Monday, July 30, 2018

Walking Across Canada

The third section of the Canadian History Hall is set on the upper level of this space, and picks up with the First World War. The way up to it is a long circling ramp that takes you around the main entrance space, with a physical map of Canada laid out on the floor. In the first case, you're looking at it as if from a southerly perspective. In the second, it's seen from the east, not typically how you see it in maps, but the familiar shape of Hudson Bay helps get you oriented.

Here we have a series of displays on the First World War. The timeline carries on from here.

The Irish artist William Orpin painted this portrait of our wartime Prime Minister, Sir Robert Borden, in 1919 after what was supposed to be the war to end all wars had ended.

The Canadian politician Tommy Douglas is profiled here in the museum; one of his signature hats accompanies the displays. Douglas was a giant of politics in Canada, federally and provincially, from 1935 until 1979, a democratic socialist who introduced socialized health care during his time as Saskatchewan premier, a concept adopted by the federal government later. Today's New Democratic Party, federally and provincially, is his legacy, and he was the first leader of the federal party.

1967 was the nation's centennial, and it is covered here with several items and displays. One of those is this dress. It was the centennial project of Marjorie Gehl, the daughter of a Canadian diplomat stationed in the United States. She sewed this evening dress, adorned with the fabric maple leaves, to be worn at various functions her family attended. Today it is here.

1967 also marked the World Fair coming to Canada in the form of Expo 67 in Montreal. The event is featured here with multiple photographs.

Close by, these display cases were about sports and cultural icons.

One of the display cases holds the cap and gloves of the late Canadian classical pianist Glenn Gould.

The other includes a 1964 Kentucky Derby trophy, among other items, for the legendary race horse Northern Dancer, a Canadian horse who also won the Preakness that year, and the Queen's Plate race here in Canada. He went on to sire many a horse afterwards.

This stained glass window is a copy of one that's been installed on Parliament Hill in recent years. Giniigaaniimenaaning (Looking Ahead) is the title for this window by the Metis artist Christi Belcourt, meant to recognize the survivors of residential schools and their families, part of the ongoing process of reconciliation between First Nations and Canada as a whole. 

As the story of the First Nations has been woven into the story of the country in the reorganization of the permanent galleries, something seen in how things are exhibited, so too is the case as this area starts to come towards its conclusion with a number of thematic displays. I leave off for today with these examples of First Nation artworks. We'll pick up here tomorrow for the conclusion to this extended series.


  1. Have just been back to check on missed posts, what a fascinting visit through the Canadian History Hall William. I'm loving the First Nation artworks you've ended today's post with, fabulous!

  2. The map of Canada on the floor is an interesting concept and an especially interesting way for the children to learn more about their own country.

  3. ...the walk looks short here!

  4. Gosh, so much to see in this Museum. I really must get to Ottawa again. I last went there when YoungerSon was a young teenager and he's married with three children now! I agree with previous commenters.... love the maple leaf dress.

  5. Rather fun walking across Canada in a few seconds.

  6. gorgeous dress. love Prime Minister, Sir Robert Borden, mustache. so cool!! ( ;

  7. So many things to absorb in this post too William. Tommy Douglas is one of my favourite Canadians!

  8. Another interesting exhibit. I like the gown with the maple leaves.

  9. @Grace: thank you!

    @Rosemary: it's a good introduction.

    @Francisco: thanks!

    @Sandi: it is.

    @Marianne: it stands out!

    @Tom: yes, you can cross the country inside of five seconds.

    @Shammickite: you should certainly come see the city again.

    @Jenny: that it is.

    @Beth: he was quite distinguished.

    @Marie: he was an extraordinary man.

    @Nancy: it really fit that year.

  10. I would spend all day at that timeline. Did you already know most of this or did you learn a lot too?


  11. I enjoyed this trip, but especially admired the dress and the huge map on the floor. :-)

  12. Uma viagem super interessante nesta linha do tempo explicitada em fotografias espetaculares
    Um abraço

  13. Hello,

    The map on the floor is cool. The evening dress is beautiful. Love the stained glass window. Wonderful exhibit. Enjoy your day and new week ahead!

  14. We have to realize that we have a rich history which makes us what we are today. We're an awesome bunch!

  15. Another great post and I love Marjorie Gehl’s gown. Not only symbolic but beautiful. That style could be worn today, a timeless classic.

  16. That dress is gorgeous. And what a great idea to have the map on the floor.

  17. @Janis: I know a lot of it, but I always enjoy coming to see a museum like this.

    @DJan: it is an exceptional museum.

    @Gracita: thank you!

    @Janey: there are!

    @Eileen: thanks!

    @Red: that's true.

    @Denise: it could!

    @Lady Fi: they've reorganized this area in just the right way.

  18. Wonderful floor map and love the 1st nation creative works that end your post ~ Great shots!

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

  19. A variety of great history in this post!

  20. Thanks for this visit to a civilized country

  21. What a wonderful floor map that is …
    But for me the stained glass window is the star! Beautiful colours.

    All the best Jan

  22. Great idea to have a map on the floor. Excellent exhibit!

  23. @Carol: thanks!

    @Jenn: there is.

    @Cloudia: you're welcome.

    @Jan: it's a beautiful stained glass.

    @Bill: I quite agree.

  24. I just this week found my "passport" that they gave you at Expo 67 to have stamped at all of the pavilions that you entered!

  25. Walking across Canada would take a LOT of walking and a very long time. Good thing the museum has an easier way.

  26. The map is a knockout and the dress is a nice item to exhibit.

  27. Amazing artifacts, aren't they beautiful. That dress is something!

  28. I would be especially intereseted in the WWI exhibit. One of the periods that so intrigues me.

  29. The dress is amazing and patriotic.

  30. @RedPat: quite a souvenir to still have!

    @Sharon: definitely!

    @Kay: it is indeed.

    @Jennifer: I agree.

    @Jeanie: our military history is a formidable one.

    @Klara: yes indeed.