Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Christopher Moore's History News: Book Notes: Miss Confederation, the Mercy Coles d...

First heard of the Mercy Coles Confederation diary on CBC Radio Ideas - I was researching for my novel To the Edge of the Sea and when I heard of Mercy Coles, she immediately became a character in that novel.  I ordered the diary from Library and Archives Canada, read, researched wrote ...   and then I began transcribing every word of Mercy's diary - and was fascinated by all she wrote. And now - here's Miss Confederation: The Diary of Mercy Anne Coles, published by Dundurn Press and out now!

The person on Ideas was Christopher Moore - and here's the lovely things he's got to say about Miss Confederation:

Christopher Moore's History News: Book Notes: Miss Confederation, the Mercy Coles d...: Mercy Anne Coles -- the Jane Austen of confederation, maybe. Newly out from Dundurn Press is Miss Confederation , Anne McDonald's edi...

Miss Confederation

Monday, 19 June 2017

PEI on Flickr thanks to the LAC

Library and Archives Canada has posted some great images of Prince Edward Island on their Flickr page.
   Interesting to preview as Miss Confederation: The Diary of Mercy Anne Coles, published by Dundurn Press is out this week. Mercy Coles was the 26 year old unmarried daughter of the PEI Father of Confederation George Coles. She, along with 9 other unmarried daughters of the Maritime Fathers of Confederation, went to the Confederation Conference in Quebec City - Mercy kept a diary of the events, people and time. Her diary has never been published before - until now!
   It was fascinating to research and I'll write more on that later.
        For now, it's fun to share the images she would have been part of (or some of them) - for example, there's no doubt she would have attended the events for the visit of the Prince of Wales to Government House in 1860  Visit of H.R.H. the Prince of Wales 1860 to Charlottetown, PEI

For all the pictures, click here

Mercy Coles (photo by William Notman) and the Province House Ball (painting by Dusan Kadlec)  

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Miss Confederation: The Diary of Mercy Anne Coles

I'm thrilled to announce that Miss Confederation: The Diary of Mercy Anne Coles will be published with Dundurn Press this summer 2017 in time for Canada's 150th anniversary!
Mercy Coles was the unmarried twenty-six year old daughter of George Coles, a Father of Confederation from Prince Edward Island. She went with her father to Quebec City for the talks to debate and layout the resolutions of the British North America Act which make up the constitution which still governs Canada today. While in Quebec and during the following tour of the Canadas, and northern US Mercy Coles kept a diary of the men and whirlwind of social events as they affected her and her desires.

Transcribed from the original document, the diary has never been published before. It offers a unique view of the men and events that made Canada. The fact that the diary has been known about for years, and yet it has never been published, speaks volumes about what, and who, we view as important in history.

 Miss Confederation at Dundurn Press 
(You can pre-order on Amazon at
Amidst the grand and heady spectacle of the balls, banquets, and events of the Confederation Conferences of October 1864, Mercy Coles is seeking adventure and love. She isn’t concerned with writing for posterity, or with propriety. Miss Confederation gives us history as it’s being made, without the veneer and gloss time creates.

I'll post updates on Launches and Tours as they're settled. If you'd like me to present a talk and slideshow on Mercy Coles and Confederation, please contact me. 

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Lullabies and Cautions at Spring Fest of New Plays

My play, Lullabies and Cautions, was chosen by Nina Lee Aquino, Artistic Director of the Factory Theatre in Toronto as one of the three featured plays for 2016 Saskatchewan Playwright Centre's Spring Festival!
     It will receive a full staged reading this Friday May 13 -- but first there are 3 days of work shopping with the cast of 10, and Director Daryl Cloran, starting tomorrow -- I'm looking forward to 3 intense and fun days.
Here's a bit about the play and the festival
Spring Festival 2016
All events are free/ donation and are at Neutral Ground Gallery, 1856 Scarth St in Regina 
May 13 Doors open at 7:30; Reading 8 to 9:30 pm, followed by a talk back then some eats and a cash bar: Lullabies and Cautions by Anne McDonald (staged reading of the full play)
 In Lullabies and Cautions, the character of ME, her family, and her history interconnect with John A. Macdonald, the Fathers of Confederation, and Mercy Coles, the daughter of the Prince Edward Island delegate during the 1864 Confederation conferences, Expo ’67, and 1974 during the Inquest into ME’s father’s death. Love, loss, and the responsibilities we have to each other on both a personal and public or political level are the themes explored in this play. Throughout there is song, music, adapted lullabies and nursery rhymes, dance and poetry with lots of chorus work making the whole a playful experience of a serious subject.

Information on all of Spring Festival, which runs from May 9 to May 14 can be found here

July 1st, Expo 67
Can you hear Bobby Gimby's Ca Na Da song playing?   http://youtu.be/4vE17TazIvM

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.