Posts Tagged With: home

200 Years Ago -Canadian History

If you are from North America, chances are, you had to study the War of 1812 in history class. Way back when the British and French had control of most of North America and slowly ideas, government and people wanted change. The south became the United States of America, while the North wanted to remain loyal to the King of England. In a nutshell, tensions flared and border disputes began in what was known as the War of 1812. It lasted over 2 -1/2 years in and around the Niagara area. It stretched as far north as present day Toronto and as far south as present day Washington DC. Names like Laura Secord, Sir Isaac Brock and John Brant are well known even today as companies, universities, cities or streets and monuments that were resurrected in their honour.

Part of North American culture is reenactments of such wars for history buffs. I had heard about them, but never witnessed one. The battle of Chippewa, a small area outside of Niagara Falls, Ontario was hosting a 200th anniversary of the Battle of Chippewa and we decided to attend. It was more than just a short lived reenacted battle, but a full on affair.

Take aim..... Fire!

Take aim….. Fire!

When we first arrived white canvas tents dotted the bike path with men and women in period costume selling trinkets, foods and other antiques or replicas of period pieces. Soon shots were fired and the battle was about to begin. In the same location as the original battle men (and women) in costume lined up on the battle filed and fired guns and cannons. The traditional method of lining up in rows as each group fired and another loaded up. Some fell, as they had been ‘shot’ so lines retreated and then moved forward again. Orders were shouted and soldiers complied. The smell of sulfur and smoke filled the air. It felt like we stepped back in history as we watched authentic methods put to use.

Camp as it may have looked in 1814

Camp as it may have looked in 1814

When the battle was over we walked around the rows of tents that were filled with quilts, lamb skin and old fashioned wash basins. Traditional cast iron cooking utensils and open air fires were in view, as this was more than a display, but a working camp. What surprised me most was how they really went all out with the smallest of details.

IMG_7496-1812 MARCH

Events like this are often held at the various forts around the Niagara Region on both sides of the border, especially since it has been the 200th anniversary, which is now winding down. Smaller locations, like this in a farmer’s fields are also occasionally held. A knowledgeable speaker gave a play by play of events to explain the process to inform the crowd. What was best about this –it was free! What an interesting way to learn history and spend a Sunday afternoon.

Even some on lookers were in period dress

Even some on lookers were in period dress

Don’t forget about the 2 challenges held for Tourist in Your Own Town. June was Festivals & Gatherings and July is Home. This could be a response for Festivals & Gatherings AND Home. If you would like to participate add a link in your blog to this one here and tell us about it in the comment section below.

Stay Tuned….

Categories: Culture, History, Photography, Tourist in My Own Town | Tags: , , , , , , ,

HOME -Tourist in Your Own Town

Returning home to Canada for the summer holidays got me thinking about all the things that make HOME special. As it turns out it is all the little things that I miss and started to get excited about especially after 11 months away. Family and Friends are of course top of the list, but what else did I look forward to?

Double Double :)

Double Double 🙂

 

 

1. Food –especially Tim Hortons Coffee. As I walked through the arrivals hall I could see the long line and smell the coffee in the departures section below. Hmmm deep breath. It was too late in the day to savour a cup, but first thing tomorrow morning.

 

 

 

2. Blue Sky with Fluffy Clouds and Sunsets – sounds silly, but when the majority of your days are the same dull gray it is something to get excited about. A few weeks before I came home I saw a picture of blue sky and clouds and I caught my breath. I knew that sky; a distant memory. It was something I started to look forward to. Every day there is blue sky and colourful sunsets. I take a moment like little Frederick in Leo Lioni’s book to soak it all in.

Wide open spaces, blue sky and fluffy clouds.

Wide open spaces, blue sky and fluffy clouds.

3. Wild Life – Living in a large city you are not going to see anything other than birds and maybe dogs out for a walk. Living in a small town and heading to my brother’s place out in the country we experienced more than pets and birds in the last 4 days. Just today we saw a squirrel scamper across the back yard and a bunny munching on clover. Luckily I caught a glimpse of 2 very shy deer across a farmer’s field, at the edge of the forest, nibbling away on seeds or fresh shoots sprouting this year’s crop.

Field of Dreams?

Field of Dreams?

4. Fresh Air, Water and Green Grass – deep breath in… with the poorest levels of pollution, since we arrived in Shanghai, this past year it is nice to go out and not worry about checking the Air Quality Index. It has become part of my daily routine, as much as I check the weather. Levels this past year hovered around 150 with a few days less than 80. The worst was a 4-5 day stretch with the pollution levels getting close to 475, or higher. When day looks greenish and inside is hazy, you just know it is bad. To compare the worst I saw Toronto was 10 and people get excited about that. The World Health Organization state anything over 20 is poor. Then there is the water. A young passenger on the plane was quite surprised when I told him it was OK to drink the water from the tap. Oh the little things we take for granted.

Soft grass to run bare foot in. My feet on Canadian soil.

Soft grass to run bare foot in. My feet on Canadian soil.

5. People and Speaking – Coming home I can speak and be understood. I don’t need to worry if others will understand me. It is a little stress that I never really thought about, but it is there. Trying so hard to say something I practiced, but can’t get the tone quiet right or the difficult zzz and dzz sounds. It then becomes a frustration on both sides. A few times we have been thrown out of cabs because they cannot understand us. At home people are friendly, take a minute to talk and say excuse me, or move out of your way rather than be preoccupied by a smart phone and bump into you instead of taking a step around you. Just last night we were at Wal-Mart and the line was getting longer, but everyone waited patiently as we chatted to the cashier, a lovely woman nearing 75 years of age. Even though it was busy she took the time to chat and enjoy the conversation. That is what I miss most… friendly conversation. Tuesday we were in a Canada Day Parade for the Shriners. People called out “Happy Canada Day” and tears sprang to my eyes. I was home and all the little things I missed for the past year were right here to be enjoyed. Oh Canada, how I miss thee.

Just Clowning Around at the Parade.  My Point of View from our float.

Just Clowning Around at the Parade.
My Point of View from our float.

What makes your country or HOME special? What would you miss most if you moved away? Maybe it is your favourite restaurant, or park? Maybe it is a cool tourist attraction, or site to see? No matter what it may be share it in a post during the month of July and be sure to link back to this blog. Place your link in the comment section below so others can find you too. This theme will run for July and come back early August for a new theme (usually the first weekend of the month). We are in the height of Festivals and Gatherings, last month’s theme, so if you have anything to share of an event you attended or one about to happen let us know. Maybe someone travelling to your neck of the woods would like to check it out.

Looking forward to seeing you. Stay tuned… summer is just beginning.

 

Categories: Tourist in My Own Town | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Weekly Photo Challenge: Home

Home is what defines us as people. How we furnish it, pictures and knick knacks from adventures, childhood and other milestones give a glimpse into who we are and what we hold as important. As an expat I don’t have a home, but a place to live. I won’t stay there forever, so my home is defined as my country. When meeting people one of the first questions asked is “where are you from?” I define myself as Canadian. People automatically make assumptions about what kind of person you are based on your passport.

Snow Storm Feb 8, 2013

Snow Storm Feb 8, 2013

Cultural references need to be explained to others and often the reference or meaning is lost in translation. One of the big things I find myself explaining is snow. Many people assume it is very cold and snowy in Canada all the time. They seem surprised when you mention summer. I fall into the trap when we get the few snow flurries or skiff of snow that barely covers the ground in Shanghai. I can be heard saying “This isn’t snow… you have to see a Canadian winter to experience real snow.” I should tell them the few flurries in Shanghai are the equivalent to a snow in summer in Canada and really mess with them 😉

 This week’s photo challenge is home. I happened to be home here in Canada to experience a ‘real snow’. This was the worst storm since 2008. In St. Catharines we had 44cm of the white stuff. To put it in perspective Toronto has had 33cm of snow thus far this winter, not including the February 8th snowfall of course. St Catharines had the highest amount where most places 20-30cm fell.  Snow is what home has been defined as since I have lived abroad for close to 3 years now. I am sure many of my coworkers and students will be in awe of my trip home and having the experience of all this snow.

Snowy Street

Snowy Street

Snow Blowing the Driveway

Snow Blowing the Driveway

Well over 33 cm of snow!

Well over 33 cm of snow!

To see more examples of the theme home or to join the photo challenge click here.

What does home mean to you?

Categories: Photography, post a week, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Weekly Photo Challenge: Hands

It has been a busy work week and I am up to here (hand gesture hand by my head) with work. I wanted to continue to participate so this will be short and sweet so these hands can get back to work . Ug report cards… 2o+to do in 10 days and lots of school events including one this Saturday… time is running out (hand gesture head in hands).

Hands are so expressive and we can interpret many things. Instead of me repeating what many have already said let me just show you (hand gesture Vanna White Style pointing at my photos).

First shot is me when I was little and still not so steady on my feet. My parents torment me with the stories of me walking with my hands raised about shoulder height for balance. I guess I also did it sitting down sometimes too. They teased I was like a preacher praying with my hands always heavenward.

Next is my husband and my hands showing off our newly formed bond… entwined and almost one 🙂 (hand gesture our smiles were THIS BIG arms outstretched). There is a cool story behind my ring, but that will have to be saved for another day.

OK must run and get these hands back to work (hand gesture waving good-bye).

Stay tuned for more (hopefully this weekend)….

 

 

 

Categories: Photography, post a week, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , ,