Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Happy Hogmanay

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And Another Thing …
If cosmetics queen Elizabeth Arden were still alive, she would be 135 years old today — and probably still looking fabulous. When I wrote about her in The Kids Book of Great Canadian Woman (did you know she was Canadian, born in Woodbridge, Ontario?), I was amazed to discover her parents had actually named her Florence Nightingale Graham. Guess what they wanted her to grow up to be?

But nursing wasn’t for the future business woman — she was too squeamish. Elizabeth much preferred creating beauty creams. She also took makeup from the theatre stage and made it available to all women.

Elizabeth’s determination and ability to spot trends made her a success. She was one of the first to perform “makeovers” or make exercise recordings and yoga lessons available. And would you be surprised to learn Elizabeth was awarded the Légion d’Honneur by the French government for her contribution to the cosmetics industry?

I’m switching things around today and starting my post with the daily piece of trivia. Not only is this the last day of the year, it’s also my last day of blogging here at Open Book Toronto. Hogmanay (pronounced HOG-muh-nay) is the Scottish word for the last day of the year. Apparently if you want to really ring in the New Year, the place to do it is Edinburgh.

And even if you only wish you were Scottish (and doesn’t everyone who isn’t??), your New Year’s Eve celebration likely isn’t complete without the singing of “Auld Lang Syne.” The title means “long, long ago” and is a poem written by Scots poet and hero Robert Burns.

Can you tell I’m proud of my Scottish-Canadian heritage?

I’ve enjoyed writing my posts here at Open Book Toronto and investigating trivia ranging from the transmission of the first transatlantic radio signal to Human Rights Day. I believe I even inspired google to honour Emily Carr’s birthday, after someone there read my blog post about her. (Hey, I can dream, can’t I?)

The comments I’ve been receiving on my posts are great — special thanks to bob and Alix. Did you know Kate Aitken’s papers are held by Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa? It’s wonderful when commenters’ remarks add content to my postings.

If you’re an author, look into being Open Book’s Writer in Residence for a month. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. Thank you, Brigitte, for getting me involved and thank you, Clelia, for all your help.

Thanks to everyone who read my posts — I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this month of blogs as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them.

As they say in Scotland, Slàinte Mhòr!


I did not know that Elizabeth Arden was Canadian and, like the commenter before me, I've learned many fascinating things and am in awe of your knowledge of intriguing Canadian stories and your delightful way of writing about them. Your readers will be disappointed to know this is the end of your blog, but grateful to you for raising our awareness of some of the hidden gems in our history. Many thanks for teaching us so much and for this wonderful Christmas gift all December long.

What a great month of reading it has been! I've learned so many interesting facts and have been sent chasing off to the dictionary/internet/whatever in pursuit of more information. I remember one of your earlier posts talked about procrastination, so I think I should congratulate you on having contributed so successfully to my own procrastinating habits this month! Happy Hogmanay to you too and best wishes for the New Year :)

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Elizabeth MacLeod

Award-winning author Elizabeth MacLeod has written over 50 books for children. Her most recent book, Bones Never Lie: How Forensics Helps Solve History’s Mysteries, was published by Annick Press.

Go to Elizabeth MacLeod’s Author Page