Wednesday, January 31, 2024

New Challenges For The Canadian Nation

A reminder to those in the area: Winterlude starts up this Friday and runs until February 19th.

Yesterday I gave a glimpse of this. Here we have a quilt made by a women's auxiliary group in the Prairies in the 1930s, done for a fundraiser during the Depression. It now is home here.

The CBC rose up during this era, a public broadcaster in both English and French (where it's called Radio-Canada). Initially a radio network, it later included television and then internet streaming, still around today.

The Depression broke when the world went back to war, and Canada was part of the Second World War from the start, committing military assets at sea, on land, and in the air.

The photograph at bottom features our wartime prime minister, William Lyon Mackenzie King. At top, taken during the First Quebec Conference, Mackenzie King and Winston Churchill are seen standing, with Franklin Roosevelt and the Earl of Athlone, the Governor-General at the time, both sitting.

The country committed itself fully to the war effort, with industry geared towards war production. It would also be a time of tension, as the question of whether or not conscription would be needed came up.

And it ended in victory. This photograph of a smiling man and woman in Vancouver says it all.

Families welcomed back their loved ones in the weeks and months that followed. But not everyone made it home. There would be memories of those no longer there, and the empty chair at the table.

Following the war, there was a movement in Newfoundland, which had been a separate dominion, as to the idea of joining Canada. A referendum was called for by the premier, Joey Smallwood, and it passed. In 1949, Newfoundland became the tenth province.

Smallwood, seen here among a crowd, has been deemed to be the last Father of Confederation for his work in bringing the province into the country. We'll be back to this tour after the theme day.

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

The Global War And Global Crisis

 The third gallery goes from the First World War through to the present, and starts with a bust of Wilfrid Laurier, seventh prime minister of the country from 1896-1911.

Canada was in the Great War from the start, sending troops to Europe to fight in what was supposed to be the war to end all wars.

The cost was enormous. More than one in ten who served died. 

And yet Canadians rose to the occasion, developing a reputation as elite shock troops, doing things that others couldn't do. The photograph at left features Canadian soldiers after their momentous victory at Vimy Ridge.

This crucifix was fashioned from the ruins of a church at Passchendaele, Belgium, where Canadians had won a bloody battle, a place that could be summed up as hell on earth.

In the wake of that war, Robert Borden, the Canadian Prime Minister who had seen the country through the war, pushed for the country to have a seat at the table at Versailles.

The Group of Seven was an art group who began exhibiting together after the war. Members came and went, but there were always seven. They are integral to Canadian art and culture of the 20th century. At left is an untitled painting by A.J. Casson, dating around 1930. At right is Eskimo Summer Camp by A.Y. Jackson, from around 1927.

The Depression hit the country as hard as it did elsewhere, causing enormous societal pressures.

Monday, January 29, 2024

Informed And Shaped By Nature

Another look inside St. Onuphrius.

Quotes on the walls from writers speak to the vastness of the Canadian landscape. One of the things that defines the country and its people is that vast and varied landscape we call home.

Around the back of the church is the Sacristy, a preparation space for the priest. One can look inside.

The back windows allow a view of the area behind the altar screen.

As the 19th century gave way to the 20th century and urban centres developed, social change came along with that to the country as a whole.

In this display case, items of the old Eaton's retail chain, which at that time did much of their business via catalogue.

Social change brought with it things like union organization, temperance, women's rights, and other improvements.

Heading up to the last of the galleries takes us up a long winding ramp that curves around the central hub. A physical relief map of the country is laid out on the floor.

Sunday, January 28, 2024

The Heart Of The Congregation

 St. Onuphrius is always a spot in the Museum I must stop to take in. The details are amazing, and even as a museum artifact, the church has a life of its own.

You can walk around it outside, with exhibits on the surrounding walls that curve around the church.

Immigrants came to settle the West. It was a hard life to live. Some made a life of it, and others gave up.

Schooling in the West was deemed important- both at the local level and at the governmental level. One-room schoolhouses were typical of the era.