Bay of Fundy blog

My Joggins Fossil Cliffs post yesterday reminded me of a blog from back home that my brothers told me about: Bay of Fundy blog.

Blogger Terri McCulloch decided that the amazing area where she lives – and where I grew up – deserved a little more web attention. Her blog about it is really good, and is gaining a lot of attention and acclaim. In the last couple of months she’s covered diverse but unique regional topics: how to cook marsh greens, the Not Since Moses race across the ocean floor, garden tours in one of the first North American settlements by Europeans, whale watching and dead whale disposal, where to spend your Canada Day, a recipe for blueberry lavender scones, new restaurants, lighthouses, and suggested driving routes.

I think a blog like this has great potential as a regional-reader shared experience, and as a well-presented tourist guide. Anyone looking for a summer holiday in North America should give some serious thought to the maritime provinces of Canada, and anyone visiting the Maritimes should definitely use Terri’s blog to have some fun in the Bay of Funday area.

Check out the pictures of the Bay that people have put on Flickr.

Happy birthday, Canada!

July 1st is Canada Day. I was born a Canadian and – despite whatever other citizenships I might pick up along the way – will remain one until the day I die. Wish my country happy birthday!

If you’re not sure what defines Canada, well, civic pride group The Dominion Institute has done the legwork. They’ve surveyed some Canadians and come up with a list of 101 people, places, things, events, and accomplishments that define Canada (PDF file). The actual list shows up on page 5 of that document and, I have to say, I pretty much agree with it. It’s obviously reductionist to distill an entire nation, especially one so vast and multicultural, to a few phrases; nonetheless, they’ve done a pretty good job of their reduction. The only one that had me scratching my head was the very last one, #101.

Image from gruntzooki via Creative Commons license

Super snow

I may have overdone it on the snowy winter praise. We’re now in line for 25cm of the white stuff, and we need to drive back to the airport to leave for London today. We’re leaving early to make it in lots of time.


I’m really enjoying this winter holiday home. It’s snowing again. I’ve had to scrape ice off the car, shovel, drive in snow and ice, and brush it off my clothes and hair. It’s great to feel like a proper Canadian. It’s also great to just do it one week a year.

Well, crap

We’re flying to Canada for Christmas. I was a frequent enough flyer on Air Canada last year that I get some upgrade certificates. I was planning to use them on that holiday flight, to ensure a good sleep on our overnight return.

Well, I wasn’t thinking about those details when I booked the tickets, and went for the cheapest price I could get. Our seats are in a price class in which I can’t use the upgrade certificates, and the tickets aren’t changeable. Bollocks.


I am an engineer. Like most engineers, I’m proud of my technical-yet-practical education (even if I get to use it less and less these days).

The funny thing about being an engineer from Canada, though, is the Iron Ring. For the non-Canucks, this is a small ring worn on the pinkie finger by Canadian engineering graduates. It’s part of a ceremony, and a reminder of the obligations engineers have to their community and their profession.
What it means in practice is that you can identify a Canadian engineer just by looking at them. This happened to me at work just the other day: I was speaking to a guy here in the UK on assignment from Canada, and he spotted it right off. It’s always been a bit odd, but also a bit self-satisfying, knowing that your fellow citizens know your profession just by looking at you.

Of course, the ring is a pure babe magnet back in Canada, too.

Ranting and roaring

Last night was about as Canadian as it gets. If you’re from the east coast, anyway.  It was a Great Big Sea gig.

SWMNBN, PC, the She-Aussie and I went to the tiny Borderline club off Charing Cross Road (yes, you huddled Canadian masses, I know what you’re thinking: the very same road mentioned in that great folk-rock singalong song “Home For a Rest” by Spirit of the West). The opening act was Halifax-based Jill Barber, a girl with a guitar, a sweet voice, and some pleasant songs. She sounded nice, but at least one upbeat song would have been nice.

Great Big Sea came on a bit early, much to the joy of the 250-person full house. What they did next was no surprise at all: they played every hit and then some. They charmed the crowd (a significant number of whom were from Canada, naturally) with their laid-back Newfie humour. They smiled and laughed and jumped about and led us all in singalongs.

The crowd loved “Run Runaway”, “Mari-Mac”, “Donkey Riding”, “Sea of No Cares” and “Helmethead”. My favourites were “Excursion Around the Bay”, “The Old Black Rum”, “The Night Pat Murphy Died”, “The River Driver” and “Scolding Wife” (heh).

They even played us a couple of brand new songs that they say they hope to record next month for their new album. I thought that these sounded pretty good, to be honest.

It was extremely hot in the bar, but most folks didn’t mind too much. It felt friendly and fun in there, and we all sang along when we could to show it. It was as Canadian as I’ve felt in a while.