Canada, eh? – October 2021

Canada, eh? – October 2021

Let’s begin with a great news. The Montreal-bred Canadian pianist Bruce (Xiaoyu) Liu won the 18th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, one of the most prestigious contests in the world. He is the first Canadian, who won in the 94-year long history of the competition that takes place every five years since 1927. Interview – (2:36) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgnl1fMCUvY .

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The 24-year-old graduate of the Montreal Conservatoire prevailed in dramatic fashion with an emotionally refined and technically burnished performance of Chopin’s Piano Concerto in E Minor Op. 11. According to the rules and regulations of the Competition, only pianists born in 1990–2004 were eligible to participate.

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To do so, contestants were required to send their applications with a video recording of the 1st Stage program by 1 December 2019. Having opened the call for applications, the Chopin Institute obtained a record number of over 500 entries from the most distant corners of the world. The recordings submitted were used to winnow the artists and admit 164 of them to the Preliminaries. Of their number, the Jury admitted 87 to the main competition. After winning the Chopin Competition, Bruce (Xiaoyu) Liu plays Polonaise in E flat major, Op. 22 (13:38) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4DzzgBxpx4 .

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The PRAISE of CREATION

Every year, the 4th day of October is the feast of St Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology, and the concluding day of the “Season of Creation”, the annual celebration of prayer and action for our common home. Together the various Churches and ecclesial communities around the world unite to protect and defend creation. Chiara Lubich (1920-2008) invites us in this text to have a right relationship with the environment.

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Proposals are being made from many quarters to heal our sick world. … Young people are particularly sensitive to this issue and feel the need for radical changes in our relationship with the environment, in the relationship between individuals and states, and in the application of scientific knowledge. They are convinced that to reach the ideal of a united world, the primacy of people over science and technology must be highlighted.

This means making a practical contribution, even a small one, to solving major problems. Our young people have understood this and have already started various initiatives, for example in the purchase of products that do not have a negative impact on the environment and in removing waste that pollutes the environment.

Canticle of the Sun

Most high, all powerful, all good Lord! All praise is yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing. To you, alone, Most High, do they belong. No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce your name.

Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures, especially through Brother Sun, who brings the day; and you give light through him. And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor! Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness. Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars; in the heavens you have made them bright, precious and beautiful.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air, and clouds and storms, and all the weather, through which you give your creatures sustenance. Be praised, My Lord, through Sister Water; she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure. Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire, through whom you brighten the night. He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong.

Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth, who feeds us and rules us, and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs. Be praised, my Lord, through those who forgive for love of you; through those who endure sickness and trial. Happy those who endure in peace, for by you, Most High, they will be crowned.

Be praised, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death, from whose embrace no living person can escape. Woe to those who die in mortal sin! Happy those she finds doing your most holy will. The second death can do no harm to them. Praise and bless my Lord, and give thanks, and serve him with great humility.

(Franciscan Ecological Movement)

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Olympic corner

In the 32nd Olympic Games “Tokyo-2021” Canadian athletes gained 24 medals (7 gold, 6 silver and 11 bronze). The most celebrated could be Damian Warner who won gold in a very demanding discipline – decathlon ( 4x RUNS: 100 meters, 110m hurdles, 400m and 1500m; 3x JUMPS: long jump, high jump and pole vault; 3x THROWS: discus throw, javelin throw and shot put).

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Damian Warner was born in London, Ont. (1989), in the same area as George Orton.

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But let’s go back to the first Olympics with the participation of Canada. It was in Paris – 1900. There, George Orton of Guelph was the first Canadian to win a medal at an Olympic Games. He won a gold medal in middle-distance running and a bronze in the hurdles at the 1900 Paris Olympics. It was an amazing feat considering he was physically handicapped as a child. Sadly, few in Canada remember Orton.

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George was born in Strathroy (35 km west of London, Ont.) to a labourer, Oliver Henry Orton and his wife, the former Mary Ann Irvine, in Strathroy, Ontario. George was a slight, flaxen-haired boy. At the age of three, he fell out of a tree, injuring his back and legs. Doctors later diagnosed him with spinal meningitis, the boy was paralyzed. His medical condition may have influenced the family’s move to Guelph. George did not completely regain motor functions until he was 12. There he attended Guelph Collegiate Institute and graduated in 1889.

George Orton (1876-1958)

In 1889, George enrolled at the University of Toronto and attended multiple institutions of higher education. While a student at the UoT, he set a Canadian mile record of 4:21 (4 minutes and 21 seconds) which lasted for 30 years. Representing the Toronto Lacrosse Club, he won races throughout Canada and the United States. He graduated second in his undergraduate class with a degree in modern languages in 1893. (Eventually he learned nine languages.)

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1. Strathroy is a town (pop. 21,000) located in Southwestern Ontario, 35 km west of London; 2. Guelph Collegiate Institute.

Then he entered the University of Pennsylvania where he earned a Master’s degree and a doctoral degree in philosophy in 1894 and 1896 respectively. Orton was known as “The Father of Philadelphia Hockey” who introduced ice hockey to Philadelphians in 1896. He captained the first team there and founded the Philadelphia Hockey League in 1897.

The crowning achievement of Orton’s career was the 1900 Summer Olympics, held in Paris. Orton competed in three official Olympic events: two steeplechase competitions and the 400m hurdles. There he won a bronze medal in the 400m hurdles and, 45 minutes later, the gold medal in the 2500m steeplechase, setting a world record. In fact, it was these only two medals Canada gained during those Olympics.

In total, George Orton won 131 races, including a staggering 33 National and International championships. He was also competitive in soccer and became a writer on sports and running. From 1920–1922, Orton coached the Penn Varsity hockey team. Years earlier, while attending the University of Toronto, he helped form the first hockey team there, and also played soccer for the ‘Varsity’ team in the Toronto Football League. Orton in 1958 in Laconia, NH at age 85. He was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1996.

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