All Wrapped Up for the Holidays!

A recent Environment Canada public opinion survey says that 36% of Canadians use weather information to determine how they dress. That’s up from 23% in 2007. Here at Federal Publications we’re dressing up the Canadian Weather Trivia Calendar for the holidays!

We know people like to purchase the Calendar as a gift so we’re pleased to offer – at no extra charge – seasonal gift-wrapping! We’ll wrap the Calendar in a festive green and red plaid paper and include a personalized label on the front. We’ll ship your order directly to your loved one with a packing slip that doesn’t show any pricing information. Just tell us the “To” and “From” names you’d like on the label and we’ll take care of the rest!

That’s our gift to you! Click here to place your order!


How Did the Moose Cross the Road?

With the help of the Ministry of Transportation, of course!  Anyone traveling along Ontario’s Highway 69 this past year may have noticed an interesting bridge running over the highway near the turn-off to Killarney. The Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) has opened its first eco-passage for animals to safely cross the highway. The bridge is part of the MTO’s ongoing project to widen Highway 69 to 4 lanes.

Ontario's first eco-passage.

The MTO has successfully installed animal underpasses on numerous highways across Ontario but this new bridge focuses on larger animals such as moose, elk, deer, bears and wolves. Six kilometers of fencing have been erected on both sides of the bridge to help guide animals to the crossing and the bridge has even been landscaped to create a more natural environment to help attract the animals. At a cost of $1 million the eco-passage hasn’t come cheap but the MTO hopes that it will significantly lower the number of collisions between vehicles and large animals in the area which has seen about ten such collisions a year. There’s also hope that the bridge will help with wildlife breeding as animals will be able to safely cross the highway and find new mates.

Deer crossing the eco-passage.

So far the bridge is doing its job. Ekocare, a company that’s monitoring the bridge, has counted 24 deer, 4 foxes, 6 moose, 2 bears, 1 bobcat and 1 coyote. Now that’s some traffic!


The Sixth Sense?

Many people across Canada have witnessed the damage and devastation left by Hurricane Sandy, be it on the news or in their own backyard. Heavy rain and winds gusting up to 100km/h have caused extensive flooding, and power outages, as well as uprooted trees and damaged buildings across Southern Ontario, Quebec and parts of the Maritimes. For Canadian communities the effects of Sandy are plain to see but what about Canada’s wildlife communities?

Can animals predict the weather?

Unlike humans, Canada’s wildlife has no government or media systems in place to warn them of impending dangerous weather. Yet it would appear that many animals seem to know. Though there are no empirical studies on animal behaviour in relation to natural disasters there have been many reports of animals seeming to sense approaching storms. There have been reports of animals frantically searching for food or seeking higher ground and shelter before a disaster. Aquatic life also seems to react to approaching disturbances by swimming to deeper water and finding shelter. Some people even say that their pets can predict disasters by barking and whining or finding a safe place to hide long before storm. Be it a sixth sense or the ability to use their five senses more intuitively than us humans, Canada’s wildlife seem to pick up on hints from Mother Nature about approaching disasters.

That isn’t to say that hurricanes pose no threat to our wildlife. Animals can still be harmed, particularly if a storm occurs during migration when food and shelter may be more difficult to find. Hurricanes can also have a severe and lasting effect on wildlife ecosystems. Hurricanes cause changes in water salinity, turbidity, sedimentation, nutrient release and dissolved oxygen levels. Hurricanes can also bring large scale pollution through debris into wildlife habitats. But as long as wildlife population levels are healthy Canada’s animals will return, rebuild and live on much in the same way we Canadians do.


Are You a Budding Pike-asso?

If you are then the Ministry of Natural Resources would like to hear from you! MNR is holding its 10th annual Kids’ Fish Art Contest. They’re inviting young artists from grades 4 through 12 to submit their best artwork depicting selected Ontario fish in their natural habitat. This year’s featured fish will be the Chinook salmon and the longnose gar.

Chinook salmon

Chinook salmon


longnose gar

Longnose gar

The contest runs from October 1st until November 30th. The MNR has also put together an activity package for teachers to help create a learning unit around the contest for students. As well as having the chance to win a number of great prizes from contest sponsors, the winning entry will appear on the 2012 Young Angler’s Licence. So if you or someone you know takes to art like a fish to water then head over to the MNR Kids’ Fish Art Contest page to read up on the rules and download your entry form. Good luck!


The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, September 15th – 23rd

When a small team of Vancouver Aquarium employees decided to cleanup a beach in Stanley Park back in 1994, they never realized that their grass roots effort would grow into a national program, providing all Canadians an opportunity to help their community and their environment.  Last year the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup celebrated its 18th anniversary with 56,000 volunteers across Canada and this year it hopes to become even bigger. The Cleanup begins September 15th and runs through to September 23rd. For more information on the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup and to find locations of cleanups in your area please visit The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup website  Let’s help insure The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup remains one of the largest direct action conservation programs and the most significant contributor to the international Coastal Cleanup in Canada.


Hurricane of Independence, 1775

As Hurricane Issac made landfall down south in Louisiana recently many of us watched news reports in awe of the sheer ferocity of nature. But Issac’s arrival also marked the anniversary of a far more savage and deadly storm that ravaged the east coast of North America in 1775. Dubbed the Hurricane of Independence, the tropical cyclone hit coastal North Carolina on August 29, 1775. It proceeded up the coast, driving ships ashore, destroying mill-dams and flattening corn. Letters and early records indicate that Independence hit Newfoundland on September 11th and when it finally abated close to 4,000 people, mostly mariners off the coast, were lost, making it the most deadly hurricane in Canadian history. Many also claim that the hurricane was a major turning point in the American Revolution as many of the dead were British sailors, giving weight to the deadly storm’s title, the Hurricane of Independence.

If you’re fascinated by weather facts, don’t forget to pick up a copy of David Phillips’ bestselling Canadian Weather Trivia Calendar 2013! A new fact each day!



It’s not always a good idea to get between a dog and a bone, but when that bone is 300 million years old, one Nova Scotian had to make an exception!

"Superstar" fossil

Patrick Keating was out walking the shores of Northumberland, Nova Scotia in late July with his dog Kitty when they came across something remarkable partially buried in the mud.

“When I detached it from the mud, I realized it was almost like a carcass-shaped, fossilized skeleton. It was exciting to me.”

Keating took the fossil home, cleaned it off and took it to the Nova Scotia Museum where the staff nearly fell out of their seats. It turns out that the fossil contains the partial sail, ribcage and backbone of a sail-back reptile, the first to be found in Nova Scotia, and is thought to be 290 to 305 million years old. Paleontologists knew that these ancient reptiles roamed the shores of Nova Scotia after finding fossilized foot prints back in 1994 but this is the first skeleton to be found in the province. The skeleton, nicknamed “Superstar”, most likely belongs to a Dimetrodon.


A second trip by Keating to the location of the find uncovered the skull of the creature. It’s believed that “Superstar” was a baby, measuring only 2 to 3 feet from tip to tail, but adult Dimetrodons could grow close to 5 meters and weigh 300 to 400 lbs. The Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History plans to display the fossil until September 3, but they are keeping the location of its discovery a secret as they hope to find more. Better get Kitty back on the hunt!


Hot Enough for You?

It's going to be a hot one!

Hot enough for you? Four words that no one likes to hear! Especially with the temperatures that Canada has been experiencing this summer. July 6th saw 11 temperature records smashed in Ontario alone. According to Environment Canada the 11 record temperatures were set at:

  • Burlington Lift Bridge, 35.3 C (previous daily high of 33.0 C set in 2010).
  • Caribou Island, 20.1 C (previous daily high of 19.8 C set in 2000).
  • Cobourg, 33.2 C (previous daily high of 28.6 C set in 1999).
  • Great Duck Island, 25.9 C (previous daily high of 21.9 C set in 2002).
  • Mount Forest, 31.4 C (previous daily high of 30.3 C set in 2010).
  • Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier airport, 34.5 C (previous daily high of 34.1 C set in 2010).
  • Point Petre, 27.3 C (previous daily high of 27.2 C set in 2010).
  • Port Weller, 33.4 C (previous daily high of 29.3 C set in 1993).
  • Southeast Shoal, 31.3 C (previous daily high of 28.2 C set in 1999).
  • Toronto Pearson airport, 36.3 C (previous daily high of 34.7 C set in 1988).
  • CFB Trenton, 33.6 C (previous daily high of 31.4 set in 2010).

Winnipeg has seen its hottest year on record since the city started recording temperatures 140 years ago. From August 1, 2011 to July 31, 2012 Winnipeg had an average temperature of 6 C, shattering the previous record of 5.6 C set in 1877. But what’s even more astonishing is that Winnipeg’s median temperature is only 2.6 C. “To see something that’s almost 3.5 degrees warmer than normal for the whole year is quite something “, says David Phillips, senior climatologist for Environment Canada. “Canada is not the Great White North that it used to be”.

It may not be the same “Great White North”, but no doubt when we’re shovelling snow in January we’ll be thinking that this summer’s heatwaves weren’t so bad after all!

Update: The 2013 Canadian Weather Trivia Calendar is now in stock. This is the 25th Anniversary edition of David Phillips’ bestseller! Only $17.95!

Don’t Miss the Bus!

Many people living in and around Toronto dream of getting away from it all, but without having access to a car, visiting Ontario’s picturesque parks can be next to impossible. Parkbus wants to change that. Started in 2010, Parkbus is a is a non-profit initiative, providing express bus service to key outdoor destinations in Ontario – Algonquin, Killarney, and Grundy Lake Provincial Parks, as well as Bruce Peninsula National Park and Tobermory.

No car? No worries... take the bus!

From now through October Parkbus has numerous scheduled buses leaving from three different terminals in Toronto. You can purchase tickets online or by phone from the Parkbus website (tickets cost about $40 for adults and $20 for children return). Parkbus will will take you and all your camping supplies up north for a weekend, a week, or even longer. Parkbus won’t take canoes or kayaks but their volunteers will gladly point you in the direction of the nearest outfitter for rentals (if you’re headed for Killarney we recommend Killarney Kanoes for canoe and kayak rentals). There is also limited space available for bicycles so it’s best to call ahead to make sure there’s room. When it comes to adventures in the great outdoors, the journey can be as much fun as the destination. So grab your gear and catch the bus to some of the best parks in Ontario!

Net Yourself a Fishing Licence!

Fishing without a licence in Ontario can net you a big fine! Luckily, the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) has made the process of obtaining a fishing licence easier than ever. The first step towards getting your Ontario fishing licence is to make sure you have an Ontario Outdoors Card.

Ontario Outdoors Card

An Outdoors Card is a plastic, wallet-sized card, issued by the MNR to accompany your Ontario fishing licence tag. The Outdoors Card is valid for three calendar years and is used for identification and administrative purposes. You can order your Outdoors Card from your nearest Service Ontario Centre or from any of the private issuers listed on the MNR’s website. Better yet, order your Outdoors Card online straight from the MNR. Once you have your Outdoors Card you can go on to obtain your Ontario fishing licence from the MNR or from an authorized licence issuer. There are several different types of fishing licences available so you may wish to contact the MNR to discuss which licence is right for you. They can be reached via e-mail at or call 1-800-667-1940. And if you need a fishing map or chart… drop us a line!