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    Why I don’t have time for Facebook or to tweet on Twitter

    August 30th, 2013

    It is well that I write about the past, because I don’t understand the present. Or at least, not today’s ever-changing digital technology. Read the rest of this entry »


    Conscription law triggers riots and attempted murder

    August 28th, 2013

    First World War military conscription became law on August 29, 1917, and protesting rioters in Montreal smashed store windows. Read the rest of this entry »


    God’s profaners suffer fatal Sunday accidents

    August 24th, 2013

    There would have been fewer fatal accidents in Upper Canada (Ontario) in 1825 if more people devoted Sunday to worship and rest, as commanded by the “highest authority, according to the York  (now Toronto) Upper Canada Gazette, the voice of colonial authority and the notorious Family Company. Read the rest of this entry »


    White Pass and Yukon Railway trip: 3 days, 104 miles through snow and blizzards

    August 20th, 2013

    Travel to Whitehorse and the Klondike goldfields of the Yukon was often an epic adventure. Read the rest of this entry »


    A clean idea: bags for dirty bread

    August 17th, 2013

    Bread bags, to avoid dirty bread, are proposed in this item from the Montreal Witness, reprinted in the Regina Standard, March 3, 1898. Read the rest of this entry »


    Loyal Orange Order threatens Canada’s peace

    August 13th, 2013

    When the Orange Order rode into Upper Canada in 1822 with a parade through the streets of York, it was very much an establishment occasion, but eight months later a petition was moved in the House of Assembly to have the outfit outlawed. Read the rest of this entry »


    Mr. Bruin visits the lawyer

    August 11th, 2013

    Amor De Cosmos, writing in his Victoria Daily Standard, September 3, 1870 tells this delightful story of the bear who visited a lawyer. Read the rest of this entry »


    Fatal cannon blast dampens Family Compact meeting

    August 8th, 2013

    A reform newspaper unleashes its most vitriolic prose in a report of a meeting by supporters of Upper Canada’s Family Compact. The meeting ended with a canon blast, Read the rest of this entry »


    Social Darwinism

    August 6th, 2013

    “The growth of a large business is merely the survival of the fittest. The American Beauty rose can be produced in the splendor and fragrance, which can bring cheer to its beholder only by sacrificing the early buds, which grow up around it. Read the rest of this entry »


    How to bow when you meet on the street

    August 4th, 2013

    The social rules for bowing, when ladies and gentlemen meet on the street, are explained in the Kingston British Whig, reprinted in the Toronto Leader, July 17, 1855. Read the rest of this entry »


    Doff your hat to honour the dead

    August 1st, 2013

    Men once doffed their hats whenever a funeral procession passed by, to honour and respect the dead. But a letter published in the Advertiser, London, Ontario, on July 22, 1905, lamented that the custom was already fading. Read the rest of this entry »