Search This Blog


Black History Month at Mackenzie House

At home, I learn about Black History every month, but February is Black History Month in Canada and there was a special program on at Mackenzie House.

Dad and I went to Mackenzie House on Sunday. We went on a tour of the house and we went to the print shop.

We learnt about Mary Ann Shadd Cary who was the first Black woman publisher in Canada.

She was an abolitionist which means she wanted slavery to end. She also wanted integrated schools where black children and white children would go to school together. She came to Canada in 1851 and opened a school for Black children. But she wanted to publish her own newspaper. 

In 1853, Mary Ann Shadd Cary and Samuel Ringgold Ward started the Provincial Freeman.

In the Print Shop we printed the front page of the paper from Saturday, November 18, 1854.

There was an article about the conditions of the "Fugitive Slaves in Canada". The Anti-Slavery Society of Canada asked Rev. Samuel Ringgold Wald to make the conditions of the fugitive slaves known to the public so they could raise money to help them.

There were about 30,000 to 35,000 fugitive slaves in Canada at that time. When they reached Canada they had nothing because they had to flee very quietly and sometimes suddenly. It was a long, dangerous journey. If they were caught in America it would have been very bad for them. When they reached Canada they were tired and needed compassion. Sometimes they were even sick when they reached.

The Anti-Slavery Society and a Ladies Society in Toronto helped them with food, clothing and whatever they needed until they could find jobs. In the article it said "In no case has the Society been called upon to extend relief for more than six days, except in cases of illness".

I was surprised that the newly free Blacks were able to find jobs and start to settle in that quickly! It must have been so different for them in Canada!

The article pointed out that there was still discrimination based on colour in Canada but the industry of the free Blacks helped to prove that the slaves in America didn't need to be 'prepared' for Emancipation.

Dad took a couple pictures of us printing the page.

And here is the finished product - with dry ink. :-)


Alpha Boys' Kickstarter Campaign

For the last 100 years, Alpha Boys School in Kingston, Jamaica has been known for its music program.  They do amazing work for some very talented boys.

I just want to share their Kickstarter Campaign which is to help them build a studio.

Here is a link to their Kickstarter page.

Or you can go to:
and search "Alpha Boys"

If you decide to pledge - when the reward is ready, Alpha Boys' School Radio will send you an email survey to find out information about your choice of reward and your mailing address.

Here is a link to the school's website:
Be sure to check out their blog!


How To Help Turtles & Other Wild Life

My friend is raising money to help save Blanding Turtles. It got us talking about how to help turtles and other wild life.

I have always been passionate about turtles. Last year I sent an email to Scarborough Ribfest because someone was selling very young turtles in tiny containers there.

Mom and I came up with a list of things we can do to help protect turtles.

- Reduce the amount of garbage you produce. Try to use reusable containers instead of things you will throw away quickly.

- Recycle and dispose of garbage properly.

- Pick up litter that the animals might eat or get tangled in.

- Reduce chemicals and fertilizers that you use which can hurt turtles and other animals.

- Ask a grown up to help turtles cross the road safely if you see them trying to cross.

- Respect the environment where-ever you go.

- Don't trouble nesting turtles or their nests.

- Don't trouble the hatchlings.

- Don't buy baby turtles and don't catch wild turtles to keep as pets.

- Don't release pet turtles in the wild.

- Don't eat turtle meat.

- Don't collect turtle shells.

- Don't release helium balloons outside because the turtles might eat the balloons and die.

If you know of any other ways to help turtles, please share in the comments section.

Here is a link with more information about Ontario's Turtles and how to help them:


TSO's The Year of the Horse: A Chinese New Year Celebration

Last night we went to see the Toronto Symphony Orchestra's The Year of the Horse: A Chinese New Year Celebration.

When we got to Roy Thompson Hall there were performers doing the Lion Dance. I tried to get a video but it wasn't very good. You can see it here. The Red Lion started to chase me and I ran back to my Dad. :-) 

Here are a couple screenshots from the lion dance.

The TSO was conducted by Long Yu. It was his first time conducting the TSO but he heard them play in China in 1978 when he was 14 years old!

The soloists were:
Song Zuying, vocalist (special appearance)
Yuja Wang, piano
Cho-Liang Lin, violin
Jian Wang, cello

Mark Rowswell, (“Dashan”) hosted. He's Canadian and he's famous in China . He joked that his brother studied music and plays saxophone but the way to be on stage with the TSO was to study Chinese.

The program included:
Li Huanzhi: Spring Festival Overture
Tan Dun: The Triple Resurrection
Rachmaninoff: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
Tchaikovsky: Variations on a Rococo Theme
Dvořák: Romance for Violin and Orchestra
Bai Chengren/Ouyang Changlin: Little Back-Basket
Luo Xiuying and Zheng Hanfeng/Hu Rui: Soaring Song of Miaoling
Xu Peidong/Zheng Nan: Flying Song of the Earth

My favourite piece from last night was the Spring Festival Overture. It had a nice mix of Chinese and Western sounds.

The Triple Resurrection was different because they used water and a colander to make rain sounds. While the pianist played, the percussionist played the same rhythm on the edge of water container. It was really cool.

Song Zuying's singing was amazing! She sang Little Back-Basket, Soaring Song of Miaoling and Flying Song of the Earth. She wore the traditional costume from her region of China. I wish I could have gotten a picture of her! 

Here is a video of Song Zuying singing Little Back-Basket at the Sydney Opera House.

Flying Song of the Earth was definitely a hit with the audience. The orchestra even played it a second time. The second time around everybody clapped along. 

At the end of the concert, when we were leaving, a lady was giving out lai see (red envelopes) with sweeties inside them. 

I hope that next year they use some traditional Chinese instruments in their New Year Concert for the Year of the Ram.


My Grade 5 Piano Results!

My grade for my Piano exam is already up!
I got 88%!
That means I got First Class Honours. :-)
Even when I was sick I still did well!
I'm so happy!