Category Archives: History

CHRISTMAS/NEW YEARS QUIZ ~ HAVE FUN WITH THIS!

 CHRISTMAS QUIZ  

  CHRISTMAS BLOG ANIMATED4~ SCROLL DOWN FOR ANSWERS ~

1)  Who invented electric Christmas lights?
Thomas Edison
Gottlieb Daimler
James Naismith 

2)  How many people in the world know the carol “Silent Night”?
10 million
1 billion
3 billion

3)  What is the ninth candle in the Hanukkah Menorah for?
It lights the other candles
It’s blown out first
It’s a candle for children

4)  Who flies through the air and fills children’s stockings with candy and presents?
Santa Claus
La Befana

5)  British people wear paper crowns at Christmas events because of
The Three Kings
Queen Elizabeth
Christmas crackers

6)  What does “Auld Lang Syne” mean?
Old friends
Long, long ago
Good memories

7)  Why do Southerners eat black-eyed peas and greens on New Years’ Day?
To honor farmer forefathers
To cure a hangover

8)  Who first used live people in a Nativity scene?
St. Francis of Assisi
Queen Victoria
Pope Pius XII

9)  How much does the New Year’s Eve ball in Times Square weigh?
5,619 pounds
11,875 pounds
21,200 pounds

10)  Candied lotus seeds are a popular Chinese New Year’s treat and are said to bring:
Good luck
Better finances
Boy children

11)  Pointsettias get their name from?
Their lovely, pointed leaves
The Spanish word for flower
A U.S. minister to Mexico

12)  What sports activity is celebrated on Christmas Day in Ireland?
Cross country skiing
Skating
Swimming

13)  What do children leave outside the door in Germany on Nikolaustag on December 6th?
toque
mitten
boot

14)  In areas of France what burns in homes from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Day?
incense
simmering fruit
a log

15)  What do Norwegian families hide on Christmas Eve?
boots
knives
brooms

CHRISTMAS BLOG ANIMATED4      ~ Here are your answers ~ 

CHRISTMAS STRING LIGHTS1)  Thomas Edison – he not only invented the electric light bulb, He also created the first strand of electric lights. He hung them outside his New Jersey lab during Christmas season in 1880. Lights for Christmas trees weren’t sold to the public until 1917.

SILENT NIGHT2)  3 billion – Of the roughly 7 billion people on Earth about 3 billion are familiar with “Silent Night.” The carol was first heard on Christmas Eve 1818, in Oberndorf, Austria, and was written by Joseph Mohr and Franz Gruber. It has been translated into more than 300 languages

HANNUKKAH MANORAH3)  It lights the other candles – The ninth candle is the “shamash,” which is used to light the other candles. Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish holiday marking the defeat of an army that had invaded Israel. After the victory, the Jews celebrated at the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. They found enough oil to light the lamp for only one day. But the oil lasted eight days and nights, and it’s celebrated as a miracle.

SANTA CLAUS4)  Both – American children know Santa, but Italian children wait for La Befana, the good witch who rides a broomstick the night ofLA BEFANA January 5th. The children wake up on January 6th – the Feast of the Epiphany – to find toys, candy, and fruit that she left. Some families in Hispanic communities in the U.S. practice traditions brought from Latin  American countries. Children place hay and water under their beds the night of January 5, for the camels of the Three Kings, and wake up to find presents.

CRACKERS5)  Christmas crackers (pretty paper tubes that you pull apart) – are a British tradition. The tubes pop open with a bang when pulled. Inside, there’s a small gift like a mirror and a joke written on a piece of paper. There’s also a paper crown, a nod to the Lord of Misrule, an old custom that put a peasant in charge of village Christmas events. Brits wear the crown and read the joke out loud.

AULD LANG SYNE6)  long, long ago – This well-known New Year’s Eve tune is from a poem by Robert Burns, based on a Scottish folk song. “Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Should old acquaintance be forgot, and auld lang syne.” It’s a tribute to days gone by.  The words are in the Scots language, which today is spoken in the Lowlands and Northern Isles of Scotland.

PEAS AND GREENS7)  To bring wealth in the New Year – The black-eyed peas stand for coins. The greens or collards stand for paper money. Eating these dishes is supposed to bring good luck and wealth in the coming year.  Cultures around the world celebrate the New Year with foods meant to bring prosperity: fish in China, lentils in Italy, and gold-colored food in Peru. (The tint often comes from the spice turmeric.)

NATIVITY SCENE8)  St. Francis of Assisi – widely known today for his love of animals — created the first live nativity scene, in 1223 in the Italian village of Greccio. He recreated the scene of Christ’s birth with people playing Mary and Joseph and animals from the village as the creatures in the stable.

N Y EVE BALL9)  11,875 – It’s also covered with 2,688 Waterford crystal triangles. Americans began dropping a giant ball at New Year’s Eve in 1907. The first was a 700-pound iron-and-wood beauty lowered from a flagpole atop One Times Square.

LOTUS10)  Boy children – In China, lotus seeds symbolize male children. Eating the sweetened seeds is supposed to bring boy babies into your family.

POINTSETTIAS11)  U.S. minister to Mexico – The poinsettia is native to Mexico, where it’s used to decorate churches at Christmas. It gets its name from American diplomat Joel Poinsett, who introduced the flower to the U.S. in the 1800s. The red and white parts of the poinsettia — which some people think are petals — are actually colored leaves called bracts.

IRISH12)  Swimming!  There are some intrepid people who get out in the open air and away from all the excess on Christmas morning, though it can be fairly miserable out there at that time of year.  One long standing tradition in Sandycove, a suburb of South Dublin is the Christmas Day Swim – in the sea. Yes, in Ireland, in December, they swim in the freezing Irish sea – and let me tell you it is MUCH colder even that it looks in the picture! Crazy, but they say it’s fun!

BOOT13)  On December 6 is Nikolaustag, St. Claus day. A shoe or boot is left outside the door on Dec.5 with hopes the following morning you find presents, if you were good – or, unfortunately a rod if you had been bad.

BURNING LOG14)  In southern France, it is a tradition among some families to burn a log in their homes from Christmas Eve until New Year’s Day. In olden days, farmers would use a part of this log to make the wedge for the plough as good luck for the next harvest. In Lyon, December 8th is annually celebrated as the Festival of Lights or ‘fete des lumieres’ in honour of Mother Mary for all the blessings through the year. Other important French traditions include the Nativity Scene, the midnight feast called ‘le reveillon’ and Pere Noel.

BROOMS15)  Norwegian legend has it that when Christmas Eve arrives it brings with it a series of evil spirits and witches.  The evil spirits and witches could not just walk from place to place but needed a form of transportation to fly around and they often used brooms for this.  It is Christmas tradition for Norwegian families to hide all brooms, mops and brushes on Christmas Eve so that these trouble makers can not use them.

christmas_animated_gifs_05

link ~  http://www.webmd.com/balance/rm-quiz-holiday-traditions?ecd=wnl_wmh_122513&ctr=wnl-wmh-122513_ld-stry&mb=rHKmwhyk2PvM%40wJ88MZOheHnVev1imbCTxvaq5IOIhg%3d

     

 

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OTTAWA RIVER KEEPER ~ IMPRESSIVE VIDEO

OTTAWA RIVER

The following video, “Ottawa River Keeper”, was uploaded on Mar. 10, 2008, by Lu Utronki.  This video is designed to bring awareness to the importance of the Ottawa River for sustainability. 

The Ottawa River flows through the provinces of Quebec and Ontario for over 1200 kilometres.  There are almost 2 million people who live throughout the Ottawa River watershed.  To the Algonquin First Nations who lived by its banks and traveled by canoe the river was known as the Kitchi-sippi, meaning “The Great River“.  Visitors such as white water paddlers, fishing enthusiasts and river trippers from around the world looking for a wilderness experience  enjoy the Ottawa River year round.  The Ottawa River is a globally significant river and is part of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence watershed, and is the largest freshwater system in the entire world.

Hope to see you back here for our next blog featuring “Ottawa River Keeper Part 2” and “Alexandra Cousteau on the Ottawa River” – a Youtube video published this year on September 14th.

HAPPY 146TH BIRTHDAY CANADA! ~ JOYEUX ANNIVERSAIRE CANADA!

CANADA DAY

HAPPY  BIRTHDAY  CANADA!!!
JOYEUX ANNIVERSAIRE CANADA!


              146 YEARS OLD

       

“… with glowing hearts
we see thee  rise, 
the True North strong and free…”

CANADA DAY FLAG ICONOn July 1, 1867, Canada became a self-governing dominion of Great Britain and a federation of four provinces: Nova Scotia; New Brunswick; Ontario; and Quebec. The anniversary of this date was called Dominion Day until 1982. Since 1983, July 1 has been officially known as Canada Day.
The provinces and territories of Canada combine to make up the world’s second-largest country by area. There are ten provinces and three territories:  Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and Saskatchewan. The three territories are Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon.

FIRST:

Let’s celebrate our country’s birthday by watching three superb, entertaining and educational videos. Canada is an incredibly diverse land: geographically and culturally from “sea to shining sea”.

The following is a spectacular example of how music enhances photography.  This video is accompanied by Il Divo and Celine Dion’s , “I Believe”.  To fully appreciate Canada’s incredible beauty, watch the three videos in ‘FULL SCREEN’ MODE.

For all of our friends around the world the following YouTube video, “Tom Brokow Explains Canada to Americans”, is a great introduction to Canada ~ and I must admit that, although I have lived in Canada all my life, I LEARNED A GREAT DEAL BY WATCHING THIS VIDEO AND HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT TO EVERYONE!

~ Uploaded by on 27 Feb 2010 ~ Tom Brokaw explains the relationship between Canada and The United States, in a pre-recorded short film that aired on NBC, prior to the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

AND LAST, BUT DEFINITELY NOT LEAST ~ this special video, “CANADA REGIONS – CANADIAN PERSPECTIVES CLASS”, has slides, videos and TEXT DESCRIPTIONS of the photographs ~ Beautiful video expressing Canada values and attitudes. What a majestic landscape and incredible people ~  the second largest country on earth!

    SECOND:

CANADA DAY FLYPAST

Now that you’re incredibly ‘PUMPED’ about this GREAT COUNTRY of ours ~ get out with family, friends and neighbours to participate in all the ‘Canada Day’ activities that are offered in your communities – fellow Ottawans and visitors to our fair city see the video below.

 
Link to history of Canada’s Provinces and Territories ~

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provinces_and_territories_of_Canada
VICTORIA DAYFIRE5I hope you enjoyed my tribute to Canada and that you will store this blog in you ‘Favorites’ folder for encore viewing.

           HAPPY CANADA DAY!!!

From your friends at Rainsoft Eternally Pure Water Systems, Inc. Ottawa

Bon anniversaire!

BILLION YEAR OLD WATER FOUND RIGHT HERE IN CANADA!!!

Collages1A team of British and Canadian scientists think they’ve found the oldest water sealed off from the Earth’s atmosphere hidden deep in the Earth’s crust, and estimate it is between 1.5 and 2.67 billion years old. 

YouTube video, “1.5-Billion-Year Old Water Discovered”, published by GeoBeats News on May 17, 2013 ~

The researchers analyzed water welling up from boreholes drilled 1.5 miles under the planet’s surface in a zinc and copper mine in Timmins, Canada.

YouTube video, “Gold Diggers Unleash Water Trapped in Rock for 1.5 Billion Years”, published by slatester on May 17, 2013 ~


An analysis of the water, particularly its xenon content, suggests it is at least 1.5 billion years old, and even much older if it was around at the time as the rock formations in which it was found — an age range that came as something of a shock.  “We were expecting these fluids to be possibly tens, perhaps even hundreds of millions of years of age,” said Chris Ballentine, a geochemist at the University of Manchester, in a statement.  The water was found in the Precambrian Shield, a geological formation covering much of northern Canada, which billions of years ago was at the bottom of a sea. While the water is still being analyzed for signs of microorganisms, it does contain hydrogen, nitrogen, and methane in forms that could support life.

YouTube video, “Scientist Find Oldest Water On Earth”, published May 16, 2013 by VideoNewsPortal ~

 Greg Holland, a geochemist at Lancaster University in England, announced in the journal Nature, that this is the oldest cache of water ever found.  “That is the lower limit for the age,” Holland says. It could be a billion years older. That means the water was sealed in the rock before humans evolved, before pterosaurs flew and before multi-cellular life.  But how did it end up underneath that gold mine in north eastern Canada? Where did it come from? “The fluids that we see now are actually preservations of ancient oceans,” Holland says.  About 2.7 billion years ago, the landscape of small-town Timmins looked a bit different. Beneath prehistoric seas, tectonic plates were spreading, and magma was welling up to form new rock. As the rock matured under heat and pressure, water was trapped inside tiny cracks.  The rock drifted around the globe for eons, helping form continents and mountain ranges, and all the while it kept its cargo of water sealed up tight inside.  “It’s managed to stay isolated for almost half the lifetime of the Earth,” Holland says. It’s a time capsule. And it doesn’t just hold water. “There’s a lot of hydrogen in these samples.” That’s significant because hydrogen is food for some micro organisms. Hydrogen-eating microbes have been found deep in the ocean and in South African mines where chemical reactions in the rock produce a steady supply of hydrogen. And that hydrogen, says Holland, “could provide the energy for life to survive in isolation for 2 billion years.”  Holland’s colleagues are now testing the water samples for evidence of microbes. They hope to have results within a year. If life is found, it would have evolved distinctly from the surface world and might give a unique insight into the earliest forms of life on Earth. Its discovery would also give hope to people searching for life in places that are even more remote. geologyterrain

This map, from the United States Geological Survey, shows the age of bedrock in different regions of North America. Scientists found ancient water in bedrock north of Lake Superior. This region, colored red, was formed more than 2.5 billion years ago.

MOTHERS DAY ~ A TRIBUTE TO MOTHERS EVERYWHERE

FLOWERS FUZZY COLLAGE

COLUMBINE2I thought it would be interesting to check into the history of Mothers Day and also thought it would be nice to create a YouTube video with inspirational quotes on motherhood. I’d appreciate you watching it on YouTube and ‘liking it’. I dedicated my Mothers Day tribute to my amazing daughter who is the fabulous Mom of my 5 year old grandson and is my inspiration, “my hero” and “the wind beneath my wings” ~ I hope you enjoy it and you are welcome to share with all the Moms near (or far) and dear to you.

EARLIEST HISTORY OF MOTHERS DAY:
CRONUSThe earliest history of Mothers Day dates back to the ancient annual spring festival the Greeks dedicated to maternal goddesses. CRONYS AND RHEAThe Greeks used the occasion to honor Rhea, wife of Cronus and the mother of many deities of Greek mythology. Ancient Romans, too, celebrated a spring festival, called Hilaria dedicated to Cybele, a mother goddess. It may be CYBELEnoted that ceremonies in honour of Cybele began some 250 years before Christ was born. The celebration made on the Ides of March by making offerings in the temple of Cybele lasted for three days and ROMAN CELEBRATIONSincluded parades, games and masquerades. The celebrations were notorious enough that followers of Cybele were banished from Rome.

History of Mother’s Day in England:
MOTHERING SUNDAYThe more recent history of Mothers Day dates back to 1600s in England. Here a Mothering Sunday was celebrated annually on the fourth Sunday of Lent MOTHERING SUNDAY2(the 40 day period leading up to Easter) to honor mothers… Custom of celebrating Mothering Sunday died out almost completely by the 19th century. However, the day came to be celebrated again after World War II, when American servicemen brought the custom and commercial enterprises used it as an occasion for sales.

Mother’s Day in the United States:
JULIE WARD HOWEThe idea of official celebration of Mothers day in US was first suggested by Julia Ward Howe in 1872. An activist, writer and poet Julia shot to fame with her famous Civil War song, “Battle Hymn of the Republic“. Julia Ward Howe suggested that June 2 be annually celebrated as Mothers Day and should be dedicated to peace.
ANNA JARVISAnna Jarvis is recognised as the Founder of Mothers Day in US. Though Anna Jarvis never married and never had kids, she is also known as the Mother of Mothers Day, an apt title for the lady who worked hard to bestow honor on all mothers… The hard work paid off. By 1911, Mother’s Day was celebrated in almost every state in the Union and on May 8, 1914 President Woodrow Wilson signed a Joint Resolution designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

Mother’s Day in Canada:
TULIPSIn North American country of Canada, Mothers Day is the most popular festival after Christmas and Valentines Day. Just as in USA, Mothers Day in Canada is celebrated in the second Sunday in the month of May. People pay tribute to their mothers on the day and thank them for their constant support and love.  Here in Ottawa we have the Tulip Festival which coincides with Mother’s Day.

http://www.conservapedia.com/Mother’s_Day

fLORAL GREETING FOR BLOG

“THE DESTRUCTIVE POWER OF ICE” ~ VIDEOS!!!

POWER OF ICE PHOTOPAD2

The following excerpts are taken from: FIRE AND ICE: What happens when you tamper with ice? By Steven Willard – Canadian Water Treatment magazine, Mar/Apr edition, 2006.

Ottawa’s Ice Dam Busters – Human Planet, Rivers, Preview – BBC One -uploaded on Feb 24, 2011 When the frozen river starts to melt and large ice blocks start forming a dam, it’s time for extreme measures to avoid flooding in the Canadian capital.


Ice is a dangerous substance.  History is filled with examples of the destructive power of ice, from glaciers of pre-history to the modern sinking of an unsinkable ocean liner…  Often the destruction from ice can be so severe that action must be taken to prevent damage.  The city of Ottawa did just this thing.  Worried that the ice might form a dam and back up the spring run-off which would then lead to flooding of low lying areas, the city had a program in the spring of the year to cut up ice on the Ottawa River and blast it in to manageable pieces to prevent a build up of ice in the river; a program that eventually brought the City of Ottawa to Court in 1997.

You’ll realize the danger in ice blasting in the following YouTube video, “Winter Ice Break-up at Rideau Falls, Ottawa, Canada“.  Watch at 3:30 into the video to see the blasting take place – unbelievable that they’d blast so close to the bridge where people are standing and a van is damaged by the flying ice!!!

Every spring since 1887 the city has blasted the ice of the Rideau and Ottawa rivers into small chunks so that they could be flushed easily and safely down the Ottawa River before the ice could pile up and act as a dam, above which flooding would inevitably happen.  Downstream from Ottawa, Rideau Falls Generating Partnership operated a hydro-electric dam at the base of the Rideau Falls.  In 1992, the City of Ottawa conducted their usual ice removal program and, as a result, chuckes of ice floated down the Ottawa river, over the Rideau Falls, landed at the base of the falls and piled up. The ice piles up as high as the drop of the Rideau Falls.  In essence an ice dam had been created.  The water built up behind this dam and quickly flooded the generating station causing considerable damage to the station and it ceased to generate power for some months. In 1996, the exact same events occurred with more damage to the station.  Rideau Falls Generating Station sued the City for damages, and won.

On the face of it, this seems unfair.  The City of Ottawa had done this work every spring for many years to prevent people from being flooded from their homes.  The city could not control the pile-up of ice at the bottom of the Falls, which the Court even called “unnatural.”  But riparian law is very strict: if you tamper with the natural flow of water (and ice for that matter), then you will be responsible tor damages created by your actions… The city also argued that the Ontario Municipal Act allowed a municipality the right to pas a by-law to control flooding.  The court held that the by-law passed by the city would not relieve the city from responsibility for its actions.  Simply put, the Municipal Act did not confer on the city a right to damage property.  This case stands for a number of points of law.  It confirms that the owner of riparian land has a right to the natural flow of water.  Anyone who tampers with that natural flow needs to take actions to prevent damage, even to the extent of preparing for extraordinary situations.  And finally, downstream lands cannot be sacrificed to save upstream lands.

The following shows just how destructive ice flows on the Rideau River can be: YouTube video, ‘Ice Flow Takes Out Dock – Rideau River’ Uploaded on Feb 23, 2009 ~ “An ice flow took out the end of our dock on the Rideau River near Ottawa, Ontario Canada. The dock was 78 feet long; it’s much shorter now! “

THE DEADLY CANADIAN GOLD RUSH!

GOLD RUSH

The following are excerpts taken from the Jan/Feb issue of Water Canada magazine, “How is mining’s legacy affecting water in Canada’s north?” by Mia Bennett

With pickaxes and pans in hand, tens of thousands of people flooded the Yukon in 1896 in search of gold in its snowy creeks.
I’ve included two really great videos on the Alaska (Klondike) gold rush at the end of this blog.
GOLD RUSH DIAMOND YELLOWKNIFE3Three years later, the rush came to an abrupt end as miners left for Alaska. Fast forward to 1991, when diamonds were discovered in the Northwest Territories’ (NWT’s) Slave Geological Province. This discovery set off a mining boom in northern Canada that continues today. According to the Mining Association of Canada, companies are expected to invest $140 billion over the next ten years in search of minerals like diamonds, gold, and iron, primarily in GOLD RUSH7Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, but also in the Yukon. In the barren, remote expanse of Canada’s circumpolar region –
only 100,000 people live across the three territories – oversight and regulation is difficult. This is particularly problematic as climate change renders many current mining standards inadequate. Lakes and streams scattered across the tundra are vulnerable to destruction, leachate, and tailings. As the rush for northern metals and minerals continues, good planning and tough oversight by mining companies, indigenous stakeholders and government are necessary to protect water resources.

Damage done – Mine construction can wreak havoc before the by-products of mining even have a chance to pollute the environment. In 1998, BHP Billiton opened the Ekati Diamond Mine, Canada’s first combined underground and surface diamond mine, in the NWT’s Lac de Gras area. GOLD RUSH DIAMOND MINETo reach the diamond-strewn kimberlite pipes sitting underneath shallow crater lakes, the company dewatered and fully or partially impacted nineteen lakes and additional streams. The company was also permitted to store rocks and manage pit water in Desperation Pond, used by Arctic grayling (a freshwater fish) for spawning, rearing, forage, and overwintering.

CDN FISHERIES AND OCEANSWhile the company paid Fisheries and Oceans Canada $1.5 million to recreate lost lake habitat, the new lakes did not equal the original ones in health and biodiversity. In one artificial habitat, colder stream water and paltrier vegetation resulted in Arctic grayling that had, on average, less than half as much mass as their counterparts in natural streams. Northern fish species reproduce and grow slowly and are especially sensitive to pollutants, making lake destruction even more harmful than in the south. Moreover, many fish stocks provide commercial value to fishermen and nutritional value to indigenous peoples…MINING WATCH CANADARandy Hart, Mining Watch Canada’s program coordinator, suggests that an alternative, though more expensive, way to deal with tailings might be to store them on land in a cement-like, hardened form. “This allows you to have a close to walk-away situation, where you aren’t also destroying a lake ecosystem,” he says.

Changing paradigms – GOLD RUSH DIAMOND MINE LOGO Indigenous pressure has helped enact stricter oversight of mines. During negotiations over Ekati, First Nations organizations got BHP Billiton to agree to fund the creation of an Independent Environmental Monitoring Agency (IEMA) to oversee their management of the surrounding environment. BHP Billiton also developed a Watershed Adaptive Management Plan. When the IEMA discovered that nearby Kodiak Lake had begun eutrophying due to sewage deposition, making oxygen levels dangerously low for fish, the company was asked to aerate the lake. The fish were able to survive another season. When oxygen levels dropped a second time, the company began depositing its sewage elsewhere. While adaptive management requires consistent environmental monitoring, problems can often be stopped before they get out of hand…CAPSTONE MINING Regulations are nothing without enforcement. “Recently, we discovered that Capstone Mining was told by Yukon Government Client Services & Inspections that they were allowed to contravene their water license,” says Karen Baltgailis, executive director of the Yukon YUKON CONSERVATION SOCIETYConservation Society. She doesn’t think that any environmental damage occurred, but still has worries. “The fact that our regulators can’t be depended upon to ensure that mining does not cause impacts to our water is a really big concern.” Hart observes that in Nunavut, while the land claims agreement specifies a regional monitoring program, instead there is what he calls a “hodge-podge of project-specific monitoring that goes on based on company needs as opposed to broader, territory-wide needs.” He adds that the same could be said largely for other regions of the north. Hart believes that if a regional baseline monitoring organization were instituted, that would actually provide a “huge advantage” to companies, which otherwise have to start from scratch each time when considering cumulative impacts and regional issues. While weak enforcement is a harder problem to tackle than the lack of monitoring, even when violations are discovered, the fines are often not very high. FAY LAKEIn 2008, 4.5 million litres of processed kimberlite overflowed a containment wall at Etaki, flooding the nearby tundra and frozen Fay Lake. CBC News reported that BHP Billiton might have to pay “hefty fines of up to $100,000”— pennies compared to the company’s profits…The dangers – Mine drainage –  A bigger hazard to aquatic ecosystems is acid mine drainage, which occurs when water comes into contact with sulphide bearing rocks or tailings. The resulting sulphuric acid oxidizes metals like copper and zinc, rendering the water metal bearing and acidic. Acid mine drainage is especially a problem in underground mines. These are often located below the water table, so water has to be continually pumped out. Once a mine is abandoned, pumping often ceases and allows leachwater to flow out. Pollution of groundwater sources is risky in places like Yukon, where aquifers underlay two-thirds of the territory. Whereas pollution of surface water can sometimes be contained, contaminated groundwater can spread extensively. Fortunately, in many northern underground mines such as Nunavut’s closed Polaris Zinc Mine, permafrost prevents acid mine drainage, as all the surrounding water is frozen in the rocks and soil. But as temperatures climb, intrusion of water into underground mines with sulfuric rocks could become problematic… Threats to oceans  – At the same time as melting permafrost is hindering mining on land, melting sea ice is creating new opportunities – and risks – at sea. MARY RIVEROn Baffin Island, Nunavut, the planned Mary River Iron Ore Mine would use nine ice breaking freighters year-round to transport iron ore through the Northwest Passage, potentially disturbing the shore, icepack, and marine mammals. Hart asserts, “It’s the most significant marine transportation project that’s ever been proposed for the Canadian Arctic, massively increasing shipping traffic. Along with shipping comes chronic low-level pollution from small oil spills and bilge water. We often focus on massive spills and shipwrecks, but from my understanding, a significant amount of oil and contaminants is released into the marine environment on an ongoing basis outside of major catastrophes.”…

After the gold rush – HANDS WITH GOLD NUGGETSLike the gold rush a century ago, the current boom will end one day, too, and proper de-commissioning plans need to be prepared. There are 10,000 abandoned mines across all of Canada in various states of disrepair. The grandiose names of contaminated sites in the north represent ghostly boom towns of decades past: Discovery Mine, Giant Mine, Port Radium Mine. At various sites, mining has left behind a wasteland of radioactive tailings, cyanide-laced water, and sediment plumes…The Canadian Arctic is so sparsely populated and so far from most people’s minds that the adage, “out of sight, out of mind,” too often rings true, especially once a mine is closed. If an operator declares bankruptcy, however, the costs of decommissioning can be passed on to the taxpayers, hitting closer to home…The mining industry has demonstrated a more progressive approach to water management than in the early twentieth century. This is in part thanks to the involvement of indigenous people’s and stronger government regulations. For all its faults, Agnico-Eagle serves as an example of one company that has put forth some efforts to reduce its impact on the environment. Connell notes that all of its operations now require water management strategies…

Harmonizing economy, environment, and technology – Given the region’s low population base and lack of alternative industries like agriculture or manufacturing, mining plays an important role in northern economic development. Profits and water quality, however, do not need to be a zero-sum game. Technology now exists to make operations safer for the environment.

GOLD RUSH LAKESMoreover, in the territories, development has generally proceeded hastily without an eye towards long-term sustainability. It’s easily forgotten that mining is temporary, while both humans and nature will rely on surrounding waters indefinitely. One day, the temperature could rise high enough that even precautions like Meadowbank’s “worst-case scenario” tailings cover are inadequate. But in the near future, if the right balance is struck between conservation and development, we can avoid a legacy of overflowing tailings ponds and acidic rivers and instead enable clean, productive northern waters and fisheries. The consequences of not doing so will far outlast any profits.

1898 Alaska Klondike Gold Rush Story, Dawson City, Yukon River, published on Oct 26, 2012 by Jeffrey Martin ~ Segment of a short 1950s film that was called ‘City of Gold’ about Dawson City during the Klondike Gold Rush in the Alaska / Yukon Canada area. This is the first half of a prior posted segment that can be used with the Alaska Goldmine ice-breaker class exercise.

The Klondike Gold Rush: Photographs from 1896-98, uploaded on Apr 17, 2008 ~ This spectacular video is based on the best-selling book “The Klondike Gold Rush: Photographs from 1896-1899.” by Graham Wilson. This is the mother lode of the north – a stunning record of the last great gold rush.