Daily Archives: July 17, 2013

Canadians Colville & Carr

Yesterday, we all lost an artist who was known here and abroad.  Alex Colville passed away on July 16, 2013 in Wolfville, Nova Scotia at the age of 92.

Canadian artist Alex Colville, war artist atta...

Canadian artist Alex Colville, war artist attached to the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division, on the Dutch/German border in the final months of WWII (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He was born on August 24, 1920 in Toronto, Ontario. In 1984 and 1985, an exhibition of his art toured in Germany and the Far East, including Japan, the first time that an exhibition of the work of a living Canadian artist had been seen in that country.

Rhoda Colville (Wright), his wife (and muse, and  a model for some of his paintings) died peacefully on December 29, 2012, at the age of 91, in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.  They were married for 70 years.  They met at Mount Allison, New Brunswick, and married in 1942. She was a gifted artist in her own right, and a witty poet.

To read more, I suggest visiting his official website at

There are many more Canadian Painters and Artists, of note.  I will do a few posts about some of the more famous ones throughout the next months.

To whet your appetite, I’m going to feature Emily Carr here in today’s post.  You can’t read about Canadian painters without mentioning her.

She was born: December 13, 1871, in Victoria, British Columbia; she died on : March 2, 1945, at age 74 in Victoria.

After attending art schools in San Francisco and England, Carr felt inspired by a sense of local patriotism to begin painting the Northwest Coast landscape and its Native peoples, particularly the Haida Aboriginal people of the Queen Charlotte Islands.


Big Raven, 1931
oil on canvas
Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Emily Carr Trust
Photo: Trevor Mills, Vancouver Art Gallery

To learn more about her, I suggest two sites: the first is at CBC Archives and then there’s the British Columbia Heritage.


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Newfoundland Tried To Sell Labrador!

English: Newfoundland and Labrador Province wi...

Newfoundland and Labrador Province within Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Did you know that Newfoundland offered to sell Labrador? That it tried three times?


As author Bren Walsh wrote, “In 1890 the price was reported to be $9 million, in 1923 the bargaining commenced at $30 million, and then dropped to half that figure, and in 1932 it was reportedly offered for about $110 million.” In 1949 Newfoundland and Labrador entered Confederation, so without a sale the territory became part of Canada.
To read the book by Bren Walsh, just click on this link:  More than a Poor Majority: The story of Newfoundland’s Confederation with Canada



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Fort Mackinac Has A New Owner … Again!

English: Topographic map in English of Mackina...

Topographic map in English of Mackinac Island, Lake Huron, Michigan, USA. Note: The shaded relief is a raster image embedded in the SVG file. Lambert conformal conic projection – NAD83 datum Scales: topography: 1:124,000 (precision: 31 m) bathymetry: 1:368,000 (precision: 92 m) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On July 17, 1812, a small British force from St. Joseph’s Island captured Fort Mackinac (Michilimackinac) from the Americans.  Strangely enough the British had also captured it on the same date in 1777, during the American Revolutionary War.

The capture of Fort Mackinac in 1812 was a colourful affair.  The British had only 45 regular soldiers on St. Joseph’s Island, but they recruited 180 Canadians and 400 Native Indians and travelled to Fort Mackinac in canoes!   It was a journey of 50 miles, but they made it in good time and managed to get a cannon up the island’s cliffs without being detected.  The 60 American “blue coats” in the garrison surrendered immediately, giving up seven cannons and valuable supplies.  This action and the later massacre at Fort Dearhorn (Chicago) were responsible for General Hull’s retreat to Detroit after his invasion of Canada on July 12.

Two great figures in Canadian history then came on the scene.  They were General Isaac Brock, and Indian Chief Tecumseh.  George M. Wrong, in his book The Canadians, says that Brock ranks in the fame next only to Wolfe.  Some of his exploits will be recounted in future stories.  Tecumseh was an American Shawnee chief and had an almost equally famous brother known as “the Prophet.”  They had a plan to combine all the Indians from Canada to Florida to resist encroachment on their hunting grounds.  Tecumseh and “the Prophet” tried to do this peacefully by making a deal with the United States that no purchases of land would be made without the consent of the Indian tribes affected.  The Americans would not agree to this and General Harrison defeated “the Prophet” in the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811.

Now Tecumseh wanted revenge but waited until war broke out between Britain and the United States.  Tecumseh, who was commissioned a brigadier-general in the British army, was the symbol of all the Indians’ hopes  of recovering their lands.  When he joined the British on the Canadian side of the Detroit River, hundreds of Indians followed him.  They played a vital and colourful part in the capture of Fort Meigs, and in all the skirmishes around the Detroit area.

To read more, I suggest 1812Now, and then History Sites & Museumat the Official War of 1812 Bicentennial. And then I suggest Suite 101. You can also visit for their page on the British Capture Fort Mackinac, and then lastly, I suggest visiting the History of, for their piece on the Battle of Mackinac Island.


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