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Feb 28, 2014 Tidbits Media

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by Janet Spencer Noted Italian operatic singer Enrico Caruso was born on February 25, 1873. In honor of that event, come along with Tidbits as we attend the opera! ENRICO CARUSO • Caruso was one of the first opera singers to have his voice professionally recorded. He made nearly 300 recordings between 1902 and 1920, which was just before he died. As a result, his recordings are available today on CD or digital download. His 1904 recording of “Vesti la giubba” (“put on the costumes”) from the opera Pagliacci was the first sound recording to sell a million copies. Because of the popularity of his recordings, he was one of the most famous celebrities of his day.

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• He also made history when he was broadcast live from the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House in 1910 in the first radio broadcast to be publicly transmitted in the United States.

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• In 1906, Caruso performed in San Francisco the night before the big earthquake shook the town to its roots. He was so unnerved by the experience that he feared the shock would damage his voice. Standing in the shattered ruins of his hotel, he stood by a broken window, singing at the top of his lungs in order to be sure his voice was unharmed. He swore he’d never return to San Francisco, and he kept his word.

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Page 2 Across 1 Clods 5 Got a chuckle out of 11 Roulette bet 14 Lawyer’s assistant, for short 15 Vox __: voice of the people 16 Architect I.M. 17 Ending from Ali 19 Plumbing pipe initials 20 Very long time 21 Ending from Nixon 23 Civil War soldier 25 Unhittable serve 27 Proverbial waste maker 28 Ship’s front 30 Dilbert creator Scott 34 Poet’s “at no time” 35 Abandon on an isle 37 Superman and Batman wear them 39 Ending from the Elephant Man 42 Parcels (out) 43 Car window adornments 46 Atlas pages 49 Boss’s nervousnessinducing note 51 Banjo support of song 52 “It’s __!”: warning shout 54 Humanities major 56 Archer’s wood 57 Ending from Lennon and McCartney


61 Miss. neighbor 63 Salt, in Quebec 64 Ending from Beyonce 68 One: Pref. 69 Copenhagen’s __ Gardens 70 Hullabaloos 71 Beginning for this puzzle’s five endings 72 Annie, for one 73 Sibilant “Hey, you!” Down 1 Make a choice 2 Backrub response 3 Not a child of bondage 4 Pudding starch 5 King Kong, e.g. 6 Sounded ghostly 7 Until 8 Bird feeder filler 9 Movie lioness 10 Roadside depression 11 Go up against 12 Spend, as time 13 Haggle 18 Genetic letters 22 Plunder 23 Turntable no. 24 Time in history 26 Ear passages 29 Carpentry tool 31 __ of mistaken identity 32 “Oh, brother!” 33 “Itsy bitsy” waterspout

CARMEN FACTS • Carmen by George Bizet is one of the most frequently performed operas, and the “Toreador Song” is one of the most widely recognized operatic tunes. • Enrico Caruso and Maria Jeritza starred in a production of Carmen in which real horses were used. One horse relieved himself, leaving a huge puddle. When the climactic death scene arrived, Caruso stabbed Maria, but she refused to fall down dead. “Die! Fall will you!” Caruso shouted, and she sang, “I’ll die if you can find me a clean place!” • The most tacky version of Carmen was probably the silent movie version that was made in 1915. • During one performance of Carmen a dog wandered on stage and became fascinated by the conductor’s waving baton. The dog enjoyed fetching sticks and couldn’t understand why the conductor wouldn’t throw the baton for him to retrieve. The dog began to bark and the barking became louder when the conductor used the baton to try to shoo the dog away. The curtain came down and the dog was removed. • Many cats reside in the outdoor arena in Verona and in one performance of Carmen, a kitty came out from behind the wings and started rubbing up against Don Jose’s legs, purring and meowing just as he was preparing to murder Carmen. • A performance of Carmen was being staged in Mexico City. The singer playing the part of Don José had a long wait back stage while Acts 3 and 4 progressed, so he decided to dash out to get a beer in a local tavern. No sooner had he entered one than he was arrested by a couple of cops who saw his scruffy clothing and dragged him off to jail. When he informed them he was a tenor

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Famous Canadians

Measha Brueggergosman

• Measha Gosman was born in New Brunswick in 1977. As a youngster, she sang in the choir of the Baptist church. She had an aptitude for music and began taking voice and piano lessons at the age of seven. As a teen, she spent summers on a scholarship at the Boston Conservatory, and she also studied with noted soprano Wendy Nielsen. She got a bachelor degree in music at the University of Toronto and then earned her masters degree in Germany. • When she married a Swiss man named Markus Bruegger, they combined their last names, and she became Measha Brueggergosman. • Measha was only 20 years old when she played the lead role in the premiere of the opera Beatrice Chancy. The opera tells the story of a slave girl in 19th century rural Nova Scotia who murders her abusive father, who is also her master. The opera was well received, as was her performance. In 2000 it was filmed for the CBC. • Since then, she has appeared throughout Canada, performing with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, and at Roy Thomson Hall. She’s also performed internationally, in the U.S., Germany, and elsewhere. She sang on William Bolcom’s album Songs of Innocence and Experience which won three Grammy awards, including Best Classical Album. • In 2012, Measha was a judge on the short-lived Canadian reality show Canada’s Got Talent. • In 2007, she appeared on the British show Who Do You Think You Are in which genealogy experts trace the family tree of famous celebrities. • On the show Who Do You Think You Are, Measha discovered that her great-great-greatgreat grandparents escaped from slavery during the Revolutionary War. The British granted freedom to all slaves who escaped

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CARMEN FACTS REC’D singing opera, they informed him he was drunk. He could only convince them by singing his part in the opera. • When Princess Victoria, eldest daughter of Queen Victoria, wed Prince Frederick William of Prussia, she picked out music of her two favorite composers. One was the “Bridal Chorus” from Richard Wagner’s opera Lohengrin, and the other was the “Wedding March” from Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Copy cat brides in England chose the same music, starting a tradition that continues today: “Here comes the bride, all dressed in white...” • An opera called “The Prophet” written in 1849 by Giacomo Meyerbeer packed houses all over Europe because of the popularity of the rollerskating scene. Arm in arm, the diva and the baritone sang a duet while doing figure eights around the stage. • The original Engelbert Humperdinck was a German musician in the late 1800s. He wrote the opera Hansel and Gretel. • A age 2, William Gilbert was kidnapped from his home in Italy, and the ransom his parents paid was one pound of sterling silver for

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each pound of baby— 25 pounds in all. When Gilbert grew up and started working with Arthur Sullivan, he incorporated this incident into two of his operettas. • In the opera Othello, Othello is the only black actor. But in New Orleans in 1955, the actor playing the part became ill, and the understudy did too. Nowhere in town was there another black man who knew the part. However, there was a white man who could sing and knew all the words. So the play was revised a bit, becoming the only all-black performance of Othello with a white star. • When the orchestra met for the dress rehearsal of The Magic Flute in London on April 1, 1948, conductor Karl Rankl began directing the music, only to be astonished when, instead of The Magic Flute, the players launched into the overture from Carmen. It was an April Fool’s Day joke. A TOAST TO AN OPERA SINGER • Helen Porter Mitchell was born in Melbourne, Australia, in 1861. She showed remarkable musical ability, with a voice spanning three Video View

DVD Reviews

“GRAVITY”: One of 2013’s true blockbusters - and rightfully so - director and co-writer Alfonso Cuaron’s nail-biter strands astronauts, played by Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, in space after debris from a satellite strikes their shuttle. As technically realistic and excellent as the film is, Bullock’s emotional, affecting performance is equally key to the picture’s success. DVD extras: three “making-of ” documentaries; “Collision Point: The Race to Clean Up Space” documentary; short film “Aningaaq.” ****

“THOR: THE DARK WORLD”: The Norse god (again played by Chris Hemsworth) shuttles between Earth and his homeland, thanks to a portal that his true love, Jane (fellow returnee Natalie Portman), has a hand in enabling, in this entertaining sequel that furthers the Marvel hero’s adventures. Tom Hiddleston remains the potential show stealer as Thor’s brother Loki, who may prove more ally than enemy as the entire world is threatened by the potential results of that interplanetary tunnel’s existence. Kat Dennings (“2 Broke Girls”) still is a particularly bright spot in a cast that also brings back Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgard, Idris Elba and Ray Stevenson. DVD extras: two “makingof ” documentaries; audio commentary by Hiddleston, director Alan Taylor, producer Kevin Feige and cinematographer Kramer Morgenthau; deleted and extended scenes; outtakes; “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” preview. *** “NEBRASKA”: Currently nominated for six Oscars - including best picture, actor (Bruce Dern), supporting actress (June Squibb) and director (Alexander Payne) - this superb comedy-drama, filmed in black and white, follows the odyssey of a father and son (Dern, Will Forte) as they set out to claim a $1 million sweepstakes prize the elder man believes he’s won. Stacy Keach and Bob Odenkirk also appear in the picture that marks Payne’s teaming with another Dern, having directed Laura Dern in his first feature-length project, “Citizen Ruth.” **** “BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR”: One of the most noted foreign films of the past year though it didn’t receive an Oscar nomination for best feature from overseas, since its theatrical release in its native France came after the deadline - boasts acclaimed performances by Lea Seydoux and Adele Exarchopoulos as two young women united in a very intimate relationship. The drama’s Criterion Collection treatment includes a booklet about the genesis and production of the movie. *** “L.A. LAW: SEASON ONE”: One of the most popular law dramas in television history makes its DVD debut, focusing on the personal and professional lives of the attorneys in a high-profile California firm. Harry Hamlin, Jimmy Smits, and real-life spouses Jill Eikenberry and Michael Tucker are among those playing the lawyers, with Susan Dey as a public defender and Richard E. Dysart and Alan Rachins as senior partners ... and viewers who may not know already will learn what the “Venus Butterfly” is. Executive producer Steven Bochco co-created the show. Alfre Woodard gives a stunning, Emmy-winning performance in the series pilot. DVD extras: interviews with Bochco and cast members. ****

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Tidbits Of Tri Cities

Lifestyle Bits Healing through Blood-brain barrier

The blood-brain barrier protects the brain from harmful chemicals in the blood, but it also blocks drugs from reaching the brain, it is more accurate to consider it as a sifter or filter through which only molecules of a certain size can pass. Researchers in Sweden have suggested that omega-3 fatty acid supplements can cross through this barrier in Alzheimer’s patients, influencing CNS markers for the disease and thereby calming inflammation of the brain. The American Medical Association determined that if they could find an agent that could pass the blood-brain barrier, they would be able to hopefully cure Alzheimer disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease and Parkinson disease. It is known that the substance sesquiterpenes that is found in Frankincense and Sandalwood are able to go beyond the blood- brain barrier. Fat solubility seems to be another factor which facilitates passage through the blood-brain barrier. Water soluble molecules cannot easily penetrate into brain tissue, even if they are very small. The molecules of essential oils are all not only small, but lipid soluble as well.

Lifestyle suggestions

Strengthening and re-tuning Use pure therapeutic essential oils by putting a drop or two on the bottom of your feet and rubbing it in, it can oxygenate human tissue and is especially effective in fighting cancer cells. Inhaled Essential Oils reach the olfactory bulb within seconds and will cause the brain to react. Essential Oils are more than just pleasant aromas! It is nature’s best medicine. Some of the essential oils can also pass through the blood-brain barrier to the limbic system in the brain, where they can influence the endocrine and nervous systems. It shouldn’t come as a surprise then that these essential oils are used for calming, spiritual and meditation. It brings fundamental changes in physical, mental and emotional wellbeing by triggering, and strengthening our bodies’ own natural responses Refueling If you are experiencing loss of memory, glucose intolerance or fatigue add Coconut oil to your dietary plan. Choose a good source of Omega oils (such as wild salmon) and add regularly to your meals, otherwise supplement with good quality fish oils.

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from American rebels, which threw many plantations into chaos as slaves fled to freedom with the British. After the war, the British transported about 3,500 newly freed slaves to Nova Scotia where they were free to build new lives for themselves. Measha’s ancestors, John and Rose Gosman, and their baby daughter Fanny (who was born a free citizen because she was born behind British lines) traveled to Canada in 1783 on one of the last ships to leave New York for Nova Scotia. So Measha’s Canadian roots are deep and longstanding.

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rupture in her aorta. She was in surgery four hours later. “I think the reason most people die of a dissected aorta is because it’s hard to detect and even more difficult to catch before you die of internal bleeding,” she says.

• Measha nearly lost her life in 2009 when she suffered from a dissected aorta that was misdiagnosed. “Essentially, I had ignored my blood pressure,” she admits. She felt pressure at the base • After she recovered from surgery, she enjoyed of her neck and started experiencing numbness one of the highlights of her career when she in her shoulders and extremities. When her legs performed the Olympic Hymn at the Opening gave out, she went to the emergency room, but Ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Games. “I was sent home the following day with blood would have sang that from the coffin, are you pressure medication. Her doctor sent her to a kidding?” she quipped. When told that 2.5 different hospital, where an MRI showed the billion people were watching, she admits, “I almost threw up!”

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/TidbitsTriCities GREAT THEATRICAL GOOFS • In the opera Gotterdammerung, two extras walk on stage, pick up the bier with Siefried lying on it, and carry it solemnly into the wings. One evening, one of the extras fell ill, so a stage manager called in a replacement. He felt a rehearsal was uncalled for with such a simple scene, so he just explained to the new bier-carrier what to do. When the scene came up, the two men entered the stage and each man picked up an end of the bier— only to find that they were facing each other. So they both put the bier down, turned around, and found themselves facing opposite ends of the stage. Only on the third try did they get it right. The audience applauded uproariously. • In Rigoletto, the star is humpback. At one performance in Paris, Rigoletto’s hump slowly slid down his back as he sang, until the audience was presented with a perfectly normal man with a really enormous butt. • In Siegfried, the hero slowly forges a sword, then lifts it and brings it down upon the anvil, which

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splits apart. Too bad for singer Lauritz Melchior that the stage hand cued the anvil split three seconds before he struck it with his sword. • Hans Hotter was singing in Die Walkure when he was to grab an enormous cloak, throw it around his shoulders, and stride boldly onto stage. He didn’t understand why the audience was laughing until he discovered he had failed to remove the fluffy pink coat hanger from the cloak before draping it over his shoulders. • In Lohengrin, the star tenor is to step into a swan boat and be carried off. But at the Met in 1936, the swan boat disembarked before tenor Lauritz Melchior was able to get in. Melchior looked at the audience and sang in German, “When does the next swan leave?” • In the opera Tosca, the soprano playing the lead role of Tosca dramatically throws herself to her death off the battlements of the castle. Normally the singer lands unharmed on a mattress backstage, but in this production a trampoline was used instead. The result was that the rather heavy singer bounced into view of the audience several times before finally “dying.” • It was the premiere of the new opera Charles VI in Paris in 1849. At the beginning of the aria called “Oh God, Kill Him!”, a member of the opera company fell dead. The next night at the same point in the production, a member of the audience died. When, at the third performance, the leader of the orchestra died, Napoleon III banned the opera. • In one production of The Magic Flute, the scenery consisted of several triangular pillars. On each side of the pillars a different part of the scenery was painted. In order to change the scene from the forest to the temple, the stage hands standing inside the pillars only had to turn 120 degrees. During the second half of the opera, characters Papageno and Tamino were conversing in song when two of the stage hands lost their balance and crashed to the ground. Calls for help were heard issuing from inside the pillars. Papageno looked at Tamino, and Tamino looked at Papageno, and together they proceeded to the back of the stage where, with much ad-libbing, they heaved the pillars upright. They then returned to the front of the stage to continue the opera, but not before receiving a tremendous round of applause. • The Cairo Opera House was destroyed by fire in 1970. It was rather ironic considering that the Cairo fire station was located inside the same building.

Home Bits

18 Things a New Homeowner Should Do Immediately to Save Money 11. Mark any cracks in the basement with dated masking tape. Many homes have a few small cracks in their basement walls from the settling of the foundation and the weight of the house. In a stable home, the small cracks aren’t growing at all – they’re safe. If they’re growing, however, you’ll save a ton of money by getting the problem addressed now rather than later. Take some masking tape and cover up the end of any cracks you notice inside or outside, and write today’s date on the tape. Then, in a few months, check the tape – if you see a crack growing out of the end of the tape, you might have a problem and should call a specialist now before the problem gets out of hand. 12. Install CFL and LED light bulbs in some locations. CFL and LED bulbs can save you a lot of money on energy use over the long haul, plus they have much longer lives than normal incandescent bulbs. Consider installing some in various places – we usually use CFLs for hall lighting and LED bulbs for closet lighting (though LED bulbs are improving all the time…). 13. Choose energy efficient appliances, even if you have to pay more up front. Unless you were lucky enough to buy a fully-furnished home, you’ll likely have to do some appliance shopping. Focus on reliability and energy efficiency above all, even if that seriously increases the cost you have to pay up front. A refrigerator that uses little energy and lasts twenty years is far, far cheaper over the long run than a fridge that runs for seven years and guzzles electricity. (If you’re worried about the upfront cost, check out tip #17.)

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Tidbits Of Tri Cities


Bear has been with us for over a year. Her family had been in an apartment fire and were left homeless. Unfortunately they were no longer able to care for Bear and she came to live with us. Bear is a bit shy, and considering what she has been through this is not at all surprising. Anyone who has survived a fire will probably take some time to heal emotionally and physically. The shelter is not exactly the ideal place to recouperate from such a traumatic event so Bear is coming around very slowly. We are pretty sure that in the right home the old Bear would emerge much more quickly. She would do best in a quiet home where there isn’t too much excitement. She’s had enough of that to last her a life time. She’s friendly with the other cats and would probably love a feline companion to hang out with. Bear is a sweet girl who likes to talk with the volunteers she feels safest around. She has a sweet girly meow and you can’t help but talk back. Bear is a beauty. She has a luxurious coat, and huge eyes that see right into your soul. If you have a quiet home, and need a friendly but independent companion, please come and meet our Bear. Moustache is one of my personal favourites. Not because he’s the most handsome cat. Not because he has a great personality, because right now he’s pretty grumpy and upset. But because he’s been with us, on and off, for seven very long years. Prior to that he’d spent a year at another shelter. The first adopters returned him because he was peeing

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from inappropriately. We quickly discovered he had crystals in his urine which caused the inappropriate peeing. Easily resolved with some medication but they did not want him back. Luckily Moustache took this set back in stride and waited patiently for another home. He was adopted again and spent a couple of years in a home, only to be returned because his family was moving and decided not to take him with them. They told us he was affectionate, good with small children, and had no health or behavioural issues. The perfect cat and yet not good enough to hang onto. This time Moustache was devastated at the turn of events. We could all see that he was depressed and not the same boy that we had known and loved for so long. It broke our hearts to see him so sad, especially since he lost this home due to no fault of his own. Moustache is a sweet guy but he needs someone very special who will never abandon him again. This boy needs to know that this time it really is forever. He’s now about twelve years old and needs some stability and safety. If you, or anyone you know, can tell him forever and mean it please come and meet our Moustache. This boy deserves a break.



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-Tidbits of Tri Cities A TOAST TO AN OPERA SINGER CONT’D octaves. As a young woman, she married and tried to settle down, but she knew she was not destined for the life of a housewife; she was destined for the stage. • After receiving instruction as an opera singer, she knew this was the life for her. However, Australia did not have many opportunities for opera singers in the 1800s, so she left her family and traveled to Europe and England, where she was received enthusiastically, becoming the first Australian to achieve international recognition as an opera singer. • She had always gone by the nickname of Nellie, and she was persuaded to adopt a new stage name as her last name. She chose a contraction of her hometown of Melbourne. • During a newspaper interview, a reporter asked her how she stayed so slim. She said she enjoyed eating toast that was sliced very thin and toasted very crispy, a habit she had picked up when she’d been ill and could digest little else. The hotel chef at the Ritz served it to her whenever she

visited, and other customers enjoyed it as well. Her fans, striving to emulate her, also started eating thin crispy toast, which was generally served with soups and salads or topped with spreads. Today we still eat the toast named after the Australian opera singer’s stage name. What is it? Answer at the bottom of the page. A BIG MEAL Opera singer Ernestine Schumann-Heink loved a big meal. One day as she sat down to a huge steak dinner in a restaurant, Enrico Caruso walked in. He took one look at the size of the steak she was starting on and said, “Surely you are not going to eat that alone!” She replied, “Oh, no— with potatoes!” Answer: Melba toast.

Pet Bits Q: I adopted a Shar-Pei/Australian Cattle Dog cross from a shelter. She had been a stray. She’s lovable toward us, and very smart, but when we walk her on a leash, she becomes a devil dog, going after other dogs, barking and spinning. It’s very hard for me to settle her down. I want this adoption to work out. Any advice? - S.B., Harland, WI A: Don’t give up, get help. First, know that aggression is most often due to fear. “Understanding that your dog is likely afraid, or previously had no experience of meeting other dogs on leash, and also having patience can help you to at least take a breath and understand,” says Chicago-based dog trainer Laura Monaco Torelli. Consider your equipment. If you use a so-called choke (or chain link) collar and/or a retractable leash, toss them. Instead, Monaco Torelli suggests a body harness, such as the Freedom Harness (available at some boutique pet stores and Attach a standard 6-foot leather leash to the harness. Monaco Torelli, a faculty trainer for the prestigious Karen Pryor Academy, suggests you visit an REI store or Whole Foods to buy a GoToob. Inside this small tube, place a special treat your dog will only receive on walks, such as Cheez Whiz, liverwurst, or low-fat, low-salt peanut butter. When you do go for walks, go somewhere where you know there will be other dogs, says Monaco Torelli - a parking lot at a pet store, for example. But stay far enough away that your dog isn’t bothered. Each time your pet even catches a glimpse of another dog, offer her a treat. If she reacts in a hostile manner, or expresses concern, you’re simply too close to the other dog, so back up. “Distract (your pet) by having fun, playing training games, and offering treats all the way,” says Monaco Torelli. “Gradually, bring your dog closer to those other dogs.” Meanwhile, when taking your pup for an ordinary walk on the street, stay away from other dogs as best you can until she’s made significant progress in training under controlled circumstances. Since following Monaco Torelli’s advice is easier said than done, she strongly suggests enlisting help from a trainer who uses positive reinforcement, a veterinary behaviorist, or certified dog behavior consultant.

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Glen Convey


Canadian Tid-bits

▶ The schooner depicted on the Canadian dime is the Bluenose, a fishing and racing ship built in Nova Scotia in 1921 and wrecked on a coral reef off Haiti in 1946 while transporting a load of bananas. ▶ Michael J. Fox’s real middle name is Andrew, but he chose the middle initial “J”

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the country’s only banana plantation used to be, which sadly fell into obscurity when the ▶ The St. Elias Mountains in Kluane National owner died. Park are the youngest mountains in Canada and also the highest. There are more than 20 ▶ What’s the sunniest city in Canada? summits over 4,200 meters (14,000 ft.), the Medicine Hat, with about 2,500 hours of densest accumulation on the continent. sunshine each year. The foggiest is St. John’s, NL, with 119 days of fog per year. St. John’s ▶ The only true desert in Canada is in British is also the windiest, with an average daily Columbia near the town of Osoyoos. It’s windspeed of 24 km/hr (15 mi/hr). about 24 km (15 mi) long. This is also where

as a tribute to actor Michael J. Pollard.

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