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My Canadian Experience
July, August, September 2011

It's been a very interesting start to this quarter as we had the first overseas Royal tour of Canada by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.  It was a hugely successful trip and greatly enjoyed by pretty well everyone in Canada.  I confess to watching all the reports and through this I found the TV channel CPAC which is a Canadian channel which does in depth reports on public events in Canada.  They often showed clips that were not available on the main news channels.

And here they are after the Dragon Boat Race in PEI

And on their last day at the Calgary stampede the Space Shuttle made a last successful launch into space.

I started of the quarter by getting the siding on my porch cleaned.

The next bit of news was that the kitchen burned down where our web servers are located in Michegan. Our servers are located in the basement as it happens and the fire crew had to knock out the two boarded up windows in the basement to help vent the smoke.  So while the kitchen was totally destroyed the two main floors are so badly smoke damaged they will need to be gutted. We were very lucky that our servers were not damaged although we were without power as a result of the fire and had to run on a generator until the Monday when the power company came to inspect the damage and let us turn back on the power.

At long last we got Front Page Server Extensions for our Windows 2008 server. This means we can at long last move to this 64 bit server from our current 2003 32 bit server.

On August 11th I was in Toronto for the Knights Templar Garden Party and had an excellent time. Here are a few pictures...

I took as my guest Savannah Johnston, the one wielding the sword, and am delighted to say she agreed to join our priory. As it happens she is actually the grand-daughter of our Prior Nola Crewe.

I also attended a special church service at Nola's church, St Monica's which is a shop front church very much working in the local community.  Bishop Wu was making a special visit at the time.  Here are some pictures of it...

I've also got a new cleaning lady, Katherine, who I must say is doing an excellent job so hope she stays for a while.  While she has been hear she's washed all the blinds in the house something that hasn't been done since I moved in some 6 years ago now.  And today she even got me motivated to clear the round the table in my office which has always been piled up with stuff. Now it looks like...

And you'll likely note the wee vase of flowers which Katherine brought in from her garden.

I did also visit the Fergus Highland Games for a couple of hours on 13th August and had a wee chat with a few of the clans folk.

When I got back home it was in time to see my road on the Lorne Avenue side of my house getting upgraded and a nice new bit of tarmac laid. 

On 22nd August I heard on the news that Jack Layton, the leader of the NDP, had died of cancer.  I note this as he won an historical breakthrough in the last Canadian elections becoming the second party in Canada by destroying the Liberal party and the Block in Quebec.  It was an amazing result and no matter what your political views I think everyone was interested in how he'd take the party forward.

At the start of September I found myself in Quebec City being put up by Sandy MacKay as I was to give a talk at the Celtic Festival in that city. Sandy and his extended family were very kind and took me around to various parts of Quebec where I had a whale watching trip. I also visited Immigration Island where the settlers of old had to land to get cleared for entry into Quebec and Canada. I took lots of pictures and some videos which you can see at

And as you may have noted from the above web address I have created a new web site at

This came about due to reading an article about how most Canadian children know little or nothing about their own countries history. As I'd already done considerable research about the Scots in Canada I already had quite a good resource of Canadian history so I thought why not build a similar site to my ElectricScotland one and so this is now a major project that will take a few years to develop.

This month also saw me getting involved in helping to build a web site for Savannah. As she's a realtor she said she felt she needed to get a web site up and running but knew nothing about the process and how to get it started.  Well as she is a friend and the grand-daughter of my friends Nola and Harold I said I'd be willing to help.  And so we created a web site for her at

Well this has taken on a life of its own as when researching what other realtors have created I was singularly unimpressed and so tried to come up with another approach.  I ended up suggesting we turn this into a local community project based on her area of Riverdale and Leslieville in Toronto. It involves creating a local web directory of all the businesses in the area as well as a what's on guide. It has the potential to become hugely successful but is a lot of work.  And so we are now working on a leaflet drop to all the local businesses to persuade them to get involved by giving them all a free web page to advertise their business.  We'll later do a mailing to all the local residents telling them of this new resource and we'll add a What's On Guide which can be used to announce promotions that the local businesses are offering and events that are on in the area.

I also created a video to explain the concept which is targeted at the local businesses. You can watch the video here...

I'm actually quite excited about this project and if successful I think it will be a model that other areas of Canada could adopt and indeed any area throughout the world. In many respects I believe this is where the Yellow Pages should have gone but haven't.

This month I got in what is announced as the last edition of the "Tartans for Me" publication which is an excellent resource on matching names to tartans and often reveal a clan connection which isn't otherwise obvious.

I attended the St James Priory annual Investiture at St James Cathedral in Toronto on Saturday 24th September where we got 14 new postulants joining the order.  I'll add a few pictures later when I get some sent to me. We later had a banquet at the National Club.

As it happened I also got a promotion at the Investiture to Grand Officier (GOTJ) which was rather nice.

And here is another one with from L - R  Peter. Jesica, Savannah and Myself

I was as usual staying with my friends Nola and Harold and have to say that Harold is not doing well health wise. I also spent some time with Savannah visiting a couple of the local businesses in the area and did some more work on her web site. We also ended up shopping for shoes as she had torn her ligament in her ankle and was unable to wear high heels so were looking for some flat shoes for her to wear at her investiture.

I also received a fine ($67.00) from my visit to Quebec for speeding. I was doing 117mph on a 100mph limit road. I got caught on camera. I didn't receive any penalty points though.

Being mostly in French it was a bit difficult to make out how to pay the fine but eventually worked it out. When I phoned to do the automated payment I had to listen to all the options in French before I eventually got the offer of getting the service in English. It would have been nice to have got that option first.

And so the final job of this final week of this quarter was to get out my weekly newsletter for Electric Scotland and so this completes my report for this quarter other than to come back to add a few pictures of the investiture.

And just as I was about to save this page my neighbour Claude appeared at the door with a slice of Puff-Ball mushrrom cooked in butter with salt, pepper and garlic salt.

And if you haven't seen one of these here is a picture I found on Google.

Return to my Canadian Experience Index Page

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