Canada Year-By-Year: 1868

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Today, we look at the second year of Canada’s life as a country, and our first look at a full year for the country.
The events of this year would have an impact on later Canadian history in many ways. One event was the return of Louis Riel to the Red River area. He had been living in eastern Canada but was getting tired of the legal work he was employed in. After a brief stop in Chicago where he worked odd jobs and a stop as a clerk in Minnesota, he returned to the Red River settlement. One year later, the Red River Rebellion would erupt.
Another big event was the decision by the Hudson’s Bay Company to turn Rupert’s Land and the North-Western Territory over to Canada. This increased the size of the country immensely and would eventually lead to the creation of the territories and the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
The first Canadian army was created this year when the Federal Militia Act was passed.
Several notable births would occur in 1868. On Jan. 16, Octavia Ritchie was born in Montreal. She would become the first woman to receive a medical degree in Quebec in 1891. The man with the very long name, John Babington Macauley Baxter was born on Feb. 16, and would become the 18th premier of New Brunswick, serving from 1925 to 1931. Another person who would play in the rights of women was born in 1868. Emily Murphy, a woman rights activist, author and first woman magistrate in Canada and the British Empire was born on March 14.
Charles Stewart, the third premier of Alberta from 1917 to 1921 was born on Aug. 26 in Ontario. Louise McKinney, the first woman to be sworn into the Legislative Assembly of Alberta and the first woman to be elected to a Legislature in Canada and the British Empire. McKinney would serve from 1917 to 1921. She was also one of the Famous Five who campaigned for the right for women to vote.
Several deaths would occur in 1868 in Canada. Alexander Roberts Dunn would pass away on Jan. 25. He was born in 1833 and was the first Canadian to be awarded the Victoria Cross. He was awarded the medal for his actions at the Battle of Balaclava in 1854 when he rescued a seargent who had been cut down by Russian lancers attacking from the rear.
One of the Fathers Of Confederation, Thomas D’Arcy McGee was assassinated on April 7, 1868 by Patrick Whelan. He was called Canada’s first nationalist because of his passion for Confederation. His funeral procession would run through Montreal flanked by a crowd of 80,000, or roughly 75 per cent of the city’s population.
Laura Second, the heroin of the War of 1812, would pass away on Oct. 17. Born in 1775, she walked 32 kilometres through American occupied territory to warn British forces of an impending attack. While she was largely forgotten during her lifetime, in terms of her actions, she has since been widely honoured by Canadians as a patriot.

Information for this piece comes from Wikipedia

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