map of canada for web 3

Count our blessings, Canada

Grab those 155 candles to put on the birthday cake, and when you sing “O Canada” you’ll want to face south to our neighbour who is hurting badly these days. Maybe tell your friends how to immigrate to Canada. Or check out the companies who will pay for their employees to travel out of state to get an abortion.

Birthdays are times to move on as well. We’ve convinced ourselves that we’re a small country and a young one. We’re neither. With 38 million people, Canada has six times the people as other small rich countries like Sweden or Finland or New Zealand. Canada is also middle-aged. Dozens and dozens of countries are newer than Canada. So can we please cast off those myths and start acting our age and size?

And now…this week’s items:

1. A death we may have missed. You likely don’t know of Matthew Wong, 35, who took his life in Edmonton in October 2019, where he lived and worked in obscurity for many years as an artist. Wong had Tourette Syndrome and lived (and died) with depression. By the time he died, he’d turned from unknown to world-renowned. Both The New Yorker and The New York Times called him one of the most talented painters of his generation. The AGO had a one-man show of his work, and in May his painting Green Room sold for $5.3 million at Christie’s, well over the $2 million estimate.

2. Split your songs. This app lets you take any recorded song and split it into five individual tracks (vocals, drums, bass, piano and others) and boost or diminish them.

3. A Mennonite wedding. Malcolm Gladwell grew up in Elmira, Ontario where he attended a Mennonite Church. He returned there last month for a wedding and discovered something unexpectedly liberating.

4. Want to see the whole picture? Toronto photographer Ed Burtynsky’s massive climate change exhibit dominated Yonge-Dundas Square last month. In the Wake of Progress is part of an epic new immersive experience at Luminato, on now until July 17th. Just key in the promo code ITWPGEN and enjoy it for 20% less.

5. Not exactly a tiny holiday hideaway. Twenty years ago, the Palm Jumeirah rose up in Dubai, a man-made island with 18 hotels and 4,000 apartments. Coming soon to the Red Sea is the $5 billion Red Sea Project which is even bigger with claims of being much more sustainable. It includes an “anti-airport airport”. Speaking of megaprojects, here are five of the most useless in the world.

6. Think like a museum. A course to help you think like a museum curator and create your own collection, no matter what you’re collecting. It’s led by Alexis Hyde, former curator and Director of the Museum of Broken Relationships in Los Angeles, which seems a bit broken itself.

7. Women are in a bad state. This Statista report, released the day before America banned abortions on June 24, places Norway as the best place in the world for women to live. Canada ranked 12th of the 170 countries polled, and America, 21st. [This] “could be its lack of paid-maternity leave. Along with Papua New Guinea, the U.S. is the only country worldwide that doesn’t offer new mothers this social benefit.”

8. Great advances in graphics. Like voicebots and facial recognition, the graphics in video games and movies are startlingly real and accurate. Here’s a preview of new computer graphics to be presented at the industry’s trade show in August in Vancouver.

9. Not so great a cover story. If you’re going to be a good spy, you need a bullet-proof legend. Not just what you’re doing in Moscow or Pyongyang today, but what street you grew up on and who your first love was. Last month, the open-source intelligence service, Bellingcat, reported on how Dutch intelligence exposed a Russian intelligence officer posing as a Brazilian trying to get a job at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, the site of future war crimes prosecutions for the war in Ukraine. It seems he didn’t really study at Johns Hopkins or Trinity College Dublin.

10. Lang Lang feeds the birds. Only pots of money would force the world’s most famous pianist to play a tune from Mary Poppins last week at Disneyland. Far more fun is this old film about the always-new Leonard Bernstein. And finally, some music to your eyes, shots from the top dogs at last week’s Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.


It’s one thing to dream of the South Pacific. It’s another to go.


It’s still another to let Lindblad Expeditions take you.

This is why Jean and I are gathering friends like you, 50 in all, to join us as we sail from Fiji to Tahiti from February 23 to March 10, 2024.

You might think that’s a long way off. However, Lindblad’s expeditions are like opera stars; they book up a couple of years in advance.

We’ll be aboard the 102-guest National Geographic Orion, a beautiful expedition ship that’s a conduit to exhilaration rather than a temple of excess.

We’ve been on two of Lindblad’s luxury adventure cruises before, to Antarctica and the Spanish-Portuguese coast. On board and on shore, we were in the hands of the most experienced experts and crew on the seven seas. One evening during “Recap” with cocktails and appetizers in hand, we saw “The Monster of the Day” that our expedition divers filmed from the ocean floor. And if you think kayaking in Antarctica is riskier than on Georgian Bay, well, it’s safer in Antarctica because the Lindblad people are so on top of it.

All to say, we’ve come to expect the best in comfort, dining, adventure and safety from Lindblad. Our view is confirmed by Condé Nast Traveler who last year declared them to be the #1 Small Ship Cruise Line in the world.

As for where we’ll explore, the South Pacific is not just one of the most storied and exotic places on earth, it’s down the road from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China and all of Asia. So you can make this trip part of an even bigger foray into a purposeful global journey.

We hope you can join us.

For more information on this and other RamsayTravels adventures, click here. And, please also forward to your like-spirited friends.

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