Re Inspiration In A Winter Wonderland (front page, Dec. 24): At first, it was difficult to understand how a painting that just includes snow, trees, clouds and blue sky (Lawren Harris’s Winter Woods) could hold anyone in its grasp. Then it dawned on me.
As the world grows more complex, with an instantaneous onslaught of “news” that can overwhelm virtually anyone, these classic treasures give a brief respite from our challenges.
The sublime serenity depicted by the snow provides a timely security blanket for many among us who remain haunted by the senseless slaughter of innocent victims at Sandy Hook, and other similar global violence.
As our eyes drift upward toward the puffs of clouds in a pale blue sky, one senses that this is kingdom come in winter and that its newest angels can now “sleep in heavenly peace.”
Jeffrey Peckitt, Oakville, Ont.
Comfort and joy?
Thank you, Globe and Mail, for restoring my faith – in newspapers and intelligent discourse! What a glorious two-page spread on The Nativity: An Annotated Look (Dec. 24). Art history, theology and Gentile da Fabriano – who could ask for more?
Ken Nutt, Stratford, Ont.
So The Globe, in its Christmas Eve issue, chose to feature the controversies among historians and theologians about the birth of Jesus. Would The Globe ever muster the effrontery to deconstruct the cherished beliefs of any other religion on the eve of its holy celebration? Never!
Robert Gamache, Winnipeg
All is calm
Every year at this time, as I’m running around like an idiot, I’m stopped in my tracks by a song called Silent Night. Be it over the radio or in a mall, it always makes me stop what I’m doing.
I’m an atheist by nature, but, when I hear that song, for one sweet moment, I’m a believer. That song is peace personified.
Sebastian Grunstra, Ottawa
At the YMCA
While Margaret Wente noted some worthwhile charities (Best Of The Giving Season – Dec. 22), she overlooked one of Greater Toronto’s largest charitable multiservice providers: the YMCA, which is celebrating its 160th anniversary in 2013. It’s also one of the best integrators of children and young adults from different ethnocultural and religious backgrounds outside of school.
The YMCA is also the largest national provider of child care. In the GTA alone, the Y has more than 10,000 kids enrolled in child-care programs.
In the past year, we have extended our hours of operation and started Teen Nights, which invite youth who aren’t current members to self-organize themselves in activities of their choosing on the weekends. Newcomer settlement services and employment services round out our network of social service programs.
My personal odyssey with the Central Y began almost 60 years ago. So, from the heart, please consider a donation to the Y, one of the GTA’s most under-recognized and undervalued charities.
Gordon J. Chong, chair, YMCA of Greater Toronto
Acid rain frolic
James Adams encourages us to write to Stephen Harper about recasting Christmas tunes to reflect our changing climate (Let It Rain! Let It Rain! Let It Rain! – Life & Arts, Dec. 24). Brilliant idea! I’d like our musical PM to write lyrics to Joy to Denial and Oh, the Climate outside is Frightful but the Oil is so Delightful.
Cheryl McNamara, Toronto
Hark! The guns
Re Human Remains Found In Home Of N.Y. Gunman, Police Say (online, Dec. 25): Now what? After the killing of two firefighters and the wounding of two more in upper New York State, will the NRA now propose that armed guards accompany all firefighters to a fire?
Shaker Nasrullah, Toronto
In the specious argument that schools need guards with guns to protect them (The Great American Gun Debate – Dec. 22), the NRA avoids a salient fact: Most civilian gun fatalities in America don’t occur in schools.
Michael Dales, Toronto
Poll of shame
It’s absolutely shameful that someone like accused killer Luka Magnotta is declared Canada’s 2012 Newsmaker of the Year (Newsmaker Of The Year Poll Triggers Storm Of Social Media Debate – online, Dec. 23). Have we as a society decided that infamy is more newsworthy than acts of compassion or political events that affect so many Canadians?
Many other people also made the news: Immigration Minister Jason Kenney , NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair, Liberal leadership contender Justin Trudeau, the Argonauts, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, Justin Bieber, and even the shearling-clad monkey found in the Ikea parking lot. Why can’t we think in a positive way about our annual newsmaker?
Rana Khan, Toronto
According to The Junction’s Trendy New Function (Dec. 24), prohibition in this Toronto neighbourhood was prompted by “drunken rowdiness of railway and stockyard workers.” The story is broader than that.
The Women’s Christian Temperance Union was mainly concerned with the effect that drinking had on the wives and children of those farmers who brought their livestock for sale, only to drink away the proceeds and leave their families to face the winter with nothing.
(There’s a famous story of an ex-slave from the U.S. who sold his tavern when he realized that the consequences of selling booze were worse than slavery.)
Incidentally, the dry area extended east as far as Dufferin Street and north to the city limits – a considerable distance from Keele and Dundas.
Gary Waller, Toronto
Now we know
Thanks to his eldest son, we now know why Mitt Romney ran a pathetic presidential campaign: He didn’t want the job (Tagg Romney Says His Father Didn’t Want To Be President – Dec. 24).
Lyman MacInnis, Toronto
Alberta trapper Ken Cowles (Logging, Drilling Close In On Trappers As Well As Caribou – Dec. 24) says “trappers are the only stewards of the land left.”
I’d hazard a guess that the lynx, martens, fishers and wolves he’s slaughtered would beg to differ – if they could.
Jennifer Whybrow, Victoria