Travellers vote Canada second most beautiful country in the world

Canada’s countryside was no match for Scotland’s rolling hills.

For the second year in a row, Canada was voted the second most beautiful country in the world, according to readers of Rough Guides. Scotland came in first place.

The travel publisher released its list of the world’s most beautiful countries based on the opinions of readers polled on social media.

New Zealand rounded out the top three.

‘The eyes of everybody are on us’: Canadian farmers look to be good stewards of the land

Sean LaBrie, the co-owner of Difficulty Ranch, is one of hundreds of ranchers and farmers who are participating in the ALUS program. Photo/Robert Scott

As rising temperatures and extreme weather have started to threaten the agricultural industry, Canadian farmers have been exploring what they can do to fight climate change.

For Sean LaBrie, that has meant fencing off 90 acres of his 800-acre ranch in Alberta for special conservation projects.

LaBrie is one of hundreds of farmers and ranchers across the country who are participating in the Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS) program. A national charitable organization runs the program and pays farmers to devote a portion of their land for conservation efforts. These can include restoring wetlands and planting more trees to offset their carbon footprint.

“It’s letting people know who are removed from agriculture that we do care about our land as well as upstream properties from ours. We’re trying to take care of everybody along the way,” said LaBrie.

While the project means farmers are unable to use portions for production, ALUS looks to keep their operations financially viable through the payments.

Rancher Sean LaBrie has fenced off wetlands for the ALUS project. Photo/Sean LaBrie

A recent report conducted by the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry stressed the importance of such programs when it comes to climate change, as extreme weather is already having significant effects on farmers.

Over the last decade, farmers in the prairies have experienced record rainfall, flooding and droughts, the report said. Weather ranging from very dry conditions to tropical storms has caused problems for farmers in the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia.

Fruit growers in British Columbia have reported that flooding has increased because of melting mountain snowpacks.

The report recommended that the federal government shield farmers from some of the costs they may face with carbon pricing. While agriculture is responsible for 10 per cent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, one in eight people in Canada are employed in the industry, according to the report.

The committee also suggested that the government should fund and expand tools and programs, such as ALUS, that help farmers keep carbon in the ground.

“We need to feed our population, but we also need the ecosystems services that nature provides. We don’t have that much land to do all of these things,” says Christine Campbell, the ALUS hub manager for western Canada. “So we need to find a way to be working on the landscape and to allow the production of ecosystems services.”

The ALUS program started as a pilot project in Manitoba more than 10 years ago and has since grown to include more than 700 participants across six provinces.

Campbell said participating ranchers use fencing to stop livestock from grazing in sectioned off areas. This leads to less soil disruption and sequesters carbon, she said.

“There have been a number of studies that show different management practices particularly through livestock grazing can really help us to battle climate change,” she said.

Participating farmers say the program has not been onerous, and just takes a little bit of management.

Brian Rodger, an Albertan farmer, said that a lot of the land he has devoted to the project was not productive anyway and probably should have been set aside a long time ago.

Rodger’s farm, which sits about 40 minutes northeast of Calgary, is mostly a livestock operation, but he also farms some grain. He has devoted around 10 to 12 acres to the project.

“The eyes of everybody are on us. So we better be doing a good job of looking after the environment,” he said. “When a city person or an urban person drives by, it catches their eye to see that farmers are trying to work with the environment and look after it. Because ultimately they want their food produced in an environmentally friendly way.”

Conservationist group discovers ‘Mossome Grove’

Photos courtesy of the Endangered Ecosystems Alliance

Conservationists have found what they are calling the “most magnificent and photogenic” forest on Vancouver Island, but for the moment it’s for their eyes only.

The Endangered Ecosystems Alliance said it first came across the 13-hectare area, populated by ancient-looking trees covered in thick green moss and ferns, in October. The conservationists later returned in December to explore more.

The group posted photos of the lush forest — which it nicknamed Mossome Grove — but said its location will remain hidden until the provincial government provides assurances that the land will be protected from commercial logging and trampling.

Ken Wu, the executive director of the Endangered Ecosystems Alliance said in a press release that the forest was the “most magnificent and stunningly beautiful” old-growth forest he had ever seen.

“Hollywood could not make a more stunning, picture-perfect forest than this one,” Wu said.

The group said it should be able to keep the location secret due to the grove’s limited size and the fact that there are no trails leading to it.  

Canadian air traffic controllers buy pizza for unpaid U.S. colleagues

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Air traffic controllers across Canada are showing solidarity with their American counterparts through pizza.

The Huffington Post reported Canadian air traffic controllers bought dinner for their colleagues south of the border, who are working without pay due to the U.S. government shutdown.

Air traffic controllers in Moncton, N.B. and Gander, Nfld. sent 32 pizzas to the New York Air Traffic Control Centre in Ronkonkoma, N.Y. Friday night. Workers in airport traffic control towers in other parts of the country also participated in the act of kindness.

The partial government shutdown has entered its 24th day, making it the longest in the country’s history.

Halifax man claims world record by gobbling up 19 donairs in an hour

Dreams can come true.

A 23-year-old Nova Scotia man has set what he says is a world record by eating 19 donairs in an hour.

Competitive eater Joel Hansen filmed himself mowing down on the Halifax specialty at a restaurant and then posted the video on YouTube.

“I was very full to say the least,” Hansen told Halifax Today. “Let’s say the rest of the night was maybe not the most comfortable situation, but the next morning I was feeling absolutely fine.”

Hansen said the challenge cost him just over $150.

Record levels of American women want to move to Canada

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An increasing number of Americans want to follow through on their threats to move to Canada.

Canada is the top destination for record levels of Americans who have wanted to leave the United States since Donald Trump was elected in 2016, according to a new Gallup poll.

The study shows 20 per cent of American women want to migrate out of their country. When Barack Obama was president, only 10 per cent of women polled wanted to leave.

Roughly 30 per cent of the people polled between the age of 15 and 29 also wanted to get out of the U.S.

While Canada always has been one of the top destinations favoured by Americans, the poll showed that desire has increased since Trump became president. More than 25 per cent of Americans who participated in the study named Canada as their preferred destination, while only 12 per cent did so in 2016.

The study said Americans love to threaten to move to Canada if an election doesn’t go their way, but very few actually follow through. So far, there has only been a “modest uptick in the number of Americans who have moved to Canada,” the study said.

Saskatchewan man walks across Canada because he ‘just felt like walking’

Zayell Johnston stands by a map of Canada that shows his route. Photo/Zayell Johnston

A Saskatchewan man was channeling his inner Forrest Gump in 2018.

Zayell Johnston walked all the way across Canada last year just because he felt like it.

The Yorkton, Sask. man started his journey in Victoria, B.C. in February 2018 and dipped his feet in the Atlantic Ocean by the end of the year.

Others who have made similar treks have usually done so to promote a cause or to raise money for charity. Johnston’s voyage was rooted in something more simple.

“I just felt like walking,” he told Yorkton This Week.

Johnston said the longest part of his cross-country trip was Ontario, which took him two months to walk through.

Petition calls for U.S. to give strip of land to Canada

A new petition is calling on the United States government to transfer a piece of land technically in Minnesota to Canada.

The petition, which was launched on the “We the People” section of the White House website, claims the area, known as the Northwest Angle, only became part of the U.S. because of a surveying error.

The area is connected by land to Manitoba and is the only part of the U.S. other than Alaska that sits above the 49th parallel.

The petition’s author argued that the area’s 120 residents are native to Canadian soil, as Benjamin Franklin and British representatives relied on a flawed map from 1755 when they negotiated Canada’s borders.

“Make America great by correcting this critical survey error,” the petition said.

The White House responds to petitions on its website if they amass at least 100,000 signatures.

As of the end of Wednesday, the petition had garnered more than 1,000 signatures, but it will need to reach its goal by Jan. 29 in order to trigger a response.