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Humans of Small Towns: Jody Raffoul | Rock Singer

From: Leamington, Ontario

Jody Raffoul is a rock singer and songwriter. He lives and works in the Detroit–Windsor metro area.

Leamington-born Raffoul comes from working-class Lebanese stock.
“They expressed their joy and pain in music. Music was their medicine.” Jody Raffoul

He released his first collection, Simple Life, in 2000.
For his next work, Raffoul assembled a full band, and recorded the 2004 release, Like a Star.

In 2006 he won the Bon Jovi “Have a Nice Gig” competition, which led to an opening slot at Giants Stadium in New Jersey for the aforementioned Bon Jovi (and his band, obviously). Raffoul beat out over 17,500 bands nationwide. Jody’s career jumped leaps in this year.
Jody Raffoul performs over 200 shows a year.

22-year-old “low-timbered rock and roll” singer Billy Raffoul is a Jody’s son. Billy’s hometown is Leamington ON too.

- Born in Leamington, Ontario #Canada150 #heritagecanada

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Humans of Small Towns: William Dillon Otter | Chief of the General Staff

From: Clinton, Ontario

General Sir William Dillon Otter became the first Canadian-born Chief of the General Staff, the head of the Canadian Militia.

While working as a clerk in the 1860s Otter joined the militia with the Queen’s Own Rifles.
In 1866 Otter served as a Captain and Adjutant of The Queen’s Own at the Battle of Ridgeway.

He joined the Permanent Force infantry when it was established in 1883. He was able to secure appointment in the tiny permanent army by becoming commander of the infantry school at Toronto.

In 1890, Otter founded the Royal Canadian Military Institute as a body for “the promotion and fostering of military art, science and literature in Canada.”
Otter served as commanding officer of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry in South Africa.

In 1908 he became the first Canadian-born officer to command this country’s military.

General Sir William Dillon Otter retired in 1910 as General Sir William Otter.
He was knighted in 1913 and made a general in 1923.

- Born in 1843 in The Corners, Canada West (Clinton, Ontario)
- Died in 1929 in Toronto, Ontario #Canada150 #heritagecanada

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Humans of Small Towns: Rudy Wiebe | Writer

From: Coaldale, Alberta

Rudy Henry Wiebe is an author best known for his novels set in the Canadian prairies and his representations of First Nations people.

Rudy Wiebe’s parents had escaped Soviet Russia with five children in 1930. Rudy grew up in a small Mennonite community of about 250 people where he attended school. He read as much as possible from an early age.

In 1947 Rudy and his family moved to the town of Coaldale in Southern Alberta.

In 1956 Wiebe completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Alberta. He won his first prize for fiction while studying at the university. His winning story was published in the magazine Liberty in 1956.
In 1957-58 Rudy studied theology and literature at the University of Tübingen in West Germany.
In 1967 Wiebe took on a full-time position with the University of Alberta teaching creative writing. He has been Professor Emeritus there since 1992.

1973 – the Governor General’s Award for The Temptations of Big Bear
1986 – Royal Society of Canada’s Lorne Pierce Medal
1994 – the Governor General’s award for A Discovery of Strangers
2000 – Made an Officer of the Order of Canada
2007 – the Charles Taylor Prize for Of This Earth: a Mennonite Boyhood in the Boreal Forest

Wiebe’s books and stories have been translated into nine European languages, as well as Chinese, Japanese and Hindi.

- Born in 1934 in Fairholme, Saskatchewan
- Grew up in Coaldale, Alberta
- Lives in Edmonton, Alberta #Canada150 #canadaheritage

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Humans of Small Towns: Calixa Lavallée | O CANADA Author

From: Verchères, Quebec

Calixa Lavallée is best known for composing the music for O Canada.
It officially became the national anthem of Canada in 1967. The modern version became official with an Act of Parliament in 1980.

Lavallée began his musical education with his father, who taught him organ by age 11. At age 13, he performed a piano concert at the Théâtre royal de Montréal.
In 1857 Lavallée moved to the U.S. and lived in Rhode Island.

Calixa Lavallée was Union Army band musician during the American Civil War.

In the 1870s Lavallée returned to Montreal. In 1880, to celebrate St. Jean-Baptiste Day the Lieutenant Governor of Québec commissioned Lavallée to write a musical setting for a patriotic poem. The result was O Canada, with words by judge Adolphe-Basile Routhier.

Lavallée was twice president of the Académie de musique de Québec.

- Born in 1842 in Verchères, Quebec
- Died in 1891 in Boston, Massachusetts #Canada150 #canadaheritage

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Humans of Small Towns: Jessica Stam | Model

From: Kincardine, Ontario
Studied: Walkerton, Ontario

Jessica Elizabeth Stam is considered to be part of the crop of models described as “doll faces”. In 2007 Forbes named her fifteenth in the list of the World’s 15 Top-Earning Supermodels.

Jessica Stam was raised on the family farm, the only girl in a family of seven children. She attended Sacred Heart High School in Walkerton, Ontario.

In 2001 in a local Tim Hortons coffee shop, a talent scout noticed something special and unique about Jessica’s “look”. Jessica was immediately signed by a local modeling agency.

In 2002 she won Los Angeles Model Look contest.
It was Steven Meisel who gave Jessica her big break when he shot her for two Italian Vogue covers in the same year.

Jessica has appeared in advertisements for Giorgio Armani, Emporio Armani, Bvlgari, Christian Dior, Miu Miu, Marc Jacobs, Anna Sui, Dolce & Gabbana, Dior, DKNY, Atsuro Tayama, H&M, Miss Sixty, Roberto Cavalli, Burberry, Kenzo, BCBG, Gap, Cerruti, Lanvin, Fendi, Nina Ricci’s fragrance “Ricci Ricci,” and two consecutive seasons of Aldo and Prada. She is currently the face of Mercedes Benz advertising.

Jessica currently lives in New York City’s East Village.

- Born in 1986 in Kincardine, Ontario
- Studied in Walkerton, Ontario #Canada150 #canadaheritage Jessica Stam Kincardine News Walkerton, Ontario

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Humans of Small Towns: Donald Hings | WALKIE-TALKIE INVENTOR

Worked in Trail, British Columbia

Donald L. Hings, an engineer and inventor, equipped the Canadian and British military with an early version of the portable two-way wireless radio (walkie-talkie) during the Second World War.

Born in Leicester, England, he moved to Canada with his mother and father when he was three.

In 1937 Donald Hings created a portable radio signaling system for his employer CM&S, which he called a “packset”, but which later became known as the “Walkie-Talkie”. He was working at Cominco in Trail, British Columbia.

In 1939 CM&S sent Hings to Ottawa to redevelop his new invention for military use, and he worked there from 1940 to 1945. During these years, he developed a number of models, including the successful C-58 Walkie-Talkie which eventually sold eighteen thousand units produced for infantry use.

Following the war, he moved to Burnaby, British Columbia, where he established an electronics R&D company, Electronic Labs of Canada. He held more than 55 patents in Canada and the United States.

In 2006, Hings was inducted into the Telecommunications Hall of Fame.

- Born in 1907 in Leicester, England
- Resided and worked in Trail, British Columbia
- Died in 2004 in Burnaby, British Columbia #Canada150

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Humans of Small Towns: BILL BARILKO | Leafs Defenceman

Died: Cochrane, Ontario

The short, remarkable life of Leafs defenceman William “Bashin’ Bill” Barilko ended in tragedy just weeks after he became a team’s hero.

Barilko was of Ukrainian descent.
In 1947 Bill Barilko was called up to the Toronto Maple Leafs. In his just five NHL seasons, he won four Stanley Cups (1947, 1948, 1949, 1951), scoring, arguably the most dramatic Stanley Cup winning goal. In 1951, the Toronto-Montreal finals were the closest ever, with all five games going into overtime. It was Barilko who scored the winner in that deciding game, hero for a city and country.
It would be Barilko’s last goal.

On August 24-year-old’s Barilko was visiting his family in Timmins where he grew up, and accepted a last-minute invitation from friend and local dentist Henry Hudson to fly to Rupert House on James Bay in northern Quebec.
They took a small plane. On the return trip the single-engine plane disappeared.

The plane was discovered about 100 kilometres north of Cochrane, Ontario. Two skeletons were still strapped in their seats, with the remains of fish stored in a smashed pontoon.
It was 11 years later, in 1962, shortly after the Leafs had won the Cup. It was their first victory since Barilko’s heroics.

The 1992 Fifty Mission Cap song by rock group The Tragically Hip is about Barilko’s death and the Leafs’ subsequent Stanley Cup drought.

- Born in 1927 in Timmins, Ontario
- Died in 1951 in Cochrane, Ontario #Canada150

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Humans of Small Towns: BRUCE RIDPATH | 1911 Stanley Cup Champion

From: Lakefield (Selwyn now), Ontario

David Bruce Ridpath was a member of the 1911 Stanley Cup champion Ottawa Senators.

Ridpath was on his way to a glorious hockey legacy before tragedy struck. On Toronto's busy Yonge Street an automobile ran into him, fracturing his skull. Though he attempted a comeback, the accident cut his career short in 1912.

Ridpath was on his way to a glorious hockey legacy before tragedy struck. On Toronto’s busy Yonge Street an automobile ran into him, fracturing his skull. Though he attempted a comeback, the accident cut his career short in 1912.

Ridpath died in 1925 at the age of 40 at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.

Watch also the oldest Ice Hockey Film Footage (1898)

- Born in 1884 in Lakefield, Ontario
- Died in 1925 in Toronto #Canada150 Lakefield, Ontario Bruce Ridpath

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Humans of Small Towns: TOM THOMSON | Artist

From: Claremont, Ontario

Thomas John “Tom” Thomson was an influential artist of the early 20th century.

Thomson was encouraged to paint by his colleagues, J.E.H. MacDonald, Arthur Lismer and Fred Varley, future members of the Group of Seven. Lawren Harris, A.Y. Jackson and Franklin Carmichael soon became part of Thomson’s circle.

Thomson died under mysterious circumstances on Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park. On July 8, 1917, he paddled across lake and disappeared. His body surfaced 8 days later. The cause of his death remains a mystery to this day.

The Town of Claremont is well known in the local area for its annual “Yard Sale Day”, an event where all residents are invited to host simultaneous garage/yard sales. The sale is typically held on the second or third Saturday of June.

- Born in 1877 in Claremont, Ontario
- Died in 1917 in Canoe Lake, Algonquin Park, Ontario #Canada150
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