Originally published 08/20/2013
A new totem pole the height of a three-storey building now looms over the southern Haida Gwaii, carved with symbols to note the remote land is protected from ocean floor to mountaintop.Hundreds gathered in the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve to watch the nearly 3,000-kilogram pole raised using six ropes and sheer manpower, the first such raising in over a century. Spectators were dwarfed by the colourful and intricate pole, which took more than a year to carve and paint and represents Gwaii Haanas’ modern and ancient history....
Originally published 07/21/2013
A crowd gathered in front of a tree felled during Friday night’s thunderstorm to take pictures and collect a leaf or two as a memento and even mourn, for this was no ordinary tree.Perhaps 150 years old or more, the silver maple tucked away on Laing St. in Leslieville, is famous for being the inspiration of what used to be Canada’s unofficial anthem. Historians are dubious, but as the story goes, a persistent leaf from the tree stuck itself to poet Alexander Muir’s sleeve in the fall of 1867, serving as the inspiration for “The Maple Leaf Forever,” a poem-turned-song-turned-unofficial-anthem.But, “it’s not forever anymore,” said Julie Ritchie, watching the tree lying sprawled across the road from her front porch. “There was something really special about the tree, even though it was quite old and in bad shape.”...
Originally published 05/28/2013
A huge cache of Canadian history, stored for 200 years in three wooden chests held at a British estate, is set to be auctioned next month in London — a possible test of whether the controversy-plagued, funding-challenged Library and Archives Canada is still in the business of acquiring newly available treasures of documentary heritage. An extensive and important collection of letters, maps and other original artifacts left to posterity by Sir John Coape Sherbrooke — the Nova Scotia governor who conquered Maine during the War of 1812 and later served as Canada’s governor general — is to be sold on June 19 as the showcase lot in a major Bonhams auction of rare books and manuscripts.A large, coloured and “exceptionally fine” map of the village of York and the Lake Ontario shoreline that was created for Sherbrooke in 1817 — showing the future Toronto in such minute detail that individual homes are depicted — is a highlight of the sale, appearing on the cover of the auction catalogue.
Originally published 05/14/2013
Clive Doucet is a writer and former Ottawa city councillor. His book Notes From Exile was chosen by McClelland and Stewart to be among their top 100 to celebrate their 100th anniversary of Canadian publishing.Parliament’s http://www.parl.gc.ca/committeebusiness/CommitteeHome.aspx?Cmte=CHPC&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=41&Ses=1 has voted to undertake a “comprehensive review of significant aspects of Canadian history. That history would include, but not be limited to, pre-Confederation, Confederation, suffrage, WWI, with an emphasis on battles such as Vimy Ridge, WWII, including the liberation of Holland, the Battle of Ortona. The Battle of the Atlantic, the Korean conflict, peacekeeping missions, constitutional development, the Afghanistan conflict, early 20th century Canada, post-war Canada and the late 20th century.”
Originally published 05/11/2013
In contracting tender documents, the Canadian Museum of Civilization has provided more details about the kind of history it will focus on once it is transformed, at the edict of the Conservative government, to the new Canadian Museum of History.The lengthy request for tender (see below) posted on the MERX contracting site this week sketched out a storyline of “broad topics and more focused communication intentions” that are grouped into themes and time periods in the Canadian History Hall.There is little evidence in the more detailed descriptions to support concerns that the mandated refocusing of the museum would effectively rewrite Canadian history to emphasize certain values — the military, for example — or, perhaps, embellish the fathers of Canadian conservativism....
Originally published 05/09/2013
The House of Commons heritage committee has launched a study of how history is preserved in federal, provincial and municipal programs, and how easily Canadians can access historical information.However, it backed down from a plan to examine how history is taught in schools after a barrage of complaints from the opposition, which had accused the government of intruding on provincial jurisdiction, which includes school curriculum development, and of wanting to revise history in its own image.The committee began hearing from witnesses for its history study on Monday....
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