Canada

Posted by Ellen

Sunbeams break through gaps in dark clouds after an intense snow squall in Port Maitland, Nova Scotia. This is the sort of astronomical phenomenon that used to be used in ads for gospel albums by singers who are no longer with us, but it can occur any time that thick clouds blocking the sun get a little raggedy, most notably when the sun is low in the sky. This photo was taken 45 minutes before sunset last January 30.

Posted by Ellen

Very rarely do these Good Mornings feature movie stars and suchlike. So here's something different for y'all, a real celebrity, in a photo taken by Sam Javanrouh at last month's Toronto International Film Festival.

Posted by Ellen

"Lee, Brian & Jeff making dinner," notes photographer Rich Durant, who snapped the picture of the men at their campsite along the Lorillard River in Nunavut. The Lorillard flows across tundra and bare rock of the billion-year-old Canadian Shield to enter Hudson Bay near the latitude of the Arctic Circle.

Where was Rich standing when he took this shot? It doesn't really matter; he had flown the camera up into the sky by hanging it from a kite and was using a remote control mechanism to operate the shutter while remaining safely on the ground.

The men were canoeing down the whitewater of the Lorillard; as you can see, they had stowed their gear in drysacks and waterproof boxes. The sacks and boxes don't look particularly bear-proof, however, and it's not clear what kind of arrangements they might be making to keep their food away from bears and other critters.

Whatever they were doing, it apparently didn't work out too well. The pictorial record of the expedition–called "Lorillard River Briefly"–includes photos (taken from the ground) of wolf tracks and big white bears, and then . . . a tent and foodsack trashed by something big and hungry.

Posted by Ellen

Believe it or not, yesterday was Go Skateboard Day in Toronto, where this fella was truckin on down College Street.

Posted by Ellen

Here we see yet another branch of the family, a cast of characters with international flair: my cousin Susan, at left, who lives near Toronto, Ontario; her daughter Erica, who is working on her doctorate in archaeology at Oxford University in England; and Susan's mother Ethel, who lives in Annapolis, Maryland.

Erica's research at Oxford focuses on what people ate in antiquity. She collects seeds and other plant materials from archaeological digs in the Middle East and and analyzes them in the lab to learn about their role in ancient diets.

This picture was taken a few months ago at Ethel's ninetieth birthday celebration. She is a young and active ninety, taking after her mother, who lived to be a young and active one hundred.

 

Posted by Ellen

This windowful of April is in Toronto. Let the May begin.....

Posted by Ellen

 

Sam Javanrouh's caption for his nighttime skyline shot was indeed a reference to election results--but not to the mid-term elections at the center of the media universe here in the U.S.

Javanrouh was unhappy about last week's mayoral election in Canada's largest city, Toronto, where a "right-wing intolerant redneck" named Rob Ford trounced former deputy premier of Ontario George Smitherman. Ford ran openly homophobic ads against Smitherman, who is openly gay. He also promised to cut taxes and stop spending and etc.

The CN tower is dark in this photo, not its usually well-lit self, but that's just a coincidence, not an example of early budget-slashing. Must be Obama's fault.

Posted by Ellen

 

The stereotypical Canadian self-effacement apparently did not play a large part in 1905 in the design of this vehicle, a joint venture between the Canadian Pacific Railway and the governments of the brand new provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

The motor car was intended to travel the byways of England, promoting immigration to western Canada and, perhaps incidentally, ticket sales on the Canadian Pacific Railway and its trans-Atlantic steamship subsidiary.

The promotional message left out a few details. For one thing, although homesteaders could indeed claim 160 free acres of land, it cost $10 to file the claim, a sum many would-be homesteaders could not come up with after paying the Canadian Pacific for steamship and railway passage. Also, in the, um, bracing climate of the Canadian prairies, 160 acres was not nearly enough land to support a family. 

So although the promotional efforts succeeded quickly in populating the prairies--this round of Canadian homesteading was closed off by 1914--most of the homesteaders were ultimately unsuccessful at farming and ranching. Among those few who could stick it out long enough to prove up on their claims, drought years beginning in 1920 ultimately chased them away. Today the Canadian prairie provinces (like the U.S. prairie states) are littered with ghost towns and empty farmhouses.

The vehicle pictured here was a hybrid, powered by electric motors at each wheel and a gas engine that heated a steam boiler. It never did work properly and was abandoned in London.

Posted by Ellen

 

Back alley in downtown Toronto, Ontario.

Posted by Ellen

 

A man identified as "Canadian fishing guide" breaks for lunch on the shores of Lake of the Woods, Ontario, in 1952.