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December / Canada150 – Crazy Canucks

Dave Irwin, Ken Read, Dave Murray and Steve Podborski were the Crazy Canucks – young, wild, and skiing as fast as they could. They burst onto the European ski scene in the ’70s, flying down the most challenging hills with a kamikaze flair. Within a year of competing on the World Cup circuit these fearless Canadian boys were beating the Europeans in a sport they’d never lost.

The First North American to win

In 1975, Ken Read became the first North American to win a World Cup downhill race. For a period of about ten years, the Crazy Canucks challenged the European ski establishment and changed the course of ski racing history in Canada. From 1974 to 1984 the four of them won a total of 39 World Cup podiums (including 14 first place finishes), one World Cup Downhill Title, and an Olympic bronze medal. Their success would inspire the national ski program and succeeding generations of alpine racers.

Ironically neither of us ski.

crazy canucks calendar

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November / Canada150 – In Flanders Field

Flanders Field Poppies

In Flanders Fields” is a war poem written by Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae during the First World War. He was inspired to write it on May 3, 1915, after presiding over the funeral of friend and fellow soldier Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, who died in the Second Battle of Ypres. According to legend, fellow soldiers retrieved the poem after McCrae, initially dissatisfied with his work, discarded it. “In Flanders Fields” was first published on December 8 of that year in the London magazine Punch.

It references the red poppies that grew over the graves of fallen soldiers which resulted in the remembrance poppy becoming one of the world’s most recognized memorial symbols for soldiers who have died in conflict.

Missing Soldier

If you look closely in the carving, you’ll see an space between the last two soldiers on the right. It looks like the vague outline of a missing soldier who never made it home.

Flanders field poppies

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October / Canada150 – October Crisis

October Crisis

The October Crisis began with the kidnappings of British diplomat James Cross and Pierre Laporte by the Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) in October 1970.  At that time, there was a heightened fear of international and domestic terrorism. National liberation movements spawned terrorist violence across the globe – think Ireland and Palestine.  A host of other terrorist organizations were responsible for bombings, hijacking planes and other acts of violence. It was an era of international terrorism: in seeking targets abroad, they raised the possibility that anyone anywhere could be a target. It was not a fact of life, though, here in Canada. Continue reading October / Canada150 – October Crisis

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September / Canada150 – Summit Series

summit series

Hockey – the Canadian game, pastime, passion and glue that holds us together. And never more so than during those 27 Days in September book, 1972. The Summit Series, Super Series or Canada-Russia Series, whatever you want to call it, was the only thing the nation cared about for 27 days that September. It was an 8-game series played between the Soviet National Team and Team Canada, a select group of NHL all-stars. Continue reading September / Canada150 – Summit Series

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July / Canada150 – Votes for Women

Sometimes it hard to believe women have only had the legal right to vote (Suffrage) in political elections in Canada since the turn of the last century.

By the mid-19th century, full citizenship with the right to vote was limited to men. By the end of the century, laws across the country mandated near-universal, White male citizenship at the federal and provincial level and excluded female voters.  Continue reading July / Canada150 – Votes for Women

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May / Canada150 – The Mounties

Seriously, there’s no way you can collect a list of Canadian images and icons without including a reference to the Red Serge.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) was formed in 1920 by the merger of the Royal Northwest Mounted Police (RNWMP, founded in 1873) with the Dominion Police (founded in 1868). You can do your own search if you’re interested in the history of the force, who they police and what they are up to, including some not-so-heroic internal policies and procedures that have been keeping them in the news lately.

Continue reading May / Canada150 – The Mounties

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April / Canada150 – Lester B. Pearson

Yes, we choose a boring politician to grace the month of April. But consider this: during his career as a civil servant, and then as a politician, a new Canadian Identity started to emerge. We started shaking off the shackles of Britain and started taking leadership roles in international policies and events.

Lester Bowles Pearson, our foremost diplomat of the 1950s and 1960s and the Canadian prime minister from 1963–68 and design hero. Design hero? During his career, Canada’s design industry started to flourish. Coincidence? Maybe, but remember, he was in power when we flew the maple leaf over parliament for the very first time.

Mr. Peacekeeper

He spent his early career as a professor, soon landing a job with the Department of External Affairs. He spent time in London in the Canadian High Commission, he moved to Washington to work at the Canadian Legation (forbearer of our Embassy) and in 1945, he was named Canadian ambassador to the United States and attended the founding conference of the United Nations (UN) at San Francisco.

Continue reading April / Canada150 – Lester B. Pearson

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March / Canada150 – CBC Radio

In 1929, the Aird Commission on public broadcasting recommended the creation of a national radio broadcast network, partly due to the concern of the growing influence of American radio broadcasting as U.S.-based networks began to expand into Canada. After a bit of a false start, the Canadian Broadcasting Act was passed in 1936 and CBC radio first hits the airwaves on December 2. During its early years, it was a patch-work of stations limited to some of the major markets across Canada, eventually forming a single, coast-to-coast network in 1962.

Continue reading March / Canada150 – CBC Radio