The next morning at reveille Doak was not in his bunk, and his blankets, pea coat and jacket were still missing. The Troop assembled in Sleigh square and marched off to breakfast at the division mess behind the barracks, no one mentioned Doak. By the time they returned his bed was made and the disarray of the night’s events, tipped over boots, bridles and belts scattered on the floor, socks and toiletries spread about, was put back in order, almost as though nothing had happened. Only the pea coat and brown service jacket were still missing from their hanger. His long boots and stetson were missing too.
Russell closed the door behind him and headed out to the front of the building. A seven seater McLaughlin- Buick with its cloth roof up was idling across the street. The man behind the wheel looked over, saw Russ and smiled.
“You Bell?” He called through the open window.
“Sure am.” Replied Russell.
“Well c’mon chum, let’s go!” The driver beckoned him with a brown leather gloved hand and then rolled up his window. Russell ran across Rose, circled behind the vehicle and then climbed into the passenger seat.
The train coming from the northwest pulled into Regina as the sun finally dipped below the horizon behind it. Wheels screeching and smoke belching from the stack atop the engine three cars forward, a young man jumped off the steps of the CNR ‘colonist car’ to the wooden platform of the train station,
“Hey, you trying to get yourself killed? Never jump from a moving train!” Called an aged baggage handler.
A while back I made a few posts of some small format acrylic paintings. There were two more in that series, or “fit” really, of painting. I hesitate with the word series because these two paintings thematically belong in series with another attempt at rendering the Prince of Wales Armoury in Edmonton.
The paintings themselves are about 5” x 7”. The small format adds tension to the juxtaposition of the armouries imposing brick structure, full of angles, against the prairie sky. It is a relic of a certain era in Canadian history that is also a monument to its time, but one that has found a new use to a modern generation.
Posted in Painting, etc.
Tagged Acrylic painting, Architecture, colonialism, Edmonton, Historical art, Monuments, Politics, Prince of Wales Armoury, Twentieth Century history, Western Canada, Western Canadian History, World War I
I figured the best way to throw back the curtain on what really happened during Sam Steele’s funeral procession was to ask some questions. First I wanted to revisit the legend and take a look at it’s development and significance. Next was see if the return of his body to Winnipeg was coincident with the general strike of 1919. And finally I was curious to find out if the legend about it causing a “lull in the violence” as many sources claim, could have any genuine history behind it.
Posted in Reviews
Tagged Canada, Canadian History, Canadian Labour, Canadian Workers, colonialism, history, RCMP, RNWMP, Sam Steele funeral, Samuel Benefield Steele, Western Canadian History, Winnipeg General Strike
The legend begins something like this. Sam Steele, icon of Canadian history, died in his sleep of complications from Spanish Influenza at the age of 70, on January 30, 1919. His funerary cortege on February 1st was a procession with full military honours through London, England. But his actual burial would not take place there. Instead, as per his instructions his burial would take place in Winnipeg.
His corpse, presumably held in cold storage, would have to wait four to six months (depending on the account) in England before room could be found on a troop ship heading to Canada. And, as coincidence would have it, this would place his return to Winnipeg around the time of the Winnipeg General Strike, one of the most significant moments in 20th century Canadian history. The burial of Steele there, at that particular moment in Canadian history, is ironic, because it is also ground zero of the North West Mounted Police.
A Winnipeg General Strike Story.
50 swung his right leg over the left, leaning back to consider the room around him as he drew deeply from his cigarette. The remnants of his meal lay on the table before him, knife and fork placed neatly together on the plate with the serviette resting on top, covering the barely touched meal beneath. The restaurant on the ground level of the three story hotel was dim despite the bright spring light of the early evening. Large windows fronted the brick building and through the stained and warped glass he could see the street outside with its ordinary hustle and bustle. It seemed deceptively calm to him.
The lazy ceiling fan caught his exhalation, collecting it into the overcast smog of cigarette, pipe, and cigar smoke. The dim electric lights dangling within the haze flickered. With the strike vote less than two hours old, two days before the strike was to start, it occurred to him that the workers at the city’s powerhouse were already throttling the electrical supply.
“Damn Bolsheviks,” he muttered.
Posted in Winnipeg General Strike Stories
Tagged 1919, Bolshevism, Calgary Conference, Canadian History, Canadian Secret Service, historical fiction, Labour Movement, One Big Union, Prairie History, RCMP, Royal Northwest Mounted Police, Russian Revolution, Short Fiction, Western Canadian History, Winnipeg General Strike