Archive for Jun, 2014

W hen Canada’s banks reopen for business on July 2, they will begin formally operating as informants for the United States Internal Revenue Service — the IRS.

Financial institutions in Canada will be required to ask all new and existing clients opening a new account questions such as where they were born, and possibly where their parents were born.

Those who indicate they have a connection to the U.S. will have their files sent to the Canada Revenue Agency — which will automatically pass them along to the IRS….



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When Canadians get ready to celebrate Canada Day on July 1, there’s one symbol that will be front and centre: the Maple Leaf flag.

But when people want to show off their patriotic side by raising the flag up a pole in the back yard or attaching it to the condo balcony, sometimes they aren’t sure just how to do it.

Confusion can reign especially if there is a desire to fly the Maple Leaf with other flags, something that could be on the minds of World Cup soccer fans.

“We often get questions on the order they should be displayed in when … a number of flags are displayed together,” says Joel Girouard, director of state ceremonial and protocol for the Department of Canadian Heritage in Ottawa.

There aren’t any laws that govern usage of the Canadian flag, but over time, protocols have developed.

And within those protocols, there is an overriding theme: treat the flag with dignity.

“It’s a very important national symbol and the overriding concern, the biggest concern, is that it be treated with respect and displayed in a way that’s befitting the importance of a national symbol,” Girouard says.

The department has a website laying out the rules for flying the flag. Some key points include:

– The Canadian flag takes precedence over all other national flags.

– It should be flown alone on its own pole.

– It should not be used as a cover for a table or a seat.

– It should not have anything pinned to or sewn onto it.

– It shouldn’t be signed or marked in any way.

The flag also shouldn’t be obstructed or touch the ground.

“If you let something fall to the ground … you’re not allowing it to fly freely, to be fully displayed, so it’s simply about respect,” Girouard says.

No flag larger than Maple Leaf

If the Canadian flag is displayed with one from another country, then the flags should be the same size.

“You shouldn’t have another flag that’s larger than the Canadian flag,” Girouard says.

“They should be flown at the same height, so that you don’t give more prominence to another flag.”

While the protocols around displaying the flag seem fairly ingrained, they aren’t based on any particular historical document or longstanding law.

“I would say that most of it comes from usage,” Girouard says.

“They are rules that are respected throughout the world by most countries. They treat their symbols in a very similar manner to what we do and it’s simply an evolution of usage.”

One Canadian law does mention the flag: the National Flag of Canada Act, which came into effect in 2012.

The legislation, which had penalties stripped from it during committee debate, encourages Canadians to “proudly display the national flag of Canada in accordance with flag protocol.”

Rising demand

When the legislation was proposed in 2011, James Moore, then the heritage minister, told a news conference there had been cases where people were prevented from flying their Canadian flags.

The bill aimed to “ensure that Canadians have clear certainty that if they wish to show pride in their country to display the Canadian flag that they are free to do so without any intimidation by condo boards or other neighbours that might find it obtrusive,” Moore said at the time.

While there have been instances trying to limit the display of the Canadian flag, others have observed an increase in demand for the Maple Leaf.

“It’s just become stronger and stronger every year,” says Cecilia Burke, president and CEO of The Original Flag Store, which has a factory that produces hand-sewn flags in Barrie, Ont., and stores in nearby Thornton and Toronto.

“People are finding that flagpoles are just becoming part of the whole esthetics of your home, whether it’s in the front or the back,” she says.

“People are putting flags in their garden and they’re putting them over their garage, on the roof, that type of thing.”

The lead-up to July 1 is the company’s busiest time of year. Last year, it sold about 18,000 flags at the most popular size of nearly one metre by nearly two metres, the standard size for a six-metre flag pole.

There are other times that may prompt a significant desire to wave a flag, whether it’s the Olympics, the World Cup or World Pride festivities under way in Toronto, an event Burke says her company has been very involved with this year.

Sales of the Canadian flag still come out on top, Burke says.

‘Dignified’ disposal

Like so much else, however, a flag will eventually reach the end of its useful life, and again, according to the protocols, it should be treated with respect.

“When a flag becomes tattered and is no longer in a suitable condition for use, it should be destroyed in a dignified way,” the heritage department says on its website.

Girouard says that means disposing of it in a way that ensures it won’t show up somewhere as a tattered flag.

“It can be burned privately. If you are going to dispose of it with other waste, it should be destroyed in a way that it won’t be recognizable as the flag if it’s found again.”

Burke’s company has a special procedure for disposing of old flags involving a boy scout group.

The scouts “salute the flag and they sing O Canada and they put them on the fire,” says Burke. “For us it’s very important that the flag is respected.”

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Whisper of the River

Everything a novel should be
if Ferrol Sams is half as good a doctor as he is a writer, his patients are blessed indeed

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On Friday, CBC Calgary’s The Eyeopener brought listeners the story of Alex Tilley — the man behind the iconic Tilley hat — as he prepared to visit the hamlet of Tilley, Alta., which has become something of a travel destination for fans of his hats.

Birdwatchers and others who love the hats flock to take their picture with the hamlet’s welcome sign.

In the search for similarly wacky and wonderful Canadian hidden secrets, CBC Calgary asked staff from across the country to share some of the quirky and unusual things to do around their regions. Here are their top picks for off-the-beaten-path spots to visit, from coast to coast to coast.

Every year, thousands of tourists stop through the hamlet of Torrington, about an hour and a half northeast of Calgary, to check out the Gopher Hole Musuem.

Here, stuffed gophers are arranged in 47 anthropomorphic scenes, from a hair dresser to a preacher to an RCMP officer. The museum has been around since 1996 and is only open for a few months each year. This year, visitors can stop by seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. MT until Sept. 30.

For more information, click here.

Deep underground in Tuktoyaktuk, there’s a place few claustrophobics venture.

The Tuktoyaktuk community freezer is a cave dug into the permafrost, with a nine-metre ladder descending into it from ground level.

Residents used to store meat there to keep it cold, and some still do, but recently more and more have started using indoor freezers as a convenience. Still, visitors can make the climb underground to see the walls covered in sparkling ice crystals, which gives the freezer the effect of being a crystal cave.

Visits are informal and locals will usually ask about $10 to unlock the freezer for a visitor. Several tour companies also offer a stop at the freezer along with guided tours of the community. Visits are available year round.

Gladstone is a small community that may not seem like much more than another stop along the Trans-Canada Highway.

But according to locals, stopping for a photo under the roadside Happy Rock will bring travellers good luck on their trek along the highway.

Visitors are free to stop by as they please but the adjoining information centre is only open from May until September.

Anyone looking for a full-immersion experience in submarine life can get just that in Point-au-Père.

The Onondaga is Canada’s first submarine to open to the public and offers visitors the chance to stay overnight aboard the sub for $75. It was in operation from 1967 to 2000 and participated in several NATO missions.

Visitors spending the night will be welcomed by the coxswain and will play the role of an apprentice submariner for the whole night. For those looking for a bit less immersion, the site also offers 45-minute guided audio tours.

The Onondaga is open from May 28 until October 5, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (but tickets aren’t sold after 5 p.m.).

North America’s largest nude beach is located 15 minutes from downtown Vancouver and generates more than $60 million in tourist revenue every year.

During the beach season, WreckBeach can draw up to 14,000 visitors every day, many of whom choose to go "au naturel" to enjoy the elements.

Wreck Beach is Canada’s first official clothing-optional beach and it’s set within a large regional park. It closes at sunset every day.

Just a short drive outside Corner Brook is a cave system carved into limestone from thousands of years of water running from the Corner Brook Stream.

While those with a fear of small spaces might want to count this one out, group tours are available for the brave at heart to go crawling and climbing through roughly one kilometre of dark tunnels and passageways.

The temperature in the caves is about 10 C to 12 C all year round, making it a great way to beat the heat in the summer.

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