If there is a singular piece of infrastructure that changed the course of an entire region of Ontario that piece is the Welland Canal. Today the massive ship channel that serves as an extension of the St. Lawerence Seaway has humble beginnings. Before the construction of any canal, the only way to move supplies between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie was using the Niagara River. The river proved to be a difficult route for the British. The first being proximity to the American guns at Fort Niagara the second being the wonder of Niagara Falls. It resulted in long portages often starting at Queenston. TheRead More →

Upper Canada was a Province created by the influx of immigrants, from the first loyalists who arrived during and after the American Revolution. But they were not the only group who would make Upper Canada home. As the Province grew, many different groups such as Germans, English, Irish, Scottish, Americans, French, and those who came as slaves, arrived owing to the rich cultural mix that we in Ontario still enjoy today. And many of these cultures owe their presence in the country to these early pioneers who often faced harsh conditions to carve a living out of the wilderness that made up of most ofRead More →

There are many figured in our history that changed the course of Canadian History, think Sir John A. MacDonald, William Lyon MacKenzie, Robert Baldwin, Louis LaFontaine. However, all these men owe their contributions to a single person, Robert Gourlay. Gourlay’s presence in Upper Canada would ignite the spark of reform here in Upper Canada. Upper Canada in the early 19th-Century was a vast rural backwater. Urban centres were few and far between cities that we know today were little more than muddy villages in the middle of the vast forest. The undeveloped nature of the Province gave those in control, the colonial elite, access toRead More →

In Post-War British North America, the British authorities took a two-pronged approach to the defences of their North American holdings. The first through a series of upgrades to the defensive forts along the border and the bolstering of the British garrisons, the second would be to prevent another war through a series of negotiated agreements and treaties. The idea would be to shore up the start of better relationships and fill in the gaps left by the Treaty of Gent. If you have read the Treaty of Ghent and understand its context you’ll quickly realise Ghent could not be the final say for normal relationsRead More →

The Anglo-American War of 1812 had decimated the defences of Upper Canada, by war’s end all the major fort’s constructed in the pre-war era had faced destruction throughout the war. Fort York and Fort George in York (Toronto) and Newark (Niagara-On-The-Lake) respectively had been destroyed in 1813, Fort Erie and Fort St. Joseph in 1814. The British knocked down Fort Amherstburg in their retreat in 1813. The only major fort to survive the war was Fort Henry in Kingston only because it defended the Royal Navy dockyard. And while the British had captured two major American forts during the war, Fort Niagara and Fort Mackinac.Read More →

Canada has throughout our collective history has been ruled through an officer known as a Governor-General or Lieutenant-Governor. These men (and women) operate as a representative of the crown. Today the office is more of a symbolic role, serving as a figurehead and patron of the arts, Colonel-In-Chief of several Regiments within the Canadian Armed Forces and Reserves. But the office has a far-reaching history back to when they ruled directly or through a Provincial Parliament. The governors that ruled in Pre-Confederation Canada were among those who often ruled directly as autocrats, with an iron fist or a velvet glove. The first of these Lieutenant-GovernorsRead More →

All stories have to start somewhere and to understand everything that happened after the Anglo-American War of 1812 one must learn about how the seeds of the struggles that are to come were first sewn. Pre-Confederation History is a bit of a mess, but there is a single touchstone date where everything stems from, and that is 1791. By 1791, the American Revolution was nearly a decade over, and many who still lived in the former colonies swore loyalty to the British Crown. Many did not wish to remain under a republic, and many Americans did not want these Tories in their country. And inRead More →

Out of all the projects I have done in the past, this is the only one I can say has been a long time coming. But when I look back at how long it took me to prepare this project from conception to final project, it has not been that long. I mean I spent five years working on my War of 1812 project, but that was a logistical mess from the start. Acts of Confederation has been a slow burn, I started working on the framework in 2017, completed most of the writing in 2018 while collecting all but a single final roll ofRead More →

Well, I’m pleased to say this will be my third and final update on my Acts of Confederation project. While I haven’t even started posting the photos, I’m confident to say that the images will be starting to hit Flickr in the middle of February. The final roll of film is due to be shot on the 9th of February. Uploading everything will take place in small logical groups, connected by a common theme. Because unlike the War of 1812, so much happened around the province of Ontario and Quebec that were all linked. So I made a point to gather images together in logicalRead More →

It’s been some months since I last put up an update for my ongoing history project so I figured I should keep you appraised at how things are going. All I can say is that things are moving along rather well! I’ve been plugging away on the photos, my wife has even come along on a few trips and I’ve made a huge dent in the photography and writing. Both the actual book and the blog posts. Having written the narrative first has made doing the photography so much easier because now I can always go back and review the images and make sure IRead More →