The Canada Lynx

I have never seen a Canada Lynx in the wild, but they live across Canada and the northern United States. They prefer to live where there are long, snowy winters and an abundance of their favourite food, the Snowshoe Hare. Their abundant fur and large snowshoe-like paws make them well-suited for the snowy north.

Here is an information sheet: Canadian Geographic

Activity: Make a lynx and a snowshoe hare out of clay.

Colouring Page: Canadian Lynx

The Group of Seven

In the early 1900’s, a few artists met at an Art and Design Company. They all loved travelling and exploring the wilderness of Canada and painting what they saw. Their art was noticeably different from what was popular in their day, and eventually, along with a few other friends, they decided to exhibit their art as a group in Toronto. Consequently, the Group of Seven was officially formed in 1920. This group lasted for about 13 years, changing a bit as members left, or new members joined.

The art of Tom Thompson is often included in the works of the Group of Seven, as he was closely associated with some of them, but he died in 1917 in a canoe accident. He was a wilderness man, and often took the artists on painting trips up into the remote north of Canada.

The following are works of art from the original Group of Seven:

Winter Uplands

The frost that stings like fire upon my cheek,
The loneliness of this forsaken ground,
The long white drift upon whose powdered peak
I sit in the great silence as one bound;
The rippled sheet of snow where the wind blew
Across the open fields for miles ahead;
The far-off city towered and roofed in blue
A tender line upon the western red;
The stars that singly, then in flocks appear,
Like jets of silver from the violet dome,
So wonderful, so many and so near,
And then the golden moon to light me home–
The crunching snowshoes and the stinging air,
And silence, frost, and beauty everywhere.

Archibald Lampman

Notebook Page: Group of Seven

Activity: Paint a landscape like the Group of Seven. You will notice that they greatly simplify features of the landscape using simple shapes and outlines.

What are features of your home landscape? Do you live near the ocean, or the mountains? Maybe there are trees as far as your eye can see. When creating a landscape painting, you want to consider your foreground, midground and background. Your foreground is what is right in front of you, midground is further away, and background is where the land meets the sky. This creates depth in your painting. Some of the ways you can do this are: overlap parts of your picture; paint things in your foreground bigger than your midground, and background smallest of all; use warmer, darker colours for your foreground and lighter, cooler colours for your background.

If you would like to try something fairly simple, try this Landscape Perspective: Deep Space Sparkle.

Provincial Birds

Here are some of the gorgeous birds that live in Canada. Each has been chosen, often by a citizen vote, as an emblem of the province or territory.

Owls:

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The Great Horned Owl (AB), The Great Grey Owl (MB), The Snowy Owl (QC)

Raptors and Raven:

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Osprey (NS), Raven (YK), Gyrfalcon (NWT)

Game Birds:

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Rock Ptarmigan (NU), Sharp-tailed Grouse (SK)

Water Birds:

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Puffin (NL), Loon (ON)

Small Birds:

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Blue Jay (PEI), Stellars Jay (BC), Chickadee (NB), Gray Jay (Canada)

Notebook Page: Provincial Birds

Activity: Make or buy a bird feeder and hang it where you can keep an eye on what birds visit. Birds will eat as much as you put out, so decide how much you want to provide each day and then put it out at the same time every day (morning or late afternoon are best). The best foods are black sunflower seeds and millet. You can also put out a suet feeder for extra energy when it is cold. Keep track of what birds visit your feeder and get to know a little about them.

  • Make a feeder: Feeding the Birds
  • Create a journal page: You can keep a written list or draw and label the birds you see.
  • Learn more about birds that may visit your feeder: All About Birds

First People of the Prairie

Blackfoot Indians

I am from the prairies. My people have lived here for as long as we can remember. We are wanderers like the buffalo, moving from place to place to place in a never ending cycle. My home is my tipi, wherever it may be.

My tipi was made with my own two hands. I journeyed to the foothills in the springtime to search for the perfect trees to hold it upright: straight, slender and tall. I cut off the branches and peeled off the bark to make them smooth, and carved the ends into a point where they would touch the ground.

It was fun to set the poles up for the first time, and imagine the home I would create. They would stay up for three weeks to let the wood season into a strong frame.

The cover for my tipi has been ready for awhile. It is made out of twelve buffalo hides. The meat of the buffalo feeds us, and the rest of his body provides us with tools, utensils, thread, and clothing. The skin of the buffalo takes time and effort to prepare. It must be scraped of any remaining hair, flesh, and fat, and bleached in the sun. Then it must be rubbed with a mixture including the brains of the buffalo, and left to dry. Finally it must be rubbed and stretched until it is soft and pliable.

I invited all my women friends to come and help me prepare my cover. My aunt is an expert at designing tipi covers, so she took charge. The buffalo hides were cut and sewn together with fibres of buffalo tendon and bone needles while we ate buffalo stew and laughed and chatted. Finally it was complete, and I was so proud.

My sister helped me to set it up for the first time. First I chose a flat and level spot. We spread my cover out on the ground with the wrong side up and I placed two of my poles on top of the cover so I could see where to tie them and then crossed a third pole at the tying point. I used a long piece of rope and tied one end around the top of the three poles where they crossed. Then we lifted them together into position.

Another eleven poles were placed around and between until there was a circle of poles with their tops all resting in the crotches formed between the first three. I took the long piece of rope that was hanging down from where it was tied, and wrapped it four times around the rest of the poles and then anchored it with a peg on the ground inside the circle. Now it was ready for the cover. There were three poles left: two were for the smoke flaps and the final one was to help put the cover in place. It is called the lifting pole.

The cover had to first be tied to this pole, and then with the cover all folded up we pushed the final pole up into place. The cover unfolded and we pulled it around to the front on each side. It was starting to take shape! My bag of lacing pins was nearby. I had made them out of sticks from an ash tree over the past few weeks. I climbed up on my sister’s shoulders to put the first lacing pin in. When all eleven were finally in, nice and neatly down the front to the door, I went inside and admired how nice and cozy and big it was. Then I pushed all the poles out as far as I could until everything was nice and tight.

The last two poles were for the smoke flaps. My tipi is tilted slightly towards the front. This makes the smoke hole closer to the front than straight up the top. The poles are attached to the smoke flaps on each side and can be moved keep out wind and rain, or even closed up completely.

Finally, we pounded in wooden pegs around the bottom of the cover to hold it in place. And now it was almost complete. I built a little firepit in the middle of the floor and got a nice fire going. My sister had already hung a buffalo hide over the door, and was closing up the smoke flaps. The smoke held inside while my fire burned would cure the cover and make it waterproof.

I walked up a hill at the back of our camp. The sun was beginning to set and the circle of tipis began to glow from the fires inside. My tipi stood out as it was as white as snow, but soon it would be cream coloured like all the rest. Tomorrow I would begin moving all my belongings into my own home and I would be all grown up… a married woman with a home to take care of.

More information on the Blackfoot Indian tribe.

Notebook Page: Tipi on the Plains

Activity: Make a model tipi. You will need some nice straight long poles (bamboo skewers may work), some fabric for the cover, and a base (cardboard may be best).

 

Central Canada

This week we will look at the central provinces of Canada: Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

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Churchill, Manitoba by Emma

Activity: Use a good atlas or google maps to find the places referred to in these photos and mark them on your map of Canada. Which one would you like to visit one day?