Monday, 9 June 2014

Slaymaker and Nichols' Olympic Circus PEI 2014

Prince Edward Island is celebrating and commemorating the 150th anniversary of Canada's start to Confederation in 1864. The first circus in 20 years was there - here is their advertisement from the newspapers at the time!

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Sir John A. Macdonald Library

 Hey, here I (well, my book is) on the John A. Macdonald Library! 

Cool! And wouldn't I love to see their Sir John, Eh? The Road Show
And here's John A. with the book.

Friday, 21 February 2014

"And my blood runs cold." February 1869

Patrick Whelan was hung Feb 11, for the assassination of D'Arcy McGee - but it was pretty questionable whether he was guilty or not. He always maintained his innocence -- when the jury delivered his guilty verdict, he said:
“Now I am held to be a black assassin. And my blood runs cold. But I am innocent. I never took that man’s blood.”

The coverage in the papers was sensational -
"Everything about “the tailor with the red whiskers” was noted by the newspapers. He first appeared in court wearing a small green rosette, a white vest, and garnet cuff links. On the final day, however, he came dressed in black ..."

Apparently 1869 was the snowiest winter on record in Ottawa and on the date of his hanging, a blizzard began that lasted 2 weeks. 5000 people came to watch. It was the last public hanging in Canada.

The Dictionary of Canadian Biography online has more
       Here we are in the 150th anniversary year of the Confederation talks and the winter weather seems to be lining up anniversary fashion too.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Donal Ryan, Paul Harding and the work of persistence

I thought this piece from the New York Times was interesting. Yes, it takes persistence and faith - optimism, blind faith maybe ... for a more prairie and personal take you can also have a look at Anne Lazurko's post on getting Dollybird published (just arrived and out in stores Aug 15, 2013). I'd say the same as Anne L about my process of getting there.

Congratulations Anne, and all of the rest of us working on getting there and more there!

Photo: Shelley Banks (

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Canada's Confederation Caricature

For a light-hearted look at Canada's political past check out the cartoon below - I've put the dialogue below. For a real test, do you know who they all are? (A brief answer at the bottom.)

"Confederation! The much-fathered youngster"

 (left to right: George Brown, Sir Francis Hincks, William McDougall, Sir John A. Macdonald).
© Public Domain
Source: Library and Archives Canada/C-005812
George Brown: "Come to your genewine Poppy!"
Francis Hincks: "I'm the Father of Confederation."
William McDougall:  "Gracious! Me own child don't know me!!"
John A. Macdonald:  "Don't it recognize it's real Daddy?"
Answers of a sort --- from The Moment of Our Conceptions: Canada and Me by Anne McDonald
George Brown (November 29. 1818 Scotland – May 9, 1880 Toronto, Canada)
A man of principles – bigot, racist, political idealist. Founder of the Globe, Canada’s national paper now, married at 44 breathing new life into him, making him less crotchety – died of a wound in his leg he didn’t get looked after gotten in a duel. How crotchety is that?
John A Macdonald (January 10, 1815 Scotland – June 6, 1891, Ottawa, Canada)
A man who referred to himself as John A, “the public prefers John A drunk to George Brown sober.”
William McDougall (January 25, 1822 York Toronto -- May 29, 1905 Ottawa, Canada) 
Failed lieutenant governor of the North-West Territories, starting off the Red River Rebellion and Resistance with his bounded Boundary Commission, Donald Cameron his right hand man in the deal - married to Emma Tupper the only daughter of Charles Tupper, another Father, but that's a different story.
C All Rights Reserved. Unless otherwise indicated, all blog content copyright Anne McDonald.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Happy Canada Day from Expo '67, China, Russia and La Ronde

Just like Eatons at Christmas but more than you could ever dream of arriving at La Ronde and coming down the stairs from the mono rail the flags and the smell of cotton candy and candy apples at seven.
That's Bryce Mackasey in the middle there gobbling the great looking cake at Canada Day at Expo '67 in Montreal. My mother snuck through the red ropes and caught the picture. Bobby Gimby sang. You know the words - ...
Everybody sing together,

(One little two little three Canadians)
We love thee
(Now we are twenty million)
(Four little five little six little Provinces)
Proud and free
(Now we are ten and the Territories sea to sea)

North south east west
There'll be happy times, ...

The Chinese pavilion is a glorious red with gold and we have a Polaroid camera! Borrowed or one of those loans to get you to buy one but we just use it this day and get pictures of red. Of posterity of joy of the thrill of being 7.

1967 International Year in Russia
“Tourism, passport to peace”
Intourist invites you to tour the Soviet Union.

“Skipping a trip to the Soviet Union means not seeing one sixth of the Earth, the country of the Great October Socialist Revolution now in its 50th year, and the homeland of the world’s first spaceman, Yuri Gagarin.”

all from Canada and I Come of Age, by Anne McDonald

c All Rights Reserved. Unless otherwise indicated, all blog content copyright Anne McDonald.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Battle of Batoche May 9 to 12, 1885

The Battle of Batoche ended the North-West Resistance of 1885 - and ended up with Louis Riel's surrender, and subsequent trial and hanging. It wasn't a pretty - or fair -  time to say the least. You can read more information about it here.

I love the original sources like Gabriel Dumont's own account of the battle of Batoche, as well as the battles at Duck Lake and Fish Creek which are rare - in this piece in the Canadian Historical Review the great western Canada scholar George Stanley annotates Dumont's account.

It's art though that maybe really finds the truest way of telling a story. Here is poet Bruce Rice's take based on artist Joe Fafard's clay sculpture of a Metis killed at Batoche from the Mayor's Poetry Challenge in April 2013. Watch the video poem, "Dead Metis at Batoche" which includes the sculpture here