Images of Gilmour & Hughson Forestry now on Flickr

Allan Gilmour (1775–1849) was a senior partner in the firm of Pollok, Gilmour & Co. from which numerous co-partnerships and offshoots evolved, and played a prominent part in the Scottish and Canadian lumber and shipbuilding businesses. Allan Gilmour’s brothers and nephews opened numerous branches in Canada—at Miramichi, Quebec, Montréal and elsewhere. The Bytown operation began after the opening of a Montréal partnership in 1828, which dealt in supplies for the square timber trade on the Ottawa River. In 1841, his nephew Allan Gilmour Jr. took over this operation with James Gilmour, named it Gilmour & Co., and opened the Bytown branch to procure timber and sawn lumber for the Quebec market. Eventually, lumber operations grew significantly.

A black-and-white photograph of the Gilmour and Hughson mill on the river. The mill is in the foreground with timber floating on the river and along the bank.

View of the Gilmour and Hughson mill from the water (MIKAN 5006499)

A black-and-white photograph of a man loading milled lumber onto a horse-drawn wagon. A second, full wagon is leaving the area with its driver and horses.

Men loading lumber at the Gilmour and Hughson mill (MIKAN 5006500)

In the 1870s, the branches at Miramichi, Quebec and Montréal closed, leaving the Ottawa lumber operation in the control of John Gilmour’s sons. In 1891, the company Gilmour & Hughson was formed by John Gilmour Jr. and Ward Hughson, an Albany lumberman. In 1895, the concern was incorporated (58-59 Vic., Cap. 89). In the mid-1920s, it was announced that Gilmour & Hughson Ltd. was being sold to the firm of Riordon & Co. However, Riordon & Co. went into bankruptcy and the properties owned by Gilmour & Hughson and its operations were taken over by the Gatineau Company Limited, a subsidiary of the Canadian International Paper Co.

A black-and-white photograph of the Gilmour and Hughson mill on the river. The mill is in the foreground with timber floating on the river and along the bank.

View of the Gilmour and Hughson mill from the water (MIKAN 5006499)

A black-and-white photograph of a Gilmour and Hughson logging camp during the winter. Log shelters are in the background along a line of trees. Fresh cut timber is stacked and chained in the foreground.

Gilmour and Hughson Logging Camp (MIKAN 5006507)

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Images of Boxing now on Flickr

Boxing is the sport of fighting with padded, gloved fists in a square, roped-off ring under a set number of rounds and rules.

A black-and-white photograph of two boxers fighting on the deck of the SS Justicia, surrounded by the ship’s complement of soldiers.

Canadian troops aboard the SS Justicia, en route to Liverpool, England, watch a boxing match (MIKAN 3384735)

However, the first boxers in Canada did not use gloves. Bareknuckle fisticuffs were the norm during the early 19th century, with some bouts lasting 40 rounds. Outside of the military and a few men’s clubs, boxing was not sanctioned in the provinces of Canada, as the sport did not have a great reputation for fair play or honest promotion. Respectability for the sport came slowly, and views changed during the 1890s. The popularity of the sport grew steadily during the early 20th century.

A black-and-white photograph of two soldiers boxing. One wears black trunks and the other wears white trunks. Soldiers outside the ring watch the match.

Soldiers boxing in the exhibition grounds (MIKAN 3384740)

A black-and-white photograph of middleweight boxer Edwin A. Harris (Canada) in his trunks and gloves, posing with another soldier.

Edwin A. Harris (Canada), middleweight finalist in boxing, at the Inter-Allied Games, Pershing Stadium, Paris, France (MIKAN 3384730)

Today, the Canadian Amateur Boxing Association oversees the sport in coordination with 10 provincial and three territorial boxing associations. Some athletes eventually turn to professional boxing, while others retain their amateur status with the intent to represent Canada in international events, such as the Olympics or Commonwealth Games.

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The Halifax Explosion: Records at Library and Archives Canada

By Valerie Casbourn

On the morning of December 6, 1917, two ships, the Imo and the Mont-Blanc, collided in the Narrows of Halifax Harbour. The Mont-Blanc was a munitions ship on its way to join a convoy sailing to war-torn Europe. The cargo of the Mont-Blanc caught fire, and after burning for 20 minutes, the ship exploded. The blast ripped through the city killing almost 2,000 people, injuring thousands more and causing widespread devastation in Halifax, Dartmouth, and the Mi’kmaq community of Turtle Grove. The “Halifax Explosion” as it became known, brought the danger and destruction of the First World War home to Canada, and left an indelible mark on the city of Halifax.

A black-and-white photograph of several people walking down a street with destroyed buildings on both sides.

Aftermath of the Halifax Explosion. The building on the left was the Hillis & Sons Foundry. (MIKAN 3193301)

Guides to Records about the Halifax Explosion

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) holds various records that tell part of the story of the Halifax Explosion, its aftermath, and the relief work and investigations following the disaster. The first place to look is LAC’s thematic guide, Halifax Explosion. Some of the records listed in the guide are available on digitized microfilm reels on the Héritage website. Other records are available for onsite consultation at LAC.

The guide primarily lists records about the disaster and its aftermath kept by the Canadian federal government. This includes records such as the formal investigation into the collision of the Imo and the Mont-Blanc conducted by the Dominion Wreck Commissioner (RG42, Vol. 596 and RG42, Vol. 597). There is also correspondence of the wartime Chief Press Censor, Ernest J. Chambers (RG6, Vol. 621, File 350, Microfilm reel T-102) that documents both the urgent need to report news of the disaster accurately, but not to reveal any information about the defences of Halifax Harbour.

Image of a telegram that reads: “3:45 p.m. Telegram sent to Geo. D. Perry? Gen. Mgr. G.N.W. Telegraph Co, Toronto, Ont. Telegram sent to J. McMillan, Mgr. C.P. Ry. Telegraphs, Montreal. Ottawa, Ont., December 6, 1917. In view of contradictory reports abroad regarding Halifax explosion I hope everything possible is being done to facilitate a transmission of all press reports. This most desirable from a national point of view. Ernest J. Chambers, Chief Press Censor.”

from Ernest J. Chambers, Chief Press Censor, to G.N.W. Telegraph Co. and C.P. Ry. Telegraphs (T-102, Image 119)

Image of a telegram that reads: “Ottawa, December 7, 1917. C.O. Knowles, Toronto. In connection with reports of Halifax disaster it is important that nothing be published revealing information as to defences, strength and disposition of garrison, etc. Neither should details be given as to naval and transport activities at the port during war. No photographs of Halifax or vicinity taken since commencement of war should be published. Desirable that special correspondents despatched to Halifax inform themselves as to local censorship requirements. Ernest J. Chambers.”

from Ernest J. Chambers, Chief Press Censor, to C.O. Knowles, Canadian Press Limited. (T-102, Image 136)

If you are looking for images, try LAC’s Flickr album of digitized photographs taken after the Halifax Explosion. LAC also has a more detailed description of the explosion at First World War: Tragedy on the Home Front.

A black-and-white photograph showing a line of people digging through the rubble of destroyed buildings.

Aftermath of the Halifax Explosion. (MIKAN 3193299)

How to Search for More Records

You can find more records related to the Halifax Explosion by searching the Archives database for the keywords Halifax AND explosion OR disaster; or try searching for other keywords related to the disaster. You can then limit your search results by date, or by the type of material (i.e., photographs or textual material).

The records at LAC come from the Canadian federal government and from private individuals and organizations. Some records are available online, and others are available for onsite consultation by visiting in person, or by ordering reproductions.

Correspondence about the Halifax Explosion: Sir Robert Borden fonds

There are far too many different records about the Halifax Explosion to mention them all here, but correspondence in the Sir Robert Borden fonds (MG26-H) tells one small part of the story. Sir Robert Borden was the Prime Minister of Canada and the Member of Parliament for Halifax at the time of the explosion, and his papers include telegram messages giving news of the disaster, messages of sympathy for the people of Halifax, offers of assistance, and more.

To find records about the Halifax Explosion in the Sir Robert Borden fonds, search the Archives database for the keywords MG26-H AND Halifax AND explosion. You can also review the finding aids for the Borden fonds, available as PDF documents in the “Finding aid” section of the fonds description (scroll down).

Much of the correspondence related to the explosion is in the file “Halifax Disaster 1917–1918” (MG26-H, Vols. 89–90, Pages 46309–47016, microfilm reel C-4325, which is available on the Héritage website, starting at image 301).

A Great North Western Telegraph Company of Canada telegram, which reads: “Moncton, N.B. Dec. 6, 1917. J.D. Reid, Ottawa. It is reported that ship loaded with explosives at pier six as she was backing out of pier about half past eight this morning an inward bound ship ran into her and she caught fire, they tried to sink her before she exploded but failed. She blew up at nine o’clock. It is reported the city in bad state and much damage done but account wires being down unable to get any detail. Will give further information soon as obtained. Assistant General Manager Brown going to Halifax by Special. C.A. Hayes.”

This initial report of the disaster was sent to Ottawa from Moncton because the explosion damaged telegraph and telephone wires in Halifax and cut off communications to the city. (microfilm C-4325, image 321)

A Western Union telegram which reads: “RM Boston Mass. Dec 7 via Ottawa Ont. 8 1917. Robert Borden, Prime Minister, Halifax, NS. From your knowledge of conditions at Halifax what can we best do at once to help relieve the distress of the people at Halifax last night medical relief train left here at ten o’clock due at Halifax at eight pm tonight we have a ship here at our disposal that can leave here Sunday morning and would be due in Halifax Monday morning can she dock. H.B. Endicot Chairman Mass Halifax Relief Committee.”

An offer of help from Boston, sent to Sir Robert Borden by H.B. Endicott, Chairman of the Massachusetts-Halifax Relief Committee (microfilm C-4325, image 345)

Related Resources:


Valerie Casbourn is an archivist with the Regional Services and ATIP Division at Library and Archives Canada.

Victoria Cross Recipients: First World War now on Flickr

The Victoria Cross (VC) is the highest military decoration in the Commonwealth and takes precedence over all other medals, decorations and orders. A recognition of valour in the face of the enemy, the VC can be awarded to a person of any rank of military service and to civilians under military command. So far, 98 Canadians have been awarded the Victoria Cross, beginning with Alexander Roberts Dunn who in 1854 fought in the Battle of Balaclava in the Crimean War. The Victoria Crosses were awarded to 71 Canadian soldiers during the First World War, and 16 were awarded during the Second World War. The remaining VCs were awarded to Canadians for the Indian Rebellion of 1857 (in which William Hall of Nova Scotia became the first-ever black recipient of the VC) and the South African War (1899–1902).

In 1993, the Canadian Victoria Cross was adopted in place of the British VC. The medal is identical to the British VC but the inscription is in Latin—Pro Valore—a linguistic ancestor to both English and French. The Canadian Victoria Cross has yet to be awarded.

A black-and-white image of Lance-Corporal F. Fisher.

Lance-Corporal F. Fisher, April 23, 1915 (MIKAN 3215642)

A black-and-white photograph of Lieutenant George Burdon McKean.

Lieutenant George Burdon McKean, April 27-28, 1918 (MIKAN 3218939)

A black-and-white photograph of Sergeant Alexander Picton Brereton.

Sergeant Alexander Picton Brereton, August 9, 1918 (MIKAN 3213059)

A black-and-white photograph of Sergeant Hugh Cairns.

Sergeant Hugh Cairns, November 1, 1918 (MIKAN 3191892)

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“Handle with Care, Fragile” now on Flickr

Circa 1981 –  Handle with Care, Fragile: A Guide to the Preservation of Archival Materials

“Improper handling is a major factor in the deterioration of archival documents. During the summer of 1976, the Archives Branch Conservation Committee attempted to illustrate techniques for the correct handling of archival materials through a photographic exhibition entitled HANDLE WITH CARE – FRAGILE – AVEC SOIN. The booklet resulting from that exhibition is intended to demonstrate, in a manner both pointed and humorous, these handling techniques. Only the most common archival media has been used as examples; similarly, only the most obvious causes of damage have been illustrated. We hope that this booklet will promote an appreciation of the fact that everyone who handles archival materials shares a responsibility towards our heritage.”

Wilfred I. Smith, Dominion Archivist

A black-and-white photograph displaying the improper and proper ways to remove archival material from a box. The improper manner shows a person dressed as a gorilla forcibly pulling the documents out. The proper manner depicts a female researcher carefully removing the documents.

Removal of Material from Boxes, Image 005 (AMICUS 23668326)

A black-and-white photograph displaying improper and proper research etiquette. The improper manner shows a person dressed as a gorilla eating a banana near the documents, with open beverages close by. The proper manner depicts a female researcher with no open food or drink near the documents.

Researcher Etiquette, Image 006 (AMICUS 23668326)

A black-and-white photograph displaying the improper and proper ways to handle archival documents. The improper manner shows a person dressed as a gorilla leaving fingerprints on documents after handling them without wearing white cotton gloves. The proper manner depicts a female researcher wearing white cotton gloves to handle the documents.

Holding Documents While Reading Them, Image 014 (AMICUS 23668326)

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Images of Island Life now on Flickr

Islands are portions of land surrounded by water, and Canada has an abundance of them. However, the exact number in the country has not been established. Of the many thousands of islands in Canada only a few hundred are significantly populated. The most densely populated island is the Island of Montreal, with approximately 1.75 million people. Whether situated in rugged, rural settings or in more densley populated urban environments, whether surrounded by fresh water or sea water, island communities throughout Canada continue to grow and evolve.

A black-and-white photograph of an unidentified Inuit family of eight people posing for a group portrait. From left to right: boy, woman, girl, woman, boy, girl, girl, woman.

Mackenzie Inuit family on Banks Island, Northwest Territories (MIKAN 3376397)

A black-and-white photograph of Eliza Campbell examining a lighthouse lamp.

Ms. Eliza Campbell, Scatarie Island light keeper, Nova Scotia (MIKAN 4949728)

A black-and-white photograph of a park and playground. There are two swing-sets and a teeter-totter. Boys and girls play on the equipment under the supervision of some adults.

Park and playground, St. George’s Island, Calgary, Alberta (MIKAN 3385072)

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Images of Turkeys now on Flickr

Turkeys are large birds native to North America. The domestic turkey, also known as the wild turkey, is found from Canada to the midwestern and eastern United States, and in parts of Mexico. The ocellated turkey, which is smaller than the domestic turkey, inhabits the southeastern portion of Mexico and small areas of Central America. Males are typically larger and more colourful than females. The male sports a snood (a distinct fleshy proturberance), which hangs from the top of its beak. Because of their large size, domestic turkeys are hunted and raised for their meat. Many Canadians eat turkey on special occasions, such as Thanksgiving or Christmas.

A black-and-white close-up photograph of a male turkey.

A male turkey (MIKAN 4949749)

A black-and-white photograph of a young girl sitting on top of a bridled male turkey.

“I would like to turkey trot with you” (MIKAN 3259488)

A black-and-white photograph of eight turkeys roosting on a horse-drawn disc harrow, with two turkeys on the ground behind it.

Turkeys on a horse-drawn disc harrow, Radisson, Saskatchewan (MIKAN 3361253)

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Images of Therapies and Treatments now on Flickr

Many medical treatments in Canada today use drugs or surgery to treat symptoms, or the signs of illness. However, Canada has a history of therapies and treatments that are less invasive. Some of these practices are still conducted, while others seem odd or outdated. Treatment using radiation, or physical and psychological therapies still enjoy a level of popular use by medical practitioners, therapists, and patients to address a wide range of ailments – while the use of electric shocks, or ultraviolet lighting is outdated.

A black-and-white photograph of a nurse positioning an x-ray apparatus over a male patient’s right cheek. The patient is lying down on a bed.

A nurse is giving cancer treatment to a patient using x-ray therapy (MIKAN 3603337)

A black-and-white photograph of a nurse attending a female patient receiving infrared ray treatment from a lamp. The patient is lying down on a bed.

Château Laurier Hotel – woman receives infrared ray treatment, therapeutic department, Ottawa, Ontario (MIKAN 3337271)

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Images of Cowboys now on Flickr

Image

Cowboys. Cowhands. Cowpunchers. These are all names for people who move cattle from pasture lands to markets in North America. The occupation’s origins go back to 16th-century Mexico, where locals were hired by Spanish conquistadors to take care of cattle and herd them on horseback. Ranches and cowboys became integral to the economy and psyche of the southwestern United States in the 1830s. During the 1880s, ranching moved north into western Canada, and a Canadian cowboy culture developed there that still exists to this day.

A black-and-white photograph of a cowboy, wearing a black hat, bandana, gloves and fur riding chaps, who stands in front of a tent. His right hand rests on a holstered pistol.

A cowboy in front of a tent, Hazelton, British Columbia (MIKAN 3643972)

A black-and-white photograph of a cowgirl, wearing a hat, bandana, gloves with stitched maple leaves and a skirt, who stands in front of a tent. Her left hand rests on her left hip and a holstered pistol.

A woman dressed in cowgirl apparel, with her hand on a holstered gun, stands in front of a tent, Prince Rupert, British Columbia (MIKAN 3521147)

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Images of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, now on Flickr

Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon (August 4, 1900–March 30, 2002) married Prince Albert, the Duke of York, on April 26, 1923, and became the Duchess of York. After the death of King George V on January 20, 1936, Albert’s elder brother succeeded their father on the throne. However, Edward VIII abdicated on December 11, 1936, to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson. Albert then succeeded his brother, assuming the title King George VI.

On May 12, 1937, the day of George VI’s coronation, the Duchess of York became Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom and the Dominions, and the Empress of India. Neither Albert nor Elizabeth had expected to become king and queen. Nevertheless, they took to their new roles and responsibilities with commitment and empathy. At this time their two children, princesses Elizabeth and Margaret, were 10 and 6 years old respectively.

A black-and-white photograph of saluting King George VI beside Queen Elizabeth outside the Parliament Buildings of Canada.

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth at the Parliament Buildings, Ottawa, Ontario, 1939 (MIKAN 3194608)

During the Royal Tour of Canada in 1939, Queen Elizabeth demonstrated her ability to put people at ease, which contributed to her popularity and success in supporting her husband’s royal duties. It was during the Canadian tour that the first “royal walkabout” occurred, as King George VI and Queen Elizabeth spontaneously engaged a group of First World War veterans after the unveiling of the National War Memorial in Ottawa.

A black-and-white photograph of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth at the rear of the Royal Train

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth at the rear of the Royal Train, Hope, British Columbia, 1939 (MIKAN 3194610)

The Royal Family remained in London during the Second World War, narrowly escaping injury when Buckingham Palace was bombed during the German blitz of 1940–1941. Their popularity rose to new heights at this time, as they joined the rest of the country in observing wartime ration restrictions on food, water and heat. Throughout the war, Queen Elizabeth displayed her wry wit and perseverance. She continued her service to the monarchy well beyond the death of her husband on February 6, 1952. Her eldest daughter succeeded George VI as Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, Canada and other Commonwealth nations. To avoid confusion, the new queen’s mother became known as Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.

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