Here we are, there is always a certain bittersweetness about completing a project. And for me, this one was an eye-opener. It challenged not only my world view but my view of my own country and our history. But that is what history is supposed to do, challenge us to learn from the past and see how we can change the future. And here is the trouble with history, we can only see it through the eyes of those who wrote it and our personal bias. And trust me, it is hard to overcome your own bias. But the biggest problem with history that isRead More →

The term Dominion within the British Empire was not new. England first used the term to describe its relationship with Wales, much to the chagrin of the Welsh. But in the new Canadian context, Dominion would be a new concept. Canada was not a Province of the greater Empire, nor was she fully independent. A Dominion was a grey area, autonomous in all domestic concerns, but in the greater world, she remained sub-servant to England. In a nutshell, this meant that the Governor-General represented not only the interests of the Crown and the British Parliament, and Canada could neither send or receive ambassadors from foreignRead 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 →

From 1846 to 1848, the Reform Association had to take a pause; an external threat seemed to dampen the cause of reform. Robert Baldwin and Louis La Fontaine continued to work hard in the Assembly, taking every chance they could to speak on the purpose of reform. With Metcalfe still in England with his illness worsening, the Reformers had a free hand to continue the work, and it seemed even Draper’s Conservatives were willing to work with them. In Metcalfe’s place, a military governor came in much as Sir Isaac Brock had during the War of 1812 primarily to handle military means and act asRead More →

Despite the setbacks of the rebellion, the reform movement was ready to move on. The radicals were out of reach, imprisoned, dead, or in exile (with the penalty of death if they should return), the moderates were now returning to the political arena many who had never run for public office before. And while Durham’s report had spoken favourable of Responsible Government and many reformers like Robert Baldwin, Louis La Fontaine, and Francis Hincks had spoken in detail to Durham. The trouble remained that even moderate reformers were still viewed through the lens of rebellion by the Colonial Office. And they aimed to use theRead More →

The violence caused by the rebellion had been a direct result of political discord and dissatisfaction, however many in the Colonial Office refused to believe this and did little to appease the troubles outside of direct military intervention. They needed to investigate the rebellions, discover the root cause, and determine the best way to prevent such a rebellion from happening again. British authorities were lucky that the rebellions in Upper Canada were poorly lead and poorly armed and even in Lower Canada the aggressive nature of Sir John Colborne put the rebellion down in an equally violent manner. The British Prime Minister, Sir William LambRead More →

There was much more to the Upper Canada Rebellion than just the armed engagements that I discussed in the past three entries. Underlying the entire year of 1838 the government continued to operate and the biggest issue facing them would be prosecuting the rebels and their American allies after their capture. The whole matter would have been a lot cleaner if an actual war was declared. The treatment of Prisoners of War was an internationally understood law, but to the British, there was no war, they were dealing with a rebellion. And in the case of the Upper Canada Rebellion, the Provincial Government and theRead More →

There are many activities that Canadians love in the winter; there is none more Canadian than ice skating. To make it even more Canadian you ice skate on the Rideau Canal. But the world’s longest skate way was originally designed for a completely different use in mind than a key feature in Ottawa, Ontario’s Winterlude festival. Built during the same period as the First Welland Canal, the Rideau Canal addressed the concerns raised during the War of 1812, where the St. Lawerence River provided the only path for supplies to arrive in Upper Canada from Quebec City, Montreal, Halifax and England herself. Travel on theRead 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 →

Ever since I sold off my Pentax 645, I honestly thought that I would not want another 645 camera, I mean I had my Hasselblad. But there is some draw to the 645 format sometimes you don’t want a square, but that nice rectangle. And with my Hasselblad acting up, I wanted something similar but in 645. In other words, I wanted a system camera that could be customisable. One day I was sitting in the Higher Grounds coffee shop in Belfountain, having shot some 4×5 and an older man came over. We started talking as he recognised the Crown Graphic. He promptly offered upRead More →