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Sunday Newsletter 2000-10Su.

September 3, 2000.

So, what do Eskimos, Cape Breton Island, the Summer Olympics, Canadian film festivals, the National Hockey League and commodes all have in common? They are all mentioned below in our tenth septenary edition of the FactsCanada newsletter. I hope you learn a little and please enjoy.



Below I explain the term Inuit. This word is the plural of another word. Do you know what the singular for Inuit is? You can find the answer near the bottom, and the article just above it entitled "Did You Know?"



Clarence Campbell

Mr. Campbell was born at Fleming Saskatchewan on September 7, 1905. As president of the National Hockey League from 1946 to 1977, his tenure was longer than any other executive in any other sport. He graduated from the University of Alberta and was an army major during World War II, commanding the 4th Canadian Armoured Division.

He was instrumental in the inauguration of the all-star game (1947), the NHL pension society (1948), the Hockey Hall of Fame (1960) and the league expansion which began in the late 1960s. He will be most remembered, however, for his suspension of hockey legend Maurice Richard in March 1955, which touched of a riot in Montreal.

Clarence Campbell died at Montreal on June 23, 1984, at the age of 79.



"I have travelled around the globe. I have seen the Canadian and American Rockies, the Andes and the Alps and the Highlands of Scotland; but for simple beauty, Cape Breton Island out rivals them all." --Alexander Graham Bell, Inventor. His biography can be found in the sixth issue of the FactsCanada newsletter.



Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia.

Located at the eastern terminus of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Cape Breton Island is separated from mainland Nova Scotia by the slender Strait of Canso, and from Newfoundland by the much larger, 111-kilometre-wide Cabot Strait. The separation from Nova Scotia was gapped in 1955 by the completion of a 2-kilometre bridge called the Canso Causeway.

The harsh, stark and rugged terrain of this 10 311 square kilometre island reveals some of the world's most isolated and beautiful settings. Topographically, the island rises in height as one travels from south to north. Although the island's dimensions of 176 kilometres in length and 135 kilometres at its widest point would suggest a more balanced or square coastline, its shape more resembles the numeral 6, with the northernmost points culminating in massive highlands which are the highest elevations found in the Atlantic region.

Bras d'Or is the salt-water lake found taking up a good majority of the southern interior of the island. Its tributaries to the east have provided the only significant access to the core of island, other than by air.

Cape Breton Island is divided into four counties -- Inverness, Richmond, Victoria and Cape Breton. The population of the island (approximately 170 000) is twenty percent of Nova Scotia's total; over seventy percent of this group live in Cape Breton County and most of them in Sydney. Other large coastal communities include Louisbourg, Port Hawkesbury, Inverness, Cheticamp, Ingonish, Glace Bay, Sydney Mines and North Sydney. The only significant inland community is that of Baddeck.

Cape Breton likely gets its name from Basque Cap Breton, a location near Bayonne, France. The first cartographic record referring to this area is from 1521 and calls the isle Dos Bretos. Between then and 1550 the island was referred to as Tiera de Bretones or Terre des Bretons. Cape Breton was a separate crown colony from 1784 to 1820, after which it became part of Nova Scotia and the County of Cape Breton was established.

Some cultural institutions on the island include the University College of Cape Breton at Sydney, the Miners' Memorial Museum in Glace Bay, the Alexander Graham Bell Museum at Baddack, and Fortress Louisbourg. The Cape Breton Highlands National Parks service preserves the robust beauty of the island's northern cape, around which the scenic Cabot Trail winds.



Toronto International Film Festival

Of the 253 films set to unreel at the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival, 178 will make their world or North American premieres. The debuts of Michael Kalesniko's "How To Kill Your Neighbor's Dog", Rob Sitch's "The Dish", and Jonathan Glazer's "Sexy Beast", are slated for gala treatment at the festival, which runs September 7-16. In all, 56 countries (four more than last year) are represented with a diverse array of offerings.

Festival director Piers Handling singled out six features from Iran that will debut in Toronto, including Bahman Farmanara's "Smell of Camphor, Fragrance of Jasmine", Bahman Ghobadi's "A Time for Drunken Horses", and Samira Makhmalbaf's "Blackboards". "Their films are slow and careful in dealing with human issues, but Iranian film makers are really trying to say something and not looking simply to succeed commercially," Handling said during a news conference here Tuesday. The festival celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.



The abbreviation "B.C." means a lot more than just British Columbia. This is a said-to-be true story (you be the judge) about a rather strange reply for a campground reservation.

A woman who was rather old-fashioned, delicate, and lived in the British Properties section of West Vancouver in British Columbia, was also elegant, especially in her language, and was planning a week's vacation in California. She wrote to a particular campground and asked for a reservation. She wanted to make sure the campground was fully equipped, but didn't quite know how to ask about the toilet facilities. She just couldn't bring herself to write the word "toilet" in her letter. After much deliberation she finally came up with the old-fashioned term "bathroom commode", but when she wrote that down she still thought she was being too forward. So, she started all over again, rewrote the letter and referred to the bathroom commode merely as the "B.C.", being that it was a reference so closely related to the abbreviation to the province in which she lived. "Does the campground have its own B.C.?" is what she actually wrote.

Well, the campground owner wasn't old-fashioned at all, and when he got the letter he just couldn't figure out what the woman was talking about. That "B.C. business" really stumped him. After worrying about it for a while, he showed the letter to several campers, but they couldn't imagine what the lady meant either. So the campground owner, finally coming to the conclusion that the lady must be asking about the location of the local Baptist Church, sat down and wrote the following reply:

"Dear Madam: I regret very much the delay in answering your letter. I now take the pleasure in informing you that a B.C. is located nine miles north of the campground and is capable of seating 250 people at one time. I admit it is quite a distance away if you are in the habit of going regularly, but no doubt you will be pleased to know that a great number of people usually take their lunches along and make a day of it. They usually arrive early and stay late. The last time my wife and I went was six years ago and it was so crowded that we had to stand up the whole time we were there. It may interest you to know that, right now, there is a supper being planned to raise money to buy more seats. They're going to hold it in the basement of the 'B.C.' I would like to say it pains me very much not to be able to go more regularly but it is sure no lack of desire on my part. It's just that as we grow older it seems to be more of an effort, particularly in cold weather. If you do decide to come down to our campground, perhaps I could go with you the first time you go, sit with you, and introduce you to all the other folks. Remember, this is a friendly community."



This year's Summer Olympics are being held in the southern hemisphere for only the second time. Both times the host country has been Australia; this year Sydney has the privilege, and the last time the games were "down under" in 1956 they were in Melbourne.

The 2000 games begin on Friday, September 15, and run through Sunday, October 1. I had commented last week on the lateness of the games this year, concluding to myself that the venue was the deciding factor in determining the start date. Alert reader and recent newcomer Gary sent me a message, part of which reads as follows:

"I know I really don't have to remind you of this, but in Sydney, spring is about to begin. So maybe the reason the Games are 'late' is to avoid having them referred to as the Winter Olympics down under!"

I had not actually thought about this being a Summer Olympics starting in the winter, but Gary's comments prompted me to check out when Australia's spring begins. This year the equinox begins at 3:28 am, September 23, Australian Eastern Time. So, with the games beginning September 15, they are actually starting during the "Aussie" winter and continuing into their spring.



Who are the Inuit? Simply put, they are Canada's "Eskimos".

Inuit simply means "people". Specifically they are the group of peoples who inhabit some of the northernmost regions of Canada, Greenland, eastern Siberia and Alaska. When speaking of the Inuit, however, one would be referring either to Canada's "Eskimos" (roughly translated as "eaters of raw meat") or the language that they speak. In fact, the Inuit prefer the term "Inuit" to "Eskimo".

In 1996 Statistics Canada estimated their population at over 41 000. This number represents members from eight tribal groups, which are the Labradors, Ungava, Baffin Islanders, Iglulik, Caribou, Netsilik, Copper, and the Western Arctic Inuit (a term which replaced the term "MacKenzie Inuit"). They speak a common language known as Inuktitut, Inuttituut or simply Inuit, which is further broken down into six regional dialects.

Most Inuit still follow the nomadic way of life, but others are actively involved in the administration and development of northern Canada. Recently these organizers negotiated the new Nunavut territory, which is a territorial subdivision of the huge, bygone area known as the Northwest Territories. Some also refer to it as Canada's first "Aboriginal state". On April 1st, 1999, Canada official became a land of ten provinces, two territories (yes, the Northwest Territories still exist as a separate entity), and one Aboriginal state.

More on Nunavut in a future newsletter.



The answer was sort of hidden among the information I gave on these people. I mentioned their language being known as Inuktitut. The singular form of Inuit is simply Inuk, the first four letters of the name of their language.


So what does all of the above psycho-babble on this year's Summer Olympics have to do with Canada? Well, nothing much right now. It just gave me a chance to let you know that next week I will be doing a feature (as promised) on Canada and how we have fared in previous Olympics, as a precursor to the opening ceremonies. Until then....



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