L'Institut Historica-Dominion Institute

The Historica-Dominion Institute is the largest, independent organization dedicated to Canadian history, identity and citizenship. Through our work in various programs, we are determined to build active and informed Canadian citizens. As we work hard to ensure a greater appreciation for Canada’s history and heritage, we’d like to share our own stories and impressions. We invite you to do the same.

L’Institut Historica-Dominion est le plus large organisme national charitable au Canada dédié à l’histoire, l’identité et la citoyenneté du pays. À travers nos programmes, nous sommes déterminés de former des citoyens actifs et informés. Nous aimerons partager nos histoires et impressions lorsque nous tentons d’assurer une encore plus forte appréciation du patrimoine Canadien. Nous vous invitons de partager avec nous.

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1862 - Gold was discovered on Williams Creek in the Cariboo region of B.C., sparking the Cariboo Gold Rush.  International publicity given to news of the rich payload found near bedrock at Barkerville drew a large and diverse mix of miners, gold-seekers and adventurers into the former fur-trading territory of the Chilcotin and Carrier.

1812 - American defenders led by General Hull surrendered Fort Detroit to General Brock and Shawnee chief Tecumseh. While the popular story that Tecumseh marched his men three times through an opening in the forest to give the idea of a much larger force lacks real evidence, it was an important victory early in the war which bolstered British morale.

1925 - Jazz pianist and composer Oscar Peterson, whose numerous awards include a Grammy for Lifetime Achievement, was born at Montréal. Few jazz musicians would be recorded more extensively; few if any Canadian musicians would enjoy as comparably high an international profile.

1877 – The North-West Territorial Council passed an ordinance “For the Protection of the Buffalo” in an attempt to slow the animals’ destruction.  Restrictions included making it illegal to drive buffalo into ravines or pits, or to hunt or kill buffalo for entertainment.  The legislation proved ineffective and within a decade, the buffalo was virtually extinct. 

1535 - As Jacques Cartier neared Anticosti, two Aboriginal youths informed him that the route to Canada (“chemin de Canada”) lay to the south of the island. By Canada they meant Stadacona, but Cartier used the name in a broader sense for the first time. Heritage Minutes Moment: "…but I’m sure it means the houses, the village…"

1909 - Fort William (Thunder Bay, Ont.) was placed under martial law as striking Greek and Italian freight handlers engaged Canadian Pacific Railway police in a protracted gun battle.  Called in from Winnipeg, the Royal Canadian Mounted Rifles joined the local militia in restoring order.

1607 - The Port-Royal settlement was abandoned on orders from France. On Sept. 3, after skirting the Straits of Canso and mapping the Atlantic coastline from Cape Breton to the south of Cap Blanc, Samuel de Champlain and the other voyagers headed home to St. Malo. The settlement would be re-established in 1610.

1779 - Royal Engineers Lieut.-Col. John By, one of the greatest early engineers in Canada and builder of the Rideau Canal, was born at Lambeth, Eng. He built the 200 km canal from Bytown (named for him, now Ottawa) to Kingston.  It involved the construction of about 50 dams and 47 masonry locks. By the by, Ottawans may drive down his namesake road alongside his canal.

1845 - Faith healer Brother André (Alfred Bessette), who became the most popular religious figure in Québec in the 20th century, was born at St-Grégoire-d’Iberville, Canada East. His admirers helped him build a small oratory on Mount Royal. Half a million visitors still come to the site - the only major urban shrine in Canada - every year. He was canonized in 2010, the first male Catholic saint born in Canada.

1907William (“Bill”) Miner, Canada’s first train robber, escaped from the New Westminster Penitentiary.  Miner became known as the “Gentleman Bandit” for his good manners during holdups.  The outlaw’s attacks on an unpopular CPR made him a folk hero for many western Canadians.  His exploits were featured in the Canadian film, The Grey Fox (1982).