Thursday, March 31, 2011

Klondike Goldrush

Did you know Canada.. The Klondike Gold Rush began in July of 1897 when two ships landed on the west coast of the US. The Excelsior, landed in San Francisco and three days later The Portland landed in Seattle and both were carrying bags of gold worth $5,000-$100,000. The news spread like wild fire and this set off the Klondike stampede.

An estimated 100,000 people started out in the gold rush but only about 30,000 made it to Dawson City in 1898 after travelling through torturous passages to reach the Klondike River and the gold.  The most difficult route was from Edmonton and overland through the wilderness.  Edmonton  became known as a "Gateway to the North" for gold prospectors en route to the Yukon.

For those that arrived the gold did not live up to the reports.  Locals had already claimed all of the gold-bearing creeks and most of the gold was not at the surface, but rather 10 or more feet below. To reach it, the miners had to dig through the permafrost.

Edmonton's Capital EX, formerly known as Klondike Days is a celebration of the Klondike history with the theme revolving around the Klondike Gold Rush.

Source: virtualmuseum.ca, Wikipedia

Best Places to Live in Canada

Did you know Canada.. Canada's personal finance website MoneySense has an annual report on the best places to live in Canada. In the number one spot is.. Ottawa-Gatineau! Ottawa scored 71.7 points out of a possible 105 and is the winner for the second year in a row.

In second place is Victoria BC - up from 8th place last year and third is Burlington ON - same place as last year.

According to the MoneySense website: Canada’s Best Places to Live 2011 is based on data compiled from 180 Canadian cities and towns with populations over 10,000 people. Cities were rated based on home affordability, climate, prosperity, crime rates, access to health care and lifestyle, with subcategories in each area. Points were also given for the categories of transit, ammenities and culture.

Do you agree with the MoneySense Rankings?

Source: MoneySense

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Staycation

Did you know Canada.. it looks like many people are still enjoying "staycations" and travelling closer to home as Statistics Canada Reports Domestic tourism spending by Canadians was up 0.4% at the end of last year - a continuing trend.

Statistics Canada notes that higher spending on accommodation, food and beverage services and, most notably, non-tourism commodities such as groceries, souvenirs and clothing contributed to the overall increase in tourism outlays at home.

In my family last year we went to a cottage in Muskoka for vacation and this year we plan on doing a lot of day trips to local attractions and try our hand at camping - again staying pretty close to home.

What are your vacation plans this year?

If you plan to stay in Canada be sure to enter our contest from DK Canada's Travel Boutique to win an Eyewitness Guides book set!

Source: Statistics Canada

Minority Governments

Did you know Canada.. Canada has had eleven minority governments!

A minority government is when no party has a majority of seats in the legislature therefore governments must rely on the support of other parties to stay in power, providing less stability than a majority government.

At the federal level no minority government has lasted a standard four-year term. Most minority governments have lasted less than two years.

And now for the second time in our history an election campaign is underway following three successive minority governments.

Source: The Canadian Encyclopedia, Wikipedia

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Royal Winnipeg Ballet

Did you know Canada.. The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, is Canada's oldest ballet company! It is also the longest continuously operating ballet company in North America.

Founded in 1939 by Gweneth Lloyd and Betty Farrally it was first known as the Winnipeg Ballet Club. In 1953, the Company received its royal title, the first granted under the reign of Queen Elizabeth II!

Notable dancers associated with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet include Evelyn Hart and Mikhail Baryshnikov.

Source: rwb.org, Wikipedia

Monday, March 28, 2011

Giveaway! DK Canada: Eyewitness Travel Guides Canada


Winner: Congratulations to tinkarooroo@hotmail.com for winning this fantastic Eyewitness Guides 4 book set from DK Canada's Travel Boutique! It sounds like these books are going to be perfect for her and we're so happy - congrats again!!

Update: Giveaway is now closed - thank you everyone for commenting - I've loved reading all your responses.  The winner is being contacted now and will be announced when Canadian Address confirmed.

Did you know Canada.. I have been reading THE perfect book for me the last few days - Eyewitness Travel Guides Canada by DK Canada. Right now there is 20% off all Eyewitness Travel Guides in their Travel Boutique!

It is a beautiful introduction to Canada through it's history, events, National Parks, shopping locations, wildlife and more. The photos are just breathtaking which make you want to jump on a plane in a second to visit so many places in our beautiful country.

Not to be outdone by the photos, the information is spot on with up-to-date maps with all the right details.  It also gives you just what you want to know about events and locations with phone numbers, hours and a great short description so you can decide if it's right for you without having to do secondary research by phone or internet.

The traveler's needs section on Where to Eat and Where to Stay is a fantastic colour coded section that's easy on the eyes while reading through great descriptions on locations that include pricing details, outside tables information for restaurants (how cool is that), noted exceptional wine list selection and more.

There's also a fantastic section at the back of the book called the Survival Guide that includes practical information for any traveller with details on time zones, border information, a conversion chart, phone directories, and banking information just to name a few sections.

I plan to take this book with us on every trip in our beautiful country - the information in this book can't be beat, with all the phone numbers you need, local information on museums, events and restaurants along with maps and local history - it would take you hours on the phone or internet to gather all this information for even one location.

According to DK Canada's website: Launched in 1993, Eyewitness Travel Guide continue to be a mainstay of the DK Publishing list with over 15 million copies sold worldwide.

Visit DK Canada's Travel Boutique to view more information about the Eyewitness Travel Guides Canada and find out more about the entire Eyewitness Travel Guides Series with 150+ titles.

Giveaway



We also have exciting news that thanks to DK Canada's Travel Boutique you can win a copy of Eyewitness Travel Guides Canada along with Eyewitness Travel: Top 10 Montreal, Top 10 Vancouver and Top 10 Toronto - the Top 10 series are fantastic books with up-to-date travel information, more beautiful photos, insider tips and more.  Plus something that I think is so fantastic and a must have for any traveller - a pull-out map and guide that includes fold-out maps of city metro systems, useful phone numbers, and 60 great ideas on how to spend your day!

How to Win

Just comment below!  Let me know where in Canada you would like to visit.  Contest is open Monday March 28, 2011 to Friday April 8, 2011 - one entry per person, drawing will be held Friday April 8 at midnight EST and winner will be contacted to ensure Canadian address before being announced.  If the winner does not respond by Tuesday April 12, 2011 another winner will be chosen. Please note you must leave a way to contact you in the event that you win, such as an email address.

This contest is only open to Canadians.
Disclosure:  We received a copy of Eyewitness Travel Guides Canada to review - our opinions are our own.

We are Canadian Blog Hop! - Week Two

Did you know Canada..  I am pleased to join week two of the We are Canadian Blog Hop!  Met some great people last week and looking forward to meeting more this week!



Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Loon

Did you know Canada..  not only is the Loon on Canada's 1 dollar coin and the offical bird of Ontario but it is also known to many as a symbol of Canada's Wilderness.

The Loon's haunting call brings back special memories for many that spend time around a lake in the summer at a cottage or camp.  There are five species of loons: the Red-throated Loon, Pacific Loon, Arctic Loon, Yellow-billed Loon and the Common Loon.  It's the Common Loon that is the offical bird of Ontario.

Loons are known as great divers and have many bones that are solid, rather than hollow like those of other birds, which aid its diving ability.  In fact a Loon can dive to depths of 80 m or more.

Source: Environment Canada, Hinterland Who's Who, Wikipedia

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Dinosaur bones

Did you know Canada.. Dinosaur bones have been discovered in the oilsands of Alberta. They are thought to be about 110 million years old - which is significantly older than bones found in near by Dinosaur Provincal Park which are thought to be about 75 million years old.

It is believed the bones belong to an Ankylosaur - a rare find. While fossils from Ankylosaur have been found in Alberta before, the discovery is significant because almost the entire fossil has been well preserved.

Very exciting find!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Election Update for Friday

Did you know Canada.. as we mentioned earlier this week Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff introduced a non-confidence motion against Harper government which will be voted on today.

The Confidence vote in House of Commons, has been delayed until 2pm this afternoon. This will likely lead to an election in May.

Update: As expected Liberals, Bloc and NDP all vote in favour of the non-confidence motion.  The Harper government has been found in contempt by a vote of 156-145.

Is it getting hot in here?

Did you know Canada.. based on data from 1948 to 2009 (60 years) average annual temperatures for Canada has increased by 1.4°C.

The climatic regions that showed the strongest warming trends were located in Canada's far north with the Mackenzie District recording the strongest warming trend, rising 2.2°C over normal during the 60 years.

The national average temperature for the year 2010 was 3.0°C above normal, which makes this past year the warmest year on record since nationwide records began in 1948.

Source: Statistics Canada, Environment Canada

The 4 cent penny?

Did you know Canada.. it actually costs the Royal Canadian Mint up to four cents to produce and distribute a one-cent coin!

There have been repeated talks about removing the penny from circulation as the Canadian penny costs at least $130 million annually to keep in circulation. Check out this article from CTV Calgary a few months ago discussing the Canadian government getting closer to getting rid of the penny.

A 2007 survey shows that only 37% of Canadians use pennies but the government continues to produce about 816 million pennies per year, equal to 25 pennies per Canadian.

Other countries including Australia and New Zealand have already gotten rid of their penny.  New Zealand no longer even has a nickel!

The current composition of a penny is 94% steel, 1.5% nickel, 4.5% copper plated zinc. An interesting fact is that from May 2006 to October 2008, all circulation Canadian pennies from 1942 to 1996 had an intrinsic value of over $0.02 CAD based on the increasing spot price of copper in the commodity markets.

Source: economics.ca, Yahoo! xtra, Wikipedia

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Adoption in Canada

Did you know Canada.. 1 in 5 Canadians are touched by adoption, by being an adoptee, adoptive parent or birth parent?

There are over 75,000 children in foster care now in Canada, and over 30,000 of those are eligible for adoption.

Please visit adoption.ca to find out how you can make a difference in a child's life.

Know someone adopting in Canada?  Visit laboursoflovedesigns.ca for Made in Canada Adoption Cards & Gifts to Celebrate!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Election Update

Did you know Canada..  Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he will not ask the Governor General to dissolve Parliament.

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff says he'll introduce non-confidence motion against Harper government today which will be voted on Friday if necessary. Though with all 3 parties voting No against yesterday's budget that will likely come first.

Do you agree with Ignatieff introducing a non-confidence motion?

Giveaway coming up!

Did you know Canada.. we have some exciting news - stay tuned on Monday for a Giveaway from DK Canada's Travel Boutique.



Trust me - if you're planning a vacation anywhere in Canada this year you're going to want to win these books!

Vancouver top climate change fighter

Did you know Canada.. According to WWF Canada Vancouver tops a new list that ranks Canadian cities based on their efforts to battle climate change.

Scored out of 10 Vancouver got the top spot with a score of 8.1, Toronto second with a score of 7.2 and Montreal coming in third with 6.2.

Vancouver has launched a program called Imagine 2020 which aims to make Vancouver the greenest city in the world in less than 9 years.

The list was released ahead of Earth Hour, a call for action on climate change - as we mentioned earlier this week at 8:30 PM on Saturday 26 March 2011, lights will switch off around the globe for Earth Hour.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Election

Did you know Canada.. All three opposition leaders have rejected the Conservative government's 2011 federal budget paving the way for a Spring Election unless the government makes the decision to change the budget.

The rejection came just minutes after it was tabled today.

If it comes to an Election it would likely happen in early May.

Minuscule increase in radiation levels

Did you know Canada.. many news sources are reporting Health Canada monitoring stations have detected a "minuscule" increase in radiation levels along the B.C. coast in the wake of the nuclear crisis in Japan.

The amounts of radiation detected from Japan measure 0.0000005 millisieverts which they are saying is not cause for concern, as they are smaller than the typical day-to-day fluctuations.

That hasn't stopped many in B.C. who have been picking up face masks and potassium iodide pills.

Are you shopping at Walmart?

Did you know Canada.. Walmart posted on twitter today..
Do you think that's true?  Do you shop at Walmart?  We do for many things - household products, dog food, diapers/pull ups, shampoo, toothpaste, kids toys, etc.  But I know many people - especially single people - who purchase all these items at Shoppers or the grocery store and never step foot into Walmart.

What do you think?

Juno Awards

Did you know Canada..  the Juno Awards are coming up - it will be held March 27th at the Air Canada Centre hosted by Drake!

The Juno Awards are presented to Canadian musical artists and bands to celebrate their artistic and technical achievements in all aspects of music.

Judges are selected from different facets of the music industry for each of the 34 categories to vote. The judges change every year and come from across Canada.

This is the 40th anniversary of the Juno Awards and this year winners will receive a stunning new crystal statuette to celebrate.

Nominees for Album of the Year include..

  • Arcade Fire


  • Drake


  • Hedley


  • Johnny Reid


  • Justin Bieber

    Looking forward to March 27th, will you be watching?
  • Monday, March 21, 2011

    Canadian Forces over Libya

    Did you know Canada.. Defence Minister Peter MacKay said today that Canadian Forces have conducted their first assignment as part of no-fly-zone enforcement in Libya.

    For this assignment Canadian Forces made up of four CF-18 fighter jets and two CC-150 Polaris planes are part of an effort authorized by the United Nations Security Council on Friday to restrict airspace over Libya.

    Earth Hour

    Did you know Canada..  At 8:30 PM on Saturday 26 March 2011, lights will switch off around the globe for Earth Hour.

    Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia when 2.2 million individuals and more than 2,000 businesses turned their lights off for one hour to take a stand against climate change. The next year more than 50 million people across 35 countries participating. By 2010, Earth Hour had created history as the largest voluntary action ever witnessed with participation across 128 countries and every continent.

    Many landmarks including the CN Tower in Toronto participate in Earth Hour.

    Visit earthhour.org to learn more and make sure you show your support for environmentally sustainable action.

    Elections Coming?

    Did you know Canada.. many people and news sources are saying the minority government could topple this week and Canadians could be heading to the polls for Spring Elections!

    Check out some of these news articles discussing the fate of our government today..

  • CTV

  • The Star

  • Montreal Gazette

  • The Globe and Mail

    Do you think we're heading for an election?
  • Sunday, March 20, 2011

    We are Canadian Blog Hop!

    Did you know Canada.. I'm excited to join the First We are Canadian Blog Hop! I look forward to meeting more Canadian Bloggers!

    Click on the button to join in on the We are Canadian Blog Hop.



    Canadian Inventions: Basketball

    Did you know Canada..  it was Canadian James Naismith that invented the sport of Basketball in 1891. 

    Naismith was born in Almonte Ontario, and studied physical education in Montreal before moving to the United States. There he developed basketball in late 1891 while enrolled at the International YMCA Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts. Naismith was given 14 days to create an indoor game that would provide an "athletic distraction" to a class of unruly students during the winter.

    The first game of Basketball consisted of 18 players (9 vs 9), a soccer ball and the hoops were a pair of peach baskets.

    Source: naismithmuseum.com, Wikipedia

    Saturday, March 19, 2011

    9-1-1

    Did you know Canada..  the idea of 9-1-1 - a centralized emergency number was first used in North America in Winnipeg Manitoba in 1959? It was orignally 9-9-9.

    Stephen Juba, then mayor of Winnipeg, was the one that urged the idea of the centralized emergency number.

    9-1-1 was used for a few reasons - to ensure it wasn't used accidentally, as the numbers "9" and "1" were on opposite ends of a phone's rotary dial. 9-1-1 was also not being used for any area codes in North America. Conversion to 9-1-1 started in 1972 in Canada.

    Each year, Canadians make more than 12 million calls to 9-1-1.

    Source: Wikipedia, The Globe and Mail, CBC Archives

    Friday, March 18, 2011

    Icewine

    Did you know Canada.. Canada is one of the largest producers of Icewine in the world.

    Icewine is a unique dessert wine produced from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine. The sugars and other dissolved solids do not freeze, but the water does, allowing a more concentrated grape must to be pressed from the frozen grapes, resulting in a smaller amount of more concentrated, very sweet wine. It is said a frozen grape creates just one drop of Icewine. With ice wines, the freezing happens before the fermentation, not afterwards.

    About 75% of the ice wine in Canada comes from Ontario. Niagara holds an Icewine Festival every year - the next one is January 13-29, 2012 and will be the 17th annual Niagara Icewine Festival. Inniskillin Wines is considered the most widely known Canadian icewine producer as the first Canadian winery to win a major international award, the Grand Prix d’Honneur at 1991 Vinexpo in France.

    To create Icewine the grape must freeze below −8 °C (by law in Canada) while still on the vine. The grape must be pressed while it is still frozen so pickers often must work at night or very early in the morning to accomplish this task.

    Icewine is a major export product for Canadian wineries. Much of the wine exported overseas is in the form of icewine.

    Source: icewinefestival.com, Ontario Wine Society, Ontario Grapes

    Anti-fog Glasses

    Did you know Canada..  Quebec City's Universit√© Laval have developed what they claim is the world's first permanent anti-fog coating.

    Universit√© Laval offers close to 400 academic programs in 17 faculties and 235 research Centres, Chairs and Institutes. It is classified as a Medical-Doctoral university for its medical school and extensive graduate population and is the home of North America’s only francophone faculties of Agriculture and Food Sciences, and of Forestry and Geomatics.

    They're saying just one application is said to work indefinitely on eyeglasses, windshields, camera lenses, or any other transparent glass or plastic surface.  The permanent anti-fog coating uses polyvinyl alcohol that won't wear off overtime like other anti-fog products on the market.

    Thursday, March 17, 2011

    What light bulbs are you using?

    Did you know Canada.. 88% of households report that they are using at least one of four different types of energy-efficient lights: compact fluorescent lights, fluorescent tube lights, halogen lights or light-emitting diode lights.

    Back in 2007 the federal government announced that it would ban the sale of inefficient incandescent light bulbs nation-wide by 2012 as part of a plan to cut down on emissions of greenhouse gases.  By banning inefficient lighting, it is said we can reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by more than 6 million tonnes per year.

    Visit the Office of Energy Efficiency website for more information on what is happening in Canada.

    Source: Statistics Canada, Office of Energy Efficiency

    Roll up the Rim Win

    Did you know Canada.. I just had to share - I just won the $25 giftcard from the Roll Up the Rim Website!



    I just wanted to share because I NEVER think it's real people that win - so everyone, get playing!

    Very exciting :-)

    Canada Blooms

    Did you know Canada..  as I mentioned on Twitter yesterday Canada Blooms is happening right now in Toronto - March 16-20 at the Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place.

    Canada Blooms was founded in 1996 by the Garden Club of Toronto and Landscape Ontario. It is the largest flower and garden festival in the country.

    This years theme is Rhythm and one of Canada Blooms special features is Five selected JUNO Award nominees and winners will collaborate with garden builders from Canada Blooms to create beautiful personalized gardens reflecting each artist’s particular style and genre.

    With gardens featured in full bloom, the venue features more than 100,000 sq. feet of shopping, 200-plus hours of seminars, workshops and demonstrations by various experts, and a children's area.

    Let us know if you attended!

    Wednesday, March 16, 2011

    Census is Coming

    Did you know Canada.. Coming in May is the 2011 Census.

    Starting May 2, all households in Canada can expect to receive a yellow census package in their mail boxes.

    The census questionnaire can be completed online or on paper.

    Visit Statistics Canada 2011 Census for more information.

    Immigration in Canada

    Did you know Canada..  Canada takes in the world’s largest per capita annual immigration numbers! Since 2001, immigration has ranged between 221,352 and 262,236 immigrants per year. In 2010 Canada welcomed approx. 280,636 legal immigrants as permanent residents - the largest number we have ever welcomed in a single year. Statistics Canada projects that by 2031 almost one-half of the population over the age of 15 will be foreign-born or have at least one foreign-born parent.

    In Canada there are four categories of immigrants: family class, economic immigrants, other (humanitarian) and refugees.

    In 2009 most of the immigrates coming into Canada came from China, the Philippines, India, the United States and the United Kingdom.

    Source: Stats Canada, Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Canreach

    It's Nutrition Month

    Did you know Canada.. March is Nutrition Month!

    Every year in March, Dietitians of Canada run a Nutrition Month campaign to remind us of the importance of healthy eating and the positive impact nutrition has on our health and well-being. Also celebrating the food that is grown in and available in Canada.

    This year's theme is Celebrate food... from field to table!

    Visit Dietitians of Canada's website for more information.

    Source: Dietitians of Canada

    Tuesday, March 15, 2011

    International Year of Forests

    Did you know Canada.. the UN has declared 2011 as the International Year of the Forests!

    This is us opportunity to reflect on the intrinsic link between healthy forests and our own prosperity. As we noted back in February Canada has 10% of the world's forests and 42 National Parks. Also, Canada's boreal forest is the world's largest intact forest.

    We also have The Canadian Model Forest Network (CMFN) -  the CMFN collects information and knowledge to create tools for forest communities.  This helps support and maintains the livelihoods of people living in Canadian forests.


    Nature Canada is also reaffirming its commitment to protecting forests in Canada. Including making significant progress to adequately represent all Canadian forest regions by forming a network of interconnected parks and other protected areas which includes at least 50% of the Boreal Forest.

    Source: United Nations, National Geographic, Canadian Model Forest Network, Nature Canada

    How close are you to our US neighbours?

    Did you know Canada.. About 80% of Canada's population lives within 150 kilometres (93 mi) of the United States border.

    Climate and trade are discussed as being the two major reasons for this.

    Are you that close to the border?

    Source: National Geographic, Wikipedia

    Monday, March 14, 2011

    Wetlands in Canada

    Did you know Canada..  Canada has more wetlands than any other country!

    Canada has about 1.2 million square kilometres of wetlands which is approx. 25% of the world's wetlands. Wetlands cover about 14% of Canada's land mass - Ontario, Manitoba and the Northwest Territories contain the largest area of wetlands.

    The wetland ecosystem provides food, water and shelter for all kinds of animals and a habitat for many types of plants and are considered to be one of the most productive ecosystems on Earth.

    Wetlands are areas that are covered with water all or most of the time or are flooded. They are not considered to be firm land nor are they considered to be bodies of water. Canada has many different types of wetlands, such as bogs, fens, swamps, marshes and shallow waters.

    And check out this article in last weeks Edmonton Sun - Edmonton troops fighting for Canada's wetlands. As discussed in the article: On March 25, the inaugural Ducks Unlimited Fundraiser will be held at Edmonton's Canadian Forces Base Garrison and organizers are expecting to raise a significant amount of money for wetland conservation.

    Source: nature.ca, Environment Canada, The Atlas of Canada

    Made in Canada: Tail Wags Helmet Covers

    Did you know Canada..  there's a fantastic product Made in Canada called Tail Wags Helmet Covers.

    These are helmet covers made for both children and adults that make wearing a helmet fun!  My boys had the honour of trying the Funky Monkey and Dino the Dinosaur.  Funky Monkey is made with brown and beige polar fleece and Dino the Dinosaur is made with sparkly blue Lycra.



    Both boys were very excited to try these out.  Blue is one of our favourite colours so the Dino was a huge hit, and we love the tail on the Monkey.  It was very easy to attach the helmet covers to their helmets and they fit snuggly.  And can you believe there was no whining about the strap hurting their chin, that the helmet was itchy or any of the other usual complaints we get when the boys need to wear their helmets.  The boys had tons of fun checking out either others helmet - we had to run over to Gramma's house down the street to show her, they didn't even want to take it off when we were done.  This past weekend they've been riding around in circles in the basement on their trikes and scooters with their helmets on - too cute!  Can't wait a another week or two until the sidewalks are clear so we can get outside to show off our new helmet covers. 



    Also, probably like most Canadians, we have multiple helmets for the boys - snowboarding helmets that we also wear skating, they will be getting new hockey helmets this fall when they start playing on a team, we also have bike helmets for bikes and scooters in the summer.  It's so fantastic that these covers fit ALL our helmets.

    Tail Wags was established in January 2006 with a fun name in order to celebrate the swinging action of the helmet covers tail while the wearer is out riding, skating, skiing - being active, and having fun!

    We love that all Tail Wags products are manufactured exclusively in Canada using the finest technology, including computerized cutting. Every helmet cover is carefully inspected to ensure it meets rigorous standards of quality. Of course, Tail Wags have been tested to ensure compliance with the new CPSIA product safety regulations.

    As we mentioned what's so fantastic is that Tail Wags Helmet Covers fit ALL models of bike, ski, snowboard, toboggan, skate and equestrian helmets. Tail Wags are meticulously designed with a slit at the back to allow the wearer to access the helmet's goggle clip.  This is perfect for the Canadian climate as we well know - one of the many fantastic things about living in Canada is that we get appropriate weather for ALL sports.

    Visit http://www.tail-wags.com/ to view all the helmet covers for Girls, Boys, Moms and Dads - I think these would make fantastic birthday gifts for a new little bike rider or skater in your family.  As a special offer to our Did you know Canada audience please use the promo code "Canada" to save 10% this month!

    Disclosure:  As mentioned we were given 2 helmet covers for the boys to try, we will probably be ordering some soon for birthday presents for the boys friends.

    Sunday, March 13, 2011

    Maple Syrup Festival Update

    Did you know Canada..  we finally got to go to a Maple Syrup Festival today, we had been hoping to go a few times already but the weather was not cooperating.

    We had tons of fun learning how maple syrup is gathered, the tools used now vs. pioneer times.  We learned the lightest Maple Syrup come in the early season which is considered a delicacy in places like Europe and is very expensive there.  The darkest syrup comes at the end of the season and it cooking grade syrup.

    We also got some yummy maple treats as you can see and had a beautiful walk on the trails in the snow. I highly recommend looking for festivals going on in your area if they are available. Would be a fantastic March Break outing this week too.



    As we mentioned earlier this month Canada and the United States are the only two maple syrup producing countries in the world, Canada producing 82% of the total syrup. And it's Quebec that produces the most syrup - about 90%!

    Canadian Inventions: Standard Time

    Did you know Canada.. it was Scottish Canadian, Sir Sandford Fleming that invented Standard Time.

    Sir Sandford Fleming was a founding member of the Royal Society of Canada and founder of the Royal Canadian Institute.

    After missing a train in 1876 in Ireland because its printed schedule listed p.m. instead of a.m., he proposed a single 24-hour clock for the entire world, based on the world globe meridian of Greenwich otherwise known as Greenwich mean time. He recommended the standard to the Royal Canadian Institute in 1879 and Standard Time was accepted in North America in 1884. By 1929 all of the major countries of the world had accepted time zones.

    Source: biographi.ca, Wikipedia

    Saturday, March 12, 2011

    World's largest dark-sky preserve

    Did you know Canada..  Alberta's Jasper National Park is the world's largest dark-sky preserve as announced by Federal Environment Minister Peter Kent Friday.

    Jasper National Park, established in 1907, is the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies. At 11,228 square kilometres, Jasper National Park's dark-sky preserve is larger than the combined total of the rest of the world's dark-sky preserves.

    A dark-sky preserve is an area that is kept free of artificial light. The purpose of a dark-sky preserve is to promote astronomy and the reduction of light pollution. Canada is just about the only country with established and extensive standards for dark-sky preserves based on the work of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

    Source: jasper.travel, Parks Canada, jaspernationalpark.com, Wikipedia

    Friday, March 11, 2011

    Daylight Saving Time

    Did you know Canada.. Sunday is the start of Daylight Savings Time - turn the clocks ahead 1 hour.

    You lose an hour of sleep but at least we gain an hour of day light!

    And good luck to all the parents, I know changing the clocks always seem to reek havoc with my kiddos. :)

    Made in Canada: Ironkids Gummies

    Did you know Canada..  my boys and I have been trying a fantastic Canadian Made product the past few days - Ironkids Gummies.

    We've been going through cold after cold lately and I had tried other children's vitamins but it was a no-go with the boys, they were chalky and there was nothing fun about old fashion TV characters.  Me asking them to try a vitamin ended up in tears multiple times before we gave up.

    Then a couple days ago we tried Ironkids Gummies and they were a huge hit! I was thinking they might be too tough or too sweet but they are the perfect flavour and exactly the right gummy texture you would expect.  After only a couple days my boys already know to ask for them first thing in the morning - I am so excited about this - routine is everything with the little guys.  I'm hoping they'll now be looking for a vitamin in the morning for good!

    I'm so happy to hear they are Canadian Made and are Health Canada approved natural health products.  There's also no sugar coating, no aspartame, and no artificial colors - only real ingredients!  I'm also ecstatic that they are available in stores we already shop in such as Costco, Shoppers, and Walmart - specialty stores is not something my little town is big on.

    This is the one and only vitamin we'll be taking from now on. Visit http://www.iron-kids.com/ for more information and to sign up for their newsletter (and receive a $2.00 off coupon good towards any bottle of IronKids vitamins)

    Really kid approved as you can tell :-)


    Disclosure:  We were given a bottle of Ironkids Gummies to try but we will be purchasing our own bottles when this one runs out!

    Phosphorus in our Great Lakes

    Did you know Canada..  many news sources are reporting a rise in phosphorus in the Great Lakes and this is endangering the aquatic food chain and our health.

    Phosphorus is an oxygen-depleting chemical that also encourages algal blooms with blue-green algae which produce toxins that pose a health risk to people and animals when they are exposed to them in large quantities.

    In the 1950s and 1960s, Lake Erie developed these algal blooms and an area of depleted oxygen, referred to as a "dead zone", where levels of oxygen in the bottom waters were too low for fish and other organisms to stay alive. Lake Erie is the shallowest and warmest of the five Great Lakes and likely the reason it's hit the hardest.

    There is no specific place we can safely say the phosphorus is coming from - it's like because of many factors including.. inadequate municipal wastewater, agricultural runoff, industrial livestock operations and the impacts of climate change - causing more frequent and intense rainstorms.

    The International Joint Commission is urging a renewed effort to get the oxygen-depleting chemical out of the water.

    Source: EPA, CBC, UPI, great-lakes.net

    Thursday, March 10, 2011

    Canadian Inventions: Road Lines

    Did you know Canada.. it was John D. Millar, an engineer working for the Ontario Department of Transport who thought up the idea of painting lines on roads in the 1930s.

    The world's first lines were painted on a portion of highway near the Ontario/Quebec border and within 3 years it was the standard across North America.

    Source: Collections Canada

    Maple Leaf Tartan

    Did you know Canada.. the Canadian government announced Wednesday that Maple Leaf Tartan has become an official symbol of the country.

    The Maple Leaf Tartan was designed in 1964 by Toronto garment maker David Weiser to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Confederation in 1967 - inspired by the shifting hues of autumn leaves.

    Check out CASSOC to view the Maple Leaf Tartan and all of our provinces and territories official tartans.

    Source: canada.com, Toronto Sun, cassoc.ca

    Wednesday, March 9, 2011

    Curling Museum

    Did you know Canada..  a fun fact to consider while the Tim Hortons Brier continues in London, ON - the worlds first curling museum is located in Weyburn, SK.

    The Curling Museum includes 18,000 pins as well as memorabilia of the sport from around the world.

    View their website for a bit more information.

    Canadians spend the most time online

    Did you know Canada.. according to a new study by comScore Inc. and being reported by many news sources - Canadians spend more time online than any other country.

    ComScore reports around 68 per cent of Canadians routinely access the net compared to 62 per cent in France to just 59 per cent of Americans. So with an average of 43.5 hours per month, the new study finds nobody spends more time online than Canadians.

    What's everybody doing? Well according to Google in Canada, YouTube per capita consumption of video is No. 1 in the world! Also, around 51 per cent of Canadians have Facebook accounts. While Twitter is not quite as popular Canadian female Twitter users are more active than male Twitter users. Canadians also love Wikipedia - the average Canadian reading 16 pages a month, which is the most in the world. We also love our eReaders supporting Canadian company - Kobo.

    Where else do you think Canadians are spending their time online?

    Source: comScore, Globe & Mail, canada.com, 660 News

    Tuesday, March 8, 2011

    Stanley Cup Visits Canadian Troops in Kandahar

    Did you know Canada.. it was Lord Stanley of Preston - Canada's Governor General that created a challenge cup held from year to year by the champion hockey team.

    The original rules and regulations were as follows..
    • 1. The winners shall return the Cup in good order when required by the trustees so that it may be handed over to any other team which may win it.
    • 2. Each winning team, at its own expense, may have the club name and year engraved on a silver ring fitted on the Cup.
    • 3. The Cup shall remain a challenge cup, and should not become the property of one team, even if won more than once.
    • 4. The trustees shall maintain absolute authority in all situations or disputes over the winner of the Cup.
    • 5. If one of the existing trustees resigns or drops out, the remaining trustee shall nominate a substitute.
    The cup itself was a decorative punch bowl engraved with the words "Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup" and "From Stanley of Preston". The bowl would have been purchased for approx $1,186 today.   This original bowl, purchased by Lord Stanley and physically awarded to the champion until 1970, is displayed in the vault room at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Ontario.

    The trophy was first presented in 1893 to the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association on behalf of the affiliated Montreal Hockey Club. The rules for the cup were then revised to be more specific, ensuring all teams had opportunity for the cup.  It was in 1947 that the NHL became the league with control over the cup.

    The cup has been awarded every year except 2: in 1919 due to the flu pandemic and in 2005 due to the labour dispute.

    In the spring of 2010 the Stanley Cup made its third trip to Afghanistan - a morale booster for Canadian Troops.  The Stanley Cup is back there right now visiting the troops in Kandahar Airfield in what could be the last event of its kind as Canadian Forces set to end its combat mission in Kandahar this summer.  In honour of International Women's Day, Team Canada alumni took on an all-female team of soldiers at Kandahar Airfield rink.

    The Stanley Cup is currently with the Chicago Blackhawks - 2010 winners of the Stanley Cup - who will hold it for 2011?

    Source: Wikipedia, Legends of Hockey, Hockey Hall of Fame

    Smoothies Update!

    Did you know Canada..  some of you had me worried that I had given out false info because many of your local Tim Hortons did not have smoothies yet - including one in the larger city near to us.

    But today my boys and I went to our local Timmys and they had smoothies!

    We give 2 thumbs up for both mixed berry and strawberry-banana from my boys and I give 2 thumbs up to the mixed berry.

    Will be a fantastic treat for the spring/summer and a great way to get a serving of fruit into the kiddos.

    Let us know if you tried them yet and what you think!!

    Bottled Water Free Day

    Did you know Canada..  March 10th is Bottled Water Free Day.

    This is to promote the idea that bottled water is an unessential use of an essential resource.

    Health Canada has acknowledged there is no evidence to support the idea that bottled water is safer than tap water. In fact, because tap water and bottled water are regulated by different legislation, tap water must be tested every day – in most municipalities every four hours – bottled water plants are only inspected once every three years.

    Approximately 2.25 billion liters of bottled water is sold in Canada every year but shockingly over 25% of bottled water sold in Canada is packaged tap water.

    Check out Bottled Water Free Day Website to take the pledge and find out what events are happening in you community.

    Source: bottledwaterfreeday.ca

    Monday, March 7, 2011

    Mark your Calendars for Northern Lights

    Did you know Canada..  next February is Northern Lights at the Ottawa Convention Centre.

    Northern Lights is a Business and Cultural Showcase of Nunavut, Nunavik, Nunatsiavut & Labrador.  It is organized jointly by the Baffin Regional Chamber of Commerce in Iqaluit, NU, and Labrador North Chamber of Commerce in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, NL.

    Check out their facebook page for more information and pictures from last years event in Montreal, QC.

    0.5% of the World's Population

    Did you know Canada.. even though we are larger than the United States, in fact the second largest country in the world, Canada is one of the least densely inhabited countries. Containing only approx. 11% of the population that inhabits the United States.

    Canada is 9,984,670 square kilometers (3,855,101 square miles) with a population of 33,894,000 people as of 2009.

    Canadians make up 0.5% of the world's total population, ranking 35th when listing countries by population.
    Source: National Geographic, Stats Canada, Wikipedia

    Sunday, March 6, 2011

    Yukigassen!

    Did you know Canada.. Yukigassen has come to Canada!

    What is Yukigassen you ask? It's a snowball fighting-competition originating from Japan - Yukigassen translates to "Snow Battle". The first ever tournament was held in Japan in 1989 and the Yukigassen Federation was created in 1993. Borrowing concepts and strategies from dodgeball, paintball, and capture the flag Yukigassen is played on a snow court 40 meters long by 10 metres wide each team of seven battles the opposing team with 90 snowballs per period attempting to eliminate the opposing team with the snowballs or capturing their flag.  Snow barricades placed throughout the court making it more difficult to hit opponents. All snowballs are made to specific standards in the machines provided so the game is fair and safe.

    The First Canadian Championship is being held in Edmonton right now (March 4-6) at Fort Edmonton Park. Over 100 teams are registered for this event and the Federations aims to achieve over 500 teams by 2015. The over-18 men's and ladies champions from Edmonton will be eligible to represent Canada at the 2012 world championships in Japan.

    Source: snowbattle.ca, yukigassencanada.com

    National Hockey Monument

    Did you know Canada.. the National Hockey Monument is a monument envisioned by Canadian sculptor Timothy Schmalz as a tribute to our sport and a gathering place for all Canadians.

    The Monument hasn't been created yet but Timothy started touring the country in 2008 with a 10 foot model asking Canadians to donate just a loonie to help create the envisioned 50 foot monument cast in bronze - this could be the biggest Monument is Canada.

    The National Hockey Monument includes many features representing Canada and our love of hockey such as a large maple leaf at the top, winter trees, an ice rink, hockey players from many historical periods, and children playing hockey on a frozen pond.  The Monument, instead of being presented on a pedestal, will be sitting on a hockey rink.

    Visit Timothy's site: National Hockey Monument to see photos and learn more about the project.

    You can also purchase a Hockey minature designed and carved by Timothy to support the National Hockey Monument.

    Saturday, March 5, 2011

    National Sports

    Did you know Canada.. although faced with the question on National Sport most Canadian's would answer HOCKEY - we actually have 2 national sports - Lacrosse and Ice Hockey.

    In 1994 the National Sports Act of Canada was created from Bill C-212 to declared both sports to be our national sports - Ice Hockey in the winter and Lacrosse in the summer.  Previously it was only Lacrosse that had been recognized as our national sport since 1859, also known as Canada's oldest sport.

    Source: National Sports Act of Canada, Canadian Lacrosse Association

    Friday, March 4, 2011

    FIFA Women's World Cup 2015

    Did you know Canada.. it was announced Thursday that Canada will host the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2015. As well as the 2014 women's under-20 championship.

    While not unexpected after Zimbabwe withdrew it's bid earlier in the week it was an exciting announcement to come Thursday with Ottawa committing up to $15 million toward the events.

    This fall FIFA inspectors will begin examining venues in the cities involved: Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa, Halifax, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Moncton.

    Congrats Canada!

    Who has the Highest Life Expectancy?

    Did you know Canada..  we are not first, second or even third in the world for highest life expectancy.

    There are 2 lists out there for Life Expectancy..
    • According to the United Nations we're ranked #11 at 80.7 years - Japan is #1 on this list
    • According to the CIA World Factbook we're ranked #8 at 81.23 years - Macau (in the People's Republic of China) is #1 on this list
    The life expectancy at birth for the world is approx. 67 years.

    Source: Wikipedia

    Canada's Motto

    Did you know Canada..  I've done a few posts lately that included mottos, including the Snowbirds and the HMCS Charlottetown.

    But what's Canada's motto? It's "a mari usque ad mare" which is Latin for "From sea to sea" - this is part of Psalm 72:8 and was suggested by Joseph Pope, then-Under Secretary of State, when the Arms of Canada were redesigned in 1921.

    Source: The Canadian Encyclopedia

    Thursday, March 3, 2011

    Snowbirds

    Did you know Canada..  we've probably all seen them at an air show or outdoor event but who exactly are the Snowbirds?

    The Snowbirds are officially known as the Canadian Forces Air Demonstration Squadron (CFADT). Their purpose is to demonstrate the skill, professionalism, and teamwork of Canadian Forces personnel. Their motto is THE HATITEN RONTERIIOS (Warriors of the air).

    The name Snowbirds came from a contest to give the team a formal name and was held at the CFB Moose Jaw - Base Elementary School - in June 1971. But didn't become a permanent unit until September 1977.

    The next time you can see the Snowbirds in May 3, 2011 in Moose Jaw, SK for an airshow. Until then check out their website to view some fantastic promotional photos.

    Source: snowbirds.dnd.ca

    Smoothies!

    Did you know Canada.. starting Monday you can now pick up a Fruit Smoothie with your morning coffee at Timmys!

    Tim Hortons plans to add pre-blended, mixed berry and banana strawberry fruit smoothies to its menu starting Monday. A 10-ounce smoothie will cost $1.99 and contain 130 calories, zero grams of fat and a full serving of fruit.

    Sounds like an excellent way to get in a serving of fruit and nice to have a healthy choice through the drive-thru.

    Will you be picking one up next week?

    Wednesday, March 2, 2011

    Canada Water Week

    Did you know Canada.. March 14-22 is Canada Water Week! March 22 is also World Water Day.

    Canada Water Week is to raise the understanding of water across Canada and its importance to Canada’s prosperity. This years theme is Healthy Rivers, Living Lakes.

    Check out the event calendar on Canada Water Week's website to see how it's being celebrated in your area.

    Source: Canada Water Week, WWF, Planet Friendly, Alberta Environment

    Tim Hortons Brier

    Did you know Canada.. it's almost Brier time! The 2011 Tim Hortons Brier runs March 5-13, this year hosted at the John Labbatt Centre in London Ontario. This is the 30th time the Brier has been hosted in Ontario since it began in 1927 - making this the 82nd year for the Brier.

    The Brier is the annual Canadian men's curling championship, sanctioned by the Canadian Curling Association (CCA). The winner of the Brier goes on to compete as Team Canada at the World Championships.

    The Brier has had a few sponsors over the years including Macdonald Tobacco, Labbatt, Nokia and now Tim Hortons since 2005.

    The Brier includes 12 teams - 1 from each province except Ontario which sends 2 and 1 from the territories. Unlike the woman's Championship the previous years winner is not automatically entered. Alberta has been the Champion for the past 3 years but it's Manitoba that has won a record 26 Briers since it began.

    The John Labbatt Centre has been getting the ice ready for the Brier, converting a hockey rink into a curling rink is no easy task. There is an article in the London Free Press today discussing these challenges. The head ice technician is Hans Wuthrich, originally from Switzerland, and was the technician in charge of the curling sheets at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

    Source: curling.ca, London Free Press, John Labatt Centre, tsn.ca

    Tuesday, March 1, 2011

    HMCS Charlottetown

    Did you know Canada..  I'm sure by now you've all heard the HMCS Charlottetown is on her way to Libya to take part in Canadian and international evacuation operations that are already underway there and provide humanitarian relief.

    The HMCS Charlottetown is based (homeported) at CFB Halifax serving MARLANT (Maritime Forces Atlantic). She's actually the third ship to carry the designation HMCS Charlottetown. Her motto is "All Challenges Squarely Met" and the ships colours are Silver and Green.

    This is not the first mission for the HMCS Charlottetown, she has served in the Canadian Forces since 1995 - and it won't be the last either.

    All the best HMCS Charlottetown.

    Source: Canadian Navy: HMCS CHARLOTTETOWN

    Maple Syrup Time

    Did you know Canada.. we're coming up on Maple Syrup time when you'll find plenty of Maple Syrup festivals across Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick.

    Canada and the United States are the only two maple syrup producing countries in the world, Canada producing 82% of the total syrup. And it's Quebec that produces the most syrup - about 90%!

    Maple Syrup festivals have always been an important part of growing up where we live and I look forward to taking my own kids to a festival this coming weekend. The festivals usually consist of pancake breakfasts, displays on how the maple syrup is collected and processed, crafts, horse drawn wagon rides and more.

    Source: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, local festivals
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