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Let’s Talk about Confederation

Confederation:
The coming together of the colonies in British North America. Three colonies were made into four provinces. These were Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. They became the Dominion of Canada on July 1, 1867. The other provinces and territories joined later.

For all of the reasons the Province of Canada began to plan for Confederation, as outlined in yesterday’s post, the leaders from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island had already considered joining together in a Maritime union and were planning a conference. They accepted the politicians from the Province of Canada to join them in the upcoming conference on the subject.

The Charlottetown Conference, September 1st through 9th 1864:The politicians from the Province of Canada convinced the politicians from the Maritime colonies at New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island to think about an even larger union. There was no one working at the public wharf at the foot of Great George Street when the Canadian delegates arrived on the steamship SS Victoria, so Prince Edward Island representative William Henry Pope had to handle receptions by himself, including rowing out to greet the new arrivals. The Canadian delegates stayed each night on board the SS Queen Victoria, as circus-goers and the Maritime delegates had taken up the lodgings in town.

The Quebec Conference, October 10 – 27, 1864: The Conference began on October 10, 1864, on the site of present-day Montmorency Park. The Conference elected Étienne-Paschal Taché as its chairman, but it was dominated by Macdonald. Despite differences in the positions of a few of the delegates on some issues, the Quebec Conference, following so swiftly on the success of the Charlottetown Conference, was infused with a determined sense of purpose and nationalism.

The delegates from the Maritimes also raised an issue with respect to the level of government– provincial or federal– that would be given the powers not otherwise defined. Macdonald, who was aiming for the strongest central government possible, insisted that this was to be the central government, and in this he was supported by, among others, Tupper.

Prince Edward Island emerged disappointed from the Quebec Conference. It did not receive support for a guarantee of six members in the proposed House of Commons, and was denied an appropriation of $200,000 that it felt had been offered at Charlottetown to aid in buying out the holdings of absentee landlords.

On the issue of the Senate, the Maritime Provinces pressed for as much equality as possible. With the addition of Newfoundland to the Conference, the other three Maritime colonies did not wish to see the strength of their provinces in the upper chamber diluted by simply adding Newfoundland to the Atlantic category. It was Macdonald who came up with the acceptable compromise of giving Newfoundland four senators of its own when it joined.

The London Conference, December 1866 – January 1867: This was the last conference, and it took place in London, England. Leaders from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and the Province of Canada had to take the rough draft of the Quebec Resolutions and come up with a final agreement. The document they created was called the British North America Act. Once British Parliament approved it, Confederation could go ahead.

They all agreed that the brand-new nation needs to be called Canada, and that Canada East must be relabeled Quebec and that Canada West need to be relabeled Ontario. Inevitably, the delegates chosen to call the brand-new nation the Dominance of Canada, after “kingdom” as well as “confederation”, among many other choices, were denied for different reasons.

After the Quebec Conference, the Province of Canada’s legislature passed a bill authorizing the union. The union proved much more questionable in the Maritime districts, Nevertheless, it wasn’t until 1866 that New Brunswick and Nova Scotia passed union resolutions, while Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland continued to opt against joining.

The Act was presented to Queen Victoria on February 11, 1867. The bill was introduced in the House of Lords the next day. The bill was quickly approved by the House of Lords, and then also quickly approved by the British House of Commons. The Act received royal assent on March 29, 1867, and set July 1, 1867, as the date for union

Confederation, July 1, 1867

On this date Canada became a country with four provinces. New Brunswick and Nova Scotia hardly changed, but the Province of Canada was split into two new provinces: Ontario and Quebec. A look at the map of Canada in 1867 will show a very different Canada from that of today.

It would take more than a century to add the other six provinces and three territories that today make up Canada.

 

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Canadian Cuisine Timeline 1497-1793

Canadian Food Graphic

A lot of the food and dishes that are “Canadian,” are in fact a result of the early years’ immigrations.  As such, before I go on to the Canadian food inventions and innovations, I think it’s important to list a broad stroke of our timeline.  Because of the length, I am breaking up the timeline into three posts.

1497: Giovanni Caboto (better known as John Cabot) sailed from Bristol, England, in search of a trade route to the Orient. Three months later, he returned home to tell of finding a whole New World of tall trees and waters so thick with fish that could be hauled aboard in buckets. This secured him a five-ship voyage to return. It was disastrous for him as he died on the voyage, but his ships returned and corroborated his fishy tales.

1534: Jacques Cartier sailed into the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Chaleur Bay, where he met a group of Iroquois. He was invited to a feast of seal, cod and sturgeon, maple sugar-glazed moose loin, corn soup and cakes.

1580: New varieties of food were discovered on a regular basis: avocados, chili peppers, corn, peanuts, potatoes, tomatoes, pineapples, just to name a few.

1606: Samuel de Champlain, cartographer and explorer, established Port Royal. He created the Order of Good Cheer (L’Ordre de Bon Temps). Prominent members of the settlement took turns hosting special meals. The benefits were a healthy competition within the group, better nutrition and, it made it easier to wait for the spring. You can view my earlier post about this at https://tkmorin.wordpress.com/2013/05/11/order-of-the-good-time/

1670: England’s King Charles II granted the lands to the Hudson’s Bay Company. They, in turn, built trading posts and kept them supplied with trade goods and food. Every post was well stocked with butter, tea, biscuits, coffee, cane sugar, salt beef, and other necessities from home.

1755: The deportation of the Acadians from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and New England began. Many were transported back to France but most dispersed to southern areas such as Louisiana where they became known as Cajuns. Years later, almost half the Acadians returned to Canada, bringing not only their old Acadian cuisine but also their new Cajun style of cooking.

1759: Immigration to Canada increased. Consequently, ships were loaded with settlers arriving almost daily, and the Canadian food experience switched from a pork, fish, wine and sauce-based cuisine to one built upon mutton, beef, peas and beer. Taverns became popular with beer and roast beef with mushy peas.

1769: The Experienced English Housekeeper, written by Elizabeth Raffald, was published in London, England, and became essential reading for those headed for Canada.

1775: The American Revolution began. Staples such as salt, molasses, spices, citrus, tea and coffee become unavailable.

Because of losing the Seven Years’ War (1756 – 1763), France ceded Canada to Britain, which precipitated a mass migration, especially from Ireland and northern Scotland. Britain offered emigrants free passage along with some provisions – such as tools, salt, food rations, and armaments. Big meat ruled, but it was all tough as nails. Luckily, the English had learned the trick of tenderizing meat from the Romans, and after a few weeks of hanging and a bit of mould scraping, there was your Sunday dinner. It was a bit ripe, but a good long roasting fixed that, and from this habit of culinary utilitarianism came the British reputation for overcooking food.

Late 1700s, potatoes became as ever-present as corn and apples. Potatoes did very well in the Maritimes because the soil was suited to growing them. In addition, just like grain and apples, the excess could be easily distilled into alcohol.

1783: United Empire Loyalists fleeing the American Revolution arrived in all parts of Upper Canada and the Maritimes. They brought both their cuisine and their slaves, with each having an impact on the evolution of Canadian cuisine – roast duck laced with cayenne pepper was a culinary eye-opener for Canadian settlers.

1786: John Molson bought a small brewery in Montreal and began creating a financial, nation-expanding empire that would include banks, lumber, steamships, a railway and larger breweries. Called the nation’s greatest entrepreneur, John Molson and his business endeavours created a demand for timber and grains.

1790: A salt boiling operation was established at Twelve Mile Creek (now St. Catharines, Ontario) by William Merritt, an immigrant from Liverpool, England, a city with a long history of salt production. The British government in Upper Canada discontinued the practice of supplying each settler family with a barrel of imported salt.

1793: Slavery was abolished in what is now Ontario. Therefore, villages opened inns and taverns whose kitchens offered employment to displaced cooks, escaped U.S. slaves and returning Acadians. Some of them were famous for their dinners that were usually Southern-inspired dishes like slow-baked Virginia-style ham and biscuits, crayfish pie, fried fish, frog legs, cornbread, yams, tomato salad, corn on the cob and syrupy dessert pies, along with traditional roasts of beef, mutton, and wild game. A treat for travellers, Southern-style foods found approval in home kitchens, a fact that led to the design of Canadian cooking stoves with tops that facilitated iron frypans and boiling pans.

Some of my earlier related posts:

https://tkmorin.wordpress.com/2015/01/15/may-west-and-a-jos-louis/
https://tkmorin.wordpress.com/2014/12/17/today-we-celebrate-maple-syrup/
https://tkmorin.wordpress.com/2014/11/16/making-do/
https://tkmorin.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/only-in-canada-you-say/
https://tkmorin.wordpress.com/2013/06/28/pushing-his-luck/

Tomorrow’s post will cover the years of 1816 to 1890.

 

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Canadian Cuisine Intro

Canadian Food DrawingWhen you think of Canada, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? If you are like most people, you think about the ice and snow in the winter, large cities such as Vancouver or Toronto or perhaps the majestic Canadian Rockies. In any of those cases, you would be correct but if food doesn’t come to your mind, you are really missing something special. The fact of the matter is that Canadians are responsible for many culinary inventions and it offers a rather unique fare, if you take the time to look below the surface.

First of all, Canada covers a rather large area of land and water and the cuisine is going to be slightly different, or perhaps even completely different, depending upon where you happen to be standing. It can really be broken up into several different sections, each of which brings something rather unique to the table.

Pacific Northwest – This area of Canada, which stretches from Oregon and Washington up into Alaska, is well-known for its foods that contain an Asian flair. In addition, there are many Native American additions to the food that you will find in this part of the country.

Rocky Mountain – The food from the Rocky Mountain area is a convergence of many different types of cuisines, as much of it came from outside areas as the railways crossed the Rocky Mountains. In addition, mountain guides from around the world brought their own unique cuisines to the area and blended it with the native tribes.

Toronto – This culturally diverse area offers you almost any type of cuisine that you could possibly imagine. Regardless of whether you are looking for authentic Chinese food or something with a Caribbean flair, you will be able to find it in the Toronto area.

Quebec – The unique food from this part of the country tends to stem from the fur trading industry and includes many high fat, meaty foods with plenty of flavor. In addition, sap from the sugar maple flows freely at certain times of the year so you can always find a sweet snack that includes plenty of maple syrup.

Maritimes – Some rather unique dishes can be found in this eastern part of Canada which includes Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. You can enjoy anything from a seaweed dinner (dulse) to homemade potato chips and of course, plenty of maple syrup.

Anywhere you look in Canada, you will find unique culinary inventions that are a blend of the many cultures that visited the area. It offers some of the most delicious foods in the world and more than likely, you have had something on your dinner table that stems from Canada. So the next time you think about the country of Canada, make sure that the first thing that comes to your mind is food.

For the next couple of posts, I will be guiding you through our country’s unique cuisine.  There are certainly going to be a few surprises, and some reminders.  Hopefully, it will be “fruitful” (sorry) and entertaining.  I saw a notice which said 'drink canada dry' and I've just started.

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2015 in Canada, Canadian, Entertainment, Food, Native

 

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This Week in Canadian History – November Week 4

Sandford Fleming supervised construction of th...

Sandford Fleming supervised construction of the Eastern Line of the NSR in 1867. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the most remarkable men in Canadian history was Sir Sandford Fleming. His name is mentioned in connection with the good-will tour of the Maritimes which took place in 1864, before the Charlottetown meeting paved the way for Confederation (visit my post of August 2: Even on a Sunday! ).

Sandford Fleming left Scotland for Canada as a young man and first came into the limelight by rushing into the burning Parliament Building in Montreal in 1849, and rescuing a portrait of Queen Victoria.  The building had been set on fire by a mob protesting against the signing of the Rebellion Losses Bill (visit my post of April 25“The Last Governor of Canada”).  He was in the news again two years later, when he designed the first Canadian stamp, the famous three-penny “Beaver” issued on April 23, 1851.  

Fleming studied engineering and surveying in Toronto and became chief engineer of the Ontario, Simcoe and Huron Railway in 1857.  Then the Government engaged him to survey the route of the Intercolonial Railway from Rivière du Loup to Quebec.  This was a very important assignment because the agreement of the Maritimes to Confederation could only be won by a promise to build this railway.  Sandford Fleming was chief engineer during the construction.

When British Columbia came into confederation in 1871, one of the conditions was that a railway to the Pacific coast should be constructed.  Once again, the task of finding the best route was entrusted to Fleming.  Finding a way through the Rockies was most difficult problem, and with 800 men working under him, Fleming surveyed Yellowhead Pass, now used by the C.N.R., and Kicking Horse, Eagle, and Rogers Passes used by the C.P.R.

While all this was going on Fleming became an expert on time.  Canadians are accustomed to hearing radio and television programs advertised in terms of “standard time.”  Canada is divided into seven time zones, beginning with Newfoundland Standard Time in the east.  This is half an hour ahead of Atlantic Standard, and then the other zones are one hour apart: Eastern, Central, Mountain, Pacific and Yukon.

Standard time was the invention of Sandford Fleming and was adopted by Canada on November 18, 1883.  The rest of the world adopted his system in 1884 at an international conference in Washington.

If you would like to read more about today’s post, I suggest the Atlas of Alberta Railways, and the Canadian Railway Museum for an interesting page called “Time Tamed“, and the Canadian Encyclopedia, as well as the Canada Free Press.

 

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The Money Had to be Kept in Waste Paper Baskets!

Dingman #1 Derrick Replica

Dingman #1 Derrick Replica (Photo credit: Hschuyt)

Repost and updated from November 20, 2012.

If you would like to find an oil well (and who wouldn’t?), a vast part of Canada is still waiting to be explored. Here’s a tip to help you look for it. Petroleum is found in sedimentary rocks, underground, and Canada has about one million square miles do sedimentary basins, about one-quarter of the land area. Four-fifths of this is in western Canada, and includes the southwest corner of Manitoba, two-thirds of Saskatchewan, nearly all of Alberta, and a wide strip down the Mackenzie River to the Arctic. There is oil in British Columbia, Ontario and the Maritimes!

It might be said that Alberta’s oil boom began on November 20, 1946, when the famous Leduc well was spudded in. It began producing on February 13, 1892, however, the Edmonton Bulletin had reported indications of oil at St. Albert.

The story said: “Whether or not the tar is a sure indication of a profitable petroleum field, there is no doubt of the genuineness of the find, and as little doubt that it is not confined to that single locality.”

Alberta’s first producing oil field was the Turner Valley, and one of its pioneer was W. S. Herron. He noticed gas seepage near Sheep Creek and bought 700 acres of land in the area. His attempts to raise development money from Calgary businessmen were unsuccessful until he devised a spectacular sales plan. He persuaded William Elder and A. W. Dingman to visitation place where there was gas seepage, touched a match to a rock fissure, and the pulled out a pan in which he fried eggs over the flame! Elder and Dingman were so impressed that they bought more than a half-interest in Herron’s holdings and spudded in a well at Sheep Creek in January 1913.

Until this time, Calgary Stock Exchange had occupied a corner in a local butcher shop. Now so many people wanted to buy shares that the cash drawers were not large enough, and the money had to be kept in waste paper baskets!

The boom lasted only a few months, owing to the outbreak of World War I but fortunes were made and lost on the Calgary Stock Exchange.

 

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… There Was a Great Deal of Eating and Drinking

Timbre-poste du Canada 3 cents 1917

Timbre-poste du Canada 3 cents 1917 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By October 28, 1864, the Quebec Conference had drawn up a blueprint for Confederation.  Seventy-two resolutions had been discussed.  When the delegates and their wives left for Montreal by special train, all but three resolutions had been approved, and these were dealt with at Montreal.

There was great jubilation because the delegates did not realize how difficult the days ahead would be – Confederation still had to be approved by the five provinces, then submitted to the British Parliament, and this was to take another two and a half years.

After their meeting at Montreal the delegates toured the chief cities of Upper and Lower Canada.  They went first to Ottawa, the new capital chosen by Queen Victoria, and had lunch in the new Parliament Buildings, although they were only half-finished.  Then they went on to Toronto, making stops at Kingston, Belleville, and Cobourg, where they were greeted by cheering crowds and brass bands.  There was a torchlight procession in Toronto as they went from the station to the Queen’s Hotel and four brass bands played along the route.  Then the tour went on to Hamilton and St. Catharines.  Everywhere, there was sight-seeing, speech-making, and a great deal of eating and drinking.  The men did the eating and drinking, while their women, in true Victorian style, sat in the galleries and watched!

The most difficult problems solved by the seventy-two resolutions included that of striking a balance between federal and provincial powers — the American Civil War had shown how important it was to have a strong federal government.  It was agreed that all powers not expressly assigned to the provinces should be reserved for the Federal Government, which could also disallow provincial legislation.

The provinces would lose a great deal of revenue by not being able to impose customs duties; so it was decided that the Federal Government would pay each province 80 cents for every member of its population.  It was agreed to build the Inter-colonial Railway between Canada and the Maritimes.  The seventy-two resolutions also made provision for the Northwest, British Columbia, and Vancouver Island, should they decide to join the Confederation later.

 

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So Many Treaties …

Benjamin Franklin 1767

Benjamin Franklin 1767 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are two Treaties of Paris in Canadian history — the treaty of 1763 by which France ceded Canada to Britain and the treaty of 1783 which ended the American Revolutionary War. The second treaty is also known as the Peace of Versailles, but as a treaty of that name ended World War I, it certainly does not clear up the confusion!

The treaty of 1783 was signed on September 3. When the time came for the final negotiations, Britain was in a strong position (See May 8 post:  Americans Plan to Acquire Canada!) and was determined to keep Canada. By the treaty, Britain held the Maritimes, the part of old Canada south of the St. Lawrence, the region north of the St. Lawrence above Montreal, and the Great Lakes. It was surprising that Benjamin Franklin, chief negotiator for the States, did not claim the north-west territory of the Hudson’s Bay Company. He may have felt that it was worthless, but his oversight paved the way for Canada’s expansion to the Pacific.

One of the tragedies of the treaty, from Canada’s point of view, was Britain’s failure to obtain better terms for the United Empire Loyalists. Many Americans felt bitterly about the Loyalists. Governor Clinton of New York said that he would rather roast in hell than show mercy to Loyalists after they had destroyed some property while under British protection in New York City. The only concession Britain gained for the Loyalists was a promise by Benjamin Franklin that he would ask the various States to be liberal to them. It was a worthless promise.

Franklin was a wily trader. When he was trying to persuade Britain to cede Canada to the States, he said he still loved “dear old England.” Now that they were going separate ways, they should trade together in peace and harmony. In order not to risk a future conflict it would be better if the Maritimes and Canada were part of American territory! He nearly got away with it!

To read some more about the Treaty of Paris, I would suggest going to the Cardus to read Canada and America: Fuzzy Origins or Founding Myth?, and then the University of Ottawa to read The Treaty of Versailles (1783) and the Redrawing of the Canada-US Border, and then History.com to read Treaty of Paris signed. If you are still looking for more, I suggest InfoPlease, and then visit The Free Dictionary and then finally the United States Department Of State Office of the Historian.

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2013 in Longer Entries, On This Day, Politics, postaday, September

 

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