History
In the News
argo film

When Ken Taylor arrived in Iran for his first ambassadorial posting, he had no reason to expect anything but a serene time as a promoter of Canadian business and trade. Instead, he ran headlong into the Ayatollah Khomeini’s Iranian Revolution.

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History
Literature
thomas chandler haliburton
Thomas Chandler Haliburton

Thomas Chandler Haliburton in a lithograph by E.U. Eddis (courtesy Library and Archives Canada/C-6086).

“He drank like a fish.” “The early bird gets the worm.” “It’s raining cats and dogs.” “You can’t get blood out of a stone.” “As quick as a wink.” “Six of one and half a dozen of the other.” “There’s many a true word said in jest.” These, and many other expressions, colour our vernacular without our being aware that the satiric voice behind them belonged to Thomas Chandler Haliburton, a prominent Nova Scotian.

Haliburton was born on December 17, 1796 in Windsor, NS, the son of a judge and grandson of a lawyer. An upper crust Tory, he was also a successful lawyer and businessman and was appointed to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia. He held office in England after his retirement from the bench. He was wealthy, respected and influential, but, despite his accomplishments, he was deeply frustrated.

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History
In the News
olympics-history-header
olympics_chariot

The charioteer was one of the few clothed athletes at the ancient Olympic Games. The vitor’s crown went to the owner of the horses, not the driver.

Legend dictates that the games of the Olympiad owed their origin to the Theban hero Heracles who staged them to honour his grandfather Pelops. It was said of Heracles that while engaged in his 12 labours he brought back a twig of wild olive from the legendary land of Hyperboreans and planted it in Olympia. This was the tree whose branches served to crown the victors. If we look for more practical explanations, the Olympic Games more likely derived from funeral games held in honour of fallen heroes, like the one Achilles held for his friend Patroclus in Homer’s Iliad.

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History
In the News
George Orton. Canada's Sports Hall of Fame.
George_Orton-Young

George Orton, Canada’s first Olympic medallist. Credit: public domain.

George Orton is known as Canada’s first Olympic gold medal winner. On the official Olympic Games website, there are two records concerning George Orton at the 1900 Paris Olympics. The records show that he won a bronze medal in the 400 m men’s hurdles and a gold medal in the 3000 m steeplechase. The records note his country as Canada, making George Orton the first Canadian to win at the Olympic Games. The Canadian Olympic Association supports that record; it regards Orton as the first Canadian Olympic medalist. But Canada did not send a team to the Olympics in 1900; Canada had no Olympic team until 1904 at the St. Louis games. Orton, a student, competed as part of the University of Pennsylvania team. Because he was entered as an American athlete, it was not until years later that anyone even realized that a Canadian had won an Olympic competition.

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English
History
Music
Things//Choses

“Throwing back his head he played for us, for the first time, the masterpiece of his genius – it was Calixa Lavallée; he played O Canada.”

History
the naming of Canada
Canada's Name Efisga

Illustration by Laura Bonikowsky

Naming a country is no small task. The name should evoke feelings of pride and strength and reflect the character of the land and its people. The explorer Jacques Cartier generally gets the credit for naming Canada; he documented the name in his journal, describing the “Kingdom of Canada” and noting that the entrance to the St. Lawrence River “is the way to and the beginning of…the route to Canada.” However, the story of the country’s naming is not his alone.

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English
History
Things//Choses
Fathers of Confederation, 50th Anniversary Stamp of Confederation 1917

There were celebrations on July 1, 1867 for the new “Dominion of Canada,” but neither the date, name nor designation were sure things a few months before.

History
In the News
saint-jean-baptiste-header
Drapeau-Carillon-Sacré-Coeur

Drapeau Carillon Sacré-Coeur: A Carillon flag waved by people on Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day from its creation in 1902 until 1948. The current Flag of Quebec is based on this design, and was adopted in 1948. (Creative Commons)

Every year, French Canadians celebrate their cultural pride and heritage through parades and parties on June 24 marking, Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day. These festivities combine the ancient rites of the summer solstice with traditional celebrations in honour of the Patron Saint of French Canadians, Saint John the Baptist. How did Saint John come to be the patron saint of French Canada? The Canadian Encyclopedia offers some clues:

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Education
History
In the News
The-Encampment-Fort-York
ft-york-encampment

Sunset at Fort York’s The Encampment.

June 15 kicked off the city of Toronto’s War of 1812 celebrations, with an abundance of free and lively events around town in conjunction with the Luminato Festival. The Canadian Encyclopedia attended a handful of events, one of which was a unique art installation called The Encampment at Fort York.

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History
Battle of Queenston Heights
George Prevost

Portrait of Sir George Prevost, attributed to Robert Field, circa 1808-11.  (courtesy McCord Museum/McGill University).

On September 13, 1811, Lieutenant-General Sir George Prevost arrived at Quebec to take up the duties of Captain General and Governor-in-Chief of British North America. Prevost, an officer with considerable military and colonial experience, was appointed the task of readying British North America for a war with the United States.

The Prince Regent and the government gave Prevost specific guidance that limited his military and diplomatic authority. He could not undertake offensive action into the United States or declare war on his own. Most importantly, as Britain was pre-occupied with the war against Bonaparte, he could not expect any large-scale reinforcements.

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History
Literature
Politics

Maverick Sage

In Eugene Forsey, Canada’s Maverick Sage (Dundern Press), Helen Forsey talks about hearing her father’s typewriter as he banged away on it in his study. Eugene Forsey was a prolific writer—the sound of that typewriter must have comprised the background noise of Helen’s childhood. It is also  something of a keystone for her current awareness of her father, for it is through his writing that she explored his life to produce this book, which is not exactly a biography, though it tells the story of a life. It is much more—a book about Canadian history and public policy and what Ms. Forsey calls “a kit filled with the tools that he left us”—a manual for pursuing a true state of democracy.

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History
In the News
Komagata-Maru
Komagata Maru book

White Canada and the Komagata Maru: An Illustrated History by Ali Kazimi, Douglas & McIntyre 2012

On May 23, 1914, the ship Komagata Maru was turned away from a Vancouver harbour when it tried to land. Onboard were 376 South Asian immigrants from British India, veterans of the British Indian Army, who sought to make a life for themselves in the empire they had fought to defend. How wrong they were. Instead of a warm reception, the Komagata Maru was surrounded by Canadian immigration boats half a mile from shore and ordered to leave.

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