Sunday, May 22, 2022

1873 Queen Victoria & Family, Macdonald & Associates

While looking at various books, I found an old Canadian almanac and noticed its very thorough description of Queen Victoria and her family. By chance, the almanac also documents those in the two houses of Parliament during the Pacific Scandal tribulations and provides other interesting contemporary details. 

Consequently, various Queen Victoria depictions and Canada's Government in 1873 are the themes of this short post.


from: 100 Years in Pictures; DC Somervell; 1951; Odhams Press.


from: Vanishing Canada; Rick Butler; 1980; Clark Irwin & Co.
Above, the original Canadian House of Commons on May 20, 1897.
The old Centre Block was destroyed by fire on February 3, 1916.


The Canadian Almanac and Repository of Useful Knowledge; 1873; Copp Clark ... measures 6 x 9 inches. The pages on Queen Victoria and the Canadian Government are reproduced below.

Many readers will be interested in finding their representatives in Ottawa back then. You may notice that the ministries are described as being located in the East Block or the West Block on Parliament Hill.




JW Bengough (1851-1923) was an early Canadian political cartoonist who published the Canadian satirical magazine Grip. It was influenced by the British satirical magazine Punch to some extent (sample below). Grip's first edition appeared on May 24, 1873 - quite a year in Canadian politics.

Two of Bengough's cartoons showing Macdonald appear below.
A nice, concise description of the Pacific Scandal is included.

from: A Caricature History of Canadian Politics; JW Bengough; 1886 (1974 reprint); The Grip (Peter Martin Assoc).


from: 100 Years in Pictures; DC Somervell; 1951; Odhams Press.

Of course, that's British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli 
(in office as Prime Minister: 1868, 1874-1880) 
pictured with Queen Victoria.


from: A Caricature History of Canadian Politics; JW Bengough; 1886 (1974 reprint); The Grip (Peter Martin Assoc).


from: 100 Years in Pictures; DC Somervell; 1951; Odhams Press.


Friday, May 20, 2022

Alberta and British Columbia - Railway Maps, circa 1916

This 8 x 11 inch, soft-covered government atlas was probably given out to prospective immigrants or people interested in Canadian commerce. It has plenty of photos and detailed descriptions of Canadian provinces and their more attractive attributes. The population of Canada (1911 census) was given as 7.2 million.

As the US had not yet entered the Great War in 1916, perhaps the olive-drab front cover and cheap paper was intended to solemnly reflect the challenges faced by 'The Empire' - supporting my speculation that this publication was intended for use primarily in Britain. 

... In case the prospective British immigrant perused the whole atlas and found Canada unimpressive, a colourful map of the United States was helpfully positioned on the inside back cover. But while the Americans also spoke the King's English (and many, the Kaiser's German) would the text of their own atlas have such a subtle sense of humour? ...

'The Province of Ontario, since the addition to it of 146,400 square miles of the former Keewatin District, in shape bears a striking resemblance to Italy, though its boot has a flatter sole and a less arched instep.'

'Kingston is the half-way house for river tourists. Steamers for the Thousand Islands and St. Lawrence points as far east as Montreal, and for the Rideau River as far as Ottawa, make Kingston their point of call and departure, while it likewise communicates with ports on Lake Ontario and the Bay of Quinte. The Royal Military College and Queen's University are here, and a large penitentiary.'

The maps are the standard Poole Brothers (of Chicago - producers of those gracefully arcing railroad timetable maps) offerings. However, the added bonus is that the existing and projected lines of each railway are over-printed in colour. By now, some were over-built as well ...

If the Grand Trunk shareholders were not already nervous ... they could see the proposed junction on the Skeena River which would take travellers along the projected GTP line way up to the Yukon ... AND the future line spanning the full length of Vancouver Island ... AND of course that infamous stretch running parallel to the Canadian Northern near Jasper. 

... However, it seems likely that some rails from the tracks near Jasper were already heading for re-use in France as this atlas was being distributed. 

At a later date, I'll post other maps from this interesting collection and perhaps together we can see which other provinces resemble footwear.