It is a pet peeve of mine that the official French Canadian name of Nova Scotia is "Nouvelle Ecosse." I understand that means "New Scotland," but is that really a proper translation of Nova Scotia?
Yes and no.
Nova Scotia is actually Latin for "New Ireland" (!) The Romans referred to tribes from the island we call Ireland today as "Scoti" for some reason. Later on the name got applied to Scotland. So assuming the latter is the proper term, then "Nova Scotia" is Latin for "New Scotland."
City: Sydney, Nova Scotia
Casino: Casino Nova Scotia - Sydney
Sydney is located on Cape Breton Island, almost at the extreme eastern end of Nova Scotia. My wife and I didn't make it to that area during our visit to the province in 2006, but we made a point of getting there when we returned in 2010. The tourist attractions of that district seem to be based less on activities and entertainment and more on watching and communing with nature. They do have a living history center that we had in mind to see.
Unfortunately, the weather wasn't very accommodating for our visit. I don't think it stopped raining the entire time we were on the island. In protest, we did almost nothing while we were there sat around the motel for an entire day, took naps, and did our laundry. We went out to dinner at a fairly nice restaurant one evening, stopped by the casino, and left the next morning without having seen much or having taken any photos at all.
In spite of the minor conflicts I reported yesterday between the info available from Wikipedia and from the MOGH catalog, both sources indicate that the Sheraton Casino opened an affiliated casino in Sydney in 1995, perhaps just two months after opening in Halifax. Neither of those resources indicates when the Sydney edition was renamed Casino Nova Scotia, but I suspect that it was in 2000, or at least at the same time that the Halifax facility changed its name.
The Sydney casino was smaller than the one in Halifax, though it must have expanded since I was there in 2010. Their web site says they have eight poker tables, two Let it Ride tables, one Mississippi Stud table, one Texas Held'em Bonus table, three roulette tables (two double-zero and one single-zero), three Baccarat tables (one EZBac, one Midi Baccarat, and one Mini Baccarat), one Blackjack Switch table, and twelve blackjack tables, with Mini Craps available on weekend nights. Surprisingly, the web site even lists the betting min and max for most table types.
When I was there, I think there were only half a dozen or so tables total, and there was definitely nothing that looked at all like craps, even though I was there on a Saturday night. I played blackjack for about an hour and lost $50.
Not surprisingly, today's chip is almost identical to yesterday's chip from the affiliated casino in Halifax. You could just use the same description with the differences limited to the color of the dashes green instead of red and the name of the city on the coin inlay. I guess if you do a really good job the first time, there's not much motivation to head in a different direction on the second try.
Since the rainy weather discouraged me from taking travel photos, I have none to post here to represent Sydney. Instead, I thought I would mention another spot in Nova Scotia, between Halifax and Sydney.
The town of Truro grew as a railroading center, and it is not far from where the province of Nova Scotia connects to New Brunswick. There are two things about Truro that really caught my interest, and the first one I didn't even know about until I got there.
For more than a century, the streets of Truro were the home of large, beautiful elm trees. Unfortunately, the Dutch elm disease reached the town and started wiping out the species. The community made the best of a very bad situation and started a project to create sculptures from the residual stumps/trunks of the trees that had died. Some of these are quite elaborate, and they are all over the town. Some represent historical figures, some show wildlife, and others represent activities of the area. Most of them are located right where the tree grew, with the roots still attached, though others have been repositioned.
You can read about this project here and download a guidebook, if that interests you. I'll just post a couple of images of these sculptures to give you an idea. These two show a representative lumberjack from the area's timber industry circa 1900 and a Mr. Pearl Merton Lowther, a machinist for the Canadian National Railway.
When I wrote about New Brunswick, I mentioned the extreme tides that occur in the Bay of Fundy. I guess I never mentioned the reason for them. For the engineers and scientists among you, it is basically a case of forced vibration, with a forcing function that has a frequency that is very nearly equal to the natural response frequency. That is, suppose you have a mass dangling from a spring and you oscillate the top of the spring as if you were playing with a yo-yo. If you move it too fast or too slow, you get limited motion of the mass. But if you pump the spring at just the right rate, dependent upon the mass and the stiffness of the spring, then the mass will bounce substantially, even if you only oscillate the top of the spring a little bit.
Similarly, there is a particular amount of time that is necessary for the mass of water to move from one end of the Bay of Fundy to the other; this period of motion implies a natural frequency of "vibration." It turns out that this time is very close to the time between tides, and the solar/lunar forces slosh the water back and forth in the bay at its natural frequency, giving the extreme tides.
Well, at the eastern end of the Bay of Fundy is the tapering Cobequid Bay, and at the extreme end of that is the mouth of several streams including the Salmon River. Normally, the river flows westward toward the open water, but as the tide rushes into the funnel to the river's mouth, it creates a flow surge back up the river, which is known as a tidal bore. This happens several places in the world, and I think there is a famous one in China. Roughly twice a day, the tidal bore becomes a minor tourist attraction in Truro, with the usual watching point being about a mile upstream of open water.
Some of the people who work in the motel and restaurants of the area say that they have to tell the tourists that no, there will not be a 30-foot wall of water coming up the river, in spite of how high the tide change might be. It's really just a small wave flowing upstream in an uncommon manner.
I made a cell phone video of this in 2006, and I just uploaded it to Youtube so that I could post the link here. It runs a little over two minutes and isn't really very exciting, but I thought I would bore you with the bore.
I think one of the funny things in the video happens about the 0:35 mark. A seated man and woman can see the wave approaching and aren't sure just how big it is, so they get up and move farther from the water. At the exact same time, two teenage girls farther down the way have spotted the wave, get up, and move closer to the water!
Have a look, if you like. I already know that the quality is poor, so you don't have to tell me. At the end of the video, Youtube provides links to videos that others have posted of this tidal bore, and those are likely better than mine.
City: Rama, Ontario
Casino: Casino Rama
Hmm . Once again, no comments on a chip. Or on the tree sculptures or low-res video. That seems fairly typical for Sunday postings in this thread. I'm still waiting for our Canadian members to join in and provide better info than this southern boy has to offer. Maybe I can generate more response with today's chip from a few provinces farther west.
I have listed the city for this casino as Rama, Ontario, because that is what it says on the chip. The MOGH catalog lists the location as Orillia, ON, though the Wiki page and CasinoCity.com both confirm the Rama city designation. GoogleMaps does not indicate Rama, ON is a searchable location in their database, but it shows Casino Rama, and the linked pop-up indicates Rama, ON as its mailing address.
Perhaps the discrepancy derives from the fact that Casino Rama is a tribal casino located on the lands of the Chippewas of Rama First Nation. It is roughly 70 straight-line miles north of Toronto, across Lake Couchiching from the town of Orillia, ON. Lake Couchiching is a northern extension of the much larger Lake Simcoe, with the two connected by only a 200-ft-wide narrows spanned by both a railway and the Trans-Canada Highway. I have to admit I had a bit of difficulty finding my way both to and from the casino in the dark, even with the aid of a GPS unit.
Wikipedia describes Casino Rama (in one place) as a joint venture of the First Nation, Penn National Gaming, and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. In another they say it is owned by the Chippewas and operated by Penn National, without saying whether Penn National has any ownership stake. I guess that's not really a conflict in their statements.
The place opened in July 1996. It is the largest First Nation casino in Canada and the only one in Ontario classified as a "commercial" or "resort" casino, as opposed to the province's lesser class of "Charity casino."
CasinoCity.com says that the place has 2,514 machines and 130 table games including 18 poker tables. The casino's own web site says they have over 2,500 machines and more than 110 gaming tables, including an 11-table poker room. I'll leave it to you to figure out whose figures are more up to date; I have no idea.
My wife and I went to Casino Rama one evening in June 2007, during a three-night visit to Toronto. I did not record my gaming results or even what game I played. They do offer craps, so I really expect that was the table I went to.
The thing I do remember is that they had a very reasonable policy for currency exchange. At the time, the Canadian dollar was worth about $0.94 US, though it dropped to about $0.80 in 2009. I went to the cage and changed some of the USD that I was carrying for the CAD used at the tables. Any exchange fee was hidden in the exchange rate, but they gave me a receipt and said I could exchange up to that amount from CAD back to USD at the same rate within 24 hours. As a result of that policy, players lost on the exchange only to the extent they lost the converted currency at the table, not the all-too-common practice of losing in the exchange in both directions.
The chip shown below is a white RHC Paulson with four narrow edge inserts, two each in dark green and pale gray. The center inlay is oversized and shows a photograph of a frozen stream. (Have I mentioned that I am glad that I don't have to live through Canadian winters?) The photograph actually reminds me a bit of the one I took at Taos, NM and posted here a few weeks ago, behind a "Taos Winter" spoiler button. I had the good judgment to be there taking photos when the temperature was high enough that the rio wasn't frozen.
The chip doesn't mention the Chippewa tribe, but it does include a traditional-style drawing in place of the "O" in the casino name a radiating sun (?) with a leaping/landing buck. I don't know much at all about such creatures is there a distinguishing feature to indicate whether that is a deer or an elk? UV light reveals the hidden Paulson logo and the fluorescence of the green edge inserts.
The MOGH catalog indicates that there are three versions of this chip. One has the ® symbol following the casino name as shown here; one has instead a symbol in the same position, and the third one has neither. The catalog does not indicate whether there were different issue dates from which they handled the trademark notation differently.
I may soon run out of interesting and relevant travel photos some might say that event line was crossed long ago and I didn't take any during the excursion out to Rama/Orillia. I did get a few shots while in Toronto, so I'll share a couple of those here.
In the afternoon before driving out to Casino Rama for the evening, my wife and I took a cruise on Lake Ontario on the three-masted schooner Kajama. (No, I did not call that bit of fun a kajama party.) I cannot provide a photo of the ship under full sail, because while they were deployed, I was on board. I'm just posting a photo of the ship at the dock and a photo of the Toronto skyline with the CN Tower, as viewed from the lake through the ship's rigging. That tower is 1,815 feet tall, making it 58% taller than the Stratosphere in Las Vegas. Hope you enjoy.
I cannot provide a photo of the ship under full sail, because while they were deployed, I was on board.
If you are interested in more info, there are both a corporate web site and a Wikipedia page about the schooner Kajama, including its history and photos of it under full sale. If you have some free time in Toronto, you might enjoy the cruise as much as my wife and I did.
I visited the casino a little before noon, a day after visiting the Niagara area and the OLG facility in Brantford. Rama is a very nice casino, but it's utterly in the middle of nowhere. Beautiful, rustic nowhere; but I agree with Doc that it was pretty hard finding the way up there. My impression was that Rama did a pretty good business from tour/outing buses from the Toronto area. Maybe it was just because I was there on a Saturday morning, but there were a lot of announcements about buses and drawings and discounts.
... and the OLG facility in Brantford.
Yeah, I need to get by that place. And all of those other Ontario, Quebec, New York places I mentioned recently in another thread.
I think the red tone and the canoe-on-a-lake image on your chip give me a much warmer, more comfortable feeling than the scene on mine.
Any guesses on tomorrow's chip?
I really liked the OLG in Brantford. It doesn't pretend to be anything more than a gaming floor, but the games were fast and fun. Plus, inside the casino it almost didn't feel like sheets of ice were falling from the sky in 60 mph gusts of wind.
I think tomorrow's chip is the reverse side of a previous chip.