I have gathered some of Canada’s truly interesting facts and unique people and brought it all together in my article to share with anyone who has any interest in Canadians or our history. Although I have written many Canadian pieces, I was myself amazed in what I found once I researched all of Canada’s history. So please feel free to sit back and check it out.
The Burning Of Montreal (April 1734)
This was a tragic story of a black slave girl named “Marie-Joseph Angelique” in love with a white man. Marie was a Portuguese slave who was bought and traded for many years until being bought by a Quebec businessperson and brought to Montreal, Ontario. After many years of service, he had died and ownership of Marie went to the mans sister who was said to have reportedly beaten Marie many times through out the years. In the years living with the mans sister, Marie had relations with another one of the workers who was white and had grown fond of him. They came up with a plan to start a fire in the city to distract the town’s people from their absence as they made their escape to freedom with each other. On April 10, 1734 about 7pm in the evening, Marie decided to set fire to her employer’s house. One thing Marie did not take into consideration was the wind, which ended up fuelling the fire and made it spread it other buildings. By the time it was all said and done, 46 buildings, a convent and a hospital had all burnt to the ground. Although nobody was hurt and Marie was seen helping people and saving goods from their burning homes, rumours eventually went around that Marie had started the fire to run away with her white lover. After that, a witness claimed to see Marie start the fire and that is when the case was closed. Marie was sentenced to death by hanging. On June 21, 1734 Marie was tied up and placed on the back of a cart and wheeled through town with a sign that read “Arsonist” pinned to her. On the way through town, the cart stopped at the church so Marie could ask for forgiveness, she was hanged in public then burned, and her ashes scattered. Her white lover vanished never to be heard from or seen again.
Cathy Evelyn Smith (Manslaughter of John Belushi)
Cathy was born in Hamilton, Ontario in 1948. Cathy was a backup singer in a band for many years. She went on to be a rock stars girlfriend to a groupie and eventually drug dealer who was convicted of manslaughter of the drug overdose of movie star John Belushi in 1982. “National Enquirer” paid Cathy for her story in which she states that she injected John with the fatal overdose of 11 speedballs. Speedballs are heroin and cocaine mixed together. What ever happened to Cathy Evelyn? Well in July 1991, Cathy was arrested with 2 grams of heroin in her purse in British Columbia and received a fine of $2000 and 12 months probation. Last, I heard she appeared in a “True Hollywood Story” episode about the John Belushi’s death in 1998.
Chris Haney (Co-Producer of Trivial Pursuit)
Chris Haney of Welland, Ontario marked his place in history with being one of the co-inventors of the popular trivia game called “Trivial Pursuit”. Chris Haney started his career as being a photo editor for the “Montreal Gazette”. After one day sitting around with friends and playing scrabble with missing pieces, they decided to make a game of their own and with that, Trivial Pursuit was born. In 1982 the game was final released to the public and by 1984 had already sold more than 20 million copies. To this day Trivial Pursuit is still one of the hottest games on the market with a variety of models for all ages.
Tim Horton (Pro Hockey Player/Coffee Shop Tycoon)
January 12, 1930 in Cochrane, Ontario Miles Gilbert “Tim” Horton was born. Tim did not always have his hand in the coffee shop business but instead started out as a professional hockey player. Between 1961 to 1967, Tim had won three Stanley Cup Championships and in 1977 was inducted into the “Hockey Hall of Fame”. In 1964, Tim decided to open his first donut shop in Hamilton, Ontario. He had added a few creations of his own to the menu and in 1965, Tim had collaborated up with Ron Joyce who quickly took over operations and turned the business into a multi-million dollar franchise. Thus becoming “Tim Horton’s”. On the early morning of February 21, 1974 while driving home, Tim had flipped his car at speeds over 100mph throwing him out of the vehicle. He was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. To this day Tim Horton’s is still Canada’s largest coffee chain.
Jack Warner (Founder of Warner Bros. Studios)
Jack Warner was born August 2, 1892 in London, Ontario. Warner Bros Studio was founded in 1918; only eight years after Jack and his brother Sam had pooled all their money together and moved into the film production business. In a weird twist of fate in 1927, Sam Warner had died before the premiere of the first “talking” picture “The Jazz Singer”, leaving Jack the sole head of production. Warner Bros did not become a success over night but instead suffered and survived through many difficult times. With the war and the stock market crash Warner Bros kept on making talking pictures and kept on building its name to what it is today. In recognition of all of Jack Warner’s achievements, he was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and has a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame in Toronto, which honours outstanding Canadians from all fields.
Todd McFarlane (Creator of Spawn comic books)
Todd McFarlane was born March 16, 1961 in Calgary, Alberta. In high school, Todd found his passion as an artist. He eventually went on to graduate high school, got a baseball scholarship, and finished University. After University, Todd went to work drawing comic book characters for DC Comics and Marvel Comics. He eventually left Marvel Comics with six other artists to form their own production company and this is when Todd started work on his creation “Spawn”. Todd had created the character “Spawn”, a demonic superhero, and while in high school and figured this was the perfect time to introduce his new comic book character to the world. His character was a huge success and was a teen favourite in the late 90’s. Todd has gone on to create other characters and TV shows and started his very own production company “Todd McFarlane Productions”. He is one of many Canadian success stories.
John Molson (Creator of Molson Brewing Company)
Although John Molson was not born here but in England, he migrated to Canada at a very young age. By 1821, John had opened Canada’s first distillery and had established the Champlain and Saint Lawrence Railroad, the first railroad into Canada. John Molson was also a Freemason and a member of the Unitarian Church. The life story of John Molson is a very interesting story indeed and this man has done many great things for Canada. In 1986, the Canadian government honoured John by putting his image on a stamp.
Isadore Sharp (Founder of Four Seasons Hotel Resorts)
Isadore Sharp is a Canadian born businessman who was the founder of the famous Four Seasons Hotel Resort chain. He founded the hotel chain in 1960 and opened his first hotel on Jarvis St. in downtown Toronto in 1961. On November 6, 2006, Bill Gates had made a private offer to buy the hotel chain for the sum of $3.4 billion US, but with terms. Isadore would remain as chair and chief executive of the company. In 2006, Isadore Sharp had a net worth of $460 million Canadian. For more information on this visit: http://www.fourseasons.com/about_us/about_us_14.html
Thomas F. Ryan (Inventor of 5-pin bowling)
Born in Guelph, Ontario Thomas Ryan was a Canadian sportsman responsible for the creation of 5-pin bowling. Thomas ran a pool hall on Yonge St. in Toronto for a little while before co-founding the Toronto Bowling Club in November 1909. 10-pin bowling was popular back then but many of Thomas’ customers were complaining the bowling balls where to heavy and this is what helped Thomas to come up with 5-pin bowling game. He also was the one who came up with putting the rubber belts around the bottom of the pins to cushion the impact of the ball. In 1971, Thomas F. Ryan was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. He died at the age of 89. For more details on Thomas Ryan or 5 pin bowling visit: http://www.c5pba.ca/index.php?page=about?=history?=en
George Lawrence Price (Last Soldier Killed In WW1)
Born December 15, 1892 in Nova Scotia. George Price was a Canadian soldier who is traditionally recognized as being the last soldier killed during WW1. George was fatally shot in the heart by a German sniper as he walked out of a house into the street at 10:58am November 11 1918, just 2 minutes before the ceasefire that ended the war, which went into effect at 11am. For information on the battle and ceasefire, feel free to visit: http://www.nwbattalion.com/last.html
These are only 10 of the unique and amazing Canadians that contributed to life and humanity but there is many more. With a little research, it is amazing what you can find!