BC Heritage Fairs Alumni

The Official Heritage Fairs Student Site

Countdown To Provincial Fair — June 30, 2016

Countdown To Provincial Fair

This year’s Provincial Fair is fast approaching! To celebrate, and count down the days, we will be digging out our best advice for Fair-goers from the Alumni Blog archive. The entry below was originally posted on June 27th 2014, just a few days before the 2014 Provincial Fair in Kamloops. The author, Ana, was part of the Alumni Delegation that year. Take note of her tips and tricks! She is a Heritage Fair veteran!

COUNTDOWN: 4 days to Provincials!


Dear Students participating,

The Provincial Fair is approaching very soon! With less than one week to go, finalizing both your projects and your speeches is essential. Simple, easy things can help unexpected emergency repairs –- as we call them— and help your project survive the traveling and presenting ordeal. Here are a couple of useful tips that can come in handy in tough times:

1. Write your name on EVERYTHING: who knows who might have the same kind of cue card or the same set of pens. This avoids awkward confusions and lost items.

2. Put together a ziplock bag and fill it with extra gadgets such as pens, pencils, erasers, glue, paper clips, cue cards and an extra copy of your oral presentation. Label it “project extras”.

3. Put together a second ziplock bag and fill it with extra little things that may help your costume (that is, if you have one) in desperate times of need. For example, fill it with safety pins and a mini sewing kit and label the bag “costume extras”.

4. ALWAYS have a bottle of water with you as we will be exploring from sunrise until sunset!

5. Don’t be nervous! Remember that judges are humans too 😉 If you have a little stumble, take a deep breath and continue on.

6. Bring your best smile and your exploring hearts!

Well, these 6 tips should get you ready and excited for the provincial fair! I hope you’re as excited as I am!

Author: Ana

A Look into the Islands of Haida Gwaii — June 25, 2016

A Look into the Islands of Haida Gwaii

On Haida Gwaii, or as some know it better as the Queen Charlotte Islands, there is much to wonder about.  After an eight hour ferry trip to get there you’ll be encompassed by a whole different world. Part of a national reserve and shared with the Haida people there is a wide history of the area.  Some parts were used as an army base, today there are still old abandoned buildings that they used. Totem poles scatter the islands with new ones being made still today, and representing generations of people, stories they told or even spiritual beliefs. Carvers hand pick the tree, then using techniques that they have developed, and some relearned, start carving away. Sometimes carving with a careful plan and sometimes building the design as they go.   A beautiful museum for the heritage of Haida Gwaii holds many important objects that are a part of the island, displaying beautiful artwork such as paintings, sculptures, and other things from local artists.  In the front of the museum a row of Totem poles is in place.

Image source: Haida Heritage Centre, 2015

The forests that engulf Haida Gwaii are filled with massive trees, beautiful in size, a stunning site to see. Logging as been a big part of Haida Gwaii recent history, on the islands you can see parts that have been clear cut and destroyed because of it. Many Haida people work with some of the big logging companies; others protest against it. Since the island of South Morse by and surrounding ocean is now a national park there is less logging. Unfortunately this puts some people without jobs. The culture between the Haida and the other people that live there is refreshing. When I was there a man walked into this small coffee shop and brought in a halibut with him. He gave the fish to the guy at the counter, traded, and got a coffee and credit on his account for it. I wish this was how our economy worked regularly.

Photo by: Anna

The beaches surrounding the outer part of the island can change very quickly. With the tide coming in and going out at extreme lengths. The water can be a mile away from your camp at noon and then be right at your door in the evening. Some of the beaches are covered in Agate and other assorted round rocks, some are sandy and others are covered with sheets of rock. When wind and water carves out a rock enough you can have a tide pool. Tide pools have their own little ecosystems within them, holding anemones, tiny fish, mussels, small crabs, starfish, hermit crabs, etc. This beautiful place is the farthest west part of Canada.

Photo by: Anna

I was inspired by everything that Haida Gwaii had to offer, I took pictures and drew nonstop. I could go out and discover something new everyday. I could sit, listening to the waves, breathing in the clean salt air. It gave life to things I did. The wild life, the beaches, the animals, the solitude. It affected my art a lot. A famous Canadian artist, Emily Carr, went to Haida Gwaii many times and was inspired by the trees, the totem poles and Haida art style. She made some amazing paintings of this place. She absolutely loved it, as you can see through her artwork she interpretation of what she saw was just stunning. If you have the opportunity to visit Haida Gwaii you should go. You never know what it might inspire in your life.

Artist Emily Carr,   Image source: BC Archives
Image source: Royal BC Museum


Author: Anna

A Short History of Canada’s Peacekeepers — June 17, 2016

A Short History of Canada’s Peacekeepers

Canadian Peacekeeping started in 1956 with the Suez Crisis. In that same year Canada’s Minister of External affairs Lester Pearson suggested that the UN actually lead peacekeeping forces into areas of conflict. His actions lead to the first deployment of UN peace-keeping forces. Since then Canada has been involved in every peacekeeping operation that the UN has led. From the Suez Crisis in 1956 to the Deployment in Afghanistan that has just ended. Our peacekeepers with the blue helmets are well-respected worldwide.

Jack - photo - UN

Rwanda: In the 1950’s there was an ethnically motivated rebellion against a class system created by German and Belgian colonists that favored a minority ethnic group called the Tutsi (14% of the population) over the far larger Hutus (85% of the population). But this was not just a simple revolution, it would evolve to become a genocidal massacre throughout the 1960’s. Thirty years later in 1990 exiled Tutsi’s attacked in revenge, this started a six month civil war that ended in a cease fire in 1991 thanks to the intercession by French troops. On the 6th of April in 1994 a bomb went off on the Hutu president of Rwanda’s plane killing him instantly; within a few hours the Hutu were already on the radio blaming the Tutsi and the United Nations did nothing. That night the revolution turned into a genocide, Hutu soldiers went house to house killing all the Tutsi’s and non-extremist Hutus that they could find, again the United Nations did nothing. Even two weeks later when the Rwanda Prime Minister and ten soldiers that were acting as his bodyguards were butchered the UN still did nothing, and it wasn’t until very late June that the UN authorized troops to be deployed into Rwanda. With the second United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) came an increased number of U.N. troops to 5,500. These troops were tasked with ensuring the security of a cease-fire, providing security for refugees and supporting humanitarian relief efforts. On the 21st of June 1994, the Government of Canada approved the deployment of a communications unit that numbered almost 350 soldiers. This unit provided all communications for the UNAMIR from the 21st of July in 1994 to the 25th of January 1995 (Canada’s participation in UNAMIR ended in Rwanda on February 15 that same year).

            The Former Yugoslavia: The conflict in Yugoslavia was fought in a series of conflicts that lasted throughout the 1990’s. Beginning in 1990 and ending in 1999 it led to the dissolution of the Social Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Canada aided in UN peacekeeping efforts by contributing 175 soldiers to act as escorts for the UN missionaries as well as protecting villages from ethnic “cleansing” of the paramilitaries.

            Somalia: In 1992 the Country of Somalia was experiencing a famine and was in the midst of a civil war. That year the UN launched “Operation Restore Hope” a mission directed by the U.S.A but there were large forces of Canadians there as well providing food and other relief efforts to the population. The mission had an unforeseen scandal on the part of the Canadians. One night a Somalia teenager was arrested by members of the Canadian Airborne Regiment and was subsequently tortured and beaten to death. During the starting stages of the investigation it was believed that the incident concerned only a few low-ranking members of the armed forces but as the investigation continued it was revealed that there had been intercession high up the chain of command to try and hide this crime, as a result the Airborne Regiment was disbanded in 1995.

East Timor: East Timor began to experience great political turmoil when it began to move away from its parent country Portugal in the 1970’s and much Civil debate erupted over whether or not it should become its own autonomous country or to become a part of Indonesia. Then in late 1974 the Indonesian government launched a secret attack on East Timor, as a result the country fell into a civil war in 1975. Thousands of people fled to nearby Indonesia. In 1976 Indonesia then invaded the territory and made East Timor a part of Indonesia. In the few years after the invasion a series of disasters struck East Timor including armed resistance against Indonesia, people being forced to move elsewhere and a famine that killed thousands of people. With Indonesian accepting the UN’s offer to help end the violence the UN sent in an Australian-lead taskforce in 1999 to help keep peace. Canada itself contributed the HMCS Protecteur, an infantry company, and transport planes to support the mission. Over 600 Canadians were sent over to fulfill key roles such as providing security, building camps and fixing facilities, as well as helping with humanitarian efforts. But the most important part of the Canadian relief efforts was the work of the Canadian Airlift Task Force, which comprised of two Hercules class aircrafts and over 100 troops. Between September and November these Canadians transported about one million kilograms of cargo and over 2,000 passengers between Australia and East Timor. But after this sizeable military contribution the Canadian government scaled back the military involvement in East Timor. Thanks to peace keeping efforts East Timor became autonomous in 2002 but there remained a UN presence until 2005.

The Gulf War: In August 1990 the wealthy oil country of Kuwait was invaded by Iraqi troops. Immediately the UN demanded that Iraq withdraw its troops from Kuwait, threatening to place economic sanctions on it if it failed to comply. January of 1991 when the deadline for an Iraqi withdrawal was not met the United States and 27 other countries (including Canada) began to bomb different areas from the air and the ocean. Canada contributed a squad of CF-18 bombers, units from the Canadian army and a few ships from the Canadian navy that were patrolling in that area; “Operation Desert Storm” had just begun. The use of new “smart” weapons like laser guided bombs and cruise missiles in the Gulf War destroyed most of Iraq’s armed forces as well as most of the country’s infrastructure. The Gulf War was ended on the 28th of February in 1991.

Cyprus: United Nations set up the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus in 1964 to stop the Turkish and Greek Cypriots from fighting each other over different disagreements. This program was expanded in 1974 after the Greek Cypriots did a military takeover and the Turkish invaded Cyprus. At the start the UNFICYP Was made of military and non-military personnel from much of the commonwealth (including Canada) as well as Denmark, Finland and Sweden it is currently made up of many more Countries that but Canada still is a part of it. From the deployment of UNFICYP up until 1974 the Canadians ran the Nicosia district and until the mid-1990’s we kept a battalion of solders in Cyprus.

Afghanistan: After the terrorist attack on the world trade center on September 11th 2001 Governor General Adrienne Clarkson authorize over 100 Canadian soldiers on exchange programs in the United Stated to be deployed in Afghanistan. The Tarnak Farm incident occurred on 18 April 2002, when an American F-16 jet dropped a laser-guided bomb on a group of Canadian soldiers from the 3rd Battalion. The soldiers were conducting night-time training on a marked live-fire range, and the American pilots mistook their gunfire for a Taliban attack. Four Canadians were killed and eight were wounded in the friendly fire incident. Their deaths were the first Canadian deaths in Afghanistan, and the first in a combat zone since the Korean War. From 2011 to 2013 Canadians helped rebuild the Afghani infrastructure and educate its people. The Canadian troops recently left Afghanistan; At the time of this writing the Afghani war, at least for the Canadians, has been over for at least 15 days the Canadian armed forces have taken 158 fatal causalities.

Author: Jack



http://www.canadaka.net/content/page/91-canadas-peacekeeping-missions Canada’s Peacekeeping missions. March 14, 2005

http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/history/canadian-armed-forces/easttimor Canadian Forces in East Timor. February 18, 2014

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canada%27s_role_in_the_Afghanistan_War Canada’s Role in the Afghanistan War. March 24, 2014

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Forces_casualties_in_Afghanistan Canadian Forces casualties in Afghanistan. January 13, 2014

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Peacekeeping_Force_in_Cyprus United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus. March 9, 2014

http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/timeline-involved-since-2001-canada-wraps-up-its-mission-in-afghanistan-1.1724890 Timeline: Involved since 2001, Canada wraps up its mission in Afghanistan.

http://www.lermuseum.org/en/canadas-military-history/1945-to-present/peacekeeping/cyprus/ Cyprus.

http://prezi.com/ev9yeyx74y-e/canadas-peacekeeping-role-in-yugoslavia/ Canada’s Peacekeeping Role in Yugoslavia. January 16, 2013

http://unac.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/CdnUNPkpgBooklet_e.pdf The Canadian Contribution To United Nations Peacekeeping.

http://www.cbc.ca/archives/categories/war-conflict/peacekeeping/peacekeeping.html CBC Digital Archives.

2016 Young Citizens Videos are up! — June 13, 2016

2016 Young Citizens Videos are up!

Young Citizens is a national video competition, and a complementary component of Heritage Fairs across Canada. 200 students between the ages of 10 and 16, from all provinces and territories will participate in Young Citizens.  Just like Heritage Fairs, students research  Canadian icons, stories, and events in Canadian history. Students then present their findings online, rather than in an interview. These videos are ultimately reviewed by a panel of judges, however, 50% of the final score on a project is determined by the public. That means you! Yes, all the student videos are also posted online so that all Canadians can see their hard work. Public voting opens today (June 13, 2016)!  The online vote will close at midnight on July 6, 2016.

YC logo.jpg


Following the vote, 2 students per province and territory will be selected as the final recipients. These 26 students will receive a trip to Ottawa in the fall, where they will attend the Canada’s History Youth Forum!

Check out Vedanshi’s video!

Check out Abrielle’s video!


Two of our own BCHFS Alumni Council members, Vedanshi and Abrielle, are competing in Young Citizens this year. See their excellent films by following the links below:

Vedanshi – “A Canadian Pioneer”/ ” L’histoire d’un pionnier canadien”

Abrielle – Japanese Canadian Community: The History of a Blossoming Community Taking Root 

You’re invited to meet all the Young Citizens, watch their videos, comment on their amazing work by going to Find a Young Citizen on the Canada’s History website. Don’t forget to vote for your favourite video this month!

Hockey’s Ultimate Prize: The Stanley Cup —

Hockey’s Ultimate Prize: The Stanley Cup

Along with beavers, maple syrup and saying sorry, hockey is as Canadian as it gets. As a huge (and rather annoying) fan, it was inevitable that I would do a post on the sport. And what is a better topic than hockey’s ultimate prize, the Stanley Cup? (However, I may/will go off-topic, for, as my friends can attest to, one thing leads to another and somehow you’ll end up reading about some eighteen year old in Europe (Auston Matthews!).)


The Stanley Cup was donated by Lord Stanley of Preston, the Governor General of Canada from 1888-1893. After he watched a game of hockey, he “expressed great delight with the game and enterprise of the players”. In 1892, he donated the Stanley Cup, a 18.3 cm high silver cup which cost 10 guineas, nearly a month’s wages of an average worker at the time. The first team to win the Stanley Cup is the Montreal Canadiens, who defeated the Ottawa Hockey Club (better known as the Ottawa Silver Seven). It is the first of twenty seven Cups they have won, which is the most of all teams in hockey history.

Many funny and queer stories about the Cup have floated around. One is about the underdog Quebec Bulldogs, who won the Cup in 1912. Even some of the team’s players didn’t think they would win it all, leading to some very strange bets. Goldie Prodger had to wheel a teammate around town in a wheelbarrow, while Joe Hall had to stickhandle a peanut around a city block using only a toothpick!


Hockey players generally are a superstitious set, but the Stanley Cup playoffs has its special oddities. Have you heard of the playoff beard? Some players believe it is bad luck to shave during the playoffs, so by the time the Finals roll around, there are some pretty crazy facial hairstyles. Some players also believe it is bad luck to touch the Stanley Cup if they haven’t won it, or even the Prince of Wales trophy or the Clarence Campbell Bowl (for top teams in their respective conferences). The Chicago Blackhawks won the Clarence Campbell Bowl in 2010 and captain Jonathan Toews refused to touch the trophy. They went on to win the Cup. On the other hand, when the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Prince of Wales trophy in 2008, captain Sidney Crosby refused to touch the trophy. His team went to the Finals and lost to the Detroit Red Wings. The following year, the team was top in their conference again and Crosby touched the Prince of Wales trophy. They went on to win the Stanley Cup as well. Wait, what???

The Toronto Maple Leafs currently have the longest Stanley Cup winless streak. The last Cup they won was nearly fifty years ago! Maybe their fortunes will change soon, as they just drafted highly touted prospect Auston Matthews, who is playing in Switzerland right now… 😉


Author & Artist: Veronica

Sources: Zweig, Eric. Hockey Trivia: The Stanley Cup Edition. Toronto: Scholastic Canada, 2011. Print.