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What Time is it in Canada – Canada Time Zones Map

Canada is a big country, covering a total of 7 time zones.  It is often asked “What Time is it in Canada“?  In 1884, the world adopted Standard Time Zones, created by Canadian, Sir Sanford Fleming – The Father of Standard Time.  Canada Time Zones were invented to help locomotives and ships run on time and not crash into each other on rail or at sea.  They also help us sleep at night and play all day, instead of the reverse (unless, of course, you are a university student!). Canada is a linear country.  Many of our provincial border are straight, or close to straight, lines.  So why then do our time zones have such odd shapes?  Why are some provinces split with small parts in different times zones?  And what is with the half hour zone in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador when only Newfoundland has the odd part? Here is the time zone map of Canada:

Number of Canada Time Zones per Province:

Nunavut time zone – 3

British Columbia time zones – 2

Ontario time zones – 2

Quebec time zone – 2

Labrador part of Newfoundland and Labrador time zone – 2

Saskatchewan looks kind of civilized.  But looks can be deceiving.  Saskatchewan is mostly in the Central Time Zone, along with Manitoba and north western Ontario.  However, Saskatchewan does not observe a time change (back or forward by one hour in the fall and spring) except in the city of Lloydminster which observes Daylight Saving Time but is also in the Mountain Time Zone.

Why is Newfoundland time a half hour different than one hour?   The system of Standard Time employs 24 meridians; each are, theoretically. the centres of 24 Standard Time zones.  Apparently, Newfoundland lies in the eastern half of its time zone.

Why then does not New Brunswick have a half hour zone also because, according to the map, it sits on the western side of the time zone?  And why that little piece of Saskatchewan?

I think I am getting a headache with all the Canada Time Zones – What Time is it in Canada?

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Ten Famous Black Canadians

Famous Black Canadians:

One of the first Famous Black Canadians that comes to mind is Harry Jerome.  Long before Ben Johnson or Donovan Bailey, Harry Jerome was Mr. Canada and the world’s fastest man and one of our best-known athletes despite an injury-prone career. Born in Prince Albert, Sask., and residing in Vancouver, he won a bronze medal at the 1964 Olympics, and gold at the 1966 Commonwealth Games. His first world record was a 10-second flat 100-metre sprint.

2. Portia White was born in the town of Truro, Nova Scotia. She went from singing in her father’s African Baptist church choir as a child to performing around the world as a concert singer. As a teacher in rural Halifax schools, Ms. White was able to realize her potential through support of Ladies’ Musical Clubs and the Nova Scotia Talent Trust. One of her last major appearances was at the 1964 opening of the Charlottetown’s Confederation Centre for the Arts, where Queen Elizabeth II was in attendance.

3. The real McCoy  was a black Canadian, born to escaped Kentucky slaves in Colchester, Ont. in 1843. Despite having studied engineering in Scotland, on his return to Canada, Elijah McCoy was unable to find any job other than as a railway fireman. As a mechanic in the 1870s, he noticed that machines had to stop every time they needed oil. Mr. McCoy invented a device to oil machinery while it was working, and soon no engine or machine was complete until it had a McCoy Lubricator.

4. In 1857, William Hall became the first Black Canadians sailor as well as the first Famous Black Canadians to receive the Victoria Cross. Born in Horton Bluff, N.S., he joined the Royal Navy when only a teenager. He was also decorated for bravery during the Crimean War.

5. John Ware‘s saddle, spurs and gun can be seen at Alberta’s Dinosaur Park, remembering one of the best cowboys of the late 1800s. Born in Fort Worth, Texas, he helped set up the Bar U Ranch in the Northwest Territories, and his prowess at roping and trail breaking earned him a spot as a great cowboy.

6. Mary Ann Shadd was a black Canadian and the first woman publisher in North America, establishing the Provincial Freeman, an abolitionist newspaper, with Rev. Ringgold Ward in 1853. Born in 1823 in Delaware, she moved to Canada in 1851, where she opened an integrated school. After the American Civil War she returned to teaching in the United States, and became the first woman to enroll in Howard University law school.

7. Niagara Falls, Ont. was the birthplace of Nathaniel Dett (1882-1943), a composer, conductor, and pianist. His education included an MA from the Eastman School of Music, and time at Harvard. Mr. Dett’s compositions are still performed, most notably by the Nathaniel Dett Chorale, a professional chamber choir devoted to performing Afro-centric music.

8. Josiah Henson is a black Canadian most famous for his characterization in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Born to enslaved parents in Maryland in 1789, he was a slave for 45 years until escaping to Canada where he helped form the Dawn Settlement near Dresden, Ont.

9. The first ordained black woman minister in Canada was the Rev. Addie Aylestock, who served British Methodist Episcopal churches for over twenty years. She was born in Glenallen, Ont. but ministered in Toronto, Halifax and Owen Sound.

10. George Bonga was a successful and Famous Black Canadians and Voyager, who spoke French and several Native languages. He carried a load of 750 pounds for a quarter of a mile; the average weight was 250.

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Yosef Karsh on Winston Churchill

We all marvel at the work of Yosef Karsh, Canada’s foremost photographer.  Did you ever wonder what technique Karsh used to capture Winston Churchill? One of Churchill’s trademarks was his cigar.  When Karsh posed Churchill, he allowed Churchill to hold his cigar.  Karsh, in his informal style, walked up to Churchill supposedly to get a light level.  He held in his hand the remote for his camera.Standing in front of Churchill, Karsh casually pulled the cigar from the lips of Churchill and walked back toward his camera.  As he walked he clicked his remote and captured the “cross and indignant” look on Churchill’s face.

Compare the photograph on the left to any other shot of Winston Churchill and you will agree that Yosef Karsh was a master psychologist!

(Churchill’s cigar played a role in another Mysteries of Canada story.  See:  Buzz Bombing of the Peace Tower

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Thomas McGee – Canada’s First Political Assassination

Thomas D’Arcy McGee was an editor, politician, and poet, born at Carlingford, County Louth, Ireland, 13 April, 1825.  He was assassinated at Ottawa, Canada, 7 April, 1868. A precocious youth in Ireland, he emigrated to the United States at seventeen.  Soon after his arrival at Providence, Rhode Island, he gave an inspired  speech on the Repeal of the Union between England and Ireland.  His perceived incite brought him an offer of employment on the Boston Pilot  newspaper. His editorials and other contributions to this paper and his public addresses attracted a great deal of attention to himself.  His writings and speeches were called “the inspired utterances of a young exiled Irish boy in America”.

With some journalistic experience under his belt, McGee returned to Dublin to take a place on the editorial staff of “The Freeman’s Journal”.  His advocacy of the advanced ideas of the Young Ireland Party caused him to leave that paper for a position on Charles Gavan Duffy’s “Nation”, in which many of his poems and patriotic essays were printed.  In the later revolutionary episodes of 1848 he was one of the most active leaders.  Being the secretary of the Irish Confederation, he was arrested and imprisoned for a short time because of an unwise speech. When the government began to suppress the movement and to arrest its leaders, McGee escaped to the United States disguised as a priest. In New York he started a paper called “The Nation”.  He soon got into trouble with Bishop Hughes over his violent revolutionary ideas and diatribes against the priesthood in their relation to Irish politics. Changing the name of the paper to “The American Celt” he moved to Boston, then to Buffalo and again back to New York.

In 1857 he settled in Montreal where he published another paper, “The New Era”.  He entered into local politics and was elected to the Canadian Parliament.  His ability as a speaker put him in the front rank. He changed the tenor of his political views and, as he advanced in official prominence, advocated British supremacy as loyally as he had formerly promoted the revolutionary doctrines of his youth. The Confederation of the British colonies of North America as the Dominion of Canada was due largely to his initiative.

In the change of his political ideas he constantly embittered and attacked the revolutionary organizations of his fellow countrymen.  This made him very obnoxious to them. This that led to his assassination by an overwrought fanatic.  Thomas McGee, one of the signers of the BNA, a father of Confederation was felled by a single bullet while walking to his home on Sparks Street in Ottawa.  The Fenians, who fought for Irish independence, were immediately suspected because McGee was one of their strongest critics. No conspiracy was ever proven, but a young Irish tailor, Patrick James Whalen, was accused and hanged for the killing in 1869.

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The British North America Act – Constitution Act

The British North America Act of 1867, (BNA Act) is now known as the Constitution Act of 1867.  This is the basis of the Constitution Act of 1982, which is Canada’s fundamental law.  It determines the structure of government, the allocation of powers between federal and provincial authorities, and the interpretation of other statutes. It’s operation derived from Canada’s British legacy and legal decisions. The British North America Act was passed by the British Parliament in 1867. It created the Dominion of Canada out of the United Province of Canada. Which became Québec, Ontario, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.  It also provided for the entry of other colonies and British possessions into the new federation. The British North America Act originated in negotiations among colonial politicians in 1864. It established a system of government modeled on British parliamentary practice with Britain’s monarch as Canada’s sovereign. The most important sections defined the powers of the federal and provincial governments. In theory giving more authority to the Parliament of Canada.

Over the years, court decisions, compromises, and amendments served to change the provisions of the British North America Act. A series of decisions by Britain’s Judicial Committee of the Privy Council authorized a move away from the centralism intended in 1867. Canada secured full control of its foreign affairs in 1931, as a result of the Statute of Westminster. The Supreme Court became the country’s final court of appeal in 1949.

The 1867 constitution did set up a workable system of government. However, it did not prevent disputes over the division of powers in overlapping areas of authority. Such as taxation, broadcasting, social policy, and language rights. The conviction gradually grew that the constitution required major revision, but efforts to secure provincial agreement on how to amend it repeatedly failed.

In the 1970s, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, took up the cause.  Eventually all the provinces, except Québec, endorsed a new agreement, which became the Constitution Act of 1982. This act established an amending formula.  It also added a Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Prime Minister Brian Mulroney attempted to secure Québec’s approval of the new constitution in 1987 with the Meech Lake accord.  The accord required the unanimous assent of all provinces with-in a three-year period. As a result of a new language dispute and English-Canadian concerns over identification of Québec as a “distinct society”. However, the accord was never ratified. The constitutional crisis continued, even after Mulroney forged another compromise among all the parties, when the Charlottetown agreement was defeated in a national referendum in October 1992.

To read more about the BNA of 1867 and what it should have meant to Canadians, check out our section n the Political System in Canada starting with our first installment “Whither Canada?.

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Joseph Howe – Canada’s First Separatist

Canada’s first experience with separation occurred in 1868, less than 1 year after it’s birth. Joseph Howe, from Nova Scotia, was a dyed-in-the-wool imperialist who never accepted the terms of confederation of Canada.  He believed that Atlantic Canada was better ruled by Britain than by the “rabble” from Ottawa.

Canada was “borne” on July 1, 1867 when it’s first Parliament was sworn in.   On November 6, 1867 the first Speech From the Throne was read.  Everything looked rosy for the new country but under the surface a little discontent grew.

Howe had not given up his opposition to the Canadian Union, he was giving impassioned speeches directed at the repeal of the Union.

In 1868, Howe led a Nova Scotian delegation to London to petition the imperial Parliament to release Nova Scotia from the their commitment to Canada.

Their request was denied by the British government of Benjamin Disreali.

Was Howe surprised by the answer he received?  I hope not.  After all, Disreali was one of the authors of the British North America Act which created Canada.

Thus was Canada’s first brush with separation.

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Rideau Canal and First Nations

Historians will tell you that the Rideau Canal system, which connects Lake Ontario to the Ottawa River, was begun in 1826 under the direction of Lieutenant Colonel John By.

But in fact the history goes back much further and involves around 50,000 First Nations Peoples.The Algonquin People have inhabited the area we now call Eastern Ontario for around 10,000 years.  From their lands around the Rideau Valley they spread south to Lake Ontario.  By the 17th century, the lands were split up between the Algonquin, Huron, Iroquois and Montagnais Nations.  Small villages, from 35 to 100 populations sprang up along a series of water trade routes which criss-crossed the territory.Europeans began to arrive into the territory around 1610, when the French took note of the riches that could be had up the Ottawa River.  The first major settlement made by the Europeans was the fur trading station and fort built by Count Frontenac at Kingston.  The First Nations and the Metis took on the role of fur trappers and used the well traveled waterways of Eastern Ontario.

In 1784, the British government began to make land grants to United Empire Loyalists in the areas between Kingston and the Ottawa River.  They used, as their land marks, the First Nation water trade routes and granted certificates of ownership of between 100 and 200 acres per Loyalist.  Over the next fifty or so years, settlements began to spring up, including, Kingston Mills in 1784, Burritt’s Rapids in 1793, Merrickville in 1795,  Wright’s Town (now called Gatineau) in 1800, a military settlement at Perth in 1816 and the townsite at Richmond in 1816.  It is worth noting that these land grants and settlements were made and constructed without a treaty between the government and the First Nations; an issue that comes back to the forefront on occasion even today.

The Rideau Canal was constructed beginning in 1826 following a route set out by Col By but the real route was set out by First Nations a thousand years earlier.

Apache Creation Story

Animals, elements, the solar system, and natural phenomena are revered by the Apaches. That which is beyond their understanding is always ascribed to the supernatural.

In the beginning nothing existed–no earth, no sky, no sun, no moon, only darkness was everywhere.

Suddenly from the darkness emerged a thin disc, one side yellow and the other side white, appearing suspended in midair. Within the disc sat a small bearded man, Creator, the One Who Lives Above. As if waking from a long nap, he rubbed his eyes and face with both hands.

When he looked into the endless darkness, light appeared above. He looked down and it became a sea of light. To the east, he created yellow streaks of dawn. To the west, tints of many colors appeared everywhere. There were also clouds of different colors.

Creator wiped his sweating face and rubbed his hands together, thrusting them downward. Behold! A shining cloud upon which sat a little girl.

“Stand up and tell me where are you going,” said Creator. But she did not reply. He rubbed his eyes again and offered his right hand to the Girl-Without-Parents.

“Where did you come from?” she asked, grasping his hand.

“From the east where it is now light,” he replied, stepping upon her cloud.

“Where is the earth?” she asked.

“Where is the sky?” he asked, and sang, “I am thinking, thinking, thinking what I shall create next.” He sang four times, which was the magic number.

Creator brushed his face with his hands, rubbed them together, then flung them wide open! Before them stood Sun-God. Again Creator rubbed his sweaty brow and from his hands dropped Small- Boy.

All four gods sat in deep thought upon the small cloud.

“What shall we make next?” asked Creator. “This cloud is much too small for us to live upon.”

Then he created Tarantula, Big Dipper, Wind, Lightning-Maker, and some western clouds in which to house Lightning-Rumbler, which he just finished.

Creator sang, “Let us make earth. I am thinking of the earth, earth, earth; I am thinking of the earth,” he sang four times.

All four gods shook hands. In doing so, their sweat mixed together and Creator rubbed his palms, from which fell a small round, brown ball, not much larger than a bean.

Creator kicked it, and it expanded. Girl-Without-Parents kicked the ball, and it enlarged more. Sun-God and Small-Boy took turns giving it hard kicks, and each time the ball expanded. Creator told Wind to go inside the ball and to blow it up.

Tarantula spun a black cord and, attaching it to the ball, crawled away fast to the east, pulling on the cord with all his strength. Tarantula repeated with a blue cord to the south, a yellow cord to the west, and a white cord to the north. With mighty pulls in each direction, the brown ball stretched to immeasurable size–it became the earth! No hills, mountains, or rivers were visible; only smooth, treeless, brown plains appeared.

Creator scratched his chest and rubbed his fingers together and there appeared Hummingbird.

“Fly north, south, east, and west and tell us what you see,” said Creator.

“All is well,” reported Hummingbird upon his return. “The earth is most beautiful, with water on the west side.”

But the earth kept rolling and dancing up and down. So Creator made four giant posts–black, blue, yellow, and white to support the earth. Wind carried the four posts, placing them beneath the four cardinal points of the earth. The earth sat still.

Creator sang, “World is now made and now sits still,” which he repeated four times.

Then he began a song about the sky. None existed, but he thought there should be one. After singing about it four times, twenty- eight people appeared to help make a sky above the earth. Creator chanted about making chiefs for the earth and sky.

He sent Lightning-Maker to encircle the world, and he returned with three uncouth creatures, two girls and a boy found in a turquoise shell. They had no eyes, ears, hair, mouths, noses, or teeth. They had arms and legs, but no fingers or toes.

Sun-God sent for Fly to come and build a sweathouse. Girl- Without-Parents covered it with four heavy clouds. In front of the east doorway she placed a soft, red cloud for a foot-blanket to be used after the sweat.

Four stones were heated by the fire inside the sweathouse. The three uncouth creatures were placed inside. The others sang songs of healing on the outside, until it was time for the sweat to be finished. Out came the three strangers who stood upon the magic red cloud-blanket. Creator then shook his hands toward them, giving each one fingers, toes, mouths, eyes, ears, noses and hair.

Creator named the boy, Sky-Boy, to be chief of the Sky-People. One girl he named Earth-Daughter, to take charge of the earth and its crops. The other girl he named Pollen-Girl, and gave her charge of health care for all Earth-People.

Since the earth was flat and barren, Creator thought it fun to create animals, birds, trees, and a hill. He sent Pigeon to see how the world looked. Four days later, he returned and reported, “All is beautiful around the world. But four days from now, the water on the other side of the earth will rise and cause a mighty flood.”

Creator made a very tall pinon tree. Girl-Without-Parents covered the tree framework with pinon gum, creating a large, tight ball.

In four days, the flood occurred. Creator went up on a cloud, taking his twenty-eight helpers with him. Girl-Without-Parents put the others into the large, hollow ball, closing it tight at the top.

In twelve days, the water receded, leaving the float-ball high on a hilltop. The rushing floodwater changed the plains into mountains, hills, valleys, and rivers. Girl-Without-Parents led the gods out from the float-ball onto the new earth. She took them upon her cloud, drifting upward until they met Creator with his helpers, who had completed their work making the sky during the flood time on earth.

Together the two clouds descended to a valley below. There, Girl- Without-Parents gathered everyone together to listen to Creator.

“I am planning to leave you,” he said. “I wish each of you to do your best toward making a perfect, happy world.

“You, Lightning-Rumbler, shall have charge of clouds and water.

“You, Sky-Boy, look after all Sky-People.

“You, Earth-Daughter, take charge of all crops and Earth-People.

“You, Pollen-Girl, care for their health and guide them.

“You, Girl-Without-Parents, I leave you in charge over all.”

Creator then turned toward Girl-Without-Parents and together they rubbed their legs with their hands and quickly cast them forcefully downward. Immediately between them arose a great pile of wood, over which Creator waved a hand, creating fire.

Great billowy clouds of smoke at once drifted skyward. Into this cloud, Creator disappeared. The other gods followed him in other clouds of smoke, leaving the twenty-eight workers to people the earth.

Sun-God went east to live and travel with the Sun. Girl-Without- Parents departed westward to live on the far horizon. Small-Boy and Pollen-Girl made cloud homes in the south. Big Dipper can still be seen in the northern sky at night, a reliable guide to all.

From the Archives of Blue Panther

Algonkian Indians – Creation of the World Story

There are roughly 8000 Algonquin Indians in Canada today.  They are organized into nine nations in Quebec and one nation in Ontario. The Algonquin Indians were the victims of European Politics. The banding together of the Iroquois Confederacy drove the Algonquins from their land.  When the French arrived the Algonkian’s began trading firearms for furs. The French were good friends to the Algonquins, but not great allies. The Iroquois, helped first by the Dutch and later by the English, defeated the French and Algonquin Indians. The Algonquins were defeated, but they were never eliminated, and the Algonquin Indian culture lives on in Canada today.


Below is the Algonquin Indian Creation Story.

In the beginning of creation there was nothing but water everywhere and no land could be seen. On the waves, a canoe floated and a man sat in it and wept because he had no idea what would happen. After a while, a muskrat climbed onto the canoe and said, “Greetings, grandfather. Why are you crying?” The man answered, “I have been here a long time and I cannot find any land.” The muskrat replied, “But there is earth under all this water.” The man asked the muskrat to get him some land and the muskrat dove down and came up with both paws full of mud. He dove again and brought up a ball of earth in his mouth. The man did not think this was enough land to live on. The man asked the muskrat if he was all alone and the muskrat answered, “no.” The muskrat gave out a call and the animal chiefs of the waters swam up to the canoe. The first to come was a white muskrat. “I hear that you want to see us,” the white muskrat said to the man. “yes,” answered the man, “I want you to bring me some earth so I can make the world. I will make it a good world where we can all live.” The animals agreed and they all began to dive. They all brought up earth and the man they called grandfather kneaded the mud that they brought and molded it into a long column that reached from the surface of the water to the earth beneath it and continued to add with the help of the animals. In time they would create a world of trees, mountains, and beauty for all to live.

Potlach – Welcome to the Ceremony

If you are ever invited to a Potlach Ceremony,  forget about bringing a gift for the host.

Just bring a large bag to carry home the gifts you are given. It has been said that it is greater to give than to receive, and for Canadian west-coast Indians, the potlach was the ultimate expression of that.  In a tradition, which has contradictory origins, the potlach entailed an inspiring chief holding a party in which he gave away most, if not all, of his worldly gifts.  In exchange for this largess, the chief-in-waiting received adoration and the affection of his guests.

It is said the tradition of the potlach ceremony began with the giving of feathers, a sacred item for most west-coast Indians.  However over time the ceremonies took on more elaborate gift-giving themes.

The word potlatch comes from Nootka, a Wakashan language spoken nowadays by about six hundred people in western British Columbia and Vancouver Island.  The Nootka word for gift was patshatl. Potlach was first used in English in a Puget Sound document from 1865, wherein the following description was found:

“There was going to be a great potlach at the coal-mines, where a large quantity of iktas [goods] would be given away–tin pans, guns, blankets, canoes, and money.  It seems that anyone who aspires to be a chief must first give a potlach to his tribe.”

Potlach was make illegal in Canada in 1885, at the urgings of missionaries who declared the practice as wasteful and not part of civilized values (I can only guess that they missed that “blessed” part in their bibles.)  One missionary, William Duncan wrote in 1875 that the potlatch was “by far the most formidable of all obstacles in the way of Indians becoming Christians, or even civilized.

In 1885, the Indian Act was amended to include:

“Every Indian or other person who engages in or assists in celebrating the Indian festival known as the “Potlatch” or the Indian dance known as the “Tamanawas” is guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not more than six nor less than two months in a jail or other place of confinement; and, any Indian or other person who encourages, either directly or indirectly an Indian or Indians to get up such a festival or dance, or to celebrate the same, or who shall assist in the celebration of same is guilty of a like offence, and shall be liable to the same punishment.”

The banning was also seen as part of the attempt to assimilate the Indians, but it did not work.  The prohibition on potlach simply drove the ceremony underground.

The potlach was made legal again in 1951 when prohibition was removed from the Indian Act.  To this day the ceremonies take place frequently.