December 3, 2017

December 3, 2017

Did you know December 3 is Make a Gift Day? According to DaysoftheYear.com:

There’s just something amazing about unwrapping a gift, wondering what’s inside. Underneath the wrapping paper could be anything, a CD from your favorite band, a new headset from Best Buy, any one of a million things from a million stores. But what’s really special is when you open up that paper and what’s found inside is a tangible representation of the love and adoration the person giving the gift felt you. Nothing says that like a hand-made gift, and on Make a Gift Day, you get to be the one to share that love with the people you care about.

You can celebrate this day as simply as making a gift! Everyone has skills, put yours to use and make something special. This could also be a great day to try something new and learn a new skill!

 

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December 2, 2017

December 2, 2017

A treasured holiday event, Oshawa Museum staff always look forward to our Annual Lamplight Tour.  Held on the first Saturday of December, our historic houses are decorated for the season, and there are activities for all ages.  Lamplight 2017 is today, December 2, from 6-8pm.

Here is a sampling of photographs from last year’s Lamplight.

December 1, 2017

December 1, 2017

Photograph of the McLaughlin Carriage Company’s (General Motors of Canada) Christmas Party, 1918. The photograph is of “2nd floor, Mary Street” and the image shows an empty hall with Christmas decorations. From the archival collection of the Oshawa Museum (A985.41.46)

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November 1, 2017

November 1, 2017

We’re one month away from the start of our annual Victorian Holiday Blog. Through the month of December, we will be sharing a new post a day, highlighting holiday happenings!

Stay tuned!

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December 31, 2016

December 31, 2016

Happy Hogmanay!

Hogmanay is the Scottish word for the last day of the year, or New Year’s Eve.  Customs vary throughout Scotland, however, they traditionally include giving of gifts and visiting the homes of friends and neighbours.  Special attention is given to the first-foot, a Scottish and Northern English custom, established in folklore. The first-foot is the first person to cross the threshold of a home on New Year’s Day, regarded as a bringer of good fortune for the coming year. The first-foot usually brings several gifts, perhaps a coin, bread, salt, coal, or a drink (usually whisky), which respectively represent financial prosperity, food, flavour, warmth, and good cheer.

Another custom which is prevalent in Scottish celebrations and others is the singing of Auld Lang Syne, a poem by Scottish poet Robbie Burns, written in 1788.  The tune to which it is traditionally sung is an old Scottish folk tune.

From all of us at the Oshawa Museum, Happy Hogmanay and Happy New Year!

December 30, 2016

December 30, 2016

There is one more day left in 2016.

Today is steeped in history.

On this day: 

1813 – War of 1812: British soldiers burn Buffalo, New York.
1896 – Canadian ice hockey player Ernie McLea scores the first hat-trick in Stanley Cup play, and the Cup-winning goal as the Montreal Victorias defeat the Winnipeg Victorias 6–5.
1903 – A fire at the Iroquois Theater in Chicago, Illinois kills at least 605.
1919 – Lincoln’s Inn in London, England, UK admits its first female bar student.
1922 – The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is formed.
1936 – The United Auto Workers union stages its first sitdown strike.
1981 – In the 39th game of his third NHL season, Wayne Gretzky scores five goals, giving him 50 on the year and setting a new NHL record previously held by Maurice Richard and Mike Bossy, who earlier had each scored 50 goals in 50 games.
2005 – Tropical Storm Zeta forms in the open Atlantic Ocean, tying the record for the latest tropical cyclone ever to form in the North Atlantic basin.

And if today is your birthday, then you share with these individuals:

1865 – Rudyard Kipling, English author and poet, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1936)
1869 – Stephen Leacock, English-Canadian political scientist and author (d. 1944)
1928 – Bo Diddley, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 2008)
1935 – Sandy Koufax, American baseball player and sportscaster
1940 – James Burrows, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter
1945 – Davy Jones, English singer-songwriter and actor (d. 2012)
1949 – Jim Flaherty, Canadian lawyer and politician, MP for Oshawa-Whitby, 37th Canadian Minister of Finance (d. 2014)
1953 – Meredith Vieira, American journalist and game show host
1957 – Matt Lauer, American television journalist and anchor
1961 – Douglas Coupland, German-Canadian author and playwright
1975 – Tiger Woods, American golfer
1980 – Eliza Dushku, American actress and producer
1984 – LeBron James, American basketball player and producer
1986 – Ellie Goulding, English singer-songwriter and producer

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Douglas Coupland’s Group Portrait 1957, installed at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, ON. Coupland celebrates a birthday on December 30!

December 29, 2016

December 29, 2016

Valleyview Park, Oshawa, c. 1950

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December 28, 2016

December 28, 2016

In 2016, Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, is celebrated from sunset on December 24 to nightfall on January 1, 2017.  Because the Jewish calendar is based on the lunar rather than the solar year, the date of Hanukkah moves about on the calendar and can land anywhere between November 25th and December 26th.

Hanukkah commemorates the Jewish people’s successful rebellion against the Greeks in the Maccabean War in 162 BCE.  After the victory, a ritual re-dedication was to take place in temple.  Oil that was only expected to last one night instead lasted eight nights.  This was seen as miraculous, and to celebrate this miracle, Hanukkah began and has been celebrated for over 1500 years.

Iconic of Hanukkah is the menorah, a nine branched candelabrum; on the first evening of Hanukkah one candle is lit and special prayers are said. On the second evening two candles are lit, and so on. The rest of the evening is spent singing songs, playing games, telling Hanukkah stories, and enjoying special holiday foods.

Children may also celebrate Hanukkah by spinning the dreidel, Each side of the dreidel bears a letter of the Hebrew alphabet: נ (Nun), ג (Gimel), ה (He), ש (Shin), which together form the acronym for “נס גדול היה שם” (Nes Gadol Hayah Sham – “a great miracle happened there”).

December 27, 2016

December 27, 2016

Have you seen any of the holiday blockbusters this year? If you were a movie-goer in 1927, you might have viewed Clara Bow’s latest film, Get Your Man, which played at the Regent Theatre on December 26, 27, and 28 that year.

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What was this movie about? As IMDB describes, “A young American girl in Paris falls in love with a handsome nobleman, but he is about to wed in an arranged marriage. She hatches a plan to overcome that obstacle and get her man.”

Clara Bow was a star of the silent film era, and her appearance in the movie ‘It’ helped solidify her position as, and coin the term, an ‘It Girl’ (I don’t know what It is, but she’s got It!).

December 26, 2016

December 26, 2016

Did you know that December 26th is National Candy Cane Day? It took a Church Choirmaster to create candy canes from straight sugar cane candies in order shut the mouths of talkative church going children. The cane shape is said to represent a Sheppard’s staff.  The first candy canes weren’t as colourful as we know them to be, rather they were plain white; the red and white striped candy canes were introduced in 1900.

December 26 is also Boxing Day in Canada, the UK, and other Commonwealth nations.  It isn’t a day reserved for the sport of Boxing (as I naively thought as a child!), but rather Boxing Day originated in England, where the word “boxing” refers to the distribution of small gifts of money.