Click on the Names Below
to get the story and background information on the subjects found in this, the first of an ongoing portrait series delving into
"The Characters of Canada"
The great characters and tales in Canadian history are plentiful to be sure, though you wouldn't necessarily know it.
We don't really talk about them to much. Or play them up, say like a American would, for one their historic figures. It's really not our style it seems. But I don't get it. Theres nothing to be embarrassed about here everybody. Sure be modest of course. That's always good. But I don't really understand all the humility. Trust me there are so many amazing stories and characters that couldn't be more interesting to talk about. Fascinating stories, heroic, and/or controversial ones (they are the best kind of character) leaders, lovers, inventors, writers, politicians, warriors, doctors, suffragettes, poets, scientists, artists, adventurers.... I could go on and on.
What ever you want. Don't worry we got it.
Too few of us really know our Canadian stories. I was wondering if that was simply because nobody is ever bragging about it. Or certainly not enough for their stories and tales to be engrained in the popular conscience..
The images in this series represent some of the amazing characters and great stories that are found in the young history of Canada. We should be boasting about them. They should be shown off, they are too fascinating and unique not to be. I can get lost in these characters and tales. Kinda hoping you do too.
These "characters" (and I mean that in every sense of the word) are some of the backbone of our history. The work in this series was designed to help re-invigorate discussion and fascination on and about them. And maybe get a little laugh too, every once in awhile, that isn't so bad either. It always seemed to me that a little humour allowed people to get involved, to look a little longer, to care a little bit more, to be more interested. We should be more interested, we have some seriously great history.
And I just wanted to brag about it a bit.
All images Copyright © Andrew R. Hutchison 2000 - 2014
John Graves Simcoe, Commander of the Queen's Rangers in the American Revolution, in 1791 became the first lieutenant governor of Upper Canada. He began many progressive policies such as granting land to American settlers, confident that they would become loyal settlers and was aware that they were the main hope for rapid economic growth. He saw the southwestern peninsula as the future centre not only of the province but of trade with the interior of the continent. He founded York (now Toronto), intending it to be a temporary capital, and initiated the foundation of a road system in the colony.
He wanted to make the colony an example of the superiority of British institutions, and he appointed lieutenants of counties, introduced a court of king's bench and had slavery declared illegal. He also effectively defeated attempts to set up elected town meetings on the New England model. He was a direct and powerful man who set in motion municipal councils, urged for a university with preparatory schools and sought the full endowment of the Church of England. He had few critics in the province but could not persuade the imperial government to finance his projects or to exempt him from the military authority of Guy Carleton, Lord Dorchester, at Québec. Concerned about defence and in ill health, he left the colony in 1796. He was then appointed governor of Santo Domingo (now Dominican Republic) and later commander of the Western District in England. Appointed commander in chief for India in 1806, he died before he could take up the position. He never accomplished his life long dream of being governor of Jamaica. He was never granted the commish he so desired. He had been the most stead fast and effective officers of his time, so good as his duty that England sent him always where he was needed most. Which in 1790s for 4 years was Upper Canada. And it was that position that would define the man and our country.
Tecumseh, the famed Shawnee chief, leader of a First Nations confederacy, military leader in the war of 1812. Tecumseh's parents were Shawnees who lived among the Creek in what is now Alabama and Georgia. The Shawnee were a fragmented wandering people who spoke Algonquian. They had been dislodged from Ohio in the late 17th century by the Iroquois. In 1759 Tecumseh's parents moved north as part of an attempt to reunite the tribe on the Ohio River. The Shawnee believed that they were the Great Spirit's special people, that He had given them a portion of His heart. Tecumseh's father Pukeshinwau was a very notable and powerful Shawnee chief.
Tecumseh himself was likely born on the Scioto River at Kispoko, the date variously given around 1768. His name is generally understood to mean Shooting Star and to be associated with a celestial panther, the spiritual patron of the family's Kispoko clan. During Tecumseh's childhood, the Shawnee were savaged by war. Five times from 1774 to 1782 invading armies occupied tribal territory. In the Treaty of Fort Stanwix, 1768, the Iroquois, who claimed to have conquered the Ohio country, sold the land to the Americans, and surveyors and American militia were a constant sight. With a population of only 1000, the Shawnee had little hope of resisting the onslaught of land-hungry settlers and the US military. Pukeshinwau was killed in one of the confrontations.
In 1777 the Shawnee split, with some relocating to valleys of the Little and Great Miami Rivers. Tecumseh moved to Pekowi on the Mad River, a tributary of the Great Miami. From his childhood Tecumseh naturally regarded the Americans, the "Long Knives," as his enemies. They had seized Shawnee land, killed his father and destroyed his towns. Tecumseh's Kispoko clan lacked the standing of the other clans but had a reputation for fighting second to none among First Nations.
Tecumseh allied his forces with those of the British during the War of 1812, and his active participation was crucial in the outcome.
In 1808 an unknown Tecumseh made his first visit to Canada at Fort Malden, Upper Canada, in the place of his better-known brother who had been invited by William Claus. He arrived 8 June. Tecumseh was not enthusiastic to take the king by the hand. He was deeply distrustful of the British. Nevertheless, the two sides met and Tecumseh established himself with the redcoats and raised his standing among the First Nations. In spring 1809 Tecumseh made the first of his journeys in the cause of Aboriginal unity, among the Senecas and Wyandots in Ohio and the Six Nations in New York. He had developed into a fiery orator with a clear message: the First Nations must stand together to save their land and cultures.
While Tecumseh was absent, Governor William Henry Harrison of Indiana Territory established the Treaty of Fort Wayne - a huge land grab. This treaty vindicated Tecumseh and roused him to a fury. When he returned to talk to the British at Fort Malden in 1810 he had changed his attitude. He was ready for war and to throw in his lot with the British.
Tecumseh's uncommon genius came to task in the building of an Aboriginal confederacy. This idea was enormous given the forbidding geographical distances, the sense of powerlessness of many of the tribes, the jealousy of the older chiefs, tribal rivalries, and communication in different languages. Even the different Algonquian groups themselves could not understand one another in some cases without interpreters.
In June 1812 the US declared war on Britain. Tecumseh went north to find the British strengthening the defences of Fort Malden. He saw an impressive number of soldiers there. He brought about 350 warriors from numerous tribes he had managed to align.
The US Major James Denny marched 420 Ohio volunteers in sight of Tecumseh's camp in the night in a classic sneak attack on the native village Tecumseh was staying in. Tecumseh organized an ambush, routing them and inflicting the first casualties suffered by Americans in the War of 1812. Soon after his forces would attacked the American supply road below Brownstown. On 5 August, Tecumseh confronted a far more numerous force south of Brownstown, killing 180. In another attack he surprised Van Horne, killing 200 and wounding 120. The ambushes at Brownstown were remarkable victories and weighed heavily on The Americans fragile frame of mind.
In August 1812 soldier and future writer John Richardson met Tecumseh, whom he was the first to call the real hero of the war. He described "that ardour of expression in his eye... that could not fail to endear him to the soldier hearts of those who stood around him." This was at Maguaga where again the allies were outnumbered by the Long Knives sent out to protect another supply train heading for Detroit. But Tecumseh chose the ground well and signalled the attack. Outgunned, the First Nations and British were forced to retreat and Tecumseh was wounded in the neck. It was an American victory but, as happened so often in this war, there was no follow-up and the blockade of Detroit remained intact. These incursions against his supply lines continued to disturb the entire US.
In late August 1812 General Isaac Brock arrived at Amerstburg and the famous meeting took place between him and the Shawnee chief. Brock's aid Captain John Glegg described Tecumseh as a figure "with bright eyes beaming cheerfulness, energy and decision." Brock's bold decision to attack Detroit was opposed by all his advisors but deeply impressed Tecumseh, who was said to declare of Brock, "This is a man with balls!"
On the night of 15 August hundreds of canoes glided across the river to land near Detroit, led by Tecumseh. The British followed at daylight on the 16th south of the town. Brock marched directly on the town while Tecumseh's men swept north through the forest. Hull had no idea how many First Nations warriors were present, but he feared thousands. British ships shelled the fort with more psychological impact than real. Unbelievably, the Americans surrendered Detroit without firing a shot. The American ignominious surrender certainly caused his nation much grief. Unquestionably Tecumseh's harassment of his supply lines and his intimation and the fear of a 'savage massacre' at the hands of the First Nations (learned from the American commander's captured letters) played a large part in the decision to surrender. It was a great victory for the allies, seen by many as the saving of Upper Canada, and a demoralizing defeat for the Americans. Tecumseh played a major role and gained the admiration of Brock, who called him the "the Duke of Wellington of the Indians." Brock later wrote in a letter to the British Prime Minister Blantyre stating "A more sagacious or more gallant warrior than Tecumseh does not, I believe, exist."
It needs to be made clear, however, in this process of noting Tecumseh as a Canadian hero here, that he himself may not have particularly cared a great deal, as one historian has put it, "a spent pistol ball" for the king or the colony of Upper Canada. Tecumseh's motivation, obsession and honour was for the plight of his people and the grand and heroic ambition to unite all the First Nations.
George Brown was born and raised in Edinburgh, he immigrated with his father to New York in 1837. They moved to Toronto in 1843 and began a family run newspaper, the 'Banner', for Upper Canadian Presbyterians. The next year George himself launched the 'Toronto Globe' to back Reform efforts for Responsible Government. He helped win the Reformers' victory of 1848, and made his 'Globe' a vigorous force in Upper Canada Politics and culture. New political issues rising relating to church-state relations (notably Catholic demands for state-aided separate schools) led him into the Assembly as member for Kent in 1851.
In the then Province of Canada, Brown's pronouncements against church-state ties drew favour within its predominantly Anglo-Protestant Upper Canadian half, but animosity in largely French-Catholic Lower Canada. Moreover, in 1853 he took up the idea of representation by population, which would give the more populous Upper Canada a majority of seats in the legislature. Beset by sectional strains, the Reform regime collapsed in 1854. The Liberal-Conservatives took office, while Brown sought to rebuild the Reform Party. He won over the 'Clear Grit' radicals, strong in rural Upper Canada, whom he had formerly opposed for their sweeping American-style democracy. In Jan 1857 a reorganized Upper Canadian Reform Party adopted his policies of "rep by pop" and annexation of the Northwest, the fur trade expanse beyond the Great Lakes. This potent combination of Toronto leadership, the Globe and agrarian Grit numbers swept the Upper Canada elections of late 1857. In Aug 1858 Brown even formed a government with A.A. Dorion, head of the Lower Canada Liberals; but sectional balances were too shaky, and it swiftly fell. The Upper Canada leader then steered a Reform Convention of 1859 in Toronto to the concept of a federal union of the Canadas as a remedy for sectional division. Yet his concept did not carry Parliament, and in 1861, ill and temporarily defeated, he withdrew to recuperate. In 1863 he returned as member for South Oxford, after a visit to Britain where he married Anne Nelson, daughter of a prominent Edinburgh publisher.
A restored, reinvigorated and deeply happier Brown explored more conciliatory means to achieve reform of the Union. In 1864 he chaired an all-party parliamentary committee on that subject, which on June 14 reported in favour of the "federal principle" to overcome the sectionalism which by then had brought political deadlock. When on the same day a last, ineffectual Conservative ministry broke down, Brown offered to support a new government ready to pursue constitutional changes. In consequence, he joined with his chief Conservative rivals John A. MacDonald, A.T. Galton and G.É. Cartier, to form a coalition which would seek a federal union of all the British provinces or, failing that, of the Canadas.
Through this strong new coalition, stemming from Brown's crucial initiative, the movement towards Confederation now surged ahead. He played a major role at the Charlottetown Conference and the Quebec Conference which formulated the plan; he was first to carry it to the British government in Dec 1864, and spoke compellingly for it in the 1865 Confederation debates in the Canadian Assembly. In Dec 1865, however, he resigned from the coalition Cabinet over internal dissensions.
He continued to support Confederation nonetheless and ran in the first federal elections in fall 1867. Defeated, he then left Parliament. He felt satisfied still that his chief aims had been realized and he retired to the 'Globe' office. He moved to the country to have a family life with his wife and 3 children making his final home the Bow Park estate near Brantford which he developed as a large-scale cattle-breeding enterprise.
George Brown remained a power in Liberal circles as an elder statesman and director of a formidable mass-circulation journal. He was active in Ontario party affairs, was a senator from 1874, and was close to Alexander Mackenzie, his former chief lieutenant, who was federal prime minister 1873-78. Brown's death came in 1880 in a tragic circumstance. A dismissed Globe employee, George Bennett (whom he had never known), accosted him in his office and shot him in a sudden struggle. Brown had managed to push the gun away from his head a the last second which caused the bullet to lodge in his calf. The leg wound grew infected and finally brought his death.
Canada's first famous celebrity performer, World-renowned tenor Edward Johnson was born in 1878 in Guelph Ontario. He left his hometown and moved to New York to study music at 17. His first break came in 1908, when he was cast in the acclaimed operetta, A Waltz Dream. The following year, he moved to Florence, Italy to study with the master, Vincenzo Lombardi and he made his operatic debut in 1912 in Andrea Chenier, billed by this time with the made-up moniker of Edoardo di Giovanni (complete with an improper spelling of Edoardo). In 1914, he made his first appearance at La Scala and a few years later, Johnson sang in the premieres of Puccini's Il tabarro and Gianni Schicchi. Which made him world famous.
Johnson moved back to the United States in 1919 and was the leading tenor at the Chicago Opera until 1922. He was unhappy there and when New York's Metropolitan Opera came calling, he gladly left. By the early 1930s, the Met was in financial trouble and Johnson became not only the leading tenor, but also the star fundraiser. He became assistant general manager in 1934 and general manager a year later.
Edward Johnson left the Met and moved back to Guelph in 1950. He was the first chairman of the Toronto Conservatory of Music and continued to promote Canadian composers worldwide and music education locally. He died of a heart attack upon arrival at a ballet recital at the Guelph arena in 1959.
The Edward Johnson Building, so named in his honour, is located at the University of Toronto and houses the university's Faculty of Music and the Opera School.
Chief Big Bear (called "Mistahimaskwa" by his people) was born at Jackfish Lake, Saskatchewan the first son of the chief of a small, mixed band of Cree and Ojibwa. By 1874, he was the head of ninety-five lodges and a man of considerable influence. When the Canadian government presented Treaty #6, yet another manipulative unfair arrangement, Big Bear refused to sign. He believed that his people would lose their lifestyle and that they would be condemned to a life of perpetual poverty.
From 1878 to 1880, Big Bear travelled throughout western Canada and the United States in an attempt to establish a confederacy to negotiate with the government. This was nearly impossible so he turned his attention to uniting just the Cree people. The government still refused to negotiate however and, facing starvation and destitution, Big Bear was forced to give in. He signed an adhesion to the original treaty in 1882.
By 1884, Big Bear had begun to lose influence with his band and he was unable to keep his warriors from joining the North-West Rebellion. When members from his band killed nine white people at Frog Lake, Alberta in 1885, Big Bear was held responsible, even though he had continuously counselled his party to peace. He surrendered at Fort Carlton on 2 July 1885 and was sentenced to three years in prison for treason. He was released early in March 1887 due to failing health and died on Poundmaker Reserve three months later, with his dream of alliance never fully realized.
William Lyon Mackenzie King, politician and prime minister of Canada 1921-26, 1926-30 and 1935-48 was born in Berlin, Ontario (now Kitchener) on December 17th 1874, the grandson of William Lyon MacKenzie, one of the Fathers of Confederation.
Mackenzie King was the Leader of the Liberal Party in 1919-48, and prime minister for almost 22 of those years, King was the dominant political figure in an era of major changes.
King graduated from the University of Toronto in 1895 and studied economics at the University of Chicago and Harvard. In 1900 he became Canada's first deputy minister of labour and in 1908 he was elected in North York as a Liberal and in 1909 entered Sir Wilfred Laurier's Cabinet as minister of labour.
His interest in labour coincided with an expansion in manufacturing and a concern with industrial relations. King acted as conciliator in a number of strikes, his major legislative achievement being the Industrial Disputes Investigation Act of 1907, which delayed strikes or lockouts in public utilities or mines until a conciliation board achieved a settlement or published a report. He was defeated in the 1911 federal election and the 1917 Conscription election. He maintained his connections with the Liberal Party, but during the war acted as a labour consultant and was employed by the Rockefeller Foundation. His book Industry and Humanity (1918) outlined his view that there were 4 parties to industry - capital, management, labour and society - and that the government, acting on behalf of society, had an interest in the peaceful resolution of industrial disputes.
At the 1919 Liberal convention King was appointed Laurier's successor. Two years later the Liberals won a bare majority in the federal election and King became prime minister. He set out to regain the confidence of the farmers in Ontario and western Canada who had supported the new Progressive Party, but his reductions in tariffs and freight rates were not enough, and after the 1925 election the Liberals could stay in office only with Progressive support.
During the first session of the new Parliament, when it was clear this support would be withdrawn because of a scandal in the Department of Customs, King asked Governor General Viscount Byng for a dissolution. Byng refused and called on Arthur Meighen to form a Conservative government, which was defeated in the House a few days later. In the 1926 election King stressed the alleged unconstitutionality of Meighen's government, but the Liberal victory stemmed from the support of Progressives who preferred the Liberals to the high-tariff Conservatives. In the prosperous years after 1926 the Liberal government provided a cautious administration which reduced the federal debt. Its only initiative was an Old-Age Pension scheme. King insisted on Canadian autonomy in relations with the UK and contributed to the definition of Dominion status at the 1926 Imperial Conference. In 1930 he was reluctant to acknowledge that there was an economic crisis and the Liberals were defeated by the Conservatives under R.B. Bennett.
King was an effective Opposition leader, keeping his party united as he attacked Bennett for unfulfilled promises and rising unemployment and deficits. His only alternative policy, however, was to reduce trade barriers. In 1935 the Liberal Party campaigned on the slogan "King or Chaos," and was returned to office with a comfortable majority. King negotiated trade agreements with the US in 1935 and with the US and Great Britain in 1938. The economic downturn in 1937 left the government with high relief costs but no coherent economic response.
King was forced to pay more attention to international affairs, from the Ethiopian crisis to the Munich crisis, and he hoped war could be averted through appeasement. He insisted that the Canadian Parliament would decide on Canada's participation if war came, and to make such a decision more palatable, particularly to French Canadians, he promised there would be no conscription for overseas service. Britain declared war on Germany in September 1939; the Canadian Parliament was recalled in an emergency session, and, with only token opposition, declared that Canada was at war.
King called a snap election early in 1940 and his government was returned with an increased majority. Co-operation between the government and business and labour leaders shifted Canadian industrial production to a wartime footing. The remarkable industrial expansion involved special financial arrangements with the US and economic planning on a continental scale. Early German victories led some Canadians to advocate conscription but, fearing a political crisis, King tried to compromise.
He introduced conscription for the defence of Canada in 1940. In a 1942 plebiscite a majority of Canadians favoured relieving the government of its promise not to introduce conscription for overseas service, but Québec voters were opposed. High casualties in 1944 and a declining rate of voluntary enlistment led to prolonged debates within the government and the resignation of the minister of defence, James Layton Ralston. In November, King abruptly agreed to send some of the home-defence forces to Europe, a decision grudgingly accepted, even by French Canadians.
To placate Canadians who feared the return of the Depression after the war and who looked to the government for greater social security, King introduced unemployment insurance in 1940, and his reconstruction program, based on Keynesian Economics, included family allowances and proposals for health insurance. The Liberals narrowly won the 1945 election.
King did not play much of a decisive role in the postwar era, preferring a minimal role for the government at home and abroad. He was persuaded to resign as prime minister in 1948 and was succeeded by Louis St. Laurent. King died 2 years later. Mackenzie King has continued to intrigue Canadians. Critics argue that his political longevity was achieved by evasions and indecision, that he failed to provide creative leadership; his defenders argue that King gradually altered Canada, a difficult country to govern, while keeping the nation united.
Somewhat recent revelations have shown that this apparently proper and seemingly colourless man was a deep 'spiritualist', involved in frequent séances and was fully committed and believed he had contacted and continued on conversations with his mother and other deceased relatives and friends, with the use of a crystal ball, used in a hidden room deep inside his palatial estate.
John Patch was a sailor and fisherman in the Yarmouth area of Nova Scotia in late 1700s when one day, while making repairs on his boat watched a small boat being manoeuvred through the harbour with a single oar, he came up with the idea for a device which would allow steamships to travel without need of large, inefficient paddlewheels or wind-dependent sails. People saw him as crazy. It would take him more than thirty years of work before he was able to see his idea become reality.
During the winter of 1832-3, Patch developed and built the first screw propeller, a wooden shaft with two "fans" at the end. Robert and Nathan Butler, friends of Patch, helped him by building a hand crank and wooden gears to be used with the device. Throughout the summer of 1833, Patch tested his invention in Yarmouth Harbour and, in 1834, Captain Robert Kelley agreed to put it on his 25-ton ship, the Royal George. On a subsequent trip to Saint John, the wind died, leaving other sailing vessels stranded, but the Royal George carried on. The "screw propeller" as Patch called it, was a success.
In 1840, the British steamship, 'Archimedes', became the first seagoing vessel to be fitted with the device. In 1845, the 'Great Britain' became the first large steamship to cross the Atlantic, driven by a screw propeller. By the 1850s, this method was determined to be far more efficient than sails and paddlewheels and the screw propeller is still the main form of propulsion for most boats today.
There are several versions of how Patch eventually lost the patent rights to his invention, but the end result was that he was never recognized for it and never made any notable amount of money for this invention which shaped the world in a sense.
In 1858, just over 100 citizens of Yarmouth signed a petition, asking the government to provide Patch with a pension as thanks for his work. The petition was presented to the Nova Scotia legislature but sadly quickly rejected and Patch died penniless in a Yarmouth Poorhouse.
Pierre Berton, the journalist, writer, historian, and media personality was born at Whitehorse, Yukon Territory in 1920. Berton was, and is, among Canada's best-known writers and is particularly well regarded as a serious popularizer of Canadian history. He worked on the Vancouver News-Herald (beginning in 1942), the Vancouver Sun (1945-47), Maclean's (beginning in 1947) and on the Toronto Star (1958-62). From the late 1950s to the early 1990s, he was a staple of Canadian TV as host of his own shows or as a panelist. His first extremely popular book was 'Klondike' (1958), a narrative of the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898 - an event in whose long shadow Berton had lived for years, being the son of a gold-seeker and having grown up in Dawson amid the debris of the stampede.
But for more than a decade following Klondike, Berton's name was represented with books drawn from his enterprising Star column and his interview programs and with such polemics as The Comfortable Pew (1965) and The Smug Minority (1968), which attacked the Anglican Church and the business-political axis, respectively. It was not until the 1970s that he attempted to pick up the serious thread of Klondike and resume work as a popular historian. His subject was the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway, as treated in 'The National Dream' (1970) and 'The Last Spike' the following year. The subject was well suited to Berton's strengths: patriotic verve, the marshalling of colourful detail and, above all, a driving narrative.
'The Dionne Years' (1977) carried him nearer social history and a smaller canvas. In turning to the War of 1812 in 'The Invasion of Canada' (1980) and 'Flames Across the Border' (1981) Berton again dealt with events large enough to contain his heroic vision of what the past should be, and the smell of gunpowder quickened his pace without leading to narrative excesses. Other historical works have included 'My Country' (1976) and 'The Wild Frontier' (1978), collected sketches of characters and events. 'Hollywood's Canada' (1975) examines the way Hollywood films misrepresent Canada. 'Drifting Home' (1973) is an unexpected slice of autobiography in the form of an account of a northern rafting trip.
Berton returned to the writing of popular history, with 'The Promised Land' (1984), a history of the settling of the Canadian West, and his hugely successful 'Vimy' (1986), an examination of the WWI battle in which the Canadian Corps took Vimy Ridge in April 1917. In 'Starting Out' (1987), he picked up the autobiographical thread again with a memoir that ends in 1947. 'Winter' (1994), while not overtly historical, continues one of Berton's overriding themes, that which makes us Canadian. In glorifying the season Berton is recognizing the strength of character that allows Canada as a nation to overcome its harshness. In 2004 he published his 50th book, 'Pioneers of the North', a collection of biographical sketches on 5 of Canada's northern explorers, enigmatic characters that he felt wrote themselves into the landscape of the North. Berton received 3 Governor Generals Awards, the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, the Canadian Booksellers Award and numerous honorary degrees and was a companion of the Order of Canada.
Berton has many famous and wonderful quotes, but most tellingly and famously, the best I'd say is what he answered when asked what is a Canadian? He fired back quickly
"Canadians are people who know how to make love in a canoe".
The Chinese people first immigrated in large numbers to Canada living in the Colony of Vancouver Island by 1858 as part of the huge migration to that colony from California during the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush in the newly-declared Mainland Colony. Although the first large wave arrived in May from California, news of the rush eventually attracted many Chinese from China itself.
Many Chinese remained in the province's Interior and North long after the gold rushes. Some towns such as Stanley were predominantly Chinese for many years, while in the Fraser Canyon and even more remote areas such as the Omineca, Chinese miners stayed on to mine claims in the very remote wilderness areas.
In the goldfields, Chinese mining techniques and knowledge turned out to be better in many ways to those of others, including the use of hydraulic techniques, the use of "rockers", and a technique whereby blankets were used as filter for alluvial sand and then burned, with the gold melting into lumps in the fire. In the Fraser Canyon, Chinese miners stayed on long after all others had left for the Cariboo Gold Rush or other goldfields elsewhere in British Columbia or the United States and continued both hydraulic and farming, owned the majority of land in the Fraser and Thompson Canyons for many years afterwards. At Barkerville, in the Cariboo, over half the town's population was estimated to be Chinese, and several other towns including Richfield, Stanley, Van Winkle, Quesnellemouthe (modern Quesnel), Antler, and Quesnelle Forks had significant Chinatowns (Lillooet's lasting until the 1930s) and there was no shortage of successful Chinese miners.
A man named Ah Hoo, a mixed race, half native, half Chinese Omineca miner, who had spent his entire life mining and building railroads struck it massively rich on his deep wilderness gold claim. He was so successful that he owned dozens of businesses and had many large landholding by the time he died at 90, an old man in his bed, in 1913.
Sir Isaac Brock, military commander, administrator of Upper Canada was born at St Peter Port, Guernsey in 1769 and died at Queenston Heights, upper Canada 13 Oct 1812. A young Isaac Brock was educated in Guernsey, Southampton, England and later in Rotterdam. At age 15 he entered the army by buying a commission in the 8th King's Regiment of Foot. He transferred to the 49th Regiment in 1791 and soon after demonstrated his willingness to take a calculated risk. Another officer who was both "a confirmed duelist" and a dead shot challenged him. Being tall, Brock knew that he would present an easy target at the usual distance of 12 paces apart. As they prepared for the duel, he demanded that they meet on equal terms. For this purpose he produced a handkerchief and insisted they fire at each other, not from the usual distance apart, but across the handkerchief. His antagonist declined the duel in shame and soon after left the regiment. Brock seemed to possess almost uncanny insight into what others - particularly opponents - were thinking and how they might respond to determined action.
Brock's military career advanced another step in 1797 when he bought a commission as lieutenant colonel and became the regiment's commanding officer. His brother, William, loaned him the money to buy commissions - a common practice in the British army of that time.
He arrived in Canada in 1802 with the 49th and was promoted to major general in 1811. With the forthcoming departure of Francis Gore, he was appointed president of the executive council of Upper Canada as administrator and commander of the forces there. At the outset of the War of 1812, he took the bold initiative of ordering the capture of the American Fort Michilimackinac.
American Major General William Hull had invaded Upper Canada in July, but withdrew to Fort Detroit upon learning that Brock was leading troops to that front. He arrived at Fort Amherstburg and knew from captured correspondence about serious dissension among Hull's officers and Hull's increasing fear of defeat. Brock met Tecumseh and the two became firm allies. Brock decided to act quickly before Hull received reinforcements. On the night of 15-16 August, Tecumseh and his warriors crossed the Detroit River to be followed early the next morning by Brock and his troops. Brock's intention was to form up his troops and hope Hull would come out of his strong, well-armed fort to fight in the open. But, on hearing of American troops at his rear, Brock decided on immediate attack. He led his troops forward even though all they could see facing them as they approached were two 24-pounder guns, their gunners standing by with their matches burning.
Brock was urged to let his officers precede him and he refused because he would never ask his men to go where he would not lead them. He was counting on Hull to back down and he was right. Without consulting anyone, the American general ordered the gunners not to fire, had a white flag raised in the fort, and sent two officers to ask for terms. Brock sent his aides Colonel McDonnell and Captain Glegg into the fort, where they negotiated the American's total surrender of the fort. Afterwards, there was some criticism that Brock had acted rashly but in a letter to his brothers, he asserted that he had proceeded "from a cool calculation of the pours and contres." His calculated risk produced a completely unexpected victory with the capture of an American army, fort, and the territory of Michigan, as well as great quantities of war materiel. A mood of defeatism in Upper Canada changed to optimism that the troops, militia and Aboriginal allies could defend the province.
When the Americans invaded again at Queenston Heights, Brock was awakened from sleep at Fort George and rode hastily to the village. Almost as soon as he arrived, the Americans seized a gun battery on the heights. Brock decided a direct attack was needed immediately without time to wait for reinforcements. His calculated risk this time proved to be rash, for as he led his troops he was hit in the chest by a shot from an unknown American soldier. Brock died instantly without delivering any of the final words (such as "Push on brave York Volunteers" that have been attributed to him.
His troops so loved their commander, that when within the year those same soldiers from under his command were burning down the White House in Washington they honourably dedicated the victory to the memory of their General Brock.
The memory of Brock, the saviour of Upper Canada, remains extraordinarily strong in Ontario history. His body, upon his death was interred on the grounds of Fort George, were moved in 1824 to the summit of Queenston Heights under an imposing monument, which was destroyed in 1840 by an American Terrorist attack, but repaired replaced by 1853. Today, the stately Brock's Monument dominates their victorious battlefield.
James Gay, the drunk uneducated carpenter, innkeeper, flute player, gunsmith, locksmith, musician, and the self proclaimed Poet laureate of Canada was born in 1840 in Bratton Clovelly, England a year before his family moved in Guelph, Ont.
It is not exactly understood but some time in the late 1860s there was an "incident" wherein Gay suffered some form of “brain fever” which left him with reduced mental powers and, it appears, a passion for poetasting that sustained the enthusiastic and lifelong production of doggerel. On the strength of its publication in newspapers and collections he proclaimed himself “Poet Laureate of Canada and Master of All Poets.” To aid in his shows in the early 1870s he acquired a two-headed horse and took it in 1873–74, on a 15-month tour of England, Ireland, and the Channel Islands. Back in Canada by 1875, he exhibited the colt at fall fairs in Guelph, and in other Ontario towns. He charged ten cents to view the colt and, for an additional five cents, sold copies of his poems. In the late 1870s he apparently served as guarantor for a tax-collector whose failure to return the requisite funds to the authorities, Gay claimed, ruined him financially. Perhaps as a result of this episode he moved to Belleville, Ont., in November 1879, but not before the Guelph Daily Mercury and Advertiser had described his poetry as “rot.” Immediately after setting up business as a gunsmith and locksmith in Belleville he brought a libel suit in early January against the Mercury and the Belleville Free Press. The jury found for Gay, but notice of appeal was served. At a mock trial held a few days later the decision went against the poet, and there the matter ended. Gay remained in Belleville until September 1881, when he returned to Guelph.
Gay appears to have gone back to England on at least three other occasions in his life to deliver porformances, in 1860–61, 1876-77 and in 1882–83. The latter trip seems to have provided the inspiration for his first complete book of verse, 'Poems by James Gay, poet laureate of Canada, master of all poets'; which he wrote while crossing the sea in 1882. It was published in Guelph in 1883, evidently at the expense of Harry P. Dill, United States consul, who mailed copies to his American friends as samples of Canadian poetry. There was a notice about the book in the Detroit Free Press which prompted a request from a British publisher for a volume of Gay’s poems. The poet responded by sending not a book, but instead a batch of unpublished work. Bought for £25, the poems were published, probably in 1885, as Canada’s poet: yours always James Gay, poet laureate of Canada & master of all poets this day. The introduction quoted one of the poet’s letters, “Then you can Publish / These Poemes and Send / Them Through England / And no mistake you will / Find they will Sell like / Hot cakes.” Canada’s poet also contained a letter of dedication to Tennyson, which began, “Now Longfellow is gone there are only two of us left. There ought to be no rivalry between us two.” Alfred Lord Tennyson never responded.
In his last years Gay continued to be a well-known figure in Guelph, distinguished by his old-fashioned frock-coat and battered silk hat, his ubiquitous flute, and his habit of talking in rhyme and of quoting his latest verse.
A example of one of the more restrained poems he composed, titled "A Truthful Guide - by Mr. James Gay, self-proclaimed Poet Laureate of Canada and Master of All Poets".
NOVEMBER THE FIRST
Being one of the oldest settlers in your town,
I cannot remember of seeing such a beautiful day;
On the first day of November, see the stars so clear and bright,
They give us light,
All through the night.
Young gents and ladies walk out bold,
The weather is not too hot or cold;
Jack Frost has kept his hand away,
Those young and old can sport and play
All through the night till the break of day.
The leaves in October have passed away;
Like man on earth, he cannot stay,
Falling more or less each day,
Our bodies soon return to clay,
Thousands do never give this a thought;
Then what will be their awful fate?
With millions this word, too late, too late.
Leave off this sinful life, and try to act more clever,
Put your trust in Providence, life changes like the weather
James Gay is buried in an unmarked poppers grave at Woodlawn Cemetery in Guelph.
His epitaph in the local newspaper the day after his death read -
"I came on earth a natural born poet,
And for the good of my fellow-men the world would know it;
My talents received are too bright to understand,
Even to be buried in the sand."
Rose Fortune was born in Virginia, the daughter of escaped slaves. Her parents, Black Loyalists, came to Nova Scotia when Rose was ten, where they were given their freedom. To earn money for her family, young Rose began working as a baggage carrier, transporting luggage and other items from the docks in a wheelbarrow for a small payment. As a teenager she expanded her business to cover all of the town and surrounding areas and began to also operate a ‘wake-up’ service, alerting travellers so they wouldn't miss their boats.
Rose Fortune seeing the need for law in her township and being well like and well known in the area, appointed herself as the police department of Annapolis Royal. She imposed and enforced curfews and the law and kept the wharves safe and under control and did so for the remainder of her life.
She was the first known policewoman in Canada. Rose Fortune is buried in an unmarked grave in the Royal Garrison cemetery. Her descendants still work in the trucking and hauling business in the area to this day.
Thornton Blackburn (1812–1890) and his wife Lucie (sometimes called Ruth or Ruthy) were escaped slaves from Louisville, Kentucky. They had been settled in Detroit, Michigan, for two years when, in 1833, Kentucky slave hunters located, re-captured, and arrested the couple. The Blackburns were jailed but allowed visitors, which provided the opportunity for Lucie to exchange her clothes—and her incarceration—with a heroic friend named Mrs. George French. Lucie was then spirited across the Detroit River to safety in Amherstburg, in Essex County, Upper Canada.
Thornton’s escape was more difficult as he was heavily guarded, bound and shackled. The day before Thornton was to be returned to Kentucky, Detroit's African American community rose up in protest. A crowd of some 400 men stormed the jail to free him. During the commotion that ensued, two individuals called Sleepy Polly and Daddy Walker helped Thornton escape, also to Essex County, Upper Canada. The commotion turned into a two-day riot during which the local sheriff was shot and fatally wounded. It was the first race riot in Detroit, resulting in the first ever Riot Commission formed in the United States.
Once in Essex County, Thornton was jailed briefly, while a formal request for his return was issued by the Michigan territorial governor. A reply came from the Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, Major General Sir John Colborne, who refused extradition to the United States, noting that a person could not steal himself.
Thornton eventually reunited with his wife Lucie in the newly incorporated City of Toronto, arriving in 1834, where he worked as a waiter at Osgoode Hall. Though illiterate, he saw the need for a taxi service, so obtained blueprints for a cab from Montreal, and commissioned its construction. By 1837, he had it: a red and yellow box cab named "The City", drawn by a single horse, and able to carry four passengers, with a driver in a box at the front, which he, himself, would operate. It became the nucleus of a taxicab company, the city's first, a successful venture that had others soon following his example.
Some time in the late 1830s, Thornton made a daring return to Kentucky to bring his mother, Sibby (born ca. 1776 in Virginia), back with him to join another son of hers, Alfred, Thornton's brother, who may have arrived in Toronto as early as 1826. The Blackburns continued to be active in antislavery and community activities, helping to build the nearby Little Trinity Church, now the oldest surviving one in Toronto. Thornton participated in the North American Convention of Colored Freemen at St. Lawrence Hall in September, 1851, speaking on the same stage as Frederick Douglas, and was an associate of anti-slavery leader George Brown, and helped numerous former slaves settle at Toronto and the surrounding country.
Thornton died February 26, 1890, leaving a very substantial estate of $18,000 and six properties. He is buried at Toronto's Necropolis Cemetery along with wife Lucie who died five years later, on Feb. 6, 1895.
In 1999, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada designated the Blackburns "Persons of National Historic Significance" not only for their personal struggle for freedom, but because theirs was emblematic of so many similar, but typically undocumented, cases.
Also important, the Blackburns' situation prompted the articulation of a legal defense against slavery. They were also designated for their important contribution to the growth of Toronto, generosity to the less fortunate, and lifelong resistance to slavery. In 2002, plaques in their honour were erected at the site of their archaeologically excavated house in Toronto, Ontario.
Louis Riel, Métis leader, founder of Manitoba, central figure in the North-West Rebellion was born on the Red River Settlement, Manitoba. A Young Riel was educated at St Boniface and studied for the priesthood at the Collège de Montréal. In 1865 he studied law with Rodolphe Laflamme, and he is believed to have worked briefly in Chicago, Ill, and St Paul, Minn, returning to St Boniface in 1868.
In 1869, the federal government, anticipating the transfer of Red River and the North-West from the HBC to Canadian jurisdiction, appointed William McDougall as lieutenant-governor of the new territory and sent survey crews to Red River. The Métis, fearful of the implications of the transfer, wary of the aggressive Anglo-Protestant immigrants from Ontario, and still suffering economically from the grasshopper plague of 1867-68, organized a "National Committee" of which Riel was secretary. Riel's education and his father's history marked him out as an obvious leader. The committee halted the surveys and prevented McDougall from entering Red River. On Nov 2 Ft Garry was seized, with the Hudson's Bay Company officials offering no resistance. The committee then invited the people of Red River, both English and French speaking, to send delegates to Ft Garry. While they were discussing a "List of Rights" prepared by Riel, a group of Canadians, led by John Christian Schultz and John Stoughton Dennis, organized an armed resistance. Meanwhile, the federal government postponed the transfer, planned for Dec 1, and Dennis and McDougall returned to Canada. When Schultz and his men surrendered to Riel, he imprisoned them in Ft Garry, issued a "Declaration of the People of Rupert's Land and the Northwest," and on Dec 23 became head of the "provisional government" of Red River. The Canadian government sent special commissioners "of goodwill" to Red River: Abbé J.B. Thibault, Col Charles de Salaberry and Donald A. SMmith, chief representative of the HBC in Canada. Smith persuaded Riel to summon a general meeting, at which it was decided to hold a convention of 40 representatives of the settlement, equally divided between English and French speakers. Its first meeting was Jan 26. The delegates debated a new "List of Rights" and endorsed Riel's provisional government. The Canadian prisoners taken in Dec were released (some had escaped earlier) and plans were made to send 3 delegates to Ottawa to negotiate the entry of Red River into Confederation.
Meanwhile a force of some of the Canadians who had escaped, mustered by Schultz and surveyor Thomas Scott and led by Canadian militia officer Charles Boulton, gathered at Portage la Prairie, hoping to enlist support in the Scottish parishes of Red River. The appearance of this armed force alarmed the Métis who promptly rounded them up and imprisoned them again in Ft Garry. The Métis convened a court-martial at which Boulton was condemned to death. Smith intervened, however, and the sentence was remitted. But, at a court-martial presided over by Riel's associate, Ambroise Lépine, the obstreperous Scott was sentenced to death. This time Smith's appeals were rejected and Scott was executed by firing squad on 4 Mar 1870.
Bishop A.A. Taché of St Boniface, summoned from the 1870 Ecumenical Council in Rome, reached Red River 4 days after Scott's death, bringing a copy of the federal proclamation of amnesty which he believed included any actions up to that date. Taché persuaded Riel's council to free all prisoners and send the delegates to Ottawa. Despite opposition from the Orange Lodges of Ontario, of which Thomas Scott had been a member, Riel's delegates obtained an agreement, embodied in the Manitoba Act passed 12 May 1870, and the transfer was set for July 15. In addition, the federal government agreed to a land grant of 1 400 000 acres (566 580 ha) for the Métis and to bilingual services for the new province. Other than verbal assurances, there was no specific mention of the amnesty, however.
To reassure Ontario and support the administration of the new lieutenant-governor A.G. Archibald, the federal government sent a military force to Red River under Col Garnet Wolsely in the summer of 1870. Though the Red River Expedition was supposed to be "a mission of peace," Riel had reason to fear its arrival and fled to the US. Later he returned quietly to his home at St-Vital and, when the province was threatened with a Fenian raid from the US in the autumn of 1871, offered a force of Métis cavalry to Archibald.
In Ontario, however, Riel was widely denounced as Thomas Scott's "murderer" and a reward of $5000 was offered for his arrest. In Québec he was regarded as a hero, a defender of the Roman Catholic faith and French culture in Manitoba. Anxious to avoid a political confrontation with the 2 principal provinces of Canada, Sir John A. Macdonald tried to persuade Riel to remain in voluntary exile in the US, even providing him with funds. But, encouraged by his friends, Riel entered federal politics. Successful in a by-election in 1873 and in the general election of 1874, Riel went to Ottawa and signed the register but was expelled from the House on a motion introduced by the Ontario Orange leader Mackenzie Bowell. Although re-elected, Riel did not attempt to take his seat again. Meanwhile Ambroise Lépine was arrested, tried and condemned to death for the "murder" of Thomas Scott. Subsequently, his sentence was commuted to 2 years' imprisonment and loss of political rights. In Feb 1875 the federal government finally adopted a motion granting amnesty to Riel and Lépine, conditional on 5 years' banishment from "Her Majesty's dominions."
Shortly after, Riel suffered a nervous breakdown and was admitted to hospital at Longue Pointe, Montréal as "Louis R. David," and later transferred to the mental asylum at Beauport, Qué, as "Louis La Rochelle." Always introspective by nature and strongly religious, Riel became obsessed with the idea that his was a righteous mission.
Released in Jan 1878, he spent some time in Keeseville, NY, and then set out for the Upper Missouri region of Montana territory where he engaged in trade, joined the Republican Party, became an American citizen, and married a Métis, Marguerite Monet, dit Bellehumeur. In 1883 he became a schoolteacher at St Peter's mission on the Sun R and in June 1884 was asked by a group of Canadian Métis to help them obtain their legal rights in the Saskatchewan valley.
Early in July Riel and his family reached Batoche, the main centre of Métis settlement in Saskatchewan. He conducted a peaceful agitation, speaking throughout the district and preparing a petition. Sent to Ottawa in Dec, Riel's petition was acknowledged and the federal government promised to appoint a commission to investigate and report on western problems.
Early in 1885, however, Riel encountered opposition in Saskatchewan because of his unorthodox views, old memories of Thomas Scott's execution, and his reiteration of his personal claims against the federal government (which he estimated at $35 000) which suggested self-interest as the motive behind his political activity. His exasperation mounted and he began to contemplate direct action. But 1885 was not 1870 when Wolseley had taken several months to lead a military force to Ft Garry. By 1885 the North-West Mounted Police (Mounties) had been established and a railway to the West almost completed. Nevertheless, convinced that God was directing him, and seeing himself as the "Prophet of the New World," on March 19 Riel seized the parish church at Batoche, armed his men, formed a provisional government and demanded the surrender of Ft Carlton. The ensuing fighting lasted scarcely 2 months before Riel surrendered.
On 6 July 1885, a formal charge of treason was laid against him and on 20 July his trial began at Regina. His counsel proposed to defend him on the grounds of insanity, but Riel repudiated that defence and, in the face of damning statements by his cousin, Charles Nolin, who had opposed him in 1870 and deserted him in 1885, the jury found him guilty. However, they recommended clemency. The verdict was appealed to the Court of Queen's Bench of Manitoba and to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. Both appeals were dismissed, but public pressure, particularly from Québec, delayed execution pending an examination of Riel's mental state. The 3 examining physicians found Riel excitable, but only one considered him insane. Owing to questionable excisions, the official version of the report did not reveal any difference of opinion and the federal Cabinet decided in favour of hanging. Riel was executed at Regina 16 Nov 1885. His body was sent to St Boniface and interred in the cemetery in front of the cathedral.
Politically and philosophically, Riel's execution has had a lasting effect on Canadian history. In the West, the immediate result was to depress the lot of the Métis. In central Canada, French Canadian Nationalism was strengthened and Honoré Mercier came to power in Québec in 1886. In the longer term Québec voters moved from their traditional support of the Conservative Party to the Liberal Party led by Wilfrid Laurier. Even after a century, Riel and his fate excite political debate, particularly in Québec and Manitoba. Riel's execution has remained a contentious issue even today and demands have been made for a retroactive pardon.
Reflecting his life as a political leader, Louis Riel's written work has been relegated to the great exiles of New World literature. Notably, throughout his life Riel was a prolithic writer. He experimented with many genres, compiling a considerable oeuvre. As a student Riel was drawn to poetry. He was influenced by the great French classics, and his works reveal a passionate nature. His biographers Gilles Martel, Glen Campbell and Thomas Flanagan collected his poetry under the title Poésies de Jeunesse (1977).
With his official entry into politics (1869), Riel used verse to defend the interests of his people and give expression to his bitterness, disillusionment and anger. With the growing hostility of the political climate, Riel's tone became sardonic, mocking, increasingly vehement and virulent. His remarks were aimed primarily at his mortal enemy Prime Minister John A. Macdonald, as well as all the representatives of imperial Britain. Riel advanced his concerns in his essay L'Amnestie. Mémoire sur les causes des troubles du Nord-Ouest (1874), in which he denounced the Canadian authorities' abuse of power and the destitution of which his people were victim. Les Métis du Nord-Ouest (1885) reaffirmed native rights, and condemned the government's oppression.
After 1875 his writings attained a religious fervour, breaking out into hymns, prayers, litanies, prophesies, meditations and apologies from members of the clergy. This zeal overflowed in the Journal de Batoche (1885), a kind of testament, teeming with images, symbols, visions, biblical allusions and dreams. But Riel never appeared so shattered by humanity as in the Journal de Régina (1885), written in prison, revealing his daily struggle with his fear of death and imploring heaven to his aid. The Manitoba writer Rossel Vien (1929-92) brought it to public attention in 1962 (Journal de Prison).
On 16 November 1885 Riel's execution left his novel unfinished. Massinahican (1880-81), a word of Cree origin meaning "the book," was something of a mixture of "Métis bible" and native mythology. Claiming "divine inspiration," Riel brought together his beliefs and his religious, political and philosophical thoughts, and proposed a new cosmology that provoked the wrath of the church. sadly only a few fragments of it remain.
Louis Riel was one of the most central figures in the development and history of Canada. His actions, courage and uniques of passion and spirit propelled him to the top of politics, religion and culture. he shared a fighting spirit and similar visual appearance and voice as another rebellious 20th century historical figure. Ernesto "Che" Guevara, who was commonly known as el Che or simply Che, the Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, guerrilla leader, diplomat, and military theorist. A major figure of the Cuban Revolution, his stylized visage has become a ubiquitous countercultural symbol of rebellion and global insignia within popular culture. Well Louis' is just as cool.
Thomas Clement Douglas, called "Tommy" was a Baptist minister, politician, and the premier of Saskatchewan. Douglas led the first socialist government elected in Canada and is recognized as the father of socialized medicine. He also helped establish democratic socialism in the mainstream of Canadian politics.
His proudly working-class and religious family provided a strong background for both his politics and his faith. His family settled in Canada in 1919 in Winnipeg and Douglas witnessed the Winnipeg General Strike of that year. Leaving school at the age of 14, Douglas began a printer's apprenticeship. He became involved in church work and in 1924 decided to enter the ministry. He was at Brandon College for 6 years, and it was here that he was exposed to and embraced the Social Gospel, a belief that Christianity was above all a social religion, concerned as much with improving this world as with the life hereafter.
When Douglas moved to Weyburn, Saskatchewan, following his ordination in 1930, he found much suffering, for that province had been especially hard hit by economic depression and drought. Douglas soon became involved in ministering to people's physical and spiritual needs, while he pursued further academic studies in Christian ethics. These studies, along with his experience of the Great Depression, led him to conclude that political action was necessary to alleviate the suffering.
Douglas ran unsuccessfully in the 1934 Saskatchewan election. He was then convinced by friends that he should be a CCF candidate in the federal election of 1935. This time he was successful, partly because he had learned to exploit a special talent - the ability to make people laugh. WWII further convinced Douglas that the socialist case was valid. Although he heard it repeatedly argued in Parliament that money could not be found to put people to work, money was forthcoming to finance a war. During his first 2 terms in Parliament, Douglas earned a reputation as a skilful and witty debater. He claimed as his constituency the underprivileged and exploited, and he took unpopular stands in defence of civil liberties.
In 1944 Douglas resigned his federal seat to contest the Saskatchewan general election. As premier of the province for the next 17 years, he became a symbol of what the socialist alternative promised. His government was innovative and efficient, and pioneered many programs that would later be implemented by others, notably in the field of social services and health care.. Douglas resigned as premier in 1961 to lead the federal New Democratic Party (NDP), created as a formal alliance between the CCF and organized labour. Douglas was the new party's obvious choice, primarily because of his success in Saskatchewan but also because he was universally regarded as the left's most eloquent spokesman. He was able to inspire and motivate party workers and he could also explain democratic socialism in moral, ethical and religious terms.
Despite these qualifications, Douglas was defeated in the federal election of 1962, largely because of the backlash against the Saskatchewan government's introduction of Medicare, which at first was not received well by the majority. Winning a seat in a by-election, Douglas went on to serve as leader of the NDP until 1971, when he became his party's energy critic until his retirement in 1979. He was made Companion of the Order of Canada in 1980.
Though Douglas did not realize his dream of a socialist Canada, he and his colleagues had considerable influence on government. Programs such as Medicare, a Canada-wide pension plan and bargaining rights for civil servants were first advocated by Douglas and his party, and these are now more or less firmly in place and universally accepted in Canada.
Pierre Elliott Trudeau, politician, writer, constitutional lawyer, Prime Minister of Canada 1968-79 and 1980-84 (b at Montréal 18 Oct 1919; d at Montréal 28 Sept 2000). Trudeau was born into a wealthy family, the son of a successful French Canadian businessman and a mother of Scottish ancestry. Educated at the Jesuit Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf, Université de Montréal, Harvard and London School of Economics, he also travelled globe extensively in his youth.
Upon his return to Québec from year's of travels, Trudeau supported the unions in the bitter Asbestos Strike, a formative event in postwar Québec society. In 1956 he edited a book on the strike, to which he contributed an introduction and conclusion criticizing the province's dominant social, economic and political values.
After serving briefly in Ottawa as an adviser to the Privy Council Office in 1950-51, Trudeau returned to Montréal and devoted his energies to opposing the Union Nationale government of Maurice Duplessis and agitating for social and political change. With other young intellectuals he founded the review CIte Libre. In this and other forums, Trudeau sought to rouse opposition to what he believed were reactionary and inward-looking elites. In the process, he picked up a reputation as a radical and a socialist, although the values he espoused were closer to those of liberalism and democracy.
After the Liberal victory in the 1960 provincial election, the Quiet Revolution fulfilled some of Trudeau's hopes for change. At the same time, it revealed a deep rift between Trudeau and many of his former colleagues who were moving toward the idea of an independent Québec. A law professor at Universite de Monteal by the 1960s, Trudeau became a sharp critic of the contemporary Québec nationalism and argued for a Canadian Federalism in which English and French Canada would find a new equality.
In 1965 Trudeau, with union leader Jean Marchand and journalist Gérard Pellitier, joined the federal Liberal Party and was elected to Parliament. Trudeau was later appointed a parliamentary secretary to PM Lester PEARSON, and was named minister of justice in 1967. In the latter post, he gained national attention for his introduction of divorce law reform and for Criminal Code amendments liberalizing the laws on abortion, homosexuality and public lotteries. He also established a reputation as a defender of a strong federal government against the nationalist demands of Québec.
Trudeau was persuaded to contest the Liberal leadership in 1968 and was elected on the fourth ballot; on 20 April 1968 he was sworn in as Canada's fifteenth prime minister. In the ensuing general election - which was dominated by "Trudeau-mania" - his government won a majority, and thus he began a period in office which was to last longer than that of any other prime minister, save Mackenzie King and Sir John A. Macdonald.
The most dramatic event of Trudeau's first government was the October Crisis of 1970, precipitated by the kidnapping of British diplomat James Cross and of Québec Cabinet minister Pierre Laporte by the terrorist Front de Liberation du Quebec (FLQ). In response, Trudeau invoked the War Measures Act, with its extraordinary powers of arrest, detention and censorship. Shortly after, Laporte was murdered by his abductors. Controversy over the appropriateness of these emergency measures and their effect on liberal democracy in Canada and Québec has continued to the present.
Less dramatic, but of lasting significance, was the Offical Languages Act, a central feature of Trudeau's new federalism. At the same time, he began to improve the position of francophones in Ottawa. A growing antibilingual backlash in English Canada, however, was one result of these policies. Western Canada's growing alienation against a perceived lack of interest in western economic problems and in western perspectives on national issues also began in his first term.
An important initiative in government brought about under Trudeau's direction was the attempt to centralize and nationalize decision-making under non-direct control of the Prime Minister's Officeand by Central Agencies such as the Privy Council Office and the Treasury Board.
Although very much along the lines of administrative reorganization in Washington and in other Western capitals, these changes proved controversial, leading critics to charge inefficiency and the undermining of the role of Parliament and Cabinet. In the 1972 election, Trudeau came close to losing office and was forced to form a Minority Government with the support of the NDP.
In 1971 Trudeau, hitherto a bachelor, married the beautiful Margaret Sinclair, daughter of a former Liberal Cabinet minister. Their tempestuous marriage, beset by many well-publicized differences, finally ended in separation in 1977 and divorce in 1984, with Trudeau retaining custody of their 3 sons, Justin, Sasha and Michel. He became a piece of popular even further dating numerous holly woods starlets including Barbara Streisand.
In 1979 Trudeau and the Liberals suffered a narrow defeat at the polls. A few months later, he announced his intention to resign as Liberal leader and to retire from public life. Three weeks after this announcement, the Progressive Conservative government of Joe Clark was defeated in the Commons and a new general election was called. Trudeau was persuaded by the Liberal caucus to remain as leader, and on 8 February 1980 - less than 3 months after his retirement - he was returned once again as prime minister with a parliamentary majority, thus accomplishing a remarkable resurrection.
Trudeau's last period in office as prime minister was eventful. His personal intervention in the 1980 Quebec Referendum campaign on Sovereighty-Association was significant. The defeat of the Parti Québécois's proposition was a milestone in his crusade against Québec separatism. In the wake of that victory, Trudeau pushed strongly for an accord on a new Canadian constitution.
Unable to gain provincial agreement, he introduced into Parliament a unilateral federal initiative to "patriate" the BNA Act to Canada with an amending formula and an entrenched Candian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. There followed one of the epic federal-provincial battles of Canadian history, culminating in the final compromise and the proclamation of the Constitution Act of 1982 on 17 April 1982.
With the inclusion of entrenched minority language and education rights, and a charter of individual rights, Trudeau had thus fulfilled a goal he had set himself upon entering public life.
A continuing problem that plagued his entire term of office was that of Canadian-American Relations. Trudeau often played an ambiguous role with regard to the US, but in his last period in office he moved toward a more nationalist position in economic relations with the US, and began to criticize its foreign and defence policies more freely than in the past. At the same time the policies of US President Reagan's administration were becoming more damaging to many of Canada's economic interests.
In these years Trudeau devoted more and more time to the international stage, first to encouraging a "North-South" dialogue between the wealthy industrial nations and the underdeveloped countries, and then in 1983-84 to a personal peace initiative in which he visited leaders in several countries in both the eastern and western blocs to persuade them to negotiate the reduction of nuclear weapons and to lower the level of Cold War tensions. These activities led to his being awarded the Albert Einstein Peace Prize.
At the same time, his government was responsible for the decision to allow US testings of the Cruise missile, which roused widespread opposition from Canadians concerned about the worsening nuclear arms race.
Public opinion in Canada remained hostile to Trudeau and the Liberals from 1981 on. His personal style - sometimes charismatic, sometimes contemptuous of opposition, often mercurial and unpredictable - seemed to have become less of an electoral asset in difficult economic times. On 29 February 1984, Trudeau announced his intention to retire; on June 30 he left office, and his successor, John Turner, was sworn in. In 1985 Trudeau became a Companion of the Order of Canada.
Trudeau's retirement was relatively low profile, but on two occasions he intervened in public affairs with dramatic effect. His strong opposition to the Meech Lake Accord was considered influential. His speech against the Charlottetown Accord in Montréal on 1 October 1992 has been accredited decisive influence in turning English Canadian opinion against support for the Accord in the 1992 Referendum. He did not, however, publicly intervene during the 1995 Quebec Referendum on sovereignty. In 1993 Trudeau published his book Memoirs, based on a five-part miniseries by the CBC, and in 1996 he published a collection of his writings from 1939 to 1996, Against the Current.
Trudeau's career as prime minister was one of electoral success, matched in this century only by Mackenzie King. Moreover, he served longer than every other contemporary leader in the Western world, becoming the elder statesman of the West. His achievements include the 1980 defeat of Québec separatism, official bilingualism, the patriated Constitution and the Charter of Rights.
Trudeau was unable, however, to alleviate regional alienation or to end the conflict between federal and provincial governments. By the late 1990s, his major legacy, Québec's retention as a partner to Confederation was in much more serious question than at the time of his retirement. He left office and world fame much as he had entered it, a controversial figure with strong supporters and equally strong critics. That he was one of the dominant figures in 20th-century Canada is indisputable.
Veronica Foster, popularly known as "Ronnie, the Bren Gun Girl", was a Canadian icon representing nearly one million Canadian women who worked in the manufacturing plants that produced munitions and materiel during World War II. Foster worked for John Inglis Co. Ltd producing Bren light machine guns on a production line on Strachan Avenue in Toronto, Ontario. She can be seen as the Canadian precursor to the American fictional propaganda tool Rosie the Riveter.
She became popular after a series of propaganda posters were produced; most images featured her working for the war effort, but others depicted more casual settings like Foster dancing the jitterbug or attending a dinner party.
As men (and a number of women, too) trudged off to European battle sites in World War Two, their jobs in Canada were left empty. Who was left at home to build the cars? Who was left to keep the munitions factories in production? Who was left to build the weapons? Women were.
Women readily took over the posts in almost every capacity – heavy equipment operators, scientists, loggers, shipyard workers, munitions inspectors – almost any position.
They enjoyed the freedom of working out of the home and of gaining a paycheque. Employers learned that women had great skills, according to Anne Fromer’s 1942 comment in the book, Back the Attack! by author Jean Bruce. “In addition to handling tools and machines they have shown great skill in production planning, in routing and control of operations connected with production, drafting, toolcrib and store tending, dispatching and timekeeping.” Women’s skills as inspectors were exceptionally able, she said, including, “passing on munitions, inspecting gun barrels and gun-carriage part, explosives, radio equipment and rejected materials.”
Some of the newly-working women felt that equality had been reached during WWII, “when Canadian girls left desks and kitchens, elevators and switchboards,” said Loretta Dempsey in Back the Attack!, and “stepped into overalls and took their places in the lines of workers at lathes and drills, cranes and power machines, tables and benches in the munition plants of Canada.” It was a fresh, exciting time for women of all ages.
But similar to today’s and the bear-past wage gaps, women were paid less than men for doing the exact same work. Some women accepted it, others vocally objected without much success. Veronica Foster was one of these. The very intelligent, dark-haired beautiful young woman who assembled guns on the Bren Gun line at a converted factory. Under the direction of the National Film Board of Canada and photographers, Veronica and other women were filmed and photographed at their work and in their private time. Veronica became the popular Canadian poster girl for women’s successful involvement in the war effort. As many as 75,000 Canadian women had joined the munitions factories workforce during the War.
The John Inglis Company Ltd. Factory was converted from building large machinery and pumps into a gun-making plant, specializing in the Bren machine gun. The facility was expanded to cover 23 acres with 1 million square feet of floor space, according to Library of Western Ontario. The Bren was a light and reliable machine gun used by the British and Commonwealth military. The Inglis facility contracted with governments in 1939 to make the weapons for both British and Canadian soldiers, producing 12,000 guns over the war years.
At the end of World War II, the men returned to home and jobs. The women found that many employers had considered them temporary for the duration of the war, and were abruptly let go. Women were not given opportunity to stay on the job and the Bren Gun Girl became a remarkable page in history.
William Maxwell "Max" Aitken, the 1st Baron Beaverbrook, (1879 – 1964) was an Anglo-Canadian business tycoon, politician, and writer.
Lord Beaverbrook held a tight grip on the British media as an influential Press Baron, owning The Daily Express newspaper,as well as the London Evening Standard and the Sunday Express. His political career included serving as a Minister in the British Government during both world wars. He was an influential and often mentioned figure in British society of the first half of the 20th century.
The son of a Presbyterian minister, Aitken/Beaverbrook later claimed that his religion lay at the root of his worldly success. In 1880 his family moved to Newcastle, NB. A clever if mischievous boy, "Max" displayed a passion for money-making. He dabbled in journalism and sold insurance before becoming a clerk in a Chatham, NB, law office. There he began his lifelong friendships with R.B. Bennett and James Dunn. In 1897 he abandoned law school to follow them to Calgary, where he operated a bowling alley and then moved to Edmonton before returning to the Maritimes.
In 1900 he began selling bonds, particularly those of expanding industries and Canadian-based utilities. He joined the Royal Securities Corp as manager in 1903 and within 5 years was a millionaire. He moved to Montréal and concentrated on promoting new companies and merging old ones, his most notable creations being Stelco and Canada Cement. There is a belief by some that Aiken relieved some lage domes of money, before leaving the country.
In 1910 he moved to London, England where he pursued his business interests and entered politics. Guided by Andrew Bonar Law, Aitken won a seat for the Conservatives in the second general election of 1910. He championed tariffs and imperial unity and was knighted in 1911. During WWI he represented the Canadian government at the front and wrote Canada in Flanders. His aptitude for political tactics was revealed by his part in Lloyd George's accession as PM. In 1917 he was made a peer, taking the title Beaverbrook after a stream near his Canadian home. He became minister of information in 1918.
After the war, Beaverbrook left politics and established a chain of British newspapers. He bought the Daily Express and the Evening Standard and created the Sunday Express. He also wrote books on his wartime experiences. In 1929 he spearheaded the Empire Free Trade movement, though the idea found little support in the protectionist climate of the 1930s.
As minister of aircraft production in Churchill's wartime government, Beaverbrook galvanized the aircraft industry. Other wartime appointments followed, but despite his bullish determination Beaverbrook lacked the temperament for lasting political success and left politics in 1945.
After the war, he returned to Canada where he continued to supervise his newspapers and wrote his memoirs and biographies of his influential friends. Beaverbrook donated millions to charitable organizations and to the public in the last part of his life, becoming one of the biggest Philanthropists in Canadian History.
Mary Pickford, silver screen starlet, actor and producer, born Gladys Louise Smith in Toronto. Following the death of her alcoholic father, Mary Pickford began to act in April 1900 at Toronto's Princess Theatre. In 1909, after leading an impoverished life as a stage actress, Pickford reluctantly auditioned for the legendary film director D.W. Griffith, who was then making ten-minute films for the American Mutoscope and Biograph company in New York. Pickford quickly abandoned her view of film as second-rate employment. Instead, for 40 dollars a week, she joined the nascent art form's pioneers.
Pickford instinctively understood that the camera demanded an acting style different from the theatre. Within a few months, she moved to the vanguard of performers who fused psychological realism with silent film's balletic gesture. The result was an unprecedented intimacy between the audience and the actor. This new relationship, sparked by Pickford's genius and her onscreen image as a comic spitfire, triggered a Mary Pickford craze that grew more intense with the advent of features (which then meant films more than an hour in length).
In 1913, Pickford broke with Griffith and aligned herself with producer Adolph Zukor. Features such as Tess of the Storm Country (1914) reinforced her appeal as a fiery guttersnipe. Soon, Pickford's box-office power was supreme. In response, she demanded fantastic fees, as well as increasing creative power. Her peers gave in to her demands, though they considered them unseemly in a woman so gentle and small in appearance. Pickford ignored the criticism. By 1916, she had her own production unit within Zukor's company. In 1917, she joined another company, First National, where she had complete creative approval over every aspect of her films (and, depending on their profits, 1 to 2 million dollars a year). The only element Pickford did not control was distribution. In 1919, she solved the problem by co- founding United Artists with actor Charles Chaplin, actor Douglas Fairbanks and D.W. Griffith. There, Pickford seized a power no other woman in film history has equalled - starring in, producing and distributing her own work.
In the 1910s and 1920s, Mary Pickford was probably the best known woman in the world. Several weeks after her divorce from Owen Moore, an alcoholic actor who had married her in 1910, Mary Pickford married Douglas Fairbanks. Their European honeymoon in 1920 triggered hysteria across the continent, and Pickford was almost killed by stampeding fans in England. The first Brad and Angelina. Her life with Fairbanks at "Pickfair", their mansion in Beverly Hills, was as public a marriage as that of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. Their tortuous divorce in 1936 received the same scrutiny. Though fame has continued to cling to performers, no other actor has inspired the unalloyed, round-the-world rapture bestowed on Pickford.
Mary Pickford made four talking films, and though she won an Oscar for the first (Coquette, 1929), it was probably awarded for her work in the silents, not Coquette itself. Indeed, she lost her public in the talkie era. The last 30 years of Pickford's life were marked by depression and alcoholism. In 1956, Pickford sold her shares in United Artists and became increasingly reclusive. When she received an honorary Oscar in 1976, few people knew her as a watershed figure who was central to the history of acting, as well as an icon of female independence and the trigger for the culture of celebrity we live in.
Sir Frederick Grant Banting, co-discoverer of INSULIN was born in Alliston, Ontario in 1891; died near Musgrave Harbour, Nfld1941). The youngest of 5 children of a middle-class farm family, Fred Banting persevered through high school, failed first year in arts at University of Toronto and then enrolled in medicine. He graduated in 1916 with above average grades, served as a medical officer in France, where he was wounded in action and decorated for valour, and in 1919-20 completed his training as an orthopedic surgeon. In July 1920 he began the practice of medicine in London, Ontario.
On the night of 31 October 1920, after reading a routine article in a medical journal, Banting wrote down an idea for research aimed at isolating the long-sought internal secretion of the pancreas. He received support for his proposed research at U of T, where he began work on 17 May 1921 under the direction of J.J.R. Macleod and assisted by Charles H. Best. Banting's and Best's experiments were crudely conducted and did not substantiate Banting's idea, which was physiologically incorrect. But their apparently favourable results encouraged greater efforts, which culminated in the winter of 1921-22 in the discovery of insulin by a team of researchers that included Macleod, Banting, J.B. Collipc and Best.
Insulin was immediately and spectacularly effective as a lifesaving therapy for Diabetes Mellitus. Banting was hailed as the principal discoverer of insulin because his idea had launched the research, because of his prominence in the early use of insulin, and because he and his friends carried on a campaign to discredit his senior collaborators, Macleod and Collip, with whom he was temperamentally incompatible. On learning that he was to share the 1923 Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine with Macleod, Banting gave half his prize money to Best. He was awarded a life annuity by the federal government, appointed Canada's first professor of medical research at U of T and knighted in 1934.
Banting supervised important research into silicosis and problems in aviation medicine before his death on a flight to England in 1941 to look into the state of medical research there. He became an accomplished amateur painter, whose work strongly reflects the influence of his friend and sketching companion, A.Y. Jackson, member of the 'Group of 7'.
The burden of his fame weighed heavily on an insecure but determined man, leading to a turbulent personal life and considerable unhappiness. He never however ever missed a chance to mention the contributions of his colleagues in the discovery. Banting's idea was without question, a medical breakthrough, at the top of importance in the 20th century.
Frederick Banting who personally had not financial benefited from the discovery died, almost penny less, in Musgrave Harbour, Newfoundland in 1941.
Thomas John Thomson, painter (b at Claremont, Ont 5 Aug 1877; d at Canoe Lk, Ont 8 July 1917). By 1915, his innovative talent was relatively unknown but to his painting peers, Thomson was creating the oil paint sketches and canvases that have come to represent Canada as it is imagined by most Canadians. At 37 years of age, Thomson was living in Algonquin Park from spring to autumn, and in Toronto during the winter. He had at first shared Studio One of the Studio Building in Toronto with A.Y. Jackson (the Studio Building had opened its doors in 1914), and then, when Jackson left, with Franklin Carmicheal. By 1915, he had moved to a shack attached to the building. Here he painted his large canvases and entertained friends like Dr. James MacCallum, an ophthalmologist and his patron, and Lawren Harris. He was an intense, wry and gentle artist with a canny sensibility, one of the first painters to give acute visual form to the Canadian landscape as he discovered it in Algonquin Park, a section of northern Ontario that had been set aside as a conservation area in 1893. As well as anyone's, his paintings encapsulated a shifting moment in art, one that later became the basic premise of the Group of 7.
Thomson came from Scots Canadian stock. Born in the town of Claremont in Pickering Township, Ontario, the 6th of 10 children, he grew up in Leith on a farm near Owen Sound. His father was something of a naturalist; a cousin, Dr. William Brodie, 9 years older than his father, was one of the finest naturalists of the day (from 1903 until his death in 1909, he was director of the Biological Department of what is today the Royal Ontario Museum). Thomson collected specimens with Dr. Brodie, who gave him the rudiments of a naturalist's training. From Brodie, Thomson learned how to combine keen and enthusiastic observation of nature with a sense of reverence for its mystery.
Brought up in a creative family, Thomson learned to play several instruments, among them the mandolin. He also learned to draw and paint. As a young man, having missed high school through illness, he enrolled in the Canada Business College in Chatham (he is listed in the city directory in 1902), then attended the Acme Business College in Seattle in 1903, a school run by his eldest brother George and a friend, F.R. McLaren. In both schools, he excelled in penmanship. In Seattle, Thomson got his first job with a commercial art company. It was as an engraver with a firm run by C.C. Maring, one of the graduates of the Chatham Business College. He worked briefly for Maring & Ladd (which became Maring & Blake soon after he arrived due to a change in ownership), then was hired by their strongest competitor, the Seattle Engraving Company, at an increase of 10 dollars a week. He doubtless looked forward to a career in Seattle, probably wanting to settle down, advance in his trade and marry as his brother Ralph did in 1906. That he did not was likely the result of an incident involving Alice Elinor Lambert, 8 or 9 years his junior, to whom he proposed. At the crucial moment the effervescent Miss Lambert nervously giggled, causing the very sensitive Thomson to abandon his matrimonial ambitions and leave for Toronto. It was on his return from Seattle that he decided to become an artist.
In terms of his development as a painter, Thomson's experience to this point was primarily of an amateur and traditional sort. In order to become a professional artist he had to overcome many obstacles, among them his lack of knowledge of the technical side of art. This situation began to change with his enrolment in 1906 in night school at the Central Ontario School of Art and Design (the future Ontario College of Art, in Toronto), as well as by 1908 through his contact with a lively group of comrades at Grip Limited, a well-known commercial art firm where he was employed.
When Thomson joined Grip the company was at an ambitious stage of its development. It had a good art director, A.H. Robson, and a painter, J.E.H. MacDonald, who was the anchor of the design team. Thomson worked with MacDonald, and it was under his tutelage and encouragement that Thomson's genius began to flower. He submitted his work at the firm to MacDonald for criticism, and brought the sketches that he painted on the weekends to MacDonald and others at the firm. MacDonald and men such as Robson, a member of the Toronto Art Students' League, praised the truth to nature in Thomson's work.
In 1911 Thomson embarked on a camping trip to the Mississagi Forest Reserve. Upon his return he was told by his friends at Grip that his sketches made during this trip expressed a real sense of the northern character. The next year he returned to Rous & Mann Limited (the firm to which Robson, and then all of them, had moved in 1912), bringing with him works that he had painted that year on a fishing trip to Algonquin Park. These sketches of 1912 showed a tremendous advance and marked his real start as an artist. The key to their interest lay in their vision of an area of wilderness expanse, a great world that seemed untrodden by the foot of man. They revealed a particular kind of sensibility, a way of portraying the natural world as a poetical synthesis informed by a direct experience of the landscape. To develop his first major painting, A Northern Lake (1913), today in the collection of the AGO, he selected one of the sketches he'd done on the trip and transformed it into a picture with greater depth in the foreground. This way of working from on-the-spot sketch to finished studio painting became his common practice. Within his oeuvre, these 2 modes of working reveal contrasting sides of his artistic personality: the sketch with its vivacity and on-the-spot reportage recalls the spontaneity of the lyric poem; the canvas created in the studio has evolved into an epic poem with effects selected from such styles of the day as Art Nouveau and Post-Impressionism.
In the autumn of 1914 Thomson and his friends A.Y. Jackson, Arthur Lismer and Frederick Varley camped in Algonquin Park. By now the artist was transposing, eliminating, and applying design to his work to evolve his conception of a particular kind of landscape art. Eventually it would become the basis for a style that would bring national prominence to the Group of Seven (the name designating the group thought up by Lismer in 1920), a movement that blended a growing Canadian consciousness with the theme of landscape in paint. Thomson had informally discussed his ideas about this new approach to landscape with MacDonald, and also with Lawren Harris, who by 1916 had become his mentor. Harris's contribution was later acknowledged by members of the Group of Seven; however, he has not been accorded the wider recognition that he deserves for the Group's conception.
Thomson died under mysterious circumstances, more than likely drowned in 1917, leaving behind about 50 canvases and over 300 sketches. The circumstances surrounding his death have become a staple of writers, amateur sleuths and serious scholars and far too large story, truly one of Canada's mysteries, to get into here.
An examination of Thomson's oeuvre reveals how quickly he came into his own: an amateur artist, he found his very distinctive path by 1914. Nature was clearly his touchstone, and throughout his career he turned to it as his muse. His method was to capture transient moments of light and atmosphere by sketching quickly in oil from nature, sometimes developing these sketches into full-blown encomiums to the land. His evolution was toward relaxed, brilliant handling of paint; at his best he disposed trees and bushes in his paintings like notes in a finely phrased tune, creating patterns that interlocked in intricate counterpoint. Music was a connection with paint (he told a friend that "Imperfect notes destroy the soul of music. So does imperfect colour destroy the soul of the canvas"), and it isn't a big leap to see in his design a correlation to musical intervals, contributing a sort of rhythm, touch and tone to his paintings. Most engaging for the viewer are his bold use of colour and his sense of spectacle channelled through an experience of northern nature. Although few people are shown, the views that he painted, which sometimes resemble shelters and shrines, suggest places where people can meditate in quiet.
His paintings The West Wind and Jack Pine present a similar motif of a tree or trees on a rocky shore that conveys a sense of iconic grandeur. Thomson's pictures, with their rich colours, often have a sense of movement, of dynamism and drive. Executed in a palette of red, pink, brown, light and dark blue, with a finesse suited to a naturalist, Thomson's paintings embody a truly national vision. Thomson is most certainly one of Canada's most intriguing and great artists, as well as one Canada's most intriguing stories.
Samuel Benfield Steele joined the militia in 1866 during the Fenian troubles, was a private in the Red River Expedition by1870, joined the Permanent Force Artillery in 1871 and, in 1873, became a sergeant major in the newly created North West Mounted Police. A man of enormous physical size, strength and endurance, Steele it seems always managed to be where the action was hottest. He achieved commissioned rank in 1878, acquired his first command at Fort Qu'Appelle in 1879, where he was in charge of police detachments supervising the building of the CPR, and was promoted superintendent in 1885. In 1898 he helped establish the authority of the Canadian government during the Klondike Gold Rush, in Dawson's City. Including creating laws which prevented people from entering to mine without, at least, a ton of goods and a wife, which was designed to stop the flow of American settlers searching for gold without claim north of the border.
After the rush had ended, Steele was given command of Lord Strathcona's Horse in the South African War, and then in 1915 he commanded the second Canadian contingent to be sent overseas during WWI. In 1916 he was appointed general officer commanding the Shorncliffe area in England, a post he held until the end of the war and his retirement in 1918.
Sam Steele passed away, a highly honoured and famous man in London England, on a speaking tour in 1919 having been involved in many of the most important moments in the first decades of Canada and into the first part of the 20th century.
Sir Sandford Fleming was Canada's foremost railway surveyors, inventors, scientists and construction engineers of the 19th century. He came to Canada in 1845 from Scotland and, after studying science and engineering and serving a professional apprenticeship in Scotland, he joined the engineering staff of the Ontario, Simcoe and Huron Railway, becoming engineer in chief of the successor Northern Railway in 1857. In 1863 the Canadian government appointed him chief surveyor of the first portion of a proposed railway from Québec City to Halifax and Saint John. Subsequently built as the Intercolonial Railway, Fleming was its chief engineer.
Fleming was an ardent advocate of an all-British railway from the Atlantic to the Pacific coasts, and in 1863 presented to the Imperial authorities in London, England, a petition from the settlers at Red River, urging construction of a railway that would link that community with the BNA colonies further east. Nothing could be done immediately because Rupert's Land was then governed by the Hudson's Bay Co, but in 1871, very shortly after control of the western territories passed from the HBC to the newly established Canadian government, Fleming was appointed engineer of the proposed new Canadian railway from Montréal to the Pacific coast. He was in charge of the major surveys across the prairies and through the Rocky Mountains, reporting on numerous possible routes for the new railway. He recommended construction across the parklands of the northern prairies - referred to in some exploration reports as "the fertile belt" - and via the Yellowhead Pass across the Rockies and from there south to Burrard Inlet on the Pacific.
The Canadian Pacific Railway did not build along the route recommended by Fleming, who had, however, also surveyed alternative routes and was consulted when the railway was built through the Kicking Horse Pass, which had been discovered by Major A.B. Rogers. The 2 transcontinental railways built in the first 2 decades of the 20th century followed the route through the Yellowhead Pass recommended by Fleming, but the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway was then built to the northern BC coastal harbour at Prince Rupert, while the Canadian Northern Railway followed the route across the interior of BC recommended by Fleming.
Fleming retired from the CPR when the Canadian government turned the project over to a private syndicate in 1880, but he continued to do consultative railway work. He was also, throughout his life, interested in numerous other projects. He became a strong advocate of a telecommunications cable from Canada to Australia, which he believed would become a vital communications link of the British Empire and This Pacific Cable was indeed successfully laid in 1902.
Sir Sandford Fleming notably designed the first Canadian specific postage stamp, the threepenny beaver, issued in 1851 which included an image of a beaver, likely the first use of the image a symbol for the country.
Fleming also played a key role in the development of a satisfactory worldwide system of keeping time. Calling it Standard Time, the railway had made obsolete the old system where every major centre set its clocks according to local astronomical conditions. Fleming advocated the adoption of a standard or mean time and hourly variations from that according to established time zones. He was instrumental in convening an International Prime Meridian Conference in Washington in 1884 at which the system of international standard time - still in use today - was adopted.
Fleming passed on, in Halifax, Nova Scotia in July 1915 as one Canada's foremost inventors. His ideas have arguably, had more influence on the planet than any other Canadian before or since.
Thomas Charles Longboat, the world renowned long-distance runner was born on Ohsweken, Six Nations Reserve, Ontario 4 July 1887. He became world famous in his sport, at the time the worlds most famous athlete for a time. Largely because of his ability to dominate any race and his spectacular finishing sprints, Longboat was one of the most celebrated pre-WWI athletes in the world. He won the New York Marathon (1906), the Boston Marathon (1907), the Toronto Ward's Marathon (1906-08), the "World's Professional Marathon Championship" (1909), an numerous others, breaking many world records during his career. He was one of the most sought-after performers in the brief (1908-12) revival of professional racing that followed the controversial 1908 London Olympics marathon, in which Longboat and rival Dorando Pietri both collapsed during the race, believed now to have likely been caused by some form of performance enhancing drug overdoses.
Longboat was a difficult man who had led a difficult life. His desire to control his career and life and train himself led to several well-publicized conflicts with managers. Despite constant and sometimes racist criticism, which bothered him to the point of finding himself all to often at the bottom of a bottle of booze, he always stuck to his own methods. He bought up his contract in 1911 and ran better than ever. In 1912, he set a professional record of 1:18:10 for 15 miles, 7 mins faster than his amateur record. Longboat raced successfully during WWI while serving as a dispatch runner in France. After the war he retired from Running. He lived and worked in Toronto until 1944, when he retired to the Six Nations Reserve where he died in 1949 from complications from Hs abuse of alcohol.
Largely forgotten now, Tom Longboat however could be remembered as one of Canada's greatest athletes of the 20th century.
Foster William Hewitt worked briefly as a sportswriter for the Toronto Daily Star before switching to the new radio desk. On 22nd of March 1923, using an upright telephone, he made the first radio broadcasts of a Hockey game (a Senior League match between Toronto Parkdale and Kitchener). Although this success led him to try his hand at broadcasting a wide variety of sports and public-affairs events, his name is most indelibly associated with hockey. He broadcasted the first game from Maple Leaf Gardens when it opened in 1931 and, from that time, his play-by-play descriptions became familiar to fans from coast to coast in Canada. His high-pitched voice would rise to a crescendo with his famous phrase, "He shoots! He scores!" He probably did more to popularize hockey in North America than any other person in the history of the game. In 1933 he participated in Canada's first experiment with TV, and when that medium came of age in the 1950s, he readily adapted to it. He was a TV commentator for 15 years and many people remember him in connection with the CBC's "Hockey Night in Canada" broadcast and his voice can still be heard in their opening sequence today. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, just before he passed away in Scarborough, Ontario in April 1985.
Terrance Stanley Fox, "Terry" as he liked to be called, was a good athlete studying kinesiology when, in 1977, it was discovered he had osteogenic sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. It was necessary to amputate most of one leg. While recovering, he developed an idea for a "Marathon of Hope" - a run across Canada to raise money and generate publicity for cancer research after getting to know others who were sure ring from the disease. After extensive training, he began his run at St John's on 12 April 1980. Sadly ending before he was able to complete the run, it ended on September 1 in Thunder Bay, Ontario, after cancer was discovered in his lungs. During that period, he had run 5373 km at a pace of nearly 40 km per day, every day. It was emotional for the country and himself, often at the brink of claspse, Terry pushed himself in every way possible to get his message out there. Speaking during the run he delivered an passionate speech in which he stated to a hounding ground of media that getting cancer was having to "take a lot of shit". He was a proud young man, a true hero whose actions and sometimes words were always fiery and always committed.
Inspiring millions of people around the world, he drew nationwide, and then global attention and raised $1.7 million for his cause during his run. Gripped by an outpouring of emotion, Canadians donated an additional $23 million to the fund when he was forced to stop the Marathon.
For his efforts, he was made the youngest recipient of the Companion of the Order of Canada and a British Columbia mountain was named in his honour. Hundreds of thousands of people around the world annually participate in a fund-raising runs named after him.
Emily Carr's parents were English people who had settled in the small provincial town of Victoria, where her father became a successful merchant and respected citizen. Emily grew up there with a brother and 4 older sisters in a disciplined and orderly household where English manners and values were maintained. Although British Columbia had ceased to be a colony of the British Empire in 1871 to become a province of Canada, it was only in 1875 that the Canadian Pacific Railway pushed through to the West Coast to provide a link with the rest of the country. Cut off as it was from older and more sophisticated centres of learning and culture in eastern Canada, Victoria was an unlikely place to spawn an artist, let alone a woman artist of Emily's strength and commitment.
She had no serious role models to follow while growing up, but as a child Emily Carr had experienced the pleasures of drawing and sketching. When she was18 she moved to San Francisco to study art at the California School of Design, an art school where instruction followed conservative models of the time. There she learned the basic elements of the craft of painting as it was then taught. She returned home after 2½ years, began painting competent little watercolours, and set up painting classes for children. A study trip to England in 1899 did little to advance her art and was extended by a lengthy illness into 1904, when she returned to Victoria. There she became aware, even in the isolation of her hometown, that the larger world of art encompassed more than the conventional art with which she was familiar and which she herself practised. In 1910, determined to find out what the new art was all about, she gathered up her savings and set out with her sister Alice for France. Two women travelling alone together was an unusual practice in that time. In Paris she entered classes at Studio Colarossi, but found private study with a British expatriate artist more helpful. Radical experiments in Cubism and other "isms" then being undertaken by Picasso, Braque and other artists in Paris escaped her, but she learned her own bold, colourful, post-impressionist style of painting, which she brought back to Victoria when she returned in 1912.
Even before 1908, when she had visited several southern,Kwakiutl Native villages, she had shown an interest in the native peoples, in their traditional culture and in their material works - houses, totem poles, masks. The culture was at that time thought to be dying under the waves of white cultural encroachment on native lands, language and practices, and despite her keen interest in native culture Emily Carr shared the prevailing attitude that this was an inevitable process. After her return from France in the summer of 1912, and having announced her intention of making a visual record of native totem poles in their village settings before they should disappear, she made an ambitious 6-week trip to native villages (which by that time had been largely abandoned) in coastal and central northern British Columbia. The drawings and watercolours she made on this and subsequent trips provided the source material for one of the 2 great themes of her painting career: the material presence of the aboriginal culture of the past. Her often adventurous trips in search of this material also led her more deeply into her second great theme - the distinctive landscape of west coast Canada. At times the 2 became so intertwined in her vision as to constitute a theme of their own.
Emily Carr continued to paint in her vivid, painterly "French style" for about 10 years, producing small paintings that would have been seen as advanced in any part of Canada. But it was not the approach that was to lead her into the fullness of her achievement. By 1913 she had produced a substantial body of distinguished work, but dispirited by the absence of effective encouragement and support - which in any case an artistically unsophisticated Victoria would not have been able to accord her - and unable to live by the sale of her art, she built a small apartment house in Victoria for income. She call it "The House of All Sorts". She spent most of the next 15 depressing years managing the apartment and painting only a little.
The period of mature, strong, original work on which Carr's reputation today largely rests commenced when Carr was already 57 years of age. It was triggered by the discovery of her early work on native subjects by an ethnologist carrying out his studies in BC. He drew her paintings of native themes to the attention of authorities at the Natinal Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, who were then in the process of organizing an exhibition of West Coast native art. Carr was invited to participate in the exhibition and was sent a railway pass to go to eastern Canada to attend the opening in November 1927. There she met Lawren Harris and other members of the Group of Seven painters, then the leading art group in English-speaking Canada, who welcomed her into their company as an artist of their own stature. Their paintings of the rugged landscape of northern Canada impressed her mightily, as did their avowed intention to produce a distinctly Canadian art. She quickly snapped out of her feeling of artistic isolation on the West Coast and returned to painting with renewed ambition, defined goals and a new sense of direction.
Following her success in eastern Canada and with Lawren Harris as mentor (along with some advice from the American artist Mark Tobey of Seattle, who visited Victoria from time to time and had taught briefly in Carr's Victoria studio), she began to paint the bold, formalized canvases with which many people identify her - paintings of native totem poles set in deep forest locations or sites of abandoned native villages. After a year or two, and with Harris's encouragement, she left the native subjects to devote herself to nature themes. From 1928 on, critical recognition and exposure in exhibitions of more than regional significance began to come her way. There was even the occasional sale, though never enough to improve her financial situation. In full mastery of her talents and with deepening vision, she continued to produce the great body of paintings freely expressive of the large rhythms of Western forests, driftwood-tossed beaches and expansive skies. There was a significant break in this continuity when in 1930 she made a trip to New York, where she met Georgia O'Keefe and saw Marcel Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase.
In 1937 Carr suffered a first and severe heart attack, which marked the beginning of a decline in her health and a lessening of the energy required for painting. She began to devote more time to writing, an activity commenced many years before and encouraged by Ira Dilworth, an educator and CBC executive. Her first book, 'Klee Wyck', a collection of short stories of her earlier visits to native villages and her experiences with native people, was published in 1942, a year that also substantially marked the end of her painting career. The book won a Governor General's Award and was followed by the publication of 4 other books, 2 of them posthumously.
Currently printed in more than 20 languages, they are today known in many parts of the world. All of them were essentially autobiographical in nature, portraying a girl and a woman of enormous spirit and individuality. Written in a simple and unpretentious style, they quickly won her the popular audience that her more difficult paintings never really brought her, though it is primarily as a painter that she has won critical acclaim.
More than 50 years after her death Carr has become a Canadian icon, known to many who are not readers or who know nothing of art. She has been and continues to be the subject of books, academic theses, poetry, film and theatre productions; she has survived the depredations of the deconstructionists with her reputation intact. Her long preoccupation with the indigenous culture of the Canadian west coast coincided with the beginnings of a rising tide of awareness and confident self-identification on the part of native people who had for some time been considered part of a moribund culture. At the same time, it coincided with a recognition by the dominant society that native issues must be addressed. Carr herself would be harshly criticized for her "appropriation" of native images when the demand for "political correctness" was rampant in the 1980s, though there is no question that her strong projection of those images has served to accentuate her social relevance. In the same way, her passionate involvement with nature and its portrayal coincided with a growing popular awareness of environmental issues and an accompanying sense of loss associated with the disappearance of "nature" in our own day.
The two main themes of her work, native and nature, were side doors through which ordinary people could access her presence, but other factors have contributed to her fame. The fact that she was a woman fighting the overwhelming obstacles that faced women of her day and place to become an artist of stunning originality and strength has made her a darling of the Women's Movement in Canada. As well, the pattern of her career with its delayed start (really not until the age of 57) and late fulfillment projects a personal drama that is humanly very appealing. Notably, a strange character, she was rarelly without her pet monkey, who she named " Woo", and her pension for living in a silver trailer, she called "The Elephant" instead of a proper house".
It was Emily Carr's qualities as a painter, qualities of painterly skill and vision, that enabled her to give form to a Pacific mythos that was so carefully distilled in her imagination. Even though we may never have visited the West Coast, we feel that we know it through her art. These are also qualities that have carried her forward with admiration and respect through the fading days of modernism into an open and undecided artistic present. Fortunately she came into the full play of her talents and personality at a time when a passionate search for romantic self-expression was critically permitted in art production. In that, too, her timing was strategic.
Emily Carr died in Victoria, BC in March 1945 without really ever realizing what her art would come to represent and the effect her work would have on her country.
James Naismith, physician, educator, and the inventor of the game of Basketball was born in Almonte, Canada On the 6th of November 1861. Orphaned by age 9, James Naismith dropped out of school in his teenage years, but later returned to Almonte High School at age 20 to complete his education. He showed prowess in athletics later when attending McGill, university in Montreal and in December 1891 became young instructor at the YMCA International Training School at Springfield, Mass (now Springfield College), there he invented the game of basketball using an airless leather balls which he made himself and a empty peach baskets or goals.
At 37, Naismith graduated from the Gross Medical School of Colorado University with a medical degree. Naismith was later associated with the University of Kansas. Where he worked for some 40 years (1898 - 1938) as professor, physician and director of physical education, during which time he also served twice in military conflict and published several books.
He lived long enough to see his game of basketball make its Olympic Games debut in 1936 at Berlin. He is a member of the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame, Canada's Sports Hall of Fame, the National Basketball Association's Hall of Fame and the Olympic Hall of Fame. He died in Lawrence, Kansas in 1939 as one of Canada's and America's most important sports figures of all time.
William Avery Bishop, called "Billy," was the top scoring Canadian and Imperial ace of WWI, credited with 72 victories. A fellow pilot accurately described him as "a fantastic shot but a terrible pilot." The small statured man who was known to be a flamboyant extrovert, was the first Canadian airman to win a Victoria Cross Medal, awarded to him for a single-handed dawn attack on a German airfield on the 2nd of June 1917. His last victory came on 19 June 1918 when he claimed 6 enemy aircraft in one flight. Notably There was a Hollywood film produced about his life and exploits in a few years later.
He was eventually promoted to lieutenant-colonel and sent to England to help organize an new 2-squadron Canadian Air Force. After the war Bishop and friend W.G. Barker operated a commercial flying enterprise before Bishop went into sales promotion in England and Canada. During WWII he was an honorary air marshal in the RCAF.
In 1982 a National Film Board of Canada production, Paul Cowan's The Kid Who Couldn't Miss, challenged the veracity of many of Bishop's claims, including his own, unsubstantiated, account of the raid which won him his VC. The film caused a furor in Parliament and the media. Investigation by a Senate sub-committee exposed a number of minor errors in this apparent "documentary" and confirmed that statements had been wrongly attributed and incidents shifted in time for dramatic effect. However, the senators were unable to demonstrate that Bishop's claims were valid, and consequently recommended only that the film be labelled as "docu-drama."
His life of daring adventure ended, upon retiring to Palm Beach, Florida where he quietly passed away in September of 1956, a true Canadian Hero.
Lucy Maud Montgomery published her first novel, Anne of Green Gables, in 1908. The book became an instant bestseller in Canada and the US, and has remained in print for over a century in English as well as in numerous translations. Although Montgomery was 34 when Anne of Green Gables appeared, she had been writing short stories and poems since her mid-teens, selling them for many years with considerable success to magazines in North America. By the time she died, Montgomery had published 22 novels and books of short stories, in addition to one book of poetry (The Watchman, and Other Poems in 1916); a brief autobiographical account (The Alpine Path: the Story of My Career in 1917); and the many and still incompletely catalogued poems, stories, and articles she wrote for magazines throughout her whole life.
Montgomery's contract with her first publisher, L.C. Page in Boston, required her to produce two sequels to Anne of Green Gables (Red Headed Anne of Avonlea in 1909 and Anne of the Island in 1915). She wrote 4 more books under contract to Page (Kilmeny of the Orchard in 1910, The Story Girl in 1911, Chronicles of Avonlea in 1912, and The Golden Road in 1913). Then, following a bitter lawsuit, she shifted in 1917 to Canadian publishers McClelland and Stewart and American publishers Frederick Stokes. In 1920, even though Montgomery had not renewed her contract with him, Page published a collection of short stories still in his possession (Further Chronicles of Avonlea). Another lawsuit ensued, more or less concluding Montgomery's relationship with her first publisher, who by this time held the rights to her first six books, including Anne of Green Gables.
With McClelland and Stewart/Stokes, Montgomery wrote five more Anne books (Anne's House of Dreams in 1917, Rainbow Valley in 1919, Rilla of Ingleside in 1920, Anne of Windy Poplars in 1936, and Anne of Ingleside in 1939). They also published her "Emily" trilogy (Emily of New Moon in 1923, Emily Climbs in 1925, and Emily's Quest in 1927), as well as six other novels (The Blue Castle in 1926, Magic for Marigold in 1929, A Tangled Web in 1931, Pat of Silver Bush in 1933, Mistress Pat in 1935, and Jane of Lantern Hill in 1937). Montgomery's income from her writing enabled her to maintain a comfortable life for her family. She did not, however, significantly benefit from the profits accruing to her first and most popular books, particularly from Anne of Green Gables. The royalties she was assigned in her first contract with Page were small, and the profits pertaining to licensing and reprints, including the fees for the first two cinematic adaptations of the novel in 1919 and 1934, remained for the most part with the publisher.
Montgomery became an astute businesswoman, managing what was remarkable for a woman writer in the late 19th and early 20th centuries: to ensure a reasonably stable and solid income from her work. She did, however, have considerable artistic anxiety early in her career and throughout her life. She felt that her work was perceived to be less literary and less modern than the writing of many of her contemporaries, something even her extraordinary international popularity did little to assuage. She was also disappointed that her poetry, which she continued to write and publish for her whole life, was not taken as seriously as her fiction. Montgomery herself considered her poetry to be most colourful and much more significant than the novels which she sometimes characterized as "potboilers."
If the critical response to her writing was not entirely satisfying, it is clear from her journal that it was not the only disappointment in her life. Following the early death of her mother, Clara Woolner Macneill (1853-76), Montgomery's childhood was spent with her maternal grandparents. Her father, Hugh John Montgomery (1841-1900), moved west to Prince Albert in what is now the province of Saskatchewan while Montgomery was still a child. Montgomery joined her father and his new family in 1890, but, homesick and somewhat disheartened by her relatively marginal position in her father's new home, she returned to the Macneill homestead in PEI in 1891. She began publishing her work in local newspapers, and completed the teachers' training course at Prince of Wales College in Charlottetown in 1893-94. She also studied for one year in Halifax, at the Halifax Ladies' College at Dalhousie University, but did not complete her degree.
During the 1890s, Montgomery taught in various PEI village schools. Between 1899 and 1901, she returned to Nova Scotia, working as proofreader and the weekly "society" writer, under the moniker of "Cynthia," for the Halifax Morning Chronicle and Daily Echo. During the 1890s and past the turn of the century, she continued to write poems and stories, including many moral tales for children or "Sunday School" stories.
Montgomery returned to the McNeill homestead in 1901, and remained there until her grandmother's death in 1911. Working in the house and in the post office run by the Macneills from the homestead. After her grandmother's death, Montgomery married Presbyterian minister Ewan Macdonald, to whom she had been secretly engaged since late 1906. At the time of their marriage, the Macdonalds left PEI to take up residence in Leaskdale, Ontario. The Macdonalds and their two sons would remain in Ontario, living later in Norval and Toronto.
After her marriage, Montgomery's roles as mother and as minister's wife made many demands on her time, demands that were exacerbated by the increasingly frequent episodes of Ewan Macdonald's evident depression. She continually sought to find a productive equilibrium between the writing she wanted to do and her domestic responsibilities. Montgomery repeatedly demonstrated in her writing and in interviews that she believed motherhood to be the most important work for women. This sentiment indicates both her engagement with early twentieth-century ideas about a woman's maternal duty and her sense of her own unhappiness due to the early loss of her mother.
Montgomery's fiction returns again and again to representations and narratives related to questions of motherhood and maternity. Her novels and stories repeatedly focus on orphans, children abandoned by parents or separated from them, and children in the care of unloving relations, as well as absent mothers and childless women or "spinsters." Much of Montgomery's writing, from the first novel, Anne of Green Gables, to such late novels as Magic for Marigold and Jane of Lantern Hill, is underpinned by an almost didactic imperative with regard to motherhood as a crucial work for women and a primary focus in the education of girls.
Although Montgomery maintained that she wanted to preserve a clear separation between her fiction and her life, the two have come to be inextricably entwined in the construction of the various heritage and tourist sites associated with Montgomery and her work. Thousands of tourists visit PEI each year to see the "sacred sites" related to the writing of the book and to its imaginative landscape. A concomitant industry in Anne-related commodities such as souvenirs and dolls has flourished, as has the production of televisual films (Anne of Green Gables in 1985, Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel in 1986, and Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story in 2000), and related series (Road to Avonlea, 1989-1996), and Emily of New Moon, 1992-1995) and an animated series in the early 2000s.
Montgomery's novels all remain in print, and continue to be the focus of increasing critical and scholarly attention.
Montgomery life came to an end at a house at 210 Riverside Drive in Toronto which she had named "Journey's End". After years of battling depression, both hers and her husband's, Montgomery committed suicide September 1942 and her body was returned to Prince Edward Island for burial in Cavendish cemetery. The site in which she had claimed to be the most influential on her first novel.
She left behind 20 novels, 450 poems, 500 short stories, and her life long journal, which had more than 6,000 pages by that time. She was, and is, one of Canada's and indeed the world's most beloved authors.
Nellie Letitia McClung was raised on a homestead in the Souris Valley, Manitoba, and did not attend school until she was 10. She received a teaching certificate by 16 and then found employment teaching school until she married in 1896. In Manitou, where her husband was a druggist, she became prominent in the Woman's Christian Temperance Union of which her mother-in-law was provincial president. In 1908 McClung published her first novel, Sowing Seeds in Danny, a witty portrayal of a small western town. It was a national best-seller and was followed by numerous short stories and articles in Canadian and American magazines.
In 1911 the McClungs and their 4 children moved to Winnipeg, where their fifth child was born. The Winnipeg women's rights and reform movement welcomed Nellie as an effective speaker who won audiences with humorous arguments. She played a leading role in the 1914 Liberal campaign against Sir Rodmond Roblin's Conservative government, which had refused women suffrage, but moved to Edmonton before the Liberals won in Manitoba in 1915.
In Alberta she continued the fight for female suffrage and for Prohibition, dower rights for women, factory safety legislation and many other reforms. She gained wide prominence from addresses in Britain at the Methodist Ecumenical Conference and elsewhere in 1921 and from speaking tours throughout Canada and the US.
In 1933 the McClungs moved to Vancouver Island, where Nellie completed the first volume of her autobiography, Clearing in the West: My Own Story (1935), and wrote short stories and a syndicated newspaper column. In all, she published 16 books, including 'In Times Like These' (1915). Her active life continued: in the Canadian Authors Association, on the CBC's first board of governors, as a delegate to the League of Nations in 1938 and as a public lecturer.
Forgotten for a decade, she was rediscovered by feminists in the 1960s. Although some criticized her maternalistic support of the traditional family structure, most credited her with advancing the feminist cause in her day and for pushing the House of Commons into recognizing the need for further progress such as the economic independence of women.
Alberta's "Famous 5" were petitioners in the groundbreaking Person's Case, a case brought before the Supreme Court of Canada in 1927 and later decided by the Judicial Council of Britain's Privy Council (1929), Canada's highest court at the time. Led by judge Emily MUrphy, the group included Henrietta Muir Edwards, Nellie McClung, Louise Crummy Mckinley and Irene Parlby. Together, the five women had many years of active work in various campaigns for women's rights dating back to the 1880s and 90s and they enjoyed a national and, especially in the case of McClung, an international reputation among reformers.
At the time of their victory, the media dubbed the group the "Alberta Five." Over time, as the case took on a privileged position in Canadian women's history, the group became popularly known as the "Famous 5." They have come to represent an entire generation's political activism, including an earlier, nationwide campaign for women's suffrage.
More recently, the case has attracted renewed controversy. Some see the Famous 5 as a symbol of modernity, women's political rebellion and progress, and human rights more generally. Still others have criticized some members of the group as racist and elitist and see their accomplishments as tarnished by associations with the eugenics movement.
Reactions to the Famous 5 have varied widely, but the significance of their contribution to the development of women's rights in Canada was underscored in 2000 with the dedication of a bronze statue called "Women Are Persons!" by Edmonton artist Barbara Paterson in Ottawa and Calgary (1999). The Famous 5 Foundation was established in 1996.
Nellie McClung a truly uncommon and unconventional woman, suffragist, reformer, legislator, and author passed away in her sleep in Victoria, BC September 1951.
Queen Alexandrina Victoria was the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, Ireland and all British Colonies, including Canada. Victoria was born the daughter of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, the fourth son of King George III. Both the Duke of Kent and the King died in 1820, and Victoria was raised under close supervision by her German-born mother Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. She inherited the throne at the age of 18, after her father's three elder brothers had all died without surviving legitimate issue. The United Kingdom was already an established constitutional monarchy, in which the Sovereign held relatively few direct political powers. Privately, she attempted to influence government policy and ministerial appointments. Publicly, she became a national icon, and was identified with strict standards of personal morality. Including the instruct she had given the country's women when she stated during the "act" a woman job was to simply lie back and think of England. She married her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, in 1840. Their nine children and 26 of their 34 grandchildren who survived childhood married into royal and noble families across the continent, tying them together and earning her the nickname "the grandmother of Europe". After Albert's death in 1861, Victoria plunged into deep mourning and avoided public appearances. As a result of her seclusion, republicanism temporarily gained strength, but in the latter half of her reign, her popularity recovered. Her Golden and Diamond Jubilees were times of public celebration.
Her reign of 63 years and 7 months, which is longer than that of any other British monarch and the longest of any female monarch in history, is known as the Victorian era. It was a period of industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military change within the United Kingdom, and was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire.
James Wolfe is one of the most legendary figures of Canadian history, Wolfe has become known as the man whose defeat of MONTCALM in 1759 marked the beginning of British rule in Canada. He saw fighting in both Flanders and Scotland, and gained a notable reputation before going to North America in 1758 as a senior officer in Jeffery Amherst 's expedition against Louisburg. During the siege, Wolfe, a charismatic figure, played a distinguished and active role, which influenced his selection as commander of the expedition against Québec planned for 1759. Yet for most of the 1759 campaign he made little headway, partially because of his vacillation and limited ideas.
Wolfe's assault on the strong Montmorency position of July 31 was a bloody failure, and neither the bombardment of Québec nor the destruction of neighbouring settlements had any real effect. He was ravaged by illness, and his relations with 3 senior officers, Robert Monckton George Townshend and James Murray, and with the navy were marked by sharp disagreements. But when in August his subordinates proposed landing above Québec he began to plan an amphibious landing that would cut the enemy's supply lines and force a battle.
A daring nighttime passage of the St Lawrence and a series of fortunate strokes saw his force established on the cliffsof the Plains of Abraham, Quebec. Montcalm's forces attacked and the better-trained British force routed the French in a short action. Wolfe himself however was mortally wounded, but to hold on long enough to hear of his Army's victory.
General James Wolfe, commander of the British Expedition in Canada that took Quebec, died in the battle of Plains of Abraham, September 13th 1759.
Laura Ingersoll was the daughter of Thomas Ingersoll, an American who had sided with the Patriots during the American Revolution (1775-83). Ingersoll moved his family to the Niagara Peninsula in 1795 and ran a tavern at Queenston. The site of his farm is today the town of Ingersoll. In 1797, Laura married James Secord, a Queenston merchant.
Early in the War of 1812, James was a sergeant with the 1st Lincoln Militia. He was wounded at the Battle of Queenston Heights; Laura rescued him from the battlefield and took him home to nurse him through his recuperation. In June 1813, with Queenston occupied by American troops and James still recuperating, the Secords were forced to billet some American officers in their home. In some way, Laura heard that the Americans were planning an attack on British forces at Beaver Dams. Since James was unable to make the journey to warn FitzGibbon, Laura set out on her own, taking a circuitous route through inhospitable terrain to avoid American sentries and being helped by a group of First Nations men she encountered along the way. She reached FitzGibbon at his headquarters in the house of John De Cou, probably on 22 or 23 June. On 24 June 1813, American troops under Colonel Charles Boerstler were ambushed near Beaver Dams by 300 Caughnawaga who were joined by 100 Mohawk warriors led by Captain William Kerr. FitzGibbon arrived with 50 soldiers from the 49th Regiment and persuaded Boerstler to surrender.
The exact details of Laura Secord's efforts to reach FitzGibbon and sound the alarm are uncertain, but have been made part of Canadian mythology and employed to foster Canadian nationalism. Secord has been memorialized in books, plays, music and even a postage stamp. Historian Pierre Berton asserted that her story would be "used to underline the growing myth that the War of 1812 was won by true-blue Canadians." The story of Laura Secord has been told in several renditions, with dramatic embellishments, including a cow that she supposedly took with her and milked in front of American sentries before releasing it into the woods, and having made the walk through dense underbrush in her bare feet.
Secord herself never revealed how she came to know of the American plan, and while she did take a message to FitzGibbon, it is uncertain if she arrived ahead of Aboriginal scouts who also brought the news. FitzGibbon's report on the battle noted: "At [John] De Cou's this morning, about seven o'clock, I received information that . . . the Enemy . . . was advancing towards me . . . ." However, FitzGibbon did provide written testimony in support of the Secords' later petition to the government for a pension, in 1820 and 1827. In the latter testimonial, he wrote that Secord had come to him "on the 22d day of June 1813," and "in consequence of this information" he had positioned the Aboriginal warriors to intercept the Americans. In 1837, he testified that Laura Secord had warned him of an American attack but he provided no specific date and he wrote, he said, "in a moment of much hurry and from memory."
Laura Secord's petition for a military pension was refused. The only recognition she gained in her lifetime for her arduous journey came late in her life. In 1860, Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (the future Edward VII), learned of her long walk while on a visit to Canada. Secord had prepared a memorial describing her service and placed her signature among those of War of 1812 veterans who had prepared an address to him. After his return to England, Albert sent her a reward of £100. Canadians are familiar with the Laura Secord candy company, but are uncertain of its association with her. In 1913, Frank P. O'Connor, the founder of a small candy business in Toronto selling hand-made chocolates, chose Laura Secord as the name for his company because she "was an icon of courage, devotion and loyalty."
Laura Secord died at 93 years old in Niagara Falls, Ontario in October 1868.
Henry Norman Bethune (March 4, 1890 – November 12, 1939; Chinese gave him the name name: 白求恩) was a Canadian physician and medical innovator. Bethune is best known for his service in war time medical units during the Spanish Civil War and with the Communist Eighth Route Army (Ba Lu Jun) during the Second Sino-Japanese War. He developed the first mobile blood-transfusion service Ambulance (Mobile MASH Unit) in the world, in Spain in 1936. A Communist, he wrote that wars were motivated by profits, not principles
In 1917, with the war still in progress, Bethune joined the Royal Navy as a Surgeon-Lieutenant at the Chatham Hospital in England. In 1919, he began an internship specializing in children's diseases at The Hospital for Sick Children at Great Ormond Street, London. Later he went to Edinburgh, where he earned the FRCS qualification at the Royal College of Surgeons. In 1920 he met the strikingly beautiful Frances Penny. They were complete opposites; she was a subdued introvert; he was a brash extrovert, but in spite of this they married in 1923. After a one-year “Grand Tour” of Europe, during which they spent her entire inheritance, they moved to Detroit, Michigan, where Bethune took up private practice and also took a part-time job as an instructor at the Detroit College of Medicine and Surgery.
In 1926 Bethune contracted tuberculosis due to overwork and from his close contact with the sick. He sought treatment at the Trudeau Sanatorium in Saranac Lake, New York. Believing he was dying, he insisted his wife divorce him and return to her native Scotland, so she did.
In the 1920s the established treatment for TB was total bed rest in a sanatorium. While convalescing Bethune read about a radical new treatment for tuberculosis called pneumothorax. This involved artificially collapsing the tubercular (diseased) lung, thus allowing it to rest and heal itself. The physicians at the Trudeau thought this procedure was too new and risky. But Bethune insisted. He had the operation performed and made a full and complete recovery.
Upon recuperation Bethune immediately wrote to his ex-wife and proposed marriage again. At first she refused but eventually he and Frances were remarried in 1929. This marriage did not survive, and they were divorced again for a final time in 1933.
By 1929 Bethune had joined the thoracic surgical pioneer, Dr. Edward William Archibald, the Surgeon-in-Chief of the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal, the teaching hospital affiliated with McGill University. From 1929 to 1936 Bethune perfected his skills in thoracic surgery and developed or modified more than a dozen new surgical tools. His most famous instrument was the Bethune Rib Shears, which still remains in use today. He published 14 articles describing his innovations in thoracic technique.
Bethune became increasingly disillusioned with surgical treatment and concerned with the socioeconomic aspects of disease. As a concerned doctor in Montreal during the economic depression years of the 1930s, Bethune frequently sought out the poor and gave them free medical care. He challenged his professional colleagues and agitated, without success, for the government to make radical reforms of medical care and health services in Canada.
Bethune was an early proponent of socialized medicine and formed the Montreal Group for the Security of People's Health. In 1935 Bethune travelled to the Soviet Union to observe first hand their system of health care. During this year he became a committed communist and joined the Communist Party of Canada. He at first was not convinced communism was the answer to the world's problems; however, when returning from the Spanish civil war to raise support for the Loyalist cause, he openly identified with the communist cause.
The next year, 1936, the Spanish Civil War broke out. Bethune accepted an invitation from the Committee to Aid Spanish Democracy to head the Canadian Medical Unit in Madrid. He joined the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion which was composed of Canadian communists and other leftists and set off for Madrid on November 3, 1936.
A frequent cause of death on the battlefield is medical shock brought on by loss of blood. A casualty whose wounds do not appear life-threatening suddenly dies. Bethune conceived the idea of administering blood transfusions on the spot. He developed the world's first mobile medical unit. The unit contained dressings for 500 wounds, and enough supplies and medicine for 100 operations. Bethune organized a service to collect blood from donors and deliver it to the battlefront, thereby saving countless lives. Bethune's work in Spain in developing mobile medical units was a precursor to the later development of Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) units.
Bethune returned to Canada on June 6, 1937, where he went on a speaking tour to raise money and volunteers for the anti-fascist battle raging in Spain.
When he was in Spain, he wrote poetry. One of his most well-known poems was published in the 1937 July issue of Canadian Forum magazine, it read:
And the same pallid moon tonight,
Which rides so quietly, clear and high,
The mirror of our pale and troubled gaze
Raised to a cool Canadian sky.
Above the shattered Spanish troops
Last night rose low and wild and red,
Reflecting back from her illumined shield
The blood bespattered faces of the dead.
To that pale disc we raise our clenched fists,
And to those nameless dead our vows renew,
“Comrades, who fought for freedom and the future world,
Who died for us, we will remember you.”
In January 1938 Bethune travelled to Yan'an in the Shanbei region of Shaanxi province in China. There he joined the Chinese Communists led by Mao Zedong in their struggle against the Japanese invaders. The Lebanese-American doctor George Hatem who had come to Yan'an earlier was instrumental in helping Bethune get started at his task of organizing medical services for the front and the region.
In China, Bethune performed emergency battlefield surgical operations on war casualties and established training for doctors, nurses and orderlies. He did not distinguish between casualties.
Bethune have thoughts of medicinal disciplines and states : " Medicine, as we are practising it, is a luxury trade. We are selling bread at the price of jewels. ... Let us take the profit, the private economic profit, out of medicine, and purify our profession of rapacious individualism ... Let us say to the people not ' How much have you got?' but ' How best can we serve you?'
In the summer of 1939 Bethune was appointed the Medical Advisor to the Jin-Cha-Ji (Shanxi-Chahar-Hebei) Border Region Military District, under the direction of General Nie Rongzhen. Stationed with the Communist Party of China's Eighth Route Army in the midst of the Second Sino-Japanese War, Bethune cut his finger while operating on a soldier. Probably due to his weakened state, he contracted septicaemia (blood poisoning) and died of his wounds on November 12, 1939.
His last will in China was recorded shortly before his death, reading: "Dear Commander Nie, Today I feel really bad. Probably I have to say farewell to you forever! Please send a letter to Tim Buck the General Secretary of Canadian Communist Party. Address is No.10, Wellington Street, Toronto, Canada. Please also make a copy for Committee on International Aid to China and Democratic Alliance of Canada, tell them, I am very happy here... Please give my Kodak Retina II camera to comrade Sha Fei. Norman Bethune, 04:20pm, November 11th, 1939".
The Communist Party of Canada stated that Bethune, who joined the party in 1935, acted out of devotion to the Spanish and Chinese Communist movements. Larry Hannant, Bethune's biographer, says Bethune specifically refused to work under Chiang Kai Shek's Nationalist government and insisted on helping the Chinese Communists instead. In them, Hanant continues, Bethune found a movement and a people that satisfied his ideal of communism, with a hatred of Japanese militarism, a love for the Communists' allies around the world who shared their struggle, and a lack of personal vanity and ambition. Hannant goes on to speculate that "even as they fulfilled his ideal image of communism," the Chinese Communists also gratified his own bourgeois ego—they revered him."
Virtually unknown in his homeland of Canada during his lifetime, Bethune received international recognition when Chairman Mao Zedong of the People's Republic of China published his essay entitled In Memory of Norman Bethune (in Chinese: 紀念白求恩), which documented the final months of the doctor's life in China. Almost the entire Chinese population knew about the essay which had become required reading in China's elementary schools during the 1960's. Grateful of Bethune’s altruism help to China, the nation's normal elementary school text book still has the essay today:
" Comrade Bethune’s spirit, his utter devotion to others without any thought of self, was shown in his great sense of responsibility in his work and his great warm-heartedness towards all comrades and the people ... We must all learn the spirit of absolute selflessness from him. With this spirit everyone can be very useful to the people. A man’s ability may be great or small, but if he has this spirit, he is already noble-minded and pure, a man of moral integrity and above vulgar interests, a man who is of value to the people (In Memory of Bethune, Mao 1939)
Bethune is one of the few Westerners to whom China has dedicated statues, of which many have been erected in his honour throughout the country. He is buried in the Revolutionary Martyrs' Cemetery, Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province, China, where his tomb and memorial hall lie opposite the tomb of Dwarkanath Kotnis, an Indian doctor also honoured for his humanitarian contribution to the Chinese as well. One of the three honoured in this memorial is the hero of the Academy Award–winning film, Chariots of Fire, Reverend Eric Liddell of Scotland. He died while incarcerated in a Japanese prisoner of war camp in Shandong Province.
Elsewhere in China, Norman Bethune University of Medical Sciences, founded in Changchun, Jilin and later merged into Jilin University as Norman Bethune College of Medicine, is named after him. He is also commemorated at three institutions in Shijiazhuang - Bethune Military Medical College, Bethune Specialized Medical College and Bethune International Peace Hospital. In Canada, Bethune College at York University, and Dr. Norman Bethune Collegiate Institute (a secondary school) in Scarborough, Ontario, are also named after him.
The Government of Canada purchased the manse in which he was born in Gravenhurst in 1973 following the visit of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau to China. The previous year Dr. Bethune had been declared a Person of National Historic Significance. In 1976 the restored building was opened to the public as Bethune Memorial House. The house is operated as a National Historic Site of Canada by Parks Canada. In August 2000, then Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, who has Chinese ancestry, visited the house. On that same occasion she unveiled a bronze statue of him erected by the town of Gravenhurst. It stands in front of the Opera House on the town's main street.
In March 1990, to commemorate the centenary of his birth, Canada and China each issued two postage stamps of the same design in his honour. In 1998, Bethune was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame located in London, Ontario. The city of Montreal, Quebec, has created a public square and erected a statue of him in his honour, located near the Guy-Concordia Metro station. On February 7, 2006, the city of Málaga, Spain opened the Walk of Canadians in his memory. This avenue, which runs parallel to the beach "Crow Rock" direction to Almeria, paid tribute to the solidarity action of Dr. Norman Bethune and his colleagues who helped the population of Málaga during the Spanish Civil War. During the ceremony, a commemorative plaque was unveiled with the inscription: "Walk of Canadians - In memory of aid from the people of Canada at the hands of Norman Bethune, provided to the refugees of Málaga in February 1937". The ceremony also conducted a planting of an olive tree and a maple tree representative of Spain and Canada, symbols of friendship between the two peoples. In China the Norman Bethune Medal is the highest award of medical honour in China, bestowed by the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Personnel of China, to recognize individual's outstanding contributions, heroic spirit and great humanitarian in the medical field. The Norman Bethune Medal was established in 1991. Biyearly one to seven medical people in China received this award.
Herbert Marshall McLuhan, was Professor of English at the University of Toronto, Who became internationally famous during the 1960s for his studies of the effects of mass media on thought and behaviour which he called "communication Theory". Trained in literature with a PhD from Cambridge, he laid the basis of his later work in his erudite dissertation "The Place of Thomas Nashe in the Learning of his Time."
McLuhan thought of himself as a grammarian studying the linguistic and perceptual biases of mass media. A deeply literate man of astonishingly wide reading, he gravitated intellectually to the cutting edge of modern culture, where the "irritation," he said, was greatest. His contribution to Communications has been compared to the work of Darwin and Freud for its universal significance. Still, he was misunderstood by many because of his revolutionary ideas and their expression in an aphoristic prose style. He emphasized the connectedness of things and built what he called "mosaic patterns" of meaning, rather than offering mere argument using one-dimensional specialist logic.
McLuhan studied changes in perception created by electric media competing with print and machine process, the old strategy of fragmenting reality into informational categories. With the integrating, interdisciplinary force of electric process, information shifts its focus from specialist emphasis on detail towards a need to interpret the contexts created by media forms. The environment, overloaded with detailed information, can be ordered meaningfully, McLuhan said, through enhanced pattern-recognition skills, the ability to deal with open systems undergoing continual change at electric speed. He stressed how electric processes decentralized information, bringing simultaneous awareness to every point in a network. The perception of reality then becomes dependent upon the structure of information.
Marshall McLuhan's famous distinction between "hot" and "cool" media referred to the different sensory effects associated with media of higher or lower definition. High-definition ("hot") media, such as print or radio, are full of information and allow for less sensory completion or involvement on the part of the reader or listener than low-definition ("cool") media, such as telephone or television, which are relatively lacking in information and require a higher sensory involvement of the user. The form of each medium is associated with a different arrangement, or ratio, in the order among the senses and thus creates new forms of awareness. These transformations of perceptions are the bases of the meaning of the message. In this sense, "the medium is the message."
Controversy always raged around McLuhan's work, for he was initiating a new paradigm which required that we recognize the form our information takes as basic to the way that knowledge is perceived and interpreted. The Mechanical Bride (1951) documents the power of advertising to manage public consciousness. The Gutenberg Galaxy (1962) presents a pattern of insights into the cultural transformation created by print technology. With the publication of Understanding Media (1964), McLuhan's reputation became worldwide. Of the several books that followed, War and Peace in the Global Village (with Quentin Fiore, 1968), The Interior Landscape: The Literary Criticism of Marshall McLuhan (collected, 1969), Counterblast (1969), From Cliché to Archetype (with Wilfred Watson, 1970), and Take Today: The Executive as Dropout (with Barrington Nevitt, 1972) are the most important.
A resurgence of interest in McLuhan's prescient work began in the early 1990s and is still growing as the relevance of his vision is increasingly borne out by cultural events created by the interplay of electric technologies. For example, the pattern of contemporary world conflict reminds us of McLuhan's discovery that the main effect of electric process is to "retribalize" the structure of social and psychic awareness, which stresses traditional identities to the point of violence. He warned that the Global Village would not be a peaceful place. Also he understood and described the effects of the coming Internet and Virtual Reality as early as 1964. He forecast what he called "discarnate experience" flowing from relationships developed solely on electronic bases.
Numerous international honours and awards were bestowed on McLuhan, including the Schweitzer Chair (1967), which he spent at New York's Fordham University. The University of Toronto's former Centre for Culture and Technology, which he founded and which was known as "The Coach House," is now the McLuhan Program for Culture and Technology within the Faculty of Information, with a research unit - the Coach House Institute. Further, a special McLuhan Collection was founded at the U of T Faculty of Information Science in March 1995. The McLuhan Teleglobe Canada Award, under the aegis of UNESCO, was created in 1983 in honour of his pioneering work in Communications, and awarded for over two decades.
McLuhan was named a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1979 just before his death, and is now regarded as the first 'rock star' professor because oh his appearances in the mass media of the time. Including several appearances on the 'Tonight Show' and several Woody Allen Films during the height of his popularity.
Little is known about Henry Hudson before the famous voyages of his last 4 years of his life. He searched twice (1607, 1608) for a polar route to Asia via Norway and Russia, and in the service of the Dutch East India Co ascended the Hudson River, named for him, in 1609. English patrons financed his search for a North West Passage in 1610. He sailed in the Ship 'Discovery' to Iceland and entered Hudson's Straight in early June, navigating his tiny vessel through fog and ice, passing through the narrow gap between Cape Wolstenholme and Cape Digges (named for his patrons). He descended the east shore into desolate James Bay, tacking to and fro in a futile search for an opening to the Spice Islands. He was forced to beach the Discovery and spent a bleak harrowing winter, likely by the Rupert River.
Resentment among his crew broke into mutiny in the spring when Hudson announced his intention to continue the search. The leaders, Henry Greene, Robert Juet and William Wilson, forced Hudson, Hudson's young son and 7 others into a shallop and cut it adrift in the open sea. Robert Bylot piloted the Discovery home to England. During the voyage home Greene and Wilson were killed by natives at Cape Digges and Juet died of starvation. Four of the 9 sailors who survived the trip were tried for murder but acquitted - saved as much by mercantile interest in their knowledge of the Northwest as by the blame laid on the dead.
Nothing is known of Hudson's fate. The 7 crew members, his son, nor himself were ever seen again. He did not ever discover The North West Passage (which did not exist at the time) but did in navigating the Hudson Strait's treacherous course, Henry Hudson had far outdistanced his predecessors and discovered a route to the continent's interior of inestimable value to England. However, his favouritism and weak leadership vitiated his accomplishment. The quaint, contentious account by Abacuk Pricket, a survivor of trip back to England, is the sole record of the voyage and mutiny.
Susanna Moodie, nee Strickland was the youngest in a literary family of whom Catharine Parr Traill and Samuel Strickland are best known in Canada. Her struggles as a settler, progressive ideas, attachment to the "best" of contemporary British values, suspicion of "yankee" influence in Canada, and her increasingly highly regarded book, 'Roughing it in the Bush', have made her a legendary figure in Canada.
From comfortable beginnings Susanna and her sisters became precociously engaged in writing, partly for economic reasons, after their father's death in 1818. They produced work for children, for gift books and for ladies' periodicals. Susanna wrote sketches of Suffolk life for La Belle Assemblée 1827-28, prefiguring the style and method of her later, best-known book. She moved to London in 1831, where she continued an association begun earlier with the Anti-Slavery Society, meeting her future husband, John Wedderburn Dunbar Moodie, at the home of the society's secretary. For the society she wrote 2 antislavery tracts, The History of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave (1831) and Negro Slavery Described by a Negro (1831), establishing her humanitarianism and sensitivity to the range of character and moral outlook among "respectable" people. Enthusiasm: and Other Poems (1831) also reveals a writer engaged in serious ideas.
After her marriage in 1831, she and her husband emigrated with their first of 6 children in July 1832 largely for financial reasons - Dunbar Moodie being a half-pay officer and Mrs Moodie being without wealth. Arriving in the Cobourg area of Upper Canada, they attempted to farm in 2 different locations over the next 7 years. Unsuccessful, they removed to Belleville in 1840 after Dunbar Moodie was appointed sheriff of Victoria District. Emigration and the pioneering years, however, provided Mrs Moodie with material for the Literary Garland (Montréal) - material later incorporated in Roughing It and drawn upon for her novel Flora Lyndsay.
Later living in Belleville, Mrs Moodie wrote and published a good deal, much of her output romantic fiction set outside Canada. During 1847-48 she and her husband edited and wrote for the Victoria Magazine, intending to supply good literature for the mechanic class - skilled and semiskilled workers. She published 'Roughing It in the Bush' in 1852, 'Life in the Clearings' in 1853 and 'Flora Lyndsay' in 1854 - all 3 concerned with Canada.
It is often incorrectly remarked that she wrote documentary realism for the British market and romantic adventure for the Canadian market. In fact, she published both in both countries and in the US, but England provided her with more opportunity to publish than Canada did.
'Roughing It in the Bush' is her best-known and best work. It combines her steadfast moral vision, her fascination with differences in character, a willingness to reveal personal weakness and inexperience, considerable psychological insight and a generous measure of wit and playfulness. Together with its sequel, 'Life in the Clearings', it has formed the basis of her reputation.
For the remainder of her life, Susanna Moodie lived in or near Belleville until the death of her husband in 1869, from which time she lived chiefly in Toronto until her own death in April of 1885.
John McCrae was the author of "In Flanders' Fields," the most famous verse of the First World War and one of the most influential war poems of all time. McCrae graduated with a medical degree from the University of Toronto in 1898 and worked briefly as an intern with the brilliant William Osler at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. In 1899 McCrae was granted a fellowship in pathology at McGill University but got permission to postpone his studies in order to fight in the South African War. He distinguished himself as a lieutenant in the Royal Canadian Artillery.
When he returned to Montreal in 1901, McCrae served as resident pathologist at the Montreal General Hospital and then as associate in medicine at the Royal Victoria Hospital by 1904, as physician at the Alexandra Hospital in 1908, and as lecturer in medicine at McGill in 1909.
Described by a colleague as "the most talented physician of his generation," he co-wrote A text-book of pathology for students of medicine in 1912. McCrae occasionally published poems in the University Magazine, many of which had death as their theme.
On the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, McCrae enlisted as a major and brigade surgeon of the 1st Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery, in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. After fighting at Neuve-Chapelle, France, his brigade was moved in April 1915 to Belgium, to a quiet section in the Ypres salient, which was held by Canadian infantry.
On 22 April the Germans made a devastating and unexpected attack on the salient (the second Battle of Ypres), using deadly chlorine gas for the first time. Half of the brigade died in the battle.
McCrae wrote his poem "In Flanders Fields" while he was waiting in his dugout for the wounded to arrive. It was inspired particularly by the death of his close friend Alexis Helmer on 2 May. After it was published in the London magazine Punch in December 1915, it quickly became the most popular English-language poem of the war.
In June 1915 an exhausted McCrae left the artillery brigade to become lieutenant-colonel in charge of medicine at No. 3 Canadian General Hospital. He insisted on living in a tent like his comrades at the front and was deeply distressed by the carnage of the war. On 24 Jan 1918 he was appointed consulting physician to the 1st British army, the first Canadian to be so honoured. McCrae, who suffered from asthma all his life, contracted pneumonia, complicated by meningitis, and died four days later. He was buried in the cemetery at Wimereux, France. For his contributions as a physician, the main street in Wimereux France is named "Rue McCrae." Excerpts from the letters written to his mother during the South African War were published in the Evening Mercury (Guelph, Ont.). His poems originally appeared in literary magazines and a collection was issued posthumously as In Flanders fields and other poems (1919). The house where John McCrae was born in Guelph, Ontario is a national historic site and has been converted into a museum.
John McCrae, physician, poet and soldier died in Boulogne, France January 28th 1918.
Frederick Arthur Stanley, 16th Earl of Derby, known as Frederick Stanley until 1886 and as Lord Stanley of Preston between 1886 and 1893, was a Conservative Party politician in the United Kingdom who served as Colonial Secretary from 1885 to 1886 and the sixth Governor General of Canada from 1888 to 1893. An avid sportsman, he built Stanley House Stables, and is most famous for presenting the Stanley Cup to hockey.
Derby's sons became avid ice hockey players in Canada, playing in amateur leagues in Ottawa, and in consequence Lord and Lady Derby became staunch hockey fans. In 1892, Lord Stanley, Earl of Derby gave Canada a treasured national icon — the Stanley Cup. He originally donated the trophy as a Dominion challenge cup for Canada's best amateur hockey club but in 1909 it became contested by professional teams exclusively. Since 1926, only teams of the National Hockey League have competed for the trophy. This now famous cup bears Lord Stanley's name as tribute to his encouragement and love of outdoor life and sport in Canada. In recognition of this, Derby was inducted into the Canadian Hockey Hall of Fame in 1945 in the "Honoured Builders" category. The original size of the Stanley Cup was 7 inches tall (180 mm) and has expanded now to approximately 36 inches (910 mm) and 35 pounds.
Lord of Preston, Frederick Arthur Stanley, the 16th Earl of Derby died at his English estate in June 1908.
Almost as soon as the man known as "Grey Owl" died in a Prince Albert, Sask., hospital on April 13, 1938, his many secrets began to emerge into the open air. That same day, The North Bay Nugget ran a story it had sat on for years, revealing that the famous Indian naturalist was actually an Englishman named Archie Belaney. And not just any Englishman, it eventually turned out, but a binge-drinking bigamist who had had five "wives." His closest supporters, especially Lovat Dickson, the Canadian-born London publisher who had made Grey Owl a household name in Britain, were devastated. They were desperately worried that all the good Grey Owl had done the cause of conservation would now be interred with his bones. But the twists and turns of Archie Belaney's strange saga by no means ended with his death.
Belaney was born in the English Channel port of Hastings in 1888, the son of a teenage bride and a reprobate father who soon left his family. Raised by two strict maiden aunts, Archie early on began to develop elaborate fantasies about his absent father, entwining the elder Belaney with his own love of animals and fascination with North American natives whose existence had even by that time mostly disappeared. Those fantasies became the basis of Grey Owl's imaginary ancestry as the Mexican-born son of a Scots frontiersman and an Apache woman - Belaney's standard account of himself within a year of his arrival alone at age 17 in Northern Ontario in 1906. In 1910, Belaney married an Ojibwa woman, Angele Egwuna, his first and only legal wife. The next year, already drinking heavily, he abandoned her and their daughter, Alice.
During the next four poorly documented years of his life, Belaney strove to eradicate his English accent. He also had a son with a Métis woman, who died of tuberculosis soon after giving birth. Belaney next emerged in Digby, N.S., in May, 1915, when he enlisted in the Canadian army. There he told the army recruiters that he was unmarried, thereby depriving Angele and Alice of government financial support. Belaney was out of the trenches in a year, after losing a toe to a possibly self-inflicted rifle wound. While convalescing near his aunts' home in Hastings, he re-met a childhood friend, Ivy Holmes, and married her in February, 1917. When he returned to Canada that September, he told Ivy he would send for her. They never saw each other again.
After the war, Belaney continued to fine-tune his identity as an North-American Native Indian. He dyed his hair black and coloured his skin with henna. His disgust with civilization, made almost complete by his combat experience, only deepened his concern for the shrinking forests of the North and the disappearing over hunted beaver. Under the influence of his fourth wife, an Iroquois variously called Pony or Anahareo, Belaney abandoned trapping. In 1929, he well written successful article for the British magazine Country Life about the passing of the wilderness way of life. The magazine's editors suggested he write a book. During the two years he worked on 'The Men of the Last Frontier', Belaney told his editors first that he lived among Indians, next that he had been adopted by Indians, and finally, in 1931, that he was an Indian. After a stab at the name White Owl, he settled on Grey Owl. From the book's publication until his death from pneumonia seven years later, he was an international superstar, one of the most famous people of his day.
During his glory years, Grey Owl wrote more best-sellers, two of which - Pilgrims of the Wild and The Adventures of Sajo and Her Beaver People - are still regarded as classics. He made movies. Yousuf Karsh photographed him, even though Grey Owl missed a dinner engagement with Karsh and a clutch of Ottawa VIPs because of his involvement in a drunken brawl in a hotel bar. Grey Owl did manage to dine with Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, and he conducted two triumphant lecture tours of the British Isles, culminating in a three-hour audience with the Royal Family, including the future Queen Elizabeth II.
All the ironies of Archie Belaney's deceptive life came into play in that time. Certainly his very modern and key message of preservation of wilderness and wildlife struck a responsive chord, especially in animal-loving Britain. And in the time-honoured Canadian fashion, success in Britain brought acclaim back home. But what gained him a hearing in the first place was his assumed identity as an exotic noble savage, buttressed by his compelling storytelling power, itself polished through years of lying. His real upbringing provided him with his graceful prose. Grey Owl may have looked and sounded Indian, at least to urban audiences, but he wrote like the Hastings Grammar School graduate he was. (Only one contemporary critic noticed Grey Owl's rarified English, however, and enraged Belaney - who could not admit the truth - by suggesting the untutored native had had the aid of a ghostwriter.)
Throughout the 1930s, dozens of people, including almost every Indian who encountered him, knew the truth about Archie Belaney. Yet none ever exposed him publicly. Angele willingly admitted the facts to anyone who asked, including a North Bay Nugget reporter in 1935, but she did not initiate an open scandal. Those who knew Belaney either liked him - even the abandoned wives - or like the Nugget's city editor and Indian leaders who appreciated Grey Owl's support for natives, thought his message too important to risk harming. And when his death freed the Nugget to publish, setting off an international media frenzy, the Canadian response was surprisingly positive. "Of course, the value of his work is not jeopardized. His attainments as a writer and naturalist will survive," concluded The Ottawa Citizen, in an opinion widely shared in the national press.
That didn't stop a generation of neglect, however, as another world war and unprecedented economic growth pushed wilderness Canada out of the public consciousness. But the dawning environmental movement of the late 1960s found inspiration in Grey Owl's work. "Grey Owl was a superb propagandist for the natural world," says University of Calgary historian Donald Smith, author of From the Land of Shadows: The Making of Grey Owl. "He was the first to get it right - our uniqueness, our wonderful forests and rivers, what we were doing wrong - the first to tell mainstream Canada and the world, 'Remember you belong to Nature, not it to you.' "
In the early 1970s, Grey Owl's books came out in new editions and in 1972 CBC-TV aired a documentary on him. His books remain in print to this day, and new works about their author continue to appear, including Smith's 1990 biography and Jane Billinghurst's lavishly illustrated Grey Owl (1999). Even Parks Canada, which had allowed Grey Owl's last home, Beaver Lodge in Prince Albert National Park, to fall into disrepair, was roused to action. It made the area around Beaver Lodge a protected wilderness sanctuary and restored the cabin itself. That was a gesture that might have moved the enigmatic Archie Belaney. In a lifetime of deceit, love of the wilderness may have been his only genuine emotion.
Jacques Plante was a sickly boy born on a farm near Mont Carmel, in Mauricie, Quebec, the first of 11 children born to Palma and Xavier Plante. The family moved to Shawinigan Falls, where Jacques' father worked in one of the local factories. In 1932, Plante began to play hockey, skateless and with a tennis ball, using a goaltender's hockey stick that his father had carved from a tree root for him.
When he was five years old, Plante fell off a ladder and broke his hands. The fractures failed to heal properly and affected his playing style during his early hockey career; he underwent successful corrective surgery as an adult. Plante also suffered from asthma starting in early childhood. This prevented him from skating for extended periods so he gravitated to playing goaltender. As his playing progressed, Jacques received his first regulation goaltender's stick for Christmas of 1936. His father made Plante's first pads by stuffing potato sacks and reinforcing them with wooden panels. As a child, Plante played hockey outdoors in the bitterly cold Quebec winters. His mother taught him how to knit his own tuques to protect him from the cold. Plante continued knitting and embroidering throughout his life and wore his hand-knitted tuques while playing and practicing until entering the National Hockey League (NHL) when they refused to allow him to do so.
Plante's first foray into organized hockey came at age 12. He was watching his school's team practice, when the coach ordered the goaltender off the ice after a heated argument over his play, and Plante asked to replace him. The coach permitted him to play since there was no other available goaltender; it was quickly apparent that Plante could hold his own, despite the other players being many years older than he was. He impressed the coach and stayed on as the team's number one goaltender.
Two years later, Plante was playing for five different teams at one time - the local factory team, and teams in the midget, juvenile, junior and intermediate categories. Plante decided to demand a salary from the factory team's coach after his father told him that the other players were being paid because they were company employees. The coach paid Plante 50 cents per game to retain him and maintain the team's popularity. Afterwards, Plante began to receive various offers from other teams; he was offered $80 per week—a considerable sum in those days—to play for a team in England, and a similar offer to play for the Providence Reds of the American Hockey League. Plante passed them up because his parents wanted him to finish high school. He graduated with top honours in 1947. Upon graduation, he took a job as a clerk in a Shawinigan factory. A few weeks later, the Quebec Citadels offered Plante $85 per week to play for them; he accepted, marking the beginning of his professional career.
During the 1959–60 NHL season, Plante was the first goaltender to wear mask for the first time in a game. Although Plante had used his mask in practice since 1956 after missing 13 games because of sinusitis, head coach Toe Blake did not permit him to wear it during regulation play. However, on November 1, 1959, Plante's nose was broken when he was hit by a shot fired by Andy Bathgate three minutes into a game against the New York Rangers, and he was taken to the dressing room for stitches. When he returned, he was wearing his crude home-made goaltender mask that he had been using in practices. Blake was livid, but he had no other goaltender to call upon and Plante refused to return to the goal unless he wore the mask. Blake agreed on the condition that Plante discard the mask when the cut healed. The Canadiens won the game. During the following days Plante refused to discard the mask, and as the Canadiens continued to win, Blake was less vocal about it. The unbeaten streak stretched to 18 games. Plante did not wear the mask, at Blake's request, against Detroit on March 8, 1960; the Canadiens lost 3–0, and the mask returned for good the next night. That year the Canadiens won their fifth straight Stanley Cup.
Jacques Plante was one the very best goaltenders there has ever been, and a truly unique character. Jacques Plante died in Valais, Switzerland, June 1986.
Alexander Graham Bell is generally considered second only to Thomas Alva Edison among 19th- and 20th-century inventors and, through their inventions, originators of social change. Bell came from Scotland with his parents in July 1870 to Brantford, Ontario. There he and his father worked as speech therapists for the deaf, which led him to work with how sound was transmitted and received. A scientific approach, an awareness of the electric telegraph, and the invention of a successful microphone led to the invention of telephone.
In 1871 Bell accepted a position teaching at a school for the deaf in Boston, Massachusetts. He spent summers with the family at Brantford, Ont, retreating there to rest when his tendency to overwork left him exhausted. Bell taught "visible speech" by illustrating, through a series of drawings, how sounds are made, essentially teaching his students to speak by seeing sound. He helped them become aware of the sounds around them by feeling sound vibrations. One teaching aid was a balloon; by clutching one tightly against their chests students could feel sound.
Much of Bell's work can be described as a series of observations leading one to another. His combined interest in sound and communication developed his interest in improving the telegraph, which ultimately led to his success with the telephone. In 1872 he read a newspaper article about the Western Union Company paying a significant sum to the inventor of a telegraph system that could transmit two messages at the same time over one wire. He was excited by the possibilities and inspired by public lectures at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to duplicate some of Herman Helmholtz's experiments with electrical current.
When Bell began to experiment with electrical signals, the Telegraph had existed for more than 30 years. Although it was a successful system, the telegraph was limited to receiving and sending one message at a time, using Morse code. Even before coming to Canada, Bell had been intrigued by the idea of using a well-known musical phenomenon to transmit multiple telegraph messages simultaneously. He knew that everything has a natural frequency (how quickly it vibrates) and that a sound's pitch relies on its frequency. By singing into a piano he discovered that varying the pitch of his voice made different piano strings vibrate in return. His observations led to the idea of sending many different messages along a single wire, with identical tuning forks tuned to different frequencies at either end to send and receive, a system he called the "harmonic telegraph."
By October 1874, Bell's research had been so successful that he informed his future father-in-law, Boston attorney Gardiner Greene Hubbard, about the possibility of a multiple telegraph. Hubbard resented the Western Union Telegraph Company's communications monopoly and gave Bell the financial backing he needed. He was joined by leather merchant Thomas Sanders, who was also the father of one of Bell's students. Bell worked on the multiple telegraph with a young electrician, Thomas Watson, but at the same time, he and Watson were exploring an idea that had occurred to him that summer, for a device that would transmit speech electrically. Bell also met with Joseph Henry, director of the Smithsonian Institution, in March 1875 to discuss ideas for the telephone.
Hubbard was not overly impressed by transmitting voices by wire and felt that Bell's work was delaying the development of the multiple telegraph. He gave Bell an ultimatum: choose work on the electrical transmission of speech, or choose Mabel, Hubbard's daughter and Bell's future wife. Bell was determined to have both and wrote to Hubbard on 4 May 1875 about his work and his theories that "a continuous current of electricity passed through a vibrating wire should induce a pulsatory action....in the current." Hubbard was won over by Bell's determination and the rejection of his theories by Western Union because of Hubbard's involvement and in favour of Elisha Gray, Bell's biggest rival.
The first major breakthrough occurred on 2 June 1875. Bell and Watson were preparing an experiment with the multiple telegraph by tuning reeds on three sets of transmitters and receivers in different rooms. One of Watson's reeds, affixed too tightly, was stuck to its electromagnet. With the transmitters off, when Watson plucked the reed to free it, Bell heard a twang in his receiver. The plucked reed had induced an undulating current, using residual magnetism, and activated the electromagnets in Bell's receiver. They had inadvertently reproduced sound and proved that tones could vary the strength of an electric current in a wire. The next step was to build a working transmitter with a membrane that could vary electronic currents and a receiver that could reproduce the variations in audible frequencies. Within days Watson had built a primitive telephone.
To explore the reception of sound vibrations, Bell constructed an apparatus consisting of a sheet of blackened glass, a mouthpiece and a long wooden lever with a reed on its edge, attached to a stretched membrane. A sound sent down the mouthpiece made the reed move up and down on the membrane, tracing the shape of the vibration. When the membrane proved insufficiently sensitive, ear specialist Dr. Clarence Blake gave Bell a cadaver ear to study. Bell applied his understanding of the human ear to the telephone.
The personal correspondence of Bell from 10 March 1876, documenting the first-ever telephone transmission - "I then shouted into the microphone the following sentence: 'Mr. Watson -- Come here -- I want to see you.' To my delight he came and declared that he had heard and understood what I said".
During his summer visit to Brantford in 1874, while watching the currents in the Grand River, Bell reflected on sound waves moving through the air and realized that with electricity, "it would be possible to transmit sounds of any sort" by controlling the intensity of the current. Based on his new insight, he sketched a primitive telephone. Two years later, on 10 March 1876, he spoke into the first telephone, uttering the now-famous instruction to his assistant: "Mr. Watson - come here - I want to see you."
Bell's worked culminated in, not only the birth of the telephone, but the death of the multiple telegraph. The communications potential of being able to "talk with electricity" overcame anything that could be gained by simply increasing the capability of a dot-and- dash system.
Bell patented the telephone and energetically promoted its commercial development in the US, founding the Bell Telephone Co in 1877. Also in 1877, he married Mabel Gardiner Hubbard (1857-1923), whom he had taught at the school for the deaf in Boston, and embarked on a yearlong honeymoon in Europe. Victory in a number of lawsuits over telephone patents made him rich by age 35. By then he had moved to Washington, DC, to watch over his business interests. In 1890 he bought land at Baddeck, NovaScotia, and later built himself a house there named Beinn Bhreagh ("beautiful mountain" in Gaelic).
He might easily have been content with the financial success of his invention. His many laboratory notebooks reveal the depth of the intellectual curiosity that drove him to learn and create. Bell continued to work with his invention after he formed Bell Telephone. He and his assistant, Charles Tainter, developed a device they called the "photophone," which transmitted sound on a beam of light. In 1881 they successfully sent a photophone message nearly 200 metres between two buildings. Bell considered the photophone "the greatest invention he had ever made, greater than the telephone."
Bell spent the rest of his life in scientific research, both in person and by paying for the experiments of others. In the US he collaborated with S.P. Langley, builder of a steam-powered aircraft in the 1890s, and funded the early atomic experiments of A.M. Michelson. Bell himself worked on the photoelectric cell, the iron lung, desalination of seawater, and the phonograph, and attempted to breed a "super race" of sheep at Baddeck homestead.
His wife was a strong personality in her own right. She shared his scientific as well as his philanthropic interests. Mabel Bell was a full member of the Aerial Experiment Association, undertook her own horticultural experiments, and along with their 2 daughters lobbied from at least 1908 for women's right to vote.
Alexander Graham Bell, teacher of the deaf, inventor, scientist, businessman died in Baddeck, Nova Scotia in August 1922.
Orphaned as a child, John Molson attended several private boarding schools, then immigrated to Canada in 1782, and in 1786 used his inheritance from his parents' legacy to become sole owner of a small brewery in Montréal. He had the business sense to exploit Montréal's growth as entrepôt in the fur trade and commercial base for developing the hinterland of Upper Canada. In 1816 he took his 3 sons into partnership, including John Molson, Jr, as 'John Molson and Sons'. He used cash payments from brewing to finance banking activities and build a steamboat line operating between Montréal and Québec City. In 1809 he had his own steamboat, 'The Accommodation', built at Montréal with an engine constructed at the Forges St-Maurice. He also entered the lumber business during the building boom of the early 1800s, built a hotel and in 1821 established the colony's first distillery and financed the Champlain and Saint Lawrence Railroads, the first railway in Canada. Molson introduced the early steam engine to Montréal industry and became a close friend of James Watt, Sr. He sat in the House of Assembly of Lower Canada 1816-20, became president of the Bank of Montreal in 1826, and in 1832 was appointed a member of the Legislative Council of Lower Canada, where he upheld the interests of English-speaking businessmen amid the emerging discontent of French Canadians. Molson must be counted among the most prominent entrepreneurs in Canada during the first third of the 19th century.
He had become so wealthy that wanting his sons to maintain the legacy, instructed all three to marry their first cousins, to hoard the money in the family.
John Molson, brewer, banker, ship builder, businessman died in Ill Ste-Marguerite, Quebec in January 1836.
The French navigator and ship Captain Jacques Cartier is usually the person credited with discovering Canada, meaning the small region of Québec he named Canada
(after miss interrupting Iroquois work for village "Kanata" which he believed was the country name) during his 1535 voyage. He was the first explorer of the Gulf of St Lawrence and certainly the first to chart the St. Lawrence River, the discovery of which in 1535 enabled France to occupy the interior of North America. From remarks in the travel accounts credited to him, it would seem that Cartier's career began with voyages to Brazil. He probably accompanied Giovanni da Verrazzano to America in 1524 and 1528, and certainly came to Newfoundland before 1534, since the stated destination of his first official voyage was the "Baie des Châteaux" (Str of Belle Île), and he sailed there directly as if it were familiar to him.
Charged by François I to look for gold in the New World and a passage to Asia, Cartier set off from St-Malo, France the 20th of April 1534 with 2 ships and 61 men. He arrived off Newfoundland 20 days later. Searching for a passage through the continent, he explored areas that were already known, freely assigning names to the North coast of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. He sailed along the West coast of Newfoundland and reached Cabot Straight. On June 26 he reached the Îles de la Madeleine and on June 29 discovered Prince Edward Island. He searched vainly for a passage, entering Baie de Chaleur and Baie de Gaspé, where he made contact with a group of Iroquoians who had come there to hunt seal. He raised a cross on July 24, bearing the arms of France. The meaning was clear to the Iroquoian chief Donnacona, who protested but later relented and allowed Cartier to leave with 2 of his sons. Cartier sailed North to Île d'Anticosti (missing the opening to the river), thence to Newfoundland, and on Aug 15 headed home, arriving at St-Malo 5 Sept 1534.
The larger 1535 expedition had 3 ships, Grande Hermine, Petite Hermine and Émérillon, and a crew of 110. Cartier left St-Malo 19 May 1535 and reached the Gulf after a long 50-day crossing and on Aug 13, led by his 2 Indian guides, entered the river which was called Rivière du Canada, and which was renamed St Lawrence early in the 1600s. He sailed upriver to Stadacona, Quebec, which he reached on Sept 7.
Against Donnacona's wishes, Cartier set out Sept 19 to explore the river farther, reaching Hochelaga (now Montréal) on Oct 2. On his return to Stadacona he found that relations with the natives were strained. The effect of a severe winter was made more tragic by Scurvy, which claimed 25 lives among the French. On 6 May 1536 he left for France with some captured Iroquoians, including Donnacona, arriving July 16. Cartier's reports, supported by Donnacona, of a golden "Kingdom of Saguenay," led to a third voyage.
Cartier made ready, but on 15 Jan 1541 Jean-François de la Rocque, sieur de Roberval received a commission placing him, not Cartier, at the head of the expedition to colonize the St Lawrence. Cartier put to sea first, on May 23, with 5 ships and a crew of some 1500. He reappeared before Stadacona on 23 Aug 1541, announced Donnacona's death, and set up at the western tip of Cap Diamant [Cap Rouge]. He made another trip to Hochelaga and again found himself at odds with the inhabitants of Stadacona, who kept the French under constant siege. Convinced that he had found diamonds and gold among the rocks, Cartier struck camp in June 1542. He met Roberval in the harbour of St John's, Nfld, and was ordered to return to Stadacona, but slipped away under cover of darkness and headed for France. The "gold" proved to be only iron pyrite and the "diamonds," worthless quartz. It is not known if Cartier was reprimanded but he was not entrusted with another long-range expeditio ever again. He retired to his manor at Limoilu and died at age 66 in 1557. Cartier deserves mention among the great explorers of the 16th century. He discovered one of the world's great rivers, which was to become the axis of power in North America.
Sir John Alexander Macdonald was the dominant creative mind which produced the British North American Act and the union of provinces which became Canada. As the first prime minister of Canada, he oversaw the expansion of the Dominion from sea to sea. His government dominated politics for a half century and set policy goals for future generations of political leaders.
Macdonald's personal papers provide insight into his life, but his exact birth date remains a mystery. His father's journal lists 11 January 1815 as Macdonald's birth date but a certified extract from the registration of his birth cites 10 January. His family celebrated his birthday on 11 January. Macdonald was brought to Kingston, Upper Canada, by his parents, Hugh Macdonald and Helen Shaw, when he was 5 years old and he grew up and attended school there, in rural Lennox, Addington and Prince Edward counties. At age 15 he began to article with a prominent Kingston lawyer. Both at school and as an articling student, he showed promise. At 17 he managed a branch legal office in Napanee by himself, and at 19 opened his own office in Kingston, 2 years before being called to the Bar of Upper Canada. Macdonald's early professional career coincided with the rebellion in UC and subsequent border raids from the US. He was in Toronto in December 1837 where, as a militia private, he took part in the attack on the rebels at Montgomery's Tavern. In 1838 he attracted public notice by defending accused rebels, including Nils von Schoultz, leader of an attack on Prescott.
He remained in the practice of law for the rest of his life with a series of partners, in Kingston until 1874 and then in Toronto. His firm engaged primarily in commercial law; his most valued clients were established businessmen or corporations. He was also personally involved in a variety of business concerns. He began to deal in real estate in the 1840s, acquired land in many parts of the province, including commercial rental property in downtown Toronto, and was appointed director of many companies, mainly in Kingston. For 25 years (mostly while he was prime minister), he was president of a Québec City firm, the St Lawrence Warehouse, Dock and Wharfage Co, and in 1887 became the first president of the Manufacturers Life Insurance Co of Toronto.
Macdonald's personal life was marked by a number of misfortunes. His first wife, his cousin Isabella Clark, was an invalid during most of their married life. His first son died at the age of 13 months. His second marriage, to Susan Agnes Bernard, was saddened by the chronic illness of his only daughter, Mary. Which brought MacDonald to the bottle.
Macdonald entered politics at the municipal level, serving as alderman in Kingston 1843-46. He took an increasingly active part in Conservative politics and in 1844 at the age of 29 was elected for Kingston to the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada. Parties and government were in a state of transition, a modern departmental structure had begun to evolve, but Responsible Government had not yet been conceded, and the role of the governor was still prominent. In this context Macdonald's political views proved cautious; he defended the imperial prerogative and state support of denominational education, and opposed the abolition of primogeniture. Above all, he emerged as a shrewd political tactician who believed in the pursuit of practical goals by practical means. His obvious intelligence and ability brought him his first Cabinet post as receiver general in 1847 in the administration of W.H. Draper, which was defeated in the general election that year.
"The Old Flag, The Old Policy, The Old Leader," was his motto. Macdonald remained in Opposition until the election of 1854, after which he was involved in the creation of a new political alliance - the Liberal-Conservative Party - in which the Conservatives were attached to the existing alliance of Upper Canadian Reformers and the French Canadian majority political bloc. Once returned to office, he assumed the prestigious post of attorney general of UC. On the retirement, which he helped to engineer in 1856, of Conservative leader Sir Allan Macnab, Macdonald succeeded him as joint-premier of the Province of Canada, along with Étienne-Paschal TAche (and then with George-Étienne Cartier 1857-62, with the exception of the 2-day Brown-Dorion administration in 1858).
During the years 1854-64 Macdonald faced growing opposition in his own section of the province to the political union of Upper and Lower Canada. The Reform view, voiced by George Brown of the Toronto Globe, complained that the legitimate needs and aspirations of UC were frustrated by the "domination" of French Canadian influence in the government of Macdonald and George-Étienne Cartier. By 1864 the political and sectional forces in the province were deadlocked and Macdonald reluctantly accepted Brown's proposal for a new coalition, to include the Upper Canadian Reformers, designed to solve the constitutional difficulties through the adoption of a federal system, applied if possible to all the colonies of British North America.
While conceding the necessity of a federal arrangement to accommodate strong racial, religious and regional differences, Macdonald's preference was for a strong, highly centralized, unitary form of government. Macdonald took the leading part in the drafting of a federal system in which the central government held unmistakable dominance over the provincial governments. His great constitutional expertise, ability and knowledge received immediate recognition from the imperial government. Created Sir John A. Macdonald, Knight Commander of the Bath, he was chosen to take office as first prime minister of Canada on 1 July 1867.
During his first administration 1867-73, he became a "nation builder." To the original 4 provinces were added Manitoba, the North-West Territories (present-day Saskatchewan and Alberta), BC and PEI. The Intercolonial Rairoad between Québec City and Halifax was begun and plans were made for a transcontinental railway to the Pacific coast. These undertakings involved unprecedented expenditures of public funds and did not proceed without incident. Manitoba entered the union following an insurrection led by Louis Riel against the takeover of the area by the Dominion government, thereby forcing Macdonald's government to grant provincial status much sooner than had been intended and to accept a system of separate schools and the equality of the French and English languages.
Macdonald's involvement in the negotiations for a contract to build the Canadian Pacific Railway to BC involved him eventually in the Pacific Scandal; during the 1872 election large campaign contributions had been made to him and his colleagues by Sir Hugh Allan, who was to have headed the railway syndicate. Macdonald claimed that his "hands were clean" because he had not profited personally from his association with Allan, but his government was forced to resign in late 1873 and in the election of 1874 was defeated.
Some of these political problems stemmed from the fact that he, like many of his contemporaries, was at times a heavy drinker. At the time of the election of 1872 and of the negotiations with Allan, it is clear that there were periods of time of which he later had no recollection. His drinking subsequently however did become more moderate after a series of public embarrassments.
Fortunately for Macdonald his defeat coincided with the onset of a business depression in Canada which gave the Liberal administration of Alexander Mackenzie a reputation for being ineffectual. In 1876, at the instigation of a group of Montréal manufacturers, Macdonald began to advocate a policy of "readjustment" of the tariff - a policy which helped him return triumphantly to power in 1878. He remained prime minister for the rest of his life.
The promised changes in tariff policy, introduced in 1879 and afterwards frequently revised in close collaboration with leading manufacturers, became Macdonald's National Policy, a system of protection of Canadian manufacturing through the imposition of high tariffs on foreign imports, especially from the US. Appealing to Canadian nationalist and anti-American sentiment, it became a permanent feature of Canadian economic and political life. However, the economy as a whole continued to suffer slow growth, and the effects of the policy were uneven.
The great national project of Macdonald's second administration was the completion of the transcontinental CPR, which proved an extremely difficult and expensive undertaking requiring extensive government subsidization. Macdonald played a central role in making the railway a reality. He was involved in awarding the contract to a new syndicate headed by George Stephen, which called for a government subsidy of $25 million and 25 million acres (10 million ha) of land, and on 2 occasions, in 1884 and 1885, he agreed to introduce legislation for the further financial support of the railway. Its completion in November 1885 made feasible the future settlement of the West.
The physical linking of the Canadian community was accompanied by the first steps towards eventual autonomy in world affairs. Macdonald did not foresee Canadian independence from Britain but rather a partnership with the mother country. He himself represented Canada on the British commission which negotiated the Treaty of Washington of 1871; in 1880 the post of Canadian high commissioner to Britain was created; and Finance Minister Charles Tupper represented Canada at the Joint High Commission in Washington in 1887.
The last stage of Macdonald's public career was plagued by difficulties. The North-West Rebellion, which occurred at a time when he himself was superintendent general of Indian affairs, and the subsequent execution of Louis Riel in 1885 greatly increased animosity between French-speaking and English-speaking Canadians and cost Macdonald political support in Québec, where Riel was regarded as a martyr to the forces of Anglo-Saxon imperialism. A series of successful legal challenges to the powers of the central government, mainly emanating from Ontario Premier Oliver Mowat, resulted in a federal system much less centralized than Macdonald had intended. The federal power of Disallowance, freely used at first, was virtually abandoned in the face of provincial opposition.
Macdonald's contribution to the development of the Canadian nation far exceeded that of any of his contemporaries, yet he was not by nature an innovator. Confederation, the CPR and the protective tariff were not his ideas, but he was brilliant and tenacious in achieving his goals once convinced of their necessity. As a politician he early developed shrewdness and ingenuity. He kept a remarkable degree of personal control over the functioning of the party and was adept in using patronage for political advantage. He was a highly partisan politician, partly because he genuinely believed it essential to maintain certain political courses - especially the British connection and legal-parliamentary tradition in Canada against the threat of American political and economic influences.
His overriding national preoccupations were unity and prosperity. An 1860 speech summed up his lifelong political creed and political goals: "one people, great in territory, great in resources, great in enterprise, great in credit, great in capital."
Sir John A. Macdonald died in his sleep in Ottawa, Ontario on the 6th of June 1891.
Born a slave, Josiah Henson escaped to Canada in 1830. Four years later he founded the Dawn community near Dresden, UC, for American fugitive slaves. He was key in the developed the Underground Railroad, and maps to help other escpaed slaves travelling from the US.
Later aided by a white American missionary, Hiram Wilson, he and his associates organized a manual-labour school in Dawn, Ontario (near Dresden)called the British-American Institute. He was active on the executive committee until the institute closed in 1868. Henson served as Dawn's spiritual leader and patriarchal Reverand and made numerous fundraising trips in the US and England to speak on the subject of Slavery.
He published his autobiography in 1849 to minor success and it and his life was allegedly Harriet Beecher Stowe's model for the leading character in Novel 'Uncle Tom's Cabin'.
Cornelius David Krieghoff is probably the most popular Canadian painter of the 19th century. Krieghoff is most famous for his paintings of Canadian landscapes and Canadian life outdoors, which were sought-after in his own time as they are today. He is particularly famous for his winter scenes, some of which he painted in a number of variants.
Krieghoff was born in Amsterdam in 1815. He was initially taught by his father and then entered the Academy of Fine Arts in Germany about 1830. He moved to New York in 1836, and enlisted in the United States Army in 1837. While in the army, he made sketches of the Second Seminole War from which he later produced oil paintings. He deserted the army on May 5, 1840. Later that year, together with his wife Émilie Gauthier, he moved to Montreal, where he participated in the Salon de la Société des Artistes de Montréal. While in Montreal, he befriended the Mohawks living on the Kahnawake Indian Reservation and made many sketches of them from which he later produced oil paintings.
Krieghoff traveled to Paris in 1844, where he copied masterpieces at the Louvre under the direction of Michel Martin Drolling (1789–1851). The Krieghoffs returned to Montreal in 1846, and in 1847 he was invited to participate in the first exhibition of the Toronto Society of Arts. He and his family moved to Quebec City in 1853. He returned to Europe in 1854, visiting Italy and Germany. In 1855, he returned to Canada.
Cornelius David Krieghoff painted images of Canada when the development of popular imagery of the country was in its early stages. He was an entrepreneur and created a populist vision of the country’s landscape and peoples, describing the customs and traditions of various Native peoples and the activities and character of the French-Canadian settler or habitant.
Cornelius Krieghoff's interpretations of life in mid-19th century Québec were as well-known and sought after in his own lifetime as they are today. This artist with an entrepreneurial bent was prolific: an estimated 1500 to 1800 paintings and prints suggest a ready and eager market for his images of rural francophones, aboriginal peoples, leisure sports, and landscapes and portraits. "There is hardly a Canadian home without some memento of him" claimed the artist's obituary. He was much imitated in his own time, and the enduring value of Krieghoff's works has encouraged forgery in ours. Seldom in the past 30 years has an auction of Canadian art not included at least one painting "by,""attributed to," or "after" Krieghoff.
Krieghoff early on established in his repertoire two major themes that he would revisit throughout his career and for which he is perhaps best known: rural francophones and aboriginals. His Habitant scenes cover a range of situations: in some, for example, folk greet one another en route, play cards, race their sleds, fraternize at the local inn, or attempt to settle a tract of un-arable land - granted to them by the government - in the hinterlands of Québec. In another typical scene, a British solider flirts with a young francophone woman, the intimate moment interrupted by her husband or a parent. In Breaking Lent (The Thomson Collection), the local priest, stern and imposing, has arrived unannounced at a parishioner's humble abode only to catch the family in the forbidden act of eating meat during Lent. Whether viewed as benign narratives or subtle, satirical commentaries on French Québec society, such genre scenes often evidence Krieghoff's awareness of the relationship between ethnic groups and/or social classes.
Krieghoff's depictions of First Nations peoples are idealized and reflect his belief in their profound attachment to the land. Despite the artist's often detailed renderings of exquisite basketry, beadwork and such other Native handiwork, the figures - always set within a landscape - are almost without exception generic. His "Indian Encampment" scenes, so categorized in an advertisement in a contemporary Montréal newspaper, are characteristic. In A Caughnawaga Indian Encampment (ROM), the figures, placed centre stage next to a wigwam beside a forest stream, represent the type "Canadian Native." Little within the image itself clearly identifies these people as those who presumably were Krieghoff's inspiration: Mohawks who in fact resided in their community of Caughnawaga (now Kahnawake), with its stone Catholic church and white frame homes on the south shore of the St. Lawrence opposite Lachine. In his later renditions the romantic element is stretched and heightened; the wild aboriginal figures camp, hunt and trek in the deep forests and waterways, but they have become mere extras, entirely subsumed by nature in all its sublime grandeur.
Landscape, portraiture and outdoor leisure scenes assumed additional significance in Krieghoff's repertoire upon his arrival in Québec City; they provided a means to take fullest advantage of the centre's significant military and business markets as well as the burgeoning tourism and leisure trade. The area's celebrated natural monuments are the focus of many of his paintings, while others feature the forests and rivers that were at the core of the all-important timber industry but that also served as the playground for avid outdoorsmen.
Krieghoff's works could be acquired in various ways in his time. Many paintings, and lithographs too, were sold through auction: in Montréal by J.H. Leeming, Scott & Glassford and Fisher & Armour, and in Québec City by A.J. Maxham & Company. Prints were sold by subscription through local newspapers. Booksellers sold paintings in their stores; other works were clearly the result of commissions. Krieghoff's close friend John S. Budden no doubt acting as agent in several instances. The fact that a number of Krieghoff's works appeared in exhibition and for sale in Cincinnati, Philadelphia, New York City and other US centres indicates that he benefited from dealer representation south of the border.
There is evidence of Krieghoff's own entrepreneurial hand as well: his bold involvement in 1847 in the Montréal Society of Artists' exhibition, to which the artist contributed 48 paintings, more than twice that of any other participant; his submission of paintings to the Québec Provincial Exhibitions, often winning prizes; his letter attempting to convince the Honourable Hamnett Pinhey to choose him to paint a portrait of Queen Victoria; an announcement in the Montréal press that he and a colleague would be creating a panorama of the Canadian landscape; and his subsequent petition to Government of Canada officials for funds to finish the project, which he pitched as a means to sell life in Canada to potential immigrants in Europe.
Most receptive to Krieghoff's imagery was the anglophone community. British military personnel collected the artist's pictures as souvenirs of their posting to the colony. Romanticized and anecdotal paintings showing the life of those "close to the land" were attractive to members of the rising North American urban middle class, as such works affirmed their newly acquired economic and social status while offering them the nostalgic assurance that traditional ways of life would continue. Works showing the richness of Canada's resources or technological advance appealed to the business elite, who saw in them evidence of and potential for economic growth and prosperity and thus a representation of their own professional interests and power.
International Attention. Recognition for Krieghoff came primarily at the local level, but in 1867 his work was chosen to represent Canada internationally. With a palette of brilliant colours, heightened gestures and facial expressions, and a realistic style and remarkable attention to detail that suggest close observation of nature, Krieghoff succeeded in creating paintings that seduced and resonated with significant segments of Canada's urban population. They provided a seemingly coherent image of Canada and thus ensured a continuing demand for his versions of "Canadian life." It has been debated whether his romanticized images of First Nations peoples and "habitants" are variously sympathetic or condescending or satirical, a debate that challenges assumptions regarding Canada's identity as a nation, both past and present. Nonetheless, his work continues to be recognized for its documentary and artistic aspects. It provides a remarkable record of one citizen's life amongst the native population and attempts to capture his perception of Canada in images, and with those images he was one of the first artists to make a name for himself in Canada on a popular level in an emerging nation.
Cornelius Kreighoff died at the age of 56, on a business trip to Chicago in April of 1872.
Louis Cyr was in his first strongman competition at the age of 17, when he faced the fame Michaud of Quebec. The young man defeated the reigning Canadian strongman by lifting a granite boulder weighing over 400 pounds over his head. After spending some time as a lumberjack, Cyr became a full-time professional strongman, touring all over the United States and Europe.
At the height of his career, Cyr stood only 5'10" tall but he weighed over 300 pounds and had a 60" chest when it was expanded (55.2" normally). Several of his weightlifting feats and strongman stunts have been exaggerated over the years but some were documented and are still considered impressive today. Examples: he back-lifted a platform holding eighteen men; he lifted 553 pounds off the floor with one finger; he pushed a freight car up an incline.
One of Cyr's most-talked about stunts occurred on the 10th of December 1891 in Montreal, Quebec. Four horses were tied to his arms (two on each side) and, while the grooms whipped and urged the horses to pull, Cyr managed to restrain all of them.
Louis Cyr, the man who was crowned "Strongest man in the world" at the turn of the Century died in St. Cyprien de Napierville, Quebec in November 1912, many at the time said he pate himself to death though the official cause, however, was listed as chronic nephritis.
Catalyst and leader in the creation of the Group of Seven, Lawren Stewart Harris was a founding member and first president of the Canadian Group of Painters, and the painter who influenced Jock Macdonald, and through him other Toronto painters, to paint abstractly. Harris had a profound influence on 3 generations of art in Canada. Harris's father was Thomas Morgan Harris, the secretary of the A. Harris, Son and Co Ltd, a manufacturer of farm machinery which in 1891 amalgamated with Massey to form the Massey-Harris Co Ltd: Lawren Harris was thus a rich man. After attending Toronto's St Andrews College, Harris went to the University of Toronto where he was encouraged by his mathematics professor to study art in Berlin. After 4 years of study (1904-08), Harris returned to Canada. In 1908 he went on a sketching trip to the Laurentians; in 1909, with J.W. Beatty, he sketched in Haliburton. That fall he went to Lac-Memphrémagog, Qué. At the same time, he drew and painted houses in downtown Toronto; by the winter of 1911-12, he was sketching with J.E.H. MacDonald and had become friendly with Tom Thomson. In 1913, Harris and MacDonald visited and were inspired by an exhibition of Contemporary Scandinavian Art at the Albright Art Gallery (now the Albright-Knox) in Buffalo. Which was a huge moment in the developed of the Group of Seven.
By the early 1920s, when the Group of Seven was formed, Harris had developed into a magnificent landscape painter, transforming the powerful forms of nature into works of force and elegance such as Above Lake Superior (c 1924) and Maligne Lake (1924). In these and other paintings he reduced the shapes of mountains, shoreline, trees, lakes and clouds, always parallel to the picture plane, to their essentials for an austere, monumental effect. He painted for 5 successive autumns in Algoma and Lake Superior (1917-22), in the Rockies from 1924 on, and in the Arctic in 1930. As artist-in-residence at Darmouth Coll, NH, he moved progressively through drawing into nonobjective art. In Santa Fe, NM, he worked with Dr Emil Bisttram, leader of the Transcendental Group of Painters, which Harris also helped found in 1939. His Vancouver work (1940-70) continued to explore abstraction inspired by the rhythms of nature. Harris's belief in theosophy is intimately linked to his development as a nonobjective artist. Through abstract paintings, such as Abstract Painting No 20, many of which use forms from landscape, he sought to portray a binding and healing conception of the universe - to make the sublime visual. His paintings have been criticized as being cold, but in fact they reflect the depth of his spiritual involvement. His world view makes him unique among Canadian painters, although his philosophy kept him aloof from spontaneously created art - a crucial factor in later painters' abstraction. Nevertheless, his landscape paintings and some of his abstractions, are among the icons of Canadian art.
In his own lifetime Harris was the subject of 7 retrospectives. The bulk of his work is found in the National Gallery of Canada, Art Gallery of Ontario, and the McMicheal Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, Ontario. He painted for the rest of his life, but his fame and worked never really surpassed the time he had with the Group of 7.
Lawren Harris lived to be the oldest living member of the Group. He passed away in Vancouver, BC in January 1970.