Armistice Day DOL

Cause and Consequence

Who: All people and countries involved in WWI were affected.

What: The armistice was a global ceasefire which marked the end of World War One. Fighting ended, and soldiers would be allowed to return home over the course of the next several years depending on whether they were needed or not.

Where: The ceasefire affected the entire world, though the signing of the armistice itself was carried out in the French General Ferdinand Foch’s private railway cabin parked in the forest of Compiégne.

When: 11:00 AM, November 11, 1918

Why: The Germans were at a nearly hopeless disadvantage, especially after Canada’s Hundred Days. They realized that more fighting would only lead to more losses on both sides, so they decided to make peace with the Allied Powers and thus salvage a portion of what little strength they had remaining.

Additional info: The terms of surrender had yet to be completely agreed upon, and were postponed for several years until the Paris Peace conferences happened and the League of Nations was created. But that’s Yuwen’s topic, so I’ll leave it at that.


Historical Perspective


The majority of information I found on how Canadians reacted to the end of World War One was through newspapers, due to the relative lack of first-hand accounts. As the newspaper above (left) shows, there was a lot of talk about the victory and heroism of the Allied Powers and their leaders, as well as a lot of talk about kicking out the Kaiser  and saving the world from Germany’s tyranny. And as the smaller article above (right) shows, there was a lot of partying and celebration. Understandable, considering the war that had taken the lives of so many young Canadians had finally been won.


While there was a moderate amount of nationalism in many of the Canadian newspapers, that nationalism was usually more towards Great Britain and not towards Canada. Compare this with the above American newspaper’s “Eagle Screams in Old Erie” message on one of the leftmost headlines and the… frankly hilarious and unrelated headline of “It is Your Patriotic Duty to do your Christmas Shopping Now” near the bottom right. (Also, they were far too enthusiastic about printing the word “enthusiasm”). True, many American papers such as the New York Times were very informative with very little nationalism at all, but I couldn’t find any Canadian papers that said “Maple Leaf Flutters in Old Toronto” or anything of a similar caliber of nationalism. This shows that we Canadians still didn’t have a national identity to the extent that other countries like England and the US did.

The soldiers, on the other hand, had a different experience. While it is true that the soldiers celebrated and partied after the ceasefire, the final hours of the war were almost as bloody as the rest of them had been. General Arthur Currie, the genius behind the Canadian Corps’ great success in offensives including Passchendaele and the Hundred Days, had ordered his troops to fight on until the last moment so that the German forces would be as weakened as possible at the end. Unfortunately, this meant that some Canadian soldiers died on November 11, 1918. Other soldiers were enraged by this, so much so that according to an editorial at the time, “when Currie and the officers of his staff arrived in the Mons town square on the afternoon of Nov. 11, there were Canadian soldiers prepared to shoot them” (Carrigg). Among the soldiers who died on the day of the Armistice was 25-year-old Private George Lawrence Price. According to Veteran Affairs Canada, “Private George Lawrence Price is believed to be the last Canadian soldier to die in battle during the First World War. He died at Mons, Belgium, about 2 minutes before the signing of the Armistance [sic].” David Carrigg’s article mentions that a chaplain gave a description of the burial of another last-day victim, Private Frederick William Joyce. The chaplain stated that “it was so sad that he was killed the last day of the fighting. He was quite conscious when he was brought in and I talked and prayed with him. Of course it was with difficulty that he spoke as he had been wounded in the jaw.” This chaplain most likely watched Private Joyce die of his wounds. This shows that for some  Canadians, Armistice Day was not the happy time that it was for most of their fellow countrymen (and women).


Continuity and Change

For starters, the anniversary of Armistice Day is celebrated annually in Canada as Remembrance Day, a day to remember all the Canadians who died in battle. While Remembrance Day was originally intended as a memorial to the Canadians who died in World War One, the sacrifices honoured on that day now include Canadians who perished during other conflicts such as World War Two, the Korean War, and Afghanistan. Today, taking a moment of silence on Remembrance Day is one of our most widespread social norms.

Before World War One, we had another celebration for honouring Canadians who died in battle called “Paardeberg Day”. It was named after the Battle of Paardeberg that happened in South Africa in 1900, in which the Canadian forces’ assault won the battle for Britain. But as James Marsh’s article in the Canadian Encyclopedia states, this celebration was “less a sombre affair of remembrance, than a victory celebration and an affirmation of English Canada’s loyal ties to the British Empire.” Conversely, “the horror and mass slaughter of the First World War – which took the lives of millions of people at sea and on battlefields across Europe, including 61,000 Canadians – changed Canadian perceptions of war. Although Canada fought on the winning side, celebration of victory was replaced by solemn commemoration, and a sense that the country owed a collective national debt to the ordinary soldiers, mostly young men, who had given their lives in battle. This debt would be paid, in perpetuity by successive generations, by the simple act of remembering the soldiers’ sacrifice.” And thus Canadians’ views on war were changed forever, as did the views of every other country that participated in the so-called “war to end all wars”.

By the end of the war, Canada’s economy was in bad shape, especially compared to how it was during the Laurier Boom. Returning soldiers were met with great praise, but many of them struggled to find jobs, particularly the ones who had become disabled. I’m not entirely sure of any specifics about the economic situation, but I think that topic will probably be covered in the interwar years.


Historical Significance

To be honest, I don’t think Armistice Day so much contributed to Canada’s autonomy as allowed the autonomy that Canada’s soldiers had created through exemplary fighting and bloody sacrifice to return home from Europe and spread throughout the country. It acted as an end to the days of death and loss, and sparked the dawn of a new era for Canada. If I had to describe it, I’d say that all the effect Armistice day had on our social, political, and economic autonomy was from what came after – the Paris Peace Conferences, the end of Borden’s wartime leadership and Union Government, the reflections on the war made by civilians and veterans alike, etc. A bit of a personal rant here, but throughout this entire Document of Learning, I spent hours searching through prospective sources on how Armistice day affected Canada’s autonomy and finding more and more of the same thing: articles talking about the overall effect of the war (specifically Vimy and the Hundred days), sources dealing with the Paris Peace Conferences and Treaty of Versailles (which I spent over an hour researching before I realized that was Yuwen’s topic), and the like. Forgive my snarkiness here, but if you want sources or some kind of evidence, you already have it. Look in the textbook. Try to find any info on the effects of Armistice Day itself in the textbook that answers the research questions, and you’ll see just how much the other topics overshadow the event of the day itself. (Again, please forgive my snarkiness.) But with all that said and done, since I really can’t say much more on the subject, I’ll just rephrase what I stated at the beginning: Armistice Day acted as a crucial transition that allowed wartime to pivot into peacetime and thereby set the stage for the developments of the interwar years – and eventually, World War Two.

As an afterthought, I guess you could say that Armistice Day granted all the Canadian soldiers autonomy… I still stand by my previous point, though.

Marsh, James H. “Remembrance Day.” The Canadian Encyclopedia. N.p., 07 Nov. 2011. Web. 11 June 2018.

Carrigg, David. “The Story of the Last Canadians Killed in First World War Sparked a National Controversy and Libel Trial.” Postmedia’s World War 1 Centenary Site. The Province, 23 June 2014. Web. 09 June 2018.


J. Trudeau vs W. Laurier Venn Diagram

It’s sort of 3/5 of a Venn diagram because I made it a bit too big at the start.



D’Arcy McGee – An abbreviated address

Greetings to you all. Gentlemen, it is an honour to speak in front of you here on this fine day. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Thomas D’Arcy McGee. I am Irish and a Catholic, but I do not share the annexation-driven desires of my kin. Instead, I see in the not remote distance one great nationality bound like the shield of Achilles, by the blue rim of ocean … I see within the ground of that shield the peaks of the western mountains and the crests of the eastern waves. I am in full support of confederation, and wish to see it through as a delegate for my beloved colony of Canada East. The motives to such a comprehensive change as we propose, must be mixed motives—partly commercial, partly military, and partly political. I shall address them forthwith.

The first motive has to do with America’s attempts to take our land for themselves. Let us remember the American ideal of Manifest Destiny, the concept that America will one day preside over our entire continent. The acquisition of Canada was the first ambition of the American Confederacy, and never ceased to be so, when her troops were a handful and her navy scarce a squadron. Furthermore, let us not forget the ill will the States bear toward us for our harbouring of Confederate soldiers. With tensions this high, an attack may come at any time. Therefore, if we are true to Canada, if we do not desire to become part and parcel of these people, we cannot overlook this the greatest revolution of our times. Let us remember this, that when the three cries among our next neighbours are money, taxation, blood, it is time for us to provide for our own security…

The second motive is very much related to the first, but it also concerns the interests of the Irish people. As you are all quite aware, there have been many Irish Fenians attacking our borders in hopes of taking revenge on their British oppressors and allowing the United States to annex the Canadas. I myself once stood among the rebellious ranks of those seeking annexation, but I discovered how misguided I was after escaping the law into Canada. When I was in America, I had numerous unpleasant encounters with groups such as the “Know-Nothings” who actively fought against those of us who had immigrated here from afar. On the other hand, when I moved to Canada, I found it to be a land that treated its immigrants and minorities with far more liberty and toleration than in the United States. This is why, for the sake of the Irish Catholics who fervently wish for annexation, we must prevent the very annexation they so desire.

The final motive for union to which I shall refer is, that it will strengthen rather than weaken the connection with the empire, so essential to these rising provinces.  It is indeed true that, Britain has more control over our colonies in their current, separated state. But is not Britain already a great and vast empire with control over countless other colonies? For them, losing a portion of control over our colonies in no way measures up to the benefits of confederation. If we were to unite, our defenses would be stronger and in less need of British reinforcement. Furthermore, our greater power and wealth would make us far more valuable allies to Britain than we currently are. Why, if the thing did not answer itself, England has answered that she ‘cordially approves’ of our plan of union —and she has always been accounted a pretty good judge of her own Imperial interests.

I will content myself with those principal motives to union; that we are in the rapids and must go on because our neighbours will not, on their side, let us rest supinely, even if we could do so from other causes; and finally, that by making the united colonies more valuable as an ally to Great Britain, we shall strengthen rather than weaken the imperial connection.



Despite the lack of quotation marks, this post contains a very large number of direct and/or adapted quotes from McGee himself. These quotes were found in several sources including the three below.

Good for an overview.

More detailed.

Possibly the best primary source I ever could have asked for. 

Liam’s Grade 10 In-Depth Post #6

I thought post #5 would be my final post, but I guess I have to do one more! Who’d a thought it? (Interestingly enough, “Who’d a thought it” is apparently the name of a ghost town in Alabama.)

Since my previous post, I’ve completed my composition with the exception of editing. I’ve added an ending to Movement C, which concludes my piece. Movements A and B are the same, so I’ll just show C below. It’s too long to upload in one file, so I have it in two parts.

1st part

2nd part

My biggest challenge right now is definitely the practice trips. They take up a day in most weekends, leaving me with only one day to do my homework. I generally complete homework on one day and In-Depth on the other, and since the homework is more urgent, I have to sacrifice In-Depth working time. Even though this (the time I’m typing this) is a long weekend, I’ve decided to use that extra day to do my current events instead, in order to get it out of the way.

For my next steps, I’m going to take the tracks of each separate instrument and add them as audio tracks in Logic Pro X (the composing/editing software I mentioned at the beginning). I will then edit the tracks separately to accentuate dynamics. I’m not going to do very much; I’m just going to change a few bits here and there to make the piece sound more interesting. The final product should sound extremely similar to what I have now (very MIDI/Computer generated-y.)

For presentation, I’m going to take my mentor’s suggestion and present Movement C on stage as an audio file. The entire piece is too long to present it all, and Movement C is the most interesting part in my opinion. I’ve decided against getting actual musicians to play it because it would be extremely unrealistic. I mean, how am I supposed to get 3 flute players, 3 oboe players, 3 trumpet players, etc… who are good enough with their instruments and generous enough with their time to play it? Even if it were possible, I just couldn’t be bothered; it sounds like way more effort than it’s worth.

I only met with my mentor once since the last post. After discussing methods of presentation with him, we came to the conclusion mentioned in the previous paragraph. Other than that, there’s really not much more to say.

Now, I was all climactic with things like “this is my final In-Depth post ever” in my previous post. Well… Let’s just pretend I put those things here instead. I’ve said this five times before, and now I’ll say it a sixth and final time: expect progress!

Canadian Biography Quotes Check-In

As a bit of context, the biography I chose to study was I Must Say: My Life as a Humble Comedy Legend, the autobiography of Martin Short. 

Quote 1

“Canada is a sparsely populated nation, a mere 34 million people across a vast expanse of land. Consequently, as you grow up there, you encounter more weirdos who have been given a wider berth to stew in their weirdness and become gloriously eccentric.”

To be honest, I don’t entirely agree with this quote. Yes, there is an insane amount of land compared to the number of people, but the vast majority of said people live in urban, densely populated areas. I agree there are quite a lot of quirky people here, but I’ve seen just as many quirky people (proportionally) in other countries, all of which are much more densely populated as a whole. 

Nevertheless, I think that the mindset of living in the midst of a great variety of different, unusual people does indeed reflect many of our Canadian values today, particularly those concerning diversity and not really knowing who or what a “Canadian” is.

Quote 2

SCTV was so brilliantly realized […] Far away from the meddling hands of American network executives, [my old friends] had created something stunningly layered and original.”

This quote is interesting in that it shows how the high-stakes, corporate nature of TV and film affects its writers. The large sums of money at stake pressure executives to discourage artists from taking risks and venturing out into new territory they want to explore. Instead, the writers are told to create shows that people will expect and are therefore guaranteed to make money. Personally, I think that while giving artists (in this case, writers and producers) some limitations can increase creativity, too much control can completely destroy any originality in their work.

However, according to this quote, the “not-american-ist” culture in Canada and the aforementioned lack of executives trying to “mainstreamize” the production allowed more risks to be taken with the production of SCTV, and enabled the creation of a very unique yet successful new program. Relating to the first quote, the Canadian origins of the show allowed it to focus on the bizarre, eccentric, and diverse personalities of people, relating to the aforementioned Canadian values instead of American ones.

Quote 3

“I learned what would turn out to be a valuable lesson: that something terrible can happen to you, and yet, the day after this something terrible, the sun still rises, and life goes on. And therefore, so must you.”

This passage talks about resilience in a really interesting way: instead of treating resilience like a choice or a gift, it treats it as a necessity. Even if the event turns your world upside-down, the rest of the world has no idea it even happened. Paraphrasing the quote in my own words, life doesn’t care what’s happened to you; it continues like normal, and you need to keep going or it’ll leave you behind. Personally, I think I’ve only ever experienced one loss that has truly shocked me, which happened earlier this year. That loss taught me that accepting a horrible reality was far easier said than done, but accept it I did. 

As for connections with Canadian values, I don’t think there are any. I came up with a lot of ideas, such as that the resilience came from Britain’s signature “we will never give in” attitude. However, like the rest of my ideas, that one seemed far less plausible than my ultimate conclusion: The resilience expressed in this quote is an essential fact of life as a human being. No matter where you live, or who you live with, you will have to deal with loss and continue with daily life. If anything, I guess you could say it proves Canadians are humans?

Quote 4

“They replaced us with something called Stars on Ice, because, as David put it mournfully, ‘In Canada, anything “on ice” is better.’”

I found this quote interesting because… oh, let’s be real here, I chose this quote to make up for the relative lack of Canadian connections in quotes 3 and 5. The main thing I found interesting about this quote is the way it pokes fun at Canadian identity. For starters, it shows that there are certain things (such as skating) that are distinctive to Canadian culture. But on the flip side, it seems to me as if there’s an implied bit after the quote, saying “How else are we supposed to make it sound Canadian?” Of course, this is total speculation. Even so, I do believe there’s some truth to saying that this quote contains undertones of Canada’s difficulty with defining itself.

Quote 5 (Two quotes that talk about the same thing)

(1st half of the book) “When you’re met with fire early, you develop a certain Teflon quality.” (End of the book) “But then you’ll think: […] ‘I’m not upset now. I was upset the day my mother died.’”

These quotes are essentially saying “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, but with far more meaning and context added. They make their rather cliché point, but then proceed to back it up with evidence. In the book, I learned that Martin Short had lost his oldest brother and both his parents by the time he was 20. This led to his success in comedy, though not in the way one would expect. As shown elsewhere in the book, instead of doing comedy as a way to deal with his pain (as many comedians have done), Martin Short instead did it because it interested him, and succeeded with it because his past pain gave him the guts to try things nobody else dared to do. Even if things went poorly for him, he knew that no failure could affect him even close to as much as his family’s deaths did. 

Like my third quote, there aren’t really any connections to Canadian culture. The quote instead talks about an aspect of humanity as a whole.


The “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” message from Quote 5 could be considered the theme of the entire book. However, thanks to Martin Short’s clever use of analogy and personal experience, the cliché message now has a lot of meaning behind it. Because of that, I can actually apply it to my own life. My theme is my own twist on a different cliché phrase which allegorically conveys my take on what the book is trying to tell me. Here it is.

“When life gives you lemons, there will be times when you won’t have enough sugar or water to make lemonade. When that happens, just suck it up and eat the lemons. Sure, they’ll be really sour, but the aftertaste will only last a couple of minutes. Besides, your taste buds aren’t as sensitive as they used to be. Come to think of it, ever since the day life decided to give you hydrochloric acid, they haven’t been very sensitive at all, have they?”

-Liam Northcott, 2018


John A Macdonald: a misguided darkness necessary for Canada’s dawn

Mr. Morris

English 10

April 17, 2018

Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first Prime Minister, has been a major subject of controversy as of late. He united Canada as a single nation separate from America that went from sea to sea, but committed genocide against the First Nations, Métis, and Chinese populations in doing so. For that reason, there have been countless debates over whether or not his name and image should remain in the public sphere. Many Canadians today see Macdonald as a symbol of white supremacy whose image and name should be removed from the public sphere, while others view him as a symbol of Canadian identity and a great man whose name and image should remain public. It is my belief that despite his many discriminatory actions, Macdonald remains more than worthy of his public image due to his vital contributions toward defining Canada as its own country and the radically progressive mindset he exhibited for a man in his time period.

Macdonald was the key player in uniting Canada as a single nation separate from its powerful neighbour, America. Throughout his many years as prime minister, his “steadfast determination” proved to be the deciding factor to his success in “the building of a great transcontinental railway to link and tie together the very broad transcontinental country that he had created” (Symons). Furthermore, one of his final acts was convincing the people of Canada to reject a deal that would inevitably have led to Canada becoming a part of America and losing its unique nationality (Gwyn). Canada remained Canadian only through Macdonald’s valiant political efforts, and was united only because of his timely construction of the CPR. Ergo, the only reason Canada is the country it is today (or even a country at all) is Sir John A. Macdonald. This is undeniably an achievement worthy of public recognition.

Unfortunately, Macdonald’s successes came at a great cost: the genocide of First Nations and Chinese people in Canada along with the annihilation of their culture. Many Chinese, Métis, and First Nations parents are understandably concerned about sending their children to a school named after the mastermind behind their people’s despair and suffering. However, before denouncing Macdonald as a villain, it would be wise to consider that even his most discriminatory actions were perfectly logical and justified according to the views at the time. According to Tristan Hopper, Macdonald said of his actions: “that may be right or it may be wrong, it may be prejudice or otherwise, but the prejudice is near universal.” In fact, Macdonald was extremely progressive for his time, advocating for women’s rights and gender equality – an admirable outlook whose supporters’ names should not be removed from buildings such as schools. An article by Richard Gwyn quotes Macdonald, who stated that he had “hoped that Canada would have the honour of first placing women in the position she is certain,eventually, after centuries of oppression, to obtain … of completely establishing her equality as a human being and as a member of society with man.” This evidence shows that Macdonald’s culture wouldn’t have seen him as evil, and that Macdonald had a progressive side that today’s culture should take into consideration when discussing this issue. It demonstrates that Macdonald was an imperfect man who tried to give equality to half the world’s population despite the flawed values of his time.

Macdonald’s presence as a founding father and unifying figure contrasts with his genocide of non-“Aryan” Canadians and his symbolism for white supremacy. This has led to many disputes over whether his name and likeness should remain in the public eye or not. Due to his inseparability with the creation of Canada’s unique identity and his relative progressiveness concerning women’s rights, Macdonald’s monumental achievements justify his place in the public eye, even in the face of his wrongdoings. Now, I’ve spoken in defense of Macdonald, but I do believe his wrongs should be acknowledged. So, instead of removing Macdonald’s image from the public eye, I suggest we add a written acknowledgement of both his admirable achievements and his discriminatory deeds beside all of his statues. Doing that could prove to be educational and thought-provoking, and would offer reconciliation by revealing the truth instead of obscuring it.

Socials Document of Learning #2


My question for this Document of Learning is: “To what extent did Radisson and Des Groseilliers’ deal with the English affect Canada’s history and culture, and how were the ideas of entrepreneurship surrounding the event similar to those existing today?”

I’m going to be focusing on the alliterating areas of Cause and Consequence and Continuity and Change.

Let’s start with some context!

Pierre-Esprit Radisson and Médard Chouart Des Groseilliers were two French explorers and fur traders. They also happened to be brother-in-laws. They decided to go farther inland towards areas like Hudson Bay to look for new fur-trading opportunities with people like the Cree. They asked Pierre de Voyer d’Argenson, the governor of New France, for permission to go on their journey, but the governor demanded that they not go without taking two of his men with them. D’Argenson did this because “he urged a monopoly control over the fur trade” (Greer), and wanted the two explorers watched at all times. Radisson and Des Groseilliers, believing that would only slow them down and put the governor’s men in danger, decided to leave anyway, albeit secretly and without permission.

They traveled far and wide, and returned to New France with loads of prime, top-notch furs and knowledge of the great beaver-related riches in Hudson Bay. Unfortunately for them, d’Argenson was waiting for them – and he was not pleased with their disobedience. Instead of earning a fortune, Radisson and Des Groseilliers instead got fined and had their furs confiscated. Des Groseilliers was even imprisoned for a few days. Not giving up hope, Radisson and Des Groseilliers decided to try something else: taking it to the competition.

They went to Boston and boarded ships for England. Radisson’s ship had to turn back due to a storm, but Des Groseilliers’ ship made it across. Des Groseilliers met with Prince Rupert of the Rhine, who listened to his business proposition and gave him an audience with King Charles II. Radisson (who eventually arrived), Des Groseilliers, Prince Rupert, and King Charles created the Hudson’s Bay Company, or HBC for short. Prince Rupert became the company’s first governor and the namesake of its territory: Rupert’s Land. As for the two French entrepreneurs, they began working for the HBC.


Hudson’s Bay Company Logo. “Pro Pelle Cutem” translates to “a skin for a skin”. Image courtesy of

This next bit isn’t as important, but in case anyone wondered what happened afterwards…

Eventually, due to a chance meeting with a French captive and the promise of a large sum of money, Radisson and Des Groseilliers were convinced to work for the French once again. They traveled to New France, and eventually assisted in the creation of the Compagnie du Nord, a company that was intended to compete with the HBC. Long story short, it didn’t work out, and went bankrupt. Radisson rejoined the HBC, then retired and lived in England until he died, presumably of old age. Des Groseilliers retired to his farm in New France, and met an unknown fate (but he probably died of old age as well).

Why this question?

I believe this is an important question to ask because the two explorers’ actions were the reason behind the creation of the Hudson’s Bay Company, which in turn was a major player in the events that created Canada as we know it today. I also think it’s interesting to note that d’Argenson punished Radisson and Des Groseilliers because he wanted a monopoly on the fur trade, but that punishment was also ironically the final nail in the coffin for his plan. In more ways than one, it demonstrates the unbreakable ties between business and the colonization of “the new world”.

Cause and Consequence

The cause of this event was, in my opinion, a miscalculated judgement of risk versus reward by the governor, d’Argenson. D’Argenson wanted to keep close tabs on Radisson and Des Groseilliers, but he was so insistent on the two explorers taking his men along with them that they left on their own. This demonstrates his wants. When Radisson and Des Groseilliers returned, D’Argenson punished them for trading without a license despite their success. This is just a guess, but I think that d’Argenson’s main reason behind punishing Radisson and Des Groseilliers’ rule violations was due to his fears; he was being cautious and trying not to give potential criminals the idea that they could get away with anything funny on his watch. But in doing so, d’Argenson missed out on a once-in-a-lifetime business opportunity that would eventually go to their English rivals.

Because of that, the Hudson’s Bay Company was created, and it had immense consequences. First and foremost, the English gained an advantage over the French in terms of fur trading capabilities. The HBC’s ownership of the 3.9 million square kilometre area of Rupert’s Land, which is about a third of Canada, gave them a massive area of land in which they could trade for furs or create colonies as they pleased, without the interference of competition. Additionally, the fur trade changed the Aboriginal economy. Rather than hunting and trapping for subsistence, people now trapped in exchange for trade goods, including guns and alcohol” (Smith). Since the HBC had set up forts everywhere, trading with the English became far more convenient and realistic for the Indigenous groups in the area.

Furthermore, the influx of settlers and traders created a new population of mixed English-First Nations people. This coincided with the influx of mixed French-First Nations people, the Métis, into the area of Red River. A colony was created, which would eventually spark the Red River Rebellion many years later when Rupert’s Land became part of Canada. 


The highlighted area is Rupert’s Land. Image courtesy of

Finally, I have a theory that the fact that the English were the ones who gained control of Rupert’s Land instead of the French is most likely a major reason behind there being far more Anglophones than Francophones in Canada as a whole.

Continuity and Change

Radisson and Des Groseilliers weren’t just explorers and fur traders – they were also entrepreneurs. According to, “An entrepreneur is an individual who, rather than working as an employee, founds and runs a small business, assuming all the risks and rewards of the venture. The entrepreneur is commonly seen as an innovator, a source of new ideas, goods, services and business/or procedures.”

There are many parallels between this definition and Radisson and Des Groseilliers’ situation. Beaver pelts had become a major commodity, and the two entrepreneurs wanted in on the new beaver craze. When they came up with a business idea, they assumed the risks by venturing out into the wilderness without permission. Their venture was successful in that they discovered a bountiful source of prime beaver pelts.

Due to the French government’s monopoly on fur trading, it would have been difficult for Radisson and Des Groseilliers to start up their own small business. Not only that, but their idea would have cost an unreasonably large amount of money due to needing ships to transport their furs back to Europe. They needed powerful financial backers, but unfortunately for them, the people back in New France weren’t particularly happy with them or willing to support their idea when they returned. “Consequently these entrepreneurs sought backers in the Boston area, and London. In London they were able to find backers due to another entrepreneur, His Highness Rupert, Prince of the Rhine” (Keen). In other words, after failing to sell their idea to one “company” of sorts, Radisson and Des Groseilliers instead sold their idea to the competition.

However, the differences in time period also bring with them differences in entrepreneurship. Unlike today, there were a lot of unexplored areas with untapped riches back in the days of colonial Canada. One simply had to find said riches and survive the experience, then find some wealthy, open-minded noble, and finish the job by crushing any “uncivilized” people who happened to be living in the way. I believe that idea to be one of the most crucial driving forces behind the colonialism taking place in that time period. But nowadays, with pretty much the entire world having been explored and a significant portion of the world’s population demonstrating at least a half-decent respect of indigenous peoples’ rights, aspiring entrepreneurs have to look for other ways to make money.

With far less new resources to discover and use, most entrepreneurs have to look at what they already have and discover new ways of using it, thereby bringing the innovation more towards the cities rather than the unexplored frontier. Also, with the rise of capitalism, creating a business has become a much more realistic and profitable idea, which also means that the money at risk for starting up the business most likely comes from the entrepreneurs’ own pockets, while the rewards such as money and influence go straight back to the entrepreneurs instead of a noble patron.

Social Studies Inquiry Process/Conclusion

Based on my research, I am able to reach several conclusions. They may not all be entirely correct, but I believe they are mostly accurate.

I believe that the idea of entrepreneurship was a key driving force behind both Radisson and Des Groseilliers’ exploits and the creation of the Hudson’s Bay Company. I also believe that while the circumstances and factors behind entrepreneurship were different then from what they are now, the core idea of getting a money-making idea and bringing it to fruition has remained the same throughout. Finally, I think that the founding of the Hudson’s Bay Company was one of the most important events in terms of the creation of the central provinces of Canada, the “westernization” of the Indigenous peoples, and the proportions of English- versus French-speaking Canadians today. Radisson and Des Groseilliers were two aspiring entrepreneurs whose search for powerful backers shaped the history of Canada as we know it today.


“King Charles II and the Early Governors of HBC.” HBC Heritage,

Moogk, Peter N. “Pierre-Esprit Radisson.” The Canadian Encyclopedia, 7 Jan. 2008,

Heidenreich, C.E. “Médard Chouart Des Groseilliers.” The Canadian Encyclopedia, 7 Jan. 2008,

“The Explorers.” Canadian Museum of History,

“The Explorers.” Canadian Museum of History,

“Compagnie Du Nord.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 2 Apr. 2018,

Keen, Brian. “Entrepreneurs Founded Canada.” CanadaOne, 1 July 2013,

“HBC.” Canada History,

Greer, Allan. “Pierre De Voyer D’Argenson.” The Canadian Encyclopedia, 14 Jan. 2008,

Smith, Shirlee Anne. “Rupert’s Land.” The Canadian Encyclopedia, 7 Feb. 2006,

“Entrepreneur.” Investopedia, 21 Mar. 2018,

Pope, Alexandra. “Five Companies That Dominated the Canadian Fur Trade.” Canadian Geographic, 14 Nov. 2016,

Liam’s Grade 10 In-Depth Post #5

This is my final post. As such, when I say that I’ve done a lot since my previous post, I mean a L O T. And trust me: it’s a lot. When I said “a lot” in previous posts, that wasn’t even close to what I mean now. The reason I did so much is because know that I (pretty much) need to have as much done as possible before I get back into school, because any extra weekend time I might have to work on In-Depth will be mostly taken up by practice trips.

Now I’m just rambling, so without further ado, I will now list what I’ve done since the last time I posted.

I have:

  • Created the entire B section
  • Created most of the C section (still a work-in-progress, have to make a conclusion and add in the other parts to later bits)
  • Made the bass and drums in the A section less boring
  • Added dynamics (more evident in the B section)
  • Got rid of all the transitions, turning each section into a separate movement, so I will now be referring to the “sections” as “movements”.

Movement B is meant to contrast movements A and C, in that it’s a gentle, serene melody in a major key in 6/8 time. As for Movement C, it’s kind of a reprise of Movement A with Movement B motives in it and some interesting chords at the start. As I mentioned earlier, it’s incomplete.

Here’s my composition so far. It’s split up into movements because the whole thing is so large that WordPress won’t let me upload it.

Movement A

Movement B

Movement C (Incomplete)

For my next steps, I’m going to finish composing Movement C and adding in all the other instruments. After that, I’m going to focus on producing the composition using Logic Pro X (the program I started with), so that I can make the composition sound more realistic and detailed.

My mentor and I haven’t had any face-to-face meetings recently, but we have been keeping in touch via email. When I showed him my progress (which was at that point very similar to how it is now), he suggested that I split the song up into movements, because the transitions were kind of iffy and having the 3 sections be separate from each other would make more sense. I completely agreed, so I changed the song into 3 movements instead of what had previously been a really long piece made of 3 very different parts. He also suggested that the Movement C could have more of its own motives. My original idea for Movement C involved a mix of A and B, but thinking about it, I might add some of those odd chords from the beginning of C at the end, near the conclusion. Aside from that, he really enjoyed everything, particularly Movement B.

At the Spring Concert, the senior band played one of my mentor’s compositions, called “Cassini’s Death”. It completely blew me away. Inspired, I asked him for advice on how to arrange pieces for school concert bands. He replied that it was pretty similar to composing for other ensembles, but in his words, he is thinking “a lot more about chordal movements, harmony, and feel as opposed to too much melody”. Even so, the melody is still a hugely important part of the song. He tends to think more about using motives and recurring themes, and keeps the range and skill of each band in mind when composing different parts. He also has to balance the sections so everyone gets to participate equally and enjoy the experience of playing the piece.


On to the questions!

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

The answer to this is kind of interesting. I already have a lot of experience in things such as music theory, and composing involves a lot of experimentation. This means that for me, the opportunities are mostly in the composing itself. My mentor has encouraged me to try things out and see what works/doesn’t work, which is exactly the kind of learning opportunity I need. He also gives me a learning opportunity through his feedback and advice on what he liked and what could be improved.

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

In this case, the “new learning” refers to listening to music and picking out any interesting parts I like. I then try to figure out why the section inspired me, and how I can take that inspiration and use in a composition. Now comes the reinforcement: the best learning opportunity to reinforce my new learning is to simply put it to use. Some examples of things I’ve wanted to try out can be seen in my composition.  For instance, putting a minor V chord in first inversion over the root of the I chord (seen at the start of Movement C) was an idea I took from somewhere else. The moment I heard it, I knew I had to incorporate it into Movement C somehow, and that ended up being the reason why its unusual intro exists in the first place. As another example, I used a simple cadence based on a “Neapolitan 6th” at the end of Movement B (when it goes from the main key of G to the major key a semitone above, Ab, before going to the dominant). I’d just learned about Neapolitan 6ths in my Keyboard Harmony lessons, and I decided I wanted to try them out.

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

Mostly what I’ve talked about earlier: listening to music, taking inspiration, trying to figure out how interesting bits work, taking lessons on stuff like Keyboard Harmony, doing lots of experimentation with new things, trial and error, etc. That’s pretty much it.

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

Generally, we talk about what I’ve done so far in my composition, and discuss what worked and what didn’t. We also discuss possible next steps I could take.

5. What is going particularly well in your mentoring relationship right now?

I think one of the best things about my mentoring relationship is the circumstances behind it. On one hand, my mentor and I can both relate to each other in that we’re only one grade apart, we’ve both had experience in TALONS, and we both know a good amount about music. On the other hand, my mentor has composed some seriously amazing pieces for the band to play, and is someone I can really look up to. He’s at the level I picture myself being at years and years from now, but at the same time, we go to the same school and know each other on a peer-to-peer level. The combination of those two elements inspires me more than either of those two could separately, because it does one crucial thing: it shows me beyond a shadow of a doubt that my goal of being as good at composing as him is achievable.

6. What are you learning about one another?

 I kind of discussed this in the previous answer, but I’m learning the true extent of how good he is at composing (i.e. really really good) as well as a bit about his personality. I’ve found him to be quite modest, helpful, and encouraging, and he compliments a lot of things. I’ve also found him to be pretty chill (in a good way). As for what he’s learning about me, I have no idea. If I had to take a guess, I’d say he’s learning about my musical capabilities and personality as well.
Well, that concludes my fifth and final In-Depth Post! In fact, this is my final In-Depth post ever! Hopefully, everything will be ready by the time In-Depth night comes along! And when that time comes…
…expect progress.

Socials Document of Learning #1

For my event, I’ve chosen the War of 1812, which was one of the most (if not the most) important, key defining moments in creating a distinct Canadian identity.

I will now go over the effects of the war on each of the four quadrants. I’ll begin with the environmental aspect, as there are no sources that talk about it and quite honestly not much to cover. The war itself probably caused a bit of damage to the environment, but the impact was most likely minimal due to the fact that high explosive shells had yet to be invented and the industrial revolution hadn’t happened yet. The only other cause of environmental change I can think of would be the resulting borders between Canada and the USA and its possible effects on land development. But in the end, that’s a very distant connection, and to count it as a major environmental change with my current information would be nothing short of grasping at straws.

The war of 1812 had a slightly larger impact on the economic quadrant, but the impact didn’t last long. As with most wars, a large amount of money was poured into it: 5.92 million pounds, to be exact. During the war, “the Government of Lower Canada made the decision to issue legal tender notes called army bills to pay for troops and supplies” (Bergeron). After the war, all the army bills were paid off quickly. Unfortunately, that left the government with very little money left to compensate all the war’s losses. ”As a result, the Canadas fell into a recession, with many merchants financially ruined because of oversupply, falling demand, depreciating prices and no capital” (Bergeron).

Next is the social quadrant. This quadrant contains possibly the greatest change of all, though I will be discussing that primarily in the “Canadian identity vs postnational state” section, as it relates directly to Canadian national identity. One important social change with effects lasting to this day came with the death of the Shawnee leader Tecumseh. Tecumseh was leading a movement for First Nations groups to work together and create their own confederacy. “The death of Tecumseh and the defeat of the First Nations at the Battle of the Thames broke apart Tecumseh’s confederacy”. “Tecumseh’s death was the end of serious resistance in the Northwest. Odawa Chief Naywash said it clearly: ‘Since our Great Chief [Tecumseh] has been killed we do not listen to one another, we do not rise together’” (Marsh). Another important social change was the conflict between America and Britain (with Canada along with it). During and after the war, tensions ran high between the two sides. However, “Whatever the resonance now, it probably doesn’t involve continued animosity toward those south of the border” (Tharoor). Well…  at least no animosity related to the War of 1812.

Finally, the political quadrant. First of all, when the peace treaty known as the “Treaty of Ghent” was signed at the end of the war, it “simply affirmed pre-war borders” (Tharoor). That basically sums up the entire political result of the war. In the words of Pierre Burton, “It was as if no war had been fought, or to put it more bluntly, as if the war that was fought was fought for no good reason. For nothing has changed; everything is as it was in the beginning save for the graves of those who, it now appears, have fought for a trifle.” The only people who “lost” the war would be the First Nations, who lost their leader and thereby their chance at becoming their own political power.

On to question 2!

The War of 1812 is often considered to be the defining moment for Canadian identity as a whole. Before the war, Canada was made up of a broad mix of people from different cultures – quite similar to how it is today. There were British colonists, French-speaking Quebecois, First Nations people, and Americans who’d just moved in. In fact, “Before 1812 many settlers, especially in what is now Ontario, did not feel particularly Canadian.” The war of 1812 changed that. “Collectively fighting for their land, and seeing it ravaged by an invader, went a long way in hammering these people into a unified whole — into Canadians” ( “Although the majority of the fighting was done by British regulars and First Nations warriors, a myth developed that civilian soldiers had won the war, and this helped to germinate the seeds of nationalism in the Canadas” (Berton/Marsh).

Nationalism and patriotism weren’t the only parts of Canadian identity that were formed by the war; the war also planted the seeds of a different – yet perhaps just as important – part of our identity. Victor Suthren states that “The sufferings of Canadian civilians at the hands of American troops […] gave the people of Upper Canada a strong sense, not so much of who they were, but certainly who they were not” (Suthren). Suthren’s statement suggests that the War of 1812 was not the defining factor in Canada’s identity, but in doing so, it actually explains a lot about an unusual quirk in Canadian identity: our love-hate relationship with the USA. Shortly after the previous statement, Suthren states that despite the suffering the Americans had caused the Canadians, “when the passions of the war faded, Upper Canadians soon returned to a more natural relationship with the American communities across the border, and re-knit ties of kinship, trade and friendship that the war had, in most eyes, needlessly sundered” (Suthren). So while Canadians bear America no ill will relating to the War of 1812, we are still quite eager to point out our differences from our southern neighbours, especially with the state of America today. That signature “not-american-ist” attitude is still a defining trait of Canada’s identity to this day, and it began with the War of 1812.

Finally, on to question 3. Prepare for a lot of opinions and philosophy…

In my opinion, instead of becoming a postnational state or trying to find a more clear and distinct Canadian national identity, we should keep going in the same direction we are now. This may not seem to answer the question, but I’ll explain what I mean later. To start off, I believe that as Canadians, we have a vague but very real national identity. There are a few aspects of it that are very recognizable: our aforementioned love-hate relationship with the US, our acceptance of diversity, our apologetic attitude, and perhaps most importantly, our apparent lack of a clear national identity. A national identity exists, but should we discard it completely?

I believe the answer to be “no”. First of all, I am not saying that our Canadian national identity should be more obvious or concrete. In fact, the fluidity of our identity is most likely the reason Canada has become the focal point for cosmopolitan culture it is today. But to abandon the things that define Canada and bring Canadians together sort of defeats the entire purpose of our entire country-based society in the first place. For instance, the military and national defence. First off, let me clarify that I do indeed believe that we should focus our efforts more on peace rather than war, and that keeping our military size low lets us accomplish more than we normally could. However, there will inevitably come a time when we will have no choice but to wage war against another country, for one reason or another. When that happens, what will Canadians be fighting for? How are they supposed to fight for their country if they have no national identity; what’s the point of fighting for something that doesn’t exist? This kind of situation is where a national identity, even a vague one, is an invaluable asset to our country’s success.

But let me rewind and take a look at the situation from a different angle. What if the correct question is not “should we abandon our national identity”, but “can we abandon our national identity?” I touched on this at the beginning of this section, but I believe the fluid and undefined nature of Canadian identity is at the core of Canadian identity itself. If we choose to abandon national identity, that is a choice that all Canadians share; one that sets us apart from all other countries in the world. If that’s the case, then what is that shared, nationwide decision other than a part of our national identity? By abandoning our old identity, we’re effectively creating a new one. Therefore, I believe it to be impossible for Canadians to truly break free of the bonds that hold them together as a proudly semi-coherent nation.

As Canadians, we have prospered because of our lack of a distinct national identity. I don’t see much point in trying to make our identity clearer than it already is, as that would contradict the very identity we’re trying to clarify. I’m all for trying to become a postnational state (note that in the first paragraph, I didn’t advise against trying), but actually becoming a postnational state would be impossible. The act of trying would instead create a new identity with stronger multicultural values and a more fluid identity – in short, more of what makes us proud to be Canadian, and more of what we as Canadians fight to maintain. This brings my point full circle: the nature of Canadian identity is very unique in that trying to change it in one way will only push it in the opposite direction. Trying to achieve a postnational state will both clarify and obscure Canada’s national identity in a way, but I think that change will turn out for the best.


Suthren, Victor. “A Canadian Perspective.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service,

Tharoor, Ishaan. “Why Canada Cares Much More about the War of 1812.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 27 Aug. 2014,

Bergeron, David. “Funding the War of 1812.”

Marsh, James H. “Tecumseh.” The Canadian Encyclopedia, 23 Oct. 2011,

Marsh, James H., and Pierre Berton. “War of 1812.” The Canadian Encyclopedia, 6 Mar. 2012,

“The War of 1812 Shaped Canada Forever.”, 17 June 2012,

Extra Post: Time issues

I’m writing this within 10 minutes of publishing my 4th In-Depth post, and I’ve noticed something odd. It said my post was published tomorrow, at 1 or so in the morning. I edited the post to correct the time, but the problem still remains. Look at my other posts. One of them was apparently published at 10 at night (the latest I’ve ever stayed up  doing homework was 9:30 pm), and I’m almost certain it must have been published during my off-block due to the time discrepancy. So be warned: even though my computer clock says it’s 5:35 pm right now, WordPress or my website or whatever doesn’t seem to think so.

Anyone else having this problem?

Let me know in a comment!