Susanna McLeod

Susanna McLeod

Glimpses of Canadian History : Email: Scribbles@cogeco.ca

“The Frontenac,” the First Steamship Built in Upper Canada

The first passenger steamship built in Upper Canada was constructed at the village of Bath, on the shore of Lake Ontario. The large ship was driven by two paddle wheels. Travel in early Upper and Lower Canada was slow, difficult and, well… uncomfortable. There were no air-conditioned cars, no trains speeding along rails and certainly… (read more)

Canada’s First Patent, the Eureka Fluid Meter” in 1869

The ‘machine for measuring fluids’ was devised by William Hamilton. The owner of a productive foundry business, Hamilton was also an avid inventor. The thunderous growl of heavy machinery echoed throughout the foundry. Making steam engines for the booming locomotive industry, the St. Lawrence Foundry, Engine Works, and Machine Shop also forged castings for the… (read more)

The Battle of Courcelette: Tank Warfare on the Somme, 1916

The British first used tanks to rebuff the Germans at the Somme. Canadians and Newfoundlanders were essential in winning the brief Battle of Courcelette. The Battle of Courcelette was part of the World War I Battle of the Somme in the summer of 1916. The German Army invaded France in August 1914, and the French… (read more)

Canada’s Berliner Gram-O-Phone Company

In 1900 Emile Berliner opened Montreal’s Gram-O-Phone Company, recording music on flat gramophone discs.  The firm created “Nipper”, the now-famous dog and phonograph logo The marvellous machine called the phonograph was invented by Thomas Edison in 1877, a device that would eventually bring lilts of music into the homes and ears of avid listeners. Improved… (read more)

Abraham Gesner and the Development of Kerosene

Expensive whale oil was used in lamps to provide light. Geologist Abraham Gesner developed the affordable petroleum fuel Kerosene to illuminate dark nights. Kerosene: A Fuel for Motors, Lamps and Heaters According to the Gage Canadian Dictionary, kerosene is composed of “a mixture of hydrocarbons, usually produced by distilling petroleum.” The flammable liquid was developed… (read more)

The Ancient Fossils of Burgess Shale in British Columbia

British Columbia’s Burgess Shale is a palaeontologist’s dream, holding layers of fossils from 540 million years ago.  The fossils give a glimpse into the very spark of life. The soft-bodied creatures with no vision wiggled and squirmed in the Pre-Cambrian mud. But their secluded world was transforming, bursting with new life forms over a few… (read more)

Alexander Keith, Brewmaster and Politician

An expert in brewing and business, Alexander Keith was also a politician.  Elected mayor of Halifax several times, he was offered a Senate seat on the Confederation of Canada. Working for his uncle in northern England, Alexander Keith was only 17 years old when he was introduced to the fine expertise of brewing beer. Keith’s… (read more)

Elizabeth Arden: Canadian Built an American Cosmetics Empire

A girl from small-town Canada immersed herself in the cosmetics trade and then initiated a company that grew into a world wide phenomenon – Elizabeth Arden. On December 31, 1878, a baby girl was born to the Graham family in Woodbridge, Upper Canada. The baby was named after a beloved and renowned nurse, Florence Nightingale… (read more)

Province of Canada’s 1st Postmaster General, James Morris

Appointed Postmaster General in 1851, James Morris negotiated a postal treaty with the United States and introduced Canada’s first postage stamps. Mail service in early colonial British North America was a sporadic, expensive event. Post offices were rare in the rural communities; the larger communities received mail deliveries on irregular schedules and pioneers travelled many… (read more)

Canada’s First Paediatric Hospital, Toronto’s “Sick Kids”

Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children was established in 1875. A focus on purity, the institution began milk pasteurization in 1908 to prevent dire diseases. Young Maggie was rushed to the hospital, the victim of agonizing scalds. While the outcome of her life is not known, the little girl made Canadian history. On April 3, 1875,… (read more)