Culture Archive

Is There a Non-Believer Substitute for Religious Community?

Let’s pretend organized religion fell seriously out of favour and there were no churches. Would we be missing anything? I suspect there are many people who would be nostalgic for some of the things we get from religion. But it is more than nostalgia. I’m sure church provides members with practical benefits as well. What

Governor General helps launch volunteerism campaign

Governor-General David Johnston has recently kicked off the “My Giving Moment” campaign to encourage young people to volunteer. A new campaign to encourage volunteerism, especially by younger people, has been kicked off by Governor General David Johnston. The campaign consists of print, TV and radio ads as well as a website mygivingmoment.ca Recent statistics show

Hallowe’en Brings Back Fond Memories

Hallowe’en is all about kids. The special day seems to actually be growing in significance, at least in some cultures, Canada among them. It is not just the commercialization, although that is certainly a factor. For kids it is a night filled with excitement over getting dressed up and canvassing the neighbourhood for candy and

Calgary Catholic School Drops Academic Achievement Awards

Many parents are up in arms after a Calgary school decided to drop all academic achievement award ceremonies. The school board wrote in a letter to parents that awards don’t mean much to their recipients and “often hurt the self-esteem and pride of those who do not receive a certificate.” Many parents think these awards

Malcolm Gladwell Pays Tribute to Former Elmira High School English Teacher

Malcolm Gladwell, best-selling author of books like “The Tipping Point”, “Blink”, and his latest “David and Goliath” has been making making the rounds in Ontario, presumably promoting his new book and renewing old ties. He went to high school for a few years in Elmira, just down the road from Conestogo. One of those old

Woody Allen’s Moose Sketch

Here’s a classic Woody Allen performance from 1965. Woody is at his quirky best. The famous “moose sketch” is in the last half…

There’s No Substitute for Practice When it Comes to Learning the Guitar

The other day I saw a promotion for a new mobile phone app, supposedly created to help you master the guitar. I left a comment in which I said that an app won’t do you any good unless you put in your time, work at it, and practice on a regular basis. That comment immediately

Online Guitar Lessons – Part 1

I’ve just launched a new website dealing with Online Guitar Lessons. I am going to publish a series of introductory articles dealing with some topics related to online music lessons, and thought this would be as good a place as any to get the ball rolling. This is the first in the series… There are

Moncton a surfing destination

On our way back from PEI this summer we drove through Moncton, N.B. In Ontario we’re used to thinking of “down east” places like Charlottetown and St. Johns as somewhat quaint backwaters that have tourist potential. New Brunswick? Well, there’s call centres and the Magnetic Hill, but that’s about it. These stereotypes are obviously outdated.

CBC Kitchener-Waterloo a welcome addition

A few years ago CBC started broadcasting to the K-W area at 89.1 FM because the Toronto frequency (99.1) had problems in this area. Then, several months ago 89.1 was elevated to a full regional station with local K-W news and events coverage and a local staff. I’ve been listening to CBC Toronto since I

More balanced picture of Indian reservations in the James Bay area

The inside of Fort Albany Chief Edward Metatawabin’s home. For the past months we’ve been fed a steady diet of dismal reports from Attawapiskat in the James Bay area. Combined with Theresa Spence’s fish broth diet and the Idle No More protests, this has been a particularly bad bad news period for Canada/First Nations relations.

Police can be pretty bad drivers

A few times every week a police cruiser goes “cruising” at high speed through our little town, sirens howling. Some times there are serious accidents “up at the corner”, other times they are (apparently) just on important police business. The kind of importance that requires them to speed through the main intersection of a little

Coureurs de bois were uniquely Canadian

I suspect that most Canadians have heard the phrase coureurs de bois and at least some of us have a vague idea who they were and what they did. But I also suspect that very few of us know how truly unique these people were and what an important role they played in Canada’s early

The Last Spike and Other Bits of Canadiana

“The Last Spike” that’s Donald Smith at Craigellachie, B.C., 1885 I was in the local Chapters book store a few days ago looking for something interesting to read and two things about their selection of Canadian books stuck out. First there is the aggravating use of the cute term “Canadiana” to classify books about Canada.

Tom Brokaw explains Canada to US viewers

In this video NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw narrates an “explanation” of Canada meant for American viewers during the 2008 Vancouver Winter Olympics. Some of the cliches left out: Canada’s obsession with hockey, universal health care, much less crime and gun violence.

Tim Hortons in Iqaluit – entering the mainstream

Iqualuit has finally entered the mainstream of Canadian culture by opening its own Tim Hortons. It may be just a self-serve kiosk, but it’s a Tim’s and the locals love it. A local Inuit elder even lit a candle and said a prayer at the grand opening. The Iqaluit location is one of three Tim’s

Don Cherry for King of Canada

Since we’re talking about the monarchy a lot these days. I thought I’d make some proposals for “King of Canada”. I would like to see us start our own monarchy in Canada, and I can’t think of a better person than Don Cherry to serve as KofC. As we all know, Don even looks great

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie, In

The Case Against Making Remembrance Day a Holiday

Canadian attack of Vimy Ridge, April 16, 1917 – Library and Archives Canada In an op-ed piece in the National Post Matt Gurney argues that Remembrance Day (November 11) should not be made a statutory holiday in Ontario . There are good arguments on both sides of this debate, but generally I agree with Gurney.

Justin Bieber’s Memoirs

“Canadian icon Gordon Pinsent” reads from Justin Bieber’s memoirs. Very inspiring.