Daily Archives: June 16, 2013

Undressed Suppressed!

Underwear, history of.


A few days ago, I read an interesting article by Stephanie Marin of The Canadian Press.

Before I begin, here’s a little background.  The Museum of Civilization is located in Gatineau, Quebec, just a few miles from the Parliament Buildings.  Last October, our current Prime Minister announced a change in name for the Museum. It will be changed to the Museum of Canadian History.  So far, the name hasn’t been changed.

The museum announced that it would display the “Undressed” exposition.  Undressed?  Yep.  It was to describe 350 years of the history of underwear!  Isn’t that a bit vulgar?  It can’t be that bad, because the prestigious Royal Victoria and Albert Museum in London was displaying it.  You can even view it online, just by going to the London’s Museum site.

We’ll never get to see it at our Museum though.  It was cancelled.  Apparently, the logic is that with the name change comes the mandate’s change.  How would “Undressed” be about Canada’s history?

The previous Museum President, Victor Rabinovitch, was the one who originally booked the show.  He apparently had never heard a single comment that implied it shouldn’t be displayed.  Therefore he was surprised when he heard that the current Vice-President, Jean-Marc Blais, cancelled, just six months after the contract was signed!

Member of Parliament Pierre Nantel (NDP) implied that the (Conservative) government was responsible for the cancellation.

“One month after announcing a new vocation for the museum they decide to put the brakes on a show that fit better with the former mandate of the museum and which did not fit at all with the ideology of Mr. Moore,” Nantel said.


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The Men Will Behave Very Orderly …

English: Fort Lawrence - Nova Scotia by John H...

Fort Lawrence – Nova Scotia by John Hamilton 1755 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Before the Acadians were expelled from Nova Scotia in 1755, they were caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.   There might be some argument about which side was which!  Some of the Acadians lived in  Cape Breton and what is now New Brunswick, belonging to France while the others lived in the rest of Nova Scotia, which was British.

The French governor at Quebec issued a proclamation commanding all Acadians to take an oath of allegiance to the King, and enrol in the French militia.  Britain made similar demands on the 9,000 Acadians in her territory, although not requiring them to join the militia.

There was a French fort at Beauséjour (which had been preserved as a historic site), while the British had Fort Lawrence, not far away.  Governor Vaudreuil at Quebec sent instructions to Governor Vergor at Beauséjour to devise a plan to attack against Fort Lawrence.

The British had a spy in Beauséjour, who revealed the plan to Governor Lawrence of Nova Scotia and who also got in touch with Governor Shirley in Massachusetts.   Shirley, with his usual enthusiasm, raised a force of 2,000 men.  When they embarked to sail to Nova Scotia they were instructed: “The men will behave very orderly on the Sabbath Day, and either stay on board their transports, or else go to church, and not stroll up and down the streets.”

The force landed at Fort Lawrence on June 4, 1755.  Governor Vergor had his men set all the houses on fire between Fort Lawrence and Beauséjour, while a famous Roman catholic priest, Father Le Loutre, had his Acadians working on the fortifications.  In the meantime, Vergor had sent an urgent message to Louisburg for help, but learned on June 14 that none would be coming.  The British had fired their guns at Beauséjour for several days when a shell fell through a roof and killed three officers.  That was enough for Vergor and he surrendered the fort on June 16.

As the New England troops could only be kept for one year, and the French were expected to try to recapture Nova Scotia, it was decided to expel the Acadians.  Their exodus took place later in the year.

Want to read more about Governor Vergor and the surrender of Beauséjour? You can begin with Nova Scotia’s Electric Scrapbook, and then the History of Nova Scotia. To read even more, there’s Tantramar History Sites and the Acadian-Cajun Geniealogy & History, and then, for a few very interesting anecdotes, you have to visit 1775: L’Histoire. All good places to start.


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