Tag Archives: King George V

Conspiracy Within The Ranks!

Tadoussac in about 1612, illustrated by Samuel...

Tadoussac in about 1612, illustrated by Samuel de Champlain. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was de Monts who fitted out the expedition that was responsible for the founding of Quebec on July 3, 1608.  There were three ships:  one went to Port Royal to revive the original community, while Champlain took the other two to Quebec.  On the way up the St. Lawrence, they had to fight their way past Basque traders at Tadoussac.

Champlain had brought competent workmen and, taking advantage of the abundant timber, they built a habitation of which Champlain left a drawing.  The three wooden buildings, each of two stories, with a gallery around the second storey, were protected by a ditch, 15 feet wide and 6 feet deep   Champlain mounted a cannon as a further safeguard because the Indians heard the news of his arrival through their uncanny “woodlands telegraph,” and came in thousands to see what was going on.  Perhaps they weren’t so different from the “sidewalk superintendents” who like to watch new buildings going up today.

Champlain’s greatest danger at that time was within his own ranks.  While he was working on a garden, a river pilot asked to speak to him alone.  He told Champlain that there was a conspiracy to end the French fur trading monopoly.  The plan was to sound an alarm at night and shoot Champlain when he appeared.   Then Quebec would be handed over to the Basques or to Spain.

Champlain learned who the leaders of the conspiracy were and was amazed to find that even his personal attendant was involved.  He invited the conspirators to a festival at which he served wine.  He then had them seized and put on trial.  Three men were sent back to France to face trial there, and were later executed.  Another man, locksmith Duval, was hanged at Quebec.  His head was exhibited on a pole as a warning to others who might get ideas.

In 1908 there was a stirring ceremony at Quebec celebrating the tri-centennial anniversary of its founding.  Chief among the  visitors was the heir to the throne, who later became King George V.  British and American warships, decorated by day and lit by night, added to the majesty of the scene, dominated by the stone cliff and Citadel of Canada’s oldest city.

So, no doubt you want to read more about Samuel de Champlain and today’s post. As such, I have a few sites I recommend you visit. Start with La Ville de Québec, and then CBC Montreal, and then another would be at the Canadian Museum of Civilization. To learn more about the conspiracy to assassinate Champlain, I suggest going to visit Place Royale Quebec, and then the Ontario Heritage Trust, and lastly, a website I just found, is The Simpson Shack (interesting site!)


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Bluenose I Launched


Bluenose (Photo credit: lifecreations)

If a poll were taken of the greatest achievements by Canadians in the world of sports, there would be many nominations.  The greatest all-around athlete could be Lionel Conacher, who appeared to be able to play everything well. There would be runners like Tom Longboat and Percy Williams; boxers like Tommy Burns and Jimmy McLarnin; skaters like Barbara Ann Scott, Hockey players like Wayne Gretzky and Bobby Orr … so many athletes in so many sports.

But today, let’s talk about Nova Scotian fishing schooner Bluenose, long commemorated on Canadian 10-cent pieces (diimes).  She was launched at Lunenburg on March 26, 1921, built entirely of Canadian materials except for her masts of Oregon Pine.

In order to challenge in the International  Schooner Racing Trophy, Bluenose had to be a bona fide fishing vessel.  Her job was to go to the Grand Banks and catch fish.  She returned as best of the Lunenburg fleet, having caught more than the others.

Now Bluenose was qualified to race against the champion of the Gloucester, Massachusetts fleet.  The first contest was held in October 1921, and Bluenose was fifteen minutes ahead of the finish line.  From that time until her last race in 1938, Bluenose defeated all other challengers.

In 1935, Bluenose crossed the Atlantic to attend the Silver Jubilee of King George V, and was received with royal honours by the yachtsmen of Britain. She even raced the fastest schooner yachts in Britain and came in third. Well, to be fair, her opponents were designed for racing, not fishing.

W. J. Roue of Halifax, who designed Bluenose, built other vessels to try to beat her, but was unsuccessful.  It is believed there was something freakish about her hull, an accident of building, that could not be detected and copied.

During World War II, Bluenose was sold to the West Indies Trading Company and carried general cargo between Cuba, Haiti, Guatemala and Honduras.  On the night of January 28, 1946, she hit a reef off Haiti and sank the next day.  Not a sliver of her got back to Canada, although a replica now operates in Halifax as a cruise ship.

As commented below, here’s a link to a great article about the Bluenose, including a stamp commemorating her at Cotton Boll — a very good read!

Canadian dime.  Bluenose!

Canadian dime. Bluenose!

To watch in her glory, you can see her on YouTube, and you can watch Bluenose II live at Nova Scotia Webcams.


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4th Greatest Canadian

Letter To Banting From Child Who Had Diabetes

Letter from Betsy, a child with diabetes. Source: He conquered death : the story of Frederick Grant Banting by Margaret Mason Shaw — Toronto : Macmillan, 1946. — 111 p., [11] leaves of plates : ill., ports., facsim. ; 21 cm. © Public Domain nlc-12101

On January 23, 1922, 14-year-old Leonard Thompson, who was dying from complications due to  diabetes at the Toronto General Hospital, was injected with the first purified preparation of insulin.  His condition improved.  Dramatically!

Who were this boy’s heroes?  Frederick Banting, his assistant Charles Best, J.B. Collip, and fellow colleagues, who all worked under the direction of Professor Macleod.

As soon as it was reasonable to call it a success, the University of Toronto immediately gave pharmaceutical companies license to produce insulin, free of royalties!

By 1923, Frederick Banting was the most famous man in Canada. He received letters and gifts from hundreds of grateful diabetics all over the world. Banting and Macleod received the Nobel Prize in Medicine. Banting shared the award money with his colleague, Dr. Charles Best.  Macleod shared his with Collip.

Dr. Banting returned to his love of painting and became a sketching companion of Group of Seven artist A.Y. Jackson.

In 1934, Banting was part of the last group of Canadians to be knighted by King George V.

As war loomed in Europe, Banting was excited about contributing to the war effort for Canada. On February 21, 1941, as he was leaving on a secret scientific mission to Great Britain, his plane crashed in Newfoundland and he was killed instantly.

On April 5, 2004, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), produced The Greatest Canadian.  A television program in which Canadians voted to determine who is considered to be the greatest Canadian of all time. Frederick Banting was voted in 4th place.

To read his September 15, 1925 Nobel Speech, go to The Official Web site for the Nobel Prize. For media clips, you can find no better place than CBC Archives. For more on Frederick Banting, I do recommend starting at

English: C. H. Best and F. G. Banting ca. 1924

C. H. Best and F. G. Banting ca. 1924 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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