"Now you would figure out why Canada is profoundly bilingual in French and English"
Art Gallery of Ontario
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(INTRO) Canada was fascinating me in the young years because of many suggestions. Formally its maple-leaf-reminding flag attracted me. As well as its Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Since the first set of model soldiers gifted to me for playing, was a group of six red-liveried soldiers that went into a wooden fort to watch the frontier of my homely territory, usually surrounded by the Injuns. Ideally I liked the strangeness of its regions—Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Québec—as read on the map. Maybe the call of its natural wilds made the rest of attraction. Did Jack London fit into that all?
Twenty-five years ago I left and flew off to Canada. It would have been my longest stay outside of Europe. One month from March to April 1996. When in the late afternoon the Canadian Air aircraft got down out of the clouds to landing in Ontario, I saw a dark brown expanse of earth under me. The day after it started to snow. Oh Canada!
THE CANADIAN DIARY
This Canadian Diary was intended for private use only. Now, 25 years after the facts remembered here, it turns into a Web page as new chapter for the meta marketing GOLD series. While the Notes are mostly contemporary. Be wild!
- March 27th, 1996} Dangerous articles in baggage? Nothing to declare.
- March 28th} Foreign currency bought: 500 US$ equivalent to 674.80 CND. The Strathcona Hotel was my first accomodation in Toronto. Room 714. Located close to the Union Station and not far from the Ontario Lakefront (www.thestrathconahotel.com).
- March 29th} Early bird. I visited the Canadian National Internet Show at the Toronto Convention Centre. The computer revolution and the rush to cyberspace were starting at walking pace and the Internet users were in their infancy. Previous summer the first copies of Window 95 had been shipped to programmers and their multimedia capabilities had been knocking onto home PCs. At the exhibition an unending list of special terms was making sense from the brochures and guides given out to the visitors. A rundown of that private lingo contained such common terms as 'browser', 'chat', 'email', 'freeware', 'interface', 'netsite', 'newsgroups', 'shareware', and 'world wide web'. Internet Service Providers led the game to explain what was going on (www.sympatico.ca). That's history!
- March 30th} The Art Gallery of Ontario, featuring the Group of Seven (12.50$). What did they observe and reproduce on their canvas? The Canadian natural landscape. Arthur Lismer's "Sunlight in the Woods" was one of more than 170 works on display at the A.G.O. (www.AGO.ca). There I met abstractivism too and Mark Rothko's N.1, white and red, for "he used simple forms and limited colours to create large, powerful paintings that are meditative and spiritual in mood". Coup de foudre! Later the spirit of the great North. The Inuit art is common used to describe indigenous people of Arctic Canada. They brought me to Cape Dorset, South of Baffin!
- March 31st} Basketball at the Sky Dome: Toronto Raptors vs LA Lakers at 03:00pm (27$). At the beginning it could be difficult to find the parquet because of the distance, you are watching from the... sky dome! Popcorn smell all around. Music booming out, cheerleaders shaking, everything was made to entertain the audience before the real game. And finally when you are turning out completely distracted, the match has begun! Note: 2019 Raptors will know the full glory as basketball team winning the NBA (www.raptors.com).
- April 1st} Maple syrup. I would not allow to visit a factory of production. The season for gathering the sap of sugar maple was beginning in the spring. It was enough for me to get it at breakfast every morning.
- April 2nd} Welcome to the CN Tower! 1976 CN Tower became the the world's tallest building (553 m/1465 ft) leaving behind the Empire State Building (443 m/1454 ft). That day I went up to the tower summit by CN elevator (12$). Note: CN Tower has been promoted as "Canada's most recognizable icon", ou "le symbole le plus connu au Canada".(www.cntower.ca).
- April 5th} At Cineplex Odeon Market Square (02:10 pm). I chose the movie at random while I was going into the cinema to face this problem. How to understand English language without subtitles or a dictionary on hand. The premiere vision of the film costed 5$. Fargo was a homespun murder story by Joel & Ethan Coen based on a true crime story of a Minnesota car dealer who hired a couple of low-lifes to kidnap his wife... Note: You probably know the plot or you have recently watched the Fargo series originated by that film. The TV series took the movie to the next level and was filmed nearby Calgary, Alberta.
- April 6th} Journey to the Niagara falls (132$). From Toronto to the spectacular site it took two and a half hours by bus. The 750m-long and 49m-high Canadian Horseshoe falls are caused by the uneven level between Erie and Ontario lakes. Through mist and border I glanced at the United States. Lesson of history: A missionary, Louis Hennepin, member of the La Salle expedition, first visited the site (1678) while the native peoples of Ontario already called Niagara the stretch of river connecting those lakes. In any case he was author of "Nouvelle découverte d'un trés grand Pays dans l'Amérique". Now you would figure out why Canada is profoundly bilingual in French and English.
- April 7th} Happy Easter from snowy Toronto.
- April 8th} Map. Go was for transit line ⊥ . Path was for underground pedestrian network _______ . Subway 1 was Yonge-University line (N↑S). Subway 2 was Bloor-Danforth line (W→E).
- April 9th} Lottery. What would you do if you won the Ontario Lottery? (www.olg.ca)
- April 10th} O'Keefe Centre. The National Ballet of Canada performing there.
- April 12th} From Toronto to Ottawa in five hours by Greyhound bus line. Lesson of history: 1841 Lower Canada (Quebec) and Upper Canada (Ontario) joined to form the Province of Canada. The Parliament Buildings were built in the rough-and-tumble lumber town of Ottawa. Then rebuilt after a sequence of fires, the Parliament is designed in gothic style and dominated by the powerful Peace Tower that at time was undergoing major masonry conservation, and so closed and packed on scaffolding!
- April 13th} When the future capital was founded by Colonel By, Bytown would be the original name. Strolling around the city I found the Byward market. Later she took the name after an Algonquian group (Outawak). The Queen Victoria elected Ottawa capital of the British dominion. A royal heritage.
- April 14th} National Gallery of Canada. Here I would like to remember the original title "Oh Canada" by Joyce Wieland. Then Inuit Art and Contemporary First Nation Voices got my attention. Both those movements' artists express themselves by pioneering works on materials like stone, whalebone, collage on canvas in order to express their diversity from the mainstream.
- April 15th} Back to Toronto. Me at the Eaton Centre, the style and energy of downtown Toronto, with over 300 shops, restaurants and services. (www.cftorontoeatoncentre.com).
Note: 'Downtown' was the first word I have learnt to use in North America. There is always a metropolitan area including a Downtown. In Europe we prefer the term historical or city centre. In America the city centre is a business or financial district usually associated to large parking facilities.
- April 16th} The ambassador of ice hockey retired in 1999, so he was active three years before and already a legend. He's Wayne Gretzky, the prolific 369-goal scorer leading Edmonton Oilers to four Stanley cups (NHL). Later in 2000's Calgary Flames right winger Jarome Iginla notched two goals in Team Canada's 5-2 victory over Team USA that gave Canada its first Olympic gold medal in men's hockey in 50 years.
Note: This period of pandemic even the Hockey Hall of Fame (www.hhof.com) is temporary closed in accordance with the government of Ontario public health measures.
- April 17th} Connexions Session I. Roll up your sleeves with the Connexions workshop! Connexions was a business development initiative of Canada Post (www.canadapost.ca). Their Direct Marketing Resources Centres were facilities designed to encourage the effective and socially-responsible use of direct marketing practices. The first center had opened in Winnipeg (1993), the second in Toronto, 121 King Street West, where I went in to register for the seminar on the Fundamentals of Database Marketing. My first stop for guidance on DM. (Note: The www.connex.ca website doesn't exist anymore. While the Canadian Marketing Association is active on www.the-cma.org).
Session II. In those days DM dynamics were clear. The mail was still the most important distribution method, but on the rise were such new media as electronic mail, telemarketing and other interactive tools (CD-ROM, video catalogs, computer bulletin boards, fax marketing). Indeed the marketing concept itself was going to be declined in multiple forms including a wealth of definitions—Database Marketing, Direct Response Marketing or Fundraising, Email Marketing, Web Marketing and so on.
Session III. Before and after the seminar I could browse through the library, a one-stop source for the most complete collection of DM books, videos and reference materials in Canada. At Connexions centre I began to get ideas about starting a website on the subject of DM. A year later I went online for the very first time with the project identified as the acronym D.M.L.R. (www.dmlr.org).
- April 20th} Departure to Chicago, Illinois. Windy City!
- April 23th} Departure to Minneapolis, Minnesota. Young Mississippi!
- April 27th} Back to Europe. At Pearson Airport duty-free shop I bought as souvenir a bottle of Canadian whisky labelled Crown Royal (brand history on www.crownroyal.com). Free spirit!
(OUTRO) Sign the petition! Canadian professional ice hockey players and families abroad requesting to be added to the list of essential travellers to Canada during Covid-19—post as seen on Twitter (February, 2021).
♥OH CANADA! Magazine written by DONRO@DMLR.ORG♥