While there are many reasons for my lack of articles this month (including my recent addiction to Game of Thrones -- is winter ever going to arrive!?), the most prominent reason is because I took a vacation. I wanted to go somewhere new, but wanted to go somewhere that wouldn't be too expensive. Montreal, New Orleans and Rio de Janeiro were all options, but once I saw the beautiful Notre Dame in Montreal, my decision was made.
For the first time since I began traveling, I decided to chronicle my trip on social media. It went fairly successful. Other bloggers do this so I thought I would give it a try. I took pictures of places I saw, gave reviews of restaurants and snapped videos of my journeys throughout the winding streets of Montreal and Quebec City. Both cities were incredible, but I was the most surprised by Quebec City, and just how beautiful it really was! While my time in Montreal was very muggy and hot, and I was feeling like my vacation would have been better had I just stayed home, Quebec City changed all of that and made the whole trip worthwhile.
Backtracking a bit, last month also brought out my very first newsletter! It went to all 9 recipients and I heard nothing but positive feedback. I'll have to start promoting my newsletter more, as I was told it's one of the best ways to get more traffic and keep people interested in my blog. I might even consider doing a newsletter post with every blog post.
Speaking of traffic, due to my minimal blog articles and week-long vacation, my blog saw very little traffic last month. June 1st to June 10th (10 days) saw 4,799 people. June 10th to July 10th (30 days) saw 1,154 people. Ouch.
I plan to write more articles this month, and hopefully regain some of my lost followers. In fact, while June kind of sucked for traffic, I have a feeling July will be much different. I have several articles in the work as I write this and will cover everything from religion to politics to censorship. Yes, I too have felt the muffling of censorship, and it's about time I talked about it!
I also have a very much awaited "Liebster Award" I won several months ago that I need to do. And, of course, I have to write more about my trip to French Canada!
As I write this, my fingers twitch to write another, so I will bid you adieu.
As always, keep on traveling!
And, as always, a big thank you to my sweetheart Jessica Nuttall for proof reading a countless number of my articles. I couldn't do any of this without you. I love you.
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Just over a year ago I wrote an article about the glockenspiel that once stood in downtown Regina. I had fond memories of the glockenspiel as a child and was sad when they took it down to renovate the park. I was even more sad when they didn't put it back up, and I was angry when I discovered it was sitting in a junkyard (sorry, outdoor "storage facility") for the past ten years. That article got a lot of attention, from both the public, the city and the press. Today, efforts are being made to restore the bell back to its original location.
I'm telling you this because preserving heritage – may it be a 25-year-old bell, or a fourth century building – is important. Without heritage, we lose who we are. Often, the desire to move society forward steps over the heritage and causes it to get lost. As impressive as tall glass buildings might be, nothing is better than a smoky red brick structure.
Saskatchewan is beginning to realize how important this is – and thankfully it's happening now and not in a few decades after everything is gone. But, our neighbours have been on the heritage preservation band train for several years now, especially in Alberta.
Nestled between the impressive Mount Royal and the majestic St. Lawrence River is Montreal, a city known for its festivals, abstract art, history and mosaic of countless cultures. Montreal is the second largest city in Canada, with a population floating around four million people. While the city is a dynamic mix of Canada's two primary cultures – French and English – there are areas of the city that are culturally specific, such as Little Italy, Greektown and Chinatown. Known for its artistic and liberal mindedness, Montreal also boasts the largest community of homosexuals in North America in their very own "Gay Village".
Being nearly 375 years old, Montreal was pivotal to the creation of New France and Canada and at a time held control over every waterway from the St. Lawrence down to the Gulf of Mexico. Having such incredible influence over the western part of the New World, Montreal hosted the "Great Peace of Montreal" in 1701, which started sixteen years of peace between the French and over 40 different First Nation tribes in North America.
Since its early days, Montreal has been one of the most influential cities in Canada. Montreal housed "internment camps" during World War I, became an ideal location for Americans looking for alcohol during Prohibition, and was the official residence of the Luxembourg royal family during World War II. Montreal held host to the incredible Expo 67, showcasing some of the most incredible architecture of that decade. The seventies saw serious political reformation in Montreal, with many Americans arriving, fleeing the Vietnam Draft. The late seventies paralyzed the city as a terrorist organization, the Front de libération du Québec, detonated explosives throughout the city and kidnapped and killed political figures. These actions forced the Prime Minster to enact the "War Measures Act" and deploy the military into the city to apprehend the terrorists. The eighties and nineties saw two referendums in the province of Quebec to separate from Canada, with Montreal playing a major role in both decisions. The last referendum in 1995 ended with 51% percent of Quebecers wanting to remain part of Canada and 49% wanting to separate.
Imagine the bustling streets of New York, then times it by ten. Add a dash of Chinese culture, a wallop of nature and half dozen fish balls that don’t actually contain any fish, and you have the beautiful city that is Hong Kong.
At 7.2 million people, Hong Kong is a dynamic city with an incredible history, towering skyscrapers and a unique mix of English and Chinese that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. While Hong Kong has existed for a millennium, it was officially founded in 1842 to solidify a truce between Great Britain and the Qing dynasty of China during the First Opium War. A decade after the British took control of Hong Kong, the Black Death swept into China, killing hundreds of thousands of people. It would remain part of Hong Kong’s life for a century.
During World War II, Hong Kong was captured by the Japanese. For three years and eight months the British-Chinese culture of the city was destroyed, replaced with Japanese text, language and art. The booming city of 1.6 million people was slashed to only 600,000. Japanese occupation was incredibly harsh for the Hongkongese, being the darkest part of their history. Japan ceased occupation on August 6th, 1945, in response to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. For forty-two more years, Hong Kong was controlled by the British, with the reunification between Hong Kong and mainland China finally occurring in 1997.