Saturday, April 30, 2016

Z is for Zamboni

If necessity is the mother of invention, Frank J. Zamboni might be considered its father. This tireless inventor/entrepreneur never came across an obstacle he couldn’t tinker his way around.
Frank J. Zamboni was born on January 16, 1901 in Eureka, Utah. Frank’s parents moved their family (with one year old Frank in tow) from Eureka to a farm in Idaho, where Frank developed his mechanical skills.

For more information about the Zamboni family history, see “The Man Behind the Machine”.

In 1920, Frank moved to Southern California with his brother Lawrence to join their older brother George in his auto repair business. After a short time tinkering on cars, the two younger Zambonis decided to open an electrical service business catering to the local dairy industry. The brothers installed many refrigerator units dairies used to keep their milk cool.
When the demand for cooling expanded into the produce industry, the brothers expanded their business vision, as well: they built a plant that made the block ice wholesalers used to pack their product that was transported by rail across the country. But as refrigeration technology improved, demand for block ice began to shrink, and Frank and Lawrence started looking for other ways to capitalize on their expertise with ice.

That opportunity came in the sport of ice skating. Popularity of the sport was growing, but there were few rinks in Southern California, so in 1939 Frank, Lawrence, and a cousin built Iceland Skating Rink in Paramount. The rink still operates today just blocks from the Zamboni factory. In fact, it’s not unusual to see Zamboni ice resurfacers driving down the neighborhood streets on their way to be tested at Iceland.

Since Frank Zamboni’s introduction of the world’s first self-propelled ice resurfacing machine in 1949, his business naturally began to grow as more people became aware of his innovative product. In the 1950’s, Frank J. Zamboni & Co., Inc. began to advertise in a variety of ice industry and arena management publications. These are a few of those early advertisements.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Y is for the Yamaska River

Yamaska River at Saint - Hyacinthe - Gregory Lussier

Sourcing water within the Eastern Townships, it ends its journey in Lake Saint-Pierre where it is a tributary to the Saint Lawrence River; altogether it is 177 km (110 mi) long. Crossing nearly twenty municipalities in its course, it is intrinsically linked to life around it as it is a primary source of fresh water where it passes; due to human use and adaptation, the river and its banks have become heavily altered over time, beginning around the time the first European settlers arrived to modern days.

The name Yamaska appeared in the 17th century, beforehand it was named "Rivière de Gennes" (French for River of Gennes) by Samuel de Champlain in 1609. When the lands known as seigneurie de Yamaska were granted to Michel Leneuf de La Vallière, the river's name was instead "rivière des Savanes".
The word "Yamaska" could be sourced to Abenakis meaning "there are rushes off the coast" or "there is much hay", from yam or iyamitaw, respectively meaning off shore and much, and askaw, meaning hay or rushes.
This Amerindian name references baie de Lavalilière (Lavallière Bay), at the river's mouth where vegetation grows abundantly in a marsh. The name could also be from Algonquian hia muskeg, it means "river of the savannas" or "river with muddy waters".

Because of the nebulous Amerindian origin, this naming has been deformed (often in the form of Maska or Masca, after which the inhabitants of Saint-Hyacinthe are named). It was officially named Rivière Yamaska 5 December 1968.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

X is for Xena, Saskatchewan

Xena, Saskatchewan was a village in Saskatchewan. The last building was demolished in the 1970s. It is now an unincorporated area in the rural municipality of Morris No. 312, in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. Xena is located on Highway 2 in central Saskatchewan.

Xena was part of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway later named the Canadian National Railway alphabet railway naming system appearing between Watrous and Young.

Saskatchewan Gen Web - One Room School Project

Saskatchewan is 34 hr.s (3,224 km) from Saint - Hyacinthe and 36 hrs. (3,445 km) from Quebec City.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Evidentia Software Special Sale! - NGS 2016 Conference

Beginning  May 1st through May 10 Evidentia Software is offering a super deal during the NGS 2016 Conference.

Take 16% off all purchases with a special promo code which will be posted here at The Past Whispers starting on Sunday, May 1st.

FREE SHIPPING on all purchases!

You owe it to yourself to try this fantastic software for yourself.
Read more about Evidentia here!

W is for Wolfe's Cove

Formerly the Anse au Foulon. A mile and a half above the city of Quebec. 

In 1759 the French had a post there, commanded by de Vergor. Early on the morning of September 13th Wolfe landed with his army at the foot of the cliffs; a small party of volunteers climbed the steep path and surprised and overpowered de Vergor's handful of men; the army followed - "In the gray of the morning the long file of red-coated soldiers moved quickly upward, and formed in order on the plateau above;" the first step had been successfully taken in the movement that led to the Battle of the Plains and the cession of Canada to Great Britain.

Wolfe's Cove - 1860

 My Irish great-grandparents lived in Wolfe's Cove for a time, he being a stevedore working on the docks weather permitting as no ships could break through the ice of the St. Lawrence River in winter.

Three hundred and thirty feet below Quebec City runs Wolfe's Cove Tunnel.

The 1800-foot-long tunnel was built by the Canadian Pacific Railways in 1930. It passes beneath Belvedere Avenue and the Plains of Abraham and was built primarily to serve as the pickup for the trans-Atlantic Empress ship. With ship traffic transferred to Montreal by the 1950s, the rail switched to freight.
While the tunnel is easily accessible by foot, one should be very careful if they choose to enter the tunnel (we do not recommend it) as the Wolfe's Cove Tunnel continues to have trains running through it, approximately 3 or 4 per week, rail transportation services only.
The South portal is just east of Gilmour's Hill, hidden under Champlain Boulevard. The North portal is accessible by West Charest Boulevard, between the streets Vincent Massey and De Verdun.

 Wolfe's Cove is 195 km ( 1 hr. 55 min.) from Saint - Hyacinthe, QC.
Wolfe's Cove - 1860                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

V is for The Battle of Vimy Ridge

Remembering the Fallen: Canadian National Vimy Memorial

The Canadian National Vimy Memorial at Vimy Ridge on the 1914-1918 Artois battlefields, northern France.

Designed by Canadian sculptor and architect Walter Seymour Allward, the Canadian National Vimy Memorial stands on Hill 145, overlooking the Canadian battlefield of 1917, at one of the points of the fiercest fighting. It took 11 years and $1.5 million to build and was unveiled on July 26, 1936 by King Edward VIII, in the presence of President Albert Lebrun of France and 50,000 or more Canadian and French Veterans and their families. In his address, the King noted, "It is a memorial to no man, but a memorial for a nation."
At the base of the Memorial, in English and in French, are these words:
To the valour of their countrymen in the Great War
and in memory of their sixty thousand dead this monument is raised by the people of Canada.

In fact, more than 66,000 Canadians died in action, or of their wounds after the war—more than one in ten of those who had worn uniforms. Among the dead are many who have no known grave. Inscribed on the ramparts of the Memorial are the names of 11,285 Canadian soldiers who were posted "missing, presumed dead" in France. Another 6,994 names of missing Canadians are carved on the Menin Gate at Ypres, Belgium.

CWGC Cemetery Record Search: Vimy Memorial

In 1922, use of the land for the battlefield park which contains the Canadian National Vimy Memorial was granted for all time by the French nation to the people of Canada. The Memorial rests on a bed of 11,000 tonnes of concrete and masonry, reinforced by hundreds of tonnes of steel. Many live bombs and shells were unearthed during the excavation. Today's visitors will find the now grassy grounds still pock-marked with the depressions of mine-craters, shell-holes and mounds from the massive artillery bombardment which the Canadians used to take Vimy Ridge.

The Memorial's two towering pylons and a score of symbolic, twice-life-sized sculptured figures contain almost 6,000 tonnes of limestone, brought to the site from an ancient quarry in Yugoslavia. The figures were carved where they now stand from huge limestone blocks over a 10-year-span.

The troops of the Canadian Corps of the First World War were superbly capable citizen-soldiers, tested in the cruel crucible of war. But their dreams were of peace. The people of Canada still respect those dreams and that sacrifice. Canadians strive to ensure that the dreams are realized and the sacrifice honoured, now and in the years to come. Then the valiant soldiers of Vimy may continue to rest in peace.

Monday, April 25, 2016

U is for Uxbridge, Ontario

I had to move out of the province of Quebec to find a city/town that started with a U for the A to Z Challenge, I found myself in south-central Ontario in the town of Uxbridge.

It was named for Uxbridge, England, a name which was originally derived from "Wixan's Bridge". The Wixan were a 7th-century Saxon tribe from Lincolnshire who also began to settle in what became Middlesex.  
The first settlers in the area were Quakers who started arriving in 1806 from the Catawissa area of Pennsylvania. The community's oldest building, the Uxbridge Friends Meeting House, was built in 1820 and overlooks the town from Quaker Hill, a kilometre to the west.
The township was incorporated as a municipality in 1850 and became part of the newly formed Ontario County two years later.
The first passenger carrying narrow gauge railway in North America, the Toronto and Nipissing Railway arrived in Uxbridge in June 1871, and for over a decade Uxbridge was the headquarters of the railway. In 1872, the Village of Uxbridge was separated from the Township and incorporated as a separate entity.

In 2009 Uxbridge Township received federal designation by Industry Canada as The Trail Capital of Canada, resulting from the over 220 kilometers of managed trails on over 8,000 acres (32 km2) of protected greenspace within its borders. Uxbridge trails run through and alongside historic villages, mixed forests, meadows, ponds, streams, and wetlands. A number of major trail systems run through the Township, including the Oak Ridges Trail and the Trans-Canada Trail.

Thomas Foster Memorial Temple

Being a bit of a film buff I was surprised and pleased to see how many films used Uxbridge at least partly, as their location. Films such as:

The House Without A Christmas Tree - 1972
The Littlest Hobo - 1980's (dog story)
Road To Avonlea
Once Upon A Hamster - 1995
Christmas In My Hometown - 1996
The Long Kiss Goodnight - 1996
Jerry and Tom - 1998
A Map of the World - 1999
Driven - 2001
Serendipity - 2001
Prancer Returns - 2001
A History of Violence - 2005
Lars and the Real Girl - 2007
Grey Gardens - 2009

The Township of Uxbridge