Saturday, March 31, 2012

Sunday Stamps

With the federal budget's announcement this week of the demise of the penny, this may be the last of these stamps 

these are from a series celebrating traditional trades.
decorative ironwork and bookbinding on the 2 cent and 1 cent stamps made from 1999-2007 are based on photos by Jean-Pierre Beaudin

although I rather like this ladybug from the 2007-present series celebrating beneficial insects. 

Officially known as a convergent lady beetle. these tiny insects have a voracious appetite and can devour up to 60 aphids in one day.

there was no set theme to this weeks stamps, so to see what others thought to share go to Viridian's Postcard blog

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

grave post #13

Another random grave stone.

I was meeting a friend for dinner the other week and was a little early, so while waiting for her to get home from work, I had a quick wander through Mt  Pleasant Cemetery. I drove around and whenever I saw something interesting I popped out of my car and snapped a photo or two before continuing on. This is how I got last week's headstone. I am not sure why I took a picture of this headstone. It is rather simple and unassuming. There is not really anything unusual or interesting about it. And it is not even a very good photo.

I possibly took it as a distraction from taking a casual shot of these two sketchers I found nearby.

But, looking at it later at home, I did a bit of research, thinking that as a M.D. there might be more information on this R.W. Bruce Smith
Immediately, his name came up and I discovered that he was an Inspector of Hospitals for Ontario. He also seemed to be an Inspector of Prisons at one time.
Married to Mary McLachan (also spelled McLauchlan), they had a daughter, Ella, who married a Thomas Clendinnen and seems to have moved to Ottawa as she is buried in Beechwood Cemetery there. Thomas Clendinnen was in real estate, but was also the offspring of a physician, although his father, Robert Clendinnen, surgeon, died at age 40 of alcoholism.

Other than that, I had trouble finding anything personal about Dr Bruce Smith. I wondered what the R.W. stood for. I wondered if he died overseas in the war in 1916. His name came up most often in connection with articles regarding 'bulletin of the hospital for the insane', so he seemed to have been a prolific writer. Then I found something small but significant and inconsistent, and which opened up the search a little more.  A -. A hyphen. Which could explain why he was most often referred to as Dr [R.W.] Bruce Smith and not Dr Smith. It doesn't explain why his head stone says simply 'Smith', though. Maybe he found it easier to go by the very last of his names.

In one of these bulletins of the Ontario Hospitals for the Insane from 3 April 1916, if you read through it, you will find inserted an 'in memoriam'
As the Bulletin goes to press we are shocked by
the sad news of the decease of its Author and Editor — 
Dr. R. W. Bruce Smith. The end came peacefully to 
the Doctor, while in his home surrounded by his family, 
at five o'clock on Tuesday morning, the 28th of March, 
after an illness of more than a year's duration. 
He was born in Mitchell Ontario on 9 May 1857, the son of a Methodist clergyman. He started university as an arts student, but soon changed over to medicine. A physician for 15 years, he was elected President of the Medical Association in 1894 and in the same year was appointed as Assistant Physician of the Hospital for the Insane in Hamilton, moving on to the Eastern Hospital for the Insane in Brockville. When, in 1904, he was appointed Inspector of Hospitals and Charities  this opened up a new field for Dr. Bruce Smith's usefulness, and one in which he  became very widely known and most highly respected throughout the Province of Ontario. 
More from the Bulletin:
He always had a sympathy for those engaged in the management of the hospitals, and encouraged every effort on their part tending to the betterment of
the patient. He was broad in his outlook, and in every 
possible field he sought information, both from personal 
contact with these institutions, and from various maga- 
zines bearing on hospital administration from abroad. 
Where these innovations would be helpful in Ontario he 
adopted them. 
He recognized the importance of the trained nurse in the adoption of true hospital  methods for the care of the mentally sick. He was appointed Chairman of the         Examining Board for the mental nurses, a position which he held up to the time of   his decease. 

Another important field of Doctor Smith's work was 
centred in the editing of the Bulletin. This little pub- 
lication was one of his hobbies, and where he found that 
a medical officer was doing a bit of original research in 
a quiet way the Doctor would suggest that an article 
along these lines would be welcomed in the Bulletin. 
Dr. Bruce Smith had a wide, wholesome sympathy for the individual sufferer, and 
in every sphere in which his official life lay he was ready to extend a helpful 
hand and give words of encouragement. He was never more pleased than when he 
could recommend an appointment or promotion to some honest worker in his service. In a true sense he was humanitarian, and his work leaves a grateful memory in 
the hearts of many people in Ontario.
And, in a happy co-incidence, today is the 96th anniversary of his death.
See more stories at Taphophile Tragics

Everything in the smaller type is from the 'Bulletin' and I don't know why the font and spacings keeps changing, but it is late and I give up.
Does anyone else hate the new look Blogger???

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Jeffersons on King

I missed getting my post up last week. Not sure why, but I probably was having trouble getting a good photo and looking ahead to the next letter, wasn't sure I wanted to waste a good K on a J.
So here is a combo.
King Road runs north-south from the lake to the escarpment. It is a pretty street at the bottom end with nice houses set back off the street. There are also no sidewalks and lots of trees, making the road feel like the country. It is the boundary line between Burlington and Aldershot, a village that was annexed in 1962.
Continuing up King Rd, there is a bit of an industrial section, then you have a level crossing at the train tracks before going over the highway. Past this, the road winds its way steeply (oh, so steeply!) up the escarpment through not so very populated areas and vast open spaces with great views.
And it has been in the news lately, first for a horrific train crash earlier this month and now for its road closure.
As you can see with this map, it is not the most direct 
route to get from Plains Rd to Waterdown (road or town)
But the Jefferson Salamander is on the move. It is time for these creatures to cross the road to their breeding ponds and to lay their eggs. Since they are an endangered species, the success of these 100 or so salamanders eggs is important.
not my photo
my photo

In the past there has been a voluntary closure, with a detour onto Waterdown Rd during the night (from 9pm to 6am) which is when these guys like to migrate. Now, a small section of the road is permanently closed until the end of this month, with a $110.00 fine for disobeying. So far, no salamanders have been injured or killed, though apparently some people have ignored the barricade.

Here are some interesting facts about the Jefferson Salamander:
*they change their spots, starting off as yellowish green with dark spots and as they get older they trade their black spots for yellow ones and turn a more greenish grey. as adults they turn grey and their spots become more blueish and specked.
* they can detach their tail when threatened. they can also tuck their heads under their tail and from this position can do a body flip. there is also some kind of toxic ooze that comes from glands near the base of the tail.
*they are homebodies and are very picky about where they live, rarely moving more than a mile from whence they originated. so transporting them to safer ground is not an option.

With this warmer weather and an earlier start to their migration, they should have crossed the road safely and King Road will once again be opened to people and their dangerous vehicles by Friday.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Sunday Stamps

It is time to celebrate Spring flowers - something we are doing with amazement here in southern Ontario! Apart from the forsythia, I have seen snowdrops, crocuses, tulips, daffodils, narcissus and even a hyacinth popping through the earth. At a garden centre yesterday, I overheard someone sounding annoyed that the outdoor bedding plants weren't out yet. I think she had a bit of heatstroke from that summer day on Thursday (when it got up to 28C or 82.4F) and forgot that it is still only March.

A couple of years ago Absynthe and I received this card from Vilnius Lithuania of an original watercolour by Postcrosser Lolita

I may have posted this one before, but it is cute enough for a repeat.  a Moomin from Finland picking wildflowers
a South African dandelion, which looks prettier than our variety (blooms August to September)
the well known Sakura of Japan
Lily of the Valley from Germany

a few flowers from Belarus - peony, tulip and rose
and a 
tulip and daisy from Germany

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

grave post #12

It would seem that these three original Thompsons were brothers, Richard Allan born 1867, John Andrew born 1871 and George Lucan born 1873. The eldest son was born mere days before Canada's Confederation.

The only one I could find information on was Harland Steele. It is interesting that a man of such renown did not merit his own headstone but is included in a family plot. And his wife's family plot at that.

W. Harland Steele was an architect who graduated from the University of Toronto in 1925, winning a Royal Architectural Institute of Canada medal for design. Before marrying his sweetheart, Muriel, daughter of George Lucan Thompson, he went off to further studies in Ecole des Beaux Arts in France. Once back in Toronto, he started up his own firm with Forsey Page that is still in operation today as Page + Steele. They truly helped "shape the fabric of the city" and have been responsible for many public, municipal and office buildings as well as schools throughout Ontario and now are heavily involved in several of the highrise condos and hotels being built in Toronto. Aside from being Chairman and later President of the Toronto Chapter of the Ontario Association of Architects, Mr Steele was also a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Canadian Architects (and a Fellow of Royal Institute of British Architects and Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects).

He, along with the other members of his wife's family are buried in Mt Pleasant Cemetery in Toronto.

I found this interesting, not so much for his connection to the Thompson family since I took this photo randomly while on a recent walk through the cemetery but for the information I found out later. I was not familiar with the name Harland Steele, but I having an interest in architecture, I am certainly familiar with his firm and with many of the buildings built by them during the 1950s and 1960s. And anyone who pays any attention to the building that is going on around the city now would be familiar with the P+S signs that prominently displayed. It was almost exciting to discover his name. Again, from a random search of the names listed on the stone!

See Taphophile Tragics for other grave designs.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sunday Stamps

Once again we could choose whatever theme we wanted, and with this absolutely wonderful spring-like weather we have been having these last few days, I have spent much time outdoors listening to the lovely sound of the birds that have returned.
We don't have the spring blossoms that are included in this stamp from China, but at this rate it won't be long.....

alcedo atthis or as they say in Austria, an Eisvogel 
with another Kingfisher from Hong Kong and a Collard Scops Owl as a bonus
this stamp celebrates 100 years of the Vogelschutzwart Seebach a bird observatory in Germany
Viridian's Postcard Blog has many more stamps so visit what others have found.
For me, I'm heading back outside to enjoy the 23C sunny weather... see you all later.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


but just a taste.... shooters - this is all you need
anything more would be overindulgence

Monday, March 12, 2012

grave post #11

After some research - exhausting research - I admit, I am still very confused between the Serbs, Bosnians and Croats who all seemed to live side by side. This headstone seems to be written in Croatian and Serbian. Serbian uses the Cyrillic alphabet while Croatian uses the Latin. Serbo-Croatian is the only language that actively uses both. The Serbian and Bosnian varieties has both, while the Croatian variety uses only the Latin. No wonder it is confusing!

Culic, I discovered, is a Croatian name.
And, as you can no doubt decipher, Bosna would mean they were from Bosnia. Croats who lived in Bosnia and spoke Serbian. And were Catholic. Many Catholic Croats were expelled during the Bosnian War.

My first thought when I saw this headstone was that it was odd to have a picture of each of them on a stone when they had passed on during the war. But a bit of translating and it seems

božijom rođen = born by God, so Nikola and Anda were born during the war.

Then I thought it was a little off putting to have a picture of themselves on a stone before they had passed on. But...

ovde počiva u miru = here rests in peace

u selu  translates as from the village with the entire phrase turning into 
in a grove near the village of the Black Bean - or Lug - Bosnian  

Bosnian Grahovo is now the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina but at one time before the war (WWII) it was the largest community in Bosnia with 4,000 inhabitants, but the villages were decimated after a Chetnik uprising where Serbian rebels looted and burned Croatian homes and massacred the inhabitants. Apparently the Chetniks wanted no Croats living there and prevented any from returning during the Italian occupation. All this started on July 27, 1941. Two days after Anda Culic was born.

I had to look up Chetnik, a term I had heard but was not all that intimate with. Chetniks were a Serbian nationalist and monarchist paramilitary movement that formed in 1904 against the Ottoman Empire. They don't sound like nice people.

I have no idea how these two, Nikola and Anda, managed to survive, or when they emigrated to Canada. Did they meet here, or somewhere in exile in another part of Yugoslavia and emigrate together? Did they have to endure firsthand the atrocities of the Bosnian War as adults after enduring the Second World War. And when did they die? Why is this information not included? Although they were very young when these atrocities occurred in the villages of their birth, they (or their children who erected this headstone) are obviously very closely connected to their homeland. That may seem an odd statement, but I am not nearly so emotionally connected to the birthplaces of my parents.

But then the village in Scotland where some of my ancestors are from was not decimated by the English.

To read about other ancestral stories check out Taphophile Tragics

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sunday Stamps

First up, we have Astrid Lindgren, a Swedish author of children's books, among them, Pippi Longstocking.  
Though her stories for children were loved, her attitude towards adultery) which was reflected in her writings) was not so muchIn her personal life, after an affair with her editor, she gave birth to a child out of wedlock. Until she was able to afford to take care of him, he was raised in a foster home where she regularly visited on weekends. It would seem that after declining marriage from the child's father, he declined support for the child. She would later marry her boss. Still, she was a advocate for children's and animal rights and against corporal punishment and was bestowed an award "...For her commitment to justice, non-violence and understanding of minorities as well as her love and caring for nature." 

Then there is American author and abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe, whose most recognized work is possibly Uncle Tom's Cabin written in 1852, but she also wrote numerous other novels, travel memoirs as well as articles and letters.
Legend has it that upon meeting President Lincoln he was to have said to her "so you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this great [civil] war", such was the polarizing effect of her writing among readers in the North and the South. It all started when she wrote to a newspaper saying she wanted to write a story about the problem of slavery, "I feel now that the time is come when even a woman or a child who can speak a word for freedom and humanity is bound to speak... I hope every woman who can write will not be silent."

Then there is someone perhaps a little less famous but by no means less influential in the lives of average Americans. Mary Lasker was a philanthropist and health advocate whose Lasker Award is considered the most prestigious medical research award one can receive. She supported National Health Insurance under President Truman - it failed. She then decided to fund medical research as a way to promote public health. She was also the president of the precursor to Planned Parenthood and she and her husband were instrumental in making the American Cancer Society the powerhouse that it is today. Ironically, her husband was one of the advertising executives who came up with the "Lucky Strikes Means Fine Tobacco" slogan for the cigarette company before the dangerous effects of tobacco became known.

Finally, we have the unnamed Women in  Military Service

See more Women in Stamps for March's Women's History Month in the US and the UK
(Canada celebrates in October)
by visiting Viridian's Postcard Blog

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

grave post #10

Looking for familiar names, I came across this stone for Hiram Hurd and wondered if he was the Hurd for which Hurd Avenue in what is now downtown Burlington was named.
I thought he was a farmer, but it turns out he was actually a businessman and alderman in Hamilton who owned property in Burlington that was used as an orchard and nursery (Burlington is next door to Hamilton, but whereas Hamilton was mostly an industrial city, Burlington was mostly agricultural). 
This house was built near the intersection of what is now Caroline St and Hurd Ave is known as the Hurd Farm House, although he did not actually live there; it may have been used as the farm manager's house.  It was built around 1877 in a Folk Victorian style and is now a heritage designated property. All the alterations and replacements to the house are sympathetic to the period, including the sash windows and this pinwheel verge and it won a Heritage Award in 1991.
Hurd Avenue was named in memoriam of Hiram Hurd after his death in 1905. This house is on Caroline Street, though I am not certain if it was named for his daughter - there is a 'Carrie' who died at age 4 in 1862. Caroline St was the boundary of the town proper with the Hurd farm property to the north and this house is the last remaining farmhouse on that street. 
see what else remains can be found at Taphophile Tragics