Last weekend, my mom came to stay with me as it was time for our annual pilgrimage to the EX. She arrived on Thursday night, so we were able to have a really nice meal at Mexico Lindo and do some shopping in my area on Friday. We also went to see Dunkirk on Sunday. As some of you know, we always aim to visit the EX on the Saturday of the cat show, but this year there was the added bonus of some extra Canadiana because of Canada 150.
We knew the Unity Pole was likely to be popular, so we took pictures of it as soon as we entered the Heritage Court. Unfortunately, my photos don’t do it justice, but here they are all the same:
The CNE commissioned Ojibway artist Kris Nahrgang to create this
beautiful Unity Pole. The pole is 25 feet tall and made of white cedar.
Nahrang used indigenous and universal symbols in his creation.
The eagle at the top of the pole symbolizes a messenger that can fly
between the spiritual and mutable worlds. The white eagle feather
symbolizes healing and that healing is meant to bring reflection and
balance as it trickles down the pole. In indigenous culture, the white
feather represents the highest honour you can obtain. The wolf sits
atop the story illustrated below and howls his prayer of hope.
It’s impossible to show the details of the pole without breaking the pole
down into sections. I captured what I could. The otter is working with a
diving loon (which is out of shot) to scatter fish, which is an important
source of food for not only the animals but many indigenous cultures
and cultures throughout the world. The otter and loon represent harmony
and the value of working together as a group. This section of the pole
also showcases the wonderful resources that we have in Canada.
At the bottom of the pole is the turtle, representing Mother Earth.
The turtle acts as the pole’s foundation and is placed at the bottom
to carry the weight of the other images, allowing the story to build.
I only managed to get part of the Canadian black bear holding a
drum with feathers attached to it. The black bear represents family
and Canada’s culture in general. The beat of the drum celebrates the
heartbeat of Mother Earth, and the feathers are a symbol of healing.
I highly recommend this video if you’d like to see the
artist working on the pole and explaining its symbolism.
While we were in the Heritage Court, I took some pictures of the moss topiaries:
As usual, I snapped some pics at the cat show:
Sadly, this shelter cat has his tongue out because he doesn’t
have any teeth to keep it in place. However, the volunteers
from the shelter said that he’s healthy and still manages to eat well.
After lunch, we went to the Oh Canada! acrobatics and ice skating
show, which featured Elvis Stojko. My photos suck because my camera isn’t
good at taking pictures of subjects that move. I’ll share the pics that aren’t awful. *g*
After the acrobatics and ice skating show, we took the Sky Ride to the Arts & Crafts building and (collectively) spent more money than we should have. My sister has become quite the bath bomb aficionado, so I picked up a Pokemon bath bomb (complete with Pokemon creature) for her. It seemed the least I could do after she gave me a pair of adorable cat pyjama bottoms. I wasn’t able to find a Sherlock Holmes DVD treasure this year, but I did find a beautiful poncho from Moose Creek Co. that was only $20. I meant to take a picture of it while my mom was still here and forgot. You can find photos of similar ponchos (and wraps) here.
While we were in the Arts & Crafts building, we were able to see the incredible Quilt of Belonging, which is 36 meters (120 feet) long by 3.5 meters (10 feet) high and consists of 263 squares representing 71 indigenous groups and 192 immigrant nationalities. Work on this project began in 1998 in Williamstown, Ontario, and the quilt took over six years to complete.
I know the sand sculptures are usually one of the highlights of my CNE photo albums, but I was only able to get the one picture this year. The crowds inside the Heritage Court were horrendous, and neither one of us had the energy or courage to stay there longer than absolutely necessary. At least the sand sculpture below is ridiculously Canadian:
Crossposted at http://rusty-armour.dreamwidth.org/16280