[an error occurred while processing this directive] FactsCanada.ca -- Sunday Newsletter 2001-13Su
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Sunday Newsletter 2001-13Su.

April 1, 2001.

Let's see. So far our weekly biography has included scientists, authors, politicians, athletes, and performing artists. This week it is time for a little change of pace, in that Edwin Boyd's claim to fame was being a bank robber and gang leader during a time that criminal historians would rather forget.



= Question of the week
= Biography -- Edwin Alonzo Boyd
= Other notable birthdays this week
= A Canadian passage
= Bureaucracy
= Geek report
= Escapes -- Herschel Island Territorial Park, Yukon
= Joke of the week
= This week's idiom
= List of the week
= Place names -- Swastika, Ontario
= Literary world
= Quote of the week
= Answer to this week's question
= Preview
= Links and resources
= Legal and subscription information



"The Fiddlehead" was formed in 1945 in Fredericton, New Brunswick. What is it? Answer near the bottom.



Edwin Alonzo Boyd.

Born Edwin Alonzo Boyd in Toronto on April 2, 1914, Edwin was the son of a Toronto policeman. During the depression years of the 1930s he "hoboed" across the country. Not much is known of his early activities, although he did have a police record for some minor scrapes with the law. As the depression years turned into the war years in the early forties, Boyd (now in his late twenties) joined the Canadian Army.

The post-war years were not kind to this particular returning veteran and, failing to find adequate employment, he turned to "the dark side" (for you "Star Wars" fans) and a life of crime. He operated at first as a lone bandit, then formed a gang whose focus was mainly to terrorize the Toronto area with their crime sprees. The "Boyd Gang", as it was to become known, threw Boyd into a limelight he surely craved, for this unlikely criminal was now bestowed the title of master criminal. He engineered at least 11 bank heists in and around Toronto, netting the gang thousands of dollars. Much of his notoriety stemmed from his two spectacular jail breaks from Toronto's Don Jail. Women were enamoured with him -- a glamorously handsome man who just could not be held by "Toronto's Don".

Working independently on March 6, 1952, two of Boyd's men, Steve Suchan and Leonard Jackson, went a little too far and took the life of Toronto police detective Edmund Tong. It was not long until the massive manhunt pulled Boyd in as well. A jury found that Boyd was indeed not connected to this heinous crime, although he was sentenced to life imprisonment. His two henchmen were not so lucky and were hanged for the homicide. The court system being as it is released Boyd 14 years later in 1966 when, at the age of 52, he retired to a private life under a new identity.

A lot of what Boyd was can be attributed to the times. The affluent post-war years almost invited these shocking stories, and lurid headlines only compounded matters. On the 30th anniversary of his capture, film director Les Rose made a docu-drama of Boyd's life with noted Canadian actor and Newfoundland native Gordon Pinsent playing the role of Boyd. The film was also presented at the 1982 Toronto Film Festival. Later, working from his altered identity, Boyd contacted best-selling author Brian Vallee, the result being a gripping tale of Boyd's dubious career. Vallee's fine work of non-fiction also benefited from information gathered from Boyd's former wife and various police officers, who spoke candidly to the author.

This summer, 33-year-old film maker Denis Villeneuve will begin another film version of Boyd's life, bringing his legend to a whole new audience.



Gerald Keith Bouey, banker, former governor of the Bank of Canada, born in Axford, Saskatchewan, April 2, 1920.

Louis Archambault, sculptor, born in Montreal, Quebec, April 4, 1915.

Jules Leger, Governor General of Canada 1974-79, born in St-Anicet, Quebec, April 4, 1913.

Karen Diane Magnussen, figure skater, Winter Olympics medalist, born North Vancouver, British Columbia, April 4, 1952.

Kathy Laura Evelyn Powers (ne MacDonald), sister to John MacDonald of FactsCanada.ca, works at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, British Columbia, born in North Vancouver, British Columbia, April 4, 1963.

Alexander Bannerman Warburton, historian, politician and Premier of Prince Edward Island 1897-98, born in Charlottetown, PEI, April 5, 1852.

Sir Charles Seymour Wright, physicist, born in Toronto, Ontario, April 7, 1887.



Norma Macmillan, the voice of television's Casper the Ghost, Gumby and other animated characters, has died of a heart attack, her husband of 47 years announced recently. She was 79. Her husband, Thor Arngrim, said his wife had entertained a generation of children by giving a voice to popular cartoon characters such as Casper, the mild-mannered ghost who refused to frighten children, and Sweet Polly Purebread of the "Underdog" series. "She was an amazing talent because she was so versatile," Arngrim said. He also added that his wife "never took herself too seriously," and would gladly perform the Casper voice when asked by people in shops or on the street.

Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Macmillan began her career as a stage actress and met Arngrim, a young producer. The couple moved to New York in the 1950s and Macmillan landed the role as Casper's voice with Paramount Famous Studios. Eventually they moved to Hollywood, where Macmillan became the voice of the bendable Gumby in the "claymation" series "Gumby and Pokey". Her work on "Underdog" paired Macmillan with Wally Cox, who provided the voice of the shoe-shining hero.

Among Macmillan's acting credits was the 1986, television movie "Mrs. Delafield Wants to Marry" with Katherine Hepburn, and numerous guest appearances and recurring roles on television shows.

She and Arngrim had two children: Alison, who played Nellie on television's "Little House on the Prairie" series; and Stefan, who was Barry Lockridge in the television series "Land of the Giants" and has appeared in other television shows and films.



What will they think of next? Those so-called geniuses in Ottawa announced this week that, in an effort to clear the national debt, a new tax comes into effect today dubiously called the "GST Premium". This will be a "tax on a tax", and will be levied on the taxes we already pay. Now that the announcement by Finance Minister Paul Martin has had a chance to sink in, here's a summary:

1. The "GST Premium" is a federal attempt to generate more revenue at the provincial or territorial level.

2. The rate is currently set at 8%, with no commitment to either keep it from rising, or to reduce it when the national debt is cleared.

3. The tax is to be collected as a percentage of the taxes we already pay every day. For example, if you live in BC, you already pay 7% provincial sales tax (PST) and 7% goods and services tax (GST). You will now pay a further 8% on that 14%. Therefore, an item with a price tag of $100.00 will now cost you $123.12 instead of $114.00.

4. The tax will also be applied to any interest accrued by you during the tax year.

5. The tax on luxury vehicles (anything over $40 000) will be 16% instead of 8%.

6. All sales of homes and used vehicles will be subject to this tax.

7. The rent you pay on the house or apartment in which you live, and your mortgage payment if you own your home, will also be subject to this tax.

8. Gross income/revenue (i.e., what you make before the usual deductions) for both individuals and businesses will be taxed at 8%.

9. Taxes will be even higher on items that have higher taxes. For example, so-called sin taxes are included in the prices of many items such as alcohol, gasoline and tobacco. Since this new tax is a "tax on taxes", the 8% will be 8% of a larger amount of tax. Therefore the prices of such items will increase even more than the prices of other goods and services.

10. A special provision for lottery winnings means that these winnings will be taxed at 49%.

11. The provinces and territories have been mandated to come up with the funding to manage all this "stealing", and then turn it all over to our federal government. As has become fashionable, businesses will be handed much of the burden of becoming tax collectors for the government.

I encourage each one of you to let your member of Parliament hear your outrage on this issue. We have compiled all of their e-mail addresses for you on the FactsCanada.ca Web site at this link.



By Craig.

I've been a little overworked lately, and I messed up last week and three weeks ago. First of all, last week I was supposed to post some pictures on the site of Butter Pot Provincial Park, about which John wrote last week. I have now done that -- you can see them at this link.

Something else I didn't do was list some books for issue 2001-11Su, in which John covered David Suzuki, Rick Hansen, Mississauga and Etobicoke, the Queen's personal Canadian flag, provincial and territorial holidays, the Canadian Museums Association, and the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory. You can check out the newly expanded resource section for that Sunday Newsletter at this link.

Finally, we have another announcement about the Web site. We now have search capabilities on the site, so it will be easy for you to find articles we have written based on key words that you choose. There is a search box on every page on the site under the log-in box for our free e-mail service. You can also do an advanced search from this link.

I'm going to forgo my "Words of the Week" section this week in an attempt to get the newsletter out before noon... just for a change.



This week I feature Herschel Island Territorial Park in the Yukon.

In 1987, Herschel Island was designated as the Yukon's first territorial park. Known as "Qikiqtaruk" (which means "island") to the Inuvialuit, it is actually only one of two parks so designated by the territory of the Yukon, the other being Coal River Springs which was established three years later. As a result of being designated a territorial park, most of Herschel Island's former residents have now relocated to nearby Aklavik in the Northwest Territories.

During a mapping expedition in 1826, explorer John Franklin was the first European to see Herschel Island and its inhabitants. He named the island on July 17, 1826, for his friend Sir John Herschel, a noted English scientist. Since then Herschel has been a landmark, stopping place and sanctuary for those travelling and working in the western Arctic.

Herschel Island is located just off the northern coast of the Yukon mainland on the Beaufort Sea. The island is in an area of great scientific and ecological interest due to the "Beaufort Gyre", an ocean current which carries warm, fresh water from the MacKenzie River delta, along the Yukon coast. (See today's resources, linked to at the end of the page, for a map of the area.)

The island is composed of silt, sand and clay, but no bedrock. The island's very foundation tends to wash away in great chunks with the action of ice and tides, and its surface heaves and rolls down its own hillsides from these effects. Occasionally a piece of ice that has wedged in the ground is exposed and melts, creating a mud slide. There are some spectacular examples of this on Herschel Island. Archaeological evidence indicates that Herschel Island has been used by the Inuit and earlier people of the Thule culture for at least a thousand years. In the late nineteenth century, the island was used by whalers hunting bowhead whales on the Beaufort Sea. By the mid-1890s, Pauline Cove on the eastern part of the island had a population of more than 1500 people. The community was gradually abandoned as whaling declined in the 20th century.

The Pauline Cove site, which includes 13 historic structures and other archaeological remains, has been maintained as an historic site within the park. From November to July, Herschel Island is locked in ice, so there is no distinction during this period between the island and the mainland. The average winter temperature (October to May) is -27 to -30 degrees Celsius (-17 to -22 degrees Fahrenheit), but can get as low as -50 degrees Celsius (-58 degrees Fahrenheit). Summer temperatures average 6 to 7 degrees Celsius (43 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit), but have reached as high as 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit). The park is open to visitors in the summer, but conditions can be very severe and the park is only accessible by chartered boat or float plane.



A group of Victoria senior citizens was sitting around talking about their ailments. "My arms are so weak I can hardly hold this cup of coffee," said one.

"Yes, I know. My cataracts are so bad I can't even see my coffee," replied another.

"I can't turn my head because of the arthritis in my neck," said a third, to which several nodded weakly in agreement.

"My blood pressure pills make my dizzy," another went on. "I guess that's the price we pay for getting old," winced an old man as he shook his head.

There was a short moment of silence. "Well, it's not that bad," said one woman cheerfully. "Thank God we can all still drive!"



"Serve one right." To be what (someone) really deserves as punishment; be a fair exchange for what (someone) has done or said or failed to do or say.

Example: He failed to negotiate the turn at the high speed he was doing. It served him right for not completing his defensive driving course provided by the government.



This week's list exceeds the usual ten positions as I present to you a bit more on provincial and territorial parks. These parks are not to be confused with national parks, like the famous Jasper National Park in Alberta along the British Columbia border, or Riding Mountain National Park in Manitoba.
Province or                Number of Provincial
Territory                  or Territorial Parks

British Columbia           443
Ontario                    265
Nova Scotia                119
Manitoba                   102
Alberta                     67
Newfoundland                64
Northwest Territories       45
Saskatchewan                34
New Brunswick               33
Prince Edward Island        30
Quebec                      17
Nunavut Territory            3
Yukon Territory              2



Swastika, Ontario.

Berlin, Ontario, changed its name to Kitchener at the outbreak of World War Two, so why would this small community retain its heritage and opt for keeping their name intact?

Located just west of Kirkland Lake, Ontario, Swastika is less than an hour drive along highway 66 towards the Quebec border. This unincorporated township, located in the county of Timiskaming, has a population of around 545 and gets its name (and heritage) to a different time of the 20th century. During the early days of the century there was a lot of gold mining in this area. In 1911, brothers Bill and Jim Dusty found gold at a nearby lake, and named the mine after a visitor's good luck charm -- yes, a swastika.

At the outbreak of World War Two the Ontario government tried to change the name of the town to Winston (after Winston Churchill), but local residents protested the desecration of their name. It was not uncommon to see signs all over the town at this time saying; "The hell with Hitler. We came up with our name first!" So the name stayed.

Check out today's resources for links to more reading on the subject. By the way, there is also a Swastika Lake in Saskatchewan, and a Lac Swastika in Quebec.



Another Canadian author has won a coveted global literary prize. Alice Munro of Wingham, Ontario, was awarded the Retention Excellence Award (REA) for lifetime achievement in the short-story genre. The REA and has been awarded annually since 1989. For more information on the award please see today's resources.

Munro has previously won the Governor General's Award for "Dance of the Happy Shades" in 1968, and for "Who Do you Think you Are?" in 1978. She has also been the recipient of the Canadian Booksellers Association International Book of the year Award in 1971 for "Lives of Girls and Women". She was also the first winner of the Marian Engel Award in 1986, which is presented by the Writers' Development Trust to a Canadian woman author for outstanding prose writing.



"The land is the source of our collective identity -- it shapes our culture and our language. The land is our life." --James Arvaluk, Inuit spokesperson.



"The Fiddlehead" was formed in 1945 in Fredericton, New Brunswick. What is it?

"The Fiddlehead" is a literary magazine. It was founded in 1945 by Quebec-born historian and poet Alfred Goldsworthy Bailey (1905-1997). In 1952 it expanded to an international magazine of poetry and was issued quarterly. In 1967 "The Fiddlehead" became the official property of the University of New Brunswick, with editorial and managerial duties being portioned out to various members of the faculty. After a brief attempt at publishing monthly, it returned to its old format of four issues per year.



Next Sunday I profile Jacques Villeneuve and Dave Barr, list the number-one hits from 1981 and the top ten albums sold in Canada in the 1980s (and go into some depth about the albums), tell you about Lake Superior Provincial Park in Ontario, give you some of the history of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and list the top ten communities in British Columbia ranked by population.


The old adage that you shouldn't believe everything you read is a good one. While we strive to publish "facts" here at FactsCanada.ca, we couldn't resist the opportunity afforded us by April Fools' Day falling on a Sunday this year. Therefore please note that our article above entitled "Bureaucracy" is not based in fact. In fact, there isn't a single fact in there! It's a "lie, damned lie" and we hope we got you good. If it's not too late for you (April Fools' jokes must be played by noon), feel free to forward it to your family, friends and even news outlets like radio and television stations!

Welcome to daylight savings time. Remember to "spring forward" today, setting your clocks ahead one hour (and that's not a joke!). See you next week.



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