When it comes to political change in Canadian history, there has always been two behind any major change. Robert Baldwin and Louis La Fontaine for example, and while George Brown would play a major role it would be George-√Čtienne Cartier who would provide political support to John A MacDonald but ensure that French-Canadien culture would not be lost. Born the 6th of September 1814 in Sainte-Antonie-sur-Richelieu in Lower Canada. Baptised with the name George in honour of King George III. But George’s family already had a long history in the new world, even claiming relation to Jacques Cartier (although there is no evidence to supportRead More →

It should come as no surprise that at the mention of Sir John A MacDonald, you get a lot of negative feedback. He managed to in his time attract a lot of controversies. Like his law career, he drew as much positive attention as he does negative today. Born the 11th of January 1815 in Glasgow, Scotland, the son of a somewhat successful business owner by age five he and his family had immigrated to Canada settling in Kingston, Upper Canada. While his father continued to see moderate success in running various mills and businesses, most of the family income would go towards John’s education.Read More →

One of the greatest misconceptions about confederation is that Canada sprung forth fully formed from the passage of the British North America Act in 1867, in reality, the modern Canada we know today was a long way off in 1867. It wasn’t until 1999 that the last territory, Nunavut would be carved out of the Northwest Territory. In 1864 a majority of the British holdings in North America remained in the hands of the Hudson Bay Company as Rupert’s Land, the colonies were each a separate entity, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Red River, Canada, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland. Most hadRead More →

Many have heard the analogy of an elephant and a beaver to describe the relationship between Canada and the United States. Even though we are two separate countries and cultures, whatever happens in the United States is like when the elephant rolls over, it does and will affect Canada. The American Civil War is the perfect example of what happens when the elephant rolls over. While the conflict was primarily an American war, it had ripple effects across the globe. The war is not the primary focus of this project, however, as I mentioned in the previous post, is one of the external reasons toRead More →

There is a great deal of wisdom in the preamble of the Constitution of the United States of America; I am talking about the line of text that reads, in order to form a more perfect union. The 1850s had been rough on the state of the Canadian government, and as the decade turned, it looked like it was not going to be getting any better. The scandals that rocked the governments of Sir Francis Hincks and Sir Allan Napier MacNab had damaged the reputation of the Liberal-Conservatives and even trickled down into the Reform movement as well. But things looked a little better whenRead More →

When you compare the age of Canada’s army to that of other nations, our military is relatively young. As a nation of just over 150 years old, we depended almost entirely on our defence from the home government, France first and then England. And while a bulk of the soldiers in what would become modern-day Canada were regular professional soldiers and sailors, several locally raised regiments came to the defence of the territory should the need arise. The Canadian militia and Provincial ‘feasible’ troops fought in the War of 1812 and again during the Upper Canada Rebellion and Patriot Wars with varying degrees of success.Read More →

Across the British Commonwealth and in Canada specifically, no other British monarch is as widely celebrated at Queen Victoria. Secondly only to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II for the length of her reign. The two queens share a lot in common beyond familial relations. Both never expected to take the throne, born Alexandria Victoria on the 24th of May 1819, daughter of Prince Edward Augustus and grand-daughter to King George III. At birth, Victoria sat fifth in the line of succession to the British throne. At only a year old, both her father and grandfather passed, leaving Victoria in the care of her over-protective mother.Read More →

In a strangely ironic twist, the final of the significant three colonial railways to be completed would be the sole survivor of them all into the 20th century. And while Great Western and Northern Railway of Canada all survived past Confederation in 1867. It would be the Grand Trunk railroad that would absorb both of these before the turn of the century and then lose it all a couple of decades into the new century. Unlike Grand Trunk’s peers, the new railroad had not tried to build a line before the 1850s, chartered on the 10th of November 1852. British investors wholly-owned grand Trunk andRead More →

Like Ontario, Simcoe & Huron, unless you’re a hardcore railroad history fan, you may have never heard of the Great Western Railroad. If you commute between Hamilton and Toronto on the GO Train, you’ve ridden on the part of the original line for Great Western. Their stations are still in use around the province, and yet the name is long lost to history. Great Western Railroad got its start in 1834 as the London & Gore Railway to build a railway between the city of London and the city of Hamilton. Even in 1834, Sir Allan Napier MacNab invested heavily in the company. But theRead More →

If there is a single piece of infrastructure that changed Canada in the early 1850s, the railroad is that single piece the spurred the Province towards a modern industrial location in the British Empire. While the Welland and Rideau Canals provided a fast link they both were tied to the waterways they were built out of. Rail, on the other hand, could cross areas where canals could not. Rail could run nearly the year-round, bridge water, and move faster. But railroads were not new in the province, having existed in some form or another since the early 1820s. Rail technology had been used in theRead More →