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    Black colony in Upper Canada heralds Underground Railway for runaway U.S. slaves

    August 26th, 2012

     SOCIAL HISTORY: stories of life and times in Canada past

    Canada’s gain is U.S. loss, says American newspaper

    Slavery was abolished in Upper Canada in 1793 (excluding those few already there); in Britain and all here colonies in 1833; in the United States, in 1865. Canada’s door was opened to a heaven for runaway black American slaves, some 40,000 of whom travelled north on the fabled underground railway, starting the in 1840s. But before the underground railway, Upper Canada’s first planned colony of American blacks was established Read the rest of this entry »


    Going down long road from Newfoundland

    August 19th, 2012

    SOCIAL HISTORY: stories of life and times in Canada past.

    Going down the road when times are tough and jobs are scarce is a Newfoundland tradition that dates back to at least the mid-nineteenth century, Read the rest of this entry »


    Boys as young as 8 toil in coal mines

    August 12th, 2012

    SOCIAL HISTORY: stories of life and times in Canada past

    Boys as young as eight toiled in the coal mines of Nova Scotia and British Columbia in the nineteenth century. Nova Scotia set the minimum age at 10 in 1873, rising to 12 in 1891, while British Columbia set 12 years as the minimum in 1877. The laws were not always enforced. Read the rest of this entry »


    Death-defying creativity

    August 8th, 2012

    I just thought right away that I wanted to work. This is a good job. It’s been a good job. Work is the most effective drug therapy there can be. Warren Zevon (1947-2003 ), U.S. songwriter, on being informed that he had mesothelioma cancer, and only months to live. Read the rest of this entry »


    Cholera and riotous drinking at Montreal

    August 5th, 2012

    SOCIAL HISTORY: stories of life and times in Canada past

    Catharine Parr Traill, author of the classic The Backwoods of Canada, and her husband Thomas, retired British army officer, arrived at Montreal from England on August 31, 1832. They were on their way to Upper Canada to hack out a farm from the dense forest near Peterborough. It was the peak of North America’s first cholera epidemic. Read the rest of this entry »