When it comes past projects related to history which I have written, the foundations of the events which I planned to explore are relatively modern happening some three to two hundred years in the past. A small drop in the bucket of the history of our planet. But when it comes to the Welland Canal, the foundations of that canal take place in the dark distances of prehistory. The need for a canal across the Niagara Peninsula is related to a massive limestone cliff that cuts across the modern province of Ontario known today as the Niagara Escarpment. Today the cliff runs from the NiagaraRead More →

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 →

One of the first History courses I took in High School was Canada in the 20th Century. Most Canadian history texts that are used in schools start at this point. And there’s no surprise. As a nation, Canada came into its own in the 20th Century. Many point the crucible of World War One as the focal point. Others state the post World War Two era leading up to the 100th Anniversary of Confederation. But everything that happened in the 20th Century built on what happened before and the sins of the past were going to come back to haunt. As Canada emerged from theRead 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 →

Of the four fathers of confederation, I’ve explored in these blog posts the one with the strangest story, and the youngest in both age and political experience is Thomas D’Arcy McGee. Born the 13th of April 1825 in Carlingford, County Louth, Ireland. Raised by Irish Roman Catholic Patriots, much of his early education came from his mother, who as a Dublin Bookseller filled McGee with the stories of the Irish heroes of old. His knowledge continued in the illegal Hedge Schools where he learned of the past and ongoing struggles for Irish independence from British Occupation. His experience continued when his family moved to WexfordRead More →

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 →

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 →

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 →

One of my favourite things to do in both new and familiar cities is to simply wander, get lost even. In fact, this tactic has yielded some amazing photos on my previous trips. And while my wife does not share this same affinity to simply ‘get lost’ in a city she does enjoy the wandering parts. As long as we can stop for coffee or pop into some of the stores along the way. But out of all the cities, I’ve visited my favourite to simply wander around in is Chicago. To be more specific, the loop and the museum campus. These two areas areRead 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 →