Did you know...


Toboggans & Toques

Did you know...'toque' is a distinctly Canadian word?

When at the Lost Valley dude ranch in Colorado last week, surrounded by falling snow, we asked the gift shop lady if she had any toques--we got a blank stare.

Why we wanted a toque...


Toque (pronounced two-k) is, according the Collins Canadian English Dictionary "a small round hat". That's not how I'd define the knitted ware us Canucks slide down over our noggins to keep out the cold.  That 'small round' hat is only small and round if ones' head is small and round.  As those in the know know, knit fabrics tend to take the shape of whatever it is one wraps in it. 

At least, however, the Collins Canadian English Dictionary acknowledges 'toque' as a word, although 't-o-q-u-e' is not how I'd spell it.  It ends up looking like 'toke' and I don't like all the criminal implications associated with that word.  No, if I had my druthers, it would be spelled 't-o-u-q-u-e',  but I have yet to find a dictionary that agrees with me.

So what do people who aren't Canadians call these knitted winter hats? We enquired and learned that those in Tennessee likely called them 'toboggans'.  Toboggan, according to Collins Canadian English Diction is a 'narrow sledge for sliding over snow'--which closely matches my definition.  Except I would add that the front of this narrow sledge, which is made of wood slats, curls up and back over the toes of those who sit on it.

Not all Americans call toques, 'toboggans'.  Those in Alabama will likely shortened it to 'boggans'.  To some, according to my fellow dudes and dudines, they are simply hats--winter hats.

 Toques were obviously not the most popular headware at Lost Valley Ranch


of the 4,000 Canadian fire departments

3,500 are volunteer?  127,000 Canadians are volunteer firefighters.  80% of Canadian soil is protected by volunteer departments.


This week marks the launch of the 2012 FireFighters fundraising Calendar. My son's picture made the back cover.


The St. Paul volunteer fire department responded to 118 calls in 2010, from traffic collisions to structure fires to alarm bells to grass fires.

Visit www.firefighters1st.com Purchase a calendar. Learn more fun facts about firefighting. Peruse the awesome gallery of photos--maybe even buy one.




The pronghorn antelope...

...referred to as a "Turbo-charged prairie racer", the pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) is the fastest mammal in North America?

According to the Alberta Conservation Association, pronghorns easily lope at 50 km/h, cruises at 70 km/h, and can sprint at 90 km/h for several minutes.  They can cover over six meters in a single leap.


"Compare that to a race horse that gallops along at 55 km/h or a whitetailed deer on the run, that bounds away at 40 km/h. A cheetah, the fastest mammal on the planet, can sprint only slightly faster than a pronghorn, attaining speeds up to 110 km/h, but the cheetah must stop running after 300 to 400 metres to prevent its body from lethallyoverheating.

The cheetah also needs to rest for 30 to 40 minutes afterwards to recover. The pronghorn, like the toy bunny on television commercials, just keeps on going."


Autumn leaves...

Did you know...

...the reason leaves turn colour in the autumn is that shorter fall days mean trees stop producing chlorophyll allowing their true colours to show?  The Weather Network 

So....the "true" colour of leaves is NOT green.  Who'da thought?



Diagonal stripes...

Did you know...diagonal stripes on UK and European neckties run from high on the left side down to the right hip while stripes on North American ties are the opposite?  Usually.

The neckties in the above image are likely British.

Knowing this trivia could some day provide a valuable clue in solving a mystery...or not.

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