Sundeep Bhutoria

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Saturday, May 1, 2010

From Cornwall, Ontario

Today is first of May observed as May Day in many parts of the world. I went to a small town Alexandria located in the Canadian province of Ontario near Cornwall. Ontario is probably the biggest and wealthiest province of Canada. Though Ontario shares a border with Quebec but French isn’t compulsory here. In Quebec, any product information or directions in signboards etc in the markets or roads have to be either in French or in both French and English. The same holds good for all commercial advertisements as ordained by the local laws in Quebec.
Even if you are a first generation immigrant, your children have to go to the French schools and not English schools. But if you are second or third generation or older immigrants then your children may go to the English schools. It seems regionalism based on language is evident all over the world. However, in Ontario, English is the main language and French is not compulsory.
I visited a small town Alexandria and went on tour some small villages – Lancaster, Summertown, Glenwater and others - all picture postcard towns and villages with captivating scenic beauty. All the houses either have a riverfront or have their backyard to the river. The spic and span villages have large farms and untouched by the international tourists, have managed to retain the pristine natural beauty that surrounds it. The place makes you feel one with the world. I also noticed that just like cars, every house has a boat parked on the front.
I spent the whole day in the province of Ontario and had lunch at a private golf course Cromwall Golf & Country Club (picture) which was again a beautiful amalgam of riverfront and greens. The golf course remains closed during winters for about four months when frozen ice claims the whole area. Water in the whole region is frozen during the winter. Last winter, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself driving full speed over frozen ice across an area where I was boating three summers earlier. The whole of Canada abounds in water mostly in the form of rivers and lakes, often frozen.
Today morning I heard on radio the Canadian Government’s advisory to its citizens against travelling to India, especially New Delhi, due to a terrorist threat. I also got information from India that there was a red alert in Kolkata. The parcels from Kolkata, which got stranded at the airports due to the Iceland volcano, finally arrived today.
There was a book distribution function of Prabha Khaitan Foundation with Bharat Relief Society in Kolkata. I always attend this function which is held in the third week of June each year. This year, due to the students’ request that June is too late for schools, the function was pre-poned and held today. Each year many celebrities from different walks of life come to distribute books to the needy students (file pictures) Dona Ganguly, Biman Bose and  Shatabdi Roy.
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