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28-May-2016 13:36

Thrown into the mix was the discovery of gold in Boer territories, an influx of foreign, mostly British prospectors and miners (called uitlanders) who were denied political rights by Boer governments who feared being swamped by the incomers, rival British and Boer economic interests, British fears of German interference in southern Africa, and the ambitions of Cecil Rhodes, the premier of the Cape Colony from 1890 to 1896.The South African war began in October 1899 after talks between the British government and the Boer governments failed.It also overlooks the impact of an earlier war on Canadian national confidence.That war was the South African War, also known as the Boer War.Thirty-one Ottawa veterans arrived home at 2.45pm on Saturday, 3 November 1900. Wilfred Campbell, who lived in Ottawa, penned a poem to welcome them.Titled Return of the Troops, the first verse went: Canadian heroes hailing home, War-worn and tempest smitten, Who circled leagues of rolling foam, To hold the earth for Britain.It is said that Canada became a nation at the Battle of Vimy Ridge in April 1917 during World War I when the Canadian Expeditionary Force took the German-held high ground amidst fierce fighting—an achievement that had eluded British and French forces in three years of fighting.Although there is no disputing the heroism and the accomplishment of the Canadian soldiers, some historians maintain that the significance given to Vimy Ridge in the development of Canadian nationalism is a modern invention.

Store fronts and window displays were also decorated in patriotic themes. Masson’s stores were lit with electrical lights with Queen Victoria’s cypher, “V. The Ottawa Electric Company building on the corner of Sparks and Elgin Streets was draped in bunting, flags and strands of electric lights. Story written by James Powell, the author of the blog Today in Ottawa's History.Boer soldiers invaded the British Natal and Cape Colonies and subsequently laid siege to ill-prepared British troops at Ladysmith, Mafeking, and Kimberly.The attacks galvanized pro-British sympathies throughout the Empire, whipped up by nationalistic newspapers.They were joined by other South African veterans who had been invalided home earlier.

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In the parade were elements of all regiments based in Ottawa, including the 43rd Regiment, the Dragoon Guards, the Field Battery, the Governor General’s Foot Guards and the Army Medical Corps.

In the window of George Blyth & Son was a figure of Queen Victoria in a triumphal arch with two khaki-clad soldiers standing in salute. The words “Soldiers of the Queen” were written in roses in the foreground. Above the main entrance there was a large maple leaf and beaver in coloured lights. Retired from the Bank of Canada, James is the author or co-author of three books dealing with some aspect of Canadian history.



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