location has allowed it to be one of the most important "gateways" to the entire area.
My question, which I believe is probably known only to scholars, area residents and historians, will probably require a bit of research -- or you can simply cheat and look for the answer at the end of newsletter. The question is: The Algonquin Indian band had a name at one time for the Ottawa River, as did the French. Can you name one or both of them? For bonus points you can include their meaning.
== BIOGRAPHY ==
This singer, songwriter, guitarist and political activist was born in Ottawa, Ontario, on May 27, 1945. His early years were spent growing up on a farm outside of Pembroke, Ontario. During the 1950s Bruce's love of music became apparent. He learned to play the clarinet and trumpet and studied the piano at the Royal Conservatory of Music during treks into Toronto. These musical growing years were complemented by summers spent at Algonquin Provincial Park where, no doubt, his love of nature also established its roots.
In 1959 his grandmother bought him his first guitar and, almost as if by magic, Bruce found his instrument of choice. In 1963 he played briefly with a group called The Jades, with whom he made his first (and now extremely rare) recording. The mid-1960s found Bruce travelling amongst many local Ottawa area groups including The Children, The Esquires, and Three's a Crowd. (It was The Esquires who are purported to have made Canada's first music video ["The Man from Adano"] the year prior to Bruce's arrival.) By 1966 he was performing for both The Children and a band called Heavenly Blue. The following year Bruce made his first solo performance at the Mariposa Folk Festival in Orillia, Ontario, and his days as a solo artist began.
In 1970 he recorded the album "High Winds, White Sky", but it was not released immediately. His first released solo album was the self-titled "Bruce Cockburn", which is sometimes erroneously referred to as "True North". He then became a folk singer with a humanist, poetic style, combining elements of jazz, rock and reggae. His early records include "Sunwheel Dance" in 1972, which contributed to his Juno Award that same year for Canadian Folk Singer of the Year, a prize he also won in 1973. In 1974 he won a Juno for Best Album Graphics for his 1973 "Night Vision" release. Other important albums became "In the Falling Dark" from 1976, "Dancing in the Dragon's Jaws" from 1979, "Stealing Fire" from 1984, and the singles collection "Waiting for a Miracle" released in 1987.
Cockburn has written songs in both English and French -- among his signature pieces are "Goin' to the Country", "Musical Friends", and his 1980 American hits "Wondering Where the Lions Are", "The Trouble with Normal" and "Lovers in a Dangerous Time". His long-time wife, Kitty Cockburn, sometime assisted him in his writing -- she co-wrote "Starwheel". Also during this period he won another Juno Award for Best Album Graphics for the 1975 release "Joy Will Find a Way". In 1979 he won his first of three Juno Awards for "Male Vocalist of the Year" -- he also won in 1981 and 1982. His total number of Juno Awards sits at six (from 24 nominations), as well as two other awards associated with his works. A print-out of his other accolades totals more than three pages.
Inspired by a visit to Central American refugee camps on behalf of the relief organization Oxfam, Bruce's growing activist spirit led to his evolution from a folk singer and songwriter to the rock sounds and polemic bent of songs such as "If I Had a Rocket Launcher" from 1984. In 1985, he performed two benefit concerts that raised over $35 000 to help the Haida Nation in their land-claims struggle in British Columbia. He has also worked with the Unitarian Services Committee, Friends of the Earth and World Vision Canada. The 1989 song "If a Tree Falls" called for an end to destruction of the world's rain forests.
Concert touring and regular album releases in America, Australia and Europe have given Bruce a solid international reputation throughout his career. After 19 albums with the Canadian label True North Records, Cockburn signed a worldwide contract with New York-based Columbia Records in 1991. Subsequent releases include "Nothing but a Burning Light", "Christmas" and the rare recording of "Dart to the Heart" (which has recently been re-released). His 23rd album, "The Charity of Night", was his first for Rykodisc (another record label) and featured guest turns by Bonnie Raitt, Ani DiFranco, Maria Muldar and the jazz vibraphone player Gary Burton. The album included "The Mines of Mozambique", which documents the deadly impact of anti-personnel mines. After addressing the land mine issue in dozens of interviews, Cockburn and singer/songwriter friend Jackson Browne headlined a fundraising concert in Ottawa on December 3, 1997, that marked the signing of a United Nations treaty banning their use.
Other artists that have recorded Bruce's songs include Chet Atkins, The Barenaked Ladies, The Barra MacNeils, Barney Bentall, Jimmy Buffett, Dan Fogelburg, Maria Muldar, The Rankins, Leo Sayer and Valdy, to name just a few. However, his favourite fan has been Anne Murray, who has recorded numerous songs penned by this musical magician known as Bruce Cockburn.
Although his recorded output has diminished in recent years, Bruce has not stopped pursuing his goal of saving our planet. He has also managed to record the recent "Breakfast in New Orleans, Dinner in Timbuktu" disc and a jazz rendering of his songs by Michael Occhipinti entitled "Creating the Dream... The Songs of Bruce Cockburn". Recently Bruce was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the presentation was aired on the recent Juno Awards ceremony from Copps Coliseum in Hamilton, Ontario, this past March 4, 2001. He has now joined other great musicians of our time like Anne Murray, Gordon Lightfoot, Neil Young and Joni Mitchell to name but a few.
== NOTES FROM THE NOTABLE ==
Name: Alanis Nadine Morissette.
Vocation: Singer, songwriter, performer and would-be actress.
Born in: Ottawa, Ontario.
Birth date: June 1, 1974.
Early work: Prior to the amazing 1995 release of "Jagged Little Pill", which went on to sell more that 25 million copies, Alanis had two other dance-oriented recordings; the 1991 release of "Alanis" and "Now is the Time" from 1992.
Juno Awards: Alanis has won ten Juno Awards; nine under her full name and one under just her first name (which was for Most Promising Female Vocalist).
Film career: The 1999 comedy film "Dogma", in which she played God, and the 2001 release of "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" (which is currently in post-production with a tentative release date of August 24, 2001), in which she once again plays the role of God.
Trivia: Alanis is currently signed to Madonna's "Maverick" recording label.
== SOME CANADIAN HISTORY ==
The Dionne Quintuplets
Back in a time where the birth of four babies at one time was a rarity, Canada was host to five living babies, all of them girls. The world was amazed and intrigued by the birth of Annette, Emilie, Yvonne, Cecile and Marie in Corbeil near Callander, Ontario, to Oliva and Elzire Dionne on May 28, 1934. At the time there were only two previous cases of quintuplets on record, and this brood were the only ones to survive for more than a few days. This miracle, plus their baby cuteness, the poverty of their French-Canadian parents, and the controversy over their guardianship, made them the sensation of the world during the pre-war 1930s.
Fearing private exploitation, the Ontario government removed them from their parents and placed them in a specially built hospital under the care of Dr. Allan Roy Dafoe (born in Madoc, Ontario, March 29, 1883), who had delivered them. The "quints'" mother, Elzire Dionne, fought a nine-year battle to regain them. In the interim they became the country's biggest tourist attraction -- three million people made the trek to "Quintland" to watch the babies at play behind a one-way screen.
Hollywood fictionalized their story in five movies: "Five of a Kind", "Quintupland", "The Country Doctor", "Going on Two", and "Reunion". There was also a 1979 television documentary simply entitled "The Dionne Quintuplets" which was narrated by Canadian media personality Pierre Berton. Dozens of commercial endorsements swelled their trust fund to nearly one million dollars.
A reunion with the family in November of 1943 was not successful. Eventually the quintuplets moved to Montreal. Three of them, Annette, Cecile and Marie, took husbands but the marriages failed. Emilie, an epileptic, entered a convent and died in August 1954 during a seizure. The four survivors told their own often bitter story in the book "We Were Five", which was published in 1965. Marie, the weakest, died in February 1970. The remaining three shared the final instalment of the much-depleted trust fund in 1979.
It was not until September 1987 that another set of "quints", this time two boys and three girls, were born in Canada.
== AWARDS ==
Yet again a Canadian writer has been short-listed for a literary award. This time it is Margaret Atwood (whose biography is featured in FactsCanada.ca issue 2000-20Su). Ms. Atwood has made the short list of only six books up for the lucrative ($67 500) British award known as the Orange Prize. Her most recent release, "Blind Assassin", is a multi-layered tale of a family tragedy, and has already won the 2000 Booker Prize. The Orange Prize was set up in 1996 to celebrate English language fiction by female authors.
By the way, I have read "Blind Assassin" and it's a wonderful book.
== PLACE NAMES ==
Choiceland, Esterhazy, and Estevan, Saskatchewan
Choiceland: This town's post office was originally opened in 1927, but it did not receive recognition as a town until 1979. With a population of just under 500, the town is located west of Nipawin on the corner of Highways 6 and 55, 100 kilometres east of Prince Albert, 200 kilometres from Saskatoon and 250 kilometres from Regina. It was named by local-area resident Pete Rotz in recognition of the high quality of soils in the area.
Esterhazy is also classified as a town, its population is around 2700, and it has an area of 4.9 square kilometres. Incorporated as a village in 1903 and as a town in 1957, it is located in east-central Saskatchewan 83 kilometres southeast of Yorkton. It is named after Count Paul Esterhazy, who founded a colony of Hungarian families just south of the future town site in 1886. The Kaposvar Historic Site Museum is a four-hectare replica of the colony on the original site. The Kirkella branch of the Canadian Pacific Railway reached the area in 1902 and the community served the mixed farming area surrounding it. Potash was discovered in the area the 1950s and the world's largest potash mine went into production in 1962.
Estevan: This city, with a population of around 11 000, occupies an area of 17.67 square kilometres. It was incorporated in 1957 and is located on the Souris River, 210 kilometres southeast of Regina and 16 kilometres north of the American border. Estevan is the sunshine capital of Canada, averaging more hours of sunshine per year than any other Canadian city at 2499.9 hours. The town site was surveyed in 1892 where the Soo Line of the Canadian Pacific Railway crossed the river and grew steadily from that date, largely because of its dual role as a trading and energy centre. The large lignite coal deposits in the area were quickly recognized as a valuable source of fuel for the treeless plains, and coal mining developed rapidly. It has remained significant, and the construction of the coal-fuelled Boundary Dam generating station of the Saskatchewan Power Corporation during the late 1950s confirmed the city's position as the "energy capital" of Saskatchewan. A second power station, Shand, was built between 1988 and 1992. Boundary Dam and Shand are Saskatchewan's largest and third largest electric generating stations respectively. The controversial Rafferty and Alameda dams were built in part for the Shand power station. They are also used for irrigation and flood control. Oil was discovered in the area in the 1950s and the oil industry plays an important role in the local economy.
== QUOTE OF THE WEEK ==
"If I had a rocket launcher, some son of a bitch would die." --Bruce Cockburn, from "If I Had a Rocket Launcher".
== OOPS (A MINOR ONE) ==
One of my favourite post-production editors is Rob from Regina. He has a great deal of Canadiana stored away in his noggin and he pointed out a couple of inaccuracies in my biography on Tom Cochrane from two weeks ago (issue 2001-19Su). The article has been updated on the Web site to reflect correct information regarding hits from various albums. If you are interested in the correction, the information is at the end of the second paragraph of the article. I had misread some of my notes -- I had it noted correctly and simply erred in writing the final draft. My apologies to all of you, and my thanks to Rob.
== THIS WEEK'S IDIOM ==
"Lip service." Support shown by words only and not by actions; a show of loyalty that is not shown in action, but usually with payment.
Example: Certain "go green" organizations are having great difficulty maintaining their membership, and politicians usually pay only lip service to most environmental problems.
== ALSO BORN THIS WEEK ==
Douglas Lloyd Campbell, premier of Manitoba (1948-1958), born in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, May 27, 1895.
Claude Champagne, composer and teacher, born in Montreal, Quebec, May 27, 1891.
Francess Georgina Halpenny, editor and general editor of the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, winner of the Molson Prize for the Arts and Companion of the Order of Canada, born in Ottawa, Ontario, May 27, 1919.
Hugh Le Caine, physicist, inventor, composer and designer of electronic instruments, born in Port Arthur (now Thunder Bay), Ontario, May 27, 1914.
George Seymour Lyon, athlete, early golfing prodigy and Olympic gold medalist, born in Richmond, Canada West, May 27, 1858.
Northern Dancer, racehorse, first Canadian-born horse to win the Kentucky Derby (1964), born in Oshawa, Ontario, May 27, 1961.
Kathleen Frances Daly, painter (who married fellow countryman and painter George Pepper), born in Napanee, Ontario, May 28, 1898.
Donald Roderick MacLaren, fighter pilot and businessman, born in Ottawa, Ontario, May 28, 1893.
Albert Bowman Rogers, railway surveyor and engineer, discovered British Columbia's Rogers Pass (named after him), born in Orleans, Massachusetts, USA, May 28, 1829.
John Patrick Savage, physician and premier of Nova Scotia (1993-1997), born in Newport, South Wales, United Kingdom, May 28, 1932.
John Louis Wayne, comedian and part of the Wayne and Shuster comedy team, born in Toronto, Ontario, May 28, 1918.
Ronald Bloore, painter, born in Brampton, Ontario, May 29, 1925.
Roy Bonisteel, broadcast journalist and writer, born in Ameliasburg, Ontario, May 29, 1930.
Jacques Genest, physician and researcher, founder of the Institut de recherches cliniques in Montreal, born in Montreal, Quebec, May 29, 1919.
Beatrice Gladys Lillie (Lady Robert Peel), comedienne, author and actress, born in Toronto, Ontario, May 29, 1894.
Marcel Trudel, historian, recipient of the Molson Prize and Officer of the Order of Canada, born in St-Narcisse, Quebec, May 29, 1917.
Wilhelmus Nicholaas Theodore Marie "Bill" Vander Zalm, horticulturist, businessman and premier of British Columbia (1986-1991), born in Noordwykerhout, Holland, May 29, 1934.
John William Beatty, fireman, painter, and mentor to the "Group of Seven", born in Toronto, Ontario, May 30, 1869.
Pierre-Joseph-Olivier Chauveau, lawyer and premier of Quebec (1867-1873), born in Charlesbourg, Lower Canada, May 30, 1820.
Christopher Maxwell House, dancer and choreographer, born in St. John's Newfoundland, May 30, 1955.
Clarence Augustus Chant, professor, astronomer and physicist, known as "the father of Canadian astronomy", born in Hagerman's Corners, Ontario, May 31, 1865.
Robert Daudelin, film administrator, writer, producer and director, born in West Shefford, Quebec, May 31, 1939.
Corey Mitchell Hart, singer, songwriter and Juno-Award winner, born in Montreal, Quebec, May 31, 1961.
John Edward Niel "Jack" Weibe, farmer and lieutenant-governor of Saskatchewan (1994-2000), born in Herbert, Saskatchewan, May 31, 1936.
David Howard Harrison, physician, farmer and premier of Manitoba (1887-1888), born in London, Canada West, June 1, 1843.
William George Schneider, scientist, born in Wolseley, Saskatchewan, June 1, 1915.
June Callwood, journalist and civil libertarian, born in Chatham, Ontario, June 2, 1924.
Gedeon Ouimet, premier of Quebec (1873-1874), born in Ste-Rose, Quebec, June 2, 1823.
Robert Paul, figure skater and Olympic gold medalist, born in Toronto, Ontario, June 2, 1937.
Laurence Clark "Larry" Robinson, Hockey Hall of Fame member, record holder for playing 20 consecutive seasons without missing the playoffs, born in Winchester, Ontario, June 2, 1951.
== ON WHAT WE DO ==
You know, there are two really big, weekly, American e-mail newsletters to which I subscribe. I won't mention their names here, but one has over 140 000 subscribers and the other over 125 000 subscribers. These American newsletters don't even cater solely to American trivia, but entertain their readers with international statistics. The publisher of the larger newsletter claims that 8 percent (or 11 200) of his subscribers are Canadian.
I analyse both of these newsletters on an almost weekly basis and I am stumped. Both produce mass amounts of trivia in small doses (i.e., one or two sentences long) and only partially cover their country of origin! In addition they both have advertisements interspersed within their newsletter, one offers a "premium" subscription that offers twice as much trivia (for a price, of course), and the other recently announced the possibility of doing the same. I often think how easy it would be to come up with a weekly newsletter that has only information comparable to these two distributions. Is this the only way to be successful on the Internet? I hope not! I certainly don't want to reduce my Bruce Cockburn biography to just two lines. In fact, there were many interesting items I had to leave out just to keep it to the length it is, which is still one of our longer biographies. This is why we like to provide you with links to Web sites with more information whenever we can. That way, if you're interested, you can pursue a particular angle or topic at your leisure.
Alas, we cannot continue at the same pace, with thousands of dollars and hours out and virtually nothing in -- actually, about 20 cents so far. A usual edition of the newsletter takes me approximately 10-12 hours to research, followed by another 3-8 hours of typing, checking, reading, re-checking and verifying to the best of my abilities. I'm sure Craig spends the same amount of time, if not more, each week verifying my writings (some call them ramblings), editing, phoning or e-mailing me with questions, updating the site and much more. Why do we do it? Mostly because we want to do our part to bring awareness of our great land to as many people as possible. We would like to have more time to accomplish this but, like most of you, we are trapped in a regular working world.
So, in the coming weeks and months we will be considering some ways in which we might be able to generate some revenue in order to cover some (or hopefully all) of our costs. Craig and I are readers of newsletters and viewers of Web sites just like you, so we think that we have a pretty good idea of what constitutes subtle yet effective forms of revenue generation, while staying away from some of the forms that are just plain infuriating (such as pop-up windows that open faster than a teenage, video-game wizard can close them). We will always have a free newsletter and we will never require that you part with your hard-earned cash for the dubious pleasure of reading what we write.
As I think I have said before, the simplest way you can help is by forwarding this newsletter onto friends and relatives, encouraging them to subscribe. I know that, as Canadians, we are sometimes a little reserved in these areas, but we must increase and broaden our subscriber base or we may eventually face a time when we might have to cut our losses and try a new venture. I hope that never happens. Please consider my words -- we need your support.
Thank-you, from John and Craig (workaholics on your behalf).
== ANSWER TO THIS WEEK'S QUESTION ==
To refresh your memory, I posed the question: The Algonquin Indian band had a name at one time for the Ottawa River, as did the French. Can you name one or both of them? For bonus points you can include their meaning.
Answer: The Algonquin name was "Kichesippi", meaning great river. The French called it "La Grande Riviere des Algoumequins" or "The Big River of Algoumequins".
Here's a little history for you. Long before the arrival of the first Europeans, the Ottawa River was an important "highway" for commerce, cultural exchange, and transportation. Archeological sites on Morrison Island near Pembroke, Ontario, reveal an ancient culture, stemming back as far as 5000 years, that manufactured copper tools and weapons. Copper ore was extracted north of Lake Superior and distributed via the Ottawa River throughout the daunting Canadian Shield country, down to what is today's northern New York state in the USA. At this time the prehistoric river still drained much of the Great Lakes basin, which are a legacy left behind by the most recent Ice Age. Today, however, the Lake Erie route is the sole outlet for the basin.
Some 2000 years ago the river and its tributaries looked much like they do today, with the waters draining over 140 000 square kilometres of mostly Precambrian rock. Local pottery artifacts from this period show widespread similarities that indicate the continuing use of the river for cultural exchange throughout the Shield area and beyond. Some centuries later the Algonquin tribe moved in and inhabited the islands and shores along the Ottawa River -- by the early 17th century the first Europeans found them well established as a hunter and gatherer society in control of the river. The Algonquins called the river the "Kichesippi" -- the French colonials called it "La Grande Riviere des Algoumequins", and quickly recognized its strategic potential as a conduit to the outer reaches of the New World and beyond.
== PREVIEW ==
This Sunday I will profile Hockey Hall of Fame member Eddie Giacomin, cover the ten Newfoundland locations which include the word "dildo" in their names (requested by a reader... and no, it wasn't Craig!), look back 15 years to the music at the top of the Canadian charts in 1986, and make an early announcement of our next and most elaborate giveaway yet celebrating our upcoming first anniversary. Craig will also be including a short editorial on ex-subscribers (and refugees from the United States) who were, sadly, born without their sense of humour gene.
Due to the fact that we are so unbelievably late with this newsletter (we can't even call it a Sunday Newsletter at the moment), we are going to postpone our Friday Feature on the CFL which was scheduled to be published on Friday, June 1. We just think that sending you three newsletters in four days is a bit much. Besides, most of the training camps don't start until next weekend anyway. See you later!
== LINKS AND RESOURCES ==
FactsCanada.ca -- http://www.factscanada.ca
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