Canadian Honours

On the morning of Nov. 11th, while standing at a local cenotaph with a large group of proud ‘poppy-wearers,’ I began thinking about this topic (Canadian Honours).   As I watched the various armed forces march by with colourful ribbons and medals proudly displayed, a Pipe Band made my Scottish blood tingle! I noted the strong, sure step of the ‘young’ followed by the determined steps of the more elderly in civilian dress…the ones whose uniforms have been put away, perhaps for over 50 years.

As a long line of people began to lay wreaths of remembrance, I began thinking of the actions of brave Canadians who had fought in wars, and this led to my thinking of other Canadians I had heard of over the years whose actions had received Canadian honours that I knew very little about. My curiosity (and insatiable love of research!) were both rewarded a few weeks ago when I found a book by Christopher McCreery – Fifty Years: Honouring Canadians.  It was the history of the Order of Canada from 1967-2017.

McCreery noted that almost every sovereign nation in the world has an honours system as an official way for the state, on behalf of the people, “to recognize outstanding contributions, meritorious service, bravery, military service, and long service.” Honours to Canadians before 1967 had always been bestowed by the British honours system whereby most of the same orders, decorations, and medals were used throughout the British Empire/Commonwealth.

Due to a few scandals about appointments for honours, in 1918 Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden drafted a government policy that all honours must be approved by the Candian prime minister, and no further hereditary honours were to be conferred on Canadians.  In 1935 as a young Canadian Diplomat, Vincent Massy broached the subject of an honours system to the governor-general who was keen on the idea but the PM, Wm Lyon Mackenzie King, wouldn’t hear of it! The subject was raised again in 1948 and again squashed by the PM (lots of background reasons why he was labelled a “killjoy”!)

Vincent Massey continued for years to lobby for the creation of a Canadian honours system. Finally, in the 1960s, when optimism was high to take a “step” away from being a “British colony” by raising our own Maple Leaf Flag, the group working on creating a Canadian honours system made headway just in time to celebrate Canada’s 100th birthday! Massey maintained that the Canadian Honours system would be a “definite contribution to Canadian unity.”

You might recognize some Canadians honoured by this honours system:

  • Oscar Peterson
  • Terry Fox
  • L.M. Montgomery
  • Roland Michener
  • Frederick Banting
  • Sir Ernest MacMillan

Several recipients have had their honour revoked and include:

  • Alan Eagleson
  • Steve Fonyo
  • Conrad Black

To read more history and details of these honours another of McCreery’s books is recommended:

The Canadian Honours System, 2nd ed. Toronto, Dundurn, 2015

You will see great pictures of the medals at this website:







Where to Ski in Canada!

Ready for skiers!

We are in the midst of cooler days and a myriad of colours!  I love seeing lots of yellow, orange and red leaves trickling down from the trees. Do you remember as a school kid trying to find the “perfect” one to take home and iron with wax paper to preserve it? Growing up in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, there were always so many more red leaves! A friend just back from visiting Ottawa mentioned how awesome the rich red colourful leaves were back there.

Here in BC, I know we appreciate the fall colours, but I think the colour on many people’s minds – or at least for avid outdoors folks – is white i.e. for SNOW!  Time to tune up the skis, find the helmets and check for skiwear fit! I know for our family, ski suits and even ski boots always seemed to ‘shrink’ over the summer! It’s interesting to watch the trends over time. Long skis used to be in vogue years ago but they have become much shorter over time and – so I’m told – boots are even more comfortable! Ski boots and “comfortable” were never words I ever used in the same sentence!

To get you ready for having fun in the snow across Canada, here is a small quiz to see if you can match the name of the ski hill, or resort, with its Province or Territory. We hear the names of the “big hills” more often than the smaller ones, and so we know that Mont Tremblant and Whistler Blackcomb are each well-known in QC and BC, and of course also Lake Louise Resort.  I was interested to learn that BC has 13 ski resorts across ten mountain ranges! I would have to research the others, but I do know the Rockies, Monashees, Selkirks and Purcells. I did not know you could go Kite Skiing in Nunavut! I also did not know that Sugarloaf Mountain in NB is an extinct late Devonian volcano!  You may read more here!

Here are some of Canada’s lesser-known ski hills/resorts – in no order of size or kind of skiing. While almost all advertise downhill runs, many also include cross country skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing. See how many you can match with the correct province or territory closest to you!

1. Calabogie Peaks  2. Crabbe Mountain  3. Kicking Horse Mountain Resort  4. Asessippi Ski Area & Resort 5. Grosbeak Lake ( 1 9 km loop) 6. Marble Mountain Resort  7. Wapiti Valley Ski Resort  8. Brookvale Winter Activity Park  9. Edelweiss Valley  10. Ski Wentworth  11. Mount Norquay  12. Moose Mountain Downhill Ski Hill



1. ON  2. NB  3. BC  4. MB  5. NT  6. NL  7. SK  8. PEI  9. QC  10. NS  11. AB  12. YK

Canada Day Week Quiz

I couldn’t let Canada Day week go by without posting a wee Quiz! It’s been ages since I’ve posted, so I’m hoping a few folks will see it and enjoy answering these 10 questions! Here goes: [you just have to scroll down to see answers – but no peaking!]

1. What world heritage site is on Newfoundland’s west coast?
2. What iconic Nova Scotia Racing ship is on Canada’s 10 cent coin?
3. Which Canadian province is home to the longest covered bridge in the world?
4. What is the name of the mascot for the Québec Winter Carnival?
5. A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh is named after what Canadian City?
6. How many countries did Rick Hansen visit on his Man in Motion tour?
7. What is the only Calgary Stampede event open to women?
8. In what BC town was the “last spike” driven?
9. What Yukon peak is the highest mountain in Canada?
10. What is the territorial flower of Nunavut?




1) L’Anse aux Meadows 2) Bluenose II 3) NB 4) Bonhomme 5) Winnipeg 6) 34 7) Barrel racing 8) Craigellachie 9) Mount Logan 10) Purple Saxifrage

Let me know if you enjoyed this quiz and I promise to post more for you!
Happy Canada week! 🇨🇦

Summer Travels

I can’t believe we are in the middle of summer already! “Life” has really interrupted my best intention to post a monthly “quiz” or information piece at this website. I have been busy attempting to spread the word about “Positively Canadian” across the continent. I would love to see the book in all school libraries and as an adjunct to school curricula. After all, it does deal with every part of Canada. I know tourists would enjoy it when travelling on BC Ferries. Alas, that’s not possible so I hope those of you who have enjoyed the book will share it with friends and summer visitors!

I hope many of you are having summer travel adventures across this wonderful country of Canada! I just wish the air fares from coast to coast to coast were not so exorbitant! We did one trip with a friend’s camper from BC to NL the year of the cod fishing closure  – 1981 I think… I’d love to do another across the north…

Here are some images from around Canada. I thought it would be fun to see if you can guess in which province or territory you would find each of them. Let me know if you enjoy the journey!

Hopewell Rocks

The Largest Pysanka in Canada

Only one province has trees this large!

The pride of an Eastern Province

One of Canada’s oldest historic spots

A unique Legislative Building

One of Canada’s famous citadels



One of Canada’s newer bridges

This beluga whale enjoys a cold climate – even in the summer!

Canada’s highest mountain

  1. NB  2. AB  3. BC  4. Peggy’s Cove, NS  5. L’anse aux Meadows, NL  6. Yellowknife, NWT  7. La Citadelle de Québec, QC  8. Confederation Bridge, PEI  9. Cunningham Inlet, NU  10. Mt. Logan, YK



Spring Flowers

Spring is actually making an appearance here on the West Coast! We’ve had a few warm, breezy days and the daffodils and tulips are popping up all over. I found a “surprise” bouquet of tulips at our front door last week and enjoyed them for days before learning they were from our neighbour next door. She had heard we may have to move and wanted us to  know she appreciated us!
Watching the tulips gently open, I wondered: Where did they come from originally? How many kinds are there? What Canadian cities hold Tulip Festivals?  Hopefully, those of you in the West will read this before the tulips begin to “droop” and make room for other spring flowers! I think the Abbotsford, BC, Tulip Festival is almost over, but from Ontario East you just may be in time for various Tulip Festivals.
The tulip first appeared in the Ottoman Empire (Turkey) in the 15th Century and was imported into Holland in the 16th Century where they became popular in paintings and festivals. In the mid 17th Century, they were so popular they created an economic bubble known as “Tulip Mania.” The bulbs became very expensive and in 1637 they were even used as money!
An historical Canadian “tulip story” began when Dutch Princess Juliana and her family were forced to flee the Netherlands during the Second World War. The Princess and her two young daughters were given a warm welcome in Ottawa where they were later joined by a sister, Margriet, who was born at the Civic Hospital in Ottawa. As a token from the Royal Family and a grateful nation, the Netherlands sends 10,000 bulbs each year to Ottawa.
The yearly Canadian Tulip Festival is held in Ottawa – this year from May 11th – 21st. The best photo opportunities for millions of these beauties are said to be at the Commissioners Park, Major’s Hill Park, and Garden of the Provinces and Territories in Ottawa, and at the Malak’s Bed in Gatineau.
In the Maritimes, look in late May for Tulip Festivals in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and a Tulip Blossom Social in Montague, Prince Edward Island. There is also a Charlottetown Tulip Festival. We are so sad to see homes and flower beds being flooded by the St. John River in New Brunswick. Hopefully, everyone will be safe and next year will see the return of Spring Tulips there.
Not to be forgotten, I’ve been reading where residents of Yellowknife, NT and Whiteorse, YU enjoy springtime tulips but a bit later than May! They start the bulbs indoors or in small garden greenhouses and place them outside when the weather warms up….in June or maybe July they say!
Wherever you are in this vast land, do enjoy the Spring season with all its flowers! I would enjoy a picture of your favourites! Just email me at

Olympics & Paralympics 2018 Wrap-Up

I’m back!  A week in the Mexican sun was lovely, and I’m almost back into my “website routine!” But no worries, because I have something special to share today! I have a wonderful young friend, Liz Montroy, who, as part of the Canadian Olympics Committee’s Digital Media Team, worked tirelessly behind the scenes to keep us personally connected to the athletes and the venues in PyeongChang. After the Olympics Closing Ceremonies,  Liz gave me this link to watch a recap of an amazing Games. She noted that this definitely made her tear up as she watched it while going through “Olympics withdrawal.”  Keep a tissue handy while you listen to the music by the Arkells…

Liz had a chance to do some sight-seeing in Seoul and posted this picture of the Gyeongbokgung Palace, built in 1395. She also snapped a great view of Seoul and the surrounding mountains.

Liz travelled a bit in the week between the Olympics and Paralympics. I loved her picture of a hanok/guesthouse in Jeonju and her note about her host who even walked Liz to a nearby restaurant to order food for her!

Back in Gangneung, Liz began her work as the Para Ice Hockey Social Media Coordinator and was able to help cover the last leg of the Paralympic Torch Relay and the Opening Ceremony on social media. She described it as “vibrant, colourful and entertaining…and just surreal.”

You’ve seen some Olympic “names to remember” in the last post and in this one, Liz notes some of the Canadian Paralympians to remember!

Nordic Skiing
You can’t talk about Nordic skiing without talking about Canadian Brian McKeever. These Games he became the most decorated Canadian winter Paralympian of all time (he has 17 Paralympic medals, 13 of which are gold!). You saw him carrying Canada’s flag into the opening ceremonies.

Alpine Skiing
There are so many superstar alpine skiers. I would recommend reading up on Canadian Mac Marcoux. Another successful skier for Canada at the 2018 Paralympics was Mollie Jepsen, an 18 year old who won four medals.

Para snowboard athletes are super cool. Some key Canadian snowboarders are Alex Massie and Michelle Salt.

Canada is pretty good at this sport, and the athletes on the Canadian team are incredible people. Curling Lead, Marie Wright, led the team to a bronze medal at these Paralympics.

Tyler McGregor is considered by many to be the best player in the world right now. He’s a well-rounded forward who is constantly scoring highlight reel-worthy goals.

Well, there you have it. A final wrap-up of the PyeongChang Olympics and Paralympics. Liz spent 10 and 12 hour days in the press tribune in the indoor rink. During the Opening Ceremony she sat in a freezing cold press box which is outside the rink! She expressed her frustration to see the way Paralympic sport is still treated as secondary to Olympic/able-bodied sport. Here is Liz’ encouragement to us:

“I encourage you to actively engage in and follow Paralympic sports and athletes, not just during the Paralympics, but during the four years between the Games. When a World Championship event is being live streamed online, watch it. Follow Para athletes on social media. Read articles on the athletes. Pay attention to them when broadcasters show them on TV. Tell your friends and family about these athletes and sports. In no way should these athletes be treated as secondary to able-bodied athletes and in no way does having an impairment stop these human beings from deserving respect and recognition….I really hope that you will go through these links (above) and then do your own research. Look for the athletes on social media, check out their backstories, and if you have any questions or want to know where you can find out more, just let me know. I’m no expert, but I have a pretty good idea of where to point you.”

Many thanks, Liz, for allowing me to share your “Korean Adventure”!

The Olympic Spirit is Here!

I was certain that I was not going to be watching the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Games for hours on end! I mean my “to do” list was so full that I envisioned watching a few “summaries” here and there…except… I watched a bit of curling, and learned more about how they score the game.  I also watched the ice-dancing and marvelled at the grace and skill displayed. The sport that mesmerized me – and that was over in about 2 minutes –  was the men’s ski cross final. Flung into the air and down a 10-foot drop, the 4 skiers zipped up and down a series big-air jumps and high-banked turns racing for the finish line. Two Canadian men were in the final round and I gasped as one landed in a heap after a huge jump. The other Canadian went on to win the gold medal while his fellow countryman left the event on a stretcher. (He’s injured but in stable condition)

I was working away in the den when I heard the announcement for the Canada/USA Women’s Ice Hockey final. I  thought I’d just “check it out” for a few moments but found myself absolutely glued to the TV. I was so wrapped up in the game I couldn’t even pick up my rows of mindless knitting!  What an absolutely awesome game! The rivalry between the teams was legendary and each team was playing full out. I cringed when Canada got 6 penalties but then the score was tied 2-2 right into overtime and a shootout. The excitement in the Olympic rink flowed right into our living room!

I think it’s a shame hockey games have to be decided by shootouts – just one shot and it’s all over, and that’s after 80 minutes of playing to exhaustion, then each team having 5 shots to win but when still tied, it comes down to one shot – just one – and that’s it. Fini! I was sad the Canadian team lost but happy that they lost just to the USA. The teams were so well-matched and we do have a niece and nephews who are Americans so I could be generous in my praise for their team

I found this a good site to check out more of the history of the games. Just go  here:

I expect that each of you has your favourite athletes that you watch and there will certainly be names that will become familiar to the world from these 2018 Olympic Games in PeyongChang.  I thought it might be fun to give you a list of names and then the sports and see if you can connect the two. They are not all Gold Medal winners but I think the names will stick with us in spite of the colour of the medals.  Give it a try!


1. Kallie Humphries & Phylicia George    2. John Morris & Kaitlyn Lawes    3. Tessa Virtue & Scott Morris  4. Justine Dufour Lapointe   5. Shannon Szabados & Marie Philip Poulin   6) Kim Boutine  7) Cassie Sharpe 8. Samuel Girard

a) Ice Dancing   b) Ladies Halfpipe  c) Mixed Doubles Curling   d) Women’s Bobsled   e) Ladies’ Moguls      f) Men’s 1000m Short Track  g) Women’s Ice Hockey Team  h) Ladies 1000m Short Track


ANSWERS: 1-d, [B]   2-c, [G]   3-a, [G]   4-e, [S]    5-g, [S]     6-h, [S]   7-b [G]  8-f [G]

I’d be interested to have your comments about these ongoing Olympics! Do you have some favourite events you’d never miss watching?  Some you ‘skip’ but special athletes you cheer heartily for.  Leave me a note!   I’m off for a week of sunshine but will check in when I’m back.      Cheers!


Image (Wikipedia): 2010 Winter Olympic Games; curling team Sweden
By Jonathan Pope from Vancouver, Canada; cropped by Beyond My Ken (talk) 08:43, 24 February 2010 (UTC) (Olympic Curling, Vancouver 2010) [CC BY 2.0 ( or CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons




Happy February!

I was just checking Feb. birthdays in our family and realize the 16th was my mother’s birthday and when she died the day came and went sans excitement. And then I gained Gretchen, a special daughter-in-law with a Feb. 16th birth date! I wonder what the odds of that are…..

A bit of research reveals that this shortest month in our calendar is pronounced Feb-u-ary by some and Feb-roo-ary by others. I say – and I think I hear – Feb-u-ary most often as it flows easily after January. Have you ever thought about how you pronounce this shortest month of the year? Did you even notice the ‘r’? 🤤

Of course, in most countries, February is synonymous with Valentine’s Day, cupids, hearts and anything chocolate! Although it is a major consumer day, surprisingly, it is not a public holiday in any country. In Canada, the day is celebrated on Feb. 14th and provides a chance for people to say they love somebody in a romantic way. It seems very commercialized in our day with the promotion of teddy bears, toy hearts, sparkling wine, etc. Be sure not to forget those yummy Turtles, too…..might they be anyone else’s favourite  Feb. gift?

Do You Know… famous “romantic couples?”

Just for fun, here is a list of names of people who were half of a famous “couple” – either in legends or in “our time.” See if you can find their “other half” in the 2nd list of names.

1. Antony  2. Elizabeth Taylor  3. Marie Curie  4. Samson  5. Adam  6. Scarlett O’Hara  7. Elizabeth Browning  8. Tristan  9. Robin Hood  10. Tarzan

a. Maid Marion  b. Delilah  c. Isolde  d. Rhett Butler  e. Robert….  f. Cleopatra          g.  Richard Burton  h. Eve  i. Jane  j. Pierre



1-f,   2-g,   3-j,   4-b,   5-h,   6- d,   7-e,   8-c,   9-a,   10 -i


Image Courtesy: Chordboard, via Wikimedia Commons

Did You Know…

I’m very grateful today that our country’s government is still up and running! However,  in the USA this week the government has ‘shut down’ and this means the National Parks are closed. Let’s invite our USA friends to come up and tour one of our 47 National Parks.

See if you can match just 13/47  National Parks with the province or territory where our USA friends would find them.

1. Gros Morne  2. Baffin Island  3. Pukaskwa  4. Riding Mountain  5. Kouchibouguac  6. Kluane  7. Sirmilik  8. Banff  9. Prince Albert  10. Forillon 11. Yoho  12. Prince Edward Island  13. Kejmkujik

I decided that it’s a new year so why not have the”Quiz” a bit more challenging, hence the increase in numbers to tax your Canadian knowledge!   Here are the answers:

1-NL  2-NWT  3-ON  4-MB  5-NB  6-Yukon  7-NU  8-AB  9-SK  10-QC  11-BC  12-PEI  13-NS



Do You Know…what your license plate says?

1972 Quebec passenger license plate.

I was researching Canadian vehicle license plates this week and was interested to find that it was in 1977 that Québec changed the wording on its plate from La Belle Province (The Beautiful Province) to Je Me Souviens (I Remember). When writing Positively Canadian,  my research showed that it was 1955 when the change was made. (See P. 59) I’ve checked different sources and have to admit the 1955 date was incorrect (perhaps my typo!) Had I thought about it longer, I would have realized that it was in the 1970s that the Québecois created the term “a distinct society” to refer with pride to the francophone population.

I think many of us will know that distinct “Je Me Souviens ” QC license plate, and perhaps also “Beautiful BC,” and  “Proudly Manitoba.”  However, I think there are a few here you may have difficulty recognizing.


See if you can match these few license plates to their home province or territory .

1. Yours to Discover  2. Land of Living Skies  3. Canada’s Green Province  4. Canada’s Ocean Playground    5. The Klondike

As always, I encourage you to make your list and take your guess first before checking the answers!



1-ON   2-SK   3-PEI   4-NS   5-Yukon


Image by Absecon 59 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons]