Happy Canada Day Fireworks

Oh! CANADA! – eh?

Canada Day Ottawa, Ontario - Federal Parliament Buildings

Canada Day Ottawa, Ontario – Federal Parliament Buildings

Whoever says we Canadians don’t have pride of country doesn’t know what they’re talking about.  We’re not loud, but we’re proud!

Flag of Canada with Maple LeavesLike many of us, I tend to grumble about winter weather when I know others are having perpetual summers, but what the heck!  They have their air-conditioners on all the time, don’t they?  We don’t need to, except in the hottest months of summer.  All we need is a good heating system, a sweater or two, some warm winter clothing for outdoors, (including a good hat), and the common sense to stay indoors in the middle of a blizzard. Canadian Winter Clothing (Olympics)Here in Toronto, we have The Canadian Shield and The Niagara Escarpment protecting us like an umbrella from the most severe weather, although sometimes Nature tests our complacency with a large dump of snowfall.  Most winters here have hardly any snow at all.  Now, on the other hand, London, Ontario

Western University London Ontario

Western University London Ontario

and Stratford, Ontario

Stratford Shakespearean Festival Ontario

Stratford Shakespearean Festival Ontario

and that whole corridor that stretches up to the north from “The Golden Horseshoe” can get some pretty large snowfalls, but I remember that’s one of the reasons my Mom and Dad came back from Arizona where they had spent several months each year, because Christmas just wasn’t right without the snow.

Snowbound Cars in Barrie Ontario

Snowbound Cars in Barrie Ontario

But winter aside, the rest of the year in Canada is truly spectacular.

VanDusen Botanical Garden Vancouver British Columbia

VanDusen Botanical Garden Vancouver British Columbia

The first hardy Canadian crocuses sometimes pushing their way up through snow, the healthy abundance of tulips, daffodils and forsythia bushes with all the other spring flowers tell us that winter is over for another year. Early Blooming Crocuses It’s well worth waiting through the white months of December, January, February and part of March to get the rains that open up the earth to all the beauty waiting to spring forth. Spring Tree Blossoms The trees and bushes are magnificent presenting intense yellow-greens, gradually changing to dark as summer comes along, rich, deep reds of the Manitoba maples, framed against the forest and medium greens of pines and evergreens – absolutely stunning. Atlantic coast vegetation Then summer is upon us with all its warmth and sweet breezes, summer showers, trips to the beaches, colourful flowers everywhere, with fresh fruit and vegetables appearing in Toronto’s unique and colourful Kensington Market area…

Kensington Market Toronto Ontario

Kensington Market Toronto Ontario

or Toronto’s historic St. Lawrence Market

St. Lawrence Market Toronto, Ontario.

St. Lawrence Market Toronto, Ontario.

and in Farmers’ Markets in cities, towns & villages…

Red Wing Farmers Market, Vancouver, British Columbia

Red Wing Farmers Market, Vancouver, British Columbia

and at country roadside stalls and “come pick-your-own” farms all across Canada…

Roadside market in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia (Betty Ann Deobald)

Roadside market in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia (Betty Ann Deobald)

including the great, multicultural City Market, in St.John, New Brunswick.

Famous "City Market", St. John, New Brunswick

Famous “City Market”, St. John, New Brunswick

Everywhere you travel you will find barbecues-in-the-park, attractive golf courses, neighbourhood ballgames…

Nat Bailey Stadium, Vancouver British Columbia

Nat Bailey Stadium, Vancouver British Columbia

beach sports, fishing, swimming, bocchia, theatre, jazz, picnics, festivals and outdoor cafés.

Cafe Maurizio Montreal, Quebec

Cafe Maurizio Montreal, Quebec

Summer gives way to glorious, vibrant, wild autumn, painting totally superb pictures in Algonquin Park of seas of maples, breathtaking in their abundance.

Autumn Colours in Algonquin Park, Ontario

Autumn Colours in Algonquin Park, Ontario

The air is crisper, and we know that after an Indian Summer, we will be eased into winter, where ice-skating, snowboarding, skiing, snowmobiling, ice sculpturing, and all the joys and beauty of winter will ease our pain past the cold..

Quiet Winter Beauty, Owen Sound Ontario

Quiet Winter Beauty, Owen Sound Ontario

(which we’re insulated against anyway, with our warm clothing – you’ve heard of our “Roots” apparel stores, right?).

Wearing "Roots" on The Rideau Canal Ottawa Ontario

Wearing “Roots” on The Rideau Canal Ottawa Ontario

Did You Know...

BUT, DID YOU KNOW THIS ABOUT CANADA?

Most Peaceful Countries In The World – Iceland, Denmark, Austria, New Zealand, Switzerland, Finland, CANADA, Japan, Belgium, Norway.

Best Countries for Business In The World  – Ireland, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Singapore, CANADA, Norway, Netherlands (reported Forbes.com). CANADA Has outstanding banking services, with 4 of the world’s top banks belonging to Canada. CANADA is #8 out of 185 countries posting lower corporate taxes on its citizens.

Toronto Ontario Business/Financial District

Toronto Ontario Business/Financial District

Countries With The Highest Quality of Life / Standard Of Living – Australia, Sweden, CANADA, Norway, Switzerland, United States, Denmark, Netherlands, Iceland, United Kingdom.

Best Countries to Live in – Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, CANADA, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Iceland, Sweden, Australia, Austria. Over 92% of the people in CANADA are happy with their life (2013 happiest country report)

World’s Healthiest Countries – Iceland, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Switzerland, Australia, Denmark, CANADA (one of the world’s longest life expectancies 81M 83F), Austria, Netherlands.

World’s Cleanest Cities – (using quality of air, drinking water and life) Calgary, Alberta, CANADA is #1, followed by Ifrane (Morocco) Helsinki (Finland) Honolulu (Hawaii) Wellington (New Zealand) Adelaide (Australia) Kobe (Japan) Ottawa, Ontario CANADA #8 Reykjavik (Iceland) and Singapore.

Calgary Alberta at The Bow & Elbow Rivers on the Rocky Mountain foothills

Calgary Alberta at The Bow & Elbow Rivers on the Rocky Mountain foothills

Ottawa Ontario (our nation's capital) across the Ottawa River from Gatineau Quebec

Ottawa Ontario (our nation’s capital) across the Ottawa River from Gatineau Quebec

Best Parks In The World – (Trip.Advisor.com) Stanley Park, Vancouver, CANADA is #1, ahead of Garden of the Gods (Colorado) Central Park & High Line (NY) Millennium Park (Chicago) Kings Park & Botanic Garden in Perth, Australia, Guell Park and Retiro Park in Spain, Ibirapuera Park, Sao Paulo Brazil, and Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, France.

Forested Stanley Park, Burrard Inlet, just off the city of Vancouver British Columbia

Forested Stanley Park, Burrard Inlet, just off the city of Vancouver British Columbia

Palm Trees in Stanley Park Vancouver British Columbia

Palm Trees in Stanley Park Vancouver British Columbia

World’s Most Beautiful National Parks – In the Forbes.com list Banff National Park, Alberta CANADA stands out alongside Kakadu (Australia) Manuel Antonio (Costa Rica) Fiordland (New Zealand) Lake District (England) Swiss National Park (Switzerland) Torres del Paine (Chile) Serengeti (Tanzania) Guilin and Lijiang River (China) Fuji-Hakone-Izu (Japan) Grand Canyon, Yosemite (USA) .

Banff National Park Alberta

Banff National Park Alberta

The World’s Largest Countries – CANADA is #2, behind Russia, ahead of the USA, PR China, Brazil, Australia, India, Argentina, Kazakhstan, Sudan & South Sudan combined. (Wikipedia)

World’s Best Country to Grow Old In CANADA is #5 behind Sweden, Norway, Germany, Netherlands, and ahead of Switzerland, New Zealand, USA, Iceland and Japan. (United Nations’ Global Age Watch Index) The 14.9% of the population aged over 65 in Canada is anticipated to double in the next 25 years.

Countries With The Best Education Systems – CANADA ranks #7, behind Japan, South Korea, The United Kingdom, Singapore, Russia, and Finland, and ahead of the Netherlands, Ireland, Israel, China, New Zealand, Norway, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Estonia and the USA.  Of all the countries in the world, CANADA is #1 for the highest rate of college graduates. Once early childhood education is enhanced, Canada will rank much higher than #7. (eBlogfa.com)

Countries With The Best Zoos in the World, #1 Singapore Zoo, #2 Schonbrunner Zoo, Vienna, #3 Toronto Zoo, Ontario CANADA, #4 Animal Kingdom, Florida, #5 San Diego Zoo, #6 Smithsonia Zoological Park Washington DC, #7 Bronx Zoo NY, #8 National Zoological Gardens Pretoria S.Africa, #9 Zoo Basel, Switzerland, #10 Zoo Praha, Prague Czech Rep.

Polar Bears Toronto Zoo - Ontario

Polar Bears Toronto Zoo – Ontario

Best Educated Countries in the World – CANADA ranks #1, followed by Japan, Republic of Korea, United Kingdom, Sweden, Israel, France, Germany, Poland, and the USA. It was noted that Canada’s access to basic knowledge index is at an unprecedented 65.0.   Canada’s education system is controlled by the different provinces, varying widely, with no national, centralized curriculum.  The education system has created one of the most skilled labor forces in the world;  attributing at least in part to Canada’s strong economy and competitive industries. (therichest.com)

Most Charitable Countries in the WorldCANADA is #3, behind Sri Lanka and Ireland, ahead of New Zealand, the USA, Netherlands, Indonesia, United Kingdom, Paraguay, and Denmark. 64% of the people donate to wide varieties of charities. (Wikipedia)

…and if all of that wasn’t enough to make Canadians proud, here’s a few more tidbits: CANADA is the #1 country “to hold good reputation” – for the third time in a row.  A good reputation all over the world. (RepTrak report). And from askushowto.com come the following rankings: – CANADA has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. – CANADA has a low unemployment rate (as low as 5%). – CANADA has the world’s longest coastline, that has expanded up to 202,080 km. – CANADA is the home to 9% of the renewable resources in the world. – CANADA is the shelter for about 55,000 different species. – CANADA has 50% of the world’s bitumen (asphalt) supply. – – CANADA is the ninth richest country in the world with a GDP Per Capita of $42,317 billion. –  CANADA is High on the list of The Best Place To Work, Invest and Study. – CANADA generated more than $81.9 billion over last year in the tourism industry.

…and also – CANADA has the longest street in the worldYonge Street from the shores of Lake Ontario in Toronto to Lake Simcoe, a distance of 1,896km (1,178 miles)…(wikipedia)

Yonge/Dundas Streets Toronto Ontario-looking north

Yonge/Dundas Streets Toronto Ontario-looking north

CANADA produced Poutine, Maple Syrup and Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone. – CANADA has a Canadian Forces Station Altert on the northern tip of Ellesmere Island – just 834 kilometres from the North Pole, therefore we have a legitimate claim to Santa Claus.

So there you have it – not exactly in a nutshell – but the facts tell the story.  We are a great country; we have a wonderful, diverse population, who enjoy a terrific lifestyle.  We are law-abiding, friendly, with an orderly society, caring for the less fortunate; we are tolerant, multi-cultural, and we do not engage in celebrity worship.  We really do love hockey, maple syrup, Tim Bits, — our beer is the absolute best.  In sports, our attitude is “Oh, well, there’s always next year….”  But anyone who thinks we are passive and can’t be aroused, has never watched an international hockey tournament when Canada is in the mix.

Media #1

Hi! This is EJ’s daughter contributing a few videos to Mom’s “Oh! Canada! – eh?” blog.  Back in 2010, I remember watching, and thoroughly enjoying, this video shown during Canada’s Winter Olympics in British Columbia. Tom Brokaw explained Canada’s special relationship to America to the backdrop of gorgeous scenery from coast to coast.(Fred Hodgins-YouTube) 

Here’s a patriotic music video of our National Anthem “O Canada” with still shots of beautiful landscapes and architecture from across the country.  (Isabel Leong-YouTube) O Canada” is the national anthem of Canada, originally commissioned by Lieutenant Governor of Quebec for the 1880 Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day ceremony. French lyrics were translated into English in 1906. Robert Stanley Weir wrote another English version in 1908, which is the official and most popular version (not a literal translation of the French). Weir’s lyrics have been revised twice, taking their present form in 1980.  “O Canada” had served as a de facto national anthem since 1939, officially becoming Canada’s national anthem by an Act of Parliament, effective July 1st, 1980 as part of that year’s Dominion Day celebrations. Dominion Day was renamed Canada Day in 1982. (wikipedia) 

I’ve chosen just one more video to commemorate Canada Day. It’s “The Maple Leaf Forever/Alberta Bound” as performed by Toronto’s own Pipes and Drums of The 48th Highlanders of Canada. (RaGDollxEffecT-YouTube) “The Maple Leaf Forever” is a Canadian song written by Alexander Muir (1830–1906) in 1867, the year of Canada’s Confederation. He wrote the work after serving with the Queen’s Own Rifles of Toronto in the Battle of Ridgeway against the Fenians in 1866. CBC Radio’s Metro Morning show in Toronto ran a contest to find new lyrics for the song in 1997. The contest was won by Romanian immigrant, mathematician, and now a songwriter, actor and poet, Vladimir Radian, who came to Canada in the 1980s. (wikipedia)  

poetry_2Not my poem, but I love the words of our national anthem, “O Canada”, and I follow with a poem I wrote many years ago, when our little family explored this country at every opportunity.

O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.

With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!

From far and wide,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

HOLIDAY: Canada

This is the day we have waited for
With our bags all packed and the maps at hand,
When we store our loads and lock the door
To journey half-way across this land.

We will pass the lakes which are not named,
We will ride on mountains in the clouds,
We will pass through forests still untamed,
We will see the cities, join the crowds.

We will see the prairies and fields of grain,
We will go where the mighty rivers drain,
We will hear the winds and watch the rain,
We will want to travel this road again…..

© E Joyce Finn/Collie

Canada has some of the very best scenery in the world

Here’s a sampling of spectacular Canadian landscapes for your enjoyment. I’ve tried to represent scenery from our ten provinces and three territories in different spots throughout this blog. I hope these pictures will inspire you to travel and visit for yourself.

Breathtaking Saskatchewan

Breathtaking Saskatchewan

Beautiful Quebec City Quebec

Beautiful Quebec City Quebec

Indian Head Cove Bruce Peninsula National Park Ontario

Indian Head Cove Bruce Peninsula National Park Ontario

Halifax Nova Scotia, Citadel Hill,Fort George

Halifax Nova Scotia, Citadel Hill, Fort George

Rocky Mountains British Columbia

Rocky Mountains British Columbia

A Coulée (valley) in the flat-lands of Saskatchewan

A Coulée (valley) in the flat-lands of Saskatchewan

Butchart Gardens Brentwood Bay, near Victoria British Columbia

Butchart Gardens Brentwood Bay, near Victoria British Columbia

Canadian Horseshoe Falls, Niagara Falls Ontario

Canadian Horseshoe Falls, Niagara Falls Ontario

Whirlpool Lake, Riding Mountain National Park, Manitoba

Whirlpool Lake, Riding Mountain National Park, Manitoba

Whale Watching along British Columbia's coastline

Whale Watching along British Columbia’s coastline

Emerald Lake, Yukon

Emerald Lake, Yukon

Prairie near Rathwell, Manitoba (R.Wiebe)

Prairie near Rathwell, Manitoba (R.Wiebe)

Torngat Mountains National Park, Labrador

Torngat Mountains National Park, Labrador

Virginia Falls, Nahanni National Park Reserve, North West Territories

Virginia Falls, Nahanni National Park Reserve, North West Territories

Signal Hill and The Battery, St. Johns, Newfoundland

Signal Hill and The Battery, St. Johns, Newfoundland

Peggys Cove, Nova Scotia

Peggys Cove, Nova Scotia

Dalvay By The Sea, Prince Edward Island

Dalvay By The Sea, Prince Edward Island

Rue du Petit Champlain, Quebec City (Ville de Québec) Quebec

Rue du Petit Champlain, Quebec City (Ville de Québec) Quebec

Hopewell Rocks, Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick

Hopewell Rocks, Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick

A Night View of Toronto Skyline across Lake Ontario

A Night View of Toronto Skyline across Lake Ontario

 

Beaver - Paws For Awhile 2

The CANADIAN Beaver is native to North America and is the national animal and one of the national symbols of Canada, and is not only depicted on the Canadian five-cent piece, but also carved in statuary on our Canadian Parliament Building in Ottawa.

Beaver Sculpture over entrance to Canadian Parliament Building, Ottawa, Ontario (D.GordonE.Robertson)

Beaver Sculpture over entrance to Canadian Parliament Building, Ottawa, Ontario (D.GordonE.Robertson)

It was on the first Canadian postage stamp, the Three Penny Beaver.  It is a common school emblem for engineering schools, including the University of Alberta, and appears in the coats of arms of the Hudson’s Bay Company, University of Toronto, Wilfrid Laurier University and the London School of Economics.  It’s called the North American Beaver, but everyone in the world knows it is OURS!  

Diagram of North American Beaver

Diagram of North American Beaver

Our Canadian Beavers are prolific breeders, explorers and homesteaders.  They usually mate for life, having one litter a year with the two to six “kits” remaining with Mom and Dad for up to two years. Their average life span is 24 years.

Baby beaver "kit" eating a carrot (Martin Fakan)

Baby beaver “kit” eating a carrot (Martin Fakan)

Excellent swimmers, beavers can remain submerged for up to 15 minutes, using their webbed hind feet like a diver’s swim fins. Their eyes have a membrane which allows them to see underwater, with nostrils and ears sealed while submerged.

Beavers are excellent swimmers

Beavers are excellent swimmers

The beaver is totally prepared for winter, with a double coat – long, coarse outer hairs and short, fine inner hairs, usually a dark brown colour, and a thick layer of fat insulation.

Beaver feeding in winter, Gatineau Park, Quebec (D.GordonE.Robertson)

Beaver feeding in winter, Gatineau Park, Quebec (D.GordonE.Robertson)

He uses glands to waterproof his fur.  Like bunnies stomping their feet, the beaver is said to slap its scaly tail on the surface of the water to signal danger.

Beaver with fur dampened by a recent swim

Beaver with fur dampened by a recent swim

Beavers are marvellous engineers, particularly as home and dam builders.  They use natural materials like sticks, twigs, trees, rocks and mud in lakes, streams and today river deltas.

Beaver Dam

Beaver Dam

The lodges may be surrounded by water, touch land, or have burrows dug into the riverbank. The largest beaver dam is 2,790 ft (850m) in length (more than half a mile) discovered by satellite imagery in 2007, located on the southern edge of Wood Buffalo National Park, northern Alberta.  It is TWICE the width of the Hoover Dam! (1,244 ft).

World's largest Beaver Dam at Wood Buffalo National Park, Alberta

World’s largest Beaver Dam at Wood Buffalo National Park, Alberta

Beaver dams are natural methods of forming lakes, ponds, and wetlands.  Their dam-building talents can create artificial ponds, regulate streams, and change the landscape. The dam and the ponds provide protection against predators such as coyotes, wolves and bears.  The dam is constructed using logs from trees the beavers cut down with their excellent teeth, with inner bark, twigs, shoots and leaves being an important part of the beaver’s diet.   This can preserve a water supply in an area, while also preventing soil erosion.  Beavers work at night and are prolific builders, carrying mud and stones with their forepaws and timber between their teeth;  they can rebuild primary dams overnight. Hence the common description of a hard-working person being “busy as a beaver”.

"Busy" Beaver (Michael S. Quinton-National Geographic)

“Busy” Beaver (Michael S. Quinton-National Geographic)

Like most Canadians, the Beaver is a good neighbour, helping many of his wildlife friends – and man.  Almost half of endangered and threatened species in North America rely upon wetlands… and beaver dams create them. Trumpeter swans and Canada Geese often depend on beaver lodges as nesting sites.  Removing pond side trees increases the shrub layer, enhancing waterfowl nesting cover and the insects they feed on. “Drowned” trees become ideal nesting sites for woodpeckers who carve cavities attracting many other bird species, such as flycatchers, tree swallows, tits, wood ducks, goldeneyes, mergansers, owls and kestrels.  Songbirds in particular benefit by the habitat created by the beaver pond. 

Beaver Lodge, northern Ontario

Beaver Lodge, northern Ontario

The ponds are used for fishing by herons, grebes, cormorants, bitterns, great and snowy egrets, mergansers and belted kingfishers.  The ponds have a beneficial effect on trout (brook, rainbow, brown) and sockeye salmon populations, increasing fish numbers and size.  Frog and toad larvae benefit from the warm, well-oxygenated water of a beaver pond.  Ponds increase stream flows in seasonally dry streams by storing run-off in the rainy season.  Five-lined Skink, Northern Brown Snake, Eastern Painted Turtle, Snapping Turtle, Common Musk Turtle are more abundant along beaver streams. Even when beaver abandon a locality, their dam eventually breaks, the pond drains, leaving behind a large open meadow, with nutrient-rich soil from the organic sediment that settled to the bottom when it was a pond. These “beaver meadows” have more light penetration, higher soil moisture, more nitrogen, and a different vegetation.

Beaver Lodge Construction

Beaver Lodge Construction

Dr Hugh Ross reports that a geological, geophysical team at Colorado State University disclosed that the ponds created by beaver dams help purify our lakes, rivers and waterways, creating environments for processing nitrogen and storing carbon, removing much of both from the water. Oxygen depletion causes dead zones for fish and other animal populations, and beaver dams could reverse these conditions where they exist.  Chlorinated water combines with carbon, producing a variety of cancer-causing chemicals, which can be reduced by beaver dams and canals which remove carbon, thus reducing the accumulation of these carcinogens. Some herbicides and pesticides introduced into streams by agriculture, are metabolized and decomposed by the bacteria in the cellulose-rich bottom of a beaver dam.

Beaver gnawing on a tree trunk - West Nipissing Ontario

Beaver gnawing on a tree trunk – West Nipissing Ontario

Beaver once numbered between 100 to 200 million, but were nearly wiped out, so European Gentlemen could wear their tall beaver hats and the ladies could trim their coats with beaver fur. 

"Gentleman's" Beaver Felt Hat, Fort Langley National Historic Site, British Columbia (TheMightyQuill-Wikimedia)

“Gentleman’s” Beaver Felt Hat, Fort Langley National Historic Site, British Columbia (TheMightyQuill-Wikimedia)

Full Length Coats Trimmed in Beaver, Otter, Opossum & Ermine & a Fur Boa (Jacques Nam-1912)

Full Length Coats Trimmed in Beaver, Otter, Opossum & Ermine & a Fur Boa (Jacques Nam-1912)

Beaver were also relocated or exterminated because of their persistence in repairing damage to their dams.  Now the population has rebounded to an estimated 10 to 15 million, and non-lethal “Beaver Deceiver” flow devices (invented & pioneered by wildlife biologist Skip Lisle) are used by Canadian & US governments. Flow devices are relatively cost-effective, low-maintenance solutions that regulate the water level of beaver dams and keep culverts open and allow man and beaver to live together harmoniously. (wikipedia)

Beaver can live happily and productively with all they require to survive &  we can keep our roads, fields and homes free from flooding.

Beaver happily munching, and munching, and munching (Steve Hersey)

Beaver happily munching, and munching, and munching (Steve Hersey)

I leave my Paws For Awhile section with one last item for you. Pictures are wonderful, but a video can show you even more about a special little critter like the Beaver. Here’s a 1936 “Canadian Cameo”documentary “Produced By Special Arrangement with The National Parks of Canada” showing one of Canada’s early conservationists Archibald Belaney (an ex Brit known as Grey Owl) who turned from trapper to protector of the Canadian Beaver. The short historical film features an interesting beaver dubbed “Little Brother” that Grey Owl befriended as an orphan. I hope you enjoy this video my daughter discovered called “Grey Owl’s Strange Guests” (stromgull-YouTube):

Canada with Flag

Yes, I’m proud, very proud, to be a Canadian.  And I’ve only just barely scratched the surface as to why.

Happy 147th Birthday Canada!

Signing off….. ej

 

An Ideal Dad…

Father's Day #16

We may call him Daddy, Pops, Papa, Papi, Baba, Tatti, Babbo or any one of the many endearments we have for our Dads.  Whatever is our favourite name to describe him, this man is a dominant figure in most of our lives, one way or another.  A Dad can be a good father, an indifferent one, or even a bad one.  Today, as Father’s Day approaches, I want to talk about the good fathers and what they may mean to all of us.

Father's-Day-#3What is an ideal father?  What kind of character does he have?  What teachings and disciplines does he pass on to his children so that they can teach the same lessons to their own children?  I can only draw from my own observations of various fathers I have known throughout my life, and what I believe an ideal Dad should be.

Father's Day #13An ideal Dad should teach his children that work is not a four-letter word.  At the same time, he needs to show them that love of work, enjoyment in what they do, is the foundation for a very satisfying and fulfilling life.  All work is honourable, but it is especially great when you know that the work you choose to do is purposeful and meaningful to you, and brings you great pleasure.  It’s also important for a child to choose work that is beneficial to others, because then the world sees their work as admirable and desirable, setting examples for others to follow.

Father's Day #9An ideal Dad should look at his children with eyes full of love and understanding.  He will always see the beautiful baby he held in his arms at birth, heart full-to-bursting with a love so deep it will never waver, in all the years as the child grows to adulthood.  He will be a fiercely protective Dad, helping his child avoid the pitfalls in life whenever and however he can, while encouraging a thoughtful approach to life and a yearning for wisdom.

Kite-FlyingAn ideal Dad should be stern, but gentle, instilling in his sons and daughters a sense of the wonderful, of the unique, of adventure, of discovery, of challenge in life.  Showing them the beauty and rhythms of nature, through camping, canoeing, hiking, skiing, boating, horseback riding, swimming, kite-flying, bird-watching, plant identification, gardening, wild berry gathering, observing wildlife, or photographing it, whatever can be done to get them closer to the earth, is one of the greatest things a father can teach his children.  In times of stress, turning to nature can be a medicine beyond price.  The respect they feel about what is around them, instills a desire to protect nature for their own children to enjoy.

dadgirlairplaneposeAn ideal Dad should be an encouraging mentor who teaches his children to reach out and grasp their own potential, build their own possibilities, carve out their own futures.  That child will reach into the air and pull down an idea that could potentially change the world.  That child needs to know that everything is possible, and that he or she is the person who can do it, should do it, will do it.  There are enough people out there who say “no” to every idea, that it is particularly wonderful for any child to have a father whose attitude is “You can do it! I believe in you!”

Enduring FreedomAn ideal Dad should be willing to show tough love at times.  Outside influences – bad friends, bad situations – can be very damaging to a child, and a father has to recognize when something is wrong, analyze it, and rectify it.  The path his child takes in life is of supreme importance to an ideal father, and he needs to have the courage to keep that child steady through the rough times, while showing that his own love for them is strong and unmovable. A father I know felt compelled to send his son into military service in order to give him self-discipline and self-respect, and to separate him from very, very bad influences.  It worked.  The sullen son who had lost his way became a good, strong, purposeful man.

Father's-Day-#7An ideal Dad should take time with each of his children, and all of his children, to do things together.  His children need to know that he loves being with them, that they are each special to him in their own right.  Playing catch or building a treehouse or teaching them how to ride a bicycle or drive a car are memories that are indelible.  The bond he creates when he is with them is an unbreakable one that lasts a lifetime, because of the deep foundation of memories it provides, and the sense of happiness at being together.

Father's Day #15An ideal Dad needs his children to understand that laughter is extremely important in life, especially when it means laughing at oneself.  His children need to know that having fun should be wholesome and warming, and that a smiling face and laughter in the heart are two of life’s greatest treasures.

Boy mowing lawnAn ideal Dad needs to teach his children to be responsible.  Mowing lawns or shovelling snow for an elderly or disabled neighbour…. performing household duties in the home, learning to cook and clean (both boys and girls)…. looking after the care and feeding of a pet… opening a bank account and regularly saving, even if in small amounts… learning that he or she is responsible in life for what they say and what they do, making choices that will bring honour and respect to them.

thank-you-1An ideal Dad shows his children that giving of oneself to others is an honourable and necessary role in life.  Whether it is in charitable works, or time spent improving someone else’s life, or a simple courtesy like opening a door for another person.  They need to feel the self-satisfaction in knowing that someone else’s life is better and happier because they were there when they were needed.

42-15618349An ideal Dad should teach his children what the word respect means, by earning it.  He needs to show them that respect for himself and their mother is necessary and desirable, because they are good parents and also good people to the world at large. The children need to see that the world holds their father (and mother) in high esteem, and that they should do so as well. This will form their own self-esteem, teaching sons to respect the woman they will eventually marry, and daughters to seek a man who they can look up to and trust.

Father's-Day-#4An ideal Dad should teach his children love of true beauty.  Not superficial beauty, but beauty of the heart and mind.  He should teach them that wrinkles can show the beauty of wisdom and that older minds have a lifetime of learning to give to a young mind which enquires of them.  He shows them that a warm and giving heart, a spirit instilled with laughter and joy, do not have to have a beautiful face to make them special.  They will see that looking for what’s within a person leads to recognition of the true worth of others, and can create deep and lasting friendships.  They learn that knowing the true value of others can give a child an insight into their own value.

228506-mannersAn ideal Dad should teach his children social skills to prepare them for living peacefully within their communities.  Participating in sports, church or school group activities, can instil in them a sense of team spirit and camaraderie, strong moral fibre and sensitivity for the wants and needs of others.  At the same time, he should teach them to stand up for what is right, and speak up when a wrong needs to be corrected.  Understanding his fellow man or woman and addressing situations in a fair and logical way, can bring out leadership qualities which will stand him or her in good stead in troubled times.

readAn ideal Dad welcomes literature, art, music and science into his home, understanding that they open wonderful conversations and memorable moments bonding him to his children, whether the child is a participant or an appreciative onlooker.  I know a father who spent years helping one child perfect an incredible telescope, polishing the lens, creating a very special bond.  I know another Dad who attended music concerts with his daughter and her friends (sitting in the back, of course) to not only listen to and better understand the music she loved, but to better understand her and be part of her excitement and enjoyment.  An ideal Dad knows that Art can be an expression of personal creativity or appreciation of the gifts of others who bring colour, light and form into our lives, enriching them. An ideal Dad knows that the great thoughts of the great thinkers, the great storytellers, the great imaginative writers, the great poets, expand the child’s mind and understanding, so books should just be everywhere in the home.

Family LoveAn ideal Dad should show his children that education in life is not just attending school.  The most important lessons a child can learn are taught at home.  Parents love for each other and for their children, love of life, strength of character, simple rules of right and wrong, tenderness, giving, caring, sacrifice, romance, creativity, dreaming, planning, building, relaxation, joy – these are a few words that I attach to the education I received in my home.

Father's Day #5What is an ideal Dad? A father who will always extol and encourage your virtues and strengths, while overlooking or forgiving your shortcomings. My ideal Dad was all of the above – and more. My daughter’s ideal Dad came from the same mould.  We are very, very fortunate children, she and I.

Father's Day #8

The 2014 Toronto Jazz Festival

Toronto-Jazz-Festival-Crowd-2012Father’s Day is Sun. June 15th.  A fantastic gift for Dad, if you don’t mind waiting till June 19th or later, could be a concert at the 2014 Toronto Jazz Festival.  This TD Bank sponsored festival runs June 19th to 28th and is held in the heart of downtown Toronto. Past years have seen annual attendances of over 500,000 people. 80% of the music you will hear is jazz, but you can also experience many different genres like blues, funk, hip-hop and latin. Prices range from totally free to basic club cover charges to normal concert ticket prices, depending on artist & venue. There are roughly 40 locations which take part in the jazz fest spread out across the city, with some outdoors, including at Nathan Phillips Square. The feature “indoor” venues this year will be in the Koerner Hall TELUS Centre and the Phoenix Concert Theatre, although many shows will be held at restaurants, pubs, lounges, hotels, halls, cafes, bistros and even shopping malls around the city.  With previous performers like Miles Davis, Sarah Vaughan, Dizzie Gillespie, Cab Calloway, Sonny Rollins, Ray Charles, Sun Ra, Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney, Dr. John, Dave Brubeck, Stan Getz and Oscar Peterson you can see why this festival has become one of the premier jazz festivals in North America!

Click this link to find out who are this year’s fantastic artists, and where and when you can hear them, visit: TD Toronto Jazz Festival

poetry1_2MY DAD

He was the guideline of my life;
He was a moral and outstanding man.
He had one great love – for his wife,
And through all trials and troubles, “Yes, we can!”
Was a watchword of my Dad.

His was a gentle spirit, with kind and loving heart,
He gave with no demand of recompense.
He was unique, oh, yes, he stood apart,
He fought the fight;  he lived with common sense,
And he has left a great mark on the world.

I heard him grumble sometimes, but each quirk
Was part and parcel of what made him dear.
Right to the end, he took joy from his work;
His hand was steady, and his eye was clear.
He had a pure heart.

I believe that God has placed him very high,
Because God must have loved him very much,
But oh, Dad!  It’s so hard to say goodbye!
And it’s so hard to know I’ll never touch
Your dear hand again.

© E Joyce Finn/Collie

I MISS YOU, DAD

There were songs that you sang,
and deeds of derring-do;
There were roads that you traveled,
That I never knew.

There were hills that you climbed,
There were trails that you blazed;
There were beauties you saw,
Where I never gazed.

There was was a prairie wind,
And a prairie bird,
You heard the song,
But I never heard.

There’s so much I didn’t know about you, Dad —
So many days that we have spent apart.
I long for walks and talks we’ve never had
I miss you, from the bottom of my heart.

© E Joyce Finn/Collie

THANK YOU

Thank you, Father, for my father
Thank you for my lovely Dad.
Thank you for my flood of feelings,
For the memories we’ve had

Thank you for the pain I’m feeling,
Thank you for the years and years
Of the blessing of my father,
Thank you, through my many tears.

Let me be a tribute to him,
Let me make his spirit glad,
That he has me for a daughter,
Wanting to be like her Dad.

Lord, the parents that you gave me,
Are the best that there can be;
Thank you, Father, for this blessing,
Thank you, God, for blessing me.

© E Joyce Finn/Collie

Media #3Hi! It’s my Mother’s daughter again. To contribute to Mom’s “Daddy” blog I’ve chosen a few videos.  The first is a heart-warming song about a Father’s love for his just-married “little” girl, and also his message to her new groom.  I get misty when I listen as it brings back emotional memories of my own Dad.  Since June is not only when we celebrate Father’s Day, but also a traditional month couples choose to wed, I thought this video would fit right in with the theme of this blog.  Heartland – I Loved Her First  “Heartland is an American country music band from Huntsville, Alabama. Their debut single “I Loved Her First” topped the Billboard Hot Country Songs Chart in 2006”. (info from Wikipedia/video from dudedudette3 on YouTube)

Three members of our own Toronto Blue Jays baseball team pay a touching tribute to their Fathers in this clip. It was filmed by SportChek at the home of The Jays, the spectacular Rogers Centre (often still affectionately referred to by it’s original name “The Sky Dome”). This video brought back wonderful memories for me of glorious summer days spent with my Dad at the Dome watching the Jays.  Funny thing – every time I went to a game with my Dad the Jays always seemed to win. Miss you Dad!  Toronto Blue Jays’ Father’s Day Surprise “Every MLB player got his start playing catch in the yard with his Dad. This Father’s Day, Sport Chek brings Toronto Blue Jays players Brett Cecil, Casey Janssen and Steve Delabar a surprise visit from the men that were their first coach and are still their biggest fan. Happy Father’s Day!” (info & video from Sport Chek on YouTube).  

By chance, I ran across this wonderful one minute homage to Dads “answering” their children’s call produced by Dove. I couldn’t resist. Bet you can’t either!  Calls For Dad – #RealDadMoments  “Three quarters of Dads say they are responsible for their child’s emotional well-being, while only 20% see this role reflected in media. It’s time to acknowledge the caring moments of fatherhood that often go overlooked.”  (info & video from dovemencareus on YouTube)
My final selection is a nod to my Dad’s great taste in music.  My earliest memories include a soundtrack of  tunes he and my Mom loved, which contributed to my appreciation of all music. Jazz was one of Dad’s particular favourites so here’s a romantic British pop song performed in great jazz style by the Stan Getz Quartet with Roy Hanes and young Gary Burton & Steve Swallow.  Although I’m partial to Getz’s well known smooth Bossa Nova sound, I think you’ll love this old “jazzy” standard as much as I do. Please look them all up on Wikipedia and YouTube to learn and enjoy more.  1967 – Stan Getz Quartet perform “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square” live on BBCs “Jazz Goes to College” (h/t AndreuVilarJuanola – YouTube)
 
Quotes #2
My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard.  Mother would say, “You’re tearing up the grass.”  “We’re not raising grass,” Dad would reply.  “We’re raising boys.”  (Harmon Killebrew)
One father is more than a hundred Schoolmasters.  (George Herbert 1640)
Sometimes the poorest man leaves his children the richest inheritance. (Ruth E Renkel)
I am not ashamed to say that no man I ever met was my father’s equal, and I never loved any other man as much.  (Hedy Lamarr)
I love my father as the stars — he’s a bright shining example and a happy twinkling in my heart.  (Terri Guillemets)
My daddy, he was somewhere between God and John Wayne.  (Hank Williams, Jr.)
My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.  (Jim Valvano)
When my father didn’t have my hand… he had my back.  (Linda Poindexter)
A man’s worth is measured by how he parents his children.  What he gives them, what he keeps away from them, the lessons he teaches and the lessons he allows them to learn on their own. (Lisa Rogers)
The quality of a father can be seen in the goals, dreams and aspirations he sets not only for himself, but for his family.  (Reed Markham)
It is a wise father that knows his own child.  (William Shakespeare)
I am who I am because of you, Dad.  it’s because of you that I’m awesome.  (unknown)
My father was my teacher, but most importantly he was a great dad.  (Beau Bridges)
My father was like the rock, the guy you went to with every problem. (Gwyneth Paltrow)
My father loved people, children and pets.  (Tony Visconti)
My dad was my best friend and greatest role model.  He was an amazing dad, coach, mentor, soldier, husband and friend.  (Tiger Woods)
My dad drilled it in my head…”If you want it bad enough, and you’re willing to make the sacrifices, you can do it.  But first you have to believe in yourself.”  (Jennie Finch)
My dad said to me, “Work hard and be patient.”  It was the best advice he ever gave me.  You have to put the hours in.  (Simon Cowell)
Dads who are fully engaged with their kids overwhelmingly tend to produce children who believe in themselves and live full lives.  (Tony Dungy)
We all started snowboarding in the beginning as a family just to be closer together, go on trips.  It was our soccer, but instead of Dad yelling at me from the sideline he is there riding with me and hitting the jumps even before I am hitting them. (Shaun White)
From my dad I learned to be good to people, to always be honest and straightforward.  I learned hard work and perseverance.  (Luke Bryan)
All of my high school male teachers were WWII and/or Korean War veterans.  They taught my brothers and me the value of service to our country and reinforced what our dad had shown us about the meaning of service.  (Oliver North)
My dad used to wake me up at 5:30 in the morning and hit me ground balls and tell me, “Don’t be afraid to excel.  Don’t be afraid to be great.”  (Russell Wilson)
Every morning, my dad would have me looking in the mirror and repeat, “Today is going to be a great day;  I can, and I will.”  (Gina Rodriguez)
My Dad is my hero.  (Harry Connick, Jr.)
My dad’s great.  He’s my biggest supporter.  He’s always told me that whatever I choose to do, I can do it.  I just gotta put my mind to it.  (Apolo Ohno)
My dad was Superman to me, and in my mind he always will be.  (Artie Lange)
My dad is a really honest, hardworking, straight guy.  (Joe Lando)
Our dad hugged us and kissed us so much that some friends and relatives complained that he was going to turn us into sissies… but my dad didn’t care.  Let them raise their kids in a reserved and reticent way.  He grew up in Israel, and his boys were going to be hugged and kissed by their father and know they were loved.  (Ezekiel Emanuel)
My dad’s my best mate, and he always will be.  (Cher Lloyd)
My dad loves being around all kinds of animals.  He’s the one who got me to be a really big animal lover.  (Paris Hilton)
(My Dad) is my hero for giving me that need to run a business and for having enormous confidence in me.  (Gary Vaynerchuk)
Going to the theater is such a joyous experience.  My dad would take my sister and me to plays when we were very young, like six or seven years old.  (Julia Roberts).
 
Hope you enjoyed the post!  Happy Father’s Day!
Signing off…. ej