O Canada

A day off

The 19th century wasn’t a golden era for workers. In Newfoundland, six-year-olds were given the job of splitting fish, while processing was done by 10-year-old girls. Eight-year-old boys worked in Cape Breton coal mines. At Toronto’s Gooderham and Worts distillery, child workers as young as 10 worked long days and were given rations of whisky to...
  • The short heroic life of Buzz Beurling

    May 25, 2018 by Don Gillmor
    George (Buzz) Beurling was credited with 31½ “kills” in the Second World War, more than any other Canadian pilot, and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order, Distinguished Flying Cross and two Distinguished Flying Medals. He was a gifted pilot, a superb marksman and fearless in...
  • Berton’s correspondent

    April 10, 2018 by Don Gillmor
    Lester Giffin was a private with the 85th Battalion at the Battle of Vimy Ridge in 1917. In the years after that momentous battle, he felt its importance hadn’t been recognized by the general public, and in 1982, at the age of 89, he decided...
  • Crowfoot’s lament

    January 17, 2018 by Don Gillmor
    After Confederation, the West was being transformed. A railway was being built, uniting the country but displacing both the bison and the First Nations. Soldiers and settlers were arriving. Louis Riel was trying to gather support for his rebellion. In 1879, Crowfoot, chief of the...
  • The last PoW

    December 14, 2017 by Don Gillmor
    On Dec. 5, 1952, Andrew Robert MacKenzie was flying over North Korea in his F-86 Sabre jet when he experienced hydraulic problems. He was at 42,000 feet, in a firefight with enemy MiG jets when he was hit. “Before I could take any evasive action,...
  • Dallaire’s nightmare

    September 19, 2017 by Don Gillmor
    I too was a commander who set out on what I thought was an exciting adventure,” Romeo Dallaire writes in Waiting for First Light: My Ongoing Battle with PTSD, “only to bear witness to the most terrible horrors on earth.” It is a familiar story, one first heard in...
  • John A. Macdonald’s rocky road to Confederation

    August 15, 2017 by Don Gillmor
    In 1864, John A. Macdonald, along with George Brown, D’Arcy McGee and Alexander Galt, sailed to Charlottetown to convince the maritime colonies to join Confederation. On board was $13,000 worth of champagne to smooth negotiations. “Whether as a result of our eloquence or the goodness...
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