Battle of Beaumont and Canadian Autonomy


Britain: Declared war on Germany and sent out the call for aid, in which Newfoundland responded. At this point in time, Britain was one of the most powerful empires around the globe.  

Newfoundland: A small British colony located on an island along (what is now) Canada’s eastern coast. Despite having no military experience, hundreds of men volunteered to join Britain in war.   

Germany: Fighting the British in pursuit of the control of more land and with it, more resources. The enemy of the British empire was therefore the enemy of Newfoundland and it’s soldiers.   



In 1914 Britain declared war against Germany. Along with the war declaration, Britain sent out a call to their allies and colonies to help fight in the war. Newfoundland at this time was still a British Colony and was filled with english loyalists. Despite having no army and no militia, hundreds of men volunteered, creating the First Newfoundland Regiment. 

In the spring of 1916, the Newfoundland regiment was transferred to France in order to prepare for an offensive in Somme valley. The Newfoundlanders were told to attack German troops at the village of Beaumont-Hamel. This battle was the initial phase of The Battle of the Somme  

The Battle of the Somme was one of the most tragic loses of the first world war (look at Elyjah’s blog for more) and the Battle of Beaumont was the first name in the list of lost battles.

The battle commenced with 801 Newfoundland men charging the field. Tragically, 30 minutes later only 68 men were able to report for duty. 

This loss devastated Newfoundland families and people and is still felt today in the province and descendants.   


Beaumont-Hamel is in north-eastern France, in the fields of WWI. 




Going in to the Battle of Beaumont, the French and British side of the war needed a win. Germany had taken control of Belgium and some of Northern France and many of the British attempts to take more control of the war had failed. The Germans were positioned near the river Somme so the French and British troops were to attack the Germans together. 

The plans were disrupted when Germany launched an attack on French forces near Verdun. In consequence, the British were left to fight at the Beaumont themselves, leading to the loss of most of the Newfoundland Regiment.  


The battle happened on July 1st, 1916 – Two years after the start of WW1 and two years before it would come to a close.  This was also the first fight in what is called, the Battle of the Somme 

   Historical perspective

First of all, Newfoundland was considered a British colony, and didn’t join the rest of Canada until the mid nineteen hundreds. Newfoundlanders were devastated by this Battle. Their losses were astronomical – not just emotionally and socially with the loss of family members, but also the loss of so many men who were the breadwinners of families now left behind who couldn’t support themselves.

I learned about these perspectives by reading through stories of different families and descendants from the war. One story was from Dean Brinton, CEO of the museum the Rooms, who, like so many Newfoundlanders, discovered a story about his own great uncle, Saule Keefe, who volunteered for the war, sent money back to his family,  and then lost his life, leaving his family devastated. Brinton claimed that “Everything about his family made sense once [he] discovered the story of Keefe and what he did during the Great War. As he explains, ‘Thousands and thousands of families have a similar story. That’s why Beaumont-Hamel is so close to our hearts.’”


Continuity and change? 

This battle brought Newfoundland to its knees, and is seen as the beginning of the end of Newfoundland’s independence. The tragedy experienced by so many families from this event demanded strong will and perseverance to get them through it as well as deepened their need for outside support. Eventually, Newfoundland would join Canada in 1949, ultimately connecting Newfoundlanders with other Canadians in the shared experience of loss and tragedy as well as heroism and fighting for one’s nation. Economically and socially, Newfoundland needed Canada to survive, but ended up bringing in a unique, independent group of people that contributed to Canada’s diverse social and cultural landscape. This completed the country from sea to sea.  




Historical Significance?

As stated by Duffet, a Ph.D student at Queens University, “Today, Beaumont-Hamel is widely perceived as the beginning of the end of Newfoundland’s nationhood, that the loss of so many good men, bestowed with the title “the best of Newfoundland,’ sent the dominion down the road to economic and political ruin that led to it joining Canada.”

This illustrates the great impact this war had on Newfoundland and in turn the economic and social need for support from Canada.  When Newfoundland joined Canada, they not only joined a new nation, but separated from Britain. This separation was another step towards Canada’s autonomy. Up until they joined Canada, the British colony of Newfoundland was the last tie to Britain in North America. So even while Canada was its own functioning Nation, in Newfoundland, they still had Britain looking over their shoulder. Without as much of a pressing english presence, Canada was forced to be even more autonomous from the rest of the world.



Moose on a hill. (Room Archives)



Jonathan McCully and the Morning Chronicle – Articles of Confederation


December 1864

While in the past I have voiced some differing opinions regarding Confederation, after attending the Charlottetown conferences I must say I have been utterly convinced that Confederation of the Colonies should have my full support. It is my goal to change the tone of the Morning Chronicle from one of indecisiveness to a piece of writing that exemplifies why Confederation is the upmost option when it comes to improving the society in which we live in. I hope that my writing will prove to my fellow Nova Scotians how Confederation will protect us, improve our economic income, and enhance our way of life.

– Jonathan McCully –       




March 1865

Confederation is not an idea that is widely supported in our Nova Scotian demographic. I too once doubted Confederation’s legitimacy, but once I understood the reasons for union I began to see more and more how its benefits will be Nova Scotia’s to reap.  The most common argument against Confederation at this time refers to our current success as a colony. I hear many commoners in the streets asking “why would Nova Scotia risk the failure of Confederation when it is fine how it is?”. Well, even though we are functioning as our own society, a big threat is looming in the south. America is stronger than ever and very soon could be plotting to invade Nova Scotia, causing possibly catastrophic consequences for the foundation of our colony. The Americans would impose their beliefs and way of living onto our thriving Nova Scotian ways, so how can this be prevented? Confederation would provide us with military assistance from the bigger colonies in case of an attack from the south. If the colonies are united then it makes it more intimidating to attack as opposed to a divided society.      Confederation will ensure our safety for generations to come.

– Jonathan McCully –




October 1865

It seems as though the protection of ourselves and our loved ones is not enough to convince all of Nova Scotia that Confederation is in their best interest. Therefore with great pleasure, I bring forth to you the notion which states that our economy will significantly improve with the union of the colonies. Yes, our economical ties with New England are booming, but we can do better. Our closer ties to the Confederation will one day open up markets from sea to sea, especially when the promised railroad reaches the Pacific. All the colonies, all the people, all the money, and Nova Scotia’s hard working citizens will profit from it all. Not only do we benefit, but we make the rules. All the of the colonies trades will go through Nova Scotia, which means that it (we) can tax the items which come through. Not only would we be gaining money from the taxes and selling of goods, but our ports would need to be improved which means more jobs for some of the hardworking, but struggling individuals of our great colony. The Confederation of the colonies will not only make Nova Scotia a safer place to live, but will allow an increasing amount of people to live like Kings!          

– Jonathan McCully –




January 1866

In one of my most recent articles depicting how Confederation will improve the domestic market for Nova Scotia trading, I brought up the great railroad. What I forgot to mention is how the success and our participation with this railway might depend on our support of Confederation. The railway and notion of Confederation share the goal of connecting the colonies as well as the people in them, so if Nova Scotia was to defy Confederations intent, then it may be inferred that we don’t want the railway either. If we don’t support the other colonies through Confederacy, it gives them no reason or motivation to help Nova Scotia, or any of the Atlantic colonies, with the addition of the railway. Why spend resources and money to connect with a collection of people when they don’t want to be ‘connected’ in the first place. Thus, Nova Scotia’s participation in the uniting of the colonies will promote our hopes and vision of a great railway sea to sea.      

– Jonathan McCully –





The last in-depth post !

Recently I baked Cinnamon Buns and brought them into the class to share and receive feedback. The process of actually making the dough and spreading the cinnamon and sugar was way more interesting than making pillsbury ones. I made the dough, rolled it out into a flat square, put cinnamon and brown sugar on top, rolled the dough and toppings, and then cut the long roll into small cinnamon rolls. After that I let the buns rise and then baked them. When they came out of the oven I made an icing and put that on top. Voila!! Cinnamon buns!!




Cinnamon Bun Review 

Name Stars/What do you like? Wishes/What could be done better?
Emily  The bread part had a great texture and the icing was good.  If there was more cinnamon in the filling, that would be good.
Charlotte  There was a good amount of icing! And the bread itself is very soft and moist, with a good feel. Maybe, as well as more flavour in the filler, a flavour in the bread? It was very good but it could have been more… exciting. An egg wash would also add more texture? 
Tori  The icing was super good!!!! Also the bread part was soft and yummyyy! There could have been a bit more cinnamon in between the layers.
Megan  It was really good consistency not to soft but not to hard.  Cook al the way through.  Icing was great.   More cinnamon would make it perfect.  I like the idea about adding raisins
Mackenzie  Very nice texture, and appearance. Tasted very good. Perfect amount of icing as well! Maybe a bit more cinnamon? Also, not necessary but I think adding some small apple chunks would make these legendary!!!
Michelle  Great visuals! Good flavour, perfect sweetness, and I really liked the icing.  Texture could be more soft/airy/chewy. 
Deon  The icing is so good if Lafayette was a cinnamon bun he would probably taste like this NEED MORE ICING!!!!!!!!! 

also the bread tasted plain a little but it okay more cinnamon 

Sam Your cinnamon buns were dense and delicious. I loved the way that the icing complimented the dough and imo there was just enough sweetness. 10/10 would eat again I would like to eat it hot? idk it was really good 

Also a more in-depth comment from Phia, who did cake baking for her in-depth last year:

Hello, as discussed, here is my feedback on your awesome cinnamon rolls!


Your cinnamon rolls were delicious! I know you thought they needed more cinnamon, but I didn’t think that was a big problem. Maybe try making another batch with more and see if you like it better? The rolls were more of a “bread-y” texture rather than a doughy texture, which I found new. The icing was lovely and I think it was my favourite part. I agree with Deon, I would have loved more icing! (Just hand me the entire tub and we’re good)

I looked at each comment and have come up with ways in which I can fix or try something new in the next cinnamon bun trial. Next week I will be baking them again, along with buns or a braided loaf. 

A challenge I have had over the last while is definitely the difficulty of finding time to bake. With school, water polo tournaments, and my mentor being in the hospital, it has been hard to bake as much as I want to. That being said, I am still finding ways to communicate with my mentor through technology and have been successful in the bread that I have baked. Other than the cinnamon buns, I also tried making a pepper and cheese loaf, different than the cheese loaf I have made before.

I still am loving the process of growing as a baker and trying new recipes. I am excited to continue to learn in the coming weeks! 


As for what I am going to do for in-depth I plan to share samples of 4+ different styles and types of bread. I will make sure there is plenty for people to taste. I will cut up the bread and put them on small plates / baskets for sampling. I will also have a poster board or some other type of info sharing, to let people know what types of bread I have made, ingredients, process, and qualities they should be looking for in each type of bread. I will include photos of the process and me baking as well. Me and Sid are also planning to work together on a cheese + bread collaboration.  I am also looking at having a three stage, interactive display of how to bake bread – showing the ingredients in raw form all the way to the finished product. This will give people sense of how ‘magical’ baking bread really is. 

Well thats all for now, thanks for reading and see you on In-depth night!!!  

Canadian Autobiography Check-in #1

Quote 1

“He has lived a life that should be an example for everyone who achieves greatness of how to be humble and unselfish and how to treat others” (xii)

Personal Interest: Something you notice very quickly about Bobby Orr’s personality and writing is that he doesn’t like to talk about himself as being ‘great’. As a quote that was within the first pages of the book, it gave me a particular interest and motivation to finish it. I am someone who desires to succeed in sports, school, and more importantly succeed in my happiness, well being, and life – hearing from someone who seemingly has done a lot of those things, it is fascinating to read his point of view.

Something I pride myself in sports is not being a selfish player. Sure I love scoring and having the ball in my hands, but I also find pride in playing defence and setting my teammates up for success. When the quote mentions being unselfish, I connected to that and immediately wanted to hear more from someone who is ‘great’ but not because he did everything himself, or even thought of himself as great, but because he worked hard and helped others around him. 

Canadian Identity: 

Canadian’s are know for being polite and unselfish. We might be seen this way as a comparison to American’s who the media can portray as brash, selfish and ego driven. I started to wonder as I read this quote if perhaps some of the Canadian identity, and how non-Canadian’s see us, is party based on our cultural and sports hero’s. In the 1970’s, there was maybe no more of a significant Canadian sports hero as Bobby Orr.

Quote 2

When talking about the famous photo of him ‘flying’, Bobby Orr said that –  

“By capturing a single moment, it had to leave out the moments before and after. By depicting a single person, it left out all the people who won the Cup that year, and all the people who helped us win it — and also the fans who shared that victory” (5)

Personal Interest: This quote says a lot about Bobby Orr as a person. It shows what he values and how he thinks about success. I don’t succeed only because of my efforts, but because of the collective team effort of those all around me including my family, teammates, friends, teachers, and anyone who has devoted time and effort to help me succeed. This is a truly interesting topic and basically goes against this project, ‘Eminent’, and any “historical person project” I’ve ever completed because when doing those, we are asked to praise one person, and in doing so, we neglect all of the other people that contributed to their success along the way. No championship, gold medal, scientific breakthrough, or outstanding novel are successful and important because of one person. This is a truly interesting topic to me because not only does it question the ways in which we look at history and significant people, but it also pushes me to look at my success in a more grateful mindset. 

Canadian Identity: 

Bobby’s quote is interesting when we consider the famous picture of him, and the statue in Boston are historic symbols of his greatness. When I think about what he said, I look at the picture in a completely different way. I think Canadian’s are proud of their hero’s and whether they play for a city in another country, we still never stop seeing them as ours. When I look at the picture now, I imagine Bobby playing on a frozen pond, with his parents and coaches and friends watching and cheering him on. Canadians seem to love their hero’s but I like to think our hero’s appreciate Canadian’s just as much.

Quote 3

“I suppose Parry Sound was the same kind of town you would have found all across Canada at that time. By that I mean it was a safe place, generally very quiet, and a great place to be a kid.” (13)

Personal Interest:

Even though I didn’t grow up in a big city, Port Moody is also much larger than the small towns Bobby was talking about in Northern Ontario. When Bobby mentions it being a great place to be a kid, I immediately related it to me growing up in my own community. Although Port Moody and the tai-cities are fairly large over all, when I think of home I think of my street, elementary school, and the kids that live near me. I still think about going to the park and playing football playing tag in forest as the sun went down. My parents didn’t worry and I always felt safe in my community but I see how that is changing with the ability to communicate all the time with technology and also the increasing violence around the world. 

Canadian Identity: 

This quote summarizes what Bobby thinks Canada is, or at least was, when he was growing up. This shows his pride in Canada and when you have pride, you want to represent it well. Reading this, makes me think about what Canada was like in the 40’s and 50’s. Small towns, and places where kids were safe to play many sports. This feels a little different from now, these days small towns are rarely talked about unless there is tragedy. Canadian media is dominated by the big cities of Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, but it is important to remember that there are still small towns in every province. The news these days seems to say the best jobs and opportunities are in the big cities, I wonder if that is true, and if so, how has the innocence and culture of small town Canada changed since when Bobby was a kid.

Quote 4

“As long as we could play hockey, we were happy. I’d leave in the morning with my hockey stick in hand and skates slung over my shoulder, and often my parents would say nothing more than ‘Be home by dark.’ And that’s what we would do.” (18)

Personal Interest: 

This quote really makes me think about how fun sports are. Bobby Orr is talking about playing hockey all day, because he loved it. He wasn’t playing hockey to become famous, or make money, or because he felt pressure to keep up with other kids. I think about going out to play basketball, football, soccer, and hockey outside with my friends to connect with them and feel the rush of a good play or shot. Of course there were winners and losers, and some of us weren’t even very good, but that didn’t matter because we weren’t playing to impress, we were playing for ourselves. It also makes me think about the “need” to specialize in sports at such a young age. In the book, Bobby also talks about how when summer came he didn’t keep playing hockey but also played baseball and other sports. I think about how disappointed I am that I can’t play basketball anymore because both it and water polo require 7 days a week of commitment to play on a team.    

Canadian Identity:

Canada is a hockey nation. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe that everyone loves and plays hockey because even I didn’t love playing hockey and usually prefer to watch other sports instead. But something keeps bringing us back to the same winter sport, whether it’s the NHL playoffs, local tournaments, Olympics, or even devastating tragedy’s such as the Humboldt deaths. There is a connection between Canada and hockey that cannot definitively be explained but is definitely there – the NHL is made up if roughly 50% Canadians despite having a population significantly smaller than the United States, the Montreal Canadians and Toronto Maple leafs have some of the biggest fan bases in all of sports, and 27.6 million Canadians (81% of the population) watched the 2010 Olympic gold medal match, the most watched show EVER in Canadian history.       

Quote 5

“I just loved the time spent with friends in all kinds of sports environments. Those experiences were probably shared by millions of children coast to coast back then, because as Canadian kids, that was something you did” (19)

Personal Interest:

For me, this quote touches on some of the things I have already said. I have always loved sports growing up, even though I was not always good at them, and so did most of my friends. That being said, I also loved theatre, dance, board games, and playing the occasional video game. I don’t think that Bobby had these same opportunities when he was a kid, so sports was really one of the only ways for fun and connection building with his friends. One thing I think about now though is whether kids these days know how fun sports can be, not for competition purposes. It almost seems like you either have to committed to sports full time or neglecting sports all together.  

Canadian Identity: 

Bobby Orr talks about Canadian Identity in the 50’s like my Grandparents and parents talk about it as well – being outside, playing sports/games, riding bikes, and having real life adventures as long as they were home before the lampposts came on. Nowadays, even as a kid, I see many of my friends and peers spending more time on screens than with each other. So what does this tell me about Canadian Identity? It tells me that it is changing and we have to work and make sure that we are building our character and memories upon real experiences, rather than virtual ones.  



Theme: Joy and fulfilment are found in the things you choose to do, the people you do it with, and the memories you make by doing it, not in the accolades you might receive.    

Bobby describes his success as a result of doing what he loved to do as a kid, and the support that he had from his family, coaches and mentors. Bobby also sees Canada, and where he grew up as playing a role. He was able to play outside for as long as he wanted on nearby frozen lakes – a perfect playground for him to develop his skills while having fun and building friendships. It was clear that he chose to dedicate his time to hockey because he loved it. Bringing this back to my own life, I am a very busy person and its possible for things like school and water polo to go by lightning fast. Throughout this chaos, it is an important reminder for me to look at more than just the end results to my hard work. I am making great friendships, meeting interesting people, and traveling all over the country. I love being in the water and at the end of the day I will always love to learn and challenge myself. These are the things that sustain my joy while still working hard.    

John A. Macdonald: We stand on guard for… Who?

John A. Macdonald: We stand on guard for… Who?

Sir John A. Macdonald is widely considered as the father of Canada, but were his actions and upheld beliefs truly those of a nation builder?  Many supporters of Macdonald argue that because of his political contributions to the creation and unification of Canada, he should be acknowledged as a significant historical figure who deserves ongoing recognition. However, while there is no denying that Macdonald is a notable person who made positive political change, others see the devastating consequences of his actions upon the culture and people of Indigenous and Chinese communities. As his policies, specifically the Chinese head tax and residential schools, caused and continue to cause damage to the Chinese and Indigenous peoples, and as honouring his image perpetuates divisive values, Macdonald’s name and likeness should not continue to be used in the public sphere 


Through his development and implementation of residential schools and the Chinese head tax, John A. Macdonald is responsible for a spiral of racial oppression towards people of colour that created deep wounds in Canada’s Chinese and Indigenous population. For example, the decisions he made as Superintendent General of Indian Affairs “played a pivotal role in creating Canada’s destructive system of Indian Residential Schools that sought to ‘kill the Indian in the child’[…] Foundational to Macdonald’s agenda was the dismantling of Indigenous families through forced separation” (FRASER). This illustrates the policies and laws that fed racial oppression of Indigenous people and led to abuse and generational trauma that is still being dealt with today. Having Macdonald’s name in the public sphere ignores the fact that he committed what we would now charge as crimes against humanity. In the same way, it prevents due acknowledgment of the destructive nature of Macdonald’s actions, and furthermore, prevents reconciliation with the Indigenous population.  


Many of those who are against the removal of Macdonald’s name in the public sphere believe that we cannot impose our values and judgement upon people of the past and therefore should not label Macdonald as simply bad or good. While it is true that values and morals have changed overtime, regardless of whether his values were accepted in the past, by honouring his image now, the discriminatory values and the actions against people of colour he stood behind are being perpetuated into society today and in the future. In Ontario, educators from the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario are asking the province to drop Macdonald’s name from schools. The teachers, who regularly witness the building of relationships and identity in youth, feel that it is necessary to recognize  “the impact that this has had on the relationship between Indigenous students and non-Indigenous students, parents, educators, and the ways in which his namesake buildings can contribute to an unsafe space to learn and to work”(BATTINGALL). This demonstrates how even individuals not directly affected by Macdonald’s actions can see how the salute of his name and figure pushes forward the marginalization of Indigenous history. This denial of the negative side of Macdonald prevents Indigenous children and adults alike from feeling connected to Canadian history and identity, therefore continuing a cycle of divisiveness and preventing Canada from being a truly inclusive nation. 


There is a significant difference between a person we should acknowledge as important in Canada’s history and a historical figure we should idolize with statues. While placing people into these categories can be subjective, it should be concluded that regardless of the positive impacts Macdonald had on Canada, he is not a figure Canadians should put on a pedestal. Macdonald used his power and influence in the government of Canada to push divisive policies. His actions scarred generations of Chinese and Indigenous people; honouring his image, name, and likeness should not continue to be used in the public sphere as it perpetuates bigotry and divisiveness as a part of Canada. Canada aspires to be a country that embraces diversity, but can we truly be a multicultural nation if we continue to revere a founding father who discriminated so severely?    

In-depth Post #5 – The Final One

Wow, another “final” in-depth post already. Looking back at all the posts previous to this one I have been reflecting upon my project so far this year. I am so proud that I chose such an unusual topic for me this year. Even though (at times) it has pushed me out of my comfort zone and forced me to reflect regularly upon my mistakes, I am super happy I chose bread baking for my project. I am learning how to think artistically with a different medium, understanding how to adapt to problems, improving my ability to take criticism, but more importantly I have eaten (a LOT of) good bread!

Other than that, spring break was great!! Even though I wasn’t able to bake much as I was in Mexico, I did eat a lot of good bread and have gotten inspired to bake even more now that the break is coming to a close.

  1. What kinds of learning opportunities does the mentor provide to expose you to new learning? 

My mentor has given me a number of recipes to try, all of them building on complexity from the very first bread recipe I made. I make the recipe on my own, and then I debrief/evaluate the experience and the results with my mentor. My mentor also talks to me about basic techniques and how to make ‘types’ of bread (ie. cinnamon buns) and then challenges me to go find some recipes that fit these techniques or types of bread.

  1. What kinds of learning opportunities exist to reinforce new learning?

When I make the recipes, I usually try them a number of times – so that I reinforce the techniques I use and the way I put the recipe together. I start with a foundational recipe and then add things (ie. cheese/pepper for bread, raisins and nuts in cinnamon buns). In this way, I reinforce my learning of the recipe.

  1. What kinds of opportunities exist that might accelerate learning? 

When I talk to my mentor, I feel motivated to try the new recipes suggested. Also, when we have family gatherings, I am motivated to bake for them, because I want people to try my creations. I like seeing their reactions, hearing people’s critiques, and I just enjoy feeding people with something I have made.

  1. When you get together what do you talk about?

We talk about different recipes that my mentor has made, successes and challenges, good websites to visit, and recipes that my mentor hasn’t tried, but encourages me to check out and consider trying to make. We have also talked a lot about the artistry of bread baking, the science of working with the ingredients, and the beauty of working with your hands to create something from scratch.

  1. What is going particularly well in your mentoring relationship?

What is and has worked well is my mentor’s openness and eagerness to help me try new things. We both want to get to a point where I can bake complex breads ( mostly so we can both eat them) and trying new things is how to get there. He is also very proactive; for example, before baking my first cheese bread I told him my plan and instead of waiting for me to do it and respond to any problems, he gave me some tips that could help. That being said, he is still allowing me to make mistakes and not holding my hand the entire way. I believe this is the key to successful experiential learning.

  1. What are you learning from one another? 

I am learning about passion – about my mentor’s love of creating things from scratch, and of the love of creating something delicious for others. I have talked to my mentor about enjoying the ‘mindfulness’ of baking, of focusing on just making something without other distractions. I think we are both learning that we share a curiosity for learning new things, and enjoy talking and sharing our curiosity and interest in baking.

Is Canada a “postnational” state? – DOL

Choose an event from Canada’s past or present (social, political, environmental, or economic) and describe / illustrate (show cause and effect) how this event influenced / influences all four of the quadrants. Provide images / primary source evidence where possible.

The significant event from Canada’s past or present I have chosen is Paul Henderson’s game winner in game 8 of the 1972 Summit Hockey Series. The Summit Series was a set of 8 hockey games between Canada and Russia. This wasn’t just any hockey series because for the first time ever, it would be Canada’s best vs Russia’s best. For a little context, at the time Russia was dominating the international stage having won three consecutive gold medals at the Olympics and 7 World Championships. At this time there were no players in the NHL from Russia. On the other side, Canada’s best players controlled the NHL with 90% of its’ players coming from the country, but as professionals, they were not allowed to participate in the Olympics. The Summit Series was created to see who the best really was and while, on the surface, this was only an athletic competition, it also represented the deep political conflict between east and west, communism and democracy, Russia and Canada.

7174687 1972_summit_series_team_photo 7e070d7b-a05a-4d77-bdbc-971d8422b2bd



Does your event represent a step towards creating and maintaining a coherent Canadian identity, or does it move Canada more clearly in the direction of Trudeau’s discussion of a “postnational” state?

Henderson’s game winner in game 8 of the 1972 Summit Series represents a step towards creating and maintaining a coherent Canadian identity. As we have discussed in class, one of the arguments for why America is more patriotic and has a more set identity than Canada is because they’ve had to fight for their independence while we’ve done so in more of a quiet political way. The 1972 Summit Series was in fact a war of our own, not for independence but rather for recognition of athletic talent and the values that drive our success as a nation. After the final game, Canadian captain and star, Phil Esposito, said the Summit Series  “was our society against theirs, and as far as we were concerned it was a damn war…”. Phil was absolutely right, this series represented a conflict in cultural beliefs and political values, as millions of people watched the games on television and caught a glimpse of the opposing cultures while doing so. Being a relatively new country, Canada didn’t have a long history and defined representation of it’s beliefs and political ways, while Russia was notorious for their communistic way of life. Behind this “war” on Russia was a statement of Canadian strength and the importance of it’s values that only with political and social freedom can a country be great. For once Canada had something to stand behind; yes the figure was the Canadian hockey team, but through their style of play and the uniforms they wore, they inadvertently represented freedom and hard work. The goal by Henderson was proof, for Canadians, that Canada wasn’t America’s little sibling, or a juvenile country, but a nation connected by it’s passion, shared culture, and love of a simple sport.

In your opinion, is there any value in trying to define a specific Canadian identity, or should we abandon this idea towards a more open and global idea of nationhood? Why? 

In my opinion, there is no value in trying to define a specific Canadian identity based on the current definition of a nation. We should abandon this idea towards a more open and global idea of nationhood. The current definition of a nation is a large group of people united by common descent, history, or culture. Canada being a country that is mostly inhabited by immigrants, has a range of culture and history that is different for everyone. So instead of wasting time trying to define a country that’s not meant to be defined, we should be spending time creating a new meaning for nation. As Justin Trudeau said in 2015, “There is no core identity, no mainstream in Canada. Those qualities are what make us the first postnational state”. Basically I interpreted this quote that we are a nation, because we are not. We are not the same, and we have never been the same and this history of diversity is what connects us. The history of not having a mainstream in Canada is something that all Canadians can connect to. So in conclusion, while we should not try to define a specific Canadian identity, this lack of identification is what makes Canada unique, and this is more valuable then trying to define our identity is a different or ‘open’ matter.