Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Creating The National History

Each year, a few days after Canada Day, panels are placed on Plaza Bridge, where they reside well into the fall. The theme changes by the year; this year that theme was about the 150th anniversary of Confederation, and the various forces that have shaped us as a country.

Those forces include the vast geography of the land itself, our relationship with our First Nations people, warfare in the larger world, the role of women, and our disagreements.

This panel, for instance, explores the story of the Klondike Gold Rush, and the concerns on the part of the government at the time about prospectors coming in from all over the world. This factored into the formal organization of our far northern territories.

The panel to the left shows the Metis leader Louis Riel at the heart of a group of supporters. Riel would be hung for treason, and yet history has been kind to him- he's seen as a Father of Confederation today.

Aspects such as the First World War and Canada's assertion on the international stage in its wake are explored, which includes how women's rights were being advanced- women had served as nurses abroad and took up the slack in workplaces during that war.

This panel jumps ahead to the Second World War, with the involvement of Canadian troops in liberating Europe, and the effect that had on us as a nation.

Other thematic elements include the new flag that we have today.

I liked the look of this panel. Back in the late eighties there was an effort on the part of the federal government and the provinces and territories to update the Constitution in what was called the Meech Lake Accord. That accord failed; Elijah Harper, a First Nations Manitoba MPP who was opposed to the accord, started the process of its unraveling on a point of principle.

This panel is about Nunavut, the territory created out of the partitioning of the Northwest Territories into two before the turn of the century.


  1. Our countries have shared some similar historical events that have shaped them.

  2. ...shaping a vast country is a huge job.

  3. The photo of the Klondike gold rush looks like migrating birds.


  4. Interesting exhibit, William !

  5. @Kay: your Civil War was a huge influence on our Confederation. The Fathers of Confederation were looking on south of the border during those years and seeing the dangers of de-centralized power in a federation.

    @Tom: an ongoing job.

    @Francisco: thank you!

    @Janis: it's quite a famous shot, this line of men going up the pass for the gold fields. I've seen it many times before.

    @Karl: I thought so!

  6. So interesting and I love the old photos.

  7. Interesting history. I could spend a lot of time there.

  8. Hello, it is a great exhibit. I like the scene with the prospectors, I can only imagine being there during this time. Happy Tuesday, enjoy your day!

  9. These are really well done, William!

  10. What a great way to tell people about those little moments in history.

  11. Just another way to show Canada and what it is and was.

  12. I love seeing old photos. These panels tell interesting facts!

  13. @Lady Fi: thank you!

    @Lois: these thematic panels each year do catch my attention. I have more from another location nearby in tomorrow's post.

    @Eileen: the Klondike era was quite remarkable, and hard.

    @RedPat: I thought so too.

    @Sharon: it is indeed.

    @Red: that's true.

    @Marleen: they do.

  14. This is such a good way to show the developments through time William, shows also the importance of photographing along the way!

  15. Thanks for the quick Canadian history lesson. I love that this is an outdoor exhibit!

  16. What a great idea ~ USA should do this ~ lovely ~

    Happy Week to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  17. Don't you wonder how relations with indigenous peoples could have been much different?

  18. @Grace: it certainly does.

    @Cloudia: I agree.

    @Susie: you're welcome.

    @Cloudia: it's been going on for years, and each year it's something different.

    @Revrunner: we have had a different history with our indigenous peoples, but there are problems we still have to make right. It starts with listening. There are many people here in Canada who refuse to do even that, and unfortunately they seem to be legion on social media.

  19. Really interesting way to inform all parts of society of your history.

  20. Thank you for the great group of photographs
    They are fascinating.

  21. It is actually frightening and embarrassing how little I know about Canada history (and I don't think I'm in the minority) ... we don't learn enough history. Thank you for all you do to fill in some of the blank spaces in my brain. I actually ordered a book last summer, something like 'Canada for US Dummies' (not really the title but pretty much the general idea) and I read some of it. Before that I didn't even know the names of all the provinces and territories. Now I could pass that trivia contest question, but for most everything else I'm still learning.

  22. i enjoy seeing the nurses and their outfits. i have had a family of nurses .. fun to see those. ( :

  23. Very interesting William. Thanks for posting this stuff.

  24. Great exhibition with wonderful old photos.
    Looking at the flags and the text at the walls, the World War II photo is made during the liberation of the Netherlands. Could even be my hometown.

  25. @Christine: indeed!

    @Maywyn: you're welcome.

    @Sallie: and on the other hand we keep a close eye on our American neighbours.

    @Beth: thank you.

    @Bill: it is!

  26. @Norma: thanks!

    @Mari: thank you.

    @Pat: you're welcome.

    @Jan: that wouldn't surprise me.

    @Klara: I think so!