Friday, 6 November 2009

U.S. Media Tribute to Highway of Heroes

I posted this to my YouTube page last year. With Remembrance Day right around the corner I thought I'd re-post it to my blog. It's rare that U.S. Media pays much attention to goings on in Canada unless it has something to do with their own country. Well, the Highway of Heroes, a portion of Highway 401 between Trenton and Toronto, Ontario, caught their attention. (The video is dated. As of this posting Canada has lost 133 soldiers in Afghanistan. You can see a listing of the losses here:

This portion of the highway got its name to pay tribute to Canada's fallen soldiers. Why this stretch of highway you may ask? Trenton, Ontario is the home of Canadian Forces Base Trenton, where Canada's military departs for and arrives from overseas deployments. When a Canadian soldier is killed overseas they are brought back here and then they are escorted to the Ontario Coroner's Office in Toronto.

Canada doesn't shy away from making these deaths public knowledge, and, with each death, they sadly announce when the soldier is going to make their final arrival back to Canada. To pay tribute to the loss the Canadian military holds a ramp ceremony and then the soldier is loaded into a hearse for the trip to Toronto. The hearse and the family then receive a police escort down Highway 401 all the way to the coroner's office in Toronto. Along the route many Canadians will line the highway and the bridges over the highway. Local police, firemen, and ambulances, along with vets from the Legion or The Army, Navy and Airforce veterans come out to salute the fallen. It doesn't matter what the weather is like, be it a hot sunny day or a cold rainy/snow filled day, they all come out to pay tribute.

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Sunday, 2 November 2008

WW I Vigil – A Time of Remembrance

national war memorial

WW I happened a long time ago, but it is an event in history that should never be forgotten. It happened between 1914-1918. Back then Canada was a young nation, still very much tied to the British Commonwealth. It was clear right from the start, the fact that Britain was at war Canada too was at war.

Although our military was still small at the time, 3,100 men in the army and a fledgling navy, Canadians quickly volunteered to help defend the "Mother Country" and a force of 32,000 men gathered to train and cross the Atlantic. By the time the armistice was signed on November 11, 1918, a total of 619,636 men and women had served in the Canadian forces and of these 66,655 gave their lives and another 172,950 were wounded. Nearly one of every ten Canadians who fought in the war did not return.

Our veterans from this war are almost all gone, the last surviving vet is 108 years old. In honour of our fallen heroes, a vigil will take place at the Canadian War Memorial between Nov 4 - 11th. Each night, beginning at 5:15 pm and ending at sunrise the next day, lasting for 13 hours each night, the last names of our fallen will be streamed across the War Memorial. 9,700 names will be displayed each night. Besides Ottawa, the vigil will also take place in Newfoundland, Halifax, Fredericton, Toronto, Regina, Edmonton, Victoria, and London, UK, beginning at 5pm and running for 13 hours each night in each city. If you are unable to make it to one of the vigil locations you can also catch it live on the Internet at

I decided to use the site's search tool to find out if and when any Leafloor names would be displayed and found Sapper Arthur H. Leafloor of the Canadian Engineers, Service Number 2714538 died June 15, 1919 and his name will be displayed on Nov 7th at 11:49PM.
Using my Uncle Micheal Leafloor's Family History I have found that Arthur H Leafloor was my great-great Uncle. Athur H Leafloor was the forth son born to John Lafleur/Leafloor and Hellen Walker. John was my Great-Grandfather, father to my Grandfather Thomas Melborne Leafloor. Arthur is the second child that was registered with the surname Leafloor. Arthur was born 27 Aug 1898 and died at the age of 20 years, 9 months, 19 days on 15 June 1919. Arthur never married. Arthur received the British War Medal posthumously from the British Royal Family, which expressed Britain's gratitude for sacrificing his life in defense of the British people.

In honour of Arthur's service to our country, I will be making every effort possible to be at the National War Memorial on Nov 7th, dressed in my CF dress uniform, wearing my own medals, to salute my great-great Uncle.

Let us never forget those who gave their lives to fight for freedom and the way of life we all know and love.

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Friday, 10 October 2008

Thanksgiving Long Weekend

It's the Canadian Thanksgiving long weekend, probably the last descent long weekend for another year. The mornings are becoming cool and crispy, we even had a couple mornings with frost this week. The weatherman has smiled on us for the weekend and is forecasting sunshine with daytime temperatures of around 18 C. I'll be sure to get out there and enjoy it while I can.

Enjoy your turkey dinner, happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Government Says Killed Soldier Doesn't Merit Medal

Father wonders why his fallen son doesn't merit Sacrifice Medal

CBC News

Master Cpl. Jeffrey Scott Walsh, 33, died on Aug. 9, 2006, while on patrol outside Kandahar. He was accidentally shot by a fellow soldier. Now a Regina man is asking why his son and other indirect casualties of war will not be awarded a new Sacrifice Medal to honour fallen soldiers.

To add insult to the injury of losing a son, when the father inquired about the medal, the Canadian government informed the father that soldiers accidentally killed do not qualify to receive the medal.

This means that out of the 97 soldiers that have been killed in action in Afghanistan to date, 13 of them will not receive the honour.

This policy is absolutely ludicrous and needs to be changed. It wasn't their choice to die in Afghanistan, they gave their life for Canada. All soldiers' families deserve compassion and understanding for the loss of a loved one. Each time a soldier is killed in Afghanistan we hear the government stand up in the House of Commons and say it was a tragic loss and that the soldiers died with honour. If they really mean what they say, they should show it to all by changing this policy for this medal.

Canadians should stand up and let their voice be heard, and write their MP if they disagree with this policy. When MP's come around looking for your vote in the coming election make sure you pass on your displeasure over this policy. With luck, if enough people complain to their MP's, perhaps they'll change the policy.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Fire in OC Transpo Bus.....Again

Fire destroys OC Transpo bus
Fire destroys OC Transpo bus
Liam Casey, The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Monday, September 01, 2008

OTTAWA - A fire at OC Transpo's main depot left one bus completely destroyed and damaged the main building.

The fire began in the bus, which was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived at 7:08 p.m. The fire extended to a small portion of the adjacent building at 1500 St. Laurent Boulevard. Firefighters had it extinguished by 7:35 p.m.

No injuries were reported. Damage is estimated at $650,000 to the bus and $150,000 to the building. Twenty seven firefighters and 11 fire vehicles attended the blaze.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Blogger's comment: This is the second fire in an OC Transpo bus in a week. What's going on with our buses? Are we safe?

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Off to see the Fireworks

Fireworks_Grande_Finale_2005 471 Fireworks - SouthAfrica (22)
Everybody likes a good fireworks show, and I'm no exception. As luck would have it, just across the Ottawa River at the Casino du Lac Leamy in Gatineau, Quebec, they hold an annual fireworks competition during the first couple of weeks in August.
The competition is between four countries and runs Wed and Sat nights, with a grand finale at the end of the competition. This years show is between Russia, Italy, France and Spain. Russia won the show last year and last I heard they were in the lead for this year.
Each night, rain or clear night, one country puts on a half hour show and then at the grand finale each country gets another 10 minutes to show their stuff before a winner is finally announced. Before and after the show there is live music and other entertainment for everyone young and old to enjoy.
The Grand Finale is quite the show, with 4 countries lighting off a show and then the Casino putting on a show of its own to celebrate the completion of the competition.
The pictures above are from the show a couple of years ago. Sadly I won't be able to take any pictures this year because one of the chips inside my camera has gone on the fritz, but I'll still enjoy the show.
More information on Les Grands Feux du Casino du Lac Leamy can be found here: Casino du Lac Leamy Fireworks Competition

Editors update: What a show! This year's theme of the competition was "L'amour".

A perfect evening, relatively clear for a change and no rain to deal with. The competitors had to deal with a slight breeze, but other than that there were no drawbacks tonight. The breeze helped keep the mosquitoes away.

In the end Spain won the Zeus trophy this year. Along with that award they'll get the honour of being first up in next year's competition. Well done Spain, you put on a magnificent show.

They used an excellent combination of colors and what I would consider a unique combination of low, medium, and high altitude blasts. I think this is the first time I've ever seen a fireworks show that wasn't mostly high altitude shots in the air. The Lac Leamy fireworks are fired from a barge out in the middle of the lake. Although most of the competitors fire shots into the lake that ignite and glow on the lake surface, some of Spain's fireworks were shot out onto and over the lake surface and then ignited to burst just above the lake instead of high into the air.

The only complaint I have about the Grand Finale show is the 10 minute intermission between the end of the first part of the show where all four countries put on a final show and the second part of the show where they announce the winner of the competition and the casino puts on the Grand Finale. The competition only implemented this last year, where in previous years the judges voted before the Grand Finale, and the country that won got to put on the Grand Finale. I'm not sure how they can work around that as I understand the judges need time to make their final decision, but I've noted the last two years that a good number of people that come to see the finale, leave after the last country has put on its show, not realizing that there's still more to come. Something to keep in mind should you decide to take in the competition next year.

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