History
ice-storm-header

Editor’s Note: From January 4 -10, 1998, parts of Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec were hit by 3 successive storm fronts that have been called the greatest natural disaster in Canadian history. French editor Myriam Fontaine remembers the harrowing experience.

Crackling. Crackling everywhere, day and night. I can still hear it. Branches that crackle and fall, pylons not far from my home collapsing, the roof and walls of my house crackling from the cold, my rocking chair, my fireplace. Always the silence and the crackling. No familiar humming of the refrigerator, the water pipes, or the furnace. No children’s laughter. No work, no computer. I am alone in my cold house.

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Inside TCE
snow diary

Having told friends, family and colleagues that I dislike winter, I’ve received endless advice on how to turn my chilly frown upside down. My dear friend Myriam provided a list of reasons to like winter and the comments on Twitter have ranged from friendly to downright maniacal. So I’m going to try again to change my attitude, and to chart my […]

Canada Soup
In the News
Canadian Optimism

A recent poll says that Canadians feel like they're on top of the world.

This week’s soup is a feel-good mix of Canadian pride, commemorative stamps, a snow-less winter, and a puffin who was lost, then found. Happy holidays!

The first day of winter, also the shortest day of the year, known as winter solstice, was celebrated all over the world this week on December 21. Wiccans celebrated Yule; Druids gathered at Stonehenge, and in Macedonia, people gathered at the Kokino megaobservatory to see ancient stone marks that track the sun and moon’s movements. So, winter is officially upon us! [CBC]

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Inside TCE
Snowy Backyard

The view from our backyard.

Having told friends, family and colleagues that I dislike winter, I’ve received endless advice on how to turn my chilly frown upside down. My dear friend Myriam provided a list of reasons to like winter and the comments on Twitter have ranged from friendly to downright maniacal. So I’m going to try again to change my attitude, and to chart my progress I’m keeping a snow diary. All I need is some snow.

Read Part 1 of Snow Diary here. Read Part 3 of Snow Diary here.

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Français

On entend souvent dire que les Inuits ont des dizaines de mots pour parler de la « neige » et de la « glace ». Intriguée, j’ai fait quelques recherches sur internet, pour trouver plus d’information sur le sujet et je suis tombée sur différents sites; j’en conclu que malheureusement, la plupart de ceux qui s’y expriment ne possèdent pas une grande expertise des Inuits, que ce soit au niveau linguistique ou culturel.

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History
Inside TCE
TCE-Gift-Guide-header

Winter means holidays and holidays mean cheery music, heavy food, and braving malls and long lines to shop frantically for loved ones. But not to fear! We at The Canadian Encyclopedia come bearing gift ideas for the historically-inclined Canadian in your life. Our editors have compiled a gift guide full of practical, historical, bizarre and very Canadian gifts. Enjoy!

Glen Breton Whiskey

For the discerning whiskey drinker in your life.

Glen Breton Rare 10 Year Whiskey
Glenora Distillery, $80-90.00
Cape Breton Island has been keeping many aspects of the Scottish culture alive since 1775 when the first Scots settled in this part of Acadia. An earlier colonization attempt in the 1620s failed but the Scottish influence was foretold when its fledging province received the name, Nova Scotia, Latin for “New Scotland.” In 1990, the Glenora Distillery was built to integrate another part of Scottish culture to Cape Breton. This distillery soon produced the first single malt whisky in North America. A range of aged whiskies is now available, including the Glen Breton Rare 10 Year. The scotch drinker on your list would welcome the opportunity to drink what Scotland’s Ian Buxton identified in his book as One of the 101 Whiskies to try Before you DieGail Kudelik, Subject Editor
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Inside TCE
myriam fontaine

Myriam Fontaine giddy with joy in the winter snow.

[Editor's Note: This blog post is in response to Laura Bonikowsky's post, "Winter Blahs," in which she argues against the joys of winter. This blog post is also available in French.]

Dear Laura,

I just read your words on winter and was very surprised. You? You, my friend from Alberta don’t like winter? You, who we all know has so much energy……sitting by the fire looking out at the frozen trees and sighing? What’s wrong with this picture? Laura, Laura…Laura! You, whose pure white dogs, yes completely white like….snow, have such great fun outside teasing each other in the snow banks while the great northern wind blows …from the east …er, the west, and you don’t like it? I’m flabbergasted.

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Au Fil Des Mots
Français
myriam fontaine

Myriam Fontaine

Une réponse pour notre éditeure Laura Bonikowsky à propos de son blogue intitué ”Winter Blahs”, qui nous décrivait les inconvénients de l’hiver.

Chère Laura,

Je viens de lire ton texte sur l’hiver avec beaucoup de surprise. Toi ? Toi, mon amie albertaine qui n’aime pas l’hiver ? Toi, avec toute l’énergie qu’on te connaît…assise au coin du feu à regarder les arbres gelés en soupirant ? Qu’est-ce qui cloche dans cette image ? Laura, Laura…Laura ! Toi dont les chiens tout blancs, oui tout blancs comme….neige, ont un plaisir fou dehors à se taquiner dans les bancs de neige, alors que souffle le grand vent du nord, …de l’est …euh, de l’ouest, et toi tu n’aimes pas ? Je tombe des nues.

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Inside TCE
winter-dogsled-header
winter dogsled

This painting by Paul Kane shows a favourite form of Métis winter travel (courtesy ROM/912.1.48).

What’s more Canadian than winter? From coast to coast, Canadians experience the highs and lows of the season, from scraping ice off a car to making snow angels to singing holiday tunes and huddling around a fire while a blizzard swirls wildly outdoors. From early settlers to present day, winter has shaped the Canadian way of life, and this year it gets special treatment from the editors of The Canadian Encyclopedia, who have written a bundle of articles on the subject. Here, we highlight just a few of our winter favourites. Read More

Cold Winter
Frozen Car

A frozen car: one of the many joys of winter. (Photo: Brigitte Stelzer)

I have to confess a very un-Canadian secret. I hate winter! Except for Christmas, my favourite time of year. But after that, I am not a fan of winter, and those who claim to like it are suspect. I consider them delusional. What’s so great about being cold, shovelling snow, scraping windshields, or bundling up in parka, mukluks, hat and mittens just to get the newspaper from the end of the driveway?

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English
Things//Choses
Adam Gopnik Winter
Adam Gopnik Winter

Adam Gopnik"s Winter: Five Windows on the Season (House of Anansi Press, 2011).

It was my good fortune on October 26 to attend the final lecture on Adam Gopnik’s tour to deliver this year’s Massey Lectures on the theme of “Winter.” It took place in the beautiful Koerner Hall at the Royal Conservatory, University of Toronto. Gopnik of course is the famous New Yorker writer, with a number of bestselling books, including Paris to the Moon. On “winter,” this most Canadian of themes, the author is careful to point out his bona fides, that though born in Philadelphia, he grew up in Montreal.

It is a great pleasure to attend a live lecture and I went with such anticipation, which was somewhat dampened by the length of the introductions and formalities.

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Inside TCE
Animals

The editors of The Canadian Encyclopedia are always on the go – researching topics, updating existing articles, writing new ones, and keeping abreast of the latest news. Recently, they’ve turned their attention to animals, adding new entries for Caribou, Moose, Bison, Deer, Pronghorn, Finch, Animals in Winter, and more! The list will continue to grow in the coming weeks. For now, a roundup of our furry (and feathery and smooth) favourites:

Narwhal

The narwhal with its mysterious, long sought-after tusk.

Narwhal
Once known as a sea unicorn, the narwhal is a toothed whale of the Arctic Sea. Its name comes from the Old Norse narwal, meaning corpse, possibly referring to the narwhal’s skin, which resembles that of a human’s. The narwhal’s distinctive spiralled tusk, found in adult males and rarely in females, can reach up to three metres in length. The tusk is used to fight other males (called “tusking”) to establish dominance.

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