Are you the designated guardian of your family photos and archival treasures? If you are, I hope you’re protecting things properly. Edmonton historian laureate Marlena Wyman and the Provincial Archives of Alberta offer some great tips. 1. Make sure your treasures aren’t being damaged by sunlight and damp. (Keep them out of your basement, if … Read more Take Care of Your Stuff!
Today is the 169th anniversary of Canada’s first postage stamp—the Three-Penny Beaver. Designed by Sandford Fleming, it was the world’s first pictorial stamp that did not feature the image of a monarch or a statesman. Scottish-born Canadian Sir Sandford Fleming was a railway surveyor, construction engineer, inventor and scientist. He was the man who gave … Read more Canada Gets Its First Stamp
“Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.” — Marie Curie I found this quotation on the back cover of a science book I happened to pick up. At first I was inspired. It felt like the universe had sent me a message of hope in this age of uncertainty. … Read more Practical Tips for Interesting Times
I’ve always thought the expression “May you live in interesting times” was an ancient Chinese curse. It seems this is not the case. Nonetheless, with the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19, we do indeed live in interesting times. But humankind throughout the ages has survived pandemics of many kinds. We will get through this one too. … Read more Living in Interesting Times
I’ve been writing Ukrainian Easter eggs. They’re called pysanky (pronounced py-san-KY), from the word pysaty (py-SAH-ty), which means “to write.” That’s why you “write” pysanky; you don’t paint them. (The y is pronounced like the u in the word business. And a single one is called a PY-san-kah.) I made up some of my own … Read more Easter Traditions
A few weeks ago, I finally got around to starting a project I had been thinking about for some time. I’m calling it my Book of Things. I’ve made a list of things—tangible things— that are dear to me. My special things include a huge mishmash of stuff—a collection of receipts stickpinned together, family crockery, … Read more The Small Things
Today was April Fool’s Day, so I thought I’d look up the origins of the holiday. It turns out that no one knows for sure. It definitely dates to ancient times and to festivals of practical joking associated with the coming of spring. My favourite April Fool’s prank is the 1957 BBC “documentary” about Switzerland’s … Read more If Only Spaghetti Grew On Trees