The Royal Canadian Mint recently sounded the death knell for the penny. Production of the almost-useless coin will cease by the fall, and I’m assuming this news is being taken fairly well by Canadians as no one seems bothered at all by this decision.
It costs the Mint 1.6 cents to produce each penny, which means that every year Canada spends $11 million more than the coin’s face value to produce something most of us consider to be worthless. All other Canadian coins are worth more than their cost of production, so it’s no wonder the penny is getting axed. Continue reading
While doing some research for this post a few weeks ago, I stumbled on a few classic Canadian “Heritage Minute” videos on YouTube. I was thrilled to find out that they’re available for viewing online because these videos used to leave me transfixed when I was little…and apparently they still do today.
Heritage Minute videos first aired on television in 1991, and each one depicts a significant moment, person or event who influenced Canadian history. I know that Canadian history may seem like a really boring topic, but we’ve actually done some pretty amazing things over the years! From creating Superman and basketball, to our roles in Vimy Ridge and helping free American slaves through the Underground Railroad, these vignettes make your Canadian heart swell with pride.
Whenever a Heritage Minute would come on tv when I was a kid, I used to cross my fingers and hope it was a story I hadn’t yet seen. The minute-long videos were fairly frequently aired over the years, so it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a new one. But through the magic of the internet, you can easily access over 70 of them on the Historica Dominion Institute website.
Here are a few examples of the reasons Canadians have to be proud of our collective heritage: Continue reading
The good news is that a few of my matchbooks will likely be worth millions in a few days. The bad news is that’s because O’Sheas Casino is closing on April 30, 2012. Hopefully you’ve already heard this disheartening news elsewhere, as I hate to be the first one to break it to you. If not, please accept my apologies.
The Strip currently has precious little room for places of O’Sheas’ calibre, and I think that is the biggest travesty of its closure. Although we all go to Vegas for different reasons, you have to admit that sometimes you just want to wander into a casino that allows you to do whatever the hell you want regardless of how you’re dressed, what you’re drinking, how much you’re betting, or what show you’re going to see that night. Continue reading
Most universities have a few long-standing traditions that recur on an annual basis. These events help foster a sense of community among the student body, provide a means to engage the campus in a common celebration, mark the passage of time, and create a sense of continuity between current students and all of the alumni who have come before them. Sociologically speaking, these events also serve to demarcate members of a given social group -if you’re one of us, you can participate (or have in the past); if you’re not, you can’t. Continue reading
When you live in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, it’s impossible to know what to wear on a given day. In Calgary you can wake up to 10 cm of fresh snow, eat lunch amid a hail storm, and drive home with your windows open wishing you’d worn flip flops to work. There’s a saying that if you don’t like the weather in Calgary, just wait five minutes. And on most days that’s fairly accurate. I can’t image being a weather forecaster here because the odds of you being correct for an entire day are about as good as you winning a Lotto 649 jackpot.
So as you can imagine, Calgarians are used to dressing in layers and preparing for all four seasons to bombard us within a 24 hour time period. Our closets and cars are filled with mittens, scarves, earmuffs, snow boots, blankets, jackets, sweaters, and a number of other items used to save us from the elements.
The image below gives you an idea of what the weather was like in Calgary today. For context, please note that this morning the streets were completely clean, and the grass was just starting to turn green… Continue reading
Generally speaking, Calgary is regarded as being a conservative city -both politically and socially. But all of that changes come July when we roll out the hay bales, dust off our cowboy hats, and get down to the serious business of partying Stampede-style.
The Calgary Stampede, also known as the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, is a 10 day annual event that celebrates Alberta’s western heritage and pioneer spirit. In the past 99 years, millions of people from around the globe have converged on the Stampede Grounds to take part in this world-class festival. From mini donuts and calf roping, to fireworks and line dancing, there’s something to suit everyone’s taste at the Stampede.
The 100th anniversary of the Calgary Stampede will be taking place less than 100 days from now, and this year’s celebration promises to be the best one yet. As a Calgarian who looks forward to the event all year long, I thought I’d help get you into the Stampede spirit by posting 100 things you might not know about Calgary’s most beloved cultural institution. By the end of the list you should be craving mini donuts (see #86) and planning where your new five foot tall pink teddy bear will live (see #66). Yahoo!
Posted in Calgary Quirks, Calgary Stampede
- Tagged Alberta, Calgary, Calgary Stampede, Chuckwagons, Culture, Festivals, Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, Rodeo, Stampede, Stampede Parade
In this post and this post I briefly mentioned the Caesar without fully explaining either its origin or its virtues. I also posted a video about the Caesar here, but it only gives you a hint of the cocktail’s history. Considering the Caesar and I were both born in the same city, I’m feeling a little guilty for not giving Canada’s most beloved cocktail its due. So, without further adieu, the following post will be dedicated to the best use for clam juice ever invented.