Blog category: Canadian History
Post-houses and Stage-houses in the Early 1800s
October 7, 2022
If you were taking a trip before the onset of rail travel, you’d likely be spending time at a post-house. Post-houses – often called stage-houses, especially in the United States – were essential stopping places in the days when vehicles were pulled by horses. Situated approximately every 10-15 miles (16-24 km) along routes known as post roads or stage roads, post-houses were houses or inns with stables where coaches could obtain a fresh set of horses for the next stage of the journey. Mail, packages, and passengers could be dropped off and picked up. Drivers could be swapped out. Travellers could get something to eat, and spend the night. If you wanted to travel in a private vehicle, rather than a public one, you could rent horses and a small carriage at a post-house, along with postilions.
A Buffalo Hunt & Other Buffalo History Tidbits
January 11, 2019
One thing that early European visitors to the Great Plains commented on was the sight of vast herds of buffalo. Here is a description of a 19th-century buffalo hunt as well as some interesting facts about buffaloes.
Visiting Niagara Falls in the Early 19th Century
January 26, 2018
What would Niagara Falls be like without all of its tourist trappings? To get an idea, we can look at the accounts of people who visited Niagara Falls before tourism became the area’s main industry.
Glimpses of Canada in 1817
June 30, 2017
Fifty years before Confederation, the land we now call “Canada” consisted of the colonies of British North America: Upper Canada, Lower Canada, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Cape Breton Island, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland. British North America also included Rupert’s Land, which was nominally owned by the Hudson’s Bay Company and encompassed a large chunk of the north and the west. Through the Hudson’s Bay Company and the North West Company, the British also had a permanent presence in what is now British Columbia. In practice, vast tracts of Canada were populated solely or mainly by aboriginal peoples.
Canada and the Louisiana Purchase
September 16, 2016
Ever wonder about that bit of the Louisiana Purchase that extends into Canada? Here’s how parts of Alberta and Saskatchewan once came under Napoleon’s rule.
Canada Day in 1867
July 1, 2016
“With the first dawn of this gladsome midsummer morn, we hail the birthday of a new nationality. A united British America, with its four millions of people, takes its place this day among the nations of the world.” Thus began an editorial by journalist and politician George Brown in the Toronto Globe on Monday, July 1, 1867.
A Tomb for Napoleon’s Son in Canada
January 15, 2016
Did you know that a tomb originally intended for Napoleon’s son is sitting in a Canadian cemetery?
Were there Canadians at the Battle of Waterloo?
June 12, 2015
If you’re ever visiting the Duke of Wellington’s tomb in St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, take a moment to look for the bust of Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first prime minister. Nearby you will find a plaque sacred to the memory of Captain Alexander Macnab, a Canadian who died in the Battle of Waterloo on June 18, 1815. Macnab, one of thousands killed in the battle, did nothing special to distinguish himself. How did he wind up being commemorated in such a place of honour? Macnab was not the only Canadian at the Battle of Waterloo.
George Schumph and the Death of Pierre Laffite
April 17, 2015
George Schumph, who meets with Napoleon in Charleston in Napoleon in America, is one of those shadowy historical figures about whom little is known. A native of Quebec, he is remembered in the historical record because of his association with the New Orleans-based pirates, Pierre and Jean Laffite. Thanks in part to Schumph’s testimony, we have the details of Pierre Laffite’s death.
Napoleon in French Canada
January 9, 2015
Though Napoleon tends to be idolized in Quebec, this was not the case when he was in power. People vilified Napoleon in French Canada in the early 1800s.
We must confess that fate, which sports with man, makes merry work with the affairs of this world.