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Article

The Last Spike

The Last Spike was the final and ceremonial railway spike driven into the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) track by company director Donald Smith on the morning of 7 November 1885. The ceremony marked the completion of the transcontinental CPR and was a muted affair at which a group of company officials and labourers gathered at Craigellachie near Eagle Pass in the interior of British Columbia. One of about 30 million iron spikes used in the construction of the line, the Last Spike came to symbolize more than the completion of a railway. Contemporaries and historians have viewed the Last Spike — as well as the iconic photographs of the event — as a moment when national unity was realized.

Editorial

The Parliament Hill Fire of 1916

Members of the press gallery who took their time going down the winding staircase were quickly immersed in thick black smoke. Along the way they ran into the prime minister, Sir Robert Borden, and his secretary making their way to the exit almost on hands and knees.

Article

The Quebec Act, 1774 (Plain-Language Summary)

In 1759, the British defeated the French on the Plains of Abraham. Soon after, the British took control of Quebec (see also The Conquest of New France.) The Quebec Act of 1774 was passed to gain the loyalty of the French who lived in the Province of Quebec. The Act had serious consequences for Britain’s North American empire. The Quebec Act was one of the direct causes of the American Revolution.

(This article is a plain-language summary of The Quebec Act, 1774. If you are interested in reading about this topic in more depth, please see our full-length entry on The Quebec Act, 1774.)

Article

The Sacking of York

A crushing defeat for the British in the WAR OF 1812, the sacking of York began on the morning of 27 April 1813. At dawn, a flotilla of 16 American ships under Commodore Isaac Chauncey made its way to the capital of Upper Canada, YORK [Toronto].

Article

The Study of Working Class History

The Canadian worker has been a neglected figure in Canadian history. Workers have contributed in many ways to the development of Canadian society, but the history of working people — their families, communities and work places — has only gradually become part of our view of the past and an important component of understanding how we came to occupy our present.

Article

The War of 1812 (Plain-Language Summary)

The War of 1812 was fought between Britain and the United States between 1812 and 1814. The war ended in a stalemate but had many lasting effects in Canada. It guaranteed Canada’s independence from the United States. It also gave Canadians their first experience working together as a community and helped develop a sense of nationhood.

(This article is a plain-language summary of the War of 1812. If you are interested in reading about this topic in more depth, please see our full-length entry War of 1812.)

Article

The Wars

Timothy Findley’s 1977 novel about the mental and physical destruction of a young Canadian soldier in the First World War won the Governor General’s Literary Award for English Language Fiction. It is widely regarded as one of the country’s definitive historical war novels. It has been called “one of the most remarkable novels of war ever published” and “the finest historical novel ever written by a Canadian.” The Globe and Mail referred to The Wars as “the great Canadian novel about the First World War.”

Article

Timber Axe

   Two basic types of axe were used in the early 19th-century eastern forest industry. The more common poll axe had a single, fan-shaped cutting edge, a narrow head weighing 1.5-2.5 kg, and a hickory or maple handle. It was used for felling, scoring and lopping branches off fallen trees.

Article

Timber Trade History

Wood was the staple of Canadian trade for much of the 19th century. Fueled by European demand, the timber trade brought investment and immigration to eastern Canada, fostered economic development, and transformed the regional environment far more radically than the earlier exploitation of fish and fur.

Article

Titanic

The Royal Mail Ship (RMS) Titanic was a British luxury passenger liner that sank on its maiden transatlantic voyage. At approximately 11:40 p.m. on 14 April, about 740 km south of Newfoundland, Titanic’s starboard (right) side scraped along an iceberg. The collision ruptured several watertight compartments. Water poured in, but the first lifeboat was not launched until an hour later. Approximately two-thirds of the liner’s passengers and crew died. Titanic’s sinking was one of the worst marine disasters in history and remains firmly embedded in popular culture today.

Macleans

Titanic Tourism Boom

For good or ill, the City of Halifax seems inextricably linked to the tragic April 14, 1912, sinking of the RMS Titanic, which saw 1,522 souls succumb to icy Atlantic waters.

Macleans

Toddlers Die in Van Crash

It was the dull drone of the van's horn that first alerted Josée Desilets to the horrific accident across the road from her small business selling windows. Her husband, Réjean Lambert, rushed out of their store in tiny St-Jean-Baptiste-de-Nicolet, Que.