#GoodTurn with Scouts Canada

Potential good deeds are all around us just waiting to happen! Scouts from across the country are challenging Canadians of all ages to help spread goodwill during Good Turn Week, April 29 – May 7by doing a Good Turn for a friend, family member, neighbour or the community, and encouraging the recipient to pay it forward. A simple gesture of kindness can be as easy as giving up your seat on the bus or helping a neighbour carry their groceries, or as ambitious as organizing a clean-up of a local park. One good deed is all it takes to make a difference and inspire others, creating a cycle of goodwill that will spread across Canada! To learn more about Good Turn Week and to participate, visit www.scouts.ca/goodturn.

Everyone can share their Good Turns at Scouts.ca/goodturnweek, or on social media by using #GoodTurnWeek and by tagging @ScoutsCanada from Saturday, April 29 – Sunday, May 7, 2017.

Canadian History in Miniature Trains!

With the holiday season approaching and memories of train sets under Christmas trees endlessly looping in parents’ heads, now is the time to introduce this age-old tradition to a whole new generation of children. Trains are deeply rooted in Canada’s history and much can be learned from exploring their contribution to our country. The first Canadian transcontinental was completed in 1885, simplifying long-distance overland travel. From then until the 1950s, trains were the transportation workhorses of society. After commercial airlines took off, trains and planes fought for passenger business with airlines replacing trains as the glamorous way to travel. Evidence of the esteem rail travel had in earlier times exists in the opulence of restored railway stations.

Exploring the world of model trains can be fun for the whole family! This year’s Vancouver Train Expo from Nov 5-6 at the PNE Forum has something for everyone, including an opportunity for kids to experience hands-on the grand past-time of another millennium, and for parents to gain exposure to the state-of-the-art technology of today’s new trains. The Expo represents the contribution railways made, and continue to make, to Canadian history and culture. Model railroading is a rewarding hobby that ranges from pushing wooden trains around on the floor to replicating a part of our history in miniature, sometimes re-enacting a particular time and date, and adhering to the same rule book and procedures as the real railroad did in that day.

Vancouver Train Expo will feature trains made from scratch by hobbyists with metal working skills, and others produced by 3D printers. In addition to a variety of interactive train displays such as Thomas & Friends, Vancouver Train Expo will offer mini-rail train rides, LEGO® displays and balloon twisters – the perfect family outing for a pre-Christmas weekend. It will appeal to kids who are fascinated with small working mechanisms, and parents who enjoy learning the various technical and artistic skills that are part of this endeavour.

Don’t miss the Vancouver Train Expo. Visit www.vancouvertrainexpo.ca.

Celebrate Canada’s Birthday with Tulips!

Celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary next year with a stunning display of red and white tulips, the international symbol of friendship and an enduring symbol of our national ethos of kindness and hospitality.

There’s no better way to say Happy Birthday to Our Home and Native Land, and the Canadian Garden Council and Vesey’s Bulbs of Prince Edward Island want to help make it happen. Community groups are invited to apply for a “150th Celebration Garden” of red and white tulips, and homeowners are invited to purchase their own scaled down version for their gardens.

Community Groups such as public gardens, municipalities, schools, service organizations, horticultural societies and garden clubs are invited to apply for one of only 150 red-and-white Celebration Gardens, each containing 1,000 tulip bulbs, to be planted in the fall of this year and bloom in time to say “Happy Birthday Canada” in the spring of 2017. Applications for one of these gardens are being accepted on the Canada’s Garden Route website –www.canadasgardenroute.ca . Deadline for applications is August 8, 2016.

Home Gardeners can join the party with their very own Celebration Garden.  Vesey’s Bulbs is selling an exclusive, limited number – only 150 per region – of special Celebration Gardens for the home gardener, each containing 75 Red Impression and 75 White Hakuun tulip bulbs.  Each garden comes with an official “150th Celebration Garden” certificate.  Order now to avoid disappointment.  Details available at:  www.canadasgardenroute.ca

National Aboriginal Day!

In the Lower Mainland, we have so many amazing opportunities to learn from our First Nations people and like all cultures, their stories are worth telling and celebrating. Don’t miss National Aboriginal Day British Columbia celebrations on June 21st, which was first proclaimed in 1996 and is celebrated all across Canada. In Vancouver, events take place at Trout Lake, allowing for a day for all Canadians to celebrate the cultures and contributions of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples. Trout Lake events will take place on Coast Salish Territory of the Xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ (Tsleil-Waututh) nations. This is a community-based, full day of events that showcase and celebrate the diversity of Aboriginal people while gathering to share their spirit, experiences, stories, songs, art and dance with each other and the general community. All events are free, and include a resource fair, arts and crafts, teepee village, entertainment, food and more! Bring the whole family for a day of appreciation, culture, and good times for all.


Be a Homestay Host for International Students!

Sometimes, we can live in a place for so long that it begins to lose its charm. We forget to stop and smell the flowers and appreciate what makes our home special. However, to someone from another country, a new location is rich in excitement but also apprehension. This is especially true for international students who cannot afford other housing options, as homestays allow them a room in someone’s home, a supportive family to host, educate and enliven the experience, and a place to stay while they study abroad.

Homestays offer a home to an international student with a local family as a way to experience a culture, location and garner an experience that would be truly unique and complementary to their education. Ideally, these students become part of the family and are involved in dinners out, family game nights and more.

The families also benefit, as they are also able to learn about a new culture, perhaps pick up on a new language, and make foreign friends around the world. “This is a great way for families with young children especially to learn about other cultures and differences and similarities in lifestyles,” said Phil Shimizu, Director of the Canada Homestay Organization. And unbeknownst to many families just starting out, offering a room for a homestay is also an excellent way to help pay off the mortgage and any extra bills.

That isn’t to say that the decision to be involved in the homestay program should be taken lightly. Homestays are commitments both in time and effort, especially when dealing with someone who does not speak English well. Families serving as hosts should ensure that they spend time with the student and show them what makes their neighbourhood and city special. But placement agencies are always willing to help with questions or concerns you may have along the way.

So consider opening your home to an international student and have a unique experience for the entire family! Check the Canada Homestay Organization website for more information.