Browse Tag: heritage moments

Heritage Moments #2: Halifax Explosion

Welcome back to our weekly series featuring Canadian Heritage Moments, which were commercials that ran on Canadian television in the 1990’s.

A Heroic Self-Sacrifice.

This one is actually quite sad and I’m glad that they created this commercial, as it highlights and important moment in Canadian history that most people in Canada weren’t aware of. For those who don’t know, the Halifax Explosion was the largest explosion in the world until the atomic bombs were detonated over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Essentially what happened was a large French cargo vessel carrying high explosives (the S.S. Mont-Blanc) collided with a Norweigan vessel, the SS IMO. The explosion killed 2,000 people and injured many more. But what this commercial highlights is how an act of self-sacrifice kept this body count from being much higher. Initially thinking it was just a fire on a boat, people were watching the fire…completely unaware that the ship was carrying high explosives. Everyone who could see this boat was in imminent danger. Train dispatcher Vince Coleman, once he realizes what’s happening, tries to send out a message to an incoming train with hundreds of people aboard. Instead of evacuating like everyone else, he stays behind to ensure that the train acknowledges his message and avoids the danger. And to think: all that story in just 30 seconds! The complacent Halifax citizenry, the realization that they are in danger, then realizing that more people will die on an incoming train if they don’t do anything. Then a frantic… Read the rest

Canadian Heritage Minutes #1: Kanata

Welcome to our series featuring Canada’s ‘Heritage Moments’, a series of commercials that aired on Canadian television in the 1990’s. We’ve decided to take a look at each one and the historical moment in Canadian history they depict.

Kanata…Yes, the village.

In this video we see Jaques Cartier and his explorers as they encounter the Iroquois as they venture up the St. Lawrence river. While the Iroquois are pointing out the route to their village, Stadacona (which later became the home of Quebec City), they mention the word “Kanata”, which means village. As you can see the whole commercial is built up like a dramatic encounter, with close-ups of the Iroquois as the flag-waving explorers (literally!) encounter them. It’s weird how so many nations’ English names are the result of mistranslations that somehow endured the test of time. The Japanese name for Japan is ‘Nihon‘, which means land of the sun. Somehow on that boat trip back to Europe, the early explorers’ memories jumbled up the name into ‘Japan’, which really sounds nothing like Nihon. And now, those shoddy memories of early European explorers are the reason we call Nihon “Japan”. Disclaimer: We are not the original creators of these videos, nor are we associated with them in any way… Read the rest