Canada: 150 Years… or is it?

This blog series comes from our dedicated and awesome Visitor Host staff, and topics range from favourite artifacts, thoughts on our latest exhibits, and anything else in between!

By Sarah C., Visitor Host

This year is Canada’s 150th birthday!  It has been 150 years since Canada became a Dominion. But oddly enough, we have only been celebrating Canada Day for the last 35 years. It is interesting the changes Canada has gone through over the last 150 years.

The progression from British colony to independent nation of the Commonwealth was not as simple as turning on a light. In 1867 the British North America Act created Canada with its first four provinces and it allowed for some level of autonomy. Canada as we know it has been developing ever since then.

It was not until 1947 that people were ‘citizen of Canada’ previously they had been British citizens. Changes such as this, the introduction of our own flag and anthem were all steps in creating an independent Canadian identity.

Provinces and territories have been added to create the physical layout of Canada that we know today. The last change occurring in 1999 with the creation of Nunavut.  That is 132 years of changes to get to the country we recognize today!

This year is the 86th anniversary of the Statute of Westminster. Though 64 years after Dominion Day, it also had significant impact on the Canadian government’s ability to act independently from the British government. It provided clarification to the Dominion’s legislative independence, particularly in regard to foreign policy. More changes would follow to allow Canada to further act independently of Britain. I always think of it as a significant action in Canada’s independence, but really it was another action in a gradual progression to the country that we see today.

As I was writing this I was shown this CBC video which helps to ask the question of how old Canada really is. It is really cool and it highlights more notable changes that have occurred in Canada over the last 150 years.


References & Resources:

http://www.pier21.ca/research/immigration-history/canadian-citizenship-act-1947

http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/constitution-act-1867/

http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/statute-of-westminster/

Street Name Stories: Building a Nation Pt. II, The Explorers

By Lisa Terech, Community Engagement

With the plethora of 150 commemorations taking place this year, I thought I could use my usual Street Name Stories blog series to throw another hat in the ring.  Looking at a map of Oshawa, there are a number of streets whose names are commonplace in the history of Canada.  Over the next five Street Name Stories Post, I will look at street(s) whose namesakes helped contribute to the growth of Canada.  In Part I, we looked at Oshawa’s Indigenous People who have called the our country home for thousands of years.

The earliest Europeans to arrive at North America were the Norse who settled for a time at L’Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland; their stay was brief and did not make an overall impact in the settling of Canada.  Their story is an interesting footnote, but it is generally regarded as just that rather than the next chapter of our story. That chapter begins in the late 1400s.  At the turn of the 16th Century, a slew of European explorers began to take to the high seas and ‘discover the new world.’  In 1497, John Cabot arrived at Canada’s Atlantic coast and claimed it for England, and less than 40 years later, the French explorer Jacques Cartier sailed the St. Lawrence and in turn claimed it for France. Several attempts to colonize and settle in this ‘newly discovered country’ were made and generally unsuccessful; the climates were harsh and disease was prevalent. Nevertheless, trading posts and companies were also established, and in 1608, Quebec City was founded by Samuel de Champlain.

Champlain is an interesting figure in our history.  He was an explorer and cartographer who created many early maps of what is today Quebec and Ontario.  He established good relationships with the Huron (Wendat) peoples, relationships that helped the French settlers survive the Canadian winters.  In turn, hostile relationships with the Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) were forged as the Wendat and Haudenosaunee were already opponents.  Champlain would travel back and forth across the Atlantic a number of times in his life, and he died in Quebec City in 1635.  New France would grow and thrive over the next century until the Battle of the Plains of Abraham.  More on that next month.

10382728_10100729435878330_6268688879536776880_n

Statue of Samuel de Champlain located on Dufferin Terrace, Quebec City

Cabot Street and Cartier Avenue are found southeast of King and Stevenson; other explorers in that neighbourhood include Frobisher Court (English explorer who sought the northwest passage), Valdez Court (Spanish naval man who first circumnavigated Vancouver Island),  and Vancouver Court and Street (another British explorer who navigated around Canada’s Pacific Coast and namesake for Vancouver Island and the City of Vancouver).  Champlain Avenue is found directly north of Highway 401 between Thickson Road in Whitby and Stevenson Road in Oshawa.


Want to know more about these early explorers? 

The Dictionary of Canadian Biography has in-depth looks at Cabot, Cartier, and Champlain.

For a more ‘readers digest’ version, the Canadian Encyclopedia gives an excellent overview of their lives and expeditions (Cabot, Cartier, and Champlain).

Student Museum Musings – Gabby

When I first started my co-op, I knew I would be here during the change of exhibits within Robinson House. What I did not know is how active I would be in the instillation. I expected to take predetermined artefacts and put them in predetermined places. However, what I got was almost the exact opposite.

Melissa Cole has been super amazing and allowed me to pick multiple of the artefacts that are going into the exhibit. I have chosen cameras, pottery pieces, medical instruments, photos and even quotations.

Student Museum Musings 1

The entire process is much harder then it seems. You would think that it is as simple as picking some artefacts and laying them out nice and pretty; while that is actually what happens, it is hard. “The bigger artefacts go in the back and the smaller in the front, right?” Wrong. “These two are similar colours so they go on the same side.” Nope. “I can do this in half an hour and then get to the other project I am working on.” You wish.

Student Museum Musings 2

While figuring out how to best display artefacts is difficult, so is choosing them. While some artefacts have dear little places in our own hearts, we also have to consider which artefacts the community wants to see. I may love one for one reason where someone else dislikes it for the same reason.

Student Museum Musings 3

The other aspect of picking artefacts that makes doing so difficult is that there are so many. I want to pick them all. If I could, I would put all 300+ cameras on display. However, that is an insane number of cameras and so only nine or ten can actually go out! That is only 3% of that entire collection. See where the difficulty lies?

Another cool thing about the new exhibit is how the two halves of my co-op are coming together. I get to promote it on social media, and even design activities for visitors to do while taking tours!

Student Museum Musings 4

I hope that all of you who come to see the new exhibit Celebrating 60 Years enjoy viewing it as much as I enjoyed helping with its creation. This amazing exhibit runs from April to November 2017.

Logo for OMA copy

Month That Was: June 1927

All news articles have come from The Oshawa Daily Reformer

Seven Nurses Awarded Diplomas
Edition 11 June, 1927
Colourful Scene as Seven Nurses Receive Diplomas and Award at Hospital Graduation Exercises
…Seven young ladies who during the past three years have labored faithfully and devotedly in the training school of the Oshawa General Hospital, receive last night their diplomas as graduate nurses. Held in the assembly hall of the Collegiate Institute, the graduation was marked by a profusion of floral beauty and delightful ceremony. Presentation of the scholarships and prizes won by the graduating and undergraduate members of the training school followed the awarding of the diplomas. The address to the graduating class was delivered by Dr. F. N. G. Starr, of Toronto and he charged them that they uphold the spirit of their profession and make their careers what the great Lister has called “glorious occupations.” Gordon Conant, chairman of the hospital Board of Directors presided and in the absence of J, D, Storie, president of the Board, presented the diplomas.

Screen Shot 2017-02-23 at 1.26.08 PM

 

Cars Wrecked in Highway Crash
Edition 11 June, 1927
Three Autos Figure in a Collision at Liverpool on Kingston Road
Three cars were smashed in a mix-up in front of the Liverpool Hotel at Liverpool this morning A Dodge car driven by W. R. L. Blackwell, of Toronto, struck a Whippet motor car owned by S. J. Jackson of Toronto, which suddenly pulled out on the highway in front of it.

The Whippet was thrown a considerable distance on to the front of the car of William Anderson, of Dunbarton, smashing the radiator of the Anderson car. The Dodge was badly damaged as well and the Whippet was a complete wreck. Jackson has been charged by the Provincial Highway officer with reckless driving. All of the drivers escaped without any serious injuries though Jackson was badly bruised.

 

Teeth a Menace, Experts Discover.
Edition 29 June, 1927
Carnegie Foundation Asserts Most Risk Comes Through Mouth
New York, June 29 – Teeth are more apt to become defective than any other part of the body, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching reported Tuesday after a six year study of dental education in Canada and the United States.

“Disease germs that enter the body through decayed teeth, or along the side of the disordered teeth are frequent causes of such serious and common maladies as rheumatism, kidney trouble and heart failure,” the report aid.

“In 1924, of the 135,640 officers and men in the United States army – who, as a group are presumable among the healthiest persons – 12,507 were treated for dental disability.”

Screen Shot 2017-02-23 at 1.38.42 PM

Well Known Stars Coming to New Martin Theatre Monday
Edition 11 June, 1927
John Gilbert and Renee Adoree Both in “The Show” Coming To Regent Monday
John Gilbert and Renee Adoree, the combination that scored one of the screen successes of history in “The Big Parade,” are together for the first time since that picture, in “The Show,” Metro-Goldyn-Mayer’s sensational romance of the Budapest underworld, coming Monday to the Regent theatre.

They play the central characters in a strange romance laid in a mysterious sideshow on the outskirts of the “invisible city” – a sideshow of illusions, magician’s tricks and strange grotesques, with a “decapitations” illusion in which Gilbert has his head cut off in a “Salome” travesty as the central feature. Tod Browning, director of “The Unholy Three” and “The Road to Mandalay,” directed the story, from Waldemar Young’s adaptation of the Charles Tenney Jackson novel.

The settings, including the grotesque sideshows, with their floating living heads, mermaids, “spider women” and other startling illusions are realistic to the extreme, whole blocks of reproductions of quaint Budapest streets and other incidentals being used in the gripping mystery story.

Gilbert plays a swashbuckling sideshow “barker” and Miss Adoree a Salome dancer in the production, with Lionel Barrymore as “The Greek,” a sinister gangster leading, and Edward Connelly as the old blind man who eventually brings about an astounding climax.

 

A Lasting Memorial
Edition 11 June, 1927
There is in Oshawa a general agreement with Mayor Preston’s suggestion that the celebration of the Diamond Jubilee of Confederation should be marked in permanent fashion by the erection of a fountain in front of the way memorial. It is to be hoped that this idea can be carried to a successful conclusion.

Not only will the installation of a fountain do away with the frog pond in front of the memorial, but there is also a peculiar appropriateness in having a fountain beside that beautiful monument. Water running continuously from a fountain suggests that the recollection of those in whose honor the memorial was erected, never ceases, that they are never forgotten, that they are, indeed, in the “Garden of the Unforgotten.”

By all means, let us have the fountain. It is also suggested that benches be plentifully supplied in that park. This too, should be looked after. That beautiful spot should be made more beautiful still and every opportunity should be seized to make it in every respect as attractive as possible. “The Garden of the Unforgotten is a shrine. The whole place should be made as restful, as peaceful, and as appropriate as it can be made.

Screen Shot 2017-02-23 at 2.35.21 PM

Red Cross Cottage To Be Formally Opened Wednesday
Edition 11 June, 1927
Was Completed at a Cost of More Than $3,00 to Rotary Club While General Motors Donated Duco for Painting Cottage and Chas. Bowrs Donated Wiring – Cottage Will Be Available for Outing for Crippled and Under-Privileged Children
The Red Cross Cottage erected in Lakeview Park by the Rotary Club will be opened on Wednesday, June 15. On this occasion the Rotary officials will hand over to the Red Cross officials the documents establishing the right of the Red Cross Society to use the cottage absolutely free of cost so far as the Rotary Club is concerned. It is the intention that the Cottage will be available as an outing for crippled and under-privileged children. It will mean an enlargement of the work that has been carried on in the past by the Red Cross in smaller and less suitable quarters.

The Cottage is a creditable addition to Oshawa’s institutions. While it has been mainly financed by the Rotary Club, General Motors of Canada through Rotarian Gordon LeFebvre have been most generous in painting the whole of the exterior with Duco and Rotarian Charles Bowra, has provided the electric installation. The work was undertaken at an expense of over #,000 to the Rotary Club has been made possible by the street fair conducted by the Rotary Club last summer with such successful results. Some work yet remains to be done in the construction of a stairway to the water’s edge and other structures f a minor nature but after the opening on Wednesday it will be ready and available for the purposes of the Red Cross.

 

The Oshawa Daily Reformer
Roof Caught Fire
Edition 11 June, 1927
Fire started on the roof of the home of John Cameron. King and Charles streets at ll.10 this morning. Sparks from the chimney started the blaze which was quickly extinguished by the fire department without any serious damage being done.

Screen Shot 2017-02-23 at 1.52.14 PM

Street Name Stories: Building a Nation Pt. I, The Indigenous People

By Lisa Terech, Community Engagement

With the plethora of 150 commemorations taking place this year, I thought I could use my usual Street Name Stories blog series to throw another hat in the ring.  Looking at a map of Oshawa, there are a number of streets whose names are commonplace in the history of Canada.  Over the next five Street Name Stories Post, I will look at street(s) whose namesakes helped contribute to the growth of Canada.

In telling this story, we’ll start at the beginning, before European contact.

The place we know as Canada has been inhabited by people for thousands of years. There is not one narrative to tell the story, as different regions were settled by different diverse and distinct groups, each with their own names, languages, traditions and cultures.  In the 16th and 17th century, Europeans began their exploration and settlement of the ‘New World;’ the fishing banks off the coast of Newfoundland were of great interest to these explorers, and relations were established with the First Nations of the Atlantic.  The British and French not long after established settlements such as New France and the 13 Colonies; alliances and partnerships with the First Nations were critical for survival.  As the years continued, settlements grew, and tensions between the French and English came to a head in the mid 1750s, resulting in the fall of New France, the Treaty of Paris and the Royal Proclamation of 1763.

The Royal Proclamation of 1763 is seen as an important landmark moment for relations between First Nations and Europeans.  As described by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada in First Nations in Canada:

The original intent of the Royal Proclamation was to slow the uncontrolled western expansion of the colonies and tightly control the relationship between First Nations and colonists. But crucially, the Proclamation also became the first public recognition of First Nations rights to lands and title.

The Royal Proclamation can also be seen as one of the first of many pieces of legislation that would dictate Indigenous rights, as many treaties and Acts would be passed as the years went on.  What also would follow was a systematic attempt to decimate Aboriginal cultures, languages, and traditions with the creation of Residential Schools, a horribly ugly chapter in our nation’s history; treaties were ignored and rights overlooked.  In the last few decades, an importance has been placed on trying to make amends for what took place; the recent release of the Truth and Reconciliation Report has brought new attention and importance to these issues.

The 2011 census reported that Aboriginal peoples in Canada (First Nations, Inuit, and Métis) totaled 1,400,685 people, or 4.3% of the national population.

018 copy

Archaeological artefacts recovered from the Grandview excavation, 1992.

Looking locally, we have artefacts in our collection which tells us that ancestral Wendat lived in Oshawa from 1400-1470CE.  Currently undergoing an expansion, we will open our new First Nations Gallery in the summer of 2017, entitled A Carrying Place: Oshawa’s Indigenous Story.

Around Taunton and Simcoe, you can find streets named after Indigenous groups or famous individuals, such as Iroquois (Haudenosaunee), Seneca, Brant (after Joseph Brant) and Sarcee (Tsuut’ina [Tsuu T’ina]).

The name Oshawa is also an Aboriginal word, which translates to: “that point at the crossing of the stream where the canoe was exchanged for the trail.”

 


I do not claim to be an expert in Canada’s Indigenous History, but I would highly recommend reading further about this topic.  Here are a few resources I consulted when preparing this post

Canadian Museum of History’s First Peoples of Canada virtual exhibit
http://www.historymuseum.ca/cmc/exhibitions/aborig/fp/fpint01e.shtml

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, First Nations in Canada e-book
https://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1307460755710/1307460872523

Truth and Reconsiliation Report
http://www.trc.ca/websites/trcinstitution/index.php?p=890