Au Revoir, mes amis!

Recently I turned 70 years old, one of those so-called milestone birthdays and I realized that there were more years behind me then there would be in front of me – and I started to contemplate what I have accomplished, what mistakes I made in life, and what I wanted to do with the rest of it. Having to celebrate with only 10 friends while social distancing was a bit of a struggle but then again having ten friends is wonderful and lots of people don’t have any.

I also realized that I want to spend future time with people who care about me and vice versa and not criticize me or make me feel small because they can. Don’t get me wrong, I can handle criticism but not all the time and not for trivial shit. Give me the people who actually enjoy my company and that I can laugh with. I don’t have time for bullshit anymore and high school drama. As my mother used to say ” If you haven’t anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. People are quick to offend and then just say they didn’t really mean it. Then why did you say it?

I am also ending my blog with this last post and I am very grateful to have been able to vent, to help educate, to find out what is going on with others and cheer them on their journeys, etc. but Reflections has served its purpose (in getting me motivated to write in the first place) and it is time to move on to bigger and better things. I started this in 2016 and four years later lots has changed. I now have a website on which I hope to engage with like minded individuals involving my passions and we’ll see how that goes – if you wish to check it out it is www.bjmpublishing.com. I would like to thank everyone who has followed me on my adventures and I have enjoyed following many of you as well.

In these strange and trying times, it is sometimes hard to be positive but we will eventually win out over Covid-19 and may even become a more compassionate race (human) in the bargain. Then again, robots may take over the world and we’ll all be enslaved. Just sayin!

Here’s to your life’s great adventures!

Good-bye and good luck out there!

Be strong and stay well

I haven’t been posting anything lately as I have been trying to digest what is happening in the world right now and all the fears surrounding the Co-vid 19 pandemic but I have wanted to let people know that despite everything we will prevail because we are resilient, we are fighters and we look after those we can. Common sense and listening to the medical experts and not the politicians will help guide us.

My big concerns are those on the margins of society with mental health issues, those who sleep on the streets because their home life is unbearable and they’d rather risk exposure than be home, those who should be taking medication but forget or can’t afford to right now and the thousands upon thousands of people who live paycheque to paycheque and don’t know how they are going to manage to keep a roof over their head and have food to eat.

If ever there is a time to check on your neighbours, offer to get groceries for those in quarantine or in retirement homes, donate food to the food bank, smile at a stranger… this is it!

My message to you…stay healthy…stay put…sing and dance in isolation, write a letter to your local fire department, send a thank-you card to the nurses and doctors doing their best in exhausting and inadequate circumstances and don’t bellyache. It isn’t all about you! You are not the only one suffering by staying at home. I choose to be optimistic, it is preferable to the opposite.

Please stay well!

The Winter Blahs

Feeling melancholy today. It has been a month since I have posted anything but I have been busy, I promise you, I have not been slacking off. Here it is the beginning of March and I am beginning to feel better knowing that in a month’s time I will be able to say good-bye to the soul- crushing Eeyorish winter that has blanketed my world since the end of December.

I think my gloomy mood has a lot to do with the fact that I didn’t get away to southern climes in the New Year, something I look forward to and helps me keep the pit of despair from looming up to envelop me, breaking up the bleak winter months with one week of sun, sand and sea and that is enough to help me get through the rest of it.

I completely understand why everyone (in the northern hemisphere) looks forward to St. Patrick’s Day so much. It is a means of celebrating the death of winter and the renewal of Spring and hope with music and revelry and companionship – a chance to sing and dance and drink and be happy – and yes, I know things get out of hand sometimes but it feels so good to blow off steam – my only concern is that no one gets hurt (that and the fact as a taxpayer I am footing the bill). Oh, to be young and foolish again.

Since I don’t want to leave things on a downer note, just let me say that I have a lot of great people and things (not nearly as valuable) in my life and I know how much better I have it than other people so this is just a passing wisp of gloom in a varied and interesting life.

For all of you that may feel despondent at times, or overwhelmed with life, I say – get out of the house – go to the library and read a good book – take a class in something that gets you thinking or take in a comedy show and laugh out loud, it will do wonders for you. No money, then go for a walk with a friend and talk about your hopes, your dreams and soon enough you will realize how rich you really are! Be kind to others and it will come back to you threefold! Thanks for listening, sometimes, that is all it takes.

Festivals in 2020 every month – for when you win the lottery. This year, for sure

  1.   Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival in Harbin, Dec 1st, 2019– Feb 28, 2020

    From December 01, 2019 to February 28, 2020, come experience the world’s largest ice festival in beautiful Harbin city, China.  Actual sculpture judging is done January 6th – 8th, 2020.


  2. On January 28th in Lerwick, the capital of Scotland’s Shetland Islands, a fire festival named Up Helly Aa will be held to mark the end of the yule season. Up Helly Aa! – that’s Scandinavian imagery, myths, sagas and a huge bonfire which takes place on the last Thursday of January every year to celebrate their Viking heritage. ‘Up’ refers to end of an event; ‘Helly’ is linked to holiday; while ‘Aa’ covers all.
    up helly aa


  3. Mardi Gras in New Orleans – Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) is on Tuesday, February 25th, 2020.
    New Orleans
    Mardi Gras always lands on the Tuesday that is 47 days before Easter. It is always the day before Ash Wednesday, which is the start of Lent. Carnival season refers to the weeks leading up to Mardi Gras, and officially begins on January 6 every year. Although Carnival season lasts more than a month, the parties, parades and fun kick into high gear on the Thursday before Mardi Gras.


    4.  Carnival in Rio De Janeiro – February 21st – 26th, 2020
    rio
    The actual annual dates of Carnival differ and depend on the date Easter falls in that particular year, as Carnival will be 40 days before Easter. Easter is celebrated on the Sunday following the first full moon in Spring.

    5.  The date of Holi is different every year in India!
    Related image
    In most of India, Holi is celebrated at the end of winter, on the day after the full moon in March each year. On the eve of Holi, large bonfires are lit to mark occasion and to burn evil spirits. This is known as Holika Dahan. In 2020, Holi is on March 9th and ends March 10th.  Holi, also known as the Festival of Colors, celebrates the end of winter and the beginning of spring. It’s fun, safe, and free. Just remember to BYOD (bring your own dye).


    6.  Coachella, California | April 10 – April 19, 2020
    Image result for coachella california 2016The first major music event in the annual festival calendar, Coachella – California’s glossy, glam, palm-tree-peppered answer to Glastonbury – returns. Expect clear skies, designer-hippie ensembles and not a squelch of mud under foot.  If you can’t get tickets for this perhaps the next one might interest you.


    7.  Songkran Water Festival – Chiang Mai, Thailand – April 13-15th, 2020
    songkran-in-bangkok2
    Stay indoors on the 13th of April – if you happen to be in Thailand. Or step out if you love water… and getting wet! For it’s a given that you won’t escape the water pistols, the water balloons and buckets of water as the Thais celebrate Songkran, the Thai New Year.


    8.  The Ottawa Tulip Festival in Ottawa, Canada is the largest tulip festival in the world and it is held every year in May.  It will be held on May 8th-18th, 2020
    Tulips
    This festival is a celebration founded on international friendship with the 1945 presentation of 100,000 tulip bulbs from Princess Juliana of the Netherlands to Ottawa, Canada’s capital, given in appreciation of the safe haven that members of Holland’s exiled royal family received during World War II in Ottawa and in recognition of the role which Canadian troops played in the liberation of the Netherlands.

    The Canadian Tulip Festival is also a celebration of the return of spring, with over a million tulips in 50 varieties blooming in public spaces across the National Capital Region. The highest concentration of tulips can be viewed in the flower beds of Commissioners Park, on the banks of Dow’s Lake, where 300,000 flowers bloom.


    9.  Glastonbury 2020, England – Worthy Farm – 24th – 28th June – 2020
    Image result for Glastonbury photos free"
    Glastonbury. This five-day bonanza offers dozens of live stages, attracting almost 200,000 people every year. The event hosts the absolute best of the musical world – names like Radiohead, The Smiths, Kanye West and Beyoncé have previously played here. The event also supports upcoming acts and promotes dance, comedy, theatre, cabaret and arts.


    10.  Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, Manchester, Tennessee  June 11-14th, 2020 Image result for Bonnaroo music festival photos"
    The name of the four-day music and arts festival is one of the most recognizable in the world. Founded in 2002 on a sprawling farm an hour south of Nashville, Bonnaroo has since become synonymous with positive vibes, eclectic music, 24-hour programming, camping and high fives.  Artist line-up revealed in January.


    11. Running of the Bulls, Pamplona, Spain
    pamplona
    The  Running of the Bulls is a part of the San Fermin Festival, which runs in Pamplona from July 5th to July 16th in 2020.


    12.   Edinburgh International Festival , Scotland – 7th August 2020 to 31st August 2020

    Image result for edinburgh international festival photos"

    Every August, the Edinburgh International Festival transforms one of the world’s most beautiful cities, presenting three exhilarating weeks of the finest creators and performers from the worlds of the arts.

    Edinburgh’s six major theatres and concert halls, a few smaller venues and often some unconventional ones too, come alive with the best music, theatre, opera and dance from around the globe.  The Royal Edinbugh Military Tattoo takes place at the same time.


    13.  La Tomatina in Spain 2020 – Wednesday, August 26th, 2020
    Image result for La Tomatina in SpainLa Tomatina is the most popular tomatoes throwing festival in the world. It is being observed in the town of Bunol, Valencia, Spain each year on the last Wednesday of August. It is a festival held purely for fun. The festival attracts a large number of tourists in the town of Bunol during the celebration.


    14.  Burning Man in Black Rock City, Nevada
    burningman

    Burning Man 2020 taking place August 30th– September 7th, 2020 in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada.  Their mission:  The Burning Man organization will bring experiences to people in grand, awe-inspiring and joyful ways that lift the human spirit, address social problems and inspire a sense of culture, community and personal engagement.  This is by no means your average festival!


    15.  Oktoberfest –  Munich, Germany

    Image result for oktoberfest kitchener photos"
    On Saturday, September 19th, 2020 the Schottenhamel tent is the place to be, if you want to catch the official opening ceremonies. At noon, the Mayor of Munich will have the honor of tapping the first keg of Oktoberfest beer. Runs until October 4th.


    16.  International Balloon FestivalAlbuquerque, NM -Saturday, October 3rd – 11th, 2020.  The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is an annual October festival that takes place in New Mexico. It was first launched in 1972 with just 13 participants. Today, more than 500 balloons take to the skies over Albuquerque each year, making the Balloon Fiesta the largest event of its kind worldwide.


    17.  Day of the Dead, Mexico is celebrated from October 31 till November 02, 2020.
    Image result for day of the dead images
    Day of the Dead (Spanish: Día de Muertos) is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and around the world in other cultures. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. It is particularly celebrated in Mexico, where it is a national holiday, and all banks are closed.


    18.  Christmas Markets Dates – all over Germany
     20th November to January 1st, 2020

    Image result for christmas markets in berlin 2016 imagesThere is an air of  festivity that fills the air the end of November and continues till Christmas. Heralding the approach of the festive season, the streets are brightly lit, Christmas trees adorned with tinsel and little red bells and stars line the streets and people are out late doing their Christmas shopping. Concerts are staged, both outdoors and indoors, classical and modern. Street plays performed, musicians show off their talent and generally there is very festive and happy air around. This is when Germany is at its colourful best – white snows, green Christmas trees, red tinkling bells and families out on the streets. Come, join in the festivities!


The advent of air travel

As my father-in-law who is 89 years young just returned from a tropical vacation and was complaining about the delay not only in leaving Toronto but arriving back a week later, and still quite irked by the lack of concern by the airline, I thought I’d take a moment and remind people that commercial flight has only been around just over 100 years — 105 to be precise as the first commercial flight for an airline was in 1914 with one paying passenger.

By the 1930’s air travel had exploded when the number of people using airplanes to travel shot from 6,000 annually in 1930 to over 1.2 million by 1938.  Today well over 3 billion people travel by plane on a daily basis.  What are the odds that there won’t be a delay somewhere with that amount of travelers.  I always write off the first day of the vacation and the return home and if everything goes well, then that is a bonus.

We can complain a lot about the cost of flying, the cost of fuel and the absence of meals on flights but if you were flying from London, England to Australia back then it would take 11 days to complete with 24 scheduled stops to refuel for the staggering amount of $20,000 dollars.  So more for the rich and famous then the average Joe.  Nowadays this flight would be about 22 hours for less than $2,000 return.  Mind you, you can fit a lot more people on a modern plane.

An average ticket for a flight could cost 1/2 the price of a brand new car (approx. $600-$800 dollars).  The price of a house meanwhile was about $4,000.00.  Passengers also had to worry about permanently losing their hearing due to the noise of the engines and their lunch with unexpected sharp drops of 100 feet or so throughout the flight.

KLM is the self-proclaimed oldest airline in the world. It is also the world’s oldest continually operating airline under the same name. Founded on October 7, 1919, KLM made its first scheduled flight between London and Amsterdam in 1920.

The first flight attendants were male stewards who loaded luggage, reassured nervous passengers and issued refunds or helped people around the cabin.  By the late 1920’s, Pan-American Airways, which flew over water, required extensive first aid and seamanship training for its steward trainees.  The first female attendants or stewardesses were introduced in May of 1930.

Next time you find yourself at the airport waiting an extra four or six hours to depart because the airline didn’t notify you of any delays when you phoned at 5:30 am to take the airporter there and you could have used the extra three hours sleep, stay cool, you can meet a lot of nice people at the airport and what good does it do getting your panties all in a bunch anyways (or knickers in a twist if you’re from England). Till the next time, happy trails!Panties in a bunch pink

FAMILY GAMES NIGHT

We are holding another Games Night this week-end in which our friends and family will participate in a card game, a quiz game and some form of physical competition which I have not figured out yet. No, it doesn’t seem like we have learned anything from our past attempts but as stated previously, it is sometimes the only way we get to see people that doesn’t involve a death – and these game nights can get quite heated but no one has died yet!  Please see link to for prior blog on this event.

REFLECTIONS OF A SWAMPER

family-games-night-clipart

To hold a family games night as a means to spending quality time with your children is an adorable premise – a Hallmark moment of polite entertainment interspersed with laughter and learning in a secure and nurturing period of time.  In reality, it can be utter and complete chaos.

Please read  for our version of family-games-night from long ago.

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Whitewater dreams in a marmalade river!

Years ago, actually more like decades ago; I had decided I wanted to try different adventures every September, and for a number of years I did.  You can read about some of these exploits in past posts such as Jump, go ahead and jump!

Then, of course there was Let’s Go Diving; It will be fun

Anyways, this was more involved as we had to camp overnight before we set out rafting the Ottawa River with a group called Wilderness Tours which is still doing a booming business though I think the camping part has been upgraded slightly.  After a good night’s sleep we met at 10:30 am for an extensive safety briefing and paddling practice led by our guide.

The Ottawa is like a roller coaster in that there are periods with calm water below the rapids where you can catch your breath and wonder why the hell you signed up for this before the next stretch of rapids hit you and the adrenaline and your heart are pumping while trying to remain in the boat and remembering to paddle – in other words no time for thinking, just reacting.  I have to admit I had a huge grin on my face the whole time even when we lost a few people overboard after a particularly big wave washed over the boat.

Rafting is a complete experience with time for body surfing (swimming rapids), cliff jumping or swimming off the floating island (your raft).  The scenery along the way is quite spectacular.  Each trip is about four to six hours in length with a hearty BBQ half way down the river…and you will think it is the best BBQ you have ever had because you are outdoors and have survived so far and you will need the sustenance for the next leg of the trip.

Some things to consider when deciding you would like to try whitewater rafting:

  • Choose a licensed and professional rafting tour outfitter. …
  • Always wear a life jacket
  • Be safety conscious and relaxed
  • Make sure you have the right outerwear for the day and are comfortable
  • Hold the paddle properly
  • Stay in the boat! This may not always be possible, I know but you will have been coached on what to do if you find yourself in the river unintentionally
  • Know the proper swimming techniques, this is not an adventure for non-swimmers
  • Never panic – easier said than done but panic will not help you
  • Listen to your guide/instructor in the classroom and on the boat and you will do well

I highly recommend this if you like the water, are in good shape and don’t mind being tossed around the boat like the proverbial yellow rubber ducky at times.

wildernesstours-header-logo

Today was a snow day, for those in other countries who haven’t a clue what that means, it generally means the weather is so frightful outside that it’s more delightful to stay indoors – so no school, no working, a free day so to speak where you can stay in bed and read or binge watch your favourite show and not feel guilty.

lemon pieI decided I was going to bake a lemon meringue pie ( see photo to left); now the purist out there would think that would be from scratch but you’d be wrong.  One of my best friends made me a real lemon meringue pie (not from a box) and the ungrateful brat inside me didn’t even bother to have the decency to thank her and pretend I liked it because I can be an unthinking individual unable to see the amount of time and love that went into the gesture.  I have since apologized profusely and she eventually forgave me.  Now where was I, oh yeah, I had the filling cooling while I was whipping up the egg whites and sugar into high peaks of deliciousness when I started daydreaming, like you do, about how they discovered merinque in the first place and if you could use other eggs besides hens.  So to the trusty internet I went and here’s what I found out.
A whipped mixture of sugar and egg whites, meringue is used to lighten soufflés, mousses, and cake mixtures; to make pie toppings and to make desserts like baked Alaska and crisp baked meringues. There are three types of meringue; their differences lie in when and how the sugar is added:

French Meringue -This uncooked meringue is the one most people are familiar with. The sugar is gradually beaten into the egg whites once they have reached soft peaks, and then the mixture is whipped to firm peaks. This type of meringue is the least stable but also the lightest, which makes it perfect for soufflés.

Swiss meringue is smoother, silkier, and somewhat denser than French meringue and is often used as a base for buttercream frostings. Egg whites and sugar are whisked over a double boiler or bain marie to warm them, and then the mixture is whipped with an electric mixer into stiff, glossy peaks. Similar to Italian Meringue, the egg whites in this method are cooked and safe to eat without further baking.

Italian meringue is made by boiling a 240-degree Fahrenheit sugar syrup and then drizzling into whites that have already been whipped to hold stiff and glossy peaks. This creates a very stable soft meringue. For those concerned about eating raw eggs, this type of meringue is also safe to use without further baking.

Meringue is magical. It is incredibly versatile. It can be spooned onto pies, or piped into any number of beautiful shapes. It can be baked or poached, whipped into silky frostings, or folded into cakes to make them fluffier. It can be combined with ground nuts, chocolate or any number of flavorings. It can be formed into various vessels for Chantilly cream and fresh berries.

Meringue is a light, airy, and sweet cookie-sized dessert. They are crisp on the outside and soft on the inside that seems like it will melt in your mouth. (YUM!) In order to achieve that texture meringue cookies require preparations such as beating ingredients until foamy and fluffy, and cooking for a longer time under a lower temperature until meringue becomes dry on the outside.


Meringue drops for Valentines                                                   Marbeled meringue hearts                                         

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Food coloring, optional
  • 3/4 cup sugar

    DIRECTIONS

  • Place egg whites in a large bowl; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Preheat oven to 200°. Add vanilla and cream of tartar to egg whites; beat on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, on high until stiff peaks form. Remove 1/4 cup and tint pink. Lightly swirl pink mixture into remaining meringue. Fill pastry bag with meringue. Pipe 2-in. heart shapes 2 in. apart onto prepared baking sheets.
  • Bake until set and dry, about 20 minutes. Turn oven off; leave meringues in oven until oven has completely cooled. Store in an airtight container.

Many bakers comment that duck eggs have a higher fat content that make cakes rise higher and the meringues are more stable and can get more volume.  As for who invented merinque, there is some confusion around who, and why but the when is in the 17th century.

Fun Fact:  August 15th is National Lemon Meringue Pie day!!  Wouldn’t be at all humid that time of year in North America. LOL

Favourite Christmas Movie??

With the Christmas season upon us I have been watching some of the old classic Christmas movies and some of the new ones and yes, even the Hallmark Christmas Movie specials which seem to boil down to the same plot lines in all.  Girl meets boy, they like each other, some ex is in the picture, there’s a misunderstanding, girl and boy realize they love each other, happy days are here again.  In all of these films, the town comes together to do something amazing, or someone completely changes their life.

There are certain movies however that have become a tradition in our family.  A Christmas Story about the kid who wants a BB gun for Christmas – The Grinch Who Stole Christmas which is self-explanatory and Miracle on 34th Street (original) where a New York lawyer proves the existence of Santa Claus.  There is also It’s A Wonderful Life that shows one young man what his world would have been like if he never existed and how we should be thankful for what we do have.

I also like The Holiday where a woman from LA changes homes with a woman from England and love ensues and Love, Actually which is bittersweet as not everyone ends up happy.  The scene where Emma Thompson is listening to Joni Mitchell after finding out her husband has cheated on her and having to get it together to go out that evening makes me cry every time.

One of the funniest movies at this time of year stars Will Ferrell as Elf (one of his best roles) and how you can be different but still belong.  The thread in all these movies is how you need to believe in the spirit of Christmas and magic will happen!  Next to A Nightmare before Christmas which is 50% Halloween and 50% Christmas; one of the best animated movies is the Polar Express.

I know I have left off a lot of movies here but these are the ones I make sure I see every year.  What are your favourites?


 

Parker Family Home in A Christmas StoryThis house at 3159 West 11th Street, Cleveland, Ohio, stood in for the exterior of Ralphie Parker’s fictional Hohman, Indiana home in the 1983 cult classic A Christmas Story.  The actual house has been renovated inside and out to capture the look of the movie and is now a museum. 

homealoneThe Georgian home Kevin McCallister protects from a pair of burglars is not actually in Chicago.  The house in which Kevin gets left Home Alone in the 1990 movie still stands, as beautiful as ever, at 671 Lincoln Avenue in the Chicago suburb of Winnetka, Illinois. The property was sold for $1.585 million in 2012. 

Elf Manhattan apt building

In Elf, Buddy tracks down his real father, Walter Hobbs, who reluctantly allows him to come stay in his Manhattan apartment. The exterior of the Hobbs’s apartment building was shot at 55 Central Park West, a 1929 Art Deco building that also served as the location of Dana Barrett’s apartment in Ghostbusters.

The Holiday farmhouse

Nancy Meyers’s 2006 movie stars two gorgeous homes. The charming English country cottage that belongs to Iris (Kate Winslet) in the 2006 film The Holiday is completely enchanting. Sadly, it’s not real—a facade was built in the middle of an empty field that was extensively landscaped for the movie.

The Holiday LA home

All The exterior scenes of Amanda’s house in the movie were filmed at a real house in the small, affluent city of San Marino, California. The property was designed by acclaimed West Coast architect Wallace Neff in 1928.  Located at 1883 Orlando Road, the house is a stunning, distinctive Mediterranean-influenced California mansion, filled with all the luxurious, modern conveniences. It also belonged at one point to the architect and his family (sometime in the 1930’s).  It now has iron gates as opposed to the wooden ones in the film and a fountain in the driveway.

Amanda's kitchen

Amanda’s kitchen is beautiful; if I could have her home, I would take it in an instant, beautiful, pool, bedroom, swimming pool – what is not to like!  Mind you, I’d also want a chef, pool boy and cleaning lady to go along with it.

Die Hard buildingYou may not think of Die Hard as being a Christmas movie especially considering the violence, etc. but it is set on Christmas Eve. This classic 1988 (celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2018) action flick has Bruce Willis fighting terrorists who’ve taken over Nakatomi Tower in Los Angeles although its real name is Fox Plaza tower. Both the exterior and the interior of the tower were used to film the movie and who can forget the opening song, Christmas in Hollis by Run DMC.

Regardless of what Christmas movie rocks your stockings, make that popcorn, snuggle under the blanket with family, friends, or that certain someone and relive those warm and fuzzy moments again.  Believe in the magic!

The smallest Province in Canada

I was born in the smallest province in Canada – Prince Edward Island, although we moved to Ontario when I was two years old we have always gone back periodically for visits to our relatives.  When I was sixteen, a friend and I travelled by train then bus to Charlottetown (cradle of Confederation) and couldn’t believe how friendly everyone was down there or talented for that matter.  All my cousins and their kids play some kind of musical instrument and sing.  I loved when we all got together and had old fashioned square dances or ceilidhs (kitchen party).  They are some of the warmest and happiest memories for me.

I feel it is my duty to give you a little taste of what life is like on the Island at least in the summer months, as there and elsewhere in Canada we are now moving into the snow season which lasts up till March, early April.  Here is the Reader’s Digest Condensed version of nuggets regarding PEI.

 

The floral emblem of PEI is the Pink Lady’s Slipper established in 1965.  This perennial orchid grows from a height of six inches to 15 inches (15-40 cm).  You can find her in early summer in mixed woodland and bog areas of the Island.  These are rare flowers and you are not allowed to pick them.  Other names for it are Whip-Poor-Wills Shoe, Stemless Lady’s Slipper or Moccasin Flower.  The Lupins or lupines above grow wild and populate the ditches and meadows unfolding a carpet of colour in early summer.

 

Showy Ladyslipper

This is the land of Anne (of Green Gables fame) and is a popular destination for the Japanese tourists who think of her as a role model who personifies virtues that they admire.  The musical play based on the book has been running in Charlottetown every summer since 1965.

Lucy Maude Montgomery published 20 novels, over 500 short stories, 30 essays, an autobiography and a book of poetry. Many of them are still read around the world.

Green Gables

Anne of Green Gables has been translated into 25 languages and the historic site of Prince Edward Island National Park, which is technically Anne’s birth place, sees over 125,000 visitors each year.

Province House

The birthplace of Confederation and the seat of PEI’s provincial legislature since 1847, Province House National Historic Site is Charlottetown’s most significant cultural landmark. A magnificent example of neo-classical architecture set in a beautiful and quiet garden you can learn about the history of the Fathers of Confederation and see how the house remains a centre of political life for Islanders today.  

Fun Facts about PEI  LOBSTER

 

  • The famous P.E.I red dirt actually gets its colour from the high iron content which oxidizes when exposed to air.
  • The Confederation Bridge, completed in 1997, connects P.E.I. to New Brunswick and it is the longest bridge in the world over ice covered waters!
  • Potatoes are big in P.E.I. as it is the number one crop in the province!
  • Ten million world-class Malpeque oysters are harvested annually.
  • PEI is known for it’s lobster suppers and homemade pies and internationally renowned mussels.
  • Seaweed from PEI’s famous beaches (Irish Moss) ends up in your shampoo, cheese and ice cream.
  • P.E.I. is so small that it accounts for only 0.1% of the total area of Canada!
  • Prince Edward Island’s flag was adopted on March 24, 1964.  It mimics the province’s shield, showing an oak tree and three saplings.  The Oak is known as the “Oak of England”  the saplings represent the three counties of the province:  King’s, Queen’s and Prince
  • Charlottetown is the capital of Prince Edward Island. In 2017 it had a population of 36,000 plus.
  • The Mi’kmaqs were the first people to live on Prince Edward Island. They called the island Epekwik – meaning Resting On The Waves.
  • The island was named Prince Edward in 1799 in honour of Queen Victoria’s father – Edward, Duke of Kent.
  • Charlottetown takes its name from Queen Charlotte, the wife of King George III.
  • The population of PEI is approximately 153,000. About 46% of the population lives in a city or town; the rest of the population lives in a rural setting.
  • Prince Edward Island is 220 kilometers long by six to sixty-four kilometers wide. There is no place on the island that is more than 16 kilometers from the sea.
  • The 273 kilometer Confederation Trail – is open to walkers, cyclists, runners and wheelchairs in the summer and snowmobiles in the winter. It takes you from one tip of the island to the other on old railway lines.


    Stay tuned for some more information on the beautiful lighthouses that dot the countryside.  img232 - Copy