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 camera that you can point to in the history of photography that changed the way that professionals worked then the Nikon F would be that camera. While it did build on previous advancements (which we will get into), the Nikon F brought it all together like never before and began the idea of a camera system. That is a group of lenses and accessories that allowed a photographer to control and customise their camera to their tastes completely. On today’s episode, Bill and Alex Smith tackle this complex and revolutionary camera system. You have to understand one thing; the NikonRead 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 →

Sir Francis Hincks, the proverbial third wheel in the reform movement and a figure that I knew nothing of until I started researching for this project. And while generally overshadowed by the likes of his predecessor in Robert Baldwin and his successor Sir Allan Napier MacNab as Premier of the Province of Canada his role in creating the modern province is fairly essential. The meeting of Robert Baldwin and Louis La Fontaine may have never happened if it was not for Hincks. Born the 4th of December 1807 in Cork Ireland, Francis was the youngest son of Reverend Thomas Dix Hincks. From his youth, HincksRead More →

I had been wondering how long it had been since I had last visited the Halton County Radial Railway Museum, well it hasn’t yet been a decade since my last trip in 2011. So when I heard that a group of folks from the Toronto Film Shooters were heading to a TTC Streetcar barn open house, I had the urge to go and photograph streetcars as well. The trouble was that I had to be at church at 3 pm on Saturday to run sound for a wedding. A trip into the city would be out of the question, then I remembered that I hadRead More →

Politics, in general, can be rather dull. I’m sure only pundits and political science students watch CSPAN regularly. When I attended a question period in the House of Commons in Ottawa, Ontario, it proved so dull that even the Prime Minister appeared to be napping. Yes, tales of military might, bravery, heroism, and battles make for more exciting reading and writing. We cannot ignore the political history that shaped pre-confederation Canada. Because much of this early dealings helped shaped our country’s government today, yet if you look closely you’ll find a bit of exciting. Like how the arrival of democracy resulted in riots only seenRead More →

Slavery is an ugly word and one sadly we here in the 21st Century still struggle with, both as an institution and a sticking point in the history of both Canada and the United States. And in any discussion about the pre-confederation history of Canada slavery is something that is intertwined with the increase in diversity in the population of the province and many who once were slaves impacted the province through their actions. Since the creation of the Act to Reduce Slavery in 1796 and the general emancipation of black slaves in the British Empire in 1833 provinces of the Empire provided new hopeRead More →

There’s too much confusion; I can’t get no relief… When it comes to photography, there is a lot of information out there, cameras, formats, film types, developer types, processes. There’s a lot, and it’s all rather complicated because some of the information dates back over 100 years. So today I’m going to do a little bit of a breakdown and hopefully clear up some of the confusion I’ve seen online as of late. Plates Before flexible films, there were plates. We’re talking Glass here that is sensitised and used to capture images. These plates did not conform to the standard sizes we’re used to today.Read More →