O Canada


Our Flag

On February 15, 1965, our national flag was raised for the first time on Parliament Hill. That was 50 years ago today.

It's the only Canadian flag I've ever known and I can't imagine an alternative. It's always been there, a great source of pride.

Here's a few pics I've taken of our flag over the years, in honour of the 50th anniversary of the National Flag of Canada.

I snapped this pic of our flag at Chudleigh's Farm on October 9, 2005.

O Canada

I took this shot before a Leafs game on October 30, 2006.

The Rafters

This photo was taken just last summer. It's my daughter at Canada's Wonderland as Snoopy opened the park for the day.

Canada's Wonderland is perfectly empty this morning

And last but not least, this might be my favourite of all. I took it from underneath the giant Canadian flag we passed overhead as we sang O Canada prior to the World Junior final between Canada and Russia. We won gold that glorious January 5, 2015 night and everyone wore a red maple leaf.

Canada vs.  Russia

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Mercy, Mercy Me

The Supreme Court of Canada says a law that makes it illegal for anyone to help people end their own lives should be amended to allow doctors to help in specific situations.

The ruling only applies to competent adults with enduring, intolerable suffering who clearly consent to ending their lives.

The court has given federal and provincial governments 12 months to craft legislation to respond to the ruling; the ban on doctor-assisted suicide stands until then. If the government doesn't write a new law, the court's exemption for physicians will stand.

The right to die with dignity... what a progressive and sensible decision.

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In Flanders Field

PoppyIn Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
      - John McCrae, In Flanders Fields

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The Shootings at Parliament Hill

The Shootings at Parliament Hill in OttawaLike many of you, I was glued to the television and radio while the story unfolded in Ottawa yesterday. I watched CBC News Network and listened to CBC Radio One, and found the coverage anchored by Peter Mansbridge and Anna Maria Tremonti to be outstanding. There was a wonderful and refreshing lack of speculation and hyperbole.

We now know there was a single shooter, an angry young man who took the life of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, a reservist based in Hamilton with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders regiment. Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, who was shot while on honorary guard at the National War Memorial, had a son in kindergarten.

Some media outlets will speak of the terror and fear, but I prefer to focus on our national sense of loss at this pointless, cowardly act. We are not afraid, we did not awaken this morning with a sense of terror. This is Canada.

I can't turn a phrase like Rex Murphy, so here he is on last night's The National sharing sentiments I agree with.

In Pittsburgh last night, where the Penguins faced the Flyers, they honoured Canada and sang our national anthem.

penguins

I'll close this entry with Bruce MacKinnon's touching editorial cartoon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald.

ottawastrong

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Awesome Heritage Minutes Posters

Awesome Heritage Minutes PostersI loved the old Heritage Minute vignettes that aired on TV during commercial breaks. Historica Canada and Christopher Hemsworth Creative have designed a series of 13 limited edition Heritage Minutes posters with iconic quotes from each Minute. You can buy these as a set here.

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Dalton Pompey Becomes 19th Canadian Blue Jay

Dalton PompeyWhen Dalton Pompey hit an RBI groundout to first yesterday, he became the 19th Canadian Blue Jay. Here's the updated list:

  • Dave McKay
  • Paul Hodgson
  • Rob Ducey
  • Denis Boucher
  • Vince Horsman
  • Rob Butler
  • Paul Spoljaric
  • Paul Quantrill
  • Rich Butler
  • Steve Sinclair
  • Simon Pond
  • Corey Koskie
  • Matt Stairs
  • Scott Richmond
  • Shawn Hill
  • Adam Loewen
  • Mark Teahen
  • Brett Lawrie
  • Dalton Pompey

Dalton Pompey is from Mississauga. He had made four appearances as a pinch-runner but made his first plate appearance yesterday.

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Canada, We Have Ourselves a Wimbledon Finalist

Canada, We Have Ourselves a Wimbledon FinalistI've been watching tennis grand slam events forever. As a young man, you'd have thought I was German the way I cheered on Boris Becker and Steffi Graf. After all, Canadians were never a threat.

Here's something I wrote in July of 2009 about Canada's male singles tennis failure. We had produced a few decent female players, and at least a couple of excellent doubles players, but not one male player who could even upset their way into a semifinal match. The highest ranking Canadian male in singles play was Andrew Sznajder who somehow got ranked #46 in September 1989.

Today, Canada's Eugenie Bouchard defeated Simona Halep in the Wimbledon semifinal and will play Petra Kvitova for the title. That's amazing. A Canadian might win a Wimbledon singles event.

Meanwhile, Milos Raonic has reached the semifinal and will play Roger Federer tomorrow. Before I had a true rooting interest, Federer was my guy.

With Bouchard and Raonic, tennis has become a whole lot more fun for this canuck.

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D-Day: Seventy Years Later

D-DayToday we pay tribute to the 150,000 Allied troops who took part in the biggest military invasion in history, the D-Day invasion of Normandy, France.

The story of the Canadians is particularly touching. At the time of the war, Canada was a nation of only 11 million people with more than a million of its citizens in uniform. While the United States had the most D-Day casualties, Canadian forces suffered the highest percentage of losses. Roaring off of Juno Beach, Canadians made the deepest Allied penetration June 6, 1944.

We can never forget that efforts such as this is why we have such freedoms and opportunities in Canada today. I am so thankful it's impossible to accurately convey my gratitude.

Last September, 9,000 bodies were stenciled across a beach in Normandy to honour the dead.

normandy

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Vimy Ridge and My Son

Vimy RidgeCanadian forces played a very significant role in one of the key massive offensives launched by the Allies in WWI. On April 9, 1917, the Canadian Corps, four divisions strong and fighting together for the first time, attacked the German army posted on the gently rising slope of land that dominated the Douai plains in the Arras sector of northern France. It was known as Vimy Ridge.

This victory was the seedbed of Canadian identity. We were asked to capture Vimy Ridge, and we did. We did it by working together, Canadian heart can never be over estimated. It was this moment that solidified a very young country, 97 years ago today.

It will be an absolute honour to have a son born on this day. I can't wait to meet him.

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Canadians in 2014 March Madness

Canadians in 2014 March MadnessThe NCAA men’s tournament tips off tomorrow, and there are plenty of Canadians taking part, many with key roles.

It's not just Andrew Wiggins, it's also Tyler Ennis, Melvin Ejim, Kevin Pangos and my son's friend's cousin, Nik Stauskas. Here's who you should cheer for over the next two weeks of madness.

  • Arizona State: Jordan Bachynski
  • Baylor: Brady Heslip, Kenny Chery
  • Creighton: Jahenns Manigat
  • Dayton: Dyshawn Pierre
  • Eastern Kentucky: Jaylen Babb-Harrison
  • Gonzaga: Kevin Pangos, Dustin Triano
  • Harvard: Laurent Rivard, Agunwa Okolie, Patrick Steeves
  • Iowa State: Melvin Ejim, Naz Long
  • Kansas: Andrew Wiggins
  • Michigan: Nik Stauskas
  • New Mexico State: Daniel Mullings, Sim Bhullar, Tanveer Bhullar, Renaldo Dixon
  • Oregon: Jason Calliste, Richard Amardi
  • Saint Louis: Grandy Glaze
  • Syracuse: Tyler Ennis
  • Stanford: Dwight Powell, Stefan Nastic
  • Villanova: Dylan Ennis
  • Wichita State: Nick Wiggins, Chadrak Lufile

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