Archive for canada

Norm Macdonald

A marvellous Canadian who cracked me up every single time.

The Washington Post has a fine obituary, with lots of links to edifying and profoundly funny stories.

Canada Day

The faculty email-listserv at my university has been roaring the last day or so, prompted by an ad sent out by the campus bookstore: “Canada Day Sale – 25% off Canada-Made Items!” The ad – since taken down – was at best grossly tone-deaf, given the recent discoveries of several hundred unmarked graves of indigenous children on the grounds of former “residential schools” run by the Canadian government and the Catholic Church.

My colleagues’ emails have ranged from plaintive to strident to illuminating to defensive. And a couple of the usual trolls have shown up. Overall, I have found the spectacle more edifying than irritating. Many of my colleagues have used this occasion to do what they do: teach.

My own feelings today are mournful.

Love the logs

The great Vancouver landscape architect Cornelia Oberlander has passed away at the age of 99. I hadn’t realized until now how ubiquitous her work was in my beloved city. It was Oberlander’s idea, for instance, to set up “log seating” on our city’s beaches (in 1963). I visit her simple yet sublime design literally every day, on English Bay.

According to the Vancouver Sun, Oberlander’s “legacy of design [also] includes such iconic contributions to Vancouver’s public spaces as … Robson Square (1983), the Vancouver Public Library Central Branch rooftop garden (1995) and the VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre (2011). She also designed landscapes for the Vancouver General Hospital burn unit garden, UBC’s Museum of Anthropology and the C. K. Choi Building.”

“May her memory be a blessing,” Mayor Kennedy Stewart wrote in a statement.

The Sunshine Coast tomato

My brother Chris Basil planting tomatoes on his farm in Gibsons, BC

Grateful days

So, Sunday was Valentine’s Day. Yesterday was a British Columbia holiday called Family Day. Already a one – two punch for lots of people, especially during the pandemic. I am trying to come up with a holiday for today to complete a trigger hat-trick. (A-Plus Day? Let’s Splurge Day? Beauties Day? Continence Day?)