Immigration To Canada
The family arrived in Canada from Finland in the 50's. After spending two years in a Sudbury suburb of Long Lake, they packed up and left for the West Coast. After traveling west through the Rocky Mountains they arrived on the shores of the Pacific. Two years later, the great island there welcomed them. The island was like a jewel in the Pacific Ocean, which they had just discovered.
There's a poem called the "Lotus Eaters" and maybe the physical beauty of this Island acts like those Lotus plants. Metaphorically speaking, some eventually discovered the "lotus plant", that infamous little tempter of travelers. It seemed good to eat, so they ate. But soon they noticed that they did not want to leave. They were content as cows in a field and forgot all about their homes.
by Frida Kostian
All they wanted to do was eat of the fruit, day after day forever more. Long after their old folk had passed away they were there, munching. Oblivious of everything but the lotus, which they loved. Some tasted it and spit it out just in time, before they got hooked on it. But there were some who just dreamed of one day going home.
The Beauty of This "Lotus" Land
Canada is a great country. It is beautiful. The people are nice. The rest, well, you have to come here and see. Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands are beautiful beyond description. The author has cruised the coast's mist shrouded islands and inlets, watched the Killer Whales play, the pounding of the waves against the
rugged cliffs and walked hundreds of kilometers of rocky and sand beaches. Most
people don't even know they exist, thankfully, because they are largely untouched by the hand of man. The hundreds of islands nestled between
Vancouver Island and the mountainous mainland create a truly supernatural
environment to live and play in for those who like water. There is nothing like
an island, a totally calm ocean around it, the slight movement of the tide,
stillness, quietness, just the occasional cry of a distant gull or the explosion
of air from a Killer Whale or seal's nostrils to bring you back. The glide-by of
a majestic Bald Eagle. The pine studded shoreline zig-zagging along amongst the
inter tidal goose-necked barnacles, crabs, tidal pools and kelp beds.
It is a
marine biologists dream, and one reason I decided to study biology and become a self-styled naturalist and conservationist. An hour or two by boat and you are at Molly's Reach, which is on the mainland but accessible only by
boat, where the TV serial "Beachcombers" was filmed, and where this
writer worked for a few months. There aren't too many places on earth that can
compare with it. Nothing wrong with the land - Antti could have chosen many
worse places on earth. But I hate to say it, there is trouble in paradise.
The Queen Charlotte Islands! Yes! The beauty of these islands, three
hundred kilometers north of Vancouver Island, inhabited by the famous Haida
people, cannot be imagined. Thanks to my summer work while a biology student at UVic, I spent a whole summer there in the 70's. Into Sandspit with turboprop
and out from Masset with a Grumman Goose to Sandspit, back to Vancouver (Vancourver Airport) and Victoria
The Haida People
The Haida are a highly developed West coast native people, a fact which is
evident in their art perhaps best exemplified by the late Bill Reid's world famous carvings.
Queen Charlotte City and Skidegate are in a natural harbour located in the hub
of the Charlottes, and Masset is at the north end where there are hundreds of
miles of wide sandy beaches to rival any in the world. The sea, dunes and an
ancient cedar rain forest make the Charlottes just fantastic. There is a real genuine friendliness there amongst the islanders.
In the fall of 2004, I was summoned to the Charlottes once more, having drunk from St. Mary's well on my previous visit. The legend goes that he who drinks from this well will return to the Islands. I can attest to the fact that the legend is accurate. This visit is no less amazing than the first, with the exception that I was sorry to see the development near the north beach. The government had sold "crown land" from under the noses of the Haida people in Masset, partially destroying the wilderness beach area. The houses were built at the edge of the forest, behind the dunes. I say this because it is the remoteness that attracted me there in the first place. Back in the 1970's there was just nature, and I thought that it would always be that way. Now civilization has encroached! But the beach is still there, just as long and beautiful. Surfers were there in their wet suits, surfing, and I happen to be pointing my video camera toward the ocean waves when suddenly a sufer appeared in my view finder, and I was able to follow him to the end of his ride. The islands are a beachcombers dream come true, especially the North Beach.
Memories of Skidegate
and Masset! The
Sointula: The Finnish Utopia in the Pacific
Sointula, (place of harmony) which is located on Malcolm Island, was
established 1901 by Finnish socialists who hoped to create a utopia, but
discovered in one year what it took the Russians 70 years - it doesn't work
without the right kind of solid governing principles. They were dreamers. And there is nothing wrong with a bit of dreaming to be sure. But sometimes dreaming leads to destruction. Communes work with strict religious groups who have a code of behavior based on an old proven formula - the Bible. This group had decided to become the atheistic, socialist Kalevan Kansa, which worshiped nature, with some modern socialist ideas
thrown in. But not everyone wanted to behave. Some of these socialists thought
that this new freedom meant they could do whatever they wished, including
helping themselves to the women. Instead of harmony, they got discord. The dreamers' choices were idealistic rather than realistic, which lead them down the wrong path. After the breakup of the commune, and return to some sort of reality, Sointula prospered in fishing and logging and the community developed around the Co-op which looked after the financial daily affairs of the community among other things. It was like a city hall, bank and store rolled into one.
Stalin, the Pie-eyed Piper of Russia
they came after did not materialize. Some did not give up the dream of a
utopia though, and responded to Stalin's call. Capitalism was in trouble in the late 20's and 30's, and many Finnish leftists believed in their own propaganda, that the Soviet system was utopia. Karelia fever was on. Many
Canadian and American Finns went to East Karelia in the Soviet Union, where
they found poverty, not utopia. Their worldly belongings were taken away and
they found that Karelia was like arriving at the "Hotel California" - you
could check in, but you could never leave. They had made the biggest mistake
in their lives, which most forfitted. They were never heard from again, it is
confirmed now almost daily, that most were shot in Stalin's
purges in the 30's.
The Communist ideal has been proven to be a lie, so why people
still insist on going after it, is beyond me. Politics and politicians are
what ruin the whole world, regardless of banner: religion, communism, or
anything else, and will continue to do so until humans take the next step in
their social development - rejecting violence, accepting honesty, goodwill, love as paramount, and demanding and recognizing
only truth. By going communist, they put themselves into an endless house of
horrors, a never ending retrograde limbo of poverty and slavery to the state.
Why does the human mind still do it? Why does it reject the evidence of the
eyes and ears - the cries of hundreds of millions of people slaughtered in the
name of a totally and completely inferior, corrupt system? To work for the
government is bad enough, but for a whole nation? Why does the human mind
reject the evidence that governments are all corrupt, and large governments
are the most corrupt. When staying in power is more important than the welfare
of the people, there is a problem. Mongolians voted in the communists in July
Sointula was a tightly knit village with their community hall as the
center where people met regularly. The sense of community was reduced when TV,
cars and telephones came to town and the hall began to sit empty. The media
informed the world, and that was the beginning of the end of one ideal lifestyle
on the west coast of Canada.
When the island was finally discovered by the rest of the world in
the 1960's, long-haired Americans from the United States and others began moving
in, and the Finns began moving out. Reminds me of when the Russians moved up
north to the Finnish lands, the people moved on. Then there were only the Finns
who stayed and the hippies who worked hard to build a life. The Finns understood
hard work, and soon these immigrants were accepted amongst the community, but it
would never be the same. The climate is mild, but in the winter it rains
alot. Sointula is located off the north-east coast and Sooke is on the south-west
coast of Vancouver Island.
If you love mountains, and skiing, you'll love the Canadian Rockies. One
little village I recently visited was Fernie B.C., in Southeast British
Columbia. This place is in the boom phase. One visit to the ski hill will tell
you that! There is construction everywhere. Partly-built condominiums, and
cottages everywhere. And the majestic mountains looming above, with their
powder. All this just minutes from downtown Fernie. It is truly awesome. This village is
on Highway 3, which many never see going on Highway 1, which goes through Banff.
Sometimes it seems the Australians and New Zealanders have discovered it before
the rest of the Canadians. A must-see for skiing enthusiasts, mountain bikers
Whistler Mountain: 2010 Olympics Bid
Oh yes, then we have this other skiing center at Whistler. It is a very nice skiing center, with hotels, village, the works. One minor draw-back is the drive from Vancouver north to Whistler. It is notorious for accidents because it has sharp curves and many returning from the resort are driving too fast or have been drinking. The Ministry of Transportation has set aside CDN$700,000,000 to upgrade the road which is underway at present. In fact, as an engineering assistant with the ministry, I have done preliminary work myself on a section of the proposed route just north of Horseshoe Bay in north Vancouver. The right-of-way climbs up the side of a mountain, down its gorges and up again, through beautiful rain forests with thick moss, mist and huge trees. The steep rock bluffs causing some of the curves must be removed, we know that. The method is still to be determined, whether that be tunnelling or massive removal of rock. We will have it ready for you when you arrive, I guarantee it. The world is coming for a visit in 2010. You're invited. Whistler Mountain.
Hiking: try making your own dried fruits and vegetables. (forget the meat, go vegan)
What Went Wrong With Multiculturalism?
Canada is certainly not the place my father arrived in from Finland. How has it changed? Well, for one thing, most of the inhabitants were from Europe. Today, large parts of Canada are distinctly Asian. Being Asian is not the problem though. Most of them, except for the alarming increase in Asian gangs, are wonderful people as we all know. But I wonder if we want to live in their country, or our own.
Multiculturalism to me means countries within countries, and if this is what everyone wants, well fine. But this is not what I'm hearing from the man on the street. This kind of mass immigration is great for the Real Estate Market, and builders, there's a boom on. But it is not really that great for the country. I am thinking in terms of the environment etc. - we are packing too many people into small areas, where lot sizes are going down, population density going up and quality of life has to go down too. To me quality of life and relatively low density of housing are connected. We are destroying the habitat of animals in favor of people. And for what: money. Darn good thing I love Asians and their great food! Oh, although Muslims are a nice people, basically, their treatment of women is where I say, whoa! I cannot stand their cultural-religious custom dragged in by the religion from the 7th Century. My father told me that a earl man never hits a woman. I found out it is the Muslim man's duty to hit his wife for any real or imagined disobedience. That is wrong, and if it is, then what other wrong things are in their teachings that Muhammad began and Muslims carry forward without another thought, that maybe it isn't right all this violence that is just part of the "religion." You can find out all about Islam at Fotress of Faith. Do yourself and your country a favor and check it out.
Books on British Columbia
Bear Rain forest :
by Ian McAllister, Karen McAllister, Cameron Young
Hardcover (September 1998) Sierra Club Books;
ISBN: 1578050111 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.71 x 10.32 x 11.26
Amazon.com Sales Rank: 77,503
Avg. Customer Review: Number of Reviews: 3
Milepost : Trip Planner for Alaska, Yukon Territory, British Columbia, Alberta
& Northwest Territories Spring '99-Spring '00 (51st Ed)
by Kris Graef Paperback - 768 pages 51st edition (March 1999) Vernon
ISBN: 1892154005 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.93 x 10.77 x 8.40
Amazon.com Sales Rank: 4,261 Popular in: GCI (#19)
Avg. Customer Review: Number of Reviews: 2
Gwaii : Journeys Through the Queen Charlotte Islands
by Ian Gill, David Nunuk (Photographer)
Availability: This title usually ships within 2-3 days.
Paperback - 160 pages (September 1997) Grasshopper Books Pub;
Chronicles Eleven Up by Howard White (Editor) - Historical book about the
British Columbia coast.
of Southern Interior British Columbia: From the Rockies to the Coquihalla,
Through the Kootenays and the Okanagan by Joan Donaldson
Books illustrated by Bill Reid or about him and his art works
Raven Steals the Light by Bill Reid and Robert Bringhurst which
contains ten Haida stories - some of the most significant Haida myths - told
and illustrated by Bill Reid.
Cry by Christie Harris - it is a novel about the coming together
of the Haida and European cultures and a tribute to a vanished way of life.
Illustrations by Bill Reid.
Black Canoe: Bill Reid and the Spirit of Gwaii by Robert Bringhurst
describes the making of a monumental sculpture by Bill Reid for the
Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C.
Spirit of Haida Gwaii : Bill Reid's Masterpiece by Ulli Steltzer A
64 page paperback by the photographer of The Black Canoe.
Reid (Revised Edition) by Doris Shadbolt has recently been
published by The University of Washington Press.
Reid : Beyond the Essential Form (Museum Note, No 19) by Karen
Selection of Finnish
History and Literature
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