Thursday, 21 November 2013

█ ♥ █ Canadian Bands: Frank Mills

Frank Mills (born June 27, 1942 in Montreal, Quebec), is a Canadian pianist and recording artist, best known for his solo instrumental hit "Music Box Dancer".

Mills grew up in Verdun, Quebec and started playing piano at the age of three. He attended McGill University for five years. He began with Engineering, switched to a B.Sc. programme, then Arts and finally studied in the Department of Music. He entertained his fraternity brothers (Delta Upsilon) with songs from ragtime to a new artist Bob Dylan. The fraternity piano had thumbtacks on every hammer and produced a unique sound. In the late 1960s Mills became a member of The Bells. He left the band in 1971 just before it had international success with the single "Stay Awhile."

Mills worked as a pianist for CBC-TV and recorded his first solo album, Seven Of My Songs, which produced the hit single "Love Me, Love Me Love". The song made its debut on the Canadian charts in October 1971 and early the following year peaked at number 46 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 8 on Billboard′s Easy Listening chart. His follow-up single, a cover of Ricky Nelson's "Poor Little Fool" made Top 25 in Canada but stalled at number 106 in the U.S.

Mills released an album in 1974 that featured "Music Box Dancer", but it was not a hit initially. When he re-signed with Polydor Records Canada in 1978, the label released a new song as a single, with "Music Box Dancer" on the B-side. The single was sent to easy-listening stations in Canada, but a copy was sent in error to CFRA-AM, a pop station in Ottawa. The program director played the A-side and could not figure out why it had been sent to his station, so he played the B-side to see if the record was mistakenly marked. He liked "Music Box Dancer" and added it to his station's playlist, turning the record into a Canadian hit. Iconic Ottawa Valley radio personality Dave "50,000" Watts gave the record extensive airplay on the station. The album went gold in Canada, which prompted Polydor in the US to release the album and single.

In Nashville, news producer Bob Parker at WNGE-TV began playing the song over the closing credits of the newscast. Nashville DJs quickly latched on and both the single and album were hits. The million-selling Gold-certified single reached number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the spring of 1979 as well as number 4 on the Billboard Easy Listening chart, while the album reached number 21 on the Billboard Top Album chart and also went gold. Polydor awarded a gold record to TV station WNGE for breaking the single in the U.S.


Thursday, 29 August 2013



We know there are many things Canadian that make us who we are, but here are more interesting Canadian-related facts you probably never knew!

1.  The Royal Canadian Mint have produced more than 52 billion coins for dozens of countries including Centavos for Cuba, kroner for Norway, and pesos for Colombia.  Their longest continuous contract for producing foreign coins is with Barbados – more than 30 years. The Winnipeg Mint is Canada's high-volume coin production powerhouse. Here, the industry's most technologically advanced processes and equipment produce up to 15 million plated coins each day for Canadian and foreign circulation.

Other TRCM Facts:
  • Take a look in your wallet. You may find a coloured Poppy coin from 2004. If so, you're holding a piece of history because it is the first coloured circulation coin in the world!

It took a while for people to get used to it. In fact, it was mistaken as a spy coin. When American defence contractors first saw the poppy coin in 2007, they examined the coin's security features and incorrectly concluded that the protective coating was being used to hide a surveillance device!
  • As most of us 'older' Canadians know, before the loonie and the toonie we used paper money for the 1 and 2 dollars.  But we bet you didn't know there is an interesting unsolved mystery... the original design for the loonie was of the voyageurs, the explorers in Canada but somehow, the mold was lost between Ottawa and Winnipeg and never recovered. Where is it? Did it fall off a truck? Nobody knows and so to prevent counterfeit money, The Royal Canadian Mint changed the design to the loonie.
  • In another cool 'first', in 2012 the mint produced 'Glow in the Dark' dinosaur coins.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Walkers Creek Condo Construction and Fire Damage

Construction began on the first vertical condominium in St. Catharines in over 20 years. 
Construction started in November of 2012 and was well underway when a fire broke out in May of 2013.

Start of Construction

Partial side and back of condo as seen through the trees

February 2013, A Few Months Later...

Friday, 29 March 2013

In Pictures: Moraine Lake, ALBERTA

Flickr Photo by  Enro 
Welcome to Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta!   You may have heard many say that Moraine Lake and its surrounding valley are thought to be the best of the Canadian Rockies.

No, the photo to your left is not a fake.  Yes, the water is really that colour!  Words cannot begin to describe the beauty and awesomeness of this place.

Moraine Lake is a glacially-fed lake in Banff National Park, 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) outside the Village of Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada. It is situated in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, at an elevation of approximately 6,183 feet (1,885 m). The lake has a surface area of .5 square kilometres (0.19 sq mi).

The lake, being glacially fed, does not reach its crest until mid to late June. When it is full, it reflects a distinct shade of blue. The colour is due to the refraction of light off the rock flour deposited in the lake on a continual basis.

In Pictures...
On a cloudy, sunny, or winter day, this place is spectacular - from any angle!

Flickr Photo by Seb Przd

Sunday, 3 February 2013

5 of Canada's Most Gruelling Places to Hike

Sunshine Village, Alta. To Mt. Assiniboine, B.C.

Sunshine Village, Alta. To Mt. Assiniboine, B.C
56 km.  Roughly six days to complete.

... Rock Isle Lake reveals itself.  This is the first of three lakes at Sunshine Meadows, and the most famous, thanks to the tree-covered island in the middle of the lake.
Image credit:

Mount Assiniboine seen from Sunburst Lake

Why do the hike?
This spot is only accessible on foot or by helicopter and is renowned for its stunning views and opportunity to see wildlife, including mountain goats, bighorn sheep, elk and deer.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

█ ♥ █ Canadian Bands: Big Sugar

Big Sugar
Big Sugar the Canadian blues-rock band was active from 1991 to 2004 and then later from April 2010 since. The band has sold more than half a million albums in Canada.

Big Sugar officially formed in 1988 in Toronto, Ontario, consisting of vocalist and guitarist Gordie Johnson, bassist Terry Wilkins, and drummer Al Cross, though the three musicians had already played together for several years as an informal jam band with members of the Bourbon Tabernacle Choir, and as a supporting band for Molly Johnson's jazz performances. After Molly Johnson returned to rock music with Infidels, she helped her former bandmates to secure a record deal; their eponymous debut album was released in 1991 on Hypnotic Records.