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Sunday Newsletter 2001-32Su.
August 12, 2001.
[John] As I sit here trying to compose an interesting introduction to this week's newsletter, absolutely nothing comes to mind. I guess this is what the pros in the literary world call "writer's block". I then got the great idea of writing about events that have been happening recently in Canada. I found two news stories of epic proportions that needed to be told. Both stories come from the Atlantic region and could have worldwide repercussions!
The first story comes out of Bishop's Falls, Newfoundland. At the time of this writing, police remain on the hunt for a missing emu. This flightless bird escaped from its owner's farm near Highway One, some 75 kilometres west of Gander (yeah, I know... emu, gander....). A male, this emu is worth about $4000, and RCMP Constable Jeff Milner chased it along a highway at speeds up to 40 kilometres per hour, prompting him to say, "The bird wasn't even breaking a sweat!" Unfortunately the 68-kilogram emu veered off the highway and disappeared into the woods. Not only are the police involved in this bird hunt, but so are the owner of the farm and his son. Officials say the emu isn't a danger to humans, but are worried it could cause havoc with traffic if it decides to head back to the highway.
The second story comes from Rollo Bay, Prince Edward Island, where a recent comic book convention was cancelled. Now writer Kurt Busic of Marvel Comics will make the sandy shores of the tiny community a venue in two upcoming editions (42 and 43) of the "Avengers" comic book series. Busic was contacted by an area resident who was very disappointed in the cancellation. Busic also says he missed out on a great island vacation he was planning around the convention, at which he was scheduled to appear as a guest. Now Rollo Bay will be invaded (fictionally) by "sword-wielding barbarians from deep in the Atlantic Ocean" and the Super Heroes who come to the rescue.
I hope both these stories turn out to have happy endings, for the sake of all humanity.
FactsCanada.ca map of Bishop's Falls, Newfoundland
Picture of an emu
FactsCanada.ca map of Rollo Bay, PEI
Marvel Comics site on the "Avengers"
\\ TABLE OF CONTENTS //
\ Question of the week
\ Biography -- Oscar Emmanuel Peterson
\ Awards and prizes -- The Glenn Gould Prize
\ Notes from the notable -- Jane Siberry
\ Quote of the week
\ Place names -- Plamondon, Alberta
\ Also born this week
\ It happened this week in history
\ Answer to this week's question
\ Links and resources
\ Legal and subscription information
\\ QUESTION OF THE WEEK //
Happy Hollow, Saskatchewan. Never heard of it? Not surprising, as it changed its name 111 years ago. What is the current name of this prairie town?
The answer, as usual, is near the bottom of the newsletter.
\\ BIOGRAPHY //
Oscar Emmanuel Peterson
Born on August 15, 1925, in Montreal, Quebec, Peterson has devoted his life to music. The magnitude of his recorded output and awards bears out this dedication. He has recorded over 130 solo works, including his masterful composition of "The Canadiana Suite" from 1963. He has also teamed up with scores of other music greats like Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie and even classical violinist Itzhak Perlman. Being a fan of both classical and jazz music, with the violin and piano being my two favourite instruments, I am surprised that I do not own the Peterson/Perlman work. I shall have to rectify this.
Peterson's parents, Daniel and Kathleen, had a total of five children. Oscar was the fourth, with siblings named Fred, Charles, Daisy and May. Daniel was a porter with the CPR and an amateur organist. He insisted that each child should study music, with each child being responsible for teaching the next child who came along. Thus Peterson's first musical instructor was his older sister Daisy. Later Daisy herself would become a well-respected piano teacher in the Montreal community.
During his teen years, Peterson studied and trained under a number of instructors including the renowned Paul de Marky. It soon became evident though, that Peterson's talents would soon surpass that of all expectations. Peterson emerged during the early 1940s as a big attraction around the Montreal area, performing on local radio and appearing as a soloist with the Johnny Holmes Orchestra. His first recording came in the spring of 1945 and was released by RCA Victor. By the end of 1946, after two western Canadian tours and appearances on a number of CBC Radio variety shows, Peterson secured his position as the first jazz star that Canada could truly call its own. By the end of the forties Peterson had all but exhausted the limited jazz market in Canada and, in the fall of 1949, he made his American debut as a surprise guest of the Philharmonic in New York's famous Carnegie Hall. This brief performance caused quite a sensation and served as the launching pad for Peterson's international career.
Through all his success and awards, Peterson could have based himself anywhere in the world, but in 1958 he made Toronto his home and later moved to the Mississauga area. Peterson has never stopped working or recording and has credits on hundreds of recorded works. Dozens of books have been printed about him, with Peterson actually penning a series of jazz exercises for the young pianist. In 1972 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada, and he was promoted to Companion in 1984. He is also in the Canadian Music Hall of Fame (1978). Several of his recordings have also won Grammy Awards and in 1997 he was honoured with their Lifetime Achievement Award. He is also a Juno-Award winner and was awarded the Glenn Gould Prize in 1993. Gould would probably be Peterson's only rival among Canadian pianists.
In 1999 Concordia University in Montreal changed the name of their concert hall to the Oscar Peterson Concert Hall. Originally opened in 1989, this magnificent venue seats 570. Currently the National Library of Canada in Ottawa is hosting an exhibition dedicated to Peterson's life called "Oscar Peterson: A Jazz Sensation". You'd better hurry if you want to see it, as it only runs through September 3, 2001.
National Library of Canada
Concordia University's Oscar Peterson Concert Hall
\\ AWARDS AND PRIZES //
The Glenn Gould Prize
The Glenn Gould Prize is an international prize, which was awarded for the first time in November 1987. It was created by the Glenn Gould Foundation and is intended as a tribute by the people of Canada to the life and work of Glenn Gould.
The prize is awarded every three years to recognize an exceptional contribution to music, and consists of a $50 000 award and an original work by a Canadian artist. The Glenn Gould Prize is awarded to an individual who has earned international recognition as the result of a highly exceptional contribution to music and its communication, through the use of any communications technologies.
Individuals from any country are eligible and may come from a broad range of fields, including musical creation or performance, film, video, television, radio and recordings, music-theatre and writing.
Glenn Gould Prize
\\ NOTES FROM THE NOTABLE //
Name: Jane Siberry.
Birth place: Etobicoke, Ontario.
Birth date: August 12, 1956.
Vocation: Singer, songwriter and musical innovator.
Schooling: University of Guelph in Ontario, where she studied microbiology. Her first singing performance was at a coffee house on the campus.
Career: Although her style is not considered mainstream, Siberry has had an avid and devoted following during the past 20 years since she recorded her self-titled debut album in 1981. Her style has been described as ambitious, quirky and melodic, a folk-based pop-oriented menagerie of styles. After a dozen years riding out the independent record label scene in Canada, Siberry signed with the mega-label Warner Brothers but, after two critically-acclaimed but poor-selling offerings (including the 1995 jazz oriented "Maria"), she left the label. In Toronto in 1996 she formed her own label, Sheeba Records, and relies heavily on the Internet to keep her fans up-to-date with concert dates, releases and much more. On Sheeba she has released a series of unique recordings.
Claim to fame: Recorded the song "It Can't Rain All the Time", which was part of the soundtrack for "The Crow", which starred Brandon Lee.
Other notable recordings: "Mimi on the Beach", "Ingrid and the Footman", and "Everything Reminds Me of My Dog".
Jane Siberry's and Sheeba Records
\\ QUOTE OF THE WEEK //
"Happily ignorant of what I was getting into, I rented a room in a factory, ordered an 800 number, and slept with myself so that I could get in good with the boss." --Jane Siberry, on starting her own record company, May 17, 1996.
\\ PLACE NAMES //
This village of just over 300 people is located about 200 kilometres northeast of Edmonton, a few kilometres from Lac La Biche, and about halfway between Edmonton and the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range. It was named after the postmaster, Joseph Plamondon, who was a homesteader in this area. Although first named in 1909, it was not until 1965 that the site was designated a village.
Despite its size there are two upcoming annual events in this community. The first happens on August 18 and 19, 2001, and is called "The Plamondon Motor Sports Club Mud Bog" (sounds messy). It is described as two days of action and excitement hosted by the Plamondon Motor Sports Club. This family event includes the CMRO (Canadian Mud Racing Organization) Sanctioned Amateur Mud Bog Event competition. A beer tent and refreshments are available on site. They claim all "mud bogers" are welcome. (I guess "boger" will appear soon in the Websters and Gage dictionaries.)
Not to be outdone, the Plamondon Corn Festival takes place on September 8, 2001. This is a traditional French-Canadian festival, during which everyone enjoys the contest which involves looking for a red or blue kernel of corn so the finder can be crowned King or Queen of Corn. The day's activities include a barbecue dinner and a corn roast. New Francophone individuals are introduced and the evening is wrapped up with a dance and games.
FactsCanada.ca map of Plamondon, Alberta
\\ ALSO BORN THIS WEEK //
Brian Doyle, children's novelist, born in Ottawa, Ontario, August 12, 1935.
Rejean Ducharme, author, playwright, scriptwriter, songwriter and recluse, winner of the Governor General's Award for Literature in 1968 for "L'Avalee des avales" and again in 1982 for "HA ha!" Born in St.-Felix-de-Valois, Quebec, August 12, 1941.
Mitchell Frederick Hepburn, provincial treasurer and premier of Ontario (1934-1942), born in St. Thomas, Ontario, August 12, 1896.
Arthur Reginald Marsden Lower, professor and historian, two-time Governor General's Award winner (1946 and 1954), Royal Society of Canada's Tyrrell Medal winner (1947), Companion of the Order of Canada (1968), and an honorary chief of the Ojibwa (his native name Kikugaygawbigoneden means "the recorder of his people's tradition") born in Barrie, Ontario, August 12, 1889. Lower lived to reach the hearty age of 98 years.
John Walter Grant MacEwan, author, historian, mayor of Calgary, Alberta (1963-1966), lieutenant-governor of Alberta (1966-1974), appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada (1974), born in Brandon, Manitoba, August 12, 1902. MacEwan was also long-lived, as he died two months shy of his 98th year.
Ken Watson, curler with a record of 25 Brier Cup wins (with only two losses), born in Minnedosa, Manitoba, August 12, 1904.
Philip Carteret Hill, lawyer and premier of Nova Scotia (1875-1878), born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, August 13, 1821.
Camillien Houde (a.k.a. "Mr. Montreal"), politician and mayor of Montreal for four separate terms, born in Montreal, Quebec, August 13, 1889.
Gordon Sparling, pioneering filmmaker, director, writer and producer of over 200 films, born in Toronto, Ontario, August 13, 1900, and died in his 93rd year.
Horst Bulau, ski jumper, born in Ottawa, Ontario, August 14,1962.
Steven Heighton, poet and short-story writer, born in Toronto, Ontario, August 14, 1961.
Gerald Ouellette, marksman and aviator, winner of the 1956 Olympic gold medal in the small-bore rifle category, born in Windsor, Ontario, August 14, 1934. He died piloting his own aircraft at the age of 40 on June 25, 1975.
Jacques Alfred "Ja Dex" Dextraze, career soldier, and Officer then Companion of the Order of Canada, born in Montreal, Quebec, August 15, 1919. He worked his way through the ranks from private to general and served as the chief of the defence staff from 1972 to 1977.
Charles Fisher, lawyer, judge, and one of the premiers of New Brunswick prior to Confederation, born in Fredericton, New Brunswick, August 15 or 16, 1808. He is also considered one of the Fathers of Confederation.
Thomas Laird Kennedy, farmer and premier of Ontario (1948-1949), born in Dixie (now Mississauga), Ontario, August 15, 1878.
George Johnn Klein, design engineer and inventor, born in Ottawa, Ontario, August 15, 1904. Some of Klein's work included work on the Canadarm as chief consultant while in his seventies, the invention of a wheelchair for quadriplegics, and a microsurgical gun used to suture blood vessels.
James Cameron, film director, producer and screenwriter, born in Kapuskasing, Ontario, August 16, 1954. (You can read his biography in FactsCanada.ca issue 2000-07Su.)
Harold Foster, cartoonist, artist and author, born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, August 16, 1892. Foster was one of the early cartoonists drawing the "Tarzan" comic strip (1929-1937). He also created the "Prince Valiant" strip in 1937, calling it "an original illustrated historic novel". He both wrote and illustrated the strip for 42 years until three years prior to his death on July 28, 1982.
John Jones Ross, physician and premier of Quebec (1884-1887), born in Ste.-Anne-de-la-Perade, Lower Canada, August 16, 1833.
Robert Porter "Buddy" Tinsley Jr., CFL football star, born in Damon, Texas, August 16, 1924. Tinsley's Blue Bomber teams went to the Grey Cup five times, winning twice. He won many awards and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1982.
Andrew Rainsford Wetmore, first premier of New Brunswick after Confederation (1867-1870), born in Fredericton, New Brunswick, August 16, 1820.
Colin James, singer, songwriter and musician, winner of six Juno Awards, born in Regina, Saskatchewan, August 17, 1964.
Jean Pierre Lefebvre, French-language filmmaker, born in Montreal, Quebec, August 17, 1941.
Robert Brent "Bob" Thirsk, biomedical engineer and astronaut, born in New Westminster, British Columbia, August 17, 1953. (See also "The World Above our Planet" in issue 2001-04Su.)
Arthur LeBlanc, violinist and composer, born in Village-du-Bois de Saint-Anselme (now Dieppe), New Brunswick, August 18, 1906.
Sir Ernest Alexander Campbell MacMillan, symphony conductor and composer, born in Mimico (later Etobicoke), Ontario, August 18, 1893. MacMillan received many honours in his life which included being knighted (1935), winning the Canada Council Medal (1964), and appointment as a Companion of the Order of Canada (1970).
Joseph Harvey Shoctor, lawyer, real-estate developer and theatre producer and administrator, appointed a Member (1978) and then an Officer (1985) of the Order of Canada, born in Edmonton, Alberta, August 18, 1922. He has also won awards or been honoured many times on a provincial level in Alberta.
John Walter Grant MacEwan
\\ IT HAPPENED THIS WEEK IN HISTORY //
August 12, 1970 -- The reconstructed Gitksan Indian village of Ksan, near Hazelton, British Columbia, was officially opened. Located on the Skeena River, Ksan is the Gitksan name for the river, which means "River of Mists". It was built with provincial and federal funding along with $10 000 raised by the Hazelton Library Association to promote a better understanding of local Indian culture and reviving its artistic traditions.
August 13, 1535 -- As Jacques Cartier's expedition sailed near the Ile d'Anticosti, two Indian youths being brought back from France after a previous journey informed him that the route to Canada lay to the south of the island. The island is situated near the mouth of the St. Lawrence River and, in giving their directions, the youths were referring to the village of Stadacona, which was situated on the future site of Quebec City. Cartier referred to this discovery as the "Province of Canada".
August 13, 1941 -- The Canadian Women's Army Corps were established on this date to answer the Canadian Army's need for extra assistance. Except for nursing sisters, women had not previously been admitted into the Canadian Armed Forces.
August 15, 1945 -- This dates marks the anniversary of the surrender of Japan at the end of World War Two. The day is celebrated as a commemoration of the victory of the Allied powers in the Pacific and the end of the war. It is know as VJ (Victory over Japan) Day. The anniversary of Germany's surrender at the end of World War Two is marked by VE (Victory in Europe) Day on May 8.
August 15, 1950 -- The British Columbia Provincial Police (BCPP), its 492 men and its duties were taken over by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The BCPP originated in 1858 to provide law and order following an influx of gold miners and settlers.
August 16, 1979 -- Former Prime Minister John George Diefenbaker died in Ottawa, Ontario, a month shy of his 84th birthday.
August 16, 1971 -- Hurricane Beth dumped 296 millimetres of rain on Nova Scotia, washing away several bridges, damaging buildings, and flooding farmland in the process.
August 16, 1947 -- The first flight of the de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver float plane occurred.
FactsCanada.ca map of L'Ile-d'Anticosti, Quebec
De Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver
\\ ANSWER TO THIS WEEK'S QUESTION //
Above I posed the question: "Happy Hollow, Saskatchewan. Never heard of it? Not surprising, as it changed its name 111 years ago. What is the current name of this prairie town?"
Answer: Lumsden, Saskatchewan.
Located just 26 kilometres north of Regina, Lumsden, Saskatchewan got its current name in 1890 as the town of Happy Hollow changed its name to honour railway engineer Hugh Lumsden, who was instrumental in completing a rail line connecting Regina with Saskatoon. Today it is famous for the annual Lumsden Duck Derby, which is held each Labour Day weekend. Personally, I like the old town name.
Lumsden Duck Derby
\\ PREVIEW //
Next Sunday I give you some trivia on the word "bungee", continue our occasional feature of the number one music hits of yesteryear with 1991, tell you about Minnedosa, Manitoba, ask you a question about the premiers of Manitoba, profile painter Edwin Holgate, and Craig will give you his impression of an excellent Canadian movie called "The Score".
[Craig] We used to have two separate mailing lists -- one for the Sunday Newsletter and one for the Friday Feature. Since we started publishing the Friday Feature on a monthly instead of weekly basis back in March, it has not made much sense to maintain two mailing lists. Therefore, starting this week, we have combined both lists. This only affects about eight subscribers who had chosen to subscribe to only one newsletter. If this is not to your liking, we apologize. Please see the instructions below if you would like to alter your subscription.
== LINKS AND RESOURCES ==
FactsCanada.ca -- http://www.factscanada.ca
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