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Sunday, August 23, 2015

How the Provinces and Territories of Canada Came To Be: A Chronological List With a Few Factoids

Ever wonder ( or try to remember) how and when the provinces and territories of Canada all came together? So did I. So here's a little timeline along with some factoids, an illustration and very cool youtube video on the topic. 


1867, July 1st  British North American Act / Confederation:

Nova Scotia

New Brunswick

Quebec ( Formerly known as: Canada East/ Lower Canada)

Ontario (Formerly known as: Canada West / Upper Canada)

***The North West Territories were existent at confederation ( as The North Western Territory) but by process of evolution and parceling off of this mass of land into other provinces and territories it became what it is today. The final boundaries were made when the Territory of Nunavit was formed.

1870, July 15th


With the transfer of Rupert’s Land and the North-Western Territory from the HBC to Canada ( This was the largest Real Estate deal in history surpassing even the Louisiana Purchase). Manitoba was originally a small square 1/18th the size of its present form. It was established due to the rebellion of the Metis people under Louis Riel


British Columbia

With the promise of a cross country wagon trail and railroad.  Vancouver Island was first formed as a colony in 1849. The main land became a colony on August 2nd 1858 and Vancouver Island joined it as “British Columbia” in 1866.


Prince Edward Island

Largely because of a crushing debt load due to a failed railroad, PEI joined the Confederation.

1876, October 7th 

District of Keewatin 

The District of Keewatin was formed out of an eastern portion of the North West Territories and covered much of the land north of Manitoba and Ontario. It reverted to a district of the NWT in 1905 and in 1912 much of it's land was given to Manitoba and Ontario. It formally ceased to exist with the creation of Nunavit in 1999. 


Britain transfers to Canada the Arctic Islands


Yukon Territory

Due in large part to the gold rush and the need for more policing and governance it was separated from the North West Territories.




Although there were many propositions for this territory (including dividing it laterally instead of horizontally) , Wilfred Laurier and the government decided to create these two provinces and to draw the boundary between AB and SK as an arbitrary straight line down the 110th meridian in order to “avoid concentrating too much power in the West…” (*Will Ferguson)


Manitoba and Ontario increase to their current size and shape by acquiring land from the North West Territories (Keewatin District).

1949, March 31st


After WW2 “Newfoundland’s strategic – and vulnerable – geographic position became clear.” (*Ferguson). It had three choices: 1) Remain under British administration 2) Become independent (and possibly American) 3) Join Canada. A referendum decided by a slight majority to join Canada.



“(The creation of Nunavit) is part of Canada’s natural evolution – as natural as the birth of Saskatchewan and Alberta in 1905, which were taken out of the old N.W.T. to give residents more control over their lives.” David F. Pelly

2001, December 6th

Newfoundland is renamed Newfoundland and Labrador 

"Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king's son... 
He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river 
unto the ends of the earth." A Psalm for Solomon 

(Psalm 72 - This passage inspired the official motto of Canada "From Sea to Sea". ) 

Sources & Further Reading:

Above youtube video

Canadian History For Dummies, Will Ferguson


Saturday, August 22, 2015

Sherlock Holmes On the Goodness of God (What a Lovely Thing a Rose Is)

I've greatly enjoyed reading the original Sherlock Holmes books and when I came across this little gem of a passage I wanted to share it. 

"What a Lovely Thing a Rose Is."

Excerpt from The Naval Treaty by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle:

Sketch by Sidney Edward Paget 

"...the authorities are excellent on amassing facts, though they do not always use them to advantage (said Sherlock) What a lovely thing a rose is!"  

He walked past the couch to the open window, and held up the drooping stalk of a moss rose, looking down at the dainty blend of crimson and green. It was a new phase of his character to me, for I have never before seen him show any keen interest in natural objects.

"There is nothing in which deduction is so necessary as in religion," said he, leaning with his back against the shutters.  "It can be built up as an exact science by the reasoner. Our highest assurance of the goodness of Providence seems to me to rest in flowers . 

All other things, our own powers, our desires, our food, are really necessary for our existence in the first instance. But this rose is an extra. Its smell and its colour are an embellishment of life , not a condition of it. It is only goodness which gives extras, and so I say again that we have much to hope from the flowers." 


"For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse..."  Romans 1:20

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Northwest Passage by Stan Rogers: A Canadian Anthem

When I first heard this song a shiver went up my spine and perhaps a tear or two fell from my eye. Stan Rogers' epic ballad is about the brave explorers who opened up the Canadian Northwest and especially those who sought the infamous Northwest Passage through the Canadian Arctic. 

Having a love of history and having read of many of these men ( and the women who stood by them) this song spoke to me like an mighty echo from the past. I love that he mentions David Thompson who was so fearless and relentless in his search for a land and water route across Canada ( and found one down the mighty Columbia River). 

Chris Gudgeon recounts this story of when Stan Rogers wrote the song in one night:

"Stan, still groggy from a lack of sleep, shrugged. Yeah, it was finished, he said, then, at Paul’s (Producer Paul Mills) prompting, sang it right there at the kitchen table, reading the words off a piece of paper.

Stan raised his head at the end of the song to see Paul crying. “That’s a very stirring and solid piece,” the producer said, pulling himself together. They went straight into the studio and recorded it. The album had its title song – and Canada had what may well be the greatest song ever written about this country."

This song is indeed the epitome of rugged Canadiana.  

To me this song and the search for the Northwest Passage  speaks of the long and rugged journey of the Christian from here to home.  Only, as we now know today of the passage, our goal exists for real and the efforts are never in vain. 

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. 2 Timothy 4:7-8



Ah, for just one time I would take the Northwest Passage
To find the hand of Franklin reaching for the Beaufort Sea;
Tracing one warm line through a land so wild and savage
And make a Northwest Passage to the sea.

Westward from the Davis Strait 'tis there 'twas said to lie
The sea route to the Orient for which so many died;
Seeking gold and glory, leaving weathered, broken bones
And a long-forgotten lonely cairn of stones.

Three centuries thereafter, I take passage overland
In the footsteps of brave Kelso, where his "sea of flowers" began
Watching cities rise before me, then behind me sink again
This tardiest explorer, driving hard across the plain.

And through the night, behind the wheel, the mileage clicking west
I think upon Mackenzie, David Thompson and the rest
Who cracked the mountain ramparts and did show a path for me
To race the roaring Fraser to the sea.

How then am I so different from the first men through this way?
Like them, I left a settled life, I threw it all away.
To seek a Northwest Passage at the call of many men
To find there but the road back home again.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

7 Fascinating Facts About Dan Hamhuis: Olympic Gold Medalist & B.C. Boy

“Can play a sound defensive game, log big minutes and also be used in a shutdown role. Moves the puck well out of the defensive zone. Has loads of hockey sense…” 
The Hockey News Scouting Report on Dan Hamhuis

“Clearly, there is not only a science but a sociology to hitting in the NHL. Hamhuis has degrees in both.”
Ian MacIntyre of the Vancouver Sun

#1 Origins

Dan Hamhuis was born December 13, 1982 in the northern British Columbian town of Smithers about 4 hours’ drive west of Prince George. At roughly 5,600 residents, Smithers is a small town and Dan had to work hard to get opportunities to play hockey at the highest levels. 

Photo Credit:

His parents, Marty and Ida, put him in hockey at the age of 4 and he would often be skating alongside kids as old as 8. Dan recalls many winters sharpening his skills on the backyard rink his dad made for him and eventually he would go on to win the minor hockey provincial championship with the Smithers Storm. 

#2 Prince George Cougars & the WHL

A very unfortunate event in the life of any hockey player occurred to Dan at the age of 14 when he broke his leg. The timing was particularly difficult because it caused him to miss the B.C. Winter games (where there would be many WHL scouts) and would contribute to him missing the WHL draft completely. Not a great start to a hockey career but fortunately the Prince George Cougars saw Dan play and recognized his talents. They invited him, undrafted, to their training camp where he made the team. 

Dan would go on to be a major player with the team becoming their Rookie of the Year in 1999, 2 time Scholastic player of the Year, Most Dedicated and finally MVP for the team in 2002. In his years with Prince George he would be named the WHL’s best defenseman and player of the year as well as the CHL’s top defenseman.  Hamhuis would also meet his future wife in the city. 

#3 Turning Pro – Nashville & Milwaukee

Dan was drafted 12th overall by the Nashville Predators in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. He was cut from the Predators in his first training camp and the 2002-2003 season was sent down to the AHL to play with the Milwaukee Admirals. Having left his home province for the first time, Dan would later recount his time in Milwaukee as one of the most challenging times of his life but also as a turning point in his life and career. 

In the 2003-2004 season Hamhuis made the Predators team right out of training camp and scored his first NHL goal on October 16th against St. Louis. During the lock out of 04-05 Dan played again for Milwaukee and then another 5 seasons with the Predators. In the 05-06 season he led all Nashville players in ice time and had a +11 rating. In the later years his role began to shrink with the emergence of young star defensemen Shea Weber and Ryan Suter. 

#4 Vancouver Canucks

In 2010 Dan became an unrestricted free agent and, after unsuccessful negotiations with both Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, he signed a 6 year, $27 million with the Vancouver Canucks despite being offered more by other teams. Dan wanted to return “home”. 

Dan helped the Canucks win their first President’s Trophy that year. The next season they made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals although he suffered a sports hernia in the first game. He has traveled to Haiti on behalf of the NHLPA’s charity work there and also partnered with Manny Malhotra to have a playground built for Edmonds Community School which serves under privileged children in the Burnaby area. Dan continues to play for Vancouver with one year left on his contract.

#5 International Career

Dan is a true Canadian patriot answering the call to play for his country whenever he can. As a result he has won several medals. In the World Juniors he grabbed 2 silvers in 01 and 02. He has played in 4 World Hockey Championships winning 2 silver and 2 gold – most recently in 2015 in the Czech Republic where he took a turn wearing the “C” (Captain). 

 Perhaps his most outstanding achievement though was when he not only made the Canadian Olympic in 2014 but contributed to the team winning the gold medal by beating the Swedes in Sochi. This team has been described as the best defensive team (or team, period) ever produced by the country (Hockey News).

#6 His Faith

Dan was born and raised in a Christian home but went through various challenges and hardships that, in the end, helped to cement his faith. Two of the major challenges included breaking his leg during the WHL draft and his time playing in the minors in Milwaukee. He also talks about the temptations that could be stumbling blocks to a hockey career in junior hockey. “In junior you’re in a smaller town, and can become quite popular, and that can be a bit of a challenge sometimes. Thinking you’re more that you are and losing that humble, hard-working attitude can also sidetrack a hockey career.” 

Matt Duchene responds on Twitter to Dan’s quote: “Amazing quote from a current @HockeyCanada teammate... Couldn't be more true”

Dan’s year in Milwaukee (2002-03) was difficult but turned out to also be a major turning point for him in his faith. There he met and was challenged by the team chaplain named Iggy Cofaro with Hockey Ministries International.  Dan recalls that Iggy reminded him, “ That growing up and knowing about God was not good enough. He painted a vivid picture of Jesus’s love for us through…the cross. This ...inspired me to live the way Jesus taught and demonstrated for us.”  

Dan went on to say “I was actually kind of mad at him ( Iggy ) for giving me that message, because I was pretty comfortable where I was at, sorting picking and choosing where I wanted to be a Christian or not… (but) that’s when I really started to grow as a Christian”

#7 New Ventures

In April of 2014, Dan, along with Eric Brewer, officially became part of an ownership group that purchased that Prince George Cougars, his old junior team. Hamhuis described this move, "It's pretty special to be involved in the ownership of a team I played for in junior. Prince George means a lot to me. It's always the big city for kids from Smithers, and to play junior there, meet my wife there, have a kid, get married, obviously I have a lot of personal ties to the city and to get this opportunity come up I was extremely excited about it."

Prince George Citizen

On personally phoning the Cougar’s draft picks to inform them of their new team, Hamhuis says, "We all kind of thought [at the draft in Calgary] that would be a neat way to start it off and make those kids feel important…It is a big deal that they're part of this and part of our franchise.”

Dan Hamhuis has represented the Province of British Columbia, his country,  his teams and his faith in an excellent manner over his long career - and for all of this I tip my hat to him.  

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, 
to those who are the called according to His purpose." 
Romans 8:28 ( a favourite Bible verse of Dan's) 

Sources & Further Reading:

The Hockey News:

The Vancouver Sun:

Prince George Citizen :

"Toward the Goal: Stories of Faith, God & Hockey" Cathy Ellis copyright 2012 Hockey Ministries International 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

5 Fascinating Facts About Tete Jaune Cache: Historic Treasure of the Robson Valley

“We came to Tete Jaune in the year I was six. We had just spent the winter near Prince Rupert and all we could think of was, ‘ What a beautiful country with no rain’.”
 Ferne McKirdy, The Yellowhead Pass and Its People

#1 The Man Behind the Name

Tete Jaune is French for “Yellow Head” and was the nickname given to an Iroquois trapper and guide by the name of Pierre Bostonais. The term “bostonais” was used by Indians to refer to Americans ( “Boston Men”) and so it is likely Tete Jaune was originally from American territory. tells us that “Normally a nickname, Pierre Bostonais may have acquired it as a family name after his family moved from American territory to the Montreal area.” There is some debate as to whether or not Tete Jaune was Metis but he did indeed have blonde hair.  

Yellowhead Pass by William G.R. Hind

The first appearance of the name Tete Jaune is found in the archives of the Hudson Bay Company in an entry from St. Croix (located in Minnesota) January, 1805 and he is later referred to as a “Free Iroquois” in the ledgers of the North West Company in 1816.  Another figure named Pierre Hastination may have been one and the same person as Pierre Bostonais but some think they were two separate individuals.

Tete Jaune was described by some as “mischievous” but he is also credited with making major inroads into the Yellow Head Pass region, lending his name to the town and possibly even naming Mount Robson. Tete Jaune and his family were killed in 1827 by a group of Beaver Indians seeking revenge for the general Iroquois encroachment of their lands. 

#2 The Town Site

A cache was a wide hole in the ground used by fur trappers to hide their gains. The surface of the ground over a cache was taken off in one piece and then laid down again over top of the goods. The cache of Pierre Bostonais ( or Tete Jaune’s Cache as it became known) was originally located at the Grand Forks of the Fraser river where the Robson river flows into it. However, Pierre moved his cache down river to an a Secwepemc village filled with tents and pit houses (known as Kekuli’s). As the Valemount Museum’s website tells us:  “The name migrated downriver to a periodic settlement of Secwepemc First Nations people, and further downstream to the railway construction town.”

Probable Shuswap Family at Tete Jaune. Photo Credit:

The first record of the town name “Tete Jaune’s Cache” was in 1825 by James McMillan, an HBC trader who had hired Tete Jaune to guide him through the Yellow Head Pass (aka The Leather Pass). Years later in 1865 a railway survey was done through the Yellow Head Pass region by Dr. John Rae. Then in 1871 Walter Moberly, under the authority of Sanford Fleming, surveyed the route again for potential use of the CPR and their Transcontinental railroad. Roderick McLennan (for whom the river is named) worked for Moberly and surveyed up from Albreda through to Tete Jaune’s Cache. Unfortunately for this region, the transcontinental railroad ended up being built further south through the Kicking Horse Pass. What a different place it would be today had it gone through the Yellow Head Pass! 

Around the turn of the century two railway companies  -the Grand Trunk and the Canadian Northern – both showed interest in building a second transcontinental railroad through the Yellow Head Pass. Not long afterwards, the official placing of the town site of Tete Jaune’s Cache occurred in 1901 and was patented by the crown in 1902. 

#3 Boom Town

With the coming of the railway, the town of Tete Jaune Cache became a bustling centre of about 3000 people and was known to be the largest settlement west of Winnipeg during the years 1911-1913. It was called a “Tent Town” or “Rag Town” due to the many tents that made up the living quarters and businesses ( as well as timber and log structures). 

Tete Jaune was now well known throughout the West and was a key transportation hub for goods travelling from Edmonton to Fort George (Prince George).  This transportation was not only by land and rail but also by sternwheeler boat on the mighty Fraser River.  Boats representing different companies including Foley, Welch & Stewart, and the famous BX (Barnard Express) Stagecoach line plied the waters of the Upper Fraser. Believe it or not, at one point in history, the town even became a shipbuilding centre. All of this plus the mining of its famous mica made Tete Jaune Cache boom,  “attracting thousands of pioneers, trappers, prospectors, and entrepreneurs to the Robson Valley”. 

1913 Flood. Photo Credit

William Jowatt and his son, Wilfred, both served as magistrate for the town of Tete Jaune in the early 20th century. Wilfred was “a photographer, post master, barber and rent collector…” and he left us with many historic photos. The town experienced a large flood in 1913 – “The flood eventually washed away the peninsula that the center of Tête Jaune (mile 52) stood on. At mile 53 lived the engineers, superintendents and surveyors.  The workers called this snob hill.” 

#4  Japanese Internment 

After the attack on Pearl Harbour the Canadian government began to isolate Japanese nationals into internment camps -  “Soon it decided to send the male nationals to make the Yellowhead-Blue River highway between Jasper and Blue River. Men were separated from their families and shipped via rail to internment camps.” Many of these men ended up in Tete Jaune Cache.

Photo Credit: Columbia Basin Institute

The men were paid 25 cents an hour but paid back 75 cents a day in room and board and in addition they had to provide for any family that were being forced to live in camps in the Kootenays. Due to the rampant discrimination at the time, at one point only 5 Japanese men were allowed into Jasper at a time. The men were amazingly resilient though, despite the many unfair hardships they faced daily. They created simple pleasures and beauty by building Japanese style bathhouses, gardens, bridges and even baseball diamonds.  

#5 Its Legacy 

Today Tete Jaune Cache is a rural area of about 300 people located in the same general area around the Fraser River that it was over a century ago.This area is now also the junction of the Canadian National Railway and the Yellowhead highways 16 and 5. In many regards it serves as “bedroom” community for the Village of Valemount  18 km to the south. “The pool halls, restaurants, saloons, and trading posts are no more. Only a few stone chimneys remain as a reminder of Tete Jaune's existence.”

One of the buildings that did remain is the Tete Jaune Lodge restaurant. It was formerly a cabin built in 1922 from logs cut at Rearguard Falls and floated down the river. In 1969 the property was developed into the Tete Jaune Lodge.  

Tete Jaune Cache was a key location in opening up the B.C. Interior and remains one of the historical gems of the Robson Valley. So next time you are traveling from Edmonton to Prince George or Vancouver and pass through the junction, remember all the history that once thrived in this great railroad town. 

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, ...For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21

Sources & Further Reading: 

The Yellowhead Pass and Its People, copyright 1984:

Valemount Museum:

Spiral Road:

Who Was Tete Jaune?

Tete Jaune Lodge website:


Sunday, August 2, 2015

The 33 Movie: How the Chilean Mine Rescue Is Like the Gospel

Five years ago 33 miners were trapped 2,300 feet underground when a Chilean mine collapsed. They would spend 69 days there while the world watched, hoped and prayed. This blog post was written in May of 2011. Its quite spiritual for a history blog but I hope it blesses your day.


I just happened to sit down for my 15 minute break at work when I glanced at the TV in the lunchroom and saw – live – the first miner emerge from the capsule known as the Phoenix. Pretty amazing timing… but what’s more amazing, of course, is this whole story.

On August 5th, 2010 , 33 miners were trapped when the rock walls  caved in all around them. The first response is grim. The Chilean mining minister publicly stated that there chances of being rescued were slim.

 After 17 days , a drill bit reaches through to the trapped miners but the Chilean government still says it could be until Christmas before they are rescued.

We now know that all 33 men have been rescued, carried hundreds feet safely to the top by the Phoenix capsule – 68 days after the cave in.

Last Sunday , my Pastor mentioned the news piece he had seen the night before about the miners and the rescue attempt – how the life saving drill had finally reached the miners. With tears in his eyes and voice , he thought of the pain and misery the miners must have experienced. The dark , stinking hole they were trapped in – and then… to see the light break through as the drill cracks the ceiling of their prison.

He said then, that he could not help but think of  God , who,  in flesh , came down to this earth… this dark , dank place,  and broke through with heaven’s light and a rescue plan of His own.

God had come down in the form of a man,  Jesus Christ. After 33 years of living, He died as a substitute for us – and He made a way back to where He had come from, - not for Himself…but for us. You could say that a “capsule” to heaven - more importantly to the heart of God -  now awaited mankind. A rescue from a dark prison , whatever our own personal prison of sin may look like.

Now thinking of the miners - who of them, being in such a situation for 68 days, would not step into that capsule – that Phoenix? I can only imagine how scary it must have been for the first miner to step in and latch the door – certainly this was a leap of faith in those who engineered the rescue. But who would stay behind? Who would not take this offer of deliverance?

When the first miner reached the surface, he soon embraced the Chilean President, Sebastián Piñera , who said to him – “Welcome to life.”

And that’s what it is for him and the other miners – new life.  One of the miners, Mario Sepúlveda, said of being down there “I was with God and I was with the Devil – and God won…”

So many , when speaking of this miraculous rescue, keep using the term “born again” . Maybe that term sounds familiar… it comes from a key passage of the Bible where Jesus is speaking to a man looking for a rescue.

"In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. " "How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!" Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You  must be born again.'" John 3:3-7

And then Jesus explains to him how to be spiritually born again. In the renowned passage of Scripture, John 3:16, we hear His words…

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Jesus then goes on to declare…

"This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God." John 3: 17:21

I don’t think any one of those miners hated the light they saw in the last 48 hours.

But what about us?