A Great Canadian Neurologist And Astronaut dr Roberta Bondar

A Proud & Great Canadian

“When I was eight years old to be a spaceman was the most exciting thing I could imagine.”

- Dr. Roberta Bondar

In 1945, a baby girl was born in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. This girl grew up dreaming of being with the stars and looking at the Earth from the sky. The young girl’s name was Roberta Lynn Bondar. Her parents and family were very supportive during her growing up years and encouraged Roberta to explore the sciences and math. This was in an era that did not motivate girls to be successful in these areas. She was involved in Girl Guides to keep active and fit by camping and hiking. She was involved in high school sports and kept her grades high. She was determined to go to space some day.

She did studies on insects, which she was not fond of, and before she learned how to drive she earned her pilot’s license. She worked hard at her goals but going to space was always the ultimate. She studied and became a medical doctor and scientist by the time she was 31. She was the director of the M.S. (Multiple Sclerosis) unit at McMaster Medical Center in Hamilton, and an assistant professor of medicine at the McMaster University. She became certified as a parachute jumper and came to be a scuba diver.

In 1983, she came across an article looking for candidate astronauts. The Canadian Space Agency’s ad was very particular about the prerequisites needed. The following was listed in the article: individuals may have multiple degrees in medicine, science and /or engineering, military training, aviation experience, all must be the best in their chosen fields, dedicated to increasing scientific knowledge for enhancing quality of life on Earth and in space, bilingual public speaking, community involvement, physically fit, and could have experience in skydiving, scuba diving and piloting planes.

Roberta Bondar applied to the article, knowing that there would be thousands answering it. This was the first Canadian call for astronauts and there was over 4300 applications. The day before her 38th birthday, she received the call that she was accepted!

Due to complications, in 1984 she watched while fellow astronaut Marc Garneau became the first Canadian in space. She mourned, when in 1986 seven other fellow astronauts, including two women her age, were killed on the space shuttle Challenger but she still wanted to make her dream a reality. She had to fly between NASA bases in Texas and Alabama every few days for her training and preparation for her mission. She was up at 6 am, exercised, then worked. She had to carry snacks with her everywhere she went so she could eat.

Roberta’s job on the mission was to be a Payload Specialist. This meant that she was responsible, with another Payload Specialist on the flight, to conduct experiments. She wanted to discover how astronauts could physically stay in space for months or years. On the mission she would have only one week to do this, so she had to make sure the experiments she used were the right ones. This was her one chance. She had background knowledge of the nervous system and the inner ear balance and this was very important for her work in space.

The launch was originally set for December 1990, but because of various delays it was over a year before they actually set off. January 22, 1992, they finally launched from Cape Canaveral on the Discovery shuttle.

On the space voyage, Roberta and her Payload Specialist partner, Ulf Merbold of Germany, took turns sleeping to conduct the experiments. These included: growing oats and wheat, growing crystals, documenting the human body’s changes in space, and many others. She also photographed Earth and space. When they returned home, 8 days later and 129 revolutions around the Earth, more tests were done on the effects of space travel and the re-entry of the human body to Earth.

She received a hero’s welcome as the first Canadian woman into space, but Dr. Roberta Bondar was as excited not only to be the first woman, but to be the first neurologist in space. She retired as an astronaut in 1992, but she stills explores the Earth, especially Canada. She is a teacher, motivational speaker, photographer, “wisdom warrior”, author and she has many other titles. She became Chancellor of Trent University in 2003 and still speaks to groups. She is now 66 and still going!

Dr. Roberta Bondar is truly a Canadian to whom we can all look for inspiration to achieve our own dreams, no matter how big or small they are.

A Great Canadian Gordon Tootoosis

When we think about great Canadians, often we neglect to recognize the incredible accomplishments and contributions of Indigenous Canadians in our nation’s history. One such man whose legacy has been immortalized by his craft, is Gordon Tootoosis. He is a well-known film and television actor, who has brought characters of Aboriginal people to the homes of millions worldwide. His noteworthy accomplishments include Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, North of 60, and more recently Blackstone. Often the characters he portrayed, and how he gave them life on screen was different from the “Hollywood Indians” in films prior. He made the depiction of the Indian to be humanized, relatable, and with much less stereotyping and tokenizing. In essence, he developed the representation of First Nations people in mainstream media. This is a kind of activism that is creative and profoundly effective, as relationships between Indigenous peoples and settler communities had been strained from miscommunication and colonial misrepresentation.

Tootoosis is a Cree man from Saskatchewan, born on the Poundmaker reserve in 1941. He and his other siblings attended a residential school that prohibited them all from speaking their Cree tongue and practicing their cultural traditions. His experiences in the schools inspired him to become a Social Worker, specializing his work with children and young offenders. He was successful in reclaiming the traditional dance of his culture and was an active in the powwow circuit. Because of his work, he was awarded the Order of Canada in 2004. He was a strong activist and voice for his people, and will be remembered forever. Gordon Tootoosis passed away July 5, 2011 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Miigwetch Gordon.

Great Canadians Jordan And Kyla

About Jordan and Kyla:

In the spring of 2008, we had begun a journey of both physical and spiritual transformation; one that was so powerful and enlightening that we had such a strong urge to share our experiences with the world. Through our heightened compassion and new found love of life, we were very eager to share our stories with whomever we could. As a result of this compassion and excitement, we decided to create a blog which could assist whoever was interested in reacquainting with their instincts while supercharging their life! It is hard to ignore, that the world is going through some rather profound changes. We are in the midst of experiencing something so exciting that it can change the way we live and think forever! Let us carry-on without fear and look within ourselves for the answers. For we all choose the reality in which to live. Let it be an experience full of love, joy and excitement! Embrace every moment with the utmost interest and compassion. We are here as a community to help and share in each other’s experiences. Let us rise to the occasion!

Jordan Miller

Prior to the Spring of 2008, I was overweight, depressed, and really had no motivation. I was always tired and miserable. At the time I thought this was only normal as I was always looking out to the world for answers to my perpetual “ailments” and hardships. Whatever the reason I thought was causing this downward trend, I knew within myself that something needed to change. I soon realized that we all have a choice in life and those choices dictate our actions and thus the way we feel. By aligning with this ideal and understanding that all humans have the right to exercise their free will, I decided to take charge of my life. Within 9 months, I lost 60 lbs, lowered my resting heart rate from 78 bpm to 54. My blood pressure regularized and I was no longer living in a state of depression. I decided to take charge of my health and well-being through proper diet, exercise and a positive mindset. Since then, I have turned my life around completely. I am grateful to those around me for the continued support, especially to my beautiful wife!

Kyla Paon (Miller)

I am originally from Prince Edward Island, Canada; I moved to Ontario in 2000. When Jord and I first met in 2006, we both had some pretty serious health issues. I had been diagnosed with an under active thyroid in 2001 and had been on medication ever since. It wasn’t until we started to change our choices in life towards better health in 2008, that I felt my symptoms getting better. I was eventually able to completely stop taking medication in 2009 and I now live without symptoms caused by an under active thyroid. Seeing this drastic change within myself has inspired me to help others. I am currently working towards become a Registered Holistic Nutritionist. This journey has by far been the most exciting, challenging, happiest, and uplifting time of my life. I learn something new every day and I have so much appreciation for the air we breathe, the earth we live on, the friends we love and the life we live.

We hope that you enjoy this site. Please feel free to contact us or comment on our blogs (www.guidinginstincts.com). We would love to share life and all its amazing synchronicity with you. Much love and peace be with you and yours.

With Love,

Jordan & Kyla

Editor’s Note: Look for Jordan & Kyla articles on The Great Canadian Online Magazine!

A Great Canadian Chief Pitikwahanapiwiyin Poundmaker

Pitikwahanapiwiyin, more commonly known as Poundmaker, was born in 1842 to an Assiniboine medicine man and his part Cree wife in the Battleford, Saskatchewan area. After his parents died, he, his younger brother and sister were raised by his mother’s Plains Cree band (known as the Red Pheasant Band). His name was inherited from his grandfather, who was notorious for being able to bring buffalo into pounds, or corrals made by walls with thick bushes. Pitikwahanapiwiyin means “The One Who Sits at the Pound”.

Chief Pitikwahanapiwiyin is best known for his ability as a peacemaker and protector of his people. He was not opposed to treaties, but to the failures of the government to keep it’s promises in the treaties. In 1876, he became renowned during the time of the 1876 Treaty 6 deliberations at Fort Carlton. At the time, he was headman of the River People bands. He ensured that Treaty 6 included a “famine clause”. He still did not want to accept because of his concerns with some of the other issues in the treaty. He only agreed to sign it because most of the band favored it.

Three years later, now Chief, he chose to separate from the band and accepted a reserve with only about 182 followers. The reserve was about 48 square km by the Battle River about 64 km west of Battleford.

His influence became more prominent when Isapo-Muxika (Crowfoot), chief of the Blackfoot First Nation, adopted Pitikwahanapiwiyin, to replace one of Isapo-Muxika’s sons who was killed in battle.This was a common practice for the Plains people. Some reports have the date as 1873, others have it as 1876, regardless of the date, it boosted his influence as a spokesperson.

Chief Pitikwahanapiwiyin become more involved in the First Nations politics, after becoming extremely frustrated by the lack of the government’s promise in keeping the treaty agreements. He was an active spokesperson and represented the Cree in multi band meetings and with the government. He also was a guide and interpreter when Governor-General Lord Lorne traveled from Battleford to Calgary.

The band was hungry and in need of food, even though Chief Pitikwahanapiwiyin tried many times to negotiate with the Indian Agent in Battleford.

In 1885, the band camp was attack by Lieutenant-Colonel Otter but after 7 hours of fighting, the Lieutenant was forced to withdraw his men. Chief Pitikwahanapiwiyin stopped the Cree men from following suit to continue the fight.

Often, Chief Pitikwahanapiwiyin, averted bloodshed between the R.C.M.P. and the band. Unfortunately, there were a few times that the Cree warriors from the Chief’s band did not have the same idea of peace that he did. Plains Cree tradition is that once a warrior’s/soldier’s lodge is set up in camp, they are in control of the camp, not the Chief, even though he is the political leader. Soon after the attack by the Lieutenant, the soldiers highjacked a supply wagon train slated to go to Lieutenant-Colonel Otter’s troops. Again, Pitikwahanapiwiyin intervened and the 21 teamsters were taken as prisoners instead of killed.

A few days later, the Metis were defeated at Batoche, Saskatchewan, in the historical Battle of Batoche, which had lasted from May 9-12, 1885. When Pitikwahanapiwiyin and his band heard the news, he sent Father Louis Cochin to the same major who defeated the Metis, Major-General Fredrick Middleton, asking for peace terms.

May 26, 1885, Chief Pitikwahanapiwiyin and his followers, laid down their arms at Fort Battleford. Pitikwahanapiwiyin was arrested on the spot. He was imprisoned and sentenced for treason-felony for 3 years in the Stony Mountain Penitentiary (Manitoba). He was only able to serve 1 year because of his health. He succumbed to a lung hemorrhage in 1886, when visiting his adopted father Isapo-Muxika on the Blackfoot reserve.

Chief Pitikwahanapiwiyin (Poundmaker) was called a traitor, and some even considered him a weak man, others idolized him. In the end, he did his best to protect those he was responsible for and even tried to protect those who he wasn’t.

The Iconic Canadian Wayne Gretzky

There is this man, and he has motivated people all across our nation to work hard, be patient, and foster their own talents. He has inspired our children to act as leaders, with the power of what can be, instead of what currently is.

There is this man, and at the age of 14 he decided to leave his hometown and move to Toronto, with the hope of creating a better future for himself.

There is this man, and his name has rung through the ears of both faithful hockey fans, with their painted faces and waving flags, and the not-so-interested Canadians, who would have heard of him from ecstatic friends, endearing teachers, or proud parents. “Wayne Gretzky” has become a household name.

There is this man, and he plays hockey. He represents both Canadian diligence and resilience, and in his sport seems to be a reflection of our own ideals.

Still, how had he become such a hero? All across the web statements supporting his work and play can be found. On his public Facebook page, which totals almost 80,000 individuals, one middle-aged fellow stated that, “No other man, except my father, had such an important influence on my childhood.” Adults growing up at the same time as Gretzky watched him as a peer: excelling, growing, and eventually reaching an absolute pinnacle of stardom.

“Growing up” for Gretzky was spending hours on the ice rink his father made in their back yard practicing his shots, skating tactics, and stick handling. He was talented, for at the age of 10 he broke his first record in his hometown Brantford by scoring 378 goals in their atom league. Often he battled older youth on the ice, becoming increasingly prominent as he went, and he was the youngest person to ever score 50 or more goals in a season. Years later, his career totaled at 894 goals, and he was one of the only 3 players to ever score more than 100 assists in a season (he had done it 11 times).

But why is he an iconic Canadian? Is it because no matter what level of fame he acquired he still seemed to instilled a sense of humility to his fans? Or was it because despite his challenges he had been able to climb to the top of his sport? Was it because he was the youngest, the fastest, or the the most diligent? Was it a mixture of media favour and dumb luck?

It could be all of the above, and really, it could be because he was passionate about his goals (pun intended). He showed us that we all can do great things, if we were willing to put in the effort. Where would he have been if he didn’t spend those days on his father’s ice rink? What would he have done, if he had just hoped for the scouts to find him in his yard? It seems likely that not much would have happened. Talent needs fostering, and he understood that.

Speaking of that man today, with legacy running through hundreds of books, and in the minds of thousands of Canadians, one can only say that:

There is a man, and he is a great Canadian.

-Alicia Vanin

Happy Birthday Canada

In May of 2011 The Great Canadian Online Magazine was started to answer the question, What has made Canada so great? Along the way I’ve asked this question to lots of Canadians. Some people have told me its our health care, others say its the glorious landscapes. But every person I ask seems to have another equally compelling reason for the greatness.

The Great Canadian Online Magazine currently has nine writers that are all excited to write about our great country, Canada. They want to write about our cuisine, our businesses, and our people. After speaking with several Canadians and reading all the articles on this site, I have come up with this conclusion: What makes Canada great is simply the people. Tommy Douglas helped shape Canada’s health care system, and from Wayne Gretzky to David Suzuki this country is packed full of great people.

So, tonight I am not only celebrating the birth of our great country, but, I’m celebrating all of the people. A country with endless opportunity, that helps shape the minds and actions of Canadians. Happy birthday Canada and thank you for all you have done for us.

Check out these other great Canadian sites:




A Great Canadian Volunteer Elsie James

When you look at Elsie James, she looks like a regular seventy-six-year-old Grandmother, who is in great physical shape. What you don’t know is, she is the great-grandmother of twenty-nine children, twenty-two grandchildren, and mother to seven children. She worked as a banker for twenty years and at the age of sixty, hiked to Everest base camp, with two friends. She also fell in love with the Nepalese people.

She has always had an interest in hiking and outdoor leadership. After retiring, at the age of sixty, she and two friends planned and went on a hiking trip to Nepal. She fell in love with the beauty of the country and it’s people. She didn’t want to return home, not because she didn’t love her family, but because she saw the great needs of the people of Nepal. She fell in love with the Nepalese friendliness, humility and happiness, despite harsh living conditions.

After returning home to the Calgary area, Elsie started planning for another trip back to Nepal. This time, she connected with Partnership Canada (a Calgary nonprofit agency who was sending school books and medical supplies to Nepal, the program is no longer running) and four months later, she was back in Nepal. She had organized volunteer retired nurses and teachers to teach the Nepalese the programs being set in place in the medical camps, hospitals and schools.

After Partnership Canada closed it’s doors, Elsie volunteered with Nepalese NGOs (non government organizations) to start outlining and setting up social programs, organizing medical and dental clinics/camps, nutrition workshops, sanitation workshops and even adult literacy classes. She was also heavily involved in managing projects for building schools, developing modules for school classes, managing health camps and educating the Nepalese people in how to sustain all of these programs. She believes that, in order to truly help the Nepalese people, they need to be taught how to support all the assistance given them. She organized (and still does!) trekking groups to travel to Nepal to get to know the Nepalese people and to see the projects that were/are being worked on. Many people donated time and money because of these efforts.

Elsie has been involved with volunteering in Nepal for about fifteen years now and to celebrate her seventy-fifth birthday (in November 11th, 2009), she trekked back to Everest base camp, in a twenty-one day trek (it was called Trek 4 Kanti Kids), in an effort to raise $75,000 to start a blood bank in the Kanti Children’s Hospital in Kathmandu, the only children’s hospital in Nepal. She took with her one of her grandsons, a Nepalese man who was her porter on her first trip to Everest and now a good friend, birthday candles, hats and even cake! They travelled from Jiri to Everest Base Camp. She did this trek with 2 artificial hips.

She has also founded her own agency by the name of Willing Hands Around the Globe which raises money for projects in Nepal in other countries: Denmark, Netherlands, Germany, Australia, and of course, Canada. She is a huge advocate for fair treatment of the Nepalese sherpas and porters. She has been working to make sure that they carry appropriate load sizes, especially children, so not to shorten their lives or severely injure themselves and not be able to work and support their families.

Elsie James, now director of the Calgary-based organization, Medical Mercy Canada, has struggled with wanting to be home with her husband, who has health issues, and her family. All of them have been very supportive and encouraging of her volunteer work, though. She has even travelled with her grandson, Brayden McCue. Last October, they went to Nepal and worked in the Medical/Dental health camp she was instrumental in starting.

Elsie James is an inspiration for us all to be the best human being we can be and as her quote on her Lonely Planet Thorn Tree profile says, “Remember..You cannot help everyone, everywhere, every time but you can always help someone somewhere, sometime!” She certainly has helped many, many people with her efforts and will continue to do so, even generations after her lifetime.

View a video of Elsie James HERE.

Great Fictional Canadians Captain Canuck

The younger cousin of Uncle Sam and Britain’s John Bull, Johnny Canuck was a wholesome simple-minded lumberjack that would eventually help Canada fight the Nazis, and almost single handily defeat Adolf Hitler. He was a war Hero. And like many Canadian war heroes he ended up living in Montreal with dreams of grandeur. He soon took to the stage performing in – Johnny Canuck and the Last Burlesque – the “historico-comedico-musical burlesque extravaganza”.

Since then Johnny has been the star of many YouTube videos. Including one that promotes the 2011 Vancouver vs. Boston Stanley Cup Playoffs (Click here to watch “My name is Johnny Canuck”). I’m sure even he would be disappointed at the riots after the game.

Good old Johnny Canuck the war hero/burlesque star paved the way for dozens of fictional Canadians. From Miss Canada to Dudley Do-Right, many extremely creative animators have personified our great nation in cartoon.

Do you have any favourite fictional Canadians? If so let us know by leaving a comment. Don’t forget to like our Facebook page and upload a photo for your chance to win a Canadian wine prize pack!

Watch The Birth of Miss Canada and Johnny Canuck

Johnny Canuck and the Last Burlesque - ”A lot of the inspiration came out of the story of Lily St-Cyr, who was a famous Montreal burlesque stripper of the time, who put one of her own suicide attempts onto the stage as a strip number.

A Canadian Who is Persevering Captain Simon Mailloux

All around us, there are heros and great people. They could be our next door neighbor or someone we know well.

One of these Canadians is probably well known in his home city, most certainly in the Canadian Military and definitely with his family and friends., B.A. (Hons), CMR (French: College militaire royal du Canada or Royal Military Colllege of Canada) is a current member of the Canadian Armed Forces and the first Canadian soldier to return to Afghanistan as an amputee.

In his studies, he was given an international exchange scholarship from the Canada Corps. With this scholarship, he earned his Bachelor of Military and Strategic Studies from CMR. For 4 months, he performed research on Post-Conflict Security and was involved in peacekeeping staff training plans.

When he graduated in 2006, he was posted to the 3rd Battalion Royal 22nd Regiment in Valcartier, Quebec. Soon after, they were deployed to Afghanistan and he was assigned as platoon commander. On November 16, 2007, in a road side bomb attack, he lost his lower left leg, two companion soldiers, and an interpreter. Two other soldiers were injured in the explosion. They were on a patrol in the western Zhari District, where there had been a number of Taliban insurgents, Captain Mailloux and some the soldiers were trying to create a police checkpoint, when the IED (Improvised Explosive Device) exploded.

He was sent to US Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany to start his recovery. In an interview with “The Maple Leaf”, a military newspaper, he states that he does remember telling his major that he was going to be back in a couple of weeks and he felt guilty that he had to leave the platoon he was commanding. The next few days were a blur.

After he woke up in Germany and was told that he had lost the lower half of his left leg, he had no idea where to go from there. To him, it seemed that nothing was left for him. It wasn’t so much that he had lost his leg, it was the mental part. What to do next?

He went through numerous surgeries and months of difficult rehabilitation and was then back at work in March 2008, in the Governor General’s Foot Guards. A year later, he was promoted to Captain, then in July 2009, it was stipulated that as long as he succeeded in passing the requirements for deployment, he could return to Afghanistan, as he wished.

So, with a prosthetic leg, he did his EXPRES physical and his battle fitness test (15 km walk with gear), he passed and was given the ok to be deployed. He felt that he needed to return to Afghanistan to show others that even if a soldier has been injured, they could still be a functional member of society and especially, be a useful member of the Canadian Forces.

Before deployment, Captain Mailloux was one of 46 people to receive the Sacrifice medal (November 2009), most of the people to receive this medal, receive it after they have been killed or have died in action.

January 2010, he returned to active duty in Afghanistan, as the first Canadian soldier amputee to do so. He is part of a team that is based out of the Kandahar headquarters where they are planning future operations in Afghanistan. The only thing he really regrets is that he is unable to lead a platoon into the field. He says he will really miss that.

He has shown that perseverance is still alive in the world and we all need to remember: What we set our minds to do, we will do, whether it is a tiny first step towards a goal, or whether it is to do nothing to achieve what we seek.

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Great Canadian Musician Dallas Green

Dallas Green’s melodic acoustic rock and soulful vocals are what make him a superstar among his followers. Born in the southern Ontario city of St. Catharines (Canada’s biggest little city) he honed his art and recorded a demo with some “simple songs” that would later circulate the Internet and show up on some of his albums.

He has collaborated with great artists such as the Tragically Hip’s Gordon Downie, Ron Sexsmith and the Never-ending White Lights. But he is most well known for his time with the hardcore rock band Alexisonfire, and his folky acoustic band City and Colour.

Dallas is happily married to Canadian TV host Leah Miller and can be found year round touring his home country, Canada. This summer he is playing the Calgary Folk Festival, Osheaga in Montreal, and summer in the Park Festival in North Bay. If you can’t catch any of these shows you can listen online HERE

Listen to City And Colour’s Fragile Bird

Listen to Alexisonfire’s This Could Be Anywhere In The World

Who would you like to hear Dallas collaborate with? Leave a comment and let us know.