Skip to main content
Canada 150

In celebration of Canada's 150th anniversary, Richard Blackwell takes a look back at some of the country's most memorable moments in the month of September

Escaped counterfeiters nabbed in Toronto

Sept. 4, 1867 – Toronto police, working with two American detectives, pounced on a pair of the most wanted U.S. counterfeiters. The duo had recently escaped from prison and were caught after crossing the border into Canada. Charles Ulrich was arrested in a bar on King Street, while Adrian Harque was picked up at a hotel on Front Street. They were kept in custody while extradition was arranged. Ulrich was the biggest catch, The Globe reported, as he was known as the only successful forger of Bank of England notes. He had fled Britain to the United States "where his evil propensities still urged him to continue his rascally calling," and he made accurate copies of $100 and $500 bills. With some admiration, The Globe noted that the front of the fake bills displayed "all the triumph of the engraver's art [with]not a line or a curve more or less than on the original." Richard Blackwell

The Globe calls for quick annexation of the Red River Colony

Sept. 11, 1867 – In what now seems like a naive proposal, The Globe suggested that Canada should quickly add to its territory, just a few weeks after Confederation. The Red River Colony – and indeed all of Rupert's Land – could become part of the new country through an order in council and approval of Queen Victoria, the newspaper said. The Hudson's Bay Company, which controlled the land, "needs not to be consulted at all," The Globe insisted. If HBC didn't like this "simple and effective arrangement," they could go to court. It would be a disgrace if the long-suffering people of Red River did not get a chance to experience the benefits of being a part of Canada, the paper added. In reality, it would take three years, the purchase of HBC's rights, a Métis rebellion and the declaration of a provisional government under Louis Riel before Manitoba joined the union in 1870. Richard Blackwell

Nova Scotia anti-Confederates win huge election victories

Sept. 18, 1867 – Voting in the first post-Confederation federal election was spread out over several weeks in most of the country, but in Nova Scotia it took place on Sept. 18, with a provincial election also held that day. AntiConfederation forces led by former premier Joseph Howe won landslide victories, taking almost all the seats both federally and in the provincial legislature. The only pro-Confederate to win a federal seat was another former premier, Charles Tupper. "Nearly a clean sweep for Mr. Howe and his friends," The Globe declared. "Now that the anti-unionists have won their victory – and so overwhelming a victory too – we hope that they will 'accept the situation' in the fullest sense of the term. Let them reap the legitimate fruits of their victory and make the best of the union." Indeed, Confederation held and Mr. Howe eventually joined John A. Macdonald's federal cabinet. – Richard Blackwell

Grisly murder rattles Kingston

Sept. 25, 1867 The Globe reported on a gruesome murder in Kingston, Ont., where a night watchman at a brewery was recently killed during a robbery. Four men from the United States, who had been "loafing about taverns in the neighbourhood" went inside Morton's brewery and started to bash open a safe with a sledge hammer. The watchman came to investigate, and was hit with a blunt object, then stabbed repeatedly with a knife. The four men took off with about $2,600, stole a boat at the waterfront and crossed to Wolfe Island. From the other side of the island, they hired a man to ferry them to Cape Vincent on the U.S. shore. The Kingston city police managed to follow their trail and tracked them down a few days later in Watertown, N.Y. "The men were extradited with very little trouble, and are now serenely lodged in the gaol here," The Globe's Kingston correspondent reported. – Richard Blackwell

Canada 150: More from The Globe and Mail