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Category Archives: Prime Minister

Justin Trudeau

Few countries in the world have a younger and better educated Prime Minister than the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. This well educated young man is the second youngest Prime Minister of Canada, second only to Joe Clark. And he is the first elected Prime Minister who is the child of a previous elected Prime Minister. He is the son of Pierre Trudeau, former Prime Minister of Canada. He has performed some amazing feats, one of which was to lead his Liberal party from third place (by the number of seats) to first place, thus winning a landslide victory. He had the largest increment in number of seats of any party in Canadian history. It is not surprising, then, that Forbes Magazine ranks him among the most powerful persons in the world. He stands 69th in that list.

Justin Trudeau was born Christmas eve in 1971, while his father was still in office. Despite repeated protests from his wife, Pierre Trudeau was permitted into the delivery room. Little did they know that their son would follow in his father’s footsteps. In fact, in April 1972, American President Nixon raised a toast “Tonight, we’ll dispense with formalities. I’d like to toast the future prime minister of Canada — to Justin Pierre Trudeau.” The Prime Minister noted that should this come true, he would want his son to have “the grace and skill of the President” (Nixon). In April 1972, Nixon gave a champagne toast during a buffet meal. His remarks have become known as the Nixon prophecy. “Tonight, we’ll dispense with formalities. I’d like to toast the future prime minister of Canada — to Justin Pierre Trudeau.”

 

In 2009, Trudeau spoke of his parent’s marriage. “They loved each other incredibly, passionately, completely. But there was 30 years between them and my Mom never was an equal partner in what encompassed my father’s life, his duty, his country.”

Since childhood, Justin was given the “normal” treatment, to make sure that he was raised without any unreasonable privileges. He was sent to a public school, and used the school bus (as opposed to a limousine) to his school.

Later in life, Justin Trudeau has used his public status to promote various causes. For instance, he and his family, started the Kokanee Glacier Alpine Campaign for winter sports safety in 2000, two years after his brother, Michel Trudeau, died in an avalanche during a ski trip.

In 2002, Trudeau criticized the British Columbia’s decision to suspend its funding for a public avalanche warning system.

In 2005, Trudeau fought against a proposed $100 million zinc mine that he argued would poison the Nahanni River, a United Nations World Heritage Site in the Northwest Territories.

He became involved with the Liberal Party from a young age, and that involvement progressed over the years. He won the party’s nomination in 2007, and in 2015, he led his party to win the elections in one of the biggest upsets in the Canadian political history. The rest, so far, is history.
For a good laugh, just watch the short video below. Some Americans’ thought on who Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is.

 

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Trudeaumania

Canada is a great country, having seen mostly peace for all of its existence, and being one of the countries whose history is almost impeccably laudable. Building that amazing history has partly been due to the fact that our leaders have mostly done the right thing for our country. And when the topic of good leaders come, our modern history has seen one whose name always stands out. Pierre Trudeau, the father of current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been an inspiration for an entire generation, with his wonderful period as a Prime Minister.

A personality that dominated the entire country with such ferocity as never seen in our country’s history, Pierre Trudeau had a great career as a popular political figure, loved by many. Beginning his career as a lawyer and activist in Quebec politics, Trudeau joined the Liberal Party in 1960s, and was quickly appointed the Parliamentary Secretary of Lester B. Pearson. He went on to become the Minister of Justice of the country. Such was his following that some even give it the term “Trudeaumania.” He stayed as Prime Minister for a long period, before resigning from his post finally in 1984. His leadership has been seen as a remarkable, and often favorably polarizing period for Canada.


An example of him holding tight to his decision in a crisis is the FLQ episode. Canadians were shocked on October 19, 1970 when Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and the House of Commons passed the War Measures Act.

The federal and Quebec governments where struggling with the Front de Liberation du Quebec(FLQ). The had kidnapped British Trade Commissioner James Cross on October 5. They held him for a ransom of $500,000 and demanded that the CBC broadcast the FLQ manifesto.

Then they abducted Quebec Labour Minister Pierre Laporte on October 10; his body was discovered eight days later.

At one point, from the steps of parliament, the press asked him about the extreme implementation of the War Measures Act, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau replied, “Just watch me.” That statement would forever become a part of Trudeau’s legacy.

Some of his biggest national achievements during his term as Prime Minister were suppressing the Quebec sovereign movement, and building Canada as a nation with unity as a core principle. He is also known for introducing bilingualism as official policy of Canada, and for his Patriation of the Constitution. It was under him that Canada stopped being ruled by British laws that could be changed by the British, and it was the moment when Canada finally got sovereignty. This event has had him hailed as the “father of modern Canada”.

PM Pierre Trudeau doing a pirouette behind the Queen

Every great person has critics, and so did Pierre Trudeau. His critics impugn him with claims of arrogance and poor economic management, and of having centralized the management of Canada (which has been hailed as a very good thing by others), thus robbing Quebec of the culture and economy of Prairies. But whatever the naysayers speak, Trudeau has been consistently shown up in a list of the greatest Prime Ministers of Canada.

Pierre Trudeau has been considered one of the most loved, and the most hated of the Canadian Prime Ministers. This is because of the charisma and confidence that he held, along with his focus on uniting Canada and making sure that the country has one holistic identity. But he is also known for his antipathy towards his political opponents, and his dislike for any sort of compromise have also gained him some critics. In fact, it has been said the it was Mackenzie King, who was the only other person who had matched such levels of electoral success as Pierre Trudeau. This mad made Canada what it is today, fought for recognition, and suppressed any factional uprisings to make the country whole. That is something that is going to be on the history books forever.

 

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101 Facts About Canada

Canada is interesting. I’ve said that many times. Some have asked me “in what way?” So here are a few ways:

 

  1. 10% of the world’s forest is in Canada
  2. 15.9% of the population is 65 or older. 68.5% are between the ages of 15 and 64.
  3. 17% of Canadians are daily smokers.
  4. 280,681 new permanent residents were welcomed to Canada in 2010. That number does not include temporary workers or foreign students.
  5. A 9.3 kg lobster is the largest documented lobster caught. It was caught in Nova Scotia in 1977
  6. About 90% of Canada’s population is concentrated within 160 kilometers (100 miles) of the Canada/U.S. border.
  7. Canada became a country on July 1, 1867
  8. Canada birth rate is 10 births/1,000 population
  9. Canada features the longest coastline in the world, stretching 202,080 kilometers (125,570 miles).
  10. Canada fertility rate is 1.59 children born/woman
  11. Canada has 198 jails.
  12. Canada has hosted the Olympic Games 3 times; 1976 in Montreal, 1988 in Calgary and 2010 in Vancouver.
  13. Canada has over 30,000 lakes.
  14. Canada has six time zones.
  15. Canada has ten provinces and three territories.
  16. Canada has the 9th lowest population density on the planet
  17. Canada highest point: Mount Logan 5,959 m
  18. Canada infant mortality rate is 5 deaths/1,000 live births
  19. Canada is home to 15 million cattle, 9 million of which live on the Prairies.
  20. Canada is home to about 55 000 different species of insects.
  21. Canada is rich in resources such as zinc, nickel, lead and gold.
  22. Canada is the largest producer of uranium in the world.
  23. Canada is the second largest country in the world by total area (Russia is the largest).
  24. Canada officially got its own national flag on February 15, 1965 — almost 100 years after it became a country (in 1867).
  25. Canada population growth rate: 0.77%
  26. Canada shares the longest land border in the world with the United States, totaling 8891 kilometers (5525 miles).
  27. Canada’s literacy rate is over 99%.
  28. Canada’s only desert in British Columbia is only 15 miles long and is the only desert in the world with a long boardwalk for visitors to walk on.
  29. Canadian sports icons include Wayne Gretzky (hockey), Steve Nash (basketball), Mike Weir (golf) and Cassie Campbell (women’s hockey).
  30. Canadians call the one dollar coin the loonie. When in full production, 15 million loonies can be produced per day.
  31. Canadians can deduct a number of things from their tax software, but I bet you didn’t know that dog food is tax-deductible in Canada.
  32. Canadians generate 640 kilograms per person per year of waste.
  33. Churchill, Manitoba sees one of the largest annual polar bear migrations.
  34. Daylight savings time does not occur in Saskatchewan.
  35. Despite being a huge country, Canada has the fourth lowest population density in the world, with only three people living per square kilometer! Almost half of the population in Canada were born in other countries.
  36. Fifty percent of the world’s polar bears live in Nunavut.
  37. Graeme Ferguson co-invented IMAX. There are over 500 IMAX theaters in 45 countries.
  38. Half of the country is covered with forests, which should come as no surprise considering one-tenth of the world’s forests are here.
  39. Ice hockey, football and baseball are Canadians favorite spectator sports.
  40. In 1576, Martin Frobisher discovered the strait that bears his name.
  41. In 1792-94, Captain George Vancouver painstakingly surveyed the west coast of Canada.
  42. It wasn’t until 1610 that Henry Hudson sailed through Hudson Strait into Hudson Bay.
  43. Its population density is 8.6 people per square mile, making Canada the ninth-most sparsely populated nation in the world.
  44. John Cabot was the first explorer to reach Canada in 1497.
  45. Mackenzie River is the Longest River in Canada
  46. Navigation of the north-west passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific was first achieved by the Norwegian explorer, Roald Amundsen in 1906.
  47. Newfoundland didn’t become a province until 1949.
  48. Newfoundland is nicknamed “The Rock.’
  49. Newfoundland was the first part of Canada to be explored by Europeans
  50. No cows in Canada are given artificial hormones for milk production.
  51. Prince Edward Island, Canada’s smallest province is only 225 kilometers long and 56 kilometers wide.
  52. Second-largest country in world.
  53. Six cities in Canada have a population of over 1 million: Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa.
  54. Some of the world’s largest wheat fields are found in Saskatchewan.
  55. The 2 main languages spoken in Canada are English and French.
  56. The Bank of Canada opened its doors in 1935 and issued its first bank notes.
  57. The CN Tower in Toronto was the world’s tallest free-standing structure until 2007.
  58. The Canadian motto, A Mari Usque ad Mare, means “From sea to sea.”
  59. The Northwest Territories is called The Land of the Midnight Sun because the sun barely sets around the summer solstice.
  60. The Royal Montreal Golf Club, founded in 1873, is the oldest golf club in North America.
  61. The S&P/TSX is the fourth largest exchange by market cap in the developed world.
  62. The US buys more oil from Canada than any other country.
  63. The US, the UK and Mexico are the top countries visited by Canadians.
  64. The West Edmonton Mall is the largest in North America
  65. The age at first marriage for men is 29 years, 27.4 years for women.
  66. The average Canadian watches 21 hours of television per week. 128,000 Canadian households have TV’s in the bathroom.
  67. The average household size in Canada is 2.6 people.
  68. The average life expectancy at birth is 81.16 years – the sixth highest in the world.
  69. The baseball glove was invented in Canada in 1883.
  70. The capital city of Canada is Ottawa.
  71. The coldest temperature ever recorded in Canada was -63C (-81.4F) on February 3, 1957 in Snag, Yukon.
  72. The east coast of Canada was settled by Vikings in about 1000 AD. It’s definitely worth a visit to L’Anse aux Meadows.
  73. The first indoor ice hockey game took place on March 3, 1875 at the Victoria Skating Rink in Montreal.
  74. The highest mountain in Canada is Mount Logan, Yukon Territory, 5959 meters (19,551 feet).
  75. The intersection of Portage and Main Street in Winnipeg has been called the windiest place in Canada.
  76. The largest non-polar ice field in the world can be found in the St. Elias Mountains, Yukon Territory. It covers an area of 40,570 square kilometers of which 16,900 square kilometers are in Canada, the rest being in Alaska.
  77. The license plate for cars, motorbikes and snowmobiles in Nunavut is in the shape of a polar bear.
  78. The longest highway in the world is the Trans-Canada Highway which is over 7,604 kilometers (4,725 miles) in length.
  79. The median age is 41 years.
  80. The most popular sport in Canada is ice hockey.
  81. The name Canada comes from the word ‘kanata’ which means ‘settlement’ or ‘village’ in the language of the indigenous St Lawrence Iroquoians.
  82. The official languages of Canada are English and French.
  83. The population in Canada in 2011 was about 34.3 million.
  84. The regent of England, currently Queen Elizabeth II, is the Canadian head of state.
  85. The world’s most northerly sand dunes are in Athabasca Provincial Park in northwest Saskatchewan. They are 30 meters high.
  86. There are 459 cars for every 1000 people.
  87. There are about 200 species of mammals in Canada.
  88. There are diamond mines in the Northwest Territories.
  89. There are nearly 2.5 million caribou in Canada.
  90. There have been 10 Nobel Prize laureates in Canada.
  91. Thirty two percent of Canadians are very happy, 55% are quite happy
  92. Thomas Ahearn invented the electric cooking range in 1882.
  93. Wasaga beach is the longest fresh water beach in the world.
  94. Whistler, British Columbia is consistently ranked as one of the best places in North America for downhill skiing.
  95. Winnie The Pooh Was Based On A Canadian Bear
  96. Winters can be very cold in Canada with temperatures dropping below -40 °C (-40 °F) in some parts of the country.
  97. You can swim with beluga whales in Churchill, Manitoba.
  98. You’ll find about 630 bird species in Canada.
  99. Recognised regional languages include Chipewyan, Cree, Gwich’in, Inuinnaqtun, Inuktitut, Inuvialuktun, North Slavey, South Slavey and Tłı̨chǫ.
  100.  Currently, the Governor General is David Johnston, and the Prime Minister is Stephen Harper.
  101. The Vikings were the first Europeans known to land in Canada, in what is now Newfoundland, led by the Viking explorer Leif Erikson.
 

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National Flag Day

Today marks the 50th birthday of our flag.  Since Canada became Canada in 1867, you are probably wondering why the flag is only 50 years old.  Well, here is a quick explanation.

Canadian Flag Day 2015

Happy 50th Birthday,
Canadian Flag!

The year was 1964 and Canada’s centennial was fast approaching. Parliament voted to adopt a new design for the Canadian flag and issued a call for submissions. Almost 4,000 designs were submitted in many different colour combinations and motifs by Canadians from all walks of life, including A. Y. Jackson of the Group of Seven. Submissions came in all shapes and sizes and on a variety of materials: wrapping paper, tissue paper, wallpaper, cardboard, bristol board, mat board, pieces of cloth, etc. Some people used pictures out of magazines, the labels off commercial products or postcards or included petitions in support of their design.

The final design was announced on December 15, 1964, and the official ceremony inaugurating the new Canadian flag was held on February 15, 1965.

The maple leaf as found on the national flag is a traditional emblem of Canada. It was for many years the symbol of the Canadian Armed Forces and was used to identify Canadian contingents in the two world wars.

Did you know…

  • The flag on Parliament Hill’s Peace Tower is 4.6 metres (or 15′) wide and 2.3 metres (or 7′ 6”) tall. That’s taller than the average Canadian (1.7 metres or 5′ 6”)!
  • A Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) employee changes the Peace Tower flag every working day, except during unsafe weather conditions.
  • Flags flown on Parliament Hill never serve another official purpose, regardless of the time spent on the pole.

For more information, I would have you read an earlier post of mine from December 14, 2012, “That’s it!” that tells of the Canadian flag’s birth.

You can listen to composer Freddy Grant’s (1913 – 1996) song “Flag of Canada,” (published by Warner/Chappell Music Canada Ltd.) below.

Another interesting video to watch is the Great Canadian Flag debate:

 

Happy 50th Birthday to our flag!

 

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Happy (Belated) Birthday, John!

Yesterday, January 11, 2015, was Sir John A. Macdonald’s 200th Birthday.  I believe that such a date must be recognized.  And so, today, I will tell you a few things to know about him.

Canadian election campaign poster from 1891

Figure 1: English: “The Old Flag – The Old Policy – The Old Leader”. 1891 Canadian election campaign poster for Sir John A. Macdonald. Français : “Le vieux drapeau, les vieux principes, le vieux chef”. Campagne électorale de 1891.

Basic details of his life are:

  • He was born John Alexander Macdonald, on January 11, 1815 in Glasgow, Scotland, (UK)
  • He died June 6, 1891 at the age of 76 in Ottawa, Ontario
  • His final resting place is at the Cataraqui Cemetery in Kingston, Ontario
  • He was a Conservative
  • He married twice, first with Isabella Clark until her death (1843-1857) and Agnes Bernard until the day he died (1867-1891)
  • He had 3 children
  • He was a Lawyer
  • Though he was brought up a Presbyterian, he converted to Anglican
  • He was the first Prime Minister of Canada (1867–1873, 1878–1891)
  • The dominant figure of Canadian Confederation, he had a political career which spanned almost half a century
  • Macdonald served 19 years as Canadian Prime Minister (only William Lyon Mackenzie King served longer)
Animation of the changes to the borders of Canada

Figure 2: Animation of the changes to the borders of Canada. Date: 15 July 2009. Source Author: Golbez (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Golbez)

Macdonald was designated as the first Prime Minister of the new nation, and served in that capacity for most of the rest of his life, losing office for five years in the 1870s over the Pacific Scandal (corruption in the financing of the Canadian Pacific Railway). After regaining his place in the government, he saw the railroad through to completion in 1885, and it helped unite Canada as one nation. Macdonald is credited with creating a Canadian Confederation despite many obstacles, and expanding what was a relatively small country to cover the northern half of North America. By the time of his death in 1891, Canada had secured most of the territory it occupies today.  Figure 2 shows how the boundaries in Canada have changed since Confederation.

John initially attended local schools. When he was aged 10, his family scraped together the money to send him to Midland District Grammar School in Kingston. Macdonald’s formal schooling ended at 15, a common school-leaving age at a time when only children from the most prosperous families were able to attend university.  Nevertheless, Macdonald later regretted leaving school when he did, remarking to his private secretary Joseph Pope that if he had attended university, he might have embarked on a literary career. I wonder how different our history would be if hadn’t persued politics.

In March 1844, Macdonald was asked by local businessmen to stand as Conservative candidate for Kingston in the upcoming legislative election.  Macdonald followed the contemporary custom of supplying the voters with large quantities of alcohol.  In the era preceding the secret ballot when votes were publicly declared, Macdonald defeated his opponent, Anthony Manahan, by 275 “shouts” to 42 when the two-day election concluded on 15 October 1844.

Conservative Senator Hugh Segal believes that Macdonald’s true monument is Canada itself:

“Without Macdonald we’d be a country that begins somewhere at the Manitoba-Ontario border that probably goes throughout the east. Newfoundland would be like Alaska and I think that would also go for Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C. We’d be buying our oil from the United States. It would diminish our quality of life and range of careers, and our role in the world would have been substantially reduced.”

Macdonald’s biographers note his contribution to establishing Canada as a nation. Swainson suggests that Macdonald’s wish for a free and tolerant Canada became part of its national outlook:

“He not only helped to create Canada, but contributed immeasurably to its character.”

Gwyn said of Macdonald, his accomplishments were staggering: Confederation above all, but almost as important, if not more so, extending the country across the continent by a railway that was, objectively, a fiscal and economic insanity … On the ledger’s other side, he was responsible for the CPR scandal, the execution of Louis Riel, and for the head tax on Chinese workers. He’s thus not easy to scan. His private life was mostly barren. Yet few other Canadian leaders — Pierre Trudeau, John Diefenbaker for a time, Wilfrid Laurier — had the same capacity to inspire love.

To read more about Sir John A, I suggest CBC Archives where you can find a host of multimedia content; another impressive site would be the Dictionary of Canadian Biography article by J. K. Johnson and P. B. Waite; if you enjoy looking at archived documents, the best place would be the Library and Archives Canada: gallery of papers; another great place is the The Canadian Encyclopedia.

 

 

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Halifax’s Worst Explosions, Tsunami and Snow!

Prior tо thе invention of nuclear tесhnоlоgіеѕ, the wоrѕt man-made еxрlоѕіоn occurred іn Halifax, Nova Scotia, on December 6, 1917, at roughly 8:45 am.   Dеѕtrоуіng thе еntіrе district of Richmond, thе еxрlоѕіоn wаѕ саuѕеd whеn a French cargo ship, SS Mont Blаnс, саrrуіng wartime wеароnѕ collided wіth a Nоrwеgіаn ѕhір, SS Imo.  

Map of Nova Scotia and area

Nova Scotia and area. Source: http://pcmha.com/page.php?page_id=5991Pictou County Minor Hockey Ass’n.

Ships carrying dangerous cargo were not allowed into the harbour before the war, but the risks posed by German submarines had resulted in a relaxing of regulations.

The collision caused a fіrе to brеаk out, which in turn іgnіtеd thе еxрlоѕіvеѕ оn bоаrd. A huge еxрlоѕіоn wаѕ саuѕеd, killing 2000 people and injuring 9000 from fіrеѕ, fаllіng dеbrіѕ, and collapsing buіldіngѕ.  The out-of-control fire aboard Mont-Blanc set off her highly explosive cargo. The ship was completely blown apart, and the remains of her hull were launched nearly 1,000 feet into the air.  The blast travelled at more than 1,000 metres per second. Temperatures of 5 000 °C and pressures of thousands of atmospheres accompanied the moment of detonation at the centre of the explosion.  White-hot shards of iron rained down upon Halifax and Dartmouth. The Mont-Blanc’s forward 90 mm gun landed about 5.6 kilometres north of the explosion site near Albro Lake in Dartmouth, while part of her anchor, weighing half a ton, landed 3.2 kilometres south at Armdale.

Halifax explosion blast cloud

View, of the column of smoke raised by the Halifax Explosion. One of only a few photographs of the blast itself. 6 Dec. 1917 / Halifax, N.S.; 6 December 1917 Source: Library and Archives Canada/PA-166585

The shock wave from the blast travelled through the earth at nearly 23 times the speed of sound and was felt as far away as Cape Breton and Prince Edward Island.  An area over 400 acres was destroyed by the explosion, while the harbour floor was momentarily exposed by the volume of water that vaporized. A tsunami was formed by water surging in to fill the void, which rose up as high as 18 metres (60 feet) above the harbour’s high-water mark on the Halifax side.  Imo was carried onto the shore at Dartmouth by the tsunami.

The disaster had damaged buildings and shattered windows as far away as Sackville and Windsor Junction, about 16 kilometres  away. Buildings shook and items fell from shelves as far away as Truro and New Glasgow, both over 100 kilometres  away. The explosion was felt and heard in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, roughly 215 kilometres  north, and as far away as North Cape Breton, 360 kilometres  east.

Relief efforts were hampered the following day by a blizzard that blanketed Halifax with 16 inches  of heavy snow.

Robert Borden, Canada’s prime minister at the time, was in Charlottetown at the time of explosion and he also heard it along with many of his officials. He arrived and toured Halifax two days later to oversee and organize the recovery and rescue efforts.

Thе еxрlоѕіоn also wiped оut the еntіrе lосаl соmmunіtу оf Mі’kmаԛ First Nаtіоnѕ реорlе that had lіvеd in thе Tuft’ѕ Cоvе аrеа fоr generations.

The last body, a caretaker killed at the Exhibition Grounds, was not recovered until the summer of 1919.  An additional 9,000 were injured, 6,000 of them seriously; 1,630 homes were destroyed in the explosion and fires, with 12,000 more houses damaged.

Many of the wounds inflicted by the blast were permanently debilitating, with many people partially blinded by flying glass or by the flash of the explosion.  With the recently formed Canadian National Institute for the Blind, they managed to greatly improve the treatment of damaged eyes.

The death toll could have been worse if not for the self-sacrifice of an Intercolonial Railway dispatcher, Patrick Vincent (Vince) Coleman, operating at the Richmond Railway Yards about a quarter-mile away from Pier 6 where the explosion occurred. He and his co-worker, William Lovett, learned of the dangerous cargo aboard the burning Mont-Blanc from a sailor and began to flee. Coleman remembered, however, that an incoming passenger train from Saint John, New Brunswick was due to arrive at the rail yard within minutes. Coleman sent his Morse code message and left with Lovett. For unknown reasons, he returned to his post alone and continued to send out urgent telegraph messages to stop the train. Several variations of the message have been reported, among them this from the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic:

“Hold up the train. Ammunition ship afire in harbor making for Pier 6 and will explode. Guess this will be my last message. Good-bye boys.”

There are a number of books written about this event.  A few notable ones are:

Blizzard of Glass: The Halifax Explosion of 1917,

Curse of the Narrows: The Halifax Explosion 1917,

Dear Canada: No Safe Harbour: The Halifax Explosion Diary of Charlotte Blackburn, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1917,

and Dear Canada: No Safe Harbour: The Halifax Explosion Diary of Charlotte Blackburn, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1917.

 

 

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Thanks to the Celts!

In thе bеgіnnіng, Canada wаѕ a vаѕt piece оf land that had bаrеlу bееn examined. Mаnу of the first explorers wеrе Scots like Dаvіd Mасkеnzіе or Sіmоn Frаѕеr, whо both mарреd оut a large раrt оf our country. A Welshman nаmеd Sіr Thomas Button lеd thе first expedition fоr thе Nоrthwеѕt Pаѕѕаgе in 1612, whіlе Welsh саrtоgrарhеr Dаvіd Thоmрѕоn is rеfеrrеd tо аѕ Cаnаdа’ѕ Greatest Gеоgrарhеr. Aѕ more аnd mоrе ѕеttlеrѕ саmе, іt brought аbоut the Hudson Bау Cоmраnу and thе Nоrth Wеѕt Cоmраnу, both сruсіаl іn mapping оut thе bоundаrіеѕ of Cаnаdа.

Thomas Button

Admiral Sir Thomas Button, after an original oil in possession of G. M. Traheren, Glamorganshire, Wales. Source http://www.mhs.mb.ca/docs/pageant/15/buttonsymposium.shtml

Whіlе ѕоmе voluntarily саmе to Cаnаdа fоr a new life аnd орроrtunіtіеѕ, others had lіttlе сhоісе in leaving their homeland and coming here.  Mаnу Irіѕh lеft tо ѕаvе themselves frоm starvation duе to роtаtо famine. Fоr others, rеlіgіоuѕ dіѕрutеѕ wеrе the саuѕе for dераrturе. Whаtеvеr thе rеаѕоn, thousands left hоmе fоr a nеw wоrld. Many ships were оvеrсrоwdеd аnd unѕаnіtаrу, causing mаnу dеаthѕ. Hіt hаrdеѕt bу this were thе Irish; many dіdn’t survive thе journey. Fоr those lucky еnоugh tо аrrіvе ѕаfеlу, their nеw lіvеѕ wеrеn’t еаѕу. Thе fіrѕt settlers had to clear the lаnd аnd рrераrе іt tо grоw fооd аnd tо buіld ѕhеltеr. It was not еаѕу аnd many rеturnеd hоmе. Those соurаgеоuѕ еnоugh to ѕtау mаnаgеd tо buіld a new lіfе. Mаnу new tоwnѕ were сrеаtеd, оftеn nаmеd аftеr thоѕе whо founded them оr in rеflесtіоn оf whеrе thеу came frоm.

Canada bеgаn tо tаkе shape аnd Confederation саmе аbоut іn 1867, wіth Sіr Jоhn A. MасDоnаld, a Scotsman, bесоmіng оur fіrѕt Prime Minister. Irishman Thomas D’Arсу MсGее wаѕ аlѕо a Fаthеr of Cоnfеdеrаtіоn. Aѕ the соuntrу grеw, nеw dеvеlорmеntѕ аnd іnvеntіоnѕ came to lіght. Thе Sсоtѕ gave uѕ standard tіmе (Sir Sandford Fleming), аnd thе RCMP (Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald).  They gаvе us the modern trасtоr (James G. Cockshutt).

Thanks tо thеіr hаrd work and dеtеrmіnаtіоn, thе Scottish, Irish, and Wеlѕh people played a large part of making thіѕ соuntrу whаt іt іѕ tоdау.

 

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