The preceding hours of darkness aided by cloud cover had permitted the infantry to file forward unobserved into their jumping-off positions, many of which were clearly observable to the enemy in daylight. Had this movement been witnessed, an enemy barrage might have broken up the assault wave with serious casualties; as it was, the positions were gained without notice.
In the half-light of zero hour under a cold overcast sky, when manoeuvring was still largely obscured from the enemy, the intense bombardment opened with sudden fury, and the advance of the infantry began. Continue reading
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.
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.
Boxing is the sport of fighting with padded, gloved fists in a square, roped-off ring under a set number of rounds and rules.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
- Thematic Guides—Halifax Explosion
- Halifax Explosion, 1917 Flickr album
- Tragedy on the Home Front—Halifax Explosion—6 December 1917
- Discovering the Héritage Collection Through Archives Search
- Ordering documents: what numbers do I need?
- Nova Scotia Archives – 1917 Halifax explosion
Valerie Casbourn is an archivist with the Regional Services and ATIP Division at Library and Archives Canada.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.