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.

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 (shelleybanks.ca)

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"
 

Caricature:
 (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.
 
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