The History Inside Mt. Pleasant Cemetery

Mt. Pleasant Cemetery was designated a National Historic Site in 2000 and with good reason. The cemetery marks the final resting place of nearly 170,000 people, including:

  • Sir Frederick Banting and Dr. Charles Best, discoverers of insulin and heroes to millions of diabetes sufferers and their families
  • Dr. Allan G. Brown, Physician in Chief at the Hospital for Sick Children and partly responsible for the development of pablum
  • Herbert Bruce, 15th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario in 1932
  • Henry John Cody, Chancellor and President of the University of Toronto and Provincial Minister of Education
  • Charlie Conacher, former NHL player for the Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Timothy Eaton of the famous department store chain
  • George Howard Ferguson, Premier of Ontario from 1923-30
  • Glenn Gould, famous pianist
  • George S. Henry, Premier of Ontario from 1930-34
  • Foster Hewitt, famous hockey announcer
  • George ‘Punch’ Imlach, coach of 1962, 1963, 1964, and 1967 Stanley Cup winning Toronto Maple Leafs
  • John Kelso, reporter for the Globe who founded organizations that would lead to the creation of the Toronto Human Society and the Children’s Aid Society
  • Warring Kennedy, Mayor of Toronto from 1894-95
  • William Lyon Mackenzie King, Canada’s longest serving Prime Minister
  • J. Keiler MacKay, 19th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario from 1957-63
  • Albert Matthews, 16th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario from 1937-46
  • Samuel McBride, Major of Toronto from 1928-29 and 1936 when he died in office
  • William Barclay McMurrich, Mayor of Toronto from 1881-82
  • Sir Oliver Mowat, Father of Confederation, 8th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario (1897), Senator (1897), and Premier of Ontario from 1872-96
  • Alexander Muir, author of ‘The Maple Leaf Forever’
  • John Andrew Pearson, architect who designed the main block of the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa and the University of Toronto’s Convocation Hall amongst other famous Canadian buildings
  • Dr. Jennie Smillie Robertson, Canada’s first woman surgeon and founder of Women’s College Hospital
  • Robert H. Saunders, Mayor of Toronto 1941-44
  • Clifford Sifton, Minister of the Interior that oversaw the expansion of the west and the creation of Saskatchewan and Alberta
  • William J. Stewart, May of Toronto 1931-34, Speaker of the House (Ontario) 1944-47
  • Augusta Stowe-Gullen, first Canadian woman to study medicine and graduated with a degree in medicine from a Canadian university
  • Donald Summerville, Major of Toronto 1963 (died in office)


I spent around two hours walking around the grounds bust mostly focused my time in the east end of the grounds. The cemetery is split in half by Mount Pleasant Road. The visitation centre, Garden of Remembrance and Cemetery Office are all located in the eastern half of the grounds towards Bayview Avenue. The Mausoleum Crematorium and Chapels, as well as the bulk of historical figures mentioned above are located in the west side of the grounds towards Yonge Street. The grounds are a very short walk from Davisville Subway station and about a 15-20 minute walk from St. Clair Subway station.

It was a particularly gorgeous day when I went – 17 degrees Celsius and lots of sun. Here are some of the highlights of my walk:

Banting and Best – located near one another in section 29 of the eastern half of the grounds (Banting faces section 27 and Best faces section 28)

Banting and Best

Alexander Muir – located in section X of the western half of the grounds (facing section L)

Clifford Sifton – located in section 10 of the western half of the grounds (facing section V and not marked on the history tour map provided by the office)

Sir Oliver Mowat – located in section W of the western half of the grounds (facing section 7)

Right Honourable William Lyon Mackenzie King – located in section L of the western half of the grounds (facing section K)

The Champions – René Lévesque vs Pierre Elliott Trudeau

A wonderful three-part series by the National Film Board of Canada. Watching the first twenty minutes of part two where the 1968 leadership race is held was of particular interest to me, having been at two different announcements this year in federally and provincially. The series can also be found on the NFB’s website here:

Part 1

Part 2

The Champions, Part 2: Trappings of Power by Donald Brittain, National Film Board of Canada

Part 3

The Champions, Part 3: The Final Battle by Donald Brittain, National Film Board of Canada

#NBD Liberal Prime Ministers

The #nbd Campaign

My sister and I like to jokingly say the letters ‘NBD’ to one another when we are sarcastically saying something is ‘no big deal’ when in reality it is. It occurred to me that the Liberal record of achievement in improving Canada is lengthy, even when broken down by specific Prime Ministers. It also occurred to me that it might make for some light-hearted fun to lists off the accomplishments of Liberal Prime Ministers in the first person and have the list end with ‘#nbd’ as one would humble-brag on Twitter. I made several images doing just this and they quickly spread around Twitter and Facebook. I thought it might make sense to create versions that Liberals could proudly display on their Facebook pages and below are the resulting Facebook cover photo versions of the images. Download and share at will!

(Click on the images to view and download them at their full size)

Bringing Our National History to Life on Parliament Hill

Commemoration on Parliament Hill

Canada’s Parliament buildings were constructed on Old Barrack Hill now commonly known as Parliament Hill. Construction began in 1859 and was finally completed in 1876, grossly over-budget and surviving countless delays. When new provinces joined the federation in 1905, expansion of the building began once more. in February of 1916, fire broke out and destroyed all but the Library of Parliament as its gigantic iron doors had been shuttered in time to save the room and its priceless contents. Parliamentarians, sitting in the House that evening, escaped after hearing of the fire and Prime Minister Borden crawled through the hallways to safety. By 1920 the Centre-Block was rebuilt and by 1927 the Peace Tower was complete. In 1952 the Library caught fire though was not destroyed and repairs quickly began. Maintenance has continued on all buildings since.

Surrounding the buildings today on the grounds of Parliament Hill are several statues and monuments commemorating the contributions of some of Canada’s greatest citizens. Seven Prime Ministers are honoured with their own statues: Macdonald, Mackenzie, Laurier, Borden, King, Diefenbaker, and Pearson. Two Queens, Victoria and Elizabeth II, are honoured. Two fathers of Responsible Government are honoured: LaFontaine and Baldwin. Two slain Fathers of Confederation, McGee and Brown, also have statues. They are joined by another Father of Confederation, Cartier. And one other monument, dedicated to the Famous Five which it represents: Nellie McClung, Irene Parlby, Emily Murphy, Louise McKinney and Henrietta Muir Edwards.

Cartier’s statue was the first to be installed and was done so at the personal direction of his long time friend, Prime Minister Macdonald. Affected deeply by his death in 1873, Macdonald ordered a state funeral and a statue for the Hill. Alexander Mackenzie’s statue was installed in 1901 after being on display in Paris, as was Queen Victoria’s. Brown’s was erected in 1913 and Baldwin and LaFontaine’s joint monument in 1914. Wilfrid Laurier’s monument was decided on in 1922 and his successor Borden’s in 1957, the largest gap in installations to that point.

In 1967, the Centennial year, four statues were to be commissioned to celebrate 100 years of Canada. They were to be of Arthur Meighen, WLM King, Richard Bennett and Louis St. Laurent. All but Bennett’s were constructed, the design for his being rejected. However, in the more stylized 1960s, all but King’s statue were seen as unfit for the Hill. King’s statue was erected, Meighen’s sent to the town he was buried in, and St. Laurent’s left in storage.

It would be another 18 years before a new statue was brought to the Hill. In 1985, a statue of Diefenbaker was raised and four years later joined by a statue of a seated Lester Pearson. 11 years later, a monument to the Famous Five, the women involved in the Persons Case, was installed on Parliament Hill.

R.B. Bennett and the Calls for a New Statue

There has been no Prime Minister purposely ignored more than Richard Bennett. Leading during the Great Depression, he is not simply forgotten like some Prime Ministers before him, but openly derided for things that were largely beyond his control. The lone Prime Minister without a statue despite one being called for, his absence from the Hill is notable.

Former Liberal Prime Minister John Turner and Conservative Senator and historian Hugh Segal have both called for a statue to be commissioned of the millionaire Prime Minister. A teenager from Bennett’s home province of New Brunswick named Jordan Grondin is actively pushing for a statue of Bennett. He has apparently swayed the sitting Prime Minister on the issue which suggests his efforts will likely bear fruit.

I support Turner, Segal and Grondin is their calls but wish to make one of my own. Instead of calls for individual Prime Ministers to be honoured, why not bring history alive on the Hill by creating a fully supported historical walk with informative plaques and brochures to guide participants? Why not support the project with legislation to determine who receives a statue, when and what the guidelines are for its construction? Why not include the path beneath Parliament Hill as a way to commemorate the Premiers who ushered their provinces into Confederation whether it be in 1867 or 1999?

Commemoration Circuit

The grounds of Parliament Hill and surrounding areas beyond should boast statues of every Prime Minister Canada has ever had, not necessarily to celebrate their politics or personal legacies but Canadian history in general and the time in which they played a heavy role in shaping.

Calls for a statue of Bennett should be echoed by ones for Abbott, Thompson, Bowell (yes even Bowell) and Tupper. It should include the underrated Meighen and St. Laurent and continue with Trudeau, Clark, Turner, Mulroney, Campbell, Chretien, Martin and one day, Harper. Each Prime Minister has their official portrait hung in the halls of Parliament and should receive similar treatment on its grounds. Though, it should be noted, Meighen’s portrait was only recently hung despite his service as Prime Minister ending in 1926.

It might be hard to argue the merit of installing a statue to Bowell yet his time in office reflects the issues of his time and mark the only time a Prime Minister was forced to resign because his Cabinet would not support him. That history is worth knowing and sharing.

Trudeau likewise presided over historic times and Patriated the Constitution yet does not have a statue. Campbell was Canada’s first ever female Prime Minister and nearly 20 years after her time in office, still lacks a monument.

Canadians tend not to celebrate their history and at times seem quite adverse to monuments. But if we are to be aware of our mutual history, if we are to celebrate it, and if we are to share it with the world, there is no better place to commemorate our past than on Parliament Hill. But that commemoration should be selective or biased. We should tell our national story in its entirety and that begins with remembering those who have led us.

Path of the Premiers

At the foot of Parliament Hill there lies a walking trail next to the river. It is a nice place to get some exercise and fresh air or just a view of Hull across the water. However, because of its location at the foot of Parliament Hill I think the trial can do more for our national narrative and our awareness of our collective past.

Thirteen different Premiers either initiated their province or territory’s inclusion into the Federation or became the first representatives of that province or territory after that inclusion. I believe that this pathway should be used to share the history of Confederation, from 1867 until 1999. By understanding how our federation came to be, we can better understand how to navigate its sometimes complicated waters and work to make it stronger.

The combination of Commemoration Circuit and the Path of the Premiers would help bring Canadian history to Parliament Hill to the necessary degree that has not yet been carried out. Canadians need a stronger relationship with their history and our government can help.

Today in Canadian History – June 22

1603 – Samuel de Champlain lands in Quebec

1774 – The British Parliament passes the Quebec Act, granting Catholics in Quebec religious freedom

1864 – George Brown forms the Great Coalition Ministry with Cartier and Macdonald

1869 – The Canadian government purchases Rupert’s Land from the Hudson’s Bay Company to create the Northwest Territories

1873 – The Assembly of Prince Edward Island agrees to petition the British government to join Canada

1960 – Quebec Liberals under Jean Lesage defeat the Union Nationale under Maurice Duplessis beginning the Quiet Revolution

1976 – Parliament votes to abolish the death penalty in Canada

Today in Canadian History – June 4

1524 – Jacques Cartier spots Prince Edward Island

1812 – United States Congress votes for war against Britain sparking the War of 1812 that will officially begin when President James Madison later declares his country to be at war with Britain

1868 – British government states it will not allow the secession of Nova Scotia from Confederation

1979 – Joe Clark becomes Canada’s 16th and youngest Prime Minister, taking office only one day before his 40th birthday

1990 – Brian Mulroney calls First Minister’s conference in an attempt to get unanimous support for the Meech Lake Accord

1992 – Joe Clark’s Referendum Bill passes

Fracturing the Federation

A Brief Discussion of Provincial Rights

A trend has been creeping across Canada in the last several years, and likely for decades before the reign of Stephen Harper. When it comes to discussions of provincial jurisdiction and rights, focus generally sits squarely on the shoulders of Quebec and at times, Alberta.

Quebec has a long history of demanding more power over its own future and sometimes this demand has come from not just podium thumping politicians but also the people themselves. There are long scars in Quebec dating back to a time even before the Plains of Abraham but certainly from thereafter. In the mid-1990s, a much younger Stephen Harper famously argued in his Firewall Letter that his adopted province of Alberta follow Quebec’s lead and cut itself off from the rest of Canada until its voice was heard above all others. The Alberta separatism movement existed long before Stephen Harper’s letter and likely before the National Energy program, though perhaps in a more muted fashion.

Quebec has held several referendums on secession and elected more than one separatist government. Stephen Harper is now Prime Minister of Canada and has officially reversed himself on many of his old positions in order to retain his premiership. Under his leadership, he has still openly supported the goal of stripping the federal government and the federation of decision making power while handing it over to the provinces to make their own unilateral decisions. This leadership is based on the American system of governance where states’ rights come before country more often than not.

The Biggest Slight – Quebec and the Constitution

Much energy has been spent over the years on trying to make Quebec feel more included by making concessions on a range of issues. While many issues throughout Canadian history have led to concession style politics with Quebec, one event is held up above all others: the repatriation of the Constitution. Much is made of Quebec’s ‘signature’ not being on the Constitution. Much of the cries about this issue have come from Quebec separatists and Brian Mulroney in his later attempts at establishing his own constitutional legacy by attempting to get Quebec’s ‘signature’ on it.

Mulroney’s constitutional attempts ignore two basic facts about the repatriation of the Constitution. The first is the assumption that a separatist leader of Quebec, at the time Premier Levesque, would ever have attached his signature to a Constitution of Canada. Considering it was his life’s goal to remove Quebec from the federation entirely, it seems highly unlikely he was ever interested in formally signing a document that would do the opposite. It has long been my belief that the other premiers and federal representatives, having worked with Levesque, realized this and managed to secure the necessary conditions for patriation of the Constitution of all of Canada.

This brings me to the second fact frequently ignored by separatists, soft-nationalists and concession-style federal politicians such as Mulroney, Layton and even Harper (though he does not speak of Constitutional reform or ‘winning conditions’). That fact is that the ‘signature’ of Quebec was not ever required on the Constitution. Quebec, as a provincial member of the federation was invited to decide whether or not it agreed to the terms laid out. But as a member of that same federation, regardless of the decision made by Quebec on those terms, would be part of the agreement if it should pass by the necessary requirements.

Thus when the patriation was decided on by the premiers and legislatures of 9 of the 10 provinces and passed by the House of Commons before finally being sent to the British Parliament, it was passed by a majority of Canada, a country which included Quebec by law. while Levesque did not sign on the patriation still applied to the province he represented and that province is represented under the Constitution even with the signature of its premier missing from the documents that made it possible. The narrative of these events has been twisted since but the reality exists that Quebec as province and its people as individual Canadians share the same rights, freedoms and protections under the Constitution as every other Canadian. Those who argue about the injustice of the patriation do so for their own political gain and legacy.

Who Represents us Best?

I’ve never really understood the concept that if a province makes decisions instead of the federal government it is somehow more democratic. No level of government is any more democratic than another. Suggesting that provincial governments are better representatives of their populations because the regions they represent are small holds no water. Why not make decisions about education, health-care, or even the military at the municipal level because after all that level of government is even closer to the people because it operates on the local level.  Or why not hold a referendum on every issue ever faced by government because afterall, there is no smaller political unit than individual voters. Government would cease to function if this was the case and the argument is not based in any form of logic regardless of this. The politics of those who wish to give provinces more rights over decisions of national importance only wish to draw up more boundaries to divide and separate Canadians.

Provincially and federally we elect our representatives at the local level in our ridings. These representatives then go on to our legislatures to represent our views and make decisions on our behalf. The reason why we have different levels of government is because there are issues that affect us differently depending on the scope of the issue. And the representatives who are tasked with dealing with specific issues are those we voted for so that they might tackle issues of that scope. Municipal politicians for property taxes, provincial politicians for the structure of our education system and federal politicians for issues of national and international importance.

One such issue of national importance is the strength and unity of our federation. Which brings me back to the topic of provincial secession.


Talk of Quebec separatism has exploded once again largely thanks to the election of the NDP as the Official Opposition. Jack Layton declared this week that all that is needed for Quebec to secede from the federation is a vote of 50% +1 in favour. This is not really news since the NDP had proclaimed this years ago as official party stance.  It only became news because many of the new NDP caucus are from Quebec and several have previously campaigned on behalf of the sovereignty movement. It is important to point out that Layton and his party reversed their position on the Clarity Act in 2004 and now support the legislation and its requirements regarding secession.

The Clarity Act was born out of the failed attempt by Quebec separatists in the 1995 referendum to rip Quebec out of the federation. It was based on a statement from the Supreme Court that should the legislative body, government or people of Quebec wish to secede from the rest of the country they could not do so unilaterally and if they held a clear majority would only be able to do so after negotiation with the rest of Canada. The Act laid out several conditions in response to this statement, suggesting a province wishing to secede would have to have garnered support from a clear majority of its populace on a clear question. The House of Commons would determine whether the question was clear and whether the size of a majority was clear based on factors such as voter turnout.

Having said all of this, what can we make of the argument of 50% + 1 as enough support for the province to secede? First, it is not enough support to secede. I say this because a vote in itself does not satisfy the requirements of the Act and it would be up to the House of Commons to determine if this is a proper minimum for secession. Stating that 50% + 1 is enough ignores this reality in our law.

While it does not specifically state in the Clarity Act what a clear majority would constitute, as this would be decided by the House of Commons, it has long been assumed somewhere around a super majority or 60% would be necessary as in many other referendums. I think it is a flaw that the Commons of the time should decide what constitutes a majority instead of ironing it out once and for all in the Act so that the issue is clear from the outset of a referendum. However, I also am aware of the treatment the architect of the Act, Stephane Dion, received for the measures he included.

So, what should the conditions of breaking up the country be?

Clear Conditions of Secession

To me, clear conditions would at the very least require a super-majority of 60%. But on an issue as important as secession, I feel like the same conditions applied to the constitutional referendums of the past should be used in a case of attempted-secession. The ‘General Formula’ would entail a decision of secession be have been passed by the House of Commons, the Senate, and seven provincial legislatures by 2/3rds of representatives in each representing a minimum 50% of the total population. I would argue that minimum be brought up to 60% or even 70% because secession is an issue of grave importance and Canada is a country that listens to the majority while protecting the minority.

When it comes down to it, a majority of 1 vote or 1% should not decide that 49% of Quebecers who also identify as Canadians are no longer Canadian. The ability to strip a Canadian of their identity as a Canadian just because of where they reside should be difficult. And it should be just as difficult to have Quebec ripped away from the rest of Canada and all Canadians who have spent their entire lives identifying with a country of which Quebec is very much a part of. Our national identity has been centuries in the making and has always included Quebec. Four Canadian Prime Ministers are buried in Quebec and far more of our history, identity and our future is intrinsically linked with that province. 50% + 1 is not good enough to destroy the work of Baldwin and Lafontaine or all the efforts of Canadians, whether from Quebec or not, since then.

No province is bigger than this country and this country is not truly Canada without each member of the Federation. Our legal system should reflect the importance of the existence and maintenance of the Federation and legally defend the fact that above all we are Canadians.

1841 and the 4th Riding of York

In Sharon, a small town in Ontario located not far from Toronto, there exists a historical site housing a building of historic, religious, and political significance called the Sharon Temple.

The history and significance of the building can be told through many different lenses but perhaps the most important is the political as the Sharon Temple played a significant role in the creation of our country.

I have previously written of LaFontaine and Baldwin and their contributions to Canada. I have also written of how these two men, despite the enormous debt Canadians owe to them, have largely been forgotten in our modern society. Even at the Sharon Temple, where Baldwin stepped aside to allow LaFontaine, a Montrealer, to run in the 4th Riding of York and be elected as a reformer to Parliament, there is no marker recognizing either man. LaFontaine’s election paved the way for he and Baldwin to reform Parliament and our country, ultimately resulting in the creation of Responsible Government.

LaFontaine’s election in York was not easy as he was from out-of-province, he was French and of a different religion than the local Quakers who would elect him. Political opponents in the area threatened violence but LaFontaine was invited to the riding anyway and after hours on the muddy roads arrived in the riding for the first time at night on September 3rd, 1841. He stepped into the Sharon Temple, lit up with candles for a biannual feast, and was welcomed by locals he was introduced to. This was followed by his attendance at a service the following day which led to further appearances throughout the riding as support for LaFontaine began to spread. When he was eventually victorious in the election on September 21st, he had dinner with Baldwin in Sharon before being led to neighboring Newmarket along Yonge Street by a throng of supporters.

In 1843 Baldwin completed the switch by getting elected in Rimourski, Quebec as an English-speaking Torontonian. Baldwin and LaFontaine would eventually form a reformist government that LaFontaine would lead as Prime Minister in 1848. The road from 1841 to 1848 was not easy, nor was life for either man after the introduction of Responsible Government. Many attempts were made on LaFontaine’s life and Parliament itself was burnt to the ground during his leadership but he and Baldwin responded the same way to each threat: with peaceful defiance.

Baldwin would die in 1858, nine years before Confederation. LaFontaine would eventually follow him in 1864, just three years shy of the realization of a new country they had an enormous hand in building. While their story did not begin in Sharon at the Temple, it certainly made an irreversible turn for the historic that rainy September 3rd in 1841 where LaFontaine first met the constituents that he and later Baldwin would represent. The election of LaFontaine in York marked a turning point for the entire country where lines of unity were no longer drawn on the basis of language or religion but instead the shared vision people had for their society.

Despite how important the Sharon Temple was to the election of LaFontaine and with it, the founding of this country, there exists no marker on the grounds to celebrate the event or the man. The provincial marker mentions the role of locals in the 1837 Rebellions but leaves out LaFontaine and Baldwin.

The federal marker speaks of the religious importance of the site but offers no hint at its political and national importance.

Why does it matter? It matters because LaFontaine’s election and the subsequent events that followed are some of the most important moments in our young history. Pre-Confederation history is often forgotten in Canada (along with most post-Confederation history, admittedly) and political leadership before John A. Macdonald is rarely acknowledged as if Macdonald alone ushered in Canada as a united nation. While Macdonald played an extremely important role, it is important to remember that while he was a freshman MP attempting to start a duel with another MP in Parliament, LaFontaine was Prime Minister of the United Canadas. Even Macdonald had to learn the ropes and he did so in a system shaped by LaFontaine and Baldwin. Macdonald has a plaque, LaFontaine and Baldwin do not.

There is always a reason for not raising a plaque. In good times funds are allocated for important programs. In tough times, they are taken away from important programs and no hope exists for any further funding for heritage recognition. There is simply never a convenient time for heritage projects and so they must be fought for despite this because our history really is priceless and the cost of forgetting it is too high.

I believe LaFontaine and Baldwin should be recognized in Sharon and across Canada for the contributions they made to this country. It is not wrong to point out that if a gazebo costing $100,000 can be built ‘for’ a G8 summit and $800-$7000 can be spent per sign on creation and installation of Economic Action Plan signs (that do nothing for the economy and act as partisan campaigning with public funds) then surely money can be allocated to honor these two men and the importance of Responsible Government. Though such a concept may be lost on those funding gazebos and advertising campaigns instead of actually governing.

No government in Canadian history has taken up this effort and it is a shame. Yes, there is a statue on Parliament Hill for LaFontaine and Baldwin and yes a Heritage Minute was crafted. But a statue in the back corner of the grounds does not create an intimate connection between Canadians and their political founders as much as a plaque commemorating those men in the very places they walked would do.

As of today there is no plaque for LaFontaine and Baldwin at the Sharon Temple. However, there does stand three Economic Action Plan signs directly next to one another at the very front of the property facing the road, several feet away from the existing plaques for the Temple. I suggest the people of Sharon, Newmarket and surrounding areas as well as all Canadians across the country demand Responsible Government be returned to its rightful home. It’s time to scrap political advertisements on such important grounds. It’s time to celebrate politics at its best. It’s time to recognize LaFontaine, Baldwin and the sorely missing concept of Responsible Government.

Toronto and Canada’s Forgotten History

I have spent much of the last year in Toronto and am soon to become more of a casual visitor again than pseudo resident. On this last day in the city, I wanted to do something I’d been meaning to do for some months which was encounter some of the most important history in our country and I would argue, the modern world. I wanted to go on a walk on this Sunny day in the city and encounter some remnants of the life of Robert Baldwin. But the only record of this important man’s time in this city is a plaque near a Starbucks. Heritage Toronto is not well-funded (and unlikely to become any more well-funded) but the loss of recognition for this important part of our history is not a modern event.

Canadians need a better relationship with our history. I know there is an appetite for it as I saw at the ROM sponsored debate series this winter called History Wars. But in a city where heritage buildings literally crumble as citizens walk by, I think both our politicians and we as citizens must do more to protect our historical narrative as a country and as a people.

The Toronto Star: Forgotten Founders (Video)

Robert Baldwin and Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine created the Canada we know, but their names and the places they lived and worked have been all but forgotten. The Star’s Christopher Hume explains.

LaFontaine Mansion in Montreal

An important part of the Baldwin story is the story of his friendship with LaFontaine of Montreal who together with Baldwin instituted Responsible Government in Canada. The men share a statue on Parliament Hill but are otherwise largely forgotten. Two students of Concordia University in Montreal are currently attempting to have LaFontaine’s Mansion restored and recognized as an historical site. To sign their petition you can follow the above link.