Susanna McLeod

Susanna McLeod

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

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)

Maud Leonore Menten, Pioneering Bioscientist and Pathologist

Ahead of her time, Maud Menten was a physician, pathologist, bioscientist and professor. Her scientific discoveries included the Michaelis-Menten Equation. Beautiful, brilliant and artistic, Maud Menten not only could create exhibit-worthy paintings and learn languages with ease, she also had the insatiably curious mind of a scientist. Imbued with a zest for life, the young… (read more)

Crushed in Arctic Ice in 1914: HMCS Karluk

Captain Robert Bartlett and explorer/anthropologist Vilhajalmur Stefansson led Canadian Arctic Expedition scientists to the Beaufort Sea.  A fearful icy disaster ended the mission. The steam-whaler heavily loaded with supplies and equipment to last for many months, Captain Robert Bartlett and his crew sailed north from Victoria, BC. Leaving port in June 1913, HMCS Karluk was… (read more)

Norma Shearer: Canadian was a Hollywood Movie Star

Montreal was the childhood home of actress Norma Shearer. The star of silent movies and talkies, the beautiful Shearer overcame her own shortfalls. The Shearer home in Montreal, Quebec was an unusual place. It seemed that parents Edith and Andrew Shearer did not have a close attachment, but the home was still held a pleasant… (read more)

James Gladstone, Canada’s First Native Senator

A farmer and lobbyist for rights, James Gladstone of Alberta’s Kainai Reserve arrived in the Senate of Canada with one big problem – First Nations people could not vote. In native headdress of long feathers held with a band crafted of beautiful, fine beadwork, and dressed in an elegant beaded coat to match, James Gladstone… (read more)