Thursday, October 29, 2020

Informed And Shaped By Nature

Around the church I left off with yesterday, this part of the Museum includes display cases and panels. In this case are standard items for the days of one room schoolhouses. A photograph of one in the Canadian West stands in the background.

Quotations about living in the West are on the wall.

As the 19th century moved into the 20th, a retail company, Eaton's, existed in Canada and ran part of its business through stores, part through catalogue. It no longer exists, thanks in part to the rank incompetence of the current generation of Eatons. A display case includes some items from the early part of the 20th century.

Social movements of this era are also examined. This banner is tied to the labour movement of the late 19th century.

Also examined is the movement for women to vote and for temperance.

The final of the three pods inside the Canada History Hall is on the second level. A long, gentle ramp curls around the central hub, where a large map of Canada is laid out on the floor.

From above, a look into one of the interior spaces below allows a view of a huge painting that nearly spans the height of the Museum.

A flag commemorating the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria is one of the first items seen in this third pod.

And it is the First World War that occupies this introductory area.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Moving Forward And Sanctuary

 Picking up where we left off yesterday, here we have more of the story of the transcontinental railroads and the mammoth task of their construction.

The item in this display case is a theodolite, a standard tool used by surveyors at the time.

A panel and display case looks at Haida artist and chief Charles Edenshaw. The totem pole and hat in the display case are his works. 

Nearby is one of the treasures of the Museum. St. Onuphrius Catholic Church was given to the Museum in the 1990s and installed here. As part of the wave of immigrants from Ukraine into the West in the late 19th century and first half of the 20th century, this church ministered to the community of Smoky Lake northeast of Edmonton. It remains a consecrated church today. Because of Covid restrictions, the interior was off limits, but the doors were open and the sanctuary could be seen.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

The Drive Towards The West

This is an elk skin, of the Blackfoot people of the northern plains. As part of what was called a winter count, each year an image would be added onto the skin as a record of events.

This display case features a full canoe, oars, wampum belt, and the characteristic sashes worn by the French speaking traders who went deep into the continent in search of fur and other goods.

Another legacy left by those traders were the Metis, a blend of Indigenous and French Canadian who became a culture in their own right. Some of their clothing is here.

Viewable from the balcony here are four works of art, each named after a season. These are by Dene artist Alex Janvier. The corridor below was closed off due to Covid restrictions.

A set of panels and photographs here are housed under a teepee. The signage is current, asking that only one person at a time be inside this space.

As was the case south of the border, the drive to unite the country east to west with transcontinental railroads was part of the country's story in the latter part of the 19th century.

Artifacts here include a ceremonial last spike and a pocket watch of John A. Macdonald, the prime minister who pushed for the railroads.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Fathers Of Confederation

This is a bust of Lord Elgin, the Governor-General at the time of the push towards responsible government.

Tensions south of the border had their influence on those who would lead the country into Confederation. The Civil War served as a lesson to colonial politicians looking for further self government that they needed a strong union among the Canadian colonies.

The Fathers of Confederation came into their own in the 1850s and early 1860s. Not all of them were politicians, but most were. They didn't all get along, but understood the need to work together. During meetings and negotiations in the 1860s, they would eventually bring about the terms that led to Confederation in 1867.

 Three of them are gathered in photographic portraits here: John A. Macdonald, George Brown, and George-Etienne Cartier.

The most eloquent of the Fathers was one of their most unusual: Thomas D'Arcy McGee. He had in younger days been a radical in his native Ireland, had fled to the New World, and here had underwent a complete change in his perspective, seeing the value of a Parliamentary system based on British influences where minorities could have a chance to prosper.

McGee would pay dearly for his change of heart. Irish radicals despised him for it, and in 1868 he was assassinated while coming home from Parliament to the boarding house he was staying in near the Hill. The gun used in the assassination is here.

Artifacts of the time, with a photo of Queen Victoria behind. Cartier would take this trunk with him to London for the conferences that would formalize Confederation.

This large banner on a wall shows the reading of the proclamation of Confederation at Market Square in Kingston on July 1st, 1867.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Making A Country

This area includes more of the everyday objects and tools being used by settlers in the first part of the 19th century throughout what is today eastern Canada.

Rebellions in the 1830s would ultimately rise to the idea of responsible government and Confederation.

Among the artifacts here is the crest of the old Molsons Bank and the Cabriolet Sleigh, which was featured in the Canadian Pavilion at the Great Exhibition in London in 1851. 

Recreation could be found in the colonies at the time, particularly in urban centres. Cricket, curling, and lacrosse are represented here. The last of those three was a game that had a long history here before the arrival of white people; First Nations peoples had been playing it long before then.

The drive towards responsible government that came out of the rebellions found its strongest voices in a partnership of English and French speaking leaders, Robert Baldwin and Louis Hippolyte LaFontaine, who would share leadership of the united Upper and Lower Canadas.