Socials DOL: Vimy Ridge

The Battle of Vimy Ridge:

The Battle of Vimy Ridge was a conflict between the Canadian Corps and the German 6th Army from April 9th-12th, 1917. Vimy, located in France, was seized by the Germans early on in the First World War, and quickly fortified. Vimy was charged twice by French troops in 1915, but on both occasions the French failed, with a combined total of approximately 150000 casualties. After these attempts, British forces took control of the front line until October 1916, when Canadian troops arrived. Shortly after the arrival of the mostly untested Canadians, planning for a spring allied offensive began. The Canadian Corps were assigned to take Vimy and reconnaissance and preparation continued throughout the winter, leading up to the attack.

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The Vimy Memorial in France.


The perspective most Canadians alive at the time of Vimy was that it was a great success. Newspapers such as the Canadian Press heaped praise among those who fought in the battle, bragging about how tanks had “little to do” and how troops had cleared the ridge in just seven hours, while also referring to the seizure of the ridge as “the supreme moment”. Although wildly celebrated and glorified at home, Vimy was looked upon less fondly by the participants. One soldier was quoted as saying that Vimy was like “the Somme’s most terrible day multiplied by five.” Despite this, both soldiers and citizens of Canada both looked upon Vimy with feelings of pride and sadness, as although it was a great victory for Canada, over 10000 casualties were recorded during the battle.

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Vimy affected Canada very much socially. Having all of the Canadian divisions together for the first time, under a Canadian leader helped raise morale at home and abroad, as it symbolized the country fighting on a united front. It also showed the world that Canada was not just merely a meek British puppet, but a strong, independent nation that could carry its weight, and fight its own battles. Vimy demonstrated a shift in Canadian social identity, away from British dependence, as the Canadians prepared and fought with little to no assistance from the major powers, which had not happened before.

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Canadian troops in the trenches at Vimy


Vimy contributed to Canadian social autonomy because it displayed a nation coming out of the shadow of their colonial ruler and taking their rightful place on the world stage. King George himself even made an announcement specifically to Canadians, stating that “I heartily congratulate you (Canadians) and all who have taken part in this splendid achievement.” No dominion had ever been recognized personally by the king until the Canadians took Vimy ridge, which marked a move towards Canada’s recognition as a state autonomous of Britain. After Vimy, Canadians showed a desire to be independent from Britain that was stronger than ever before, which resulted in Canada being granted full independence in the years after the war.


Independent Novel Study Speech

Gordie Howe

Speech – Jackson Cyr


Over Gordie Howe’s unprecedented five decade-long NHL career, radio broadcasters announced him scoring 801 times, yet there was a time in Howe’s life where he couldn’t even afford skates, let alone pay the cost of playing on a hockey team. There is no doubt that Gordie Howe is a Canadian Icon, but what can his life show us about what it means to be Canadian? His life, as summarized in Mr. Hockey: the Autobiography of Gordie Howe can show us that being Canadian means so much more than being good at hockey, a common Canadian stereotype.


In 1928 Howe was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and was the fifth of nine children of Albert and Katherine Howe. As a young adolescent in the depression, Howe was far from well off. Growing up he faced plenty of adversity. He had to gather water for his family daily because they didn’t have running water, struggled with dyslexia, and had to hunt to help provide for his family. He had to hunt for an entire summer to pay for his first pair of oversized, second hand skates. These struggles showcase Howe’s perseverance and compassion for others: important aspects of Canadian identity.


This notable athlete  expressed the basis of what  it means to be a Canadian on a truly international scale. As one of hockey’s first superstars, his every movement was tracked by both Canadians and Americans on television,  the radio, and in the news; all the while serving as inspiration for Europeans when they started playing in the NHL. Playing most of his career in Detroit, Howe brought Canadian culture to America. Although regarded as a fierce monster on the ice, Howe was a complete gentleman off of it. When he signed for The Detroit Red Wings, his only condition was that he received a team jacket, showcasing his incredible humility. Up until the 1960s, Howe didn’t even negotiate his salary. He just went along with whatever Detroit felt like paying him, as he felt the money could be better used elsewhere. Even after he started standing up for his player rights as one of the team’s most remarkable MVPs, Howe still kept his salary modest, because greed was not in his nature. He always tried to help others out, just as Canadians do so often in our daily lives.


After completing his career, Howe used his money and fame to help youth experience the sport he loved so much. Howe built an ice rink for underprivileged youth, scraping together every penny he had and asking for donations from his wealthier friends. He spent his life continuing to raise awareness for the youth he had worked with and promoting active living. Moreover, Howe advocated for alzheimer’s research later in life, establishing the Gordie Howe CARES Foundation as he himself suffered from the disease. Howe exemplifies Canada’s value of giving back to those around us.

In conclusion, reading Mr. Hockey will not only give you a glimpse into a different era of Canada, but it will also show you how the core qualities that Canadians value have remained the same throughout the years. Humility, perseverance, compassion, and a willingness to help others remain as  core Canadian qualities, and Howe is a shining example of all these values. Reading this book will give the reader a deeper insight into what it means to be a Canadian, and will also help you truly understand Canadian values, all through the eyes of a truly inspiring, and quintessentially Canadian hero.


John A. Macdonald: Canada’s Guiding Hand

Sir John A. Macdonald: Canada’s Guiding Hand


John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first prime minister and a founding father, appears at first


glance to be a great figure in Canadian history. Recently, however, his name has become


embroiled in controversy due to some decisions made while in office that are now considered to


be very controversial. Calls for the removal of his name from the public sphere have amplified in


recent times, with swaths of people calling for the removal of his statues and the renaming of


schools bearing his name. The side calling for his removal cites his racist behaviours towards


indigenous peoples and his alcoholic tendencies as reasons why he should be removed,


regardless of his accomplishments in office. Although Macdonald did have his flaws,


Macdonald’s contributions to the formation of Canadian identity and the protection of Canadian


independence justify his position as a major figure in the public eye.


Macdonald’s national policy helped take Canada from “an eel skin of a country” to a


state with a defined presence on the global stage. In the early days after confederation, there


was significant doubt that the dominion would survive past infancy. The New York Times went


as far as to say that “when the experiment of the dominion shall have failed, as fail it must, a


process of peaceful absorption will give Canada her proper place in the Great North American


Republic” (Gwyn, 2015). Canada seemed headed on the path to Americanization, until


Macdonald enacted the national policy. It placed high tariffs on trade with America to encourage


the growth of the local economy and preserve Canada’s political and economic independence


from the U.S. It also boosted confidence among Canadians in the development of the country at


a time when growth seemed to be stalling and workers began leaving for a more prosperous life


down south. Macdonald’s revitalization of the economy and morale at a time when the country


was in a depression was an honourable act and as such he should be honoured by the public.


However, many in support of Macdonald’s removal claim his racist and bigoted actions


towards Canada’s indigenous people were too great an injustice to allow him to remain in the


public eye. However, the views that Macdonald held towards indigenous people were normal at


the time, and Macdonald actually presented a forward thinking idea of “co-mingling of the races”


(Gwyn, 2015). When Macdonald proposed the North West Mounted Police in 1870, he aimed to


create a force that would represent Canadians, and would include Metis, Indigenous,


Francophone, and Anglophone officers. Unfortunately his attempts at inclusiveness were


stopped by Louis Riel and the Red River Rebellion, but the fact that Macdonald even attempted


to include non whites in society was unprecedented at the time and shows how progressive he


was. When the NWMP was finally formed in 1873, it was successful in establishing “a good


relationship” with the Indigenous people (Peters, 2018). Macdonald’s attempts at including


indigenous peoples at a time when they were seen as lesser and treated poorly show how good


his leadership was and place him in a position to be remembered by Canadians.


Public institutions such as the Ontario Elementary Teachers Federation and Victoria City


Hall have been the centre of recent debate over whether Sir John A. Macdonald should remain


in the public sphere. Those for his removal cited his treatment of indigenous people as


justification, while the opposition stated that removing him would be “erasing the past” and that


his creation of Canadian identity are reasons for him remaining in his current position in the


public eye (Reid, 2019). If one considers the contributions Macdonald made to Canada


economically, through the national policy, as well as socially, through the North Western


Mounted Police, it is clear that Macdonald, although imperfect, did a great deal for Canada and


as such should be honoured for his achievements. By engaging in discussion about the past,


we can infer that even though norms and values change over time, there are certain figures who


we continue to honour in the present, even if the values they held at the time are no longer


accepted. In regards to this, without Sir John A. Macdonald’s leadership in the infancy of


Canada, the Canada we know and love today would not exist.




Moore, Christopher et al. “The Trials of John A. Macdonald.” Canada’s History Magazine, Feb. 2019.


“National Policy.” National Policy | The Canadian Encyclopedia, 7 Feb. 2006, Accessed 9 May 2019.


Peters, Hammerson. “How John A. Macdonald Helped the First Nations.” Canada History and Mysteries, Mysteries of Canada, 25 Aug. 2018, Accessed May 9 2019.


Gwyn, Richard. “Canada’s Father Figure” Canada’s History, Oct/Nov 2012. Accessed May 9 2019.


“The Formation of the RCMP.” The Formation of the RCMP | The Canadian Encyclopedia, The Canadian Encyclopedia, 22 Mar. 2013, Accessed May 9 2019.


In Depth Blog Post #6

In Depth is just a few weeks away, and I have begun preparing somewhat. I am making macaroons this weekend and will begin preparing doughs and batters for my learning center next week. The last few weeks have been very busy, so I wasn’t able to bake, but I have planned (generally) what I will be bringing. My plan is to bring a couple dozen gluten free cookies as well as some regular ones, a chocolate, vanilla, or red velvet cake, an apple pie, some plain meringues, and of course, some macaroons, although I have not yet decided on a macaroon flavour. My plan to present my learning is to have a display set up with some photos of me preparing baked goods, as well as having samples for visitors to try. I am going to focus more on the preparation aspect of my learning, as I feel that it is the most important in regards to my project. I hope that the audience will learn how fun baking is and how challenging it can be at times, because it is really easy to mess up while baking due to the level of precision required. The interactive part of my learning center will be the samples that I bring in, as well as pictures to try and spark conversation.

A Beautiful Mind:

List of concepts:

  • Binding (idea would be eggs or xanthan gum)
  • Gluten free baking (cookies, cakes, etc. or rice flour, soy, etc.)
  • Leavening (yeast, baking powder, baking soda)
  • Mixing (creaming, whipping, folding, kneading, blending, beating)
  • Measuring (dry measures, liquid measures, measuring spoons)


Alternatives: My mentor has offered me many alternatives all throughout my project. When I was discussing pies with her, for example, I was thinking about doing a pie crust from a recipe I had found online but my mentor provided me with an alternative recipe that ended up working really well. Mrs. Priestly also provided me with alternatives for my gluten free baking. She gave me numerous alternatives to regular flour as well as xanthan gum as an alternative to eggs as a binding agent. She also opened me up to the alternative of baking a lemon meringue pie rather than a normal fruit pie so I could branch out and also cover two foods, pie and meringue, in one go. The alternatives that Mrs. Priestly offered me were not all of the possible alternatives to my ideas. A lot of alternatives in baking are purely opinion based, so a different mentor might have recommended using something other than xanthan gum or baking a key lime pie or chocolate pie instead of a lemon meringue pie based off of personal experiences or opinions.


Biography Check In

Passage 1: “we didn’t have water, no one did […] The city kept a tap on every other block, and it was up to each household to carry water from there.”

I was interested by this passage because it shows the kind of adversity that Gordie Howe faced while growing up. Although he lived in a big Canadian city, he didn’t have running water and would be forced to make daily trips just so his family could have drinking water. As a 21st century Canadian, I find it hard to imagine that there are people who wake up every morning without water, and it’s even harder to imagine that being the case in Canada in the 1930s. It’s mind blowing how much better life has gotten even over the past 80 years.

Given that this passage is from Saskatoon in the 1930s, it provides some insight into a difficult time in Canadian history. This period of time was during the great depression, and it shows the resilience of the people of the time. The wisdom that one can take away from this passage is to be thankful for what you have, and to be resilient when facing difficult situations. This passage shows a clear contrast to being a Canadian now and being a Canadian 90 years ago. Being a Canadian now guarantees you access to drinking water straight out of your home, centralized heating, plumbing, and other luxuries. It shows that being a Canadian in modern times comes hand in hand with a certain set of rights and freedoms that were not guaranteed to all Canadians in Gordie Howe’s early days.


Passage 2: “The scene on the ice was crazy […] I saw someone coming up on us on a run. I knew what I was supposed to do, and didn’t hesitate. I raised my stick and cracked him on the head”

I found this passage intriguing because it showed a different side of Gordie Howe than the one I had seen up to that point. He had been a bit mischievous but had seemed pretty peaceful but this showed his dark side. I also found it interesting because after this incident, Gordie was let off with a warning, which certainly wouldn’t happen nowadays.

This passage might provide some insight into how little importance was placed around security at the time. In this passage, the ice is flooded with fans and players alike, something that would never happen nowadays, which shows a change in values around security in general. There is now glass to separate the fans from the players and there is a heavy security presence at sporting events, showing that people have placed safety and security above being close to the players and the game.


Passage 3: “I was the sixth of nine children, so she knew what to do. With only a couple kids around for company, she but some water on the stove and got into bed. After I was born, she cut the umbilical cord herself and waited for my dad to come home.”

I was intrigued by this passage because of how typical this process seemed for Gordie Howe’s mother. Nowadays we tend to make a big deal about a pregnant mother delivering her baby and offer a lot of services for pregnant mothers, but this passage shows how typical it was to go through this process alone.  It shows again how resourceful people had to be back before the age of convenience. I would find it interesting to see what would happen if she had needed a C section, as I was born from a C section and I’m not sure what the chances of both the mother and child surviving would be if there was no doctor nearby.

I think this passage provides insight into the value of being self sustainable at the time. This is just another of many examples that show how much people had to do to gain access to things that we have at practically the push of a button. It also provides insight into the time before Canadians had free healthcare, so even if the Howe’s had access to a doctor they probably wouldn’t have used one because it would have cost them significantly. Another value of the time that is shown is the value of women as childbearers. It was not uncommon back in the 1930s for families to have 4, 5 or even more children as they had a lower chance of survival, whereas today the average number of children per family is less than 2 due to an improved health infrastructure, as well as other factors, such as the price of raising a child.


Passage 4: “I walked past the school until I hit the railroad tracks. From there I went into the first big factory I saw and asked if there were any jobs available […] Since I was still a minor, though, they needed someone from the hockey club to vouch for me. When they called, a team official told them that if I wanted to work, they should let me work. That’s how easy it was for me to quit school and end up working in a metal factory”

I was interested by this passage because as a 15 year old, the same age Gordie Howe was when he started working, I would never even consider working in a factory, let alone be allowed to work in one. I also wouldn’t just be allowed to drop school to work, but Gordie did it with ease and no one even tried to talk him out of it. It also seems interesting that a shy student would quit school all together just because they were nervous to go to a new school. I just can’t fathom that happening to anybody nowadays.

I think this passage provides insight into how different values around working age were at the time. The norm of dropping out of school to go to young age has changed a lot since the time of the passage. At the time, there was not a culture based around education like there is now, so school was sort of seen as this alternative option that wasn’t necessary to be successful. The norm now is that you finish high school and generally pursue some kind of post secondary education. There would also not be this value that a child as young as 15 could just quit school because they were scared to go, and work instead. No club executive would just simply put the decision on the player, as was done with Gordie Howe. They would definitely keep the player in school because otherwise it would reflect extremely poorly on the organization.


Passage 5: “We didn’t just go our sperate ways after practice. The younger guys especially spent all kinds of time together. […] and many of us even lived under the same roofs.”

I found this passage to be intriguing because of the way it shows the lifestyle of people was back in the 1940s. These famous, well paid hockey players were down to earth and did the same things to pass the time that an ordinary person did. When you compare that to the lavish lives that athletes live nowadays, it’s a totally different world. What I find especially interesting is the closeness of team mates. On sports teams now, players only practice together, but back then, they were family. Nobody was above anyone else because everybody was friends.

I think this passage provides insight into the value placed around family and humility in the 1940s. Players living together and doing things that good friends do with each other showed how much players cared about each other and were willing to put aside their differences for the good of the team. This is in direct contrast to modern day, where you hear about players forming factions and having a toxic personality in the dressing room, because they are self centered. That value of getting along has been replaced by the value of only looking out for oneself, which has in my opinion made people less humble and has created a lot of division in modern times.


The overall theme that I can take away from my reading so far is that being resilient in times of difficulty often strengthens character. This is because these hard times, such as having to walk to gather water or work as a minor challenge you to your limits and if you stand your ground and work hard, than you will get through the challenge and come out as a better person on the other side. I can apply this to my own life because I am facing the first big challenge of my life, graduating and becoming an adult within the next few years, and this will bring major challenges to my life as I will no longer be covered by my parents, so I will have to work hard to be successful and come out on the other side.

In Depth Blog Post #5

Well, The tail end of In Depth is upon me, and I only have a couple more things to make before I start to plan for In Depth! The past few weeks have been pretty productive. Over spring break I had some free time so I baked a couple of pies. I firstly made an apple pie, which was relatively straightforward except for the thatching on top, and a lemon meringue pie. The lemon meringue pie was more difficult because not only had I never made meringue before, which led me to making a mess since it took a couple tries to get right, it was  also different on top of the pie, and I baked it a little longer than I should have so the meringue was a little burnt. Although I had some struggles in baking my second pie, it provided me with some good learning experience to take into the future, especially when I start preparing for In Depth night.

I also have started watching some tutorials on making macaroons and it seems to be pretty difficult, but definitely doable. Even the professionals who are showing me how to make the macaroons mess up fairly often. I feel that it might take a couple of tries to get everything right because of the fine margin for error in preparation, but I should be able to pull off at least a decent batch of macaroons. After that I will start planning for the big night, and I’m already getting excited!


(I was unable to meet with Mrs. Priestly last week but I have a meeting with her this Thursday, so I will update the post with the five hats section later that day.)

In-Depth Blog Post #4

Once again, time seems to disappear with in depth! It’s already week 7! My project is still going strong, and over the past couple weeks I’ve been doing some research and experimentation with gluten free baking. My original plan during this time was to focus on pies but due to time constraints I decided that I would work on pies during spring break. While I was researching, I found some interesting information about the types of flour supplements that are used. I found that the most common types are almond flour, rice flour, oat flour, coconut flour, and sorghum flour. What I also learned about these flours was that the lack of gluten made them weaker and less able to form a strong structure due to the lack of gluten, so I had to use xanthan gum as a substitute in order to keep my dough together. Even with this, the dough seemed to be weaker in a sense than normal dough and it seemed to take longer to cook, but everything still worked out in the end. 

A Beautiful Mind: 

#4 what information are you getting and what questions did you ask to probe further into the topic?/#8 Ask for an explanation for a certain skill you are learning. Discuss what happened 

I asked Mrs. Priestly about some of the commonly used ingredients used on gluten free baking, mainly xanthan gum, as seen below, and she gave a very good explanation of both the properties of it and how it is similar and different than gluten. 

Me: what is xanthan gum and how does it help support the integrity of dough or batter? 

Mrs Priestly: Xanthan gum is a thickening agent that helps to build the structure in dough, keeps ingredients together, and helps to stabilize the dough. 

Me: Is xanthan gum better than gluten? 

Mrs. Priestly: In terms of price, normal flour containing gluten is better because it is much cheaper than xanthan gum but they have a very similar effect on dough. Gluten sometimes needs to be activated by kneading or folding so it can take a little more effort to activate. 

#5 Discuss any new points of view you developed while in conversation with your mentor. 

While I was talking to Mrs. Priestly about the difference between gluten and xanthan gum I developed the point of view that from the perspective of someone who doesn’t have much money or time than gluten free baking is a waste of time because it can be more expensive and since you have to measure out more than just flour it can be more time consuming. 


Links to photos (I made more cookies but the other photo was too large to store)


Romeo and Juliet Act ll Critical Response

  1. Based on what we have read so far, I believe that Romeo and Juliet’s relationship is “puppy love” because they don’t yet know each other on a personal level, and are mostly just basing their love off of their first encounter together. Romeo spends most of his time with Juliet discussing her looks, as that is the main reason why he is in love with her. Juliet, although slower moving and more cautious, also fell in love with Romeo at first sight, showing that their love is based mostly on looks and not on an actual connection between them. We also see in Romeo’s first encounter with Juliet that looks are all that matter to him, as he goes into the party thinking that Rosaline, his original love, is the fairest woman he has ever seen, even going so far as to say “the all seeing sun ne’er saw her match since first the world begun” (l. 2. 92-93). After this, he goes into the party and sees Juliet, immediately forgetting Rosaline and saying that “Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night” (l. 5. 52-53). This shows that Romeo will ditch whoever he loves if there is someone he considers prettier, meaning that his love is not true and deep, but shallow and temporary, like puppy love.


2.  Kulich’s argument is effective and historically accurate because of the time when the play was written. Romeo and Juliet was written between 1591 and 1595, in England. At this time, there was no law dictating the age at which someone could be married, but generally in Europe at the time children would be married when they started showing signs of puberty, at age 12 in girls and age 14 in boys. At this time children would also start working and being treated as adults, and being both rewarded and punished as such. This shows that at the time, children were considered mature adults who were capable of handling adult matters such as marriage, proving Kulich’s point that Romeo and Juliet are both adults.

In-Depth Blog Post #3

So, it’s been an interesting couple of weeks with the wacky weather and all, but I still managed to get a bit of baking in. I made red velvet cupcakes (although I used too little food colouring so they turned out more brown then red) as a part of the cake portion of my project, as seen below, and I will be making a regular vanilla cake tomorrow, along with some creme anglaise. Things are going along smoothly and I will move on to meringues this weekend, after meeting with and discussing my progress with Mrs. Priestly on Thursday.

How to be Interesting

While I was conversing with Mrs. Priestly, I made a rather obvious connection my In-Depth and my foods class, which Mrs. Priestly teaches. She acknowledged this connection, and generated interest by saying that we could potentially do some of the recipes that I plan on doing later on in the semester. This would be of great benefit to me because I could share my passion with my classmates and practice my baking skills all at once. It would also allow me more time to experiment with the recipes, as I could get the basics out of the way during class time. She said we could potentially do pies or eclairs after spring break, so I could try making different kinds of these goods or add different flavours to change things up. When we were discussing why I chose baking I told her a story about my Christmas tradition of baking with my Grandmother. I have fond memories of baking gingerbread cookies, fruitcake, and other seasonal treats, and I chose to do baking for my In-Depth because I wanted to remind myself of those happy times. I look forward to focusing on listening during my next session with Mrs. Priestly, and will report back with my findings soon.