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    Hanlan hot dogs it to win world rowing title

    March 28th, 2013

    It was the biggest race of his life, and Toronto’s Edward “Ned” Hanlan was hot-dogging it. Read the rest of this entry »


    The great Imperial rowing race

    March 26th, 2013

    “Canada is excited by the Boat race which comes off today between the ‘Paris crew’ of Saint John, N.B., and the Tyne crew of England,” says the Nova Scotia, Yarmouth Herald, September 15, 1870. Read the rest of this entry »


    When fanatic Christians massacred while Islam was tolerant

    March 23rd, 2013

    For a period of hundreds of years the vast world of Islam was more advanced and tolerant of religious faiths while intolerant Christian fanatics massacred millions and committed atrocities whose horror has never been exceeded. Read the rest of this entry »


    Rupert’s Land great folly

    March 21st, 2013

    When in 1867 the United States paid two cents an acre to buy Alaska from Russia, it became known as “Seward’s folly.” Three years later, Canada paid little more than one-tenth of a cent to buy Rupert’s Land from the Hudson’s Bay Company—$1.5 million for about four million square kilometers, embracing much of what are now the prairie provinces and northern Ontario and Quebec. Some critics thought this was as great a folly as Seward’s. Read the rest of this entry »


    Canada’s border patrol armed with reading material. The St. Albans Raid: Episode 3

    March 19th, 2013

    The government of John A.Macdonald had to act quickly to avert the danger of the U.S. Civil War spreading to Canada, a risk heightened by the raid of Montreal-based Confederate espionage agents who robbed the banks of nearby St. Albans on October 19, 1864. Read the rest of this entry »


    Oil sands collapse will kill XL Pipeline

    March 14th, 2013

    The United States has no need for more oil from Alberta’s vast oil sands. A forecast 250% increase in oil sands production won’t happen. The controversial XL Pipeline won’t be built. A collapse of the oil sands boom will mean the loss of billions of dollars in new investment and government revenues, and the loss of thousands of jobs. These are among my forecasts in an article published in the Toronto Star March 13. Here is the entire article, as published in the Star. Read the rest of this entry »


    Only Confederation can save Canada from U.S. Conquest. The St. Albans Raid—episode 2.

    March 14th, 2013

    Fear of an invasion of Canada by the United States was heightened by the American Confederate espionage agents, based in Montreal, who robbed three banks in nearby St. Albans, Vermont on October 19, 1864.

    Read the rest of this entry »


    St. Albans 1: Confederate raiders threaten to draw Canada into U.S. Civil War

    March 12th, 2013

    During the U.S. civil war (1861-1865), Canadians were divided about which side their sympathies—and sometimes covert support—lay. Read the rest of this entry »


    What’s in a name? Rambling, random thoughts

    March 10th, 2013

    Why is this blog called Sandy’s Collected Thoughts?

    Because my name is Alexander.

    Earle is actually my middle name. Alexander is my first name and was also my father’s name. My folks thought one Smart Alec in the family was enough. So they used my middle name. And it stuck. My great grandfather was also an Alexander. As were a whole bunch of men among our forebears, according to our eldest son, who has been delving into family genealogy.

    You already knew, of course, that Sandy is the Scottish cognomen for Alexander. That’s why so many Scotsmen are called Sandy.

    I like to credit the popularity of this Scottish name to Alexander III (1246-86), probably Scotland’s most popular king. Read the rest of this entry »


    Holy urine cure!

    March 9th, 2013

    Taken both as a drink and applied externally, urine has been called the world’s oldest medicine. A 5,000-year-old religious Sanskrit text, the Damar Tantra, extolled its benefits. British actress Sarah Miles, in a 2007 newspaper interview, said she had been drinking her own urine for 30 years as immunization against allergies, among other supposed benefits. French ladies bathed in it, and the French wrapped around their necks stockings soaked in it to cure strep throat. Chinese bathed baby faces with it to protect their skin. Mexican farmers in the Sierra Madre prepared poultices of powdered charred corn and urine to help mend broken bones.

    John Strachan, an Anglican priest and future Bishop of Toronto, describes a rare instance of a Canadian prescription for urine, writing in the Kingston Gazette, March 3, 1812. Read the rest of this entry »


    Manitoba needs 13,00 kissable girls

    March 5th, 2013

    The iron rails of the Canadian Pacific Railway had not reached as far as Manitoba before young men of Ontario flocked to the fertile prairie province in search of opportunity and adventure. They travelled through the United States by way of St. Paul then down the north flowing Red River, and later on a U.S. railway from St. Paul. By 1879, Winnipeg had a population of more than 6,000. The tide became a flood in the decades after the CPR completed its line to Vancouver in 1885.

    A surplus of bachelors in Manitoba and a surplus of spinsters in Ontario was quickly noted. Read the rest of this entry »


    Lost cattle returned in bitter winter journey

    March 3rd, 2013

    The Battleford Saskatchewan Herald sings the praises of two Indians who recovered strayed cattle of Lieutenant-Governor David Laird, December 29, 1879. Read the rest of this entry »