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    XENOPHOBIA 03: Plot to murder 120 Chinese

    April 30th, 2013

    Canada’s festering racism, under which Chinese suffered for decades, came dangerously close to mass murder claiming 120 lives before an attempt to dynamite two railway cars at Vancouver was foiled. Read the rest of this entry »


    XENOPHOBIA 02: Turned back from the Yukon gold rush

    April 25th, 2013

    When five Chinese arrived at Whitehorse in 1902, seeking to join the Yukon gold rush, angry citizens sent them back to Victoria, aboard a freight train.  The following item, from the Dawson City Klondike Nugget, July 2, 1902 tells the story. Read the rest of this entry »


    XENOPHOBIA 01: Canada’s yellow stain of racism

    April 23rd, 2013

    Canada: peaceful, tolerant, inclusive, the world’s most diverse and most successful pluralist society, proud of its historic role in the underground railway that brought thousands of runaway black American slaves to freedom in the land of the North Star. Yet, with all this, a dark strain of bigotry and xenophobia ran through much of Canada’s past. Read the rest of this entry »


    Sound of silence, and other noises

    April 19th, 2013

    The great compensating benefit of being hard of hearing is the easy ability to tune out. Unplug. Abolish noise pollution. Turn the roar of the world into meow. I speak from experience.

    Another benefit is that civic authorities would likely have much less trouble on their hands if more people were hearing impaired. Few things seem to occupy the authorities of big cities and small towns more than noise, judging by a Google search that yielded a score of news reports about noise, all dated within two days in mid-April, 2013.

    In Durham, North Carolina, police issued a citation to the New Hope Church Read the rest of this entry »


    Scandals and charities of evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson

    April 18th, 2013

    “Los Angeles gasped at the costumes worn” by Ontario-born Pentecostal evangelist, radio preacher and faith healer Aimee Semple McPherson when she testified before a committee of the California legislature during impeachment hearings of state Supreme Court Judge Carlos Hardy, the Vancouver Sun reported, February 5, 1929. Read the rest of this entry »


    Faster than Phoenix, Vancouver rises from its ashes

    April 16th, 2013

    Vancouver began in the 1860’s as a logging and lumbering community on the south shore near the mouth of Burrard Inlet. Giant Douglas fir and cedar logs were dragged by oxen along skidroads to tidewater, where Hasting’s mill cut them into timbers and lumber. Read the rest of this entry »


    Fire demolishes Vancouver in 2 hours

    April 11th, 2013

    Barely two months after it was incorporated, the City of Vancouver was demolished within two hours, as fire roared through its one thousand wooden framed buildings while its 3,000 residents ran for safety to the water of Burrard Inlet, throwing themselves on rafts, boats, anything that would float in a stormy sea. Read the rest of this entry »


    Too many books: “One of the great diseases.”

    April 10th, 2013

    Never has it been this easy, nor cost so little, to publish books, which digital technology causes to issue forth in floods.

    An overcrowded market is the anguish of authors.

    “One of the great diseases of this age is the multitude of books that… overcharge the world” with an “abundance of idle matter,” is the complaint of English author Barnaby Rich.

    “A vast chaos and confusion of books; we are oppressed with them, our eyes ache with reading, our fingers with turning,” is the lament of Robert Burton, another English author. Read the rest of this entry »


    Avalanche kills 62 in worst railway disaster at Rogers Pass in Selkirk Mountains

    April 9th, 2013

    On March 4, 1910, a work crew of 63 men, a 91-ton locomotive with a rotary snowplow, and railway cars to house the workers, were  dispatched from Revolstoke to clear deep snow from an avalanche that buried a section of the Canadian Pacific Railway at Rogers Pass in the Selkirk Mountains of British Columbia. A second, sudden, unexpected avalanche killed 62 of the workers in Canada’s worst railway disaster. Read the rest of this entry »


    Lonely life of a missionary on the Alberta plains

    April 4th, 2013

    A young Anglican missionary, 14 months out from England, talks about the challenges of his parish, a prairie wilderness that extends from Calgary to the American border, in this interview in the Regina Standard, September 11, 1891. Read the rest of this entry »


    Tumbling along with Gene Autry and the tumbleweeds

    April 2nd, 2013

    The Russian thistle, a noxious weed that can devastate farm crops, was made into a romantic image of the Old West by Gene Autry in his 1935 movie and hit song “Tumbling Tumbleweeds.” Read the rest of this entry »