‘Our True North’ Thoughts On Canada From Canadian Ex-Pats in the US

Ξ June 30th, 2012 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Canada, holiday(s), United States, weather |



UNTIL 1982, Canada Day was known as Dominion Day. I always thought that had more of a ring to it. Beyond the zippy alliteration, it reminded us citizens that our domain of orderly domesticity was graced by the dominant power of our “Dominus.”

And the rights granted therein to us by the glorious English crown through her colonial appointee, the right honourable governor general.

There was another problem with Dominion Day. Dominion was the name of a national grocery store chain. It would be like calling the Fourth of July D’Agostino’s Day.

Independence (now there’s a great name for a day!) came slowly to our country. In 1965, we dumped the old, staid British ensign for our own new flag. in lIt’s the one with the big red maple leaf in the middle. A simple, sweet leaf! We also have moose and beavers on our coins. And we call our dollars loonies because the coin has an image of a loon. Another old bird, the Queen of England, is on the other side of the coin.

I remember singing “God Save the Queen” every morning in school. “Long live our noble Queen!” we belted, thousands of us tubby little obedient Canadians. I guess it worked. She’s still alive. Now they sing “O Canada” in schools and at most sporting events; usually in French and English. Around the time we were changing anthems, dumping ensigns and renaming holidays, the official use of both languages became mandatory, except in Quebec where the required use of English is a bit fuzzy.

Canada Day comes and goes modestly every year. Sure, there are retail sales promotions and a long weekend. But there isn’t bluster or commodity in Canadian celebration. Canada isn’t big on bunting. Or jet flyovers, fireworks, marching bands or military pomp.

Canadians defer. We save our loonies and don’t jaywalk. It’s illegal, eh. We stand on guard at red lights, even when there is no traffic. We wait for clear, green governing lights to signal our turn and lead us on. Then we tuck our heads down, under wooly toques and worn-out scarves, one eye barely open, squinting headlong into the harsh prairie wind, cautiously, quietly, demurely Canadian.

— RICK MORANIS, a writer and actor

Back home, hockey highlights lead off SportsCenter. That is the height of civilization.

— SEAN CULLEN, a comedian01oped5_large

The gourmets say there isn’t a native Canadian food worth remembering after you’ve left the country. The gourmets have never bitten into a Coffee Crisp.

A Coffee Crisp tastes like Canada to anybody who grew up gnawing on that confection, a memorably crisp blend of coffee cream, cookie wafers and milk chocolate as wholesome and satisfying as the Canadian national anthem. It was a square-edged rectangle, like a brick, wrapped in a yellow-going-to-gold paper that seemed to elevate its value above all rival confections. It was unlike other chocolate bars.

I say “was” because no sooner had I left Canada than its originator, Rowntree’s, was absorbed into the giant international food conglomerate Nestlé. Soon enough, factors beyond the ken of the layman led its new owners to “improve on” the faultless original. Coffee Crisps were reshaped to be longer and slimmer and, as the infallible taste buds quickly revealed, reformulated to be less crisp and less coffee-flavored. Nestlé next undertook to expand the brand: Coffee Crisp Orange, Coffee Crisp Raspberry, Coffee Crisp Café Caramel, even Coffee Crisp White and, God save us, Coffee Crisp Yogurt.

But even in its diminished form, the classic Coffee Crisp still ranked superior to all the sticky-sweet American “candy bar” alternatives. I’d snaffle up half a dozen on a Canadian visit and wolf down a couple right away, just to make sure it wasn’t all just nostalgie du chocolat. It wasn’t. Taste memory never fades.

The demands of homesick Canadian expatriates were finally answered, circa 2006, when Coffee Crisp made its debut south of the border. But Nestlé’s efforts at carving a niche in the United States, alas, seemed half-hearted. I never saw an ad, and found only one seedy neighborhood hole-in-the-wall that even sold Coffee Crisps; the single box was all but hidden down on the bottom row of the candy display rack near the dust kittens and lottery-ticket stubs.

A month later the box was still there, its contents by now grayish and moldy and stale with age when the wrapper was torn away. In another month the box was gone. Coffee Crisps slunk back out of the American market in 2008, as quietly as they’d entered.

I suppose the Coffee Crisp debacle proves yet again that Canadian products — with the notable exceptions of Bombardier jets and half the comedians in Hollywood — just can’t compete in the American big time. But all visiting Canadian relatives and friends arrive at my door with pockets mysteriously bulging, or they won’t be let in.

— BRUCE McCALL, a writer and illustrator01oped6_large

In history class, in seventh grade (or as we like to say in Canada, grade seven) we learned the story of the American Revolution — from the British perspective. Turns out you were all a bunch of ungrateful tax cheats. And you weren’t very nice to the Loyalists. What I miss most about Canada is getting the truth about the United States.

— MALCOLM GLADWELL, a staff writer for The New Yorker and the author, most recently, of “Outliers: The Story of Success”

I miss the “u” in color. — LISA NAFTOLIN, a creative director

Source: New York Times online


HAPPY CANADA DAY! Check Out Over 50 Ways to Celebrate in the Highlands! #algonquinhighlands #haliburtonhighlands

Ξ June 29th, 2012 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Algonquin Township, art/crafts, Canada, community, community services, cottage country, Education, entertainment, events, family, film, Food and/or Drink, Haliburton, Haliburton Highlands, holiday(s), Maple Lake Ontario, Minden Hills Township, nature, Ontario, Photography, summertime, Trails, Travel/Vacation, weather |

What’s Happening This Week & Summer in the Highlands

It’s a really big week coming up in the Highlands but the fun does not stop when it does. Take some time to peruse the dozens of activities in the Highlands by clicking the thumbnails above, as many great times are to be had that continue well beyond Canada Day.

We are still not sure when exactly we are going to be at Maple Lake as our siding people have the materials on order and we need to sync things up with them before departing. We have our fingers crossed but if push comes to shove I’ll end up hanging around the cottage as long as I need to.

I know for sure one activity that I don’t want to miss because 1. I’m a night owl and it runs in the afternoon, 2. it’s a farmer’s market so I can peruse great, fresh local produce EDIT/ and meat pies, cheeses and baked goods!–vast quantities of locally-cultivated EVERYTHING.  And there are local community/charity booths set up, too! I am so there! Oh and 3, it’s local to me! Here’s the flyer:

Haliburton County Farmer’s Market every Friday from 1- 5 p.m. through August 31!

With so many outdoor activities available let’s check the weather, shall we? I’m posting the two-week forecast every week to be a bit more precise–though heck, it’s the weather in cottage country–it will be what it will be. EDIT/ It looks fantastic!!!


Haliburton Highlands Bug Report



Weekend Weather and Bug Forecast – 14-Day Trend – Southern ONTARIO PHOTOS #haliburtonhighlands

Ξ June 23rd, 2012 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Algonquin Township, beach, boating, Canada, Haliburton, Haliburton Highlands, holiday(s), Maple Lake Ontario, Minden Hills Township, Ontario, Photography, summertime, Travel/Vacation, weather, webcam |

Lots o’ building in downtown Haliburton?

The black-flies and mosquitoes are still quite thick and the upcoming damp, post weather week ahead probably won’t help that situation too much. Use your insect repellant of choice.I think I’ll just dress from head to toe when not submerged in the water. Never mind me; I brought home one heckuva, IDK, (horse?)fly bite on the side of my face, blood had been plentiful and it scabbed and took forever to heal. Yuck and ouch. So those bugs are still at the cottage however the weather in one week is supposed to pick up and and get quite decent. Check it out:

14- Day Weather Forecast Haliburton Highlands & Maple Lake:

14-Day-Trend-West-Guilford-Ontario-The-Weather-Network. includes Haliburton area & Maple Lake area.


BUG REPORT Haliburton area 6.22 -6.27


GOWGANDA LAKE, ONTARIO, CANADA – JUNE 22, 2012 (Source: weathernetwork.com)


Chapleau River, , ONTARIO, CANADA – JUNE 22, 2012 (Source: weathernetwork.com)




My CONDO SUMMER GARDEN in Sweet HOME Chicagoland! (PHOTOS) #chicagoland #condo #garden

Ξ June 21st, 2012 | → 1 Comments | ∇ home, home and garden, My dog, nature, Obi, Photography, summertime, United States |


Beautiful day today–clear–in the 80’s F, especially good too, because a task I had needed to do got cancelled–opening up some unstructured time for me–and the dogs.

Spouse’s garden is looking pretty rad. The Purple Smoke tree in particular is a favourite of mine.

In the backyard – Purple Smoke Tree – 6-21-12


‘Obi’ -6-2012 – Schaumburg

Hosta – 6.21.112


Creeping upward… trellis


Raven and Obi – backyard 6.21.12


OK. That’s pretty much all in back right now–that’s thriving after this brutal weather, anyway. There’s much more in front but I don’t really hang out there. It’s an odd sunlight situation both in front and back because of the way this funny old condo building is built.

We (the condo assoc.–not me personally) fired our on-site groundskeeper and and are not buying much in the way of foliage so what spouse does–the scale, seeing  as we own only one condo here not all six units, for this building. He does a real lot. People thank him though, which is all the encouragement he needs, I think.

in this


What’s Happening This Weekend in the Haliburton Highlands! June 14-20, 2012 #haliburtonhighlands

Ξ June 15th, 2012 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Algonquin Township, art/crafts, Canada, community, community services, cottage country, Education, entertainment, events, family, Food and/or Drink, Haliburton, Haliburton Highlands, holiday(s), Maple Lake Ontario, Minden Hills Township, nature, Ontario, Photography, spring, summertime |

Haliburton Ontario Canada – June 15 2012

Download this gallery as a zip-archive

Many of these fantastically fun events and activities are happening on Saturday June 16, so be sure to check the dates! For me, going to the Minden Truck Pull and the Buttertart contest in Haliburton would be a great start to what looks to be a super weekend. I’ll have more June activities posted later this weekend, so be sure to check back!


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