The University of Victoria and various partners have launched a new phase of the Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History, including three new multicultural mysteries and the educational portal MysteryQuests.ca.
The three new mysteries now available are:
Torture and the Truth: Angélique and the Burning of Montreal
When Montreal caught fire in April 1734, suspicion fell on Marie Angelique, a black slave accused of setting the fire to cover an escape with her white lover, a salt smuggler exiled from France. But if that was her motive, why did she stay to help her mistress save her possessions instead of fleeing. True she confessed but only after torture. Her punishment was to be hanged and then burnt. But did she really start the fire? What does her story tell us about slavery, torture and fire in early Canada?
Heaven and Hell on Earth: The Massacre of the "Black " Donnellys
The notorious Donnellys emigrated from Ireland in the 1840s with the hope of finding success in what would later become Canada. Yet, in 1880 the Donnelly farm was burned to the ground. The bodies of James, his beloved Johannah, their son Tom and niece Bridget were in the ashes, the victims of a vicious mob. Another son lay dead in a separate murder the same night. To this day, despite a great deal of evidence (including an eye witness), no one has been found guilty of the crime. Many had no doubt “who done it”, but two trials ended without any guilty verdict. Was this a community taking justice into their own hands when the justice system failed, or was it mob rule terrorizing rural Ontario? Did the Donnellys deserve their fate? Why was there no justice for the Donnellys?
Explosion on the Kettle Valley Line: The Death of Peter Verigin
An explosion on a rail car in October 1924 near Castlegar, British Columbia, took the life of Peter Verigin, the charismatic leader of the pacifist Doukhobor ethnic community. Eight others were also killed, including Verigin’s 17-year-old female companion and a member of the provincial legislative assembly. A host of theories sprang up to explain the explosion. Was it dissident Doukhobors upset with his worldly ways, nativists jealous of the success of the Russian émigrés, agents of the Canadian or B.C. government trying to undermine Doukhobor resistance to public schooling, Verigin's own son, Soviet enemies, or merely an accident? To this day the explosion that rocked the Doukhobor community remains an unsolved mystery, a tragedy that throws an intense light onto Canadians’ attitudes towards immigrants in the inter-war era.
The new educational portal featuring WebQuests about these mysteries:
The MysteryQuests are a growing collection of web-based activities for intermediate and high school classrooms based on the “Mysteries.” Building on the important contributions of the WebQuest format and the successful work in critical thinking of The Critical Thinking Consortium, these rigorous and highly interesting critical challenges develop skills in working with the primary documents. Their structure speaks to the students directly (with accompanying Teacher Notes) and activities link right to the Mysteries’ source materials. As teachers see the sense of history and the excitement of the Canadian past in the Unsolved Mysteries, they will want accessible ways to help the students be part of these investigations – MysteryQuests are that bridge.
To access all the new sites visit:
Sponsors include the Department of Canadian Heritage through the Canadian Culture Online Program.
Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History
Department of History
University of Victoria
PO Box 3045
Victoria, British Columbia
Fax: 250-721-8772 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Visit the website at http://canadianmysteries.ca
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