Monday, August 25, 2008

The Canadian Football Hall of Fame

This past weekend, Jo-Anne and I visited the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in the City of Hamilton Ontario. It was one of those things I've seen the sign for it over the past number of years and figured one of these days I'm going to have to stop and visit. After all, I am a fan of the CFL. I follow it on television, I've been to a number of games throughout Ontario and Western Canada, I have hats and tee shirts, including some of the folded US teams, the Shreveport Pirates for example. So it made sense to visit the place.

Let me say a few things about it, it's part of the civic centre of Hamilton, near the City Hall, which is under renovations. In fact it was a bit of a challenge to find because once you entered the parking lot, there was no signs. Fortunately I did know about the statue in front and so once I found it, we were good to go.

The building would be described as municipal utilitarian, in other words, kind of ugly but served a purpose. Inside there are four main rooms, the gift shop, the Hall of Fame itself and two rooms for the museum. The Hall of Fame contains sculptures of each member of the HOF. They go back to Albert 4th Earl Grey, the man who donated the Cup to members of the Class of 2007, such as Darren Flutie. It's fascinating to look at the sculptures and to read the history of each individual. They are some great names there. This part of the Museum is fascinating.

Then there are the other two rooms, one is a history of the Canadian game, from the beginnings to junior to varsity to the professional game. The other was interesting but different, it contained the TSN top 50 All-Time Players, to the locker room of the Windsor AKO Fratmen Junior Football Team. I don't know why that is there, but being from Windsor, it's good to me.

I have to admit and remember I am a fan of the CFL, I was disappointed with the Museum, first of all, it was kind of looking drab. There were places where the paint was missing on the wall, plus some of the exhibitions didn't work, such as the field goal kicking machine and I have to wonder how long it had been broken, it just wasn't what it should be. This place celebrates the Game and it seems to be lacking any enthusiasm for the game. Plus, the sign in front stated that adult admission was three dollars when in fact it was seven dollars. Couple this with the fact the information for the various teams was outdated, nothing was mentioned of Saskatchewan's winning of the Grey Cup last year. In fact, the first trophy you saw as you entered was not the Grey Cup but the Schenley Trophy. Which is nice, but the premier trophy is the Grey Cup. It should be right in front, not off to the side.

So that's the problems, and I want to give some suggestions:

1) Paint the Place. Cover up the holes, get rid of the institutional colours.
2) Keep everything working.
3) Bring in more artifacts.
4) Signage- make it up to date, nothing says "We don't care", like having the wrong price of admission.
5) Set up a "Friends of the CFHOF". Get people from across Canada to support the museum and the Game. It could be a nice source of funding. Give membership things like pins, opportunity to attend special events, Annual General Meetings and the like. It will help.
6) Get us more signs to the entrance.

These are just some things, Canadian Football is a great game with a tremendous history and tradition and it needs to be celebrated. Make it look like we care.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Along the Hamilton-Brantford Rail Trail

This summer I've decided to try the trails outside of Brantford. Last summer I was able to enjoy the Gordon Glaves Trail. It's quite a trail that follows for most of the journey the Grand River.

One trail that caught my attention was the Hamilton-Brantford Trail. This trail follows the former rail bed of the Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo Railway.

It is a trail that runs from Brantford to Hamilton:

Today I managed to ride to Kilometre 12.3, which is a observation deck overlooking the Summit Water Tower. At one time there was a rail station but all that remains is the foundation of the Tower.

So I stopped and took some photographs:

I am thinking of going a little further up the trail, perhaps to Hamilton.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

What came in the Mail

If you own a mailbox in Canada, every so often you will receive a pamphlet from the Conservative Party of Canada, it's an attempt to gauge public opinion, help shape public policy or it's a blatant propaganda exercise to help increase the brand of the Stephen Harper government. Now I know there are some Liberals and some NDP'ers who might espouse such a view, but I don't. Truly this is an exercise of grassroots democracy, allowing the people to express an opinion, if they so desire.

I was interested when this pamphlet came in the mail today:

The pamphlet talks about the way the Conservative Government is standing up for Canada and gives three examples. Then it asks which of the four leaders will best represent Canada on the World Stage. Three are the usual suspects but what really got my attention is the fourth, Elizabeth May, the leader of the Green party of Canada. This tells me a couple of things, one is the Greens are now viewed as a viable political presence in Canada, capable of winnings a seat or seats in the upcoming election.

The second is she may be used to demonstrate a sort of softness of Canadian politics, after all the Greens are a bunch of hippy tree-hugging peaceniks.

Actually, nothing can be further from the truth. You may think that Elizabeth is all that and more, after all she was the executive director of Sierra Club of Canada, but understand this, the Sierra Club was simply a front for Earth First which was and still is a group of hardcore ecowarriors. This group practiced guerrilla theatre, sabotage, tree spiking and other methods to disrupt the logging of virgin timber from the forestry companies. Let's call them what they are, this is black ops. These people were trained in special forces activities. Far from tree huggers, they were tree provacateurs.

Ms May is in fact quoted as saying:
While the media was fixated with Raging Grannies we were smuggling all the weapons we needed to ensure those loggers and feds were going to have a hot time.

While on the outward, the Greens come through as a party of peace, but within the ranks there are activities which would make the average militia organization in the States green with envy. Green with envy, get it.

When discussing military policy, May is often heard referring to her opponents as "wussies", "wimps" and "girlie men". She asks this question to cheering crowds of camouflaged wearing Green supporters

Why haven't they found and brought to justice Osama bin Laden? Give me a Colt M4 and I'll bring him to trial, or toss his corpse on the floor of the UN!

She is very critical for the US invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq, but not in the way we would think. She often refers to General David Petraeus as "patsy Petraeus"

Who should I check off on the questionnaire? It's obvious, it has to be Elizabeth May.

Now I know some of my readers are thinking "Paul, you're crazy, where's your proof." I want to submit to you this video of Elizabeth May speaking in front of a cheering mob of militant, heavily armed Greens.