Friday Two Cents: Canada 150 Ottawa Trip – Ottawa & Gatineau


I had the opportunity to visit the Ottawa area to take in some Canadian 150 celebration. Once there I did a lot of sight seeing in the usual places like the museums, the mint and the ByWard Market. However there was a new attraction in Gatineau that was unique that celebrated the diversity of Canada and its sheer beauty. It was the MOSAÏCANADA 150/Gatineau 2017.

Jacques-Cartier Park Gatineau hosted the biggest horticultural event in Canada, the MOSAÏCANADA 150/Gatineau 2017. Mosaiculture is a most spectacular horticultural technique that combines the following different art forms:
  • Sculpture for the structure,
  • Paint for the palette of colours, and
  • Horticulture as the means of creating living and changing artworks with plants.
The theme of the exhibit reflected on the 150 years of history, values, culture and arts in Canada, represented by more than 40 different arrangements. Admission to the MOSAÏCANADA 150/Gatineau 2017 exhibit in Jacques-Cartier Park is free and it was a spectacular site to see.
After the garden exhibit I enjoyed a unique exhibition at the History Museum that happened to be right across the street from Jacques-Cartier Park. The exhibit is called “Hockey”, what’s more Canadian then that. It was an exploration of Canada’s game for the very beginning, through the creation of the National Hockey League (NHL), the Olympics and other international games all from a distinctly Canadian point of view.
If you are going to Ottawa one place you need to visit is the ByWard Market. It is a great place to get anything from fresh fruit and vegetables to any little nick-knack. They also have a wide variety of restaurants, bakeries and cafés. One was even visited by former President Obama where he bought a beaver tail and some cookies for his daughters.
Yet the day was topped off by a wonderful light presentation at the Parliament buildings. It is a sound and light show that journeys through Canada’s history. It shows Canadian stories of nation building, partnership, discovery, valour, pride and vision for a country. Key figures, events and achievements from Canadian history are brought to life using five distinct artistic styles. All are presented in spectacular detail, with a bilingual narration and an amazing music score that is projected on the Parliament builds, Centre Block and Peace Tower. There where times during the presentation where I felt myself tear up as a swell of national pride came over me. If you go to Ottawa just for this show it is well worth the trip. It truly was an amazing sight to see and I was lucky enough to find a copy of the show on YouTube. It is about 30 minutes but it is time well spent.

Going to Ottawa has always been a treat for me and I have been there on numerous occasions. Yet every time I go I cannot help be filled with pride and love for my birth country. The history, the accomplishments and vision of Canada have always been an inspiration to me. This trip has only deepened my love for Canada and I can proudly shout out for the entire world to hear…

“I AM CANADIAN!!”

SaveSave

Advertisements

Art Inspiration: Canada 150 Ottawa Trip – National Gallery Of Canada


 

Last week I made my way back to Ottawa for a mini vacation to do some things that celebrates Canada’s 150th birthday. During my stay there I made it a point to visit the National Gallery of Canada. Surprisingly I have been to Ottawa on numerous occasions but this was my first visit to the gallery. I went there because they have a large selection of Canadian artists’ works on display to help celebrate Canada’s 150 and perhaps inspire me. I was not disappointed.

In the gallery you can see may examples of Canadian artists’ works, from indigenous works to traditional to the Group of Seven up to the present. I also enjoyed viewing some international pieces from Europe and the US but my focus was Canadian artists. There were so many pieces to explore but I will limit this post to three that truly inspired and touched my soul.

 

I decided to take a tour and one of the first paintings I say was by Robert Harris entitled “The Meeting of the School Trustees” 1885. When I saw it I immediately recognized it from an old Heritage Minute vignette. It was amazing to see this painting in person considering I have seen it on television in commercials as a child.

 

“The Meeting of the School Trustees” Robert Harris 1885

 

The next piece was not a painting but a sculpture by Elizabeth Wyn Wood entitled “Passing Rain” carved 1929. When I entered the room I immediately was drawn to it. It was very familiar and I learned from the tour that she was inspired by the Group of Seven depictions of the Canada’s natural landscapes and created something similar yet unique. When I saw it, it reminded me of the Art Deco style of straight lines and smooth cures. It truly is an inspiring piece.

 

“Passing Rain” Elizabeth Wyn Wood, carved 1929

The third is actually two paints created by Christine Pflug entitled ‘Kitchen Door in Winter II’ 1964 and “Kitchen Door and Esther” 1965. These two painting were painted a year apart and was not meant to be a pair. Yet when I saw the first painting of the African doll and all the imagery around it being cold, dead and outside, I could not help but think of the civil rights movement. Some how this doll represents the African community being left outside, having barriers to overcome to come inside. Then in contrast the second shows a little Caucasian girl reading a book in a warm green open environment. I could not help but see that the artist painted the image with small clues of openness all around the painting. The opening in the trees to reveal the sky, the open book, the open door and the open cabinet door to the upper left. It almost suggests that this little girl has more opportunities that the other African doll would have. That society is more open for her. Experts don’t think that these paintings were meant as messages about the civil rights movement. Yet considering the imagery and they were painted in 1964 and 1965, right the middle of the movement, an argument can be made.

 

 

There were so many different and inspiring pieces that I cannot comment on all of them, however, I was able to take pictures.   Below you can see some other spectacular examples of both Canadian and international artists that is on display at the National Gallery of Canada that can entice the soul and inspire the mind.

 

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

Friday Two Cents: Canada 150 Ottawa Trip – The Royal Canadian Mint


 

This past week I visited a familiar place that I love going to over and over again; our nation’s capital Ottawa.

I have been to Ottawa many times but every time I go there I am filled with patriotism and pride for my birth country Canada. I have been to most, if not all, of the museums the city has to offer like the War Museum and Parliament Hill. One of the places I visited was Royal Canadian Mint.

The Royal Canadian Mint

At the mint I was able to go for a tour, yet you cannot take pictures inside because even though the outside looks like a castle, inside it is a working factory. Once inside they showed us the process of transforming bricks of gold, silver and platinum into investment and collector coins. They have a forge that melts down the metal, presses, cuts, weights, inspects and stamps the coins. It was a very informative tour and an impressive process.
However, I also learned a lot about the mint that I had not known before. I found out that the mint also produces coins for other countries. They estimated that they have produced coins for over 60 countries. Not only coins but the mint also created the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympics and the Toronto 2015 Pan Am and Para Pan Am Medals. They had examples of the Olympic medals on display and I learned that each medal has a part of a larger image. If you place all the medals beside each other they create an aboriginal artwork of an orca and the Paralympic medals of a raven. Not only that but the medal are in a wavy shape to represent the mountain range in British Columbia. Inspiring!

The 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games Medals

They also told us about their purity of the gold. Most gold in the world is pure to 99.99 (99.99%) or four 9s. But the Royal Canadian Mint can get a purity of five 9s or 99.999. They showed us the largest, purest gold coin in the world. It has a face value of $1,000,000 CAD. The Australians have a larger gold coin but theirs’ is only 99.99 pure. The Canadian coin is 99.999 pure and they made only 5 coins, which a few individuals and companies bought them. But because they are also collectors’ coins their value has gone up to be worth about $4 million and it keeps going up in value. One was stolen from a Berlin museum in March and its whereabouts are currently unknown. Another one of the owners is a billionaire from Saudi Arabia. They say he uses is as a coffee table. Must be nice to have money eh.

Canadian 1Million dollar Gold Coin

After the tour I was even able to lift a bar of gold. Mind you it was chained to the platform and a security guard was right beside it. If you ever get a chance to lift a bar of gold, try it. The first thing that I noticed was that the gold was soft to the touch like lead or hard clay but metallic. Also it was extremely heavy. One bar of gold weights 28 pounds and with the price of gold I was holding about $725,000 CAD or $575,000 US in my hands. I can now say that I have held over a half a million dollars in my hands, WWWOOO what a rush. Gold rush, that is.

Friday Two Cents: To Boldly Go


 

This past week has been a whirlwind of a week to say the least. First off I finally made it onto the Occasional Teaching (OT) roster of a school board. I say finally because after 2 years in university, one year of teacher’s college and 2 years of supplying as an early childhood educator (RECE), I can say that I am working in my chosen career.

First Day as an occasional teacher (OT)

As great as that sounds it is only the beginning. I went in on Monday to the school I usually go to for my first day as a supply teacher. The experience was amazing! I was in a grade 5 class where all of the students basically knew me and I knew about half of them since kindergarten. I then covered a few other classes where I had the same experience.
At the end of the day I received some good news for me. A teacher had gone on sick leave and they asked me if I could cover the class until the end of the school year. I jumped at the chance and the best part  was that it would be in a kindergarten class that I have already worked in as a RECE!!
So the following day I started in the kindergarten class as their teacher until the end of the year.  The experience was a lot different then when I was a RECE. I have been in the several classes as a RECE for several weeks and months at a time, yet being a teacher in a class is totally different. They say the weight of responsibility weighs heavy on those in authority and I can now say from experience, that it does.
Before, I was helping the teacher, something very similar to a “sergeant”. Someone in authority and respected, but subordinate to someone else.   Now as the teacher I am like the officer, the “captain” of the ship. You still have someone to report to, the principal (Admiral), but you chart your own course, steering the ship in a direction towards a destination for learning. The crew (the students) are your responsibility, you must keep them safe and ensure that they benefit for your leadership.
This week of being the “Captain” in the class was amazing. I had the benefit of the programming of the previous teacher and then I threw in my own spin in teaching the material. Next week I bring in my own plan of action, so to speak. This coming week I am the captain of the S.S. Kindergarten. Their on going journey, into a new and exciting world of learning and exploration. To boldly go where we have not gone before.

SaveSave

Friday Two Cents: Citizenship Quiz


 

 

This past week I saw something that made me stop and take notice. It has to do with the state of Arizona making its high school students take a mandatory citizenship test as part of their requirements for graduation from high school.

There are many people on both sides of the argument for this interesting addition to the curriculum. The state politicians argued the that many of these young people will be entrusted with the future of the country’s political landscape from serving in government to exercising their duty by voting.  This test will help them be a more informed citizen.  
Some argued that the students already have a lot of tests they must complete to graduate so why add another one. Another argument says why should there be a test on memorization, why not a test that actually stimulates the students on independent thought. Some educators say that this is a waste of valuable classroom time of a test that is, in essence, very easy.
I for one see that both arguments have merit. Yes there is a lot of testing that the students need to do to graduate yet if you think about it many of the questions can be covered in other classes. Yet with the argument that the test is easy, I refer to a 2011 study by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. After surveying over 1400 adults it found that …
  • When asked, 36% could name the three levels of the US government, where 35% could not name a single one.
  • When asked, 38% correctly said that the Republicans have the most members in the House of Representatives, but 17% said the Democrats and 44% said they did not know.
  • When asked, 38% correctly said that the Democrats have the most members in the Senate but 20% said the Republicans and 42% said they did not know.
Clearly this study shows that among regular American citizens, the citizenship test questions are not that easy.
I look at this study and at this legislation to change the curriculum and I have to agree that with adding a citizen test to the requirements for graduation. I would love to see a similar test be a requirement in Canada as well. I do not need to quote studies or the fact that only 68.3% of eligible voters actually voted in the last federal election. I have first hand experience on how much people do not know about Canada. I took a Canadian Issues course in university and out of a starting class size of 60 students we finished the course with 45. Many I talked to said that they dropped the course because they had no idea of the Canadian issue presented in the course. The topics ranged from government (elections and the make up of government), general history, indigenous people topics, global issues (that relate to Canada) and peacekeeping/Nato. Topics every Canadian should be aware of, yet 25% of the class had no idea of these topics.
I think all Canadian citizens should be aware of the issues that face our country and know how the election and how government works. If you are a Canadian and interested in testing yourself, I am adding a link to a Canadian Citizenship test site below. The site is CitizenshipCounts.ca and is a project of OCASI and was funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.  I took the test and I am proud to say I got 100% on the quiz of 30 questions. Let’s see if you can match me.

 

CitizenshipCounts.ca

 

 

Friday Two Cents: If Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade


 

This past week in Ontario many elementary and high schools were out for the annual March/spring break. In previous years I have always worked during this week at various afterschool programs, yet this year I had the need to take the week off. I didn’t want to go somewhere far-flung or exotic, I just wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and the students. Don’t get me wrong I adore the children but I was feeling a bit rundown and I needed sometime to be alone with my thoughts. To chill out, ironically speaking.

I decided to take a mini vacation to Niagara Falls and more importantly the Niagara Wine country. I live in the Toronto area and Niagara Falls is only a 1½-hour drive but I have never seen the falls in the winter. Besides I love visiting the wineries in the area for some wine tasting. It would also be a great opportunity to do some drawing and hopefully get inspired.
However Mother Nature had other plans this past week. I left for my vacation on Monday and of course that is the day when a winter storm just happens to blow into southern Ontario.   I am only few kilometers into the trip when the storm really picks up. With high winds and lake-effect snow traffic literally comes to a halt. I continue but the traffic is moving about 5 – 10 km/hr. The slowdown is mind numbing and it is all due to the weather. The truly amazing thing was that after I traveled past the city of Hamilton the weather clears up. It was eerie. On the east side of the highway, the lakeside, you can see the blowing snow and dark clouds yet on the west side of the highway the sun was setting and it was clear. It felt like I was driving through the eye of the storm or at least the edge of it. I arrived at the hotel safely yet the normally 1½-hour drive took 4½hrs!
I was stressed worst then before I left. So much for my relaxing vacation. However I was able to have a great meal at the casino and then soak in the hot tub after. I could feel the stress just melting away in the Jacuzzi. Especially since I could see that the storm had reached Niagara Falls and I was safe inside.
The next day the storm was in full force but that did not stop me. I was prepared with winter gear and I went for a walk to the Falls in the middle of the storm. I was able to get a few nice photos and I was able to talk to a few people who I met there. Yes just call me Mr. Sociable.  

Panoramic view of Niagara Falls during the Winter Storm.

Panoramic view of Niagara Falls after the Winter Storm.

Panoramic view of Niagara-on-the-lake after the Winter Storm.

I for one do not like the winter season. I do not like the cold or the lack of sunlight. Yet I made it a point to not let this winter storm ruin my vacation. The storm lasted about a day and a half but in that time I was able to do all that I wanted.   I was able to draw, read, write, explore and of course enjoy a couple of wine tastings. Call me Mr. Optimist but I simply adapted to the situation I still had a wonderful time. I would imagine that old saying is true…

If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.  

Comic Strips: Double The Fun


 

The latest instalment of The Craziest Things has been sent out and with it a wish that many have had at least once in their lives.

Many of us do not have an identical twin but sometimes we wish we did. We’d imagine tricking our parents or others with simple little jokes or trying to double our chances of getting more stuff. The Weasly twins from the Harry Potter series, played by James Phelps and Oliver Phelps, stir up our imagination on what mischief we can get into if we had a twin to back us up. At the school we have several identical twins yet I have never had an opportunity to draw them into my comic strip until know.

Quit simply it’s a scenario that many of us without an identical twin would love to have. Well, at least once in a while. Yet if you look closely there is something that does differentiate the twins from each other besides the colour of their shirts.  I wonder if you can spot it.  

I hope you enjoy the latest instalment of, The Craziest Things; Double The Fun.

Sauce Box

Never get lost in the Sauce

The Trombonist's Mouthpiece

Music, education, and philosophy

Paul Gauchi

My innermost thoughts I wish to share. These things Inspire me, maybe they will inspire you.

Lucia Lorenzi

the body politic: musings and meanderings

Eternal Atlantis

Official Website of Luciana Cavallaro

The Art Studio by Mark Moore

Where Imagination Becomes Realality

Daniel is funny

Monsters, Jokes, Analogies

A Step onto the Road

The journeying of a literary hopeful

teachingontheverge

Emergent curriculum, play-based learning, and Arts education... go!

The Baggage Handler

I made the impossible easy in both worlds!

Bucket List Publications

Indulge- Travel, Adventure, & New Experiences

Belief Blog

Spreading the Power of Belief

The First Gate

Stories, Dreams, Imagination, Soul

Chris Martin Writes

Sowing seeds for the Kingdom

Unbound Boxes Limping Gods

The writer gives life to a story, the reader keeps it alive.

Mama Cormier

.... my journey to a healthy life, making new memories and so much more

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.