Archive: » 2011 » November

The Deerfield Raid

The English rushed forward and 9 were slain and several, including militiaman John Marsh, were captured. On the morning of February 29, 1704, a French and First Nations army fell upon the sleeping frontier village of Deerfield, Massachusetts. The raiders had spent a fireless winter night camped across the Deerfield River -- cold, hungry and tired. Before dawn they sent out scouts, who reported that the village watch had fallen asleep. Lieutenant Jean-Baptiste Hertel de Rouville called the troops and militia together and exhorted them to put aside their quarrels, pray and embrace.

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Charlottetown 1864: The Persuasive Power of Champagne

It was there that Canada was born. On Monday August 29, 1864 half the cabinet of the Canadian government boarded the steamer Queen Victoria at Quebec. They had heard that representatives of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI were meeting in Charlottetown to discuss Maritime union and they hoped to crash the party.

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“O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree, Your branches green delight us.”

the Christmas tree is a universal symbol of rebirth, of light in the darkest time On December 25, 1943, the acrid smell of cordite hung over the rubble barricades of Ortona, Italy, where Canadians and Germans were engaged in grim hand-to-hand combat. Even amid the thunder of collapsing walls and the blinding dust and smoke darkening the alleys, the men of The Seaforth Highlanders of Canada and The Loyal Edmonton Regiment were determined to celebrate Christmas.

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George Brown of the Globe

Brown was an implacable foe of John A. Macdonald, who he said “hunted me with the malignity of a fiend.” George Brown set the fighting tone of his new newspaper the Globe with a motto chosen from the letters of Junius, the sharp-tongued champion of liberty against the government of George III: “The subject who is truly loyal to the Chief Magistrate will neither advise nor submit to arbitrary measures.” Within a few years of its first issue on March 5, 1844, the Globe had taken its place at the centre of political discourse in Canada.

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Isaac Brock: Fallen Hero

Canada owes its independence to the failure of that invasion in 1812. In the very early morning of October 13, 1812, Major General Isaac Brock was fast asleep in his bunk at Fort George, on the Niagara Frontier. About 4:00 am he was awakened by the distant thud of cannon fire. He rose in a flash, dressed, mounted his horse Alfred and dashed through the fort gate towards the sound of the guns.

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Klondike Joe and the Queen of Romania

“A very curious, fascinating sort of man, who is frightened of nothing.” Born in Toronto in 1867 and raised in Woodstock, Ont., Joe Boyle was an extraordinarily restless young man. At age 17 he went to New York with his father and hopped an outbound ship, spending three years at sea. It was the beginning of a long adventure that led him to the Yukon gold fields, revolutionary Russia and into the affections of a beautiful Queen.

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Bluenose: “I gave her the power to carry sail.”

“The wood of the vessel that will beat the Bluenose is still growing!” As a symbol of Atlantic Canada and the golden age of sail, the Bluenose has no peer. She was launched in Lunenberg, NS, 26 March 1921. Built entirely of Nova Scotia wood, except for the Oregon pine needed for the masts, Bluenose bobbed high in the water but settled down to her beautiful line as the ballast was poured in. When the finishing touches were being applied, the shipwright was asked, “What is this one going to be like?” “She will be all right, but she is a bit different to most vessels” was the understated...

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Barilko has won the Stanley Cup for the Maple Leafs!

How much of the enduring appeal of that goal is owing to the subsequent tragedy is hard to say. Sometimes the past is interesting not because of its long-term historical significance or because it might teach us some questionable lesson about the present, but simply because it contains wondrous reminders of the serendipity of fate. I am fascinated by a goal that Bill Barilko scored on April 21, 1951, not because it was a precursor to Paul Henderson’s life-saving marker in 1972, or to Sidney Crosby’s goal of redemption at the Olympics, but because I was there.

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Batoche: The Last Battle

The troubles in the Canadian North-West were likened by authors Bob Beal and Rod Macleod to a prairie fire, caused by carelessness and miscommunication. The day after his encounter with the Metis at Fish Creek, Major-General Frederick Middleton was badly shaken. The disdain he had for his enemy had vanished. “I could not help feeling sorry to see those poor citizen soldiers laying dead and wounded,” he wrote. “Most of them being well-to-do tradesmen’s sons who thought they were going out for a picnic.”

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Canadians in Baseball: the “Lost Tribe”

“the story of baseball in Canada is that of the lost tribe… of American baseball history.” In 2002 the Toronto Blue Jays were celebrating their 25th season in the majors and the Expos are lamenting their last, but baseball has much deeper roots in Canada. Baseball was once so popular in Canada that there was even talk of making it our national sport.

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