Tag Archives: Canadiana

The Day the Stompin’ Stopped


CCT-Stompin Tom Connors 2

Peterborough, ON (March 6, 2013)  Today Canada lost one of its’ true musical icons with the passing of Stompin’ Tom Connors O.C.,LL.D.,Litt.D.   Connors died of natural causes at his home in Ontario.  He was 77 years of age.

Stompin’ Tom literally put Canada on the map with such songs as  “The Hockey Song”, “Sudbury Saturday Night”, “Bud The Spud”, “Tillsonburg”, “Big Joe Mufferaw” and countless others.

Born Thomas Charles Connors in Saint John New Brunswick on February 9th 1936, he was separated from his mother at a  young age and raised by foster parents in Skinners Pond,  P.E.I. until he was 13 years old.  His life of poverty, orphanages, hitchhiking and playing bars would eventually turn into a life of hit songs, national concert tours and fame in spite of a constant uphill battle to be recognized by the music industry in Canada.  In 1979 in a fit of frustration and disappointment he returned all 6 of his Juno awards as a statement of personal protest against the Americanization of the Canadian Music Industry, a sentiment he continued to express to this day. In 1989 Tom signed with EMI Music Canada, teamed up with talent promoter Brian Edwards and returned to the stage where fans young and old embraced his music once again as he quickly became one of the biggest concert draws and sought after performers in the country.

Due to the unwavering love for promoting his home country, some of the many accolades he has received include becoming an Officer of the Order of Canada, his own Canadian postage stamp, he was invited by the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson to receive the Governor Generals Performing Arts Award, he was the recipient of both the Queens Gold and Diamond Jubilee Medals and he earned 3 honorary doctorate degrees (Saint Thomas University in Saint John New Brunswick; “Laws”, University of Toronto; “Laws”, and the University of P.E.I.; “Letters”).

He now has an astounding 61 recorded albums, 10 of which have yet to be released to the public.  His songs will continue to be made available worldwide and remain a legacy to his career, his life and his beloved country.

Tom is survived by his wife Lena, 2 sons, 2 daughters and several grandchildren.

The Celebration of Tom’s life is being planned for Wednesday, March 13th in Peterborough, ON at 7pm at the Peterborough Memorial Centre and per his request, will be open to the public.

In lieu of flowers, the Connors family has asked that donations be made to your local food bank or homeless shelters, in memory of Stompin’ Tom.

CCT-Stompin Tom Connors

His family released a message from Tom that he wanted passed along to all of his fans upon his death:

“Hello friends, I want all my fans, past, present, or future, to know that without you, there would have not been any Stompin’ Tom.”

“It was a long hard bumpy road, but this great country kept me inspired with it’s beauty, character, and spirit, driving me to keep marching on and devoted to sing about its people and places that make Canada the greatest country in the world.”

“I must now pass the torch, to all of you, to help keep the Maple Leaf flying high, and be the Patriot Canada needs now and in the future.”

“I humbly thank you all, one last time, for allowing me in your homes, I hope I continue to bring a little bit of cheer into your lives from the work I have done.”


Your Friend always,

Stompin’ Tom Connors

Canadian Culture Thing wishes Stompin’ Tom’s family our sincerest condolences at this unfortunate time.

Posted in Canadian Celebrities, Canadiana, Entertainment, Music, Pop Culture | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

A Nickel of My Thoughts on the Death of the Penny

The Death of the Penny

On February 4, the Royal Canadian Mint and financial institutions across Canada stopped distributing the Canadian one-cent piece. Production on the penny had ceased in May of 2012 looking forward to February 2013 when the penny would no longer be sent out to clink around in the pockets of Canadians. On that same day in February, the Canadian Mint began melting down the first of the 35 billion pennies in circulation.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty shows the last penny produced in Canada. (Keep an eye on Ebay).
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty shows the last penny produced in Canada. (Keep an eye on Ebay).

One-Cent Worth of Patriotism

All Canadian coins minted between Confederation (1867) and 1935 have included the proud maple leaf but the penny has always shown it like no other. The first penny was produced on January 2, 1908 and was struck by Countess Grey at the official opening of the Ottawa branch of the Royal Mint (renamed in 1931 to the Royal Canadian Mint). The modern 1-cent coin that features two maple leaves on the same twig was designed and created by G.E. Kruger Gray. It was first used in 1937 and has remained unchanged until 2013 with the exception of the 1967 centennial coin, which used a rock dove, designed by renowned Canadian artist Alex Colville.

The 1967 Centennial Penny

It Costs to Save Pennies

The beloved and seemingly pointless one-cent coin costs Canada 1.6 cents to produce and therefore the mint will melt down the 82-million kg of steel, nickel and copper-plating that remains in circulation and selling it.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is indeed correct to say that eliminating the penny will save Canadian tax-payers but his estimated 11 million dollars savings per year in production costs will actually result in a less impressive but still worthy $4 million savings. The cost to redeem the 6 billion coins will cost the Canadian government about $80 million over the next 6 years. The $80 million expense is a result of about $53 million to redeem the face-value of the 6 billion pennies jangling about in people’s pockets, and an impressive $27 million in administration, handling, and little signs that will be placed on fountains throughout Canada informing romantics that wishes now cost a nickel or higher.

Toronto's Mayor, Lord Ford at Edmonton's City Hall. On an earlier trip, Ford had become enamoured with Edmonton's Skating Rink by Winter, Wading Pool Fountain in the Summer. Ford visited his favourite versatile fountain with a little present. Even with tight security, Ford was overheard whispering to the fountain, "join me and we can rule the fountains."

Toronto’s Mayor, Lord Ford at Edmonton’s City Hall. On an earlier trip, Ford had become enamoured with Edmonton’s Skating Rink by Winter, Wading Pool Fountain in the Summer. Ford visited his favourite versatile fountain with a little present. Even with tight security, Ford was overheard whispering to the fountain, “join me and we can rule the fountains.”

Recycling the zinc and copper from melted-down pennies will bring in about $42.5 million in revenue. That, and the additional savings of $11 million per year, Canada will walk away with a savings of about $4 million per year over the 6 years it is expected to collect most of the circulating pennies.

A Pretty Penny

It will be great to save all that money in producing the penny but perhaps the Canadian government is missing an opportunity to make a little extra.

When King Edward VIII abdicated the throne in order to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson, the Mint was just finishing up the tools to produce the new 1937 penny with the new king’s portrait. While the 1936 penny still had the image of King Henry V, the 1937 penny recycled the 1936 penny die along with a new portrait of the abdicating king’s on the reverse. To differentiate between the 1936 and 1937 pennies, the mint included a dot below the 1936 date to mark it as the 1937 penny.

The 1937 Penny. CanadianCultureThing is accepting any of these useless, cumbersome hunks of junk...email me...2 cents a piece guaranteed!
The 1937 Penny. Canadian Culture Thing is accepting any of these useless, cumbersome hunks of junk…email me…2 cents a piece guaranteed!

This of course makes this penny quite rare, there are only seven known rare dot coin specimens known to exist, as all other specimens are believed to have been melted by the mint. It might be worthwhile for the Mint to hire some students to pick through the pennies they collect and pull out any rare ones. I’m not a coin collector but being a comic book collector, it would horrify me to know that Marvel was collecting any comics they found and were recycling them. The idea that they would destroy an Avengers #4 amongst a heap of Alpha Flights sends me into a tizzy.

CanadianCultureThing postcard #0018 features Liberty Magazine from December 1959. The Duke of Windsor was a title created for Edward once he abdicated the throne. This issue of Liberty also featured an ongoing concern that Canadians were facing in late 1959 - a dollar valued higher than the U.S. Canadian businesses that relied heavily on American patronage we forced to take the greenback at par and sometimes even sweeten the deal with incentives.
Canadian Culture Thing postcard #0018 features Liberty Magazine from December 1959. The Duke of Windsor was a title created for Edward once he abdicated the throne. This issue of Liberty also featured coverage of an ongoing concern faced by Canadians in late 1959 – a dollar valued higher than the U.S! Canadian businesses that relied heavily on American patronage were forced to take the greenback at par and sometimes even sweeten the deal with incentives.

Now, that’s crazy-talk you might say but these precious 1937 pennies are worth a pretty penny (I couldn’t resist). These King Edward VIII pennies fetch as much as $402,500. In other words, ten of these little coins equals the $4 million dollars the Canadian government is going to save. Not to mention the other rare pennies they’ll come across. Now that’s worth enough to have a guy hand sort them.

Because the Royal Canadian Mint still doesn’t know what they’re going to do with any American pennies they collect, it might be possible to separate all those American pennies at the same time and let the U.S. redeem them from us. Ca-ching!

A Fishy Situation

While the beautiful koi swimming in Chinese restaurant ponds might want to take a deep figurative breath that they will be safe from copper toxicity, and only in danger of getting pelted with monetary projectiles, they will be disappointed to learn that pennies aren’t the end of copper coins. In fact, every Canadian coin, except the $1 coin, is made of copper of varying quantities.

Koi doing what koi do best. symptoms of copper toxicity are gasping at the surface and disorientation.
Koi doing what koi do best. symptoms of copper toxicity are gasping at the surface and disorientation.

Pennies are Icky

While the death of the penny might fill Canadians with varying degrees of sentimentality, remorse and reluctant acceptance, it will certainly be relief for one group of Canadians. People with cuprolaminophobia will find solace in the death of the copper sibling of the coins that fuel their phobia. While people suffering from cuprolaminophobia are repulsed by all coins, the copper coin seems to bring far greater dread, even to those with mild cases. While some might read into that as some racial profiling, the truth is that this is often developed in childhood. the taste of a copper coin brings to mind the taste of blood and this connection seems to have remained with many people throughout their lives.

For those of you who failed third grade math, here's how you'll deal without the penny.
For those of you who failed third grade math, here’s how you’ll deal without the penny.

Other (sort of) True Canadian Penny News:

  • Thoughts will now be a nickel but a lucky penny will still be a lucky penny, perhaps even luckier for it’s rarity.
  • Penny (played by Kaley Cuoco who dated Canadian actor-model Kevin Zegers) from the Big Bang Theory, the television show that follows the “Big Bang Theory Theme” by Canadian super-group the Barenaked Ladies, will still remain in circulation.
  • Penny from Inspector Gadget, co-produced by Canadian animation giant Nelvana, is still no longer in circulation.
  • Penny Marshall, Television’s Laverne of Laverne and Shirley, worked at a fictitious Milwaukee brewery called “Shotz Brewery“. Shotz was based entirely on a Labbatt’s/Molson-esque brewery and had nothing to do with the fact that Milwaukee was once the home to four of the world’s largest beer breweries (Schlitz, Blatz, Pabst and Miller), and was the number one beer producing city in the world for many years…um…ah…because Canada invented Beer…and Laverne and Shirley were Canadian spies in the War of 1812.
  • Other countries have also nixed the penny, including Australia, Finland, New Zealand, Norway, the Netherlands and Sweden.

Now that Canada has eliminated the one-cent coin, there is still the issue of the United States continuing to use the penny. What to do? What to do? I can recall vividly, traveling and living in the U.S. and I can remember times when some cashier went out of their way to make me feel worthless, a bit of a penny one might say. These were times when I was making a purchase and a lowly Canadian penny was mixed in with coins! The cashier would give me a look of disgust, segregate my Canadian penny, and push it back across the counter as if I had attempted to pull one over on her. Old ladies would clutch their purses and I would be treated like some penniless drifter.

Well now, here we are with some pretty strong currency and no longer using that lowly penny. I suggest we ready our index fingers and, while continuing to be polite because we should be better than to make them feel ashamed about their little Lincoln-headed (I think the other side is a radiator), but push it back across the counter all the same. Pay-back’s a bitch, eh?

Goodbye one-cent coin. You will be remembered like the one, two and one thousand dollar notes and you will be sort of missed.

In case you still don't get it.
In case you still don’t get it.
Posted in Canada, Canadian Art, Canadian Money, Canadian Wlidlife, Canadiana, Historical, Ottawa, Politics, Pop Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Our Vacation in Ontario comic book

Here’s a very cool tourist giveaway comic book I found a short while ago. It was created, printed and published in Canada by G.W. Hogarth and the Division of Publicity, Department of Travel and Publicity, in authority with Baptist Johnston, Printer to the Queen’s Most Excellent Majesty (no pressure) Toronto, Ontario. There is no mention of artist although there could be a signature hiding in a panel somewhere and my guess is it was published circa 1952. If anyone has any additional information, please be sure to let me know.

Reproduced below is the entire comic book of Our Vacation in Ontario, cover to cover.

Posted in Architecture, Canadian Art, Canadian Wlidlife, Canadiana, Historical, Ontario, Toronto | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

We’ve Been Framed!

Billie Hallam, Miss Toronto 1937.

Canadian Culture Thing now has Prints. These awesome prints are sure to make your environment that much better. Say, if you lived in an igloo, you could put up the Animated Map of Canada and POW! you’ve got some colour to add some pizzazz to all that white snow and ice. It might be so flashy that you’ll have to reach for your Inuktitut Snow Goggles just to look at it.

Animated Map of Canada c1935.

Or maybe you’re a Torontonian lumberjack, living up a tree in B.C. and you’re getting awfully sick and tired of all that green, all that blue sky and you need something to balance the pristine beauty of a Canadian forest. So you reach for your black and white print of Yonge Street at rush-hour, with streetcars, cars and people, oh my!

Looking north on Yonge Street from north of Queen Street. 1:15pm, January 12, 1929 Toronto.

Or maybe you’re from Vancouver and were forced at finger-point (we don’t do things at gun-point) to go work in Toronto and want to show all those people, with their inexpensive housing what trees look like…

I think you get my drift.

Posted in Architecture, Canada, Canadian Art, Canadiana, Pop Culture, Postcards, Toronto | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Eric Johnson signed his Stamp!

Edmonton-born actor – director -writer, Eric Johnson was by Valhalla on Queen West to sign his Maple Leaf Forever stamp for us folks at Canadian Culture Thing!

Eric Johnson MapleLeafForever stamp on the back of CCT0104

A big favourite around here, Eric played Whitney Fordman, Lana’s Lang’s jock-boyfriend on Smallville. Filmed in Vancouver, Smallville told the story of the early years of Canadian-Kryptonian hero Superman. Along with Eric Johnson, Smallville was packed with Canadian talent like Erica Durance, Kristin Kreuk and Aaron Ashmore.

After a season as Flash Gordon, Eric took the role of Detective Luke Callaghan on the awesome Toronto-set cop-show Rookie Blue. Rookie Blue tells the story of a group of Rookies on the Toronto police force, learning the ropes from their training officers and working the beat (and getting shot…and kidnapped…and BETRAYED!). Eric Johnson plays Luke Callaghan, the dapper Detective and main-squeeze of Star-Rookie Andy McNally, played by Missy Peregrym until he does a no-no and she finds herself a new man. Only time will tell what drama the future holds for the now brooding James Dean-esque Eric “Luke Callaghan” Johnson on his return in season 3.

Posted in Alberta, British Columbia, Canada, Canadian Celebrities, Canadiana, Edmonton, Entertainment, Pop Culture, Postcards, Television, Toronto, Vancouver | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment