Monday, January 26, 2015

A Few Anniversaries in 2015 - 2/3

Following up on our previous post (here if you missed it), here is the second installment of what is turning out to be a three-parter on anniversaries and commemorations that we can look forward to this year.

Carving Out a Nation - Illustration: Soldat du régiment de Carignan-Salières © Francis Back
Poster of the Château Ramezay's exhibition.
This year marks a couple of important 350ths.  The one which is likely to get the most attention is of the arrival at Québec of the Régiment de Carignan-Salières (1665).  The Commission franco-québécoise sur les lieux de mémoire commun aka. CFQLMC and the Musée du Château Ramezay launched their joint program last November.  This includes an exhibition at the Château Ramezay, and a book by Michel Langlois and Marcel Fournier on the regiment's soldiers.  Through the year, other events will take place in Quebec and France, namely at La Rochelle and Poitiers, most of these with a genealogical bent.  Check out the chock-full programme here.  It will be interesting to see how these events address this history , centred as it was on the colonial will to destroy the Iroquois, in this age of #IdleNoMore.

King Louis XIV sent not only soldiers to New France that year, but also horses.  For there had been none before.  Only twelve horses out of twenty survived that first trip.  Joined by a couple of other contingents, these horses quickly multiplied and gave rise to the hardy Canadian breed that, after near-extinction in the late 19th century has been the subject of much love over the last century.  In 1909 the Canadian Parliament declared it to be the country's national breed; Quebec did the same for the province in 2010. 

The Canadian Horse Heritage and Preservation Society hopes that this year may be remembered as "the year of the Canadian Horse".  The CFQLMC turns out to be the most ethusiastic promoter of the cause, this time in partnership with another Montreal museum, the Maison Saint-Gabriel.  They launched the commemorative year on January 19th, with the unveiling of  a plaque.  Horse and history lovers, at least those who live in and around Montreal, have an abundance of events to look forward to.  The Canadian Mint has also issued a commemorative silver coin, rather poorly composed if you ask me, celebrating the horse.  Coin design isn't what it used to be.

L'arrivée à la ferme de la Maison Saint-Gabriel : de g. à d, Benoit Dorais, maire de l'arrondissement du Sud-Ouest, et Denis Coderre tenant la bride de ce « petit cheval de fer ».
A Canadian Horse and Denis Coderre, Mayor of Montréal,
at Maison Saint-Gabriel on January 19th.  Photo: CFQLMC.

A few more anniversaries to come in Part III. 


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