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Month: November 1997

O Canada

The Evolution Of West Coast Logging

There’s an old black and white photograph at the British Columbia Archives that shows a group of men standing next to a team of oxen. Most of the men are loggers and their hardened looks resemble the very stuff they are harvesting from Canada’s West Coast forest. One man is leaning on an axe, two more are standing on top of logs that appear to be 1.2 metres in diameter. The old photograph also tells us something about the crucial role Canada’s West Coast timber industry has played over the years. It is, indeed, an industry that has shaped people’s lives and powered economic growth in many coastal communities. More recently, however, the decline of old-growth forests, mill closures and conflicts over land use have resulted in a crisis that has spelled uncerta...

On Liberation’s Trail

by Bill Fairbairn The Canada Museum in the Flemish village of Adegem, Belgium, portrays much more than the village’s liberation by Canadian troops in September 1944. It also embodies a local man’s promise to his dying father, paying tribute as it fixes a part of WW II history in the minds of its visitors. So it was when the 1997 Dominion Command Youth Leaders Pilgrimage of Remembrance to Europe reached the museum 16 kilometres outside of Brugge on July 14. An enthusiastic Gilbert Van Landschoot greeted the Legion party of 31 at the entrance to the museum he opened two years ago, keeping a promise made to his father that he would honor Canadian soldiers and the local resistance for their roles in WW II. Before his death, the father disclosed that he had served in the Belgian ...

Pilgrimage To Dieppe

by Ray Dick The weather was clear and hot when the ferry from Newhaven, England, arrived at the French port of Dieppe. It was August and several of the men lining the rails were Canadian veterans who on a similar morning, 55 years ago, landed on the rock-strewn beach. But back then it was a living hell that greeted the Canadians as they rushed ashore into vicious German machine-gun fire. With that memory intact, the Dieppe veterans would once again revisit some dark moments in their lives, but they would also see a new Dieppe and witness the solemn commemoration of their courage and sacrifice. All of them were participating in a Veterans Affairs Canada pilgrimage to mark the anniversary of the Aug. 19, 1942, raid. These men and the others who were with them during that day long...
O Canada

A Royal Fair Turns 75

On a cold and wet November day in 1922, a young farmer arrived at the newly constructed Coliseum in downtown Toronto’s Exhibition Park. His name was Alfred Ahiers and he was going to try and win a trophy for his poultry at the first-ever Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. After bracing himself against the blowing snow, Alfred, then 15 years old, unloaded his chickens from the back of a truck and continued to pray for success. Seventy-five years later, Alfred is still alive and the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is considered by many to be Canada’s best-known agricultural exhibition. Indeed, it has become the world’s largest indoor agricultural, horticultural and equestrian competition. During last year’s fair, more than 350,000 people went to the Coliseum to witness the sights, sounds ...
War Art

C. Anthony Law

Bold strokes and hot colour characterize the work of C. Anthony Law. From top to bottom: Survivors, Normandy, Off Le Havre; Windy Day In The British Assault Area; Decommissioning, Rainy Weather, Sydney, N.S. C. Anthony Law, who died late last year, was born in England in 1916. His father, an army major serving with the Canadian Expeditionary Force, and his mother, the daughter of a judge in the Exchequer Court, were both Canadian and returned to Canada in 1917. Tony Law, as he was known, grew up in Quebec City and spent summers with his grandfathers. At age 14, while staying with his mother’s dad, he built his first sailboat. While staying with his father’s dad, a retired sea captain, he learned to paint. Law spent three years at Upper Canada College before moving on to the Univers...

The Battle For Ortona: Army, Part 18

The actual terrain over which a battle is fought may be the most important primary source of information available to the historian, but ground must be related to weather. Canadians who visit Italy’s Adriatic coast are unlikely to arrive in the grey of winter, when the rains turn rivers into racing torrents and the ground into thick, clinging mud. Yet this was the reality that confronted the men of the 1st Canadian, 8th Indian and New Zealand divisions in their struggle for Ortona, Villa Grande and Orsogna in December 1943.It all began with General Dwight Eisenhower’s telegram to Winston Churchill, Oct. 25, 1943: "My principal commanders and I are in complete agreement that it is essential for us to retain the initiative until the time approaches for mounting Overlord, otherwise the enemy ...

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An informative primer on Canada’s crucial role in the Normandy landing, June 6, 1944.