December, 2005 News

(This news feature is now divided into topics of Genealogy, Heritage, and History)

New Feature - Website Pick of the Month!

May we take this opportunity to wish every one of our dedicated readers and supporters a very happy holiday season and the very best that the New Year can give.

"Thank you for a successful 2005!"

"Genealogy News"

Genealogy Columns
    Be sure to read my articles and news stories on the Genealogy Today website. This month features an aticle, "The Year of the Veteran" at <>, plus two news stories at the site's Genealogy News Center - "Acadian Museum in Louisiana Flooded" <> and "Adoption Disclosure Act 2006" <>.

Nova Scotia Sends Christmas Tree to Boston

    Every Christmas since 1971, Nova Scotia has presented Boston with a giant evergreen tree in appreciation for the emergency assistance they provided after the Halifax Explosion in December of 1917.
    This year's tree is a 14.6 metre (48 foot) white spruce provided by Donald and Annette Hatt of Beech Hill, Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia.
    The tree will serve as the focal point for the annual tree-lighting ceremony at the Boston Common on Thursday, December 1st, at 6:30 in the evening.

Jasper, Alberta Cemetery Needs Attention
    The cemetery is in serious need of maintenance to fix sunken/damaged plots and is in general despair, said various citizens at a November 15th meeting.
    The Jasper Booster said that the group would like to see a one-time clean up of the cemetery this coming spring.
    Mayor Richard Ireland said that city council would take a look at rectifying the long-standing maintenance problems.  Changes to standards for cemetery care and maintenance were adopted by council at that time.
    Groundskeeping rules are listed on the site for cemeteries at <>.

Library and Archives Canada to Reorganize Public Areas

    From December 2005 to June 2006, the Library and Archives Canada (LAC) will reorganize its public research areas on the second and third floors of its 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa, location.
    The reorganization will integrate services for the reference rooms, the Canadian Genealogy Centre, specialized media consultation unit, and the textual records consultation room; rationalize the use of equipment by merging the microfilm rooms; reduce the noise in the third floor textual records consultation room; and provide more public seating in the various reference rooms.
    Over the next months, ongoing work will create a disruption in services. To find out more, visit their website at <> or call the LAC locally at (613) 996-5115 or toll-free within Canada and the U.S. at 1-866-578-7777.

"Heritage News"

Ulster Scots Heritage on Tourist Trail - (News Story)
    Donegal, Ireland's part in the birth of Presbyterianism across North America is to be celebrated in a heritage tourism initiative linking the University of Ulster's Institute of Ulster Scots Studies and the International Fund for Ireland.

Old-Style Winter Grabs Spotlight

      Just in time for the snow! The Société d'art et d'histoire de Beauport is pleased to present its exhibit entitled "Apprivoiser l'hiver (Ready for Winter), in the local library of the Quebec City suburb, a few minutes east of the old city of Quebec.
    Artifacts, antique photos, and original illustrations round out the exhibit, which runs until January 15, 2006.
    The exhibit is being held at the Salle Jean Paul-Lemieux of the Étienne-Parent Library, 3515, rue Clemenceau in Beauport, Quebec. The hours are Tuesday to Friday from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m., and weekends from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m..
    For more information, please visit online at <>.

Cape Breton Heritage Set for December 7th - (News Story)
    The people of Cape Breton Island can learn how to register their homes as heritage properties, and hear presentations about historic places, at a public reception on Wednesday, December 7th, in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM).

CRTC Approves Foreign-Language Channels
    The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has approved six satellite foreign-language channels. There will be channels in Russian, Mandarin Chinese, Urdu, and Portuguese.
    Channel One Russia Worldwide, from Moscow, will have 24-hour service, carrying an international version of Russia's Channel One; two channels in Chinese, New Tang Dynasty Television from New York City and the Phoenix North America Chinese channel; a channel carrying diverse Pakistani programming in Urdu from PTV-Prime USA; TV Globo Internacional will provide Brazilian TV; and RTPi, the international version of Radiotelevisao, will compete against the existing service, Festival Portuguese Television.

Poet's Hill in Beechwood Cemetery - (News Story)
    On a cold, windy, and snowy night, a warm poetry reading—accompanied by Celtic music—greeted those who attended a fundraising for Poet's Hill at the Reception Centre at Beechwood Cemetery, Ottawa on Thursday night, November 17, 2005.

Cabinet Room Renamed to Honour Veterans - (News Story)
    The former meeting room of the provincial cabinet in Nova Scotia's Province House has been renamed in recognition of the role veterans have played in Nova Scotia. The room will now be known as the Veterans Room.

RCMP Heritage Centre Begins Work - (News Story)
    The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has announced an addition to the museum at its official site in Regina, as Saskatchewan celebrates its centennial.

The Ontario Archives Hours During Christmas
    The Ontario Archives has the following special hours during Christmas and New Years:
    They will be closed Monday, December 26; Tuesday, December 27; and Monday, January 2, 2006.
    The main reading room will be open Saturday, December 24 from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m; and on December 31 from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.. There won't be any Reference or Retrieval Services those two days.
    There is a special online colouring book reproduced from Eaton's Santa Clause Parade in 1952. You can download the pictures of this eight page book through their website at <>.

Old-Fashioned Christmas a Success - (News Story)
    Almost 6,400 visitors to historic Sherbrooke Village, in Nova Scotia's Eastern Shore, participated in the 2005 Old Fashioned Christmas, with activities taking place over one weekend, November 25th to November 27th.

"History News"

December 6th Marks 16th Anniversary of Death of 14 Young Women in Montreal
    Prime Minister Paul Martin has made a brief statement, in which he said, in part -
    "On December 6, 1989, 14 young women at École polytechnique de Montréal were murdered for a single reason - because they were women. Since 1991, we have commemorated this anniversary as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.
    Our thoughts today are with each of their families; with all of their friends, and all of those whose lives they touched and who miss them. Although so many years have passed sine that horrific day, their memory is as strong as ever, and so is our severe sense of loss."

Anniversary of the Halifax Explosion
    On December 6, 1917, two ships collided in Halifax Harbour, causing the largest disaster in Canadian history. It was also the largest man-made explosion in the world, prior to the detonation of the atomic bomb.
    The Halifax Relief Commission estimated that 1,963 people were killed, 9,000 were injured, and 199 people were blinded by the explosion.
    Go to the Veterans Affairs Canada website <> and read a more in-depth description of this sad and horrendous event.

Labrador Inuit Take Charge of Nunatsiavut — "Our Beautiful Land"
    Three decades after their land claim was filed, self-government has been gained by Labrador's 5,000 Inuit on Thursday, December 01, 2005. Toby Anderson, chief negotiator for the Labrador Inuit Association (LIA), said he never thought that he would ever see the day. "Words can't explain it. The elation is overwhelming."
    Toby Anderson will be the clerk  in the new government's assembly and will be responsible for implementing the land-claim settlement.
    The agreement covers a settlement area of 72,520 square kilometres, of which the Inuit own 15,800 square kilometres, about 2% of Labrador's land mass.
    The first cabinet will be made up of the Labrador Inuit Association's board of directors, but the government has said they will hold an election within a year.
    For more information, please go to <>.

Parkdale World Peace Monument Unveiled

    The Parkdale World Peace Monument was officially unveiled November 8, 2005 by Councillor Sylvia Watson, representatives from the Parkdale Village Business improvement Area (BIA), and members of the Parkdale community.
    The monument is in the public square next to the Parkdale branch of the Toronto Public Library at 1303 Queen Street West, and features a globe and fountain.
     Designed by Peter Dykhuis, the project was financed through the Toronto Economic Development BIA Capital Cost-Sharing Program.

City of Toronto Honours Métis People on Louis Riel Day
    At sunrise on November 16th, Mayor David Miller and Councillor Jane Pitfield, Chair of the city's Aboriginal Affairs Committee, hosted the sixth annual flag-raising ceremony on Louis Riel Day to honour the contributions of the Métis people to the development of Canada.
    On November 16th, 1885, Louis Riel was hung for "high treason", partly because he tried to protect the rights of aboriginal people to keep their traditional lands.
    Councillor Pitfield noted that Toronto has a significant Aboriginal community of 70,000 people, and the Toronto Métis play an active role in the endeavours of the Aboriginal Affairs Committee.

60th Anniversary of the Liberation of Hong Kong Prisoners of War

    From November 29 to December 8th, six WWII Veterans will have travelled to Hong Kong to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Hong Kong prisoners of war.
    While there, the delegation will participate in ceremonies of remembrance at the Sai Wan and Stanley Military Cemeteries, as well as in plaque dedications at Lawson's Bunker, Jardine's Lookout, and Sai Wan Hill. They will also visit other points of historical significance.
    Of the 1,975 Canadians who served with a small British garrison in Hong Kong, 290 would die in the hard-fought, 17 day battle. The Allies surrendered on Christmas Day, 1941, and the remaining Canadian troops , including two nursing sisters, were taken prisoners of war. They would spend nearly four horrific years as prisoners. In all, 264 Canadians died  as prisoners of war in Hong Kong and Japan.
    For more information, please visit the Veterans Affairs website at (

Saskatchewan's Highway #2 Designated as "Veterans Memorial Highway"
    Highway #2—between Moose Jaw and Prince Albert—has been named "Veterans Memorial Highway" as a permanent tribute to Saskatchewan veterans.
    This corridor has significant ties to Saskatchewan's history of military service, in addition to several existing Legion branches along the route at Moose Jaw, Penzance-Holdfast, Young-Zelma, Watrous, Simpson, and Prince Albert.
    Approximately 100 signs will be installed along the entire length of the highway and at each major access point to the highway.
    During the spring of 2006, the Royal Canadian Legion, Saskatchewan Command, plans to actively promote the corridor through a variety of written materials.

Highway #36 Renamed Alberta's Veterans Memorial Highway

    Highway #36—between Warner and Lac La Biche—was chosen to be named as Veterans Memorial Highway because it runs the full length of the province.
    Premier Ralph Klein said that "This highway is a lasting tribute to the men and women who have fought to defend this province, our country, and our freedom, and who continue to risk their lives in peacekeeping activities around the world."
    The highway is 626 kilometres (392 miles) long, and approximately 2,500 vehicles travel the highway each day.

More Than 11,000 Licence Plates Honour Alberta's Veterans
    More than 11,000 licence plates have been issued since they became available in February 2005.
    "The veterans' plates remind us of the sacrifices Alberta men and women have made over the years to protect our rights and freedoms," said Government Services Minister Ty Lund. "The Government of Alberta is proud to honour these men and women who have served at home and abroad, not only in war but in peacetime service as well."
    The Royal Canadian Legion's Alberta-Northwest Territories Command determines eligibility for the plates. Alberta residents must have served in the First World War, the Second World War, the Korean War or the Gulf War as a member of the Canadian Forces, an allied force or the merchant marine and been honourably discharged.  Plates are also available to members of the Canadian Forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police or other Canadian police departments who served under NATO or the United Nations.
    Eligible veterans can exchange their existing plate at any registry agent office. To help mark 2005 as the Year of the Veteran, Alberta veterans currently pay the cost of registration, but not government or registry agent fees for their plate until January 31, 2006.

Governor General Honours Finest Canadian History Teachers - (News Story)
    On Tuesday, November 29, 2005, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, presented—at Rideau Hall in Ottawa—nine teachers with the Governor General's Award for Excellence in Teaching Canadian History.

Former Aboriginal Students to Receive $1.9 Billion from Federal Government - (News Story)
    Ten of thousands of survivors of abuse at native residential schools will receive up to $30,000 each in a package announced November 23, 2005.
    Grand Chief Phil Fontaine of the Assembly of First Nations said, "This is the largest and most comprehensive settlement package in Canadian history. Today marks the first step towards closure on a terrible, tragic legacy for the thousands of First Nations individuals who suffered physical, sexual, or psychological abuse."

Jamaican Canadian Association Records Donated to Library and Archives Canada - (News Story)
    Chief Librarian and Archivist of Canada, Mr. Ian E. Wilson, announced on November 25th that the Jamaican Canadian Association was to donate significant archival material to the LAC at a special ceremony on November 27, 2005.

New Facility for Ontario Archives - (News Story)
    The Ontario government is moving forward in acquiring a new facility for the Archives of Ontario by releasing a Request for Qualification, announced Minister of Government Services, Gerry Phillips, on November 22, 2005.

Website Pick of the Month!

Vancouver Public Library
    The Vancouver Public Library has put a new page on their website and it's the "Chinese-Canadian Genealogy" at <>.
    As their website says, "The Chinese community in Canada has a long history dating back to the 19th century.  The first Canadian-born baby of Chinese origin, Won Alexander Cumyow, was born in Port Douglas, B.C. in 1861. There are many resources available to Canadians of Chinese origin who would like to explore their personal connection to Chinese-Canadian history. The purpose of this website is to provide tools and information for such research."
    The site is divided into six basic sections, and they are:
    1) Basics - explains how to use standard genealogy charts;
    2) Chinese Names -  introduces a complex subject which may have a significant impact  on research prospects;
    3) History and Pioneers - looks at patterns of migration and settlement;
    4) Family Sources -  discusses subjects such as interview strategies and family heirlooms;
    5) Documents /Records - provides information on how to access the records themselves; and
    6) Back to China - explores research possibilities in China itself.
    The library is offering four free workshops on getting started on your genealogical research, and they are -
        • Saturday, December 3rd, 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
        • Tuesday, December 6th, 9;30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
        • Wednesday, December 7th, 6:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
        • Thursday, December 8th, 1:30 p.m. -  4:30 p.m.
    Space is limited, so please call 604-331-3603, or come to level 6 at the History & Government Division, 350 West Georgia Street, Vancouver Public Library, Vancouver, to register.  The working language of the workshop is English.

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