On the southwest corner of Devon Island in the Canadian Archipelago of Nunavut, lies a small desolate island—the island of Beechey. For more than a hundred years, this windswept and barren island was a favorite landing site for Arctic explorers. Beechey Island’s relatively flat beach allowed for easy landing, while the small hill behind the narrow beach provided the needed shelter. Many crews from Arctic expeditions wintered here over the years.
Beechey Island’s claim to fame lies in its association with one of the most tragic episodes in arctic exploration history—the Franklin expedition.
Illustration of Franklin’s two ships, H.M.S. Erebus and H.M.S. Terror.
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During the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, between Great Britain and the United States, the border between British Canada and upstate New York saw some of the fiercest fighting, much of which took place around Lake Champlain. This freshwater lake situated across the US-Canada border provided the British a direct invasion route into the heart of America. Had this important travel corridor from the mighty Saint Lawrence to the Hudson fell into the hands of British troops, the results of the American Revolutionary War could have been very different.
Anxious to prevent another invasion attempt, immediately following the War of 1812, America decided to fortify the shores of Lake Champlain. A small sandy spit called Island Point was chosen as the site for … Read the rest
The Haskell Free Library and Opera House has two different addresses. If you are American, you’ll say the library is located at “93 Caswell Avenue, Derby Line, Vermont”, and if you are Canadian, you’ll insist its located at “1 rue Church Street, Stanstead, Quebec”. Both addresses are correct, and either one will take you to the same building. The only thing that matters is from which way you are approaching.
You see, the Haskell Free Library and Opera House is located astride the US-Canada border. One half of the building stands in Derby Line, which is an American town, and the other half stands in Stanstead, a Canadian town. Being border towns, Derby Line and Stanstead share many peculiarities—which we will come to shortly. But first, … Read the rest
In 1899, when famous arctic explorer Robert Peary reached Ellesmere Island, in Canada, he found the ruins of a hut erected by a previous arctic expedition in the island’s northeastern shore. The hut was a three-room building built with long, wooden boards, and covered with tar paper, but such type of construction was notoriously difficult to keep warm during the freezing polar winters. Peary found the building utterly unfit for habitation, and so he had the building torn down and rebuilt several smaller quarters in its place. For the next thirty years, Peary’s huts—named Fort Conger—played an important role in several high arctic expeditions.
The original Fort Conger was built in 1881 by explorers of the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition led by Lt. Adolphus Greely of … Read the rest
Stretching for approximately 100 kilometers along the southern edge of Lake Athabasca, in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, are some of the most northerly active sand dunes on Earth. Unlike most dunes, which are associated with dry and arid region, the Athabasca Sand Dunes are located in the middle of a wetland and a boreal forest, making it one of the most unique sand dunes and a geological oddity. The dunes are spread across more than 30,000 hectares, and due to their unusual ecosystem, they harbor an extraordinarily diverse biological life.
Photo credit: Hidehiro Otake
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Icebergs are not a rare sight off the east coast of Canada. Indeed, there is an area stretching from the coast of Labrador to the northeast coast of the island of Newfoundland that has been nicknamed the “Iceberg Alley” for the sheer number of icebergs that floats into the vicinity during spring and early summer. But even longtime residents did a double take when an astonishingly big one ran aground near the village of Ferryland, this week.
The big chunk of ice towers 150 feet. It’s the largest Iceberg Alley has ever seen.
Photo credit: Greg Lock/Reuters
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Desperate times call for desperate measures, and no time in history was as desperate as the time when the world’s most powerful nations were determined in destroying each other. It was time of the Second World War, and the allies were running out of essential resources needed to construct military and naval equipment. One of them was steel.
In the North Atlantic, the British fleets were taking a pounding against the German U-boats. Allied supply ships on their way across the ocean were being intercepted and sunk by German U-boats at an alarming rate. Planes could protect the ships, but they cannot be deployed in the middle of the ocean without aircraft carriers, and those things are massive and required enormous quantities of steel to manufacture, … Read the rest
From The Star:
“A year ago, Michael Chrisman placed a pinhole camera in Toronto’s Port Lands and aimed it — as best one can aim such a camera — at the city skyline.
For 365 straight days and nights, light has crept through the pinhole, slowly building an exposure on a piece of photosensitive paper.”
http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1109339… Read the rest
Chutes and Ladders (‘Snakes and Ladders’ in England, and ‘Hoses and Pickets’ in Canada) is fun to play for 5-year-olds, but it quickly loses its value once the players realize that the game is entirely deterministic.
Perhaps it is because we enjoy the illusion of choice and freedom of will that we prefer games that allow us to make mistakes in judgement, rather than simply following the directions from the omnipotent, yet random force of a die or spinning wheel.
So, to make the game more enjoyable, here are some variation that older players might enjoy.
This is the most crucial variation in that it adds the possibility of choice to each turn.
As in parcheesi (or Sorry!), on each turn, a player may … Read the rest