Canada Dreaming

Where do you sail?

Where do you sail?

Although I grew up  on a very little island, my life was far from little or insular. I am not sure how the term insular came in to being because most island life, it seems to me, is  exposed to the comings and goings of the wider world.  It is in the very nature of an island to be outward looking; with eyes always turned to the horizon at sea and minds dreaming of what lies beyond.

Some  of my childhood dreams revolved around a huge country, namely Canada.  My dreaming was  influenced by a book we had, at home, about a modern (1960s!) Canadian family exploring their own country. The book had a stunning photo of what I thought must be the most beautiful lake in the world, Lake Louise. And I yearned to be like that travelling family, standing by that lake, breathing in the beauty of Canada.

My yearning and dreaming, and, most likely, some suggesting to my parents that we take our next holiday in Canada, came to nought. Nought, that is, unless I count my greatest (ever!) school project, entitled Canada. I completed this ‘master’work  during my last year at elementary school, when  I was about 11 years old.  I remember the hours I spent on it; the careful penmanship, the drawings, the maps, the frustration of the maple leaf  that refused to be drawn correctly; the beautifully straight, ruled lines I made across the pages. Ah, it was a labour of love; and  a labour of  heavily plagiarized content, as well. References, or sources, were not part of a school project in those far off days 🙂

Maybe the project lacked originality, but I adored it, and have kept it safe for more than forty years. Like me, it has travelled the world and rested in many homes. Unlike me, it has stayed in good physical shape and, apart from some discolouration and a few loose pages, it is much the same as on the day I finished it.

Here is a glimpse of the project. As you look at the slide show, imagine a young girl, in an old, wooden classroom, in a little sugar industry town, on a small island in the large Pacific Ocean, studiously and carefully  recreating  the story of Canada. And, for extra fun, imagine also that maybe, just maybe, that circa 1968, there was, in the middle of Canada, on a deeply snowy day, a young person dreaming and writing about small islands in the far Pacific, for I am sure there was one such child.

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Did you look carefully at the brochure   for the Canadian Pacific Railway trains? I put it  in my project because I thought those scenes  were the epitome of elegance and luxury.

Note: to  11 year  old self….how could you do this?????

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© silkannthreades

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83 thoughts on “Canada Dreaming

  1. Swithland Studios

    I am sure my history teacher whose name is long forgotten had never seen opium smoking chickens, but he was quite young and perhaps knew about the affects of opium on himself. I can’t remember anything about his lessons except they were mostly about European history which was the curriculum of the day.

    Reply
  2. vsperry

    The first time I went to Canada was with my high school French class. We went to Quebec and Montreal. Interestingly, I just found a carved wooden figure that I gave my mother from that trip when I was cleaning out their house last week. It lived by the stove all these years (with the sticky grease residue to prove it) and I rescued it and have put it by my stove…maybe my next post will be about this figure. I know I’m rambling but I wanted to say that although I’ve been to cities on both ends of Canada, I still have yet to see the middle…so I agree with one of your readers…let’s do the train across Canada!!! Just give me the dates and I’ll be there. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Do write about that figure; would love to know more. And wouldn’t it be fabulous fun to take a train across Canada with all interested bloggers? Imagine; we would be such a great tour group; some could tell us about the arts, others have their photography skills and eyes; others could inform us about the flora and the artwork; some would know the history; some could sketch our progress; others could record the poetry of each day. And we could review our experiences at day’s end with PechaKucha sessions. Ah, dream on, dream on….. in the meantime, I will enjoy my journeys via WordPress 🙂

      Reply
  3. melodylowes

    How fun to see my homeland written up in your childhood script! You would love Lake Louise – but it has gotten incredibly commercialized since the above comment about the visit to the area years ago. Banff is no longer a village – it is a sophisticated shopping paradise! There are crowds of people all over when you visit – if you like crowds, then you’re in luck. 😦 When we go for a visit we usually prefer the quieter more natural settings – and there are plenty of those, of course. The Rockies are simply stunning. And my prairies have a beauty all of their own – just not in the throes of winter. 😉 I would love to be independently wealthy, and travel all over the world (NZ being on the list, of course!)

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Independently wealthy!!!! Oh, wouldn’t we both love that!!! I don’t like crowds or shopping but, as you say, there are always places equally beautiful but lesser known to the multitudes. Many of our young NZers travel to Canada specifically for the skiing and snowboarding and work related to those sports; but it is summer I want to see. And you would prefer a NZ summer too, I am sure.

      Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Scratches! That makes me laugh ,and think of chickens. Perhaps he is destined to be a doctor; they are renowned for their terrible, scratchy handwriting 🙂

  4. ordinarygood

    Oh I remember school “projects”. The one that sticks in my mind all these years later was one I did on “Early Wellington”…..well colonised early Wgtn. Those were the days of opening our heads and pouring information in. BTW is your handwriting as neat nowadays? Mine certainly isn’t!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Yes, school projects were the thing to do! Early Wellington would have been interesting to do; at least my adult self thinks so. Sadly, my handwriting is not that neat anymore. I was very excited then about italic writing. That was my version of it. 🙂

      Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Yes, it is what parents did, and probably still do! My mother was my project helper but, for this Canada project, I think I was on my own. ( It has lots of spelling mistakes which I think she would have noticed!)

      1. Swithland Studios

        The comment about handwriting and chickens made me laugh. When you were working on your very nice Canada project it was about the time I was in a Winnipeg high school history class and the male teacher proclaimed to everyone that my handwriting looked like the scratching of an opium smoking chicken. Now I sit with a Christchurch based ipad typing ever so neatly.

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Oh dear, how funny. One must ask; how did a history teacher know what opium does to a chicken?!!!!! And that chickens smoke opium!!!!! ????? You remember his comments but do you remember what the history lesson was that day?

  5. teamgloria

    quelle splendid pen(wo)manship you had as a small studious young thing!

    and CANADA.

    gosh.

    if we’d seen a book with trains like that, we’d have dreamed of Canada too.

    but in England they just talked about men in red jackets (mounties?) and the bits-where-people-spoke-french (but it snows) which was rather confusing.

    can you tell we’re exhausted.

    not even making sense in a comments field.

    but *waving* always.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Your comments seem quite sensible compared to the ones I make in the small hours of the morning such as “everyone is talking about being Whovian or is it Whouvian?’ Talking to my daughter on Skype that is!

      Reply
  6. Virginia Duran

    I was lucky to visit Toronto twice and is an amazing city! I enjoyed your school project, it shows such a personal way of understanding a city. Love your retro picture too, it feels as if I was there too. You should visit Canada soon, any plans already?

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      No real plans; still dreaming. What exciting architectural gems did you find in Toronto? My school project tells me that Toronto has a great art gallery and a castle buit in 1911 🙂

      Reply
  7. Just Add Attitude

    I like that old photograph of the family standing by the lake, it’s so evocative. Ah, the dreams and yearnings of childhood – I love the glimpses you give us of your done-with-love project on Canada. I agree, as I live on an island (Ireland), about gazing at the horizon and dreaming of what’s beyond it. 😉

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Indeed, and many of your countrymen and women dreamed and eventually made their way to the islands of New Zealand (and even Fiji) . And we are still welcoming the Irish to our shores. Vice versa too 🙂

      Reply
  8. lautal

    Thank you for your interesting post. It recalled a lot of memories about my childhood, child dreams, and plans to travel. Unfortunately, till late of my 40s I could not go anywhere out of country because of the WALL. Only after 1991 I discovered the world for myself. It was a huge excitement to see different countries and to meet other people, After few years of traveling I realised that Canada is the best of the countries where I’ve been. I would like to live in different countries for few years, but it was too late for that project. This is why I settled down in Toronto area. I’ve not regret a single time about my decision. I love this country and very happy to live here. And now as a proud canadian I can tell you welcome to Canada to see it and to love it.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you for your encouragement to visit Canada. I am so pleased to hear that you love your life in Canada. Do you ever visit your birth country now? In the days of the WALL, I used to have a penfriend in Dresden. We wrote to each other for many years. I often wonder where she might be now.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      About 11 years old, possibly just turned 12. Our school was small ; about 5 classrooms in all. And each classroom had a couple of year groups in it. So it was interesting for the students and the teachers and we spent a lot of time reading and drawing and working independently. I even had to help the kindergarten students with reading and swimming lessons. Great fun really.

      Reply
  9. Clanmother

    Come to Canada!!! Today it is sunshine in Vancouver – perfect day for walking on the Vancouver Sea Wall. You can take a train from Vancouver, up through the mountains to Jasper. Then head over to Edmonton (where I used to live) and see the mighty Saskatchewan River. From Edmonton, to Calgary, over to Regina and then to Winnipeg (where I used to live) and beyond. The train trip across to PEI and Anne of Green Gables would take about 5 days straight through.

    You may wonder why I live in Vancouver. Here’s the clue. Winters in Edmonton and Winnipeg can go to 40 below zero.

    Gallivanta – I loved your project. In fact, I wish we had gone to school together so that we could have worked on the project together. I can safely say, i would have had a better mark in Geography and History class with you as my partner!!!

    BTW, New Zealand is on my bucket list. Hugs!!!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Yes, I think my dreams of Canada are centered on summer time!! I love the itinerary you suggest. I have traced it via my old school project. In Vancouver I have to admire the dogwood; Edmonton was once a small trading post; in Calgary there is the Calgary Stampede,the world’s best wild west show; and Regina is the queenly capital, situated on the banks of man made Lake Wascana!!!! There you have it! Such a wealth of information. Oh, and in Winnipeg I will see the Golden Boy, and in Manitoba I will find the International Peace Garden which consists of 2,300 acres of flowers.* * I think I was ambitious with the flower count! Then after the Canadian tour I will return to Vancouver, collect you, and we will gallivant to New Zealand. What fun.

      Reply
  10. cindy knoke

    What a creative and inquisitive child you must have been! Love your project. Funny coincidence, I went to all these places when I was 12 years old, and we are going back to all of them in three weeks!! Why don’t you come along? I’ll take some photos just for you of all the places in your project!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Oh, how wonderful that you were visiting those places at 12! Please take photos for me on your forthcoming visit. You can imagine me as a little microchip in your camera saying ‘this one, take this one’!!

      Reply
  11. Letizia

    This is such a beautiful project! (you should frame it!). I love your handwriting, the scenes in the trains – so “modern” and elegant, the map of Canada, the beautiful wolf. You have to go to Canada one of these days! (and when you go, you must bring the report with you, of course…)

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Of course! I will need it as a guide book. It is full of very useful information such as ” New Brunswick has a special vegetable of its own, the Fiddlehead…” I would definitely want to try that 🙂

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you! I think I left a lot of those talents behind me with that 11 year old self. I can’t believe how straight my ruled lines are; I couldn’t do that now to save myself!!!!! It is wonderful what children can do/create when they are allowed to follow their interests/dreams.

      Reply
  12. Forest So Green

    Your Canada project is amazing and I also admire your handwriting. I have always lived with Canada as a neighbor and I have been to many places in that beautiful country. I hope you get to visit someday 🙂 Annie

    Reply
  13. tiny lessons blog

    Wow, I’m in awe for the 11 years old you! What a project – everything so perfect and -yes- elegant!
    It is great that you have kept it in such a great condition too. Unfortunately my projects didn’t travel with me, but I’ll be digging in the attic of my dad’s house next month when I go to Finland for his 90th birthday. I hope you get to go to Canada!!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I was a little in awe of my eleven year old self too!!! So I was happy to find that I misused the apostrophe and made some spelling mistakes in the project; I was not perfect , after all 🙂 I do hope you find lovely memories in the attic. Attics are made for wonderful discoveries.

      Reply
  14. Mrs. P

    Ah, the Canadian wander lust or Canada fever. I had it too but I was much closer to it than you were. As a young child we did not travel much, outside of going camping at a nearby state park. By the time I was mid teens, I realized that I had only left my home state once for a day in Mexico, just across the border. I decided right there and then that I needed to travel more and though I can’t say that I’ve had my fill of travel, I have been to many of the states and have crossed International waters! 🙂

    On my honeymoon with my first husband, though we were dirt poor, I decided we were going to Canada and though that trip alone is worthy of a post on it’s own, I shall share with you my experience with Lake Louise. We arrived in early June after driving through the Rockies for days…simply stunning geography! In a little dip between these very majestic mountains was the village of Banff. It really was quite small and I don’t recall much about it at all. Perhaps because the village was overpowered by Lake Louise itself, which was a small lake compared to others I’d seen but it was surrounded by mountains and on its right bank was the most beautiful chateau. When we had ventured here the chateau had not yet been fully renovated and was not yet open for seasonal guests. It was this emptiness which made it seem grander and more majestic than it probably was because your imagination could literally go wild thinking about all of the things that might have happened in this beautiful place. It was as close to a modern day castle as I’d ever seen.

    Today, it’s been renovated/restored but seems to be more modern than I remember. In looking at vintage pictures I could see that they tried to stay true to design but the pictures simple don’t show the sense of grandeur you feel when you are looking at the front of the hotel from the road.

    Another place not too far away that was quite a highlight was the Calgary Tower, where we had a late dinner in the revolving dining room. I marveled at seeing a revolving dining room and even more so at being able to have dinner at sunset about 11 pm (sunsets were about 8 pm where I lived). I found a photographer who took a series of pictures that is very close to what I experienced. Feel free to look.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/starrydude/sets/72157622407261404/

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      What a lovely comment. Your arrival at Lake Louise, the sight of the Chateau; all exactly as I imagine it would be. Also the drive through the Rockies. Wonderful descriptions of your journey. The Calgary Tower ( I checked the link) must have been marvellous. Do you remember the meal itself?

      Reply
      1. Mrs. P

        No, but there was one funny thing that occurred that was directly connected to spending so many days in all that sheer beauty.

        On our trip we had been traveling east to west and had literally spent a week in or near the Rockies. As we left Lake Louise and headed for Vancouver we hit a very seedy section of town which was actually on the outskirts of British Columbia. As soon as we hit it, my husband and I got into this horrible fight, our first one ever. After a few minutes we both looked at each other, realized we had hit culture shock after so many days in the aesthetics of nature, laughed and turned back east heading back to the Rockies.

        He was so flustered and stressed, while racing east as quickly as possible, he turned to me and asked me for a cigarette, which he smoked. He was a non smoker and this was the only time I had ever seen him smoke in the thirty years that I’ve known him. It was so out of character that I took a picture of it.

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          That was a truly unforgettable experience! I have been forewarned. I must make sure there are no cigarettes in sight when I leave Lake Louise and return to civilization 😉

  15. Katherine's Daughter

    I actually think it’s very original! And your handwriting is gorgeous.
    I love that you shared this from your past. It’s really a beautifully done project. I have a few things I have saved as well that I may just pull out and look at, as a walk back in time myself.
    Blessings, Joanne

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you 🙂 It is fun to look back at these things we save. Funnily enough, with the contact I have now with Canadians and Canadian bloggers, I actually understand the facts in my project more now than when I wrote them; which I think is rather thrilling.

      Reply
  16. YellowCable

    A lovely story from when you were young. You have very beautiful handwriting! I can tell those were from ink pen. It is not easy to write with one of those. I always made messes. This brings back memory of me doing homework report. They were not as good and worth keeping 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Yes, you are absolutely right. It was an ink pen. I think I had an old Parker pen that was once my mother’s. I love ink pens but I haven’t had one for years. Homework reports can be boring but this one really suited my temperament.

      Reply
  17. Travelling Kiwi

    I love the photo on the wharf – it’s so full of life. So many stories going on in that one image. I wonder what you were saying to your mother at the time? “Can we go on the boat to Canada?” perhaps. I too have never been to Canada, and would love to go – especially to Prince Edward Island to visit the haunts of Anne of Green Gables.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Prince Edward Island!!!! I have it mentioned in my project, of course. Let’s go. Did you go to the wharf to see the boats? We often went, especially if there was a special ship arriving or leaving. I don’t remember why we went to see that ship. We also went to the airport to watch the planes!!! ( I still do :)) Also, I was trying to remember if we had ceiling fans in our classroom. Do you remember?

      Reply
      1. Travelling Kiwi

        Yes, we often went to see the boats at the wharf as well. We used to see the big boats sail past our back garden on their way to or from the wharf, and every so often a Sunderland Flying Boat would land in the sea in front of our house. And yes, we went to see the planes – often followed by a swim at Nadi Airport club – the days before we had a swimming pool in Lautoka. My memory is hazy regarding the ceiling fans – it wants to tell me we did have them, but I’m not totally sure.

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Me too! I feel that we should have had them but then I don’t have memories of papers flying off our desks, as they would have with ceiling fans! Of course, you would have seen lots of interesting sights in front of your house. And now you have reminded me of the Nadi Airport Club although we didn’t go there often. Ah, Happy Days 🙂

  18. Mike Howe

    Beautiful story and pictures of times gone by, and lovely writing by the way. I went to Canada once for a whole day! What little I saw was very nice 🙂 If my life ever affords me enough money and, more importantly, time, Canada will be near the top of my preferred destinations. Thanks for sharing your memories 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I am glad I did a thorough check of my spam comments today because I found your comment there!!!. Don’t think that has happened to your comments before. Yes, what we could all do with a little more of that precious time and that elusive money….. the places we would go and see. It’s lovely to have dreams 🙂

      Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Ah well, we both still have places to go. I don’t know that I should be dreaming about Canada these days when I haven’t yet seen most of New Zealand, including the Kaipara.

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