A 15 Minute Trip Around the World via the Internet

I think this might be a lyrical improvement... Image form Pinterest  via: http://thechive.com/2010/09/29/captions-making-funny-photos-hilarious-29-photos-3/?obref=obinsite

I think this might be a lyrical improvement…
Image form Pinterest via: http://thechive.com/2010/09/29/captions-making-funny-photos-hilarious-29-photos-3/?obref=obinsite

Links From Around the Web:

Weekly Historical Book Review:

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt

Being the type of person who reads non-fiction books for fun, it pains me to say this but Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is an amazing book in that it is a historical book about the murder of Danny Lewis Hansford while being so engrossing that it reads like a fictional story. Not that I would ever imply that non-fiction books aren’t interesting reads but the inclusion of so many facts often slows down the flow of the book but this is more typically classified as a ‘non-fiction novel’ and, while it does keep the central facts straight, the timeline of events is rearranged in order to make for smoother reading.  Typically, I’m very much against altering historical facts and sequences of events in a book which is marketed as a non-fiction offering.  However, in this particular occurrence, it seems to work to the book’s benefit by telling the story in a style which is more easily consumed while keeping the central aspects of the true event in place. Overall, it is an excellent and very interesting read that really captures the feeling of Savanna, Georgia and, despite being about a murder, kind of makes you want to go there…

10 Facts – Golden, B.C.

In honor of Golden’s anniversary of incorporation, I thought I would share my top 10 facts about the town:

Welcome to Golden. Image via: http://www.panoramio.com/photo/60439258

Welcome to Golden. Image via:
http://www.panoramio.com/photo/60439258

1. If heading into British Columbia from eastern Canada, Golden is one of the first places you will travel through on the way to Vancouver

Right on the Border. Map from: http://www.swissvillageinn.ca/location.htm

Right on the Border.
Map from:
http://www.swissvillageinn.ca/location.htm

2. In 1883, what was previously known by the amazing name of Kicking Horse Flats, was renamed ‘Golden City’

3. The original town site was used by Major A.B. Rogers as a base camp for his crew who were surveying the area that is today know as Rogers Pass.

A historical shot of Rogers Pass. Image from wikipedia.

A historical shot of Rogers Pass.
Image from wikipedia.

4. The name of Golden City was initially chosen in an attempt to out do a nearby camp which went by the name of Silver City.

5. The town was incorporated on June 26th, 1957.

6. The history of the town is predominantly tied to the logging industry and the route of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

The C.P.R. was central to opening up much of Canada. Image via: http://postalhistorycorner.blogspot.ca/2014/06/millennium-13-rogers-pass.html

The C.P.R. was central to opening up much of Canada.
Image via:
http://postalhistorycorner.blogspot.ca/2014/06/millennium-13-rogers-pass.html

7. The current population of the town is approximately 4,000 (3,701 according to the 2011 census).

8. The town itself is situated in a location which means that it is surrounded by six national parks.

9. It is also located at the meeting of the Columbia and Kicking Horse Rivers.

10. The town is in possession of the longest freestanding timber bridge in Canada.

The Kicking Horse Pedestrian Bridge. Image from: http://golden.inthekoots.com/2011/03/01/say-goodbye-to-the-fall-fair/

The Kicking Horse Pedestrian Bridge.
Image from:
http://golden.inthekoots.com/2011/03/01/say-goodbye-to-the-fall-fair/

Bonus fact: The town of Golden is a major center of outdoor activities and is home to one of the top five paragliding launches in Canada.

 

Visit the town’s website here, or the tourism website here.

‘A Voyage of Discovery’

Welcome to the first BelowBC Biography post! While there are numerous individuals who have played an important role in the shaping of Canada’s westernmost province, many of whom are unsung or have yet to receive the recognition they likely deserve, I chose to start things off with someone whose name would be immediately recognizable.   If only due to the fact that the city of Vancouver has endured as his namesake as well as Vancouver Island.

Portrait of George Vancouver. Image via: www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca

Portrait of George Vancouver.
Image via:
http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca

So, first and foremost; don’t let the stuffy portrait fool you, George Vancouver was pretty bad-ass.  He was only 40 when he died in 1798 but had done enough in his short life to be one of the most important figures in North American exploration and the namesake of both a major city as well as an island.  I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’m almost 30 and no one is going to be naming any landmasses after me anytime soon.  One of the great disappointments of my life…

To be fair, however, George did start his time in the Royal Navy at the age of 13; at which point in my own life I was definitely not that career oriented unless we’re counting playing, reading, watching T.V., and eating the beginnings of a career path. No? Such a a shame; I’m remarkably good at all of those activities.

The expedition Vancouver is most well-known for is, unsurprisingly, the one which took place from 1791-1795.  His ‘Voyage of Discovery’, which charted the Pacific Northwest Coastline from Oregon and Washington all the way up through B.C. to Alaska.  This exploration is still remarkable, even by today’s standards, for three major reasons:

  1. At 4 1/2 years, this was the longest surveying expedition in history
  2. The longitudes recorded by Vancouver and his crew are still remarkably accurate – even the most complex calculations are only off of modern numbers by, at most, one degree
  3.  There was an extremely low mortality rate among the crew.  In the 4 1/2 years only 6 crew members died.
A statue of George Vancouver. Image from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Vancouver

A statue of George Vancouver. Image from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Vancouver

While this exploratory voyage is what George Vancouver is best remembered for, he did have two other significant experiences in his life:

  1. He served under Captain James Cook on the second and third of his voyages
  2. He spent 9 years, from 1780-1789, on board fighting ships located, predominantly, in the Caribbean

It was during this second period when interest in the Pacific began to increase, mainly due to interest in sea otter skins, which had shown indications of being highly valued in trade with China, and the fact that Britain was not willing to concede to the claim of Spain that declared all of the Pacific Coast (from San Francisco to Prince William Sound, Alaska) to be under Spanish control.

All in all, this was a man who had a wonderfully exciting life in addition to being a person who, quite literally, mapped the future of the Pacific Northwest.  After he died in 1798 his journals were published posthumously; they can be read online here.

For further information; please see:

A 15 Minute Trip Around the World via the Internet

Links From Around the Web:

  • Just in case you haven’t had enough World Cup coverage; I bring you historical World Cup coverage!
  • Did you even want Greek mythology explained through a Jerry Springer style reference? Well #2 on  this list is for you.
  • Interesting article on how Oil Boom Archaeology may be the latest major style of excavation for field archaeologists.
  • A video! 5 famous history stories deconstructed.  The video itself is interesting but the part that really made me laugh was the top grouping of comments.

Weekly Historical Book Review:

The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean

The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean

The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean

Let’s just cut through any suspense right off the bat; I absolutely loved this book and have already bought everything else Sam Kean has written.  Reviews for those will most likely show up here in the future.

The book itself tells the story and the history of the period table, element by element, predominantly through the biographies and anecdotes of those scientists who dedicated their lives (both directly and accidentally) to the discovery of the various elements which play such a key role in the constriction of every aspect of human life.

While this could have become a dry recital of ‘a scientist did something scientific and “ooh look, an element! Let’s put it in a table!”‘  it is (thankfully) anything but.  This is due, in part, to the amazing writing abilities of the author as well as his obvious interest in the subject. However, he is certainly helped along by the fact that may of those who were the innovative and groundbreaking scientists of the day were individuals who ranged across a spectrum which ranged from mildly eccentric all the way over to downright insane.  Whether this was simply the temperament needed to become a scientist in those earlier days or more of a by-product of the far laxer attitude to the handling of chemicals that existed back then doesn’t really matter.  It simply results in a group of individuals who are simultaneously academically inspiring and endlessly fascinating.

 

 

On June 21st Celebrate National Aboriginal Day

This Saturday, June 21st, Canadians across the country will be celebrating National Aboriginal Day.  In addition to being its own celebration, the 21st is also the day which kicks off the 11 day Celebrate Canada! event.  Other events which will occur during this period include Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day (June 24), Canadian Multiculturalism Day (June 27), and, at the end on the 11th day, Canada Day (July 1).

But, getting back to Aboriginal Day; this is an annual event which dates back to 1996 and is used to highlight and celebrate the heritage, cultures, and achievements of First Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples across Canada.  The predominant aboriginal groups in the British Columbia include (divided by language group):

  • Coast Salish
  • North Straits Salish-speaking
  • Tsimshianic
  • Haida
  • Southern Wakashan
  • Northern Wakashan
  •  Tsetsaut
  • Inland Tinglit
  • Athapaskan
  • Interior Salish
  • Ktunaxa

Obviously there are numerous smaller groups which self-identify within these larger clusters as well as small groups belonging to other language groups, but these are the predominant, over-encompassing, groups in British Columbia.

Totem poles from Stanley Park. Taken in 2013.

Totem poles from Stanley Park. Taken in 2013.

There are a huge number of events taking place across the whole of Canada in recognition of this day, but some of the ones in B.C. include:

  • the 15th annual National Aboriginal Day Celebration in Burns Lake
  • the 12th annual Aboriginal/Cultural Day Celebration in Campbell River
  • All Our Relations – Celebrating National Aboriginal Day in Kamloops
  • the 2014 Metis National Aboriginal Day Metis Celebration in Kelowna
  • National Aboriginal Day Celebration in Maple Ridge
  • Aboriginal Day Celebration Event in Nanaimo
  • Time to Celebrate-Hiellen Longhouse Village Totem Raising and Blowhole Boardwalk-Naikoon Provincial Park in the Old Massett Village
  • Honoring the Tsawwassen People in Tsawwassen
  • National Aboriginal Day Celebration in Vancouver

These are only a small handful of the events being offered this weekend.  In fact, most places have at least one while larger areas (like Vancouver) have a number to choose from.

For additional options, or for more information on the events listed above, please follow the link to the Government of Canada’s National Aboriginal Day Events Page.

Hope everyone has an excellent weekend!