Old Fellas New Music Episode 23 Notes

This week’s tracks

Valley – Oh shit … are we in Love?

Status/Non Status – Find a Home

Elwins – For Love to Come and Find You(Don’t Wait)

Anika – Change

Wapums – Sunray

Angelique Kidjo – Africa One of a Kind

Milky Chance – Colorado

El Michels Affair – Zaharila

Dan Mangan – Troubled Mind


Valley – Oh shit … are we in Love?

After 21- 22 weeks of the podcast, the time has come to repeat some fine artists.  Here is Valley with their brand spanking new release, “ Oh shit … are we in Love?” 

Status/Non Status – Find a Home 

snippets from a CBC article (Holly Gordon · CBC Music · Posted: Jun 08, 2021 9:00 AM ET)

How a new EP and name are helping Status/Non-Status interrogate the effects of colonization

The band formerly known as Whoop-Szo questions who holds status — and who doesn’t

‘It’s been my whole life in many ways, but the reconnection process to culture, it’s been 10 or 15 years as well…. And I’ve learned a lot about my family and our history and the true stories around that, why maybe we were disconnected.’ — Adam Sturgeon (Savanah Sewell)

“The first song I wrote was called ‘Boozhoo,’ and I was just learning how to say the word hello [in Anishinaabemowin],” says Adam Sturgeon, lead singer of Status/Non-Status.

“‘Find a Home’ is a song about loving yourself, I think. It’s a traveling song, sort of — I think you can feel that. And so that was bringing me some sort of solace in that experience where you’re in that doldrum of wonderment. But it was comfortable and it’s kind of an older song that I was writing and reworking and yeah, just about accepting and loving yourself wherever you are on your journey.


Elwins – For Love to Come and Find You(Don’t Wait)

We have played The Elwins before as well and we are including this track as  The Elwins finally returned to the stage a couple of weeks ago to do 2 shows at the Phoenix Theatre in Toronto.

This song is taken from the 2021 ep  release  IV More  

Anika – Change

From Album of the Year website – how can you do this, it is only September!

On Change, Anika delivers a call to action that she takes to heart. Though her first solo album in over a decade is indebted to the spooky, surreal sounds of her early solo releases and her work with Exploded View, it also sheds a decidedly different light on her music. Since much of her 2010 debut album and 2013 EP consisted of frosty covers of ’60s pop songs that ranged from ironic to heartbroken, listeners actually got to know more of Anika as a songwriter on Exploded View‘s albums, where she expounded on timely and timeless subjects in elliptical but gripping fashion. Even though she recorded Change with her bandmate Martin Thulin, it’s apparent that this is a solo album: Its songs are leaner and more flexible than her work with Exploded View


Wapums – Sunray

Bob heard Wapums – Sunray on the always dependable CBC radio 3.  There isn’t a lot of info available on the internet about this artist but here is the link to the artist’s Bandcamp page.

https://wampums.bandcamp.com/album/sunray-3 

This is First Nations music at its finest.  

Angelique Kidjo – Africa One of a Kind

Album – Mother Nature

Africa, One Of A Kind

Kicking off our Back To School special with a song featuring @angeliquekidjo and @YoYo_Ma

Angelique wanted to drop out of school but her dad wasn’t having it. 

The singer and activist went on to found Batonga, an organization that supports higher education for girls in Africa.

Mother Nature finds 4-time GRAMMY-winner Angelique Kidjo joining forces with some of the most captivating young creators of West African music, Afrobeats, Afro-pop, hip hop and r&b, and represents a newly heightened awareness of her own musical legacy and remarkable influence she’s had on younger generations

She has a great website where there is lots to explore.

Angelique Sings for the Opening Ceremony of the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo

Angelique Kidjo – UNICEF – no Pata Pata Official Video

Covid 19 video – what to do to stay safe from Covid – no touch time

This is a great song that I added to the extended version of the show. From her website:

UNICEF is excited to announce the official release of Angelique Kidjo’s music video for “Pata Pata”, a fresh take on Miriam Makeba’s 1967 hit song. Once called the “world’s most defiantly joyful song”, Makeba’s ‘Pata Pata’ has been re-recorded by UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Angélique Kidjo, to spread information about COVID-19, with a focus on hundreds of millions of people in remote communities around the world. 


Milky Chance – Colorado

Milky Chance is a German rock band who seemed to combine the vocals of Fontaines DC  with the instrumentation of The Cars.

This track was heard on an Alt Nation  live concert set from the Bottle Rocket Festival in Napa Valley.  The crowd there seemed to know this 2021 song thoroughly as they lustily sang along…

Here’s the studio version  

El Michels Affair – Zaharila

Album – Yeti Season 2021

this song is described as ‘languid, psyched-out’

El Michels Affair – Zaharila

I had to keep in this paragraph about the inspiration for Yeti Season – this is from Rolling Stone:

Covid upended that rhythm last spring. Suddenly, the kids were home 24/7, and Michels was looking for ways to fill the time while still finding ways to clock hours in the studio. He was also cut off from the close friends and collaborators who had been an integral part of El Michels Affair’s music and his own personal support system. So, one day last year as the snow was falling in Rhinebeck, he got out an old Yeti costume and decided to chase his kids around the yard. 

Rolling Stone Magazine

Dan Mangan – Troubled Mind

Dan Magnan  is a Juno award winning Canadian musician. He has toured extensively throughout North America, Europe and Australia, having released 5 studio LPs

The song “Troubled Mind”  is taken from his 2018 lp “More or Less” The video is kinda fun  

In 2017, Magnan started Side Door  concert company where artists could put on shows online.  Little did he know that three years later due to COVID, these types of shows would take off on platforms like Zoom.

How Dan Mangan’s Side Door Is Paving the Way for the Brave New World of Live Music

“I do believe that this new world is going to stick around,” he says of the company’s highly profitable livestreams

How Dan Mangan's Side Door Is Paving the Way for the Brave New World of Live Music

When Vancouver songwriter Dan Mangan co-founded the concert company Side Door in 2017, he thought he was creating an “Airbnb for gigs” — an online platform to allow artists and unconventional venues to connect and put on DIY shows. Once coronavirus lockdowns began, however, he quickly realized that he had accidentally stumbled onto the perfect platform for interactive online shows.

By Alex Hudson Published May 21, 2020 Exclaim! Magazine

Old Fellas make it to week 20! Our notes

This is our updated playlist – I think you should put this on and chill
This was a fun show – hope you take a listen

OK, we know these are notes written by other people, but we go out and research this stuff

Now for our music for this week

Katherine Priddy – Wolf

album – The Eternal Rocks Beneath

Katherine Priddy – great song

from The Guardian, really one of the best sources I know of for new music

The folk prodigy delivers an elegant debut, infused with soaring vocals and nimble guitar-picking

Feted as a folk prodigy as a teenager, Katherine Priddy has wisely taken several years to reach this debut, an accomplished set of original songs delivered in a breathtaking voice and launched on a reputation as a great live act. Her nimble guitar-picking helps. Not that this is a strictly solo album; producer Simon Weaver has supplied a rhythm section and a parade of accordion, fiddle and string quartet, but in judicious measure. The star turn remains Priddy’s voice and its soaring, lark-like turns, meaning a song such as Wolf, the title track of her 2018 EP, can suddenly take unexpected flight.

That several numbers were written when she was young perhaps accounts for their unevenness; the banjo-backed Letters from a Travelling Man doesn’t pass muster with a poetic piece such as Icarus – a fond farewell to a lover seen as “a radiant stain falling like rain” – or with her funny homage to a boozy night on the Hebridean isle of Eigg. The rocks of the title is a verb, not a noun, testament to a belief that life’s fundamentals don’t change, a notion resolved elegantly in opener Indigo and closer The Summer Has Flown. A classy arrival.

Guardian- Neil Spencer

and one more – she really is wonderful

Binki – Clay Pigeon

American indie artist Binki is back with his first single since 2019 from the EP Motor Function. Apparently, it is inspired by “ the wisdom of Confucius and the failings of David Bowie” Here’s the video which is directed by his brother.

Griff – One Foot in Front of the Other

another great pick from The Guardian’s July picks for albums. Really like this artist

The Brits’ show-stealing 20-year-old has earworms and wise words to burn on this tantalising mini-album

Griff – One Foot In Front Of The Other (Official Video)

The rise of Griff feels like a silver lining around the thundercloud that was 2020. While all around the 20-year-old pop powerhouse careers stalled, tours evaporated and sound engineers peed in bottles while driving delivery vans, this singer went from buzzy obscurity in Kings Langley, Hertfordshire, locked down with her family and foster siblings, to a Top 20 hit and a Brits rising star award.

One Foot in Front of the Other is, though, an odd release. A debut album in all but name, this mixtape comes with the caveat that it was written and recorded during lockdown. Griff and her label feel that her debut album proper is still ahead of her.

Pom Pom Squad – Head Cheerleader

Pom Pom squad is a band Inspired by Billie Holiday, riot grrrl bands, and  films Death of a Cheerleader/ But I’m a Cheerleader

Here’s the trailer for the 1999 cult classic  

Pom Pom squad was originally just Mia Berrin but now it it is a full fledged band.  For a better idea of what Pop Pom squad are all about, here is Pitchfork magazines review of the album.

Equally indebted to pioneering girl groups and her punk heroes, the New York singer-songwriter’s debut is a fiery exploration of love, anger, and coming-of-age.

In 1999, a satirical comedy film called But I’m a Cheerleader proposed an astonishing lead character: a cheerleader who isn’t quite like the other girls on her team. She gets whisked away to a hilariously straight-laced conversion-therapy camp on the suspicion that she might be—gasp—gay. “I’m a cheerleader!” she whines in hesitation, as if this makes it impossible to fall outside societal norms. The movie marked a memorable early instance of the divergent cheerleader, an increasingly popular trope that drives the creative mind of 23-year-old singer-songwriter Mia Berrin, who makes bratty grunge-punk as Pom Pom Squad. On her debut, Death of a Cheerleader, the New York musician stakes her claim to pleated miniskirt canon, joining the ranks of those who’ve weaponized cheer imagery to disrupt convention.

Pitchfork June 30 2021

The video  

I concur with one commenter … “this is my new favourite song”


Melissa Laveaux – Angeli-ko

Album  – Radyo Siwèl

Really need to watch this series of videos on Youtube – Mélissa Laveaux – Radyo Siwèl Series

One in the series

In 2018, Laveaux’s album Radyo Siwel was long-listed for the Polaris Music Prize.[6]

In April 2016, Mélissa Laveaux headed to Haiti in search of her roots and on a mission to honour her ancestors. Born in Canada to Haitian parents, she did not know what would emerge musically from her pilgrimage although she had a particular interest in the period of American occupation of the island between 1915-1934. Two decades had gone by since she had last set foot in Haiti when she was 12 years old. She felt like a stranger and yet, at the same time, she experienced the thrill of an exile returning home, for Haiti is an intrinsic part of her identity.

From these she built Radyo Siwèl, a unique album steeped in Haitian history and culture and yet which is also highly personal and intimate. 

Youtube

Blinker the Star – It’s Alright (Baby’s Coming Back)

Bob’s selection of a new Blinker the star track was a result of this article in the Montreal Gazette. 

Excitingly, his burbling, pitch-perfect cover of Eurythmics’ It’s Alright (Baby’s Coming Back) was chosen last month as one of the 20 “best songs of 2021 (so far)” by Esquire — ranking alongside such luminaries as Lorde (Solar Power), Doja Cat and SZA (Kiss Me More), BTS (Butter), Justin Bieber (Peaches) and FKA Twigs (Don’t Judge Me). Heady — and moneyed — company.

Montreal Gazette

Welcome back Blinker the Star!This is a cover version of an old Eurythmics song that was unfamiliar to both of us. Compare the 2 versions here 

If you would like more Blinker the Star, you can listen to a full show dedicated to his music put together by David Widmann on Mixcloud.

Rare Americans – Baggage 

I heard this one on CBC Radio 3 – a great find I think!

Rare Americans – Baggage (Official Music Video)

They also have a great website

Rare Americans – Crooked & Catchy. The band started on a whim two years ago when brothers James and Jared Priestner took an impromptu trip to the Caribbean. James joked they should try and write a song together, Jared said “A song? Fuck that, lets write an album!” Sure enough 10 days later the first Rare Americans record was born. Spring forward to 2020, the band has gained a reputation for story telling and genre bending fresh music, amassing over 50M YouTube views in the process. The bands roster includes two Slovak guitar virtuoso’s in Lubo Ivan & Jan Cajka, and Duran Ritz on drums.

(from website)

“Lubo and I were in another band before called the Lunas that toured Canada a few times and was going along really well and had recorded an EP,” said James Priester. “Then I took a trip to the Caribbean with my brother Jared and joked I would bring along my guitar so we could drink a few beers and write a song or two together. He’d never written a song before and we’d never written together, but we sat down and wrote an entire album.”

Rare Americans also put its main emphasis on producing videos. James runs a production company in Vancouver so he was up on how to concept a video. The band steadily built its online profile with high-quality clips for songs such as Balmoral Hotel and the Barry Tielman (Run the Jewels, others) animated piece for Cats, Dogs & Rats.

Vancouver Sun

Rare Americans – Cats, Dogs, & Rats (Official Video)

Angel Olsen – Eyes Without a Face

Bob’s final choice is also a cover of an 80’s chestnut.  Angel Olsen has the distinction of being the first three-peat artist on our venerable podcast. She has just released an Ep covering Laura Branigan, Men Without Hats, OMD, Madonna  and Billy Idol’s “Eyes Without a Face” 

The NME has an excellent evaluation of Olson’s latest offering. 

Angel Olsen – ‘Aisles’ EP review: ’80s classics through a warped lens

The North Carolina musician cuts right to the core of each song, before rebuilding her own mirror images with this five-track EP

“I’m really into doing shit that’s unexpected,” Angel Olsen told NME as she prepared to release the album ‘Whole New Mess’ last year. Taking the staggering orchestral ambition of her fourth album ‘All Mirrors’ and stripping it back to its rawest foundations, it marked something of a reset from an artist whose sound had grown grander and more intricate with each release. Though it was actually recorded first (and these demos later grew into ‘All Mirrors) the two records feel like subtly distorted reflections of each other when they’re placed side by side – almost as if Olsen is covering her own work.

New Music Review

Treephones – Matches

Also a CBC Radio 3 catch

Album Pink Objects

The ten song titles on Treephones’ — the musical moniker of Stephen Trothen — new album Pink Objects read like an inventory of things found stashed away in a closet or neglected drawer. With every song named after an object, the concept album takes the approach of a short story collection and focuses on the interactions and relationships of characters centred around these items. The album was written and recorded at home by Trothen who also handled all but a few of the performing duties. The result is a set of songs that weave beautifully evolving textures into a carefully arranged sound that matches the directness and understated complexity of its lyrics.

Killbeat Music

I love this video of Treephones playing in Waterloo, Ontario. A terrific song with the addition of the saxophone. How many videos have we shown that shows the band playing in their bedroom?

Live version of “Matches” from the album “Pink Objects” (out now on digital, vinyl, streaming).

Recorded July 2021 in Waterloo, Ontario.

Stephen Trothen – Vocals, Guitar

Michael Borkovic – Saxophones, Sampler

Ahmad Hachem – Drums

Chris Hull – Vibraphone, Synths

Episode Notes – Old Fellas New Music Episode 17

Here is our playlist for last week

Durand Jones and the Indications – Morning in America

Dominique Fils-Aime – We Are Light

Stone Foundation – The Light in Us

Alejandra Ribera – Courage

Blow Monkeys – Time Storm

Horsey – Lagoon

Gabriels – Love and Hate in a Different Time

The OBGMs – All My Friends

Paul Weller – In Another Room

All of Bob’s selections are from the sampler cd which accompanies the June 2021 issue of Mojo magazine.  Paul Weller is the guest editor who picked all the tracks.

Durand Jones and the Indications – Morning in America

Durand Jones and the Indications are a multi-racial neo-soul band from Bloomington  Indiana.  Blake Rhein and Aaron Frazer, two students at Indiana University  got together with singer Durand Jones

This is a 2019 song but sounds like a early 70’s soul classic reminscent of The Isley Brothers or  Curtis Mayfield.  It’s called, “Morning in America” Neo soul at it’s finest.


Dominique Fils-AimeThree Little Words

Fils-Aime’s “Three Little Words UPDATED MAR 8, 2021 9:39PM EST – With touring off the table, Canadian musicians with anticipated new records are finding new ways to approach the traditional release cycle – PUBLISHED MAR 6, 2021 9:30AM EST” completes a trilogy of albums celebrating the history of Black-American music, while Tobi’s “Elements Vol. 1” fuses hip-hop, jazz, pop and R&B.

Montreal jazz singer Dominique Fils-Aimé has been promoting her new album, Three Little Words, the final part of a trilogy exploring the history of African-American music.
ANDREANNE GAUTHIER/HANDOUT

From the Globe and Mail


Stone Foundation – The Light in Us

Stone Foundation (featuring Laville) – The Light in Us.  From Warwickshire, and Inspired by Stax Records, the Spencer Davis Group, and the Style Council, this Warwickshire, England-based modern soul band released material at a steady rate for over a decade before Paul Weller offered to produce their 2017 album, Street Rituals. That record, and its 2018 follow-up, Everybody, Anyone, were their first albums to grace the U.K. Top 30, and paved the way for the late 2020 LP Is Love Enough?


Alejandra Ribera Courage (Single)

COURAGE – Collective Lockdown Music VideoAlejandra makes her most audacious move yet – bringing us an electronic pop creation to spread courage and strength in  uncertain times.  COURAGE May 22, 2020

Alejandra Ribera is a Canadian pop and jazz singer-songwriter, who performs material in English, French and Spanish.

Of mixed Argentine and Scottish descent,[1] Ribera was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, and has been professionally based in Montreal, Quebec.[2] She released her debut album, Navigator/Navigateher, in 2009,[3] and followed up with La Boca in 2014.[3] NPR’s Alt.Latino referred to La Boca and her voice as Alt.Latino’s favorite of 2014.[4]

Some of the proceeds from Courage will go to support Doctors Without Borders

Alejandra Ribera has written a song called ‘Courage’ to lift our spirits during these uncertain times. With the help of friends from Singapore to Switzerland – a collectively crafted “home lockdown music video” accompanies its release. 

Co-produced by Rob Wilks and Brett Shaw (Florence + the Machine, Foals), this is Alejandra’s first foray into the world of electronic pop. “I normally write quite introspective mellow stuff. When I realised I’d written a whole song about the catharsis of facing what most frightens you I thought it should sound fairly epic. I knew it would take a lot more than me and an acoustic guitar.” 

Blow Monkeys – Time Storm

The Blow Monkeys were an eighties band primarily know on this side of the pond for 1984’s “Digging Your Scene”  

The Blow Monkeys – Digging Your Scene • TopPop

The band has been close to Paul Weller since then as both groups performed in the 80’s on the anti- Margaret Thatcher Red Wedge Tour  

Horsey – Lagoon (single)

From DIY

Londoners Horsey – centred around the core duo of Jacob Read (aka DIY fave Jerkcurb) and Theo McCabeare almost certainly one of the most baffling yet brilliant new bands we’ve come across in a while.

Despite keeping a fairly low profile in terms of press and releasing only a handful of tracks online, the group have built up a firm live following, recently touring with King Krule and selling out none-too-small venues in their hometown.

Why? Because, from the glitzy gold sequinned jackets they sport onstage to the funny, noodling, dark-hearted jazz they tout, Horsey are intoxicatingly odd. Their tracks meander through chintzy piano, to shouty call and response heckles to – on occasion – something resembling a rock opera. They are basically uncategorisable and on new offering ‘Bread & Butter’ they’re doing nothing to make themselves more palatable.

This “Time Storm”from forthcoming album  

Gabriels – Love and Hate in a Different Time

Gabriels – Love and Hate in a Different Time

Gabriels is a LA based group made up of singer Jacob Lusk and producers Ari Balouzian and Ryan Hope. ‘Love and Hate in a Different Time’ is their new single.  This is anohter example fo how vintage soul music can be done in the 21st century. Gabriels explains, “Love and Hate in a Different Time is about how we appear to be losing the ability to peacefully be together in a space and express ourselves. Together. We have always endured agendas of hate, hardship and war but we have in someway always found a way to be together and put aside our differences. However in recent times with the development of the technology/disinformation it appears this is tested.”  Here is an amazing video or as they call it, “a short film”


The OBGMs – All My Friends Album – The Ends

From Exclaim Magazine!

After returning with new single “Not Again” last month, the OBGMs have lifted the curtain on a new full-length record. The Toronto punk trio will release The Ends on October 30 through Black Box Music.

“This album is about death, wanting to die, and fighting for something to live for — it’s the end of all things. I feel this is the one of the most important cross-genre albums this century,” explained vocalist/guitarist Densil McFarlane in a statement. “We are Nirvana, we are the Beatles, and the Stones. We are really changing the dimensions of which the game is played like the Steph Curry of this rock shit. We all have feelings of doubt, uncertainty, and I used to live there. I’m trying not to die there. If I’m going out, I’m going out shooting.”

Produced by Dave Schiffman and recorded at Toronto’s Dreamhouse Studios, The Ends follows the OBGMs 2017 self-titled debut. McFarlane recalled that after touring that record, “I thought me and music was over… My life wasn’t very good at the time, people around me were dying, and everything I was making sucked. I thought it was a sign that I needed to do something else.”

another great song – to Death by the OBGMs

Both Dominique Fils-Aimé and The OBGMs are on this year’s Polaris Short list.

Paul Weller – In Another Room

Paul Weller – In Another Room was is a 2019 rarity released as a 7 inch on the experimental label Ghost Box.  “Ghost Box is a record label for a group of artists exploring the misremembered musical history of a parallel world.”

 Paul Weller, a  British institution has been releasing music for almost 45 years. Whether as the leader of The Jam, Style Council or solo, Weller has had dozens of hits single and lps. In North America though,  he is mainly remembered for 1982’s “A Town Called Malice”  

Here is the Style Council Performing at Live Aid 1985.  

The Daily Telegraph said of Weller: “Apart from David Bowie, it’s hard to think of any British solo artist who’s had as varied, long-lasting and determinedly forward-looking a career. The BBC described Weller in 2007 as “one of the most revered music writers and performers of the past 30 years”

Here he is still plugging away in 2020 

Walking through a Building on Fire

NDP MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq Globe and Mail, Thursday June 17th

On June 17th, two articles were published that really struck me. A third piece, written in the winter of 2019/20 by Dr. Timothy Stanley about the removal of Sir John A. Macdonald’s statue in Victoria in 2018 acts as an important piece that links these two events. They all have to do with belonging – who belongs here and who is honoured and respected. Who feels like the ‘other’ and whose history do we understand.

It seems to me that we are going through a radical transformation right now in Canada. The first article about Mumilaaq Qaqqaq’s decision not to run again in the next election doesn’t seem to have received too much attention, but I think it is really important. She talks about the House of Parliament as being an ‘uneasy place’

It’s a place where they make laws that result in Indigenous death and result in turmoil for a lot of our communities. I feel that.

Globe and Mail June 17, 2021

There is a connection to this very brave declaration by this Inuit lawmaker and the movement to roll back the symbols of racism and genocide from our places of honour and prominence. To me, it is intolerable that a young woman who represents all of Nunavut should be stopped by security guards while in the Parliament Buildings and questioned whether she really belonged.

The statues of John A. MacDonald really do not belong – if there is a lingering spirit of the man circling around the statues and buildings with his name on it, it is this spirit who should feel like it does not belong.

The CBC article – Kingston to move Sir John A. Macdonald statue from City Park is significant because Kingston is seen as the home of Macdonald and many people feel that the removal of the statue offends their sense of community. Plans seem to be in play to move the statue to his gravesite also in Kingston. I have a better idea (not my own), but more about that later.

The article by Dr. Stanley is really important here. This statue removal he writes about took place in 2018 so we have gained a bit of perspective on what the removal means in Victoria, the community where it stood. His article Commemorating John A. Macdonald: Collective Remembering and the Structure of Settler Colonialism in British Columbia ( BC studies, no. 204, Winter 2019/20), available here, it an important read especially now.

There are so many issues circulating around Macdonald and the central role he has played developing the institution of Residential Schools in Canada. You would think that we could all get behind a rethinking of his place in our history, but we are a nation in conflict. We seem unwilling to understand the implications of colonial politicians like Macdonald.

It is not as simple as the removal of the statues of Confederate Generals from sites in the United States – even though this is not all that simple. MacDonald never made war on Canada, but you could easily say he did make war on the different Indigenous and Metis populations his government encountered.

One idea that Dr. Stanley explores is the whole notion that by removing statues of Macdonald we are somehow erasing history. This is usually said by people who really have a really poor notion of what history really is.

What we emphasize and retell changes over time. The history we look to tells us much more about the messages governments want put out there at a particular time. It has little to do with faithfully rendering a clear narrative.

The statue of former Canadian prime minister Sir John A. Macdonald is covered by a red sheet in Kingston, Ont. on June 11, 2021. On Wednesday, Kingston’s city council voted to move the monument to Cataraqui Cemetery. The city will also spend $80,000 for the transportation and installation of the statue. (Lars Hagberg/The Canadian Press)

There are so many interesting ideas in Dr. Stanley’s article I encourage you to take some time to go through this. He does sum up early in the article the idea of ‘settler colonialism’ a label used to describe the opposition to challenging the traditional narrative that Macdonald, Ryerson, Cornwallis or Langevin were simply good public stewards doing the best they could with the resources at hand.

This form of colonialism exists today in Canada and is manifest in all those who are currently opposing the removal of Macdonald’s statues.

While the structure of settler colonialism is all too real for Indigenous peoples, for most settlers it is largely invisible until such time as monuments get taken away or dominant systems of representation get challenged. 

Stanley p. 2

The council debate in Kingston illustrates how far apart Indigenous voices are from those espousing a colonial settler mindset. Delegates against the removal used arguments including ‘two wrongs don’t make a right’ and that the removal of the statue was a harsh judgment of a historical figure, and that such a move would constitute “cancel culture.” (Kingston Whig Standard, June 16).

For sure there will be more of this type of talk as the statue is scheduled to come down this Friday ( June 25). It was the same in Victoria as Dr. Stanley quotes from a CBC report:

Matthew Breeden, reported as having travelled from Vancouver to protest, told CBC: “It’s part of our history I feel is being ripped right out and gutted down. I think that’s just terrible.” He continued: “They just pushed it right through – the public wasn’t allowed to have a say.”

John A. Macdonald Statue Removed from Victoria City Hall,” CBC News, 11 August 2018, https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/john-a-macdonald-statue-victoria-city-hall-lisa-helps-1.4782065.  

An interesting side note, Doug Ford, then the newly elected Premier of Ontario called on Vistoria to send the statue to Ontario. In their official request they noted:

As a Father of Confederation and our first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald holds a significant place in the hearts of many Canadians and should be honoured accordingly

Globe and Mail August 14, 2018

These reactions, especially about not having ‘our say’, really shows the state we are still in as a country. When we talk about ‘our’ we are still talking about colonial settler mentality. When we think again about Mumilaaq Qaqqaq , it becomes clearer how alienated she must feel being at the center of colonial power in Canada. The lack of any noticeable reaction to this story is telling. Our House of Parliament is not inclusive, it does not speak for all; it still speaks, as it did in the days of Macdonald for the colonial settler.

Sir John A. Macdonald’s grave, located in Cataraqui Cemetery in Kingston, seen here on Thursday. PHOTO BY JULIA MCKAY /The Whig-Standard

The new resting spot for the Kingston statue is supposed to be at his grave site at the Cataraqui Cemetery just outside of Kingston. There was no consultation with Indigenous groups about this, just a last-minute vote of council to move it to another place of honour.

This is not the right decision on what to do with the Macdonald statue. If we want to develop a holistic historical narrative, one where a young Inuit MP feels like she belongs, we need to do some radical retelling of the story of this land. First, when it comes to honouring people responsible for genocide, Dr. Stanley has a suggestion to pass along:

In this respect, the controversy over Macdonald shows that there is much work to be done in encouraging Canadians to come to terms with their own complicity in settler colonialisms and racisms. Here are two suggestions regarding what to do with Macdonald monuments. One comes from a man from the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation in Saskatchewan who has the unfortunate name of John A. McDonald. He suggests melting the statues down and making medals to give to residential school survivors: “He stole a piece of you, here’s a piece of him … you survived, and he didn’t, and let’s give it to every survivor of residential schools, everybody that survived the cultural genocide that he attempted.”

Stanley p.25

We are a building on fire, but many of the occupants are not smelling the smoke. We need to start with a new idea about what ‘our history’ is and at the same time stop honouring the men of power who have so much to answer for.

Old Fellas new Music – Episode 5 Notes

Bob’s Songs

Tuns – We Stand United

Amy Rigby – Tom Petty Karaoke

Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks – Bike Lane

Parquet Courts – Human Dimension

This is a great interview with Parquet Courts that Bob has shared, pretty interesting! Nardwuar is new to me. This is really fun – Parquet Courts get lots of albums here and Nardwuar asks some great questions including where the band would go to get beer on Friday nights.

Little Barrie – Better Call Saul

Paul’s Songs

Barr Brothers – Kompromat – suggested by Donna Clark – thanks Donna!!

Terry Presume – Did Me Wrong

Arkells + K.Flay – “You Can Get It”Anyway Gang – Big Night
Half Moon Run – Grow into Love,

Here is the link to our show on VoicEd radio – we store all the shows here on Spreaker.

The great thing for me this week is that we actually got a song suggestion from a good friend Donna Clark. I asked her to let me know why she chose the first song and this is what she wrote:

First heard The Barr Brothers music on CBC a couple of years and especially loved the driving and insistent beat of Kompromat as a great road trip song.   Could see myself driving across the prairies in a convertible, ahem, trying to adhere to the speed limit and blasting this tune.  Lyrics are pretty deep and angry and when I saw them on paper gave me food for thought.   Maybe not the best song to listen to as travel is curtailed, but you can always crank it up as your heading out to do essential shopping in your SUV!

Here are some of the lyrics Joan was talking about. Yes, dark, but a great song!

Look at the sun go behind the hill

Look at the country through a dollar bill

I can’t see the bottom of the hole that we’re trying to fill

I think we’re in love with your abuse

You got one hand on the driver’s wheel, in the other a noose

You can call it whatever you want, I say we call it a truce


My next choice was Terry Presume, Done Me Wrong.

From the Guardian This Week’s New Tracks James McMahon – this guy writes great columns every week. Many of his picks he really doesn’t like all that much, but this makes for very entertaining reading.

From Nashville via Florida comes a rap cut so gentle it’s unfeasible its creator recorded it standing up. Less a song than a daydream, here Presume (pronounced like “résumé” – remember that, his inevitable ubiquity will require it) has delivered a tune at odds with the chaos of the modern world. Lyrically he’s just wanging on about being dumped. Philosophically, he’s eating an ice-cream while the world burns.

From The Music Mermaid

Terry Presume is the voice we didn’t know we needed. Unpolished for good reason — Terry’s style is more stream-of-consciousness, not perfection — and backed by emotion, the Florida rapper’s work is a welcome addition to fellow talk-music artists, especially on his new EP, I Got Nothing To Lose, produced by Willie Breeding.


The Arkells + K.Flay

Quitting You from Campfire Chords was going to be my choice, but then I read this in their blog. You have to love a band that has their own blog. Pretty interesting reading, especially in the middle of Covid.

From their blog – 

While we were setting up the track, K.Flay shared a pointed quote about the tune: “This song is about finding your momentum, the potential energy that’s inside of you. The future doesn’t just feel unknowable – it feels impossible. We wanted this song to feel like possibility. Like the world is opening up. Like you are powerful.”

We hope this song gives you that jolt that you’re longing for these days.

March 21, 2021 – Arkells + K.Flay = “You Can Get It


The Anyway Gang was our second Canadian super band of the show. Interesting, both TUNS and The Anyway Gang have Chris Murphy from Sloan in them.

I chose – Big Night, you can see them play here in what I think is the CBC Q studio.

CBC Radio Q did an interview with the band last January. It is a great way to get a sense of how the band formed and also how much fun these guys have playing together.

CBC Radio interview with Tom Power  Posted: Jan 21

Here are some notes about the band. I love the idea that they get together to tell dad jokes!

Dave Monks – Tokyo Police Club, Sam Roberts, Menno Versteeg – Hollerando, Chris Murphy – Sloan

Last summer a few friends from some of Canada’s most notable bands – Dave Monks (Tokyo Police Club), Sam Roberts (Sam Roberts Band), Menno Versteeg (Hollerado), and Chris Murphy (Sloan) – got together to write some songs.  They mostly made dad jokes but also jammed on a bunch of 3 chord songs they all had lying around. They recorded a bunch of stuff in a few days and over the year added some ideas here and there and all of a sudden a year had past and they realized they kinda had an album so they said let’s name ourselves the first thing they thought of and release it. Anyway, they’re called Anyway Gang

Talking about the Tokyo Police Club, Bob mentions a tour video with a bunch of band members, including Brendan, Bob’s son. He sent me the video footage of a night on the road. I wonder how they were all doing the next day 😃


One last note for this week. Bob has mentioned Zunior several times, so it seemed like a good idea to add some information about them here. Here is their website.

They are also on Twitter here

That’s all for this week – our show now starts at 7:45 so that we can get all the music in. You can hear us LIVE next week on the VoicEd Radio Stream.

Climbing for Kids Again!

Hi everyone!
It has been a year since I have been in contact with you. COVID has put a break on our trips and our fundraising, but Christie Lake Kids continues to offer to program for kids.

CLK on Zoom over the past year

Last summer their wonderful camp was closed down, but they offered kids a virtual camp and delivered materials and activities directly to the doors of the virtual camp.

this incredible program was funded in part by your donations – kids received a box of activities for a week of activities last summer

All of you who have taken the time to donate have helped fund these programs. The programs keep running so we need to keep climbing!!


From CLK staffer Kim Banks:

In 2020 – you kept us stable and operational – you ensured that we could develop a hybrid of programming both virtual and eventually back in person in small groups in the Fall of 2020.  Thanks to Climb for Kids- Mt. Kilimanjaro, even though the trek didn’t happen, your funding ensured that we could source, box and deliver packages directly to families for virtual programming as well as purchase new equipment for a skills – and – drills program in person.

Since 2018, so many of you have been loyal supporters of our fundraising initiatives for Christie Lake Kids – Climb for Kids. You have turned up at our community fundraisers, contributed and bought from the silent auctions, donated to Canada Helps and, last year, sponsored our climbing hundreds of stairs through Step up for Kids – when the pandemic stopped our travelling and required some innovative and creative endeavours to continue to support Christie Lake Kids. Right now – we still are not congregating, nor climbing mountains, but we are still committed to Christie Lake Kids.


Although grounded again in 2021, we are not still. The growing needs of Ottawa families and kids are never still, and the pandemic has even further deepened the divide between children who can access recreation and supportive programs and those who cannot.  Next week, on Saturday, April 24th, CLK is supporting another STEP up for KIDS event. Funds raised through participation and/or sponsoring others/donations will help CLK to keep connecting with, and supporting kids as we head into the spring and summer.
Please consider participating in STEP up for KIDS – walking, climbing, playing – and/or sponsoring me or Heather Swail through our STEP up for KIDS donor page. Heather and I are committing to climbing stairs for one hour, maybe with some small breaks!

https://www.canadahelps.org/en/pages/christie-lake-climb-for-kids-kilimanjaro-2020-c-12/

https://www.canadahelps.org/en/pages/christie-lake-climb-for-kids-kilimanjaro-2020-ch-4/


And we will be climbing together somewhere in 2022 – our destination is not yet set, but we are committed to putting on another adventure that you are all welcome to join!


Thanks very much for your past support and we hope you can participate in some way next Saturday!


Paul McGuire

Covid Journal # 7 – Returning to school is risky

These graphs put out by science teacher and biostatistician, Ryan Imgrund are something I am going to watch closely over the next month.

‘On August 2, in Ottawa there is a 4.8% chance you’ll encounter an individual who can transmit COVID-19 in a group of 27.’

This is actually a statement put out on Ryan Imgrund’s Twitter feed. You can fill in the blanks for your region if you would like. How’s it going for you?

What this means should startle everyone. There is a significant risk of COVID-19 spreading in classrooms this fall. There is no hard cap for kindergarten classes or grades 4-8. Kindergarten classes can still be as high as 29 students, classes in grades 1-3 are capped at 23 (90% of classes must have 20 or fewer students).

From Ontario Families for Public Education

The only meaningful caps that exist right now are in grades 9 – 12 where students will attend in groups of 15.

Not to sound overly critical, but I am not sure how this is going to work.

Today, Sunday, August 2 – Australia declares a state of disaster in Victoria and imposes curfew in Melbourne  

Great Britain and Spain are beginning lockdowns again in various regions.

In the New York Times – After a brief reprieve, coronavirus charges back in US

Again the New York Times – A school reopened. It had to quarantine students within hours.

I am going to stop at four, but I could add many more stories. My point here is to state the obvious, this virus is not under control. Reopening is fraught with danger and in many cases leads to more outbreaks.

The great thing about daily statistics is that we can track the daily spread of the virus against significant changes in behaviour.

While we all should be concerned as Minister Lecce is for the emotional well-being of students, is sending them back into a very risky environment the best way to do this?

Should we not be trying to reimagine what school could look like if we were not so tied to an industrial era school model? We could be asking – what was so good about how we did things in the past? What could we do better? Why are we so tied to tradition at the risk of our student’s and teacher’s health?

Schools support the economy, there is no question about that. When kids are in school people can go back to work. If we truly were concerned about the well-being of staff and students we would be looking closely at the statistics and we would be using this time to reimagine school.

Are the people in charge of our school systems motivated to do this? People in senior positions traditionally want to protect the status quo. It is in their self-interest to do this. There is nothing amazing in this – all large corporations act in the same manner.

But what should we be doing?

  • Should any grouping of students be above 15?

  • Could we be using facilities like community and health centers to spread out our teachers and students?

  • Could we develop more robust video conferencing tools to make the online experience more meaningful (is there life after Zoom??)

  • Is five days a week, 6 hours a day really meaningful? Can we develop a community-based model for education that makes parents active partners?

 

We do ask these questions in countless blog posts and podcasts, but are these questions ever taken seriously? If not now, when? How tied are we really to an old model that really doesn’t work well for many kids?

I really want to see what happens in the next 30 days. Will there be meaningful debate about what education in Ontario will look like this year? Do we realize that we are in this for the long haul? There is no returning to school until there is a vaccine.

I will be working with teacher candidates in first and second year so I will certainly have lots of opportunities to see how we protect our students and staff. I will continue to look at the stats – we are very fortunate to have this daily reminder about what we are heading into.

Will we invest in real change or will we just hope for the best?

Are we willing to lose a bit of control?

A few days ago Dean Shareski came out with an interesting post that got me thinking (it’s time I got back into writing something). Dean has a great sense of humour so I think the post is a little tongue in cheek – I Don’t Think I’m an EdTech Guy Anymore.

In the article, he wonders whether what he once saw as edtech is really technical anymore.

Using digital media to create and consume, expanding classrooms to connect with experts and other learners, connecting assessment to technology, effectively using mobile devices as well as exploring the growing interest in digital citizenship were all topics and areas I spent time teaching and supporting. Today those topics, while still of interest do not have the same “newness” that we associate when with think of technology.

I can agree with this. The things that he writes about as now being technology leave me a little cold. His list includes:

  • Augmented and Virtual Reality
  • 3D Printing
  • Coding (arguably coding has been around for a long time but has become a newly sought after skill/experience)
  • ESports
  • BlockChain (data security)

I remember bringing some of this technology into schools and being pretty excited about the possibilities of makerspaces and tools to start understanding how coding works. Now, while I am still (more than ever) interested and engaged in teaching and writing about education, I don’t seem to get as excited about some of this technology.

I have to ask here, what is seen as educational technology these days? In another part of the article, Dean references an ISTE article on the 9 hottest topics in Edtech. The list includes professional learning vs. professional development and student-centered learning as two of the nine.

My question is – are these really edtech trends? Am I off base or is the trend towards more individualized learning (two of the edtech trends) simply a matter of more intelligent pedagogy or must it be linked up to technology?

Earlier this week I observed a student teacher going through a lesson with some grade 9 students. The lesson did have technology – there were Youtube videos and digital media involved in the presentation. What was missing was any level of engagement with the students. The information was conveyed using a very traditional lecture style, the students were the passive receptors of the information.

We know enough about education now that this mode for delivering information is outdated. It is unnecessary and it accomplishes little. Technology doesn’t accomplish all that much if all the strings are held on to by the teacher. The same goes for professional learning. When we bring in the sage from the school board to enrich the lives of our teachers, no matter what technology they are bringing in they are missing the point.

Maybe what we need to be focusing in on is not so much the tech we have at our fingertips but the democratization of education – maybe what we need to do is lose some of the control over information and allow our teachers and students explore more and use their own tools to find out what matters.

Writing is a funny thing. I really meant to write about the importance of digital media in education and how it really is (in my opinion) revolutionizing teaching, but I guess that will have to wait.

there is a lot to write about when it comes to the use of digital media and the teaching of history – just getting started!

Whatever the edtech – AR, VR, 3D printing, coding etc, it really doesn’t matter if we do not understand the basic fact that we need to lose control. We need to let our teachers know that the sage on the stage is not a valuable way to get students excited about learning. We have to stop talking at our teachers in dreary PD sessions and we really need to model an approach that allows for inquiry and discovery in the classroom.

What I am seeing is that there is little excuse for not doing this. We now are able to bring almost anything into the classroom. I was astounded last fall when I was giving a course on teaching methods in history how much amazing primary material is now out there for students to examine. And you don’t need a classroom full of computers to actively engage your students.

We know better now. Students need to get their hands dirty and get involved in their own learning.

Why should we hold onto all the keys to the knowledge chest? Why not open it up and let our students and teachers discover what is out there? They are bound to find out more than we could imagine.

More on the treasure of digital media later. The world is unfolding in your classroom – if you are willing to lose a bit of control!

History in the Making – Creating Digital History Techbooks

So, I have to say I have had lots of fun this fall.

Out of nowhere, I was offered a chance to teach a history teaching methods course at the University of Ottawa. For ten weeks I got to talk about one of the things I really love – the study of history. It has been many many years since I actually taught history and fortunately, the methodology for the teaching of history has changed dramatically since I taught the subject.

The last assignment we worked on was called History in the Making. I had this idea that it would be really cool for students to develop a digital textbook along the lines of what Discovery Education has created for math, science and social studies.

I have done lots of work on Discovery Education’s Science Techbook and I know it is an amazing learning tool. While there is a social studies techbook, it doesn’t have the features of the science version and there is no Canadian version.

The digital techbooks are incredibly versatile learning tools, but I don’t really know any good examples outside of the Discovery Education material. So, why not create our own?

We just did a gallery walk of the completed Canadian History techbooks and I have to say they were amazing. We ran out of time in the ten weeks to present the techbooks individually, so one of the students had the brilliant idea of doing them all in one day in the form of a gallery walk.

the basic idea

I really believe that this is the future of educational publishing (in my humble opinion!). As more and better technology becomes standard in the classroom, we will begin to see the value in having excellent, properly curated digital resources to support students and teachers.

The key word here is curated resources. It is simply not good enough to expect educators to Google topics for the classroom without making sure the chosen sources are reliable and accurate. Teachers don’t have the time to do this themselves, but relying on a standard textbook is (again), in my opinion too limiting. Even in a field like history, perspectives and viewpoints change on a regular basis. What was significant a few years ago may not be relevant today.

Screenshot of one of the digital techbook assignments – Canada and the Cold War

I think that new teachers will be faced with a different reality from teachers in the past. As we move away from reliance on textbooks, teachers will have to become their own publishers. They will need to put together their own collections of documentary evidence, essential questions and credible sources to engage and inform their students. With so much material out there this will become a formidable challenge.

The selection of topics chosen by the class is a response to this challenge. There is an amazing and incredibly relevant techbook on the Oka Crisis. There is another one – Women and the War Effort that ties Historical Thinking Concepts – a relatively new idea – to curriculum focusing on the contribution of women to the war. There is so much more!

All of the techbooks have links to curriculum and many have additional resources for teachers. This is important. If we are going to create excellent curated resources for teachers, we need to make sure they are linked to relevant curriculum. If we don’t, no one will see them as credible. We also have to make sure the resources include ideas for interactive activities and opportunities for students to create their own content.

Cover page – Women and the War digital techbook

So, all to say, our last class was an exciting one. Students presented to other students what they had created and then the techbooks were shared with me. I have spent the last few days reading through them and I really think that this is important work that needs to be shared out and developed.

students presenting during our gallery walk

I have created a Google Doc here that contains a summary of all the history techbooks that have been shared with me. The class has editing privileges so that they can go in and add to my summary. The reality is they probably won’t be doing much of this in the next few weeks as they are all back in the classroom until Christmas.

However – they have done some great creative work that needs to be shared. This work deserves an audience and I hope people, especially history teachers will take a look and give us all some helpful advice on where to go with this project.

Thanks to all the students in PED 3183. It was great learning with all of you. Here is me hoping that many will benefit from all of your creations! I leave you with one last activity from the Oka Crisis techbook.

Take a moment to consider the image (above) and consider the following:

  • What do you notice about this image?
  • What questions do you have about this image?

Jot down your answers individually, then pair up with a classmate to share your ideas.

Activity: Engaging with Primary Sources Padlet

Click anywhere on the image (Padlet link) below to type your thoughts and ideas regarding the iconic image above. Your response will appear pending approval.

Made with Padlet

Make it a Story – Climb for Kids Kilimanjaro

So yesterday I got this encouraging note from Allan Neal of CBC Ottawa.

This was in response to my tweet about wanting to get some media coverage for Climb for Kids – a pretty difficult thing to do in the very crowded stage of radio and television coverage. I do agree, telling the story is what it is all about. Having a hook that will get people’s attention is a challenge, when there are so many stories out there in our city.

Elia Saikaly, an Ottawa native shot this video of the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro using a drone – this is where we plan to be in early August 2020

So, here we go. Here are some of the stories:

  • in 2017, middle -age, freshly retired and very tired principal climbs Mount Kilimanjaro with an organization that has raised over $1 Million for Ottawa organizations;
  • family decides – in collaboration with Christie Lake Kids Foundation (CLK) – to initiate Climb for Kids combining philanthropy with travel adventures and personal challenges;
  • over $67,000 is raised in two years;
  • 17 climbers ranging in age from 21 to 72 trek Apu Ausangate (Rainbow Mountains) in Peru reaching heights of 5200 metres; the next year, 14 trekkers trek 170 km around the Mont Blanc Massif, walking for 11 days through difficult terrain and heatwaves;
  • kids living across Ottawa, ranging in age from 8 – 16 years, benefit directly from the fundraising in sports and STEM programs;
  • local bands, businesses and individuals contribute time and money to Climb for Kids, including “Barry and the Blasters”;
  • in 2019, a growing group of new and old trekkers prepare for the climb to the Roof of Africa, July 2020.

The full story we wrote for CBC can be found here.

There are so many ways to start a story like this. From Paul’s perspective, he comes at this from a few angles. First, the climbing. “I am 61 years old and I fell in love with trekking in 2017 when I joined a group of 31 trekkers who climbed to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania to raise money for programs for local charitable organizations here in Ottawa. The climbing was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. I was able to raise over $9,000 for local programs. “

The following year, my partner, Heather Swail, and I decided to develop our own program so we could channel money and support to Christie Lake Kids (CLK) – an organization here in Ottawa that supports children in low-income families across the city. CLK has been and continues to be an important part of our own family story.

We know Christie Lake Kids through many perspectives: all three of our own kids have worked at the camp; Our eldest, Liam, currently is the associate director of the organization; Heather and I have taught and worked with many of the CLK kids who attend recreation programs and summer camp. We know firsthand what a difference caring adults and skill-building programs make to kids and their families.

Poverty and bad luck are situational: they should not define and restrict opportunities for kids. Through truly transformative, recreation programs – e.g., hockey, music lessons, cooking, leadership programs, they are doing something unique – day by day, trying to break the cycle of poverty firmly entrenched here in Ottawa and empower children to change the direction of their lives.

Because Christie Lake Kids is really a social justice venture we are propelled to recruit people every year to bring them trekking. We help them with their training, we pick the routes and we put on a series of great fundraising parties throughout the year.

Our year I team at our first fundraiser at Fatboys in the Market

We know we are going in the right direction, every year we pick up new partners and friends who are helping this to become a really dynamic project here in Ottawa.

Our group members really make this special. We have some people who have been with us for three years now, others join us for a year but continue to support us and spread the news. Our group members support each other and learn to work together, not only to train but to raise money. In the first two years of Climb for Kids, we have raised close to $60,000. This year, we plan to raise an additional $40,000.

Here is a short video from Tara Howlett, one of our trekkers in Peru – Year I of Climb for Kids

Our climbers are great. The video above was taken by Tara Howlett, one of the trekkers who joined us in Year I. Tara took many more videos like this during the five-day high altitude trek in the Ausangate Range in Peru. Her journal became the basis for the film we created about the first year journey.

On the Year II trek around the Mont Blanc Massif, another one of our climbers, Jodie Beyer actually broke her foot on the fourth day of a twelve-day trek. She kept on trekking in incredibly hot and dry conditions and only realized she had broken her foot when she returned to Canada.

These treks are really hard. Our first trek in Peru was over 4800 m for five days. Many suffered through the cold and high altitude, but everybody made it. Last summer, we trekked over 170 km through France, Switzerland and Italy, camping the whole way. It was simply beautiful but many times it was also a real struggle.

A video
paul took at the top of the Col de Tricot – one of the hardest climbs we did on the TMB

So this year we are taking on Mt. Kilimanjaro. This will be another great challenge. Kilimanjaro is very hard for a regular trekker. It is a long seven to eight-day trek, all at high altitude. We will climb through five ecological zones. While we start in the rain forest, by summit day we are living in arctic tundra. The summit is at 5,895 metres (19,341 ft) and as we climb altitude sickness becomes a real concern for everyone.

Our group in 2017 – scrambling up the Barranco Wall

I know this will be a very challenging climb and we are hoping to bring lots of trekkers with us. This is not for everyone and the process of recruiting people to take on the trek is a very slow one – one that drives me a little crazy! Right now we have 13 climbers and we would love to eventually have 20 people on the journey. We want to make it to $40,000 this year so we can reach the $100,000 mark for Christie Lake Kids.

In all of this there is lots of adversity, but maybe this is just a reflection of the challenges many of the kids CLK supports face every day. There needs to be change, there needs to be hope – this is why we do this – Communities Move Mountains.

Paul McGuire, Heather Swail Ottawa, November 2019

Climb for Kids Year II TMB