Slavery in Canada

While in Quebec City, we visited a museum — the Musee des Beaux Arts — that features Inuit works from across Canada (stunning) and well-known Quebec artists such as Jean-Paul Riopelle, Alfred Pellan and others.

One exhibit – Devenir or Becoming – grabbed my attention. Not only did it include a collection of paintings – primarily portraits – from the 18th and 19th centuries, but it also included a series of drawings of runaway slaves alongside advertisements seeking their whereabouts that had been posted in Quebec newspapers.

In my naivety, I thought slaves running away from the US sought refuge in Canada.

While this is true, it seems that slavery was practiced by our indigenous people (usually as a result of wars with other tribes) and also by some who came from France and Britain to colonize Canada and acquired slaves in part to deal with the shortage of labour in the new land. Another source of slaves occurred when America declared its independence from Britain and many of those loyal to the crown moved to Canada and brought slaves with them.

The drawing above is one artist’s depiction of Bell, a slave who had runaway and whose owner advertised for her return in the Quebec Gazette in August 1778 (shown below).

 

Definitely a tragedy and a shameful period in Canada’s history. My writer brain is already imagining a story.

FOR MORE ON READING & WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION  FOLLOW A WRITER OF HISTORY (using the widget on the left sidebar)

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.

Historical Quebec City

My husband and I were in Quebec City this past weekend to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary – yes, 50 years together, an amazing and wonderful accomplishment! So now, dear readers, I might as well come clean and tell you that I’m 69 years old. Still a youngster at heart, of course.

Quebec – the city not the province – was founded in 1608 by Samuel de Champlain, a French colonist, explorer, navigator and military man.

Carefully maintained remnants of the past make the city feel European: fortifying walls, enormous stone gates, old houses with shuttered windows, cobblestones, and streets that twist and turn for no apparent reason.

We stayed at the Chateau Frontenac, a celebrated hotel which opened in 1893. The man at reception upgraded us to the Alfred Hitchcock suite – thank you, Rodolpho – where the famous director stayed while filming I Confess in 1952. The suite is in one of the chateau’s towers and the walls are round – definitely charming.

Chateau Frontenac
Tower with Hitchcock suite
Hotel Clarendon

Quebec was cold and occasionally rainy while we were there, just like our honeymoon. Nonetheless, we bundled up and walked around, finding places that sparked long ago memories including the Hotel Clarendon where we stayed for $11.50 per night in 1969.

Like France, food is a passion in Quebec and we had two absolutely delicious dinners. Sensible eating resumes today!

50 years and still in love! How lucky is that?

FOR MORE ON READING & WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION  – AND OCCASIONAL PERSONAL POSTS – FOLLOW A WRITER OF HISTORY (using the widget on the left sidebar)

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.