127 episodes

Historian David Borys dives deep into the fascinating world of Canadian history in this bi-weekly podcast exploring everything from the wonderful to the weird to the downright dark.
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Curious Canadian History David Borys

    • History
    • 4.6 • 347 Ratings

Historian David Borys dives deep into the fascinating world of Canadian history in this bi-weekly podcast exploring everything from the wonderful to the weird to the downright dark.
Get add free content at Patreon!
Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    S8E7 The Last Duel....in Canada

    S8E7 The Last Duel....in Canada

    If you took a stroll along the banks of Tay River, in Perth Ontario, just on the northeast edge of the town, you would come upon on a strangely named location, Last Duel Park. Certainly, for many, they might just walk on by, chalking it up to just a strangely named location. But the more curious might wonder, how did this park get its name? The name is not a clever one, it’s given to the park because that is the location of the last fatal duel ever fought in Canada. In 1833 two former friends had such a falling out that the only recourse they sought was a pistol duel on a June summer evening. While on the surface it seemed like this dispute was over a betrayal of trust, behind the scenes it seems like there was far more going on, that being a devious plot to secure a love interest. A devious plot that if true horribly backfired and left one young man dead. 
     
     
     
    Book recommendation: Susan Code A matter of honour: And other tales of early Perth, General Store Pub. House, January 1996
    https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?an=susan%20code&tn=matter%20honour%20tales%20early&sortby=17&cm_sp=plpafe-_-all-_-link
     
     
    Twitter – https://twitter.com/DocBorys
     
    Patreon - https://www.patreon.com/curiouscanadianhistory
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    • 20 min
    S8E6 Henri Bourassa and the Conscription Crisis

    S8E6 Henri Bourassa and the Conscription Crisis

    Henri Bourassa is one of the most famous Quebec journalists in the history of Canada. His writing at Le Devoir, the paper he founded, was embraced by many as the voice of French-Canadians struggling to assert their place in a rapidly changing Canadian nation. He was a complex man, a devout ultramontane Catholic, a French-Canadian nationalist, but also a man who saw a future where English and French Canadians could cooperate and live side by side in harmony as the two “races” of a strong and proud Canadian nation. Yet he was also deeply disturbed by Canada’s attachment to Britain and Britain’s empire, and time and time again his platform at Le Devoir became the voice of many in Quebec who bristled at this long-standing imperial connection. No event put Bourassa on the national stage like the First World War, while he was already quite well known in Quebec prior to 1914, by the end of that war he would be known from coast to coast. 

    The book recommendation for this episode is Duty to Dissent: Henri Bourassa and the First World War by Geoff Keelan published by UBC Press in 2019.
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    • 23 min
    S8E5 Stanley Thompson and Golf in Canada

    S8E5 Stanley Thompson and Golf in Canada

    There are many ways in which Canadians express their national identity. Through song, poetry, tattoos, pride over historic and international achievements, the celebration of multi-culturalism, the singing of the anthem, voting in an election, and so many other expressions large and small help us define who we are and who we think we are as Canadians. Sport has always played a central role in this search for identity. From cheering for Team Canada at the Olympics, to fanatically following your local sports team, sport has always been a way to unite Canadians. But sport has also played a role in helping to express the Canadian experience, especially when that Canadian experience is one that embraces Canada’s rugged, hostile and beautiful environment. In the 1920s and onwards the famous painting cabal known as the Group of Seven created an international sensation by painting Canada’s landscapes, presenting to the world what has been considered Canada’s first true school of art. At the same time that these great painters were presenting their material to a world fascinated by Canada’s landscapes, Stanley Thompson was doing the same thing...with golf courses. Thompson embraced the Canadian terrain and built golf courses into it that celebrated the unique and rugged nature of the Canadian landscape. In many ways, Thompson too was an artist who was also, like the Group of Seven, celebrating the Canadian experience through expressions of nature.
    In this episode we chat with past guest Jordan Goldstein. Jordan has a Ph.D. in Sports History and 7+ years teaching sports philosophy, sociology, and history. He published his first book entitled "Canada's Holy Grail: Lord Stanley's Political Motivation to Donate the Stanley Cup" in 2021 through University of Toronto Press. His book investigates the political motivations of Lord Stanley's donation of the Stanley Cup as an act of Canadian nation building. ​He recently quit academia to build a coaching and consulting business, Phya Academy, and to work on curriculum development at Synthesis School.
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    • 40 min
    S8E4 A 17th Century River of Change - The Innu and the Algonquin along the St. Lawrence River

    S8E4 A 17th Century River of Change - The Innu and the Algonquin along the St. Lawrence River

    The St. Lawrence River is one of the most important waterways in the western hemisphere. It has been home to a multitude of peoples and has provided both food and commerce for centuries.   It is both a cornucopia and a highway. First Nations have lived along its banks for more than a millennium and when Europeans began arriving I the late 16th century they entered into a diverse and complicated world, patterns that had been shifting and evolving for centuries prior. Two of the main groups thriving in this world were the Algonquin and Innu, and they would see the possibilities that the newly arrived French could bring, but also were very aware of the destabilizing nature that came as a result of the European arrival. 


    Book recommendation: Flesh Reborn: The Saint Lawrence Valley Mission Settlements Through the Seventeenth Century by Jean-Francois Lozier, published by McGill-Queen's University Press in 2018
     
     
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    • 18 min
    S8E3 The Honan Mission – First Generation Canadian Missionaries in China

    S8E3 The Honan Mission – First Generation Canadian Missionaries in China

    In the late 19th century a number of Canadian missionaries travelled to China ultimately arriving in the province of Honan, north of the Yellow River. These members of the Presbyterian Church of Canada sought to establish a series of missions in the volatile region. They sought to provide health care to the inhabitants while preaching the gospel. Yet, the years would not prove kind to the intrepid evangelists as illness and violent anti-foreign elements would prove to be a constant threat to the survival of the mission and the missionaries themselves. (pictured Paul and Rosalind Goforth)

    Book recommendation this week is Healing Henan: Canadian Nurses and the North China Mission 1888-1947 by Sonya Gripma, published in 2008 by UBC Press.
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    • 20 min
    S8E2 The Frontier Constabulary - Canada’s First Secret Police

    S8E2 The Frontier Constabulary - Canada’s First Secret Police

    From 1864 until 1871 a relatively secret organisation of Canadian police patrolled Canada’s border with the United States. What began as a mission to prevent increasing tension between Britian and the US evolved into a concerted effort to undermine a major threat to Canadian sovereignty. This threat came from the Irish Republican organization known as the Fenians. Through a complex array of informants and spies on both sides of the border the Canadian secret police (known as the Frontier Constabulary) played a central role in defining Canada’s response to the Fenian threat and became the country’s first ever secret police organisation. 
    Book recommendation: Canadian Spy Story: Irish Revolutionaries and the Secret Police by David A. Wilson published by McGill-Queens Press in 2022.
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    • 33 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
347 Ratings

347 Ratings

D Pos ,

Great podcast

Started listening to get me ready for my trip to Normandy and was very impressed with the knowledge Dr. Boris has. Thanks

Viking Paul ,

Advertising has gone too far

Used to love this podcast (been with it since it was Cool instead of Curious), but the show has become so ad-heavy it’s impossible to enjoy. Two minutes at the beginning, two minutes in the middle. At a minimum. Many of us can’t fast forward all the time—driving, exercising—and this format is intolerable.

I realize that a free podcast needs to fund itself, but there needs to be a balance. And here it’s become ridiculous.

Too bad, used to love it. But the ad-heavy content has cost this podcast a longtime listener.

Ethics drunk ,

A very colonial perspective

There are only a handful of episodes detailing indigenous history. Incomplete especially since the podcast spans multiple years. Mostly about the colonizers.

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