Daily Archives: June 3, 2013

I Told You it Would Happen …

English: Marie Guyart Français : Marie de l'In...

Marie de l’Incarnation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An Indian girl heard a voice that predicted a great earthquake would happen in three days, and at five in the afternoon.  This girl told a nun, Mère Marie de l’Incarnation.  This was three days before the great Charlevoix, Quebec earthquake of 1663!

Update: directly from Heritage Toronto:

The Savages, as well as the French, had had presentiments of this fearful Earthquake. A young Algonquin girl, between Sixteen and seventeen years of age, named Catherine, – who has always lived a very innocent life; and who, indeed, owing to her extraordinary trust in the Cross of the Son of God, has been cured, as if by a miracle, of an illness from which she had been suffering for an entire Winter, without any hopes of recovery, – deposed with all sincerity that, on the night preceding the Earthquake, she saw herself with two other girls of her age and Nation mounting a great Stairway. At its top [22] was seen a beautiful Church, where the Blessed Virgin appeared with her Son, predicting to them that the earth would soon be shaken, trees would strike against one another, and rocks would be shattered, to the general consternation of all the people.

There are sites that discuss this event.  The first place I suggest is Wikipedia, and Natural Resources Canada, and then U.S. Geological Survey, and lastly, I highly suggest clicking your way to Heritage Toronto.


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Pacific or Arctic?

Approximate extent of the Mackenzie River wate...

Approximate extent of the Mackenzie River watershed Longest river in Canada, the Mackenzie River. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Alexander Mackenzie began his exploration of the Mackenzie River on June 3, 1789, four years before becoming the first man to cross the North American continent.

Mackenzie came to Canada from Scotland when he was fifteen to become a clerk for the Northwest Company in Montreal.  he became a minor partner and was sent to take charge of a trading post at Detroit.  However, the Nor’westers needed young, rugged men in the north, and Mackenzie was sent to build a post on Lake Athabaska in 1785.  He named it Fort Chipewyan.

Mackenzie soon became familiar with the surrounding territory, even Great Slave Lake, larger than Lake Ontario.  There was a giant river running north from Great Slave Lake and Mackenzie wanted to know where it went: to the Pacific, or the Arctic?

He set out in a canoe with a German, four French-Canadian voyageurs and two of their wives.  The women’s skills were essential on a long trip such as Mackenzie planned.  The expedition paddled the 230 miles to Great Slave Lake, where they had to wait for two weeks because it was still frozen.  By July 1, they were able to continue down the river which was, at times, six miles wide.  After they had gone 500 miles, they met some Indians who tried to stop them from going farther.  The Indians told such tales about the horrors of the river, and the evil spirits, that the German and the voyageurs were ready to turn back, but not Mackenzie.

By July 12, they had reached the river mouth.  It was dreary and disappointing.  The great river divided into narrow channels and flowed through marshy land into the Arctic Sea. Mackenzie spent three days there under the midnight sun, and then burned back.  Two months later he reached Fort Chipewyan.

It seems incredible that Mackenzie and his companions could have covered such a distance by canoe in such a short time, especially as they had to paddle back against the current.  From Great Slave Lake, the Mackenzie River is 1,200 miles long.  The distance to and from Lake Athabaska, where Fort Chipewyan is located, must also be added.

If you would like to read some more about this, I can suggest a few places. To start, I recommend, and then Beyond the Map, and The Alexander Mackenzie Voyageur Route. Another interesting site is at Mackenzie River Bicentennial Dollar.


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