New Year's stamps are indeed hard to find. I thought this was a good example of one, until I looked it up in the handy Philatelist and Postal History site of Archives Canada. Of course, since fireworks are not a part of our New Year's tradition, I wonder where I got that idea... Anyway, seems it is simply part of a 'celebration' series, though it is a special one in that it has an exclamation point after the Canada.
So, in the spirit of fireworks, here are two stamps featuring Aurora Borealis
and a sparkly postcard from Postcrossing friend Irina received just before Christmas
I may be in the minority here, but I want a little snow. If it is going to be winter (and it will be official as of tomorrow) I want to see some dusting of white powdery stuff. Not a storm. And no ice or slush. And I don't want it to last for months. But, snow does brighten up the landscape during these long dark hours until the winter solstice.
I am not willing to go to such great extremes to find it, though this is neat to see from the warmth of my living room.
It is that time of year again. The time when I start complaining about the music on the radio. Most of the music isn't all that memorable to begin with, but at this time of year it can positively set your teeth on edge. A friend and I were walking through a Christmas market the other day and one upping each other with the worst Christmas songs ever. I won. She had no chance against me. Maybe it is because she walks to work and I drive for work and therefore am listening to more of the saccharine, schlocky, what-has-this-really-to-do-with-Christmas music. Though, to be fair, there seems to be a dearth of Christmassy music on the radio this year. For which I am thankful, but also suspicious. Maybe it is simply the stations I listen to, I thought. Or maybe it has something to do with this annoying trend to "not offend" people who don't celebrate Christmas. People who are possibly more offended by this misguided attempt to assume what they are thinking than over a tree, or greeting, or song. But I digress.
I still hold my breath whenever I push the button that prompts my preset stations, preparing for the worst. Mostly, all I get is just another innocuous, generic song. No jing-jing, jing-a-ling, or wonderful Christmastime or even do they know it's Christmas. For the record, the ultimate worst song ever has to be Red Shoes or Christmas Shoes [officially called "Can I Buy These Shoes"] Google it if you are unfamiliar, because I cannot bear to include even a clip.
Last night I tuned into one station that has this week become "your all Christmas music all the time" station, but was pleasantly surprised to hear a choir singing O Holy Night, followed by Once In Royal David's City, followed by Justin Bieber at which point I turned it off. The spell was broken.
Okay, it wasn't a perfect mix, but really, it was a surprise to hear actual ChristmasCarols. And it was enjoyable. Not all Christmas songs are deplorable. I miss those old carols. (I also miss Andy Williams, but I digress)
So, I thought I would share with you a little something that has played on CBC.
A Christmas mash up of carols and songs. There is actually a contest (where you have to name the music and the words) which you can play if you go here. But for you I have included a clip, or two, of last year's renderings.
The theme this week is stamps from the Great White North. That would include us up in Canada. One thing this meme has accomplished, for me, is a new appreciation for our own stamps. I always thought they were a little on the boring side. But then, apparently I have never really looked at them. This flag series is not my favourite, but I seem to have a few of them lying around so I will share them. Now if only there were a description on the stamp, because some of these were a bit of a mystery, I will admit, and required some research.
First up is the flag flying
against the backdrop of the
city of Edmonton skyline at dawn
in celebration of its centennial in 2003
issued January 2002, the 48 cent domestic stamp
has the flag flying in front of the
Canada Post Head Office in Ottawa
issued December 2000, the 47 cent domestic stamp shows the flag fluttering over an inukshuk
issued December 1998, the 46 cent domestic stamp depicts the flag in a the breeze against the backdrop of a Newfoundland iceberg
then there is this series from 2006, featuring
Polar bears in Churchill, Manitoba
The lighthouse at Bras d'Or Lake in Nova Scotia
Tuktut Nogait National Park, Northwest Territories
Ice fields and fjord in Sirmilik National Park, Nunavut
This was also the first year for the non-denominated stamp. The P icon stands for permanent, so although these stamps cost 51 cents when they were bought in 2006, they can be used indefinitely for whatever the current domestic rate is (which this year is 59 cents)
It was all quiet on Carlton Street in front of this shrine on Friday afternoon, but Wednesday morning was a different story. People actually started lining up on the street on Tuesday night to be first to enter the new Loblaws at Maple Leaf Gardens (MLG) when it opened at 8AM on November 30th. Almost exactly 80 years after its original Grand Opening as a hockey arena and home to the Toronto Maple Leafs (until 1999)
Now, it is a grocery store.
I had to see it when it was still all bright and shiny new
(and in full disclosure, this was only my second time ever being in this place of so many memories)
It is a store with special touches
and a giant Amazing Wall of Cheese
and a popular sushi bar placed at the outside wall with windows onto the street for some great theatre
When it was first announced that a grocery chain had bought this iconic building, there was much gnashing of teeth at the effrontery of it all. MLG is considered a hallowed shrine. It was not only used for a beloved hockey team, but was also the venue for many other sporting events, not least for wrestling and boxing. Then there were the concerts - Elvis and the Beatles among them.
This new store is actually full of mementoes of these events. From the pictures on the pillars to the old posters on the walls and even the cafe tables are a collage of old sporting event memorabilia shots.
At the entrance is a collection of the old chairs from the arena painted in blue and (artfully?) arranged on the wall in the shape of a maple leaf. The original walls were left exposed and one can still see the imprint of the risers next to the new escalators. Further up and not yet finished will be an athletic centre and a new hockey rink for the nearby university. This building and its owners has also been riddled with controversy over the years, which just adds to the legendary status and the controversy continues (but I won't bore you with details. google it if you are really interested)
This is as much a tourist attraction as a grocery store for a badly needed vibe in this area and there were staff galore handing out maps and brochures and guiding you to see the sights. Halcyon, who was with me, desperately wanted to get a picture of their specially designed t-shirts, but everyone declined (bosses were likely watching carefully on the security cameras) but I managed a covert shot of these two poor sods in1930s newsboys outfits who wandered around handing out free bags and colourful brochures for the special events being held.
and then there is aisle 25.
where near the end, surrounded by soy sauces, is a red dot.
this folks, is the very spot of centre ice.
seriously, next to the amazing wall of cheese, this was possibly the biggest attraction
and as you can see by this large billboard (interestingly seen across the street at Church and Carlton)