Monday, December 5, 2016

Canadian Week in Review 05 December 2016

I have come across the following Canadian genealogy, history and heritage websites, social media, and newspaper articles this past week that were of interest to me, and I thought you might be interested in them, too.

This Week in Canadian History

Black Rock  

01 December 1859 - Contractors Peto, Brassey and Betts, when they built the Victoria Bridge for the Grand Trunk Railway, erected a gigantic 30-ton block of black stone to serve as a memorial to 6,000 Irish immigrants, victims of a typhus epidemic, who died in fever sheds set up at Windmill Point, Montreal. 

Their remains were discovered in 1859 by workers on the bridge. Its inscription reads: "To preserve from desecration the remains of 6000 immigrants who died of ship fever A.D.1847-8 this stone is erected by the workmen of Messrs. Peto, Brassey and Betts employed in the construction of the Victoria Bridge A.D.1859".

Social History 

Photos - Township of Whitby Game Preserve has interesting history 

At the risk of being one month too early for the typical year-end summaries, I’d like to take this opportunity to say that 2016 was a big year for the archives at the Whitby Public Library. 

Newspaper Articles 


Photographer aims to capture Newfoundland's war history 

A French photographer, born near the site of an important First World War battlefield, is hoping to frame Newfoundland's connection to the site's military history. 

Mathieu Drouet, born in Monchy-le-Preux, is visiting Newfoundland to work on photos for a book documenting the connection between the province and his hometown. 

Historical items from Colonial Building being returned 

It's been 84 years since a large mob rioted and looted the Colonial Building in St. John's, and now with restoration of the building nearing completion, the Speaker of the House of Assembly is asking people to bring back items taken. 

No offers yet on Ryan Mansion 

The Ryan Mansion, one of the most famous homes in Newfoundland and Labrador, has been on the market for a month now, with a nibble here and there from potential buyers, but no sale.  

Nova Scotia 

When it comes to civic engagement, how much you know matters 

The other day, I was listening to a radio journalist interviewing young adults in Halifax about whether they were planning to vote in the civil election. 

For anyone like myself, who never fails to vote, the reasons people give for not voting continue to dismay me. An urban Canadian now has more means of learning what is going on than has had any society in human history. Yet, a man in his 20s was surprised, days before election day, that there even was an election! 

Boston's Christmas Tree Tradition Rooted In A Canadian Thank You 

Boston's official 2016 Christmas tree, like others that have come before it, is a thank you gift for events a century ago in the Nova Scotia's coastal capital city of Halifax.  

Plans proceeding to mark 100th anniversary of Halifax Explosion  

While the clock on Halifax City Hall stopped forever at 9:04 a.m. on Dec. 6, 1917, plans to commemorate the tragic explosion that stopped it are marching on. 

Annual ceremonies set for next Tuesday at 9:04 a.m. are just the beginning of a year’s worth of recognition of the historic impact, down through the generations, of the largest man-made explosion prior to the atomic bomb.

'Butterbox babies' maternity home survivors still search for birth families  

Every morning when Riva Barnett opens her bedroom closet she looks down at a small, wooden butter box that serves as a stark reminder of what could have been her fate.  

Had she not been adopted, she believes she would have been buried in a box just like it.  

Heritage advocates oppose pitch to demolish historic Halifax buildings  

The fight to preserve historic buildings in Halifax has erupted anew, this time on Barrington Street.

A prominent developer has applied to demolish two designated heritage properties in an area the municipality intends to make a heritage district.  

"This is an unfortunate application. It is unnecessary," said Andrew Murphy of the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia. 

New Brunswick  

Modern technology uncovers and displays old Miramichi photos 

With more than 40,000 photos, a Facebook group celebrating the history of Miramichi, N.B., is helping people who live in the region get a glimpse of the past. 

Group administrators Karl Wade and Charles Asoyuf started the group Our Miramichi Heritage Photo in 2012 and began adding a large collection of old pictures Asoyuf had been collecting for years. The group now has more than 8,000 members. 

Reprieve or replace? Meeting held to discuss damaged covered bridge 

Close to 150 people gathered in Hampton Monday night to hear the provincial government lay out a pair of options; repair or replace the 104-year-old Hammond River No. 2 covered bridge.  

The covered bridge was closed in October after an excavator working on the structure dropped through it because it was to heavy 

Doak House barn to be rebuilt

A historic barn in Doaktown will be rebuilt to honour its place in the province's history. 

The original barn, built by the Doak family in the 1820s, was demolished in June after structural damage and rotting deemed it too dangerous for further use. 


Italian Montrealers oppose removing storied artist’s name from park  

Montreal’s mayor is again facing criticism over changing the name of a city park — this time from members of the Italian community fighting to preserve the legacy of renowned local artist.  

A park in the city’s Hochelaga-Maisonneuve district named after late Italian-Canadian artist Guido Nincheri is expected to be renamed after Quebec City next year, where it will display several statues the city is gifting to Montreal in honour of its 375th birthday. 

Montreal's Guido Nincheri Park to keep its name following public outcry  

Following a public outcry, the city has decided to keep the name of artist Guido Nincheri on an east-end park. 

The park was slated to be renamed "Parc de la Ville de Quebec" for Montreal's 375th anniversary next year. 

Guido Nincheri Park, located at Rachel Street and Pie-IX Boulevard, got its name at Montreal's 350th anniversary. 

Spirit Lake interpretive center breaks visitor attendance record 

Award-winning Spirit Lake Internment Interpretative Center, celebrating its sixth successful year, continues to welcome many visitors to its museum. This year’s summer tourist season broke previous summer records, with over 4,000 coming to the center. Since 2011 over 30,000 have walked through the center to learn about the area, the unjust internment at Spirit Lake – the second-largest internment site in Canada – and about early 20th century Ukrainian immigrant history to Quebec. 


Third Avenue United Church named heritage property  

An iconic downtown church has been designated a heritage property. 

Saskatoon city council approved naming Third Avenue United Church a municipal heritage property at a meeting Monday.  

The Tyndall stone church, which sits at the corner of Third Avenue and 24th Street East, was built prior to the First World War. 

Dusting off the history of drought on the Canadian Prairies in the 1930s 

The dustbowl years on the Canadian prairies live on in the imaginations and landscapes of Western Canadians. 

Elderly survivors might still leave teacups upside down on saucers, as they did in the 1930s when dust settled everywhere in a household. Treebelts hastily planted on farms to reduce wind erosion have now become mature stands. In southern Saskatchewan, when a dry spell stretches over two seasons, farmers begin to scour again their holdings. Well aware of what happened in the 1930s, they look for the “hardpan” emerging from soils starting to shift and blow on their land.  

The dustbowl of the 1930s might have ended over eighty years ago, but many western Canadians still watch for its return.  


Brandon University to save MPE archives  

A huge collection documenting the entire history of Manitoba Pool Elevators is being put in order through a project at Brandon University’s (BU) S.J. McKee Archives.  

Conventional tractors attracted attention, too 

The 1916 Brandon tractor demonstrations attracted a lot of conventional tractors along with the three wheelers. 

British Columbia

Vancouver Chinatown residents share dreams for their neighbourhood 

The future of Vancouver's Chinatown is at a crossroads. 

What started as a ghetto in the late 19th century for incoming Chinese immigrants quickly grew into one of the largest most vibrant Chinatowns in North America. 

South Asian heritage learning tools receive boost from B.C. Government 

The B.C. government has awarded the Indus Media Foundation a one-time grant of $248,500 to share South Asian heritage through exhibition displays and learning tools intended for B.C. schools and community spaces. 

Local historian honoured by Governor General in Ottawa

Oak Bay’s Merna Forster has been honoured with the Pierre Berton Award for popularizing Canadian history. 

In a ceremony at Rideau Hall, Gov-Gen. David Johnston presented Forster with a medal and a $5,000 cash prize. 

Canadian Stories this Week 

Our Canada - Your Family - Building a Nation,

As the time approaches for Ontario's annual conference to be held from 16-18 June 2017 at Algonquin College, Ottawa, Ontario called Our Canada - Your Family - Building a Nation, they have released the latest in the attractions that will be available to attendees and some of them are - 

Banquet Speaker and Lecturer: Hear from D. Joshua Taylor, nationally recognized genealogical author and host of the popular PBS series, Genealogy Roadshow

Excursions: Join us for four separate Research Excursions to local sites and repositories. 

Friday Workshops: Six concurrent workshops are available, with topics ranging from "Developing your Technology Toolkit" to "Using Family Reconstruction to Break Down Brick Walls". 

Exciting Program: A total of 28 lectures spread over the weekend including themes such as Canada, Ontario, The Provinces, and DNA 

Special Events: British Pub Night, First Timers' Gathering, Fast Trax mini lectures, Research Room, Ask an Expert and more! 

Ancestry Day: As an extra Bonus Day, Ancestry will be hosting a full day of talks from Ancestry Experts. 

Canada's 150 Birthday! 

Are you getting ready? Do you want to be in Ottawa when the anniversary of Canada'a 150 birthday celebrations start the 1st of January? 

Then you should be at Parliament Hill on December 31 when there will be entertainment, and fireworks to kick off 2017! 

The evening will begin at 7 p.m. with a Peace Tower Carillon concert, followed by a national ceremony attended by dignitaries and Olympic and Paralympic athletes, among others. The talented Julie Nesrallah will sing the national anthem. 

At precisely 8:17 p.m., a spectacular pyro-musical display will light up the sky of Canada's Capital Region with fireworks launched simultaneously from Nepean Point, Alexandra Bridge and Parliament Hill. The fireworks will be accompanied by Canadian music that will transport the audience through time and revisit different historical eras of our country over the past 150 years. There will be different spots in Gatineau and Ottawa offering a great view of the fireworks, including the Canadian Museum of History and Major's Hill Park. 

Starting at 9 p.m., Acadian duo Radio Radio will rock the main stage at Parliament Hill with their signature Chiac electro-rap sound. The festivities will continue at 10 p.m. with Alberta country singer Brett Kissel entertaining the crowd. Grammy- and Juno-nominated, multi-platinum singer-songwriter and recording artist Carly Rae Jepsen will close out the show before the countdown to 2017 and the traditional fireworks display. The British Columbia native is sure to bring people of all ages to their feet to properly kick off the New Year. 

It sounds as if it will be something to see. If the fireworks were as great as they were this past Canada Day, it will be something to see. We sat and watched them in between the rain drops, and were entertained immeasurably. 

If you can't be in Ottawa that evening, memorable events celebrating the 150th anniversary of Confederation will be held in 18 other urban centres on December 31: St. John's, Charlottetown, Halifax, Fredericton, Moncton, Québec City, Montréal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Victoria, Whitehorse, Yellowknife, and Iqaluit. 

And that was the week in Canadian news! 

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