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Brier Island Whale Watching
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Photo Essay
Parrsboro to Amherst
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Ontario - North
Autumn Splendor
Driving the TransCanada - The Sault to Wawa
Driving the TransCanada - Wawa to Thunder Bay
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North of Superior - Nipigon to Armstrong
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  Sudbury Rocks!
A Woman's Work is Never Done

Ontario - South
A 'Grand' Canyon
A Wee Bit o’ Perth
Christmas in the Valley
Kate Aitken
Lucy Maud
Mennonite Country
Teepee Camping
Fergus - Rural Ontario's Scottish Town

Corridor #132 Grosse Ile through Bay St Laurent to Gaspe
Highway #132, L’Islet to Matane
Highway #132, Matane to Gaspe
Highway #132, Perce to Matapedia
Photo Essay
Photo Essay 2
Montmorency Falls, Ile d'Orleans and the Cote de Beaupre
Quebec City's Historical Treasures
Quebec's Old City & Petit Champlain
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The Eastern Townships Photo Essay

Apple Butter & Cheese
Brighton's AppleFest
Celtic Festival
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Headwaters Country
Herb Festival
Maple Madness
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Pow Wow
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Scarecrow Festival
Split Rail Festival

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Country Music Highway
Golden Triangle - Photo Essay
Golden Triangle
Kentucky East
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Kentucky South-Central
River Corridor

Bar Harbor
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Classic Maine

Old Sturbridge Village

New Hampshire
Mount Washington

New York State
Adirondack's Autumn Surprises
Autumn in the Adirondacks
Grandma Moses
More Than Baseball
Lake Placid

North Carolina
Cape Lookout to Cape Fear
Cruising the Coast
From Sea to Mountain
My Heart's in the Highlands
The Gardens of Eden
Western Reaches - Hidden Treasures Photo Essay
Western Reaches of North Carolina

The Quiet Land

Beautiful York
Bridges; Markets
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The History Trail
The Johnstown Flood

Rhode Island

South Carolina
Beaufort, Bluffton
& Hilton Head
Charleston and Area
Myrtle Beach
Olde English District
Photo Essay
Thoroughbred Country

Cumberland Highlands
Eastern Tennessee
Knoxville, Norris, Oak Ridge & The Gap
North & East of Nashville
North & West of Nashville
Pickett County - Photo Essay
Photo Essay
South & East of Nashville
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The World of Dale Hollow

Christmas Village
Middlebury Inn


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Jewels of the North
Breezy Blackpool
Witches and Hot Pot
A Lightning Tour

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The Island of Crete

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Ancient Rome
Renaissance Rome

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Some tips on
Living Simply

On Being Canadian

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By Pat Mestern

On Being Canadian

I am not a hyphenated-Canadian. Although I have Mayflower Puritan and Iroquoian blood running through my veins and can claim ancestry that includes Scottish, Irish and Italian roots I am not an American-Canadian, a Scots-Canadian, an Irish-Canadian or an Italian-Canadian. I am a CANADIAN.

When Grandmother arrived in Wellington County from Italy, in 1885, she was told by her parents that she was in “Canada now and must embrace the culture”. Although her parents spoke Italian to each other, she was urged by them to speak English, to read Canadian history, to learn about her new country. Although hubby was born in South Africa to German and Irish parents, he is not a South African-Canadian, a German-Canadian or an Irish-Canadian. He is a CANADIAN . When he immigrated to Canada, he chose to become a Canadian citizen because he realized that Canada was a very special country, and he wanted to be part of it. His citizenship paper is one of the most precious possessions he has.

The essence of being Canadian has nothing to do with religion or politics. For the most part Canadians are not a gun toting society. We are not usually zealotistic individuals. We believe in an honest day's work for an honest day's pay. We believe in equality of the sexes. We exercise moderation is everything we do. We are slow to anger but watch out if we're threatened. We've proven our worth many times when pushed to the wall.

Personally, being Canadian means I give back what, and when, I can. I try to broker peace not wage war. I try to be kind, courteous and polite to others. I respect all the traditional Canadian symbols - sing “Oh Canada” at every opportunity and fly the Canadian flag. Being Canadian means that I celebrate my various cultural ties happily and freely. But, at the end of the day, I stand as a Canadian.

As a Canadian I am free to practice any religion I choose. But, I know that regardless my faith, strong religious views have no place in governing or ultimately shaping our nation. Canada has been down that rocky road and learned a hard lesson. As Grandmother Mattaini used to say, and I quote directly - Long ago true Canadians found out that state and religion, as bedfellows, needed to be confined to the hog pen. H og-pen governing has no place in a great nation ”.

There's no doubt that Canada has always been a multi-cultural country. Like the United States, Canada had to rely on - and due to a declining birthrate still has to depend on - immigrants to people its vast lands. During the past four hundred years, immigrants built a vibrant country. In particular, during the late 19 th , and early 20 th century period, immigrants accepted the immense challenge and spread across the nation, populating the rugged north, the vast prairies and the western mountains. Within a Canadian context, each group celebrated their own culture in their own unique way knowing they had the freedom to do so. They also knew full-well that by choosing Canada as their new home, they also accepted, and adopted, responsibilities and allegiances to their chosen country. One of the most important responsibilities was that the country known as Canada came first when loyalty and allegiances were forefront issues.

Being an immigrant has never been a smooth process. Often stubborn prejudices, silly beliefs and name-calling makes life miserable for those that come from different cultures. Grandmother went through her fair share of stupidity on the part of some bigoted people. So did dad, a first-generation Canadian - and so did I, simply because we had an Italian surname. But, we - all three generations - learned quickly to overcome, and ultimately laugh at, such narrow-minded behavior. One elderly Irish gentleman who amassed a small fortune during his lifetime told me that deflecting insults was the fabric by which he developed a very tolerant attitude which allowed him to succeed in business.

Today's open-door - call it an ambivalent - policy that allows duel citizenship, duel loyalties, English as a second language, as opposed to striving to make it the first language - is commendable. But, the old adage that it is difficult to give loyalty to two masters, to serve both equally holds true. Multi-cultural tasking becomes multi-cultural muddle. Those who choose Canada as their new home must also choose to be Canadian in the truest sense of the word. It is absolutely impossible to live with two sets of rules, two ideologies, and two allegiances.

Unfortunately, during the past twenty-five years, some groups/people - have slipped through, or avoided, the loyalty-to-Canada circle. No longer do they heed the call to embrace and experience the vastness, beauty, solitudes, and peoples that make our nation so special. No longer do they see the need to integrate into the main - perhaps traditional is a better word - Canadian environment. Most now prefer to congregate in familiar, almost segregated if I may be so bold as to state, cultural enclaves in larger cities. More often they do experience the same prejudices, the same problems, the same intolerance that they left behind simply because they still surround themselves with it in their separate “communities”.

If you are fortunate enough to live in Canada today, remember that you are a resident in one of the safest, freest and best countries in the world. Act accordingly. Celebrate and remember your culture, but BE CANADIAN first, and always.



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