NO, REALLY: B.C. history came to a halt with the last spike

Back in the day, we were under the impression there wasn’t a lick of history west of the Rocky Mountains.

Back in the day, we were under the impression there wasn’t a lick of history west of the Rocky Mountains.

But what did we know? We were just another class of Ontario public school stiffs being spoon-fed the historic pablum from teachers who believed in teaching history as dryly as possible. In the seventh grade, our history/geography teacher stoically informed the class that Vancouver was on Vancouver Island and Victoria was on the mainland.

“Um, sir,” I interjected. “It’s the other way around.”

After staring daggers into me for a few seconds, he grabbed the atlas and looked for himself. And upon learning the truth, he stared more daggers into my heart.

That’s the way it goes in middle school when some smart-aleck know-it-all shows up the teacher.

Anyhow, all we really learned about the West came from a single black and white photograph taken in the 1800s. It showed a bunch of sombre-looking men in funeral-like suits and stove-pipe hats – surrounded by the working stiffs – pounding in the last spike of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

And once the rail line was completed, there was nothing further to be gained by learning ANYTHING about B.C.’s history. After all, we were living in the heartland of the country, the birthplace of good and corrupt government, and the history book writers were under order of death to not write ANYTHING that was remotely interesting, especially if it happened outside Ontario or Quebec. Well, there was the rebellion in Upper Canada which, if I recall correctly, was taught to us every year from Grade 7 to graduation.

It was much later when I fully understood that it never was much of rebellion rather than a bunch of drunken farmers on Younge Street waving pitchforks, or something like that. In Toronto, that single incident became a historic event. Later, I learned that similar “rebellions” took place every Friday night in just about every watering hole in B.C.

But that was expected of the Wild West and hardly worth mentioning in the holy tablets of Canadian history.

You might say I was somewhat surprised to find out there was an inkling of West Coast history after I moved to the Island. Who knew that great Indian nations ruled the coast for thousands of years? Or that the world powers of the 18th century, Spain and England, met in truly historic occasion off Nootka Island?

I never knew and the same goes for millions of other history students inflicted with copious volumes of Canada’s “true history.” These days I wonder what history students are learning. I hope it’s something interesting which will help them understand something meaningful and lasting. Then again, they’re probably memorizing the names of today’s great leaders. In other words, the founders of Google and Facebook.

Just Posted

Don’t let your guard down, fire chief says after two house fires in Willow Point

Two house fires in Willow Point have Campbell River’s fire chief reminding… Continue reading

Veteran hospice doctor credits Campbell River community for its thriving program

Dr. Deb Braithwaite spent 30 years working with Victoria Hospice Society

Cole Slaney leads the Campbell River Storm on and off the ice

“He’s always the last off the ice,” said Elizabeth Cudmore, the Campbell… Continue reading

Confusion in Campbell River on first day of cannabis legalization

Some users puzzled as dispensaries close just before pot becomes legal across Canada

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

2018 municipal election: Few surprises on Vancouver Island

16 incumbent mayors will continue in their positions for four more years

Prank pizzas delivered to B.C. mayor on election night

The fake orders happened throughout Victoria mayor’s re-election campaign

MLA to become Nanaimo’s next mayor, could weaken NDP’s grasp on power

Leonard Krog’s win will trigger a byelection when he gives up his provincial seat

Horvat nets OT winner as Canucks beat Bruins 2-1

Young Vancouver star had spirited scrap earlier in contest

Team Canada gold medal winners for first time in world curling championship

Team Canada earned gold in Kelowna at the 2018 Winn Rentals World Mixed Curling Championship

B.C. passenger caught smoking weed in a car issued $230 fine

Saanich police did a field sobriety test on the driver and deemed it safe for him to drive

Payette invites critics to ‘come and spend a few days’ with her

Governor General Julie Payette made her first official to B.C. back in March

More pot stores expected in B.C. in coming ‘weeks and months’: attorney general

Attorney General David Eby and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth visited the new BC Cannabis Store in the province’s Interior

Most Read