History
immigrants-irish
history of st patricks day (public domain).

Early Irish immigrants carrying all their possessions from their homeland (photo by Bruce Catton, public domain).

Father of Confederation D’Arcy McGee. Benjamin Cronyn, first Anglican bishop of Huron. Edward Blake, Ontario’s second premier. Eugene O’Keefe, founder of O’Keefe Brewing Co. Former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. Jean Charest, premier of Quebec. Former senator Eugene Whelan.

These prominent Canadians have more in common than a place in Canadian history. They, like nearly four million Canadians, are of Irish heritage. Perhaps the luck o’ the Irish contributed to their success! When we observe St. Patrick’s Day on March 17, we do more than honour St. Patrick, who promoted Christianity in Ireland; we celebrate the Irish presence in Canadian history.

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Français
History
Rose Fortune, entrepreneure et loyaliste de race noire (avec la permission du Nova Scotia Museum).

Rose Fortune, entrepreneure et loyaliste de race noire (avec la permission du Nova Scotia Museum).

« La liberté et une ferme agricole! » Voilà une promesse attrayante pour des milliers d’Afro-Américains, surtout des esclaves en fuite, que les Britanniques encourageaient à joindre les régiments britanniques et à se battre contre les Américains. Se joignant aux dizaines de milliers de réfugiés américains qui avaient été en faveur des Britanniques durant la Révolution américaine, ils mettaient ainsi leur espoir d’un avenir meilleur dans le slogan des Britanniques. Les réfugiés quittèrent les états nouvellement indépendants en direction de la British North America (le Canada) et prêtèrent un serment d’allégeance au roi George III.

Au nombre de soixante-dix mille, ces Loyalistes se rendirent à la British North America : environ 35 000 dans les Maritimes et surtout en Nouvelle-Écosse : la plupart s’y installèrent en 1783 et 1784. Dans l’ensemble, il ne s’agissait pas d’un groupe homogène. Leur diversité sociale et culturelle était à l’image de la nation qu’ils fuyaient; il y avait des soldats, des civils, des riches, des pauvres, des Noirs, des Blancs et des Autochtones. La seule chose qu’ils avaient en commun était leur état de réfugié.

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History
'This 1835 painting by Robert Petley shows a black Loyalist family on the Hammonds Plains Road, with Bedford Basin in the background (courtesy Library and Archives Canada/C-115424).'
'This 1835 painting by Robert Petley shows a Black Loyalist family on the Hammonds Plains Road, with Bedford Basin in the background (courtesy Library and Archives Canada/C-115424).'

‘This 1835 painting by Robert Petley shows a Black Loyalist family on the Hammonds Plains Road, with Bedford Basin in the background (courtesy Library and Archives Canada/C-115424).’

“Freedom and a Farm.” The promise was exciting to the thousands of African-Americans, mostly runaway slaves, who were encouraged by the British to fight in British regiments against the Americans. They joined the tens of thousands of American refugees who had sided with the British during the American Revolution, and who pinned their hopes for a brighter future on the British slogan. The refugees left the newly independent states for British North America and pledged their loyalty to King George III.

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History
Politics
doukhobor-pilgrims-header
Peter Verigin's powerful personality enabled the Doukhobors to weather their difficult first decades in Canada (courtesy NAC/C-8882, photo 1902).

Peter Verigin’s powerful personality enabled the Doukhobors to weather their difficult first decades in Canada (courtesy NAC/C-8882, photo 1902).

For over a day they trudged through the city in pairs, 700 men, women and children, carrying boards on their shoulders. Bewildered spectators watched. It was the port city of Batum, Russia, in December 1898. The 700 were volunteers from a large group of Doukhobors, Russian dissenters, preparing for the largest single migration across the Atlantic to North America.

Four groups crossed the ocean in ships intended for freight and livestock. The first group sailed on the Beaver Line’s steamer Lake Huron. Before sailing, the immigrants prepared the ship, building bunks in the hold from the lumber they had carried across the city and loading it with enough supplies to feed 2,140 people during the month-long journey. Nearly 200 stowed away, hiding in the bedding and among the coals of the boiler room. On January 20, 1899, when they reached Halifax, 2,300 Doukhobors disembarked.

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Inside TCE
snow diary
The view from my backyard.

The view from my backyard.

Having told friends, family and colleagues that I dislike winter, I’ve received endless advice on how to turn my chilly frown upside down. My dear friend Myriam even provided a list of reasons to like winter. So I’m going to try again to change my attitude, and to chart my progress I’m going to keep a snow diary. All I need is some snow.

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Français
fog-bowl-in-toronto

La visibilité sur le terrain était bonne pour le match, mais les spectateurs et téléspectateurs ne pouvaient voir le déroulement du jeu. Ici Charlie Shephard attrape le ballon pour un touché (spectateur de Hamilton).

Le match de la Coupe Grey sera disputé ce 25 novembre à Toronto et la NFL poursuit sa série avec plusieurs éliminatoires…que de discussions autour du football en ce temps-ci de l’année! L’un des sujets qui revient inévitablement est sans contredit la dualité entre les deux jeux, à savoir, lequel est le meilleur, de celui pratiqué au Canada ou celui des Américains puisqu’il y a certaines divergences entre les deux. Je ne suis pas une fan de football mais je vais quand même essayer de vous expliquer certaines de ces différences et aussi comment le jeu se pratique ici chez-nous.

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In the News
nfl-cfl-header
Russ Jackson was the premier Canadian-born quarterback ever to play in the CFL (courtesy Canada's Sports Hall of Fame).

Russ Jackson was the premier Canadian-born quarterback ever to play in the CFL (courtesy Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame).

With the Grey Cup coming up on November 25 in Toronto and the NFL still working their way through the season to their various bowls, football fans have a lot to talk about. One topic that is debated regularly is whether football is better in Canada or the US because there are some differences between the game played by the CFL and the NFL. I am not a football fan, but I will try to explain some of the differences and provide a little background on the game here at home. We hope that readers will weigh in the comments below.

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Français
war-brides

Arrivée des épouses de guerre sur le navire SS Scythia, le 26 mars 1946, photo des Forces armées canadiennes, Nova Scotia Archives.

En voyant le livreur de télégramme sur son perron, Mme Jones, de Littletown au Canada, porte la main à son cœur croyant qu’il va s’arrêter. On est en 1943, et le fils de Mme Jones, Robert, est cantonné quelque part outre-mer. D’une main tremblante, elle prend l’enveloppe. Craignant le pire, elle ravale ses larmes et lit : « Je me marie. Besoin de 60 livres. Lettre suit. » Les jambes molles, elle s’écroule sur le sol.

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History
war_brides

English war brides on their way to Brisbane, 1945.

Mrs. Jones, of Littletown, Canada, thought her heart would stop when she answered the door and saw the telegram delivery boy. It was 1943 and Mrs. Jones’s son, Robert, was stationed overseas somewhere. She took the yellow envelope with a shaking hand. Fearing the worst, she blinked back tears and read: “Getting married. Need 60 pounds. Letter follows.” Mrs. Jones sank into a heap on the floor.

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History
In the News
Toronto in Time

Who says time travel is impossible? The Canadian Encyclopedia, a program of the Historica-Dominion Institute, is pleased to take you on a trip through time in its second free app in its “Cities in Time” series, Toronto in Time. Read More

History
Thanksgiving Frobisher
Sir Martin Frobisher

Frobisher discovered the bay now named for him on Baffin Island, but was deceived by the pyrites, which he took for gold (courtesy Bodleian Library, Oxford).

It has become common knowledge that the first Thanksgiving in North America was held by Martin Frobisher and his crew in the eastern Arctic in 1578. There are those—mainly Americans upset at having their holiday co-opted—who argue that it wasn’t a “real” Thanksgiving. I would counter that Frobisher had reason to give thanks, and that giving thanks was an important aspect of Elizabethan society, so it would have been a natural thing for him and his men to do.

Sir Martin Frobisher, mariner, explorer, chaser of fool’s gold, made three voyages from England to the New World in search of a passage to Asia. He discovered the bay that is named for him and returned with tons of dirt that he thought contained gold. Each expedition was bigger than the preceding one and on his third, in 1578, he commanded a flotilla of 15 ships and more than 400 men. They set sail on May 31 for Baffin Island, where they intended to establish a gold mining operation and the first English colony in the New World. On July 1, they sighted Resolution Island, but they were driven by storms across the entrance to Hudson Strait, the fleet was dispersed and one ship, which carried their prefabricated barracks, was sunk by ice. Another ship deserted the flotilla and sailed back to England. The remaining ships assembled at the Countess of Warwick’s Island, which is known today as Kodlunarn Island, a tiny speck of land in Frobisher Bay. They established two mines on the island and set up shops to test the ore from other mines. The mine sites and the ruins of a stone house are still clearly visible.

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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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