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Barris offers missing link in story of Confederation at RCMI
September 7, 2017 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
This year, Canada has celebrated 150 years of Confederation. One question Canadians continue to ask about this anniversary is: What sparked Canada’s rapid expansion from coast to coast? Among the catalysts for Confederation were steamboats, or “fire canoes,” as aboriginal people called them. In large measure, the national dream of a Canada from sea to sea was realized aboard Mississippi-style paddlewheel steamers that plied western waterways on the eve of Canadian Confederation.
On September 7, historian Ted Barris offers stories from his book Fire Canoe, describing why & how steamers hastened Canada’s Confederation. There are tales of American mercantile interests invading the West, answered by the age-old Hudson’s Bay Co. with a fleet of steamers of its own. Steamboats propelled federalist forces against two rebellions in 1870 and 1885. And for a quarter century paddlewheelers brought waves of immigrants to settle on the Prairies.
Ted Barris is an author, journalist and broadcaster. As well as hosting appearances on CBC Radio and regular contributions to the National Post and Legion, Air Force and Zoomer magazine, he is a full-time professor of journalism and broadcasting at Centennial College in Toronto. He has authored 18 published, non-fiction books.
In 2011 he received the Canadian Minister of Veterans’ Affairs Commendation and in 2012 the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. His book The Great Escape: A Canadian Story received the 2014 Libris Best Non-Fiction Book Award.