The Begbie Canadian History Contest, 2009
© The Begbie Contest Society

Acknowledgements :
Lombard Graphics, Winnipeg
Ikon Office Solutions, Winnipeg
Canada’s National History Society
The BC Social Studies Teachers’ Association
Canadian Parents for French – BC Chapter
St. George’s School, Vancouver
Burnaby School Board
Ontario History and Social Science Teachers’ Association
Nova Scotia Social Studies Teachers’ Association

Riverside Secondary School, Coquitlam
Scott Robinson, Principal
Raquel Chin

University of British Columbia
Stephanie Anderson-Redmond, Mike Denos, Andrea Webb

Library and Archives Canada
Brenda Campbell

Web site
Doug Dobie

The contest was prepared and/or reviewed by:
Murray Bowman, Ed Harrison, Charles Hou, Cynthia Hou, Fred Lepkin, Tom Morton, Larry O’Malley, Gus Peterson, Andrew Robinson, Rob Sandhu, and Gordon Smith.


(Suggested writing time 25 minutes; value 25% of your mark)

Each question is followed by four possible answers marked A, B, C and D. Select the best answer.
When you have decided on your choice, record your answer in Section I of the answer booklet.


1. The man in the doorway is most anxious to protect his
A identity
B language
C employment
D neighbourhood


2. Which one of the following statements is not supported by the cartoons? Both cartoonists
A use cows to symbolize government
B are resentful of the large cities and business interests in the east
C believe that the profits from natural resource exploitation end up in the east
D believe that the “cow” works in the best interest of both the east and the west

3. The darkest area should be dated
A 1841
B 1864
C 1867
D 1870

4. The officer would like the cigar smoking gentleman to
A hire returning soldiers
B enlist in the armed forces
C refrain from smoking in public
D contribute more money to the war effort

Thanks Samuel! Your heart is as big as your country is broad. You have Canada’s heartfelt gratitude.

5.  This cartoon deals with
A free trade
B foreign aid
C disaster relief
D the US war effort

6. Arrange the following events in chronological order (earliest to latest):
1 Louis Riel is hanged
2 Sir John A. Macdonald dies
3 the capital of Canada is moved to Ottawa
4 Saskatchewan enters Confederation

A 3, 1, 2, 4
B 1, 3, 2, 4
C 4, 1, 2, 3
D 2, 3, 1, 2

7. The “treasure chest” in the title refers to the
A. Canadian Shield
B. Appalachian Mountains
C. Hudson Bay Lowlands
D. St. Lawrence Lowlands

8. This cartoon reflects the economic and political thinking of the
A Conservative party
B Liberal party
C Co-operative Commonwealth Federation
D Communist party

9. “The Governor-General shall from time to time, in the King’s name, by instrument under the Great Seal, summon qualified persons to the Senate.”
Section 24 of the British North America Act

In 1928 a major constitutional debate erupted when five Alberta women challenged the interpretations of these words:
A Governor-General
B in the King’s name
C Great Seal
D qualified persons

10. This cartoon was produced in celebration of the
A Canadian Naval Act
B Statute of Westminster
C British North America Act
D Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Documents 1, 2, 3

11. These documents deal with the conscription issue during the Second World War. The order in which they occurred (from earliest to latest) is
A 1, 2, 3
B 3, 2, 1
C 2, 1, 3
D 2, 3, 1

12. Taken together, these poll results indicate that
A. French Canadians were more nationalistic than English Canadians
B. English Canadians were more nationalistic than French Canadians
C. There was little difference in the nationalistic position of English and French Canadians
D. Canadians of “other stock” were more nationalistic than either the English or the French

13. The principle motive of the man labelled “Labor” is
A ethnic identity
B racial equality
C class solidarity
D gender equality

14. This poster was produced during the election of 1896. Hugh Macdonald, the son of Sir John A. Macdonald, was seeking election to parliament. The “old principle” Tupper and Macdonald support was known as
A manifest destiny
B commercial union
C the national policy
D unrestricted reciprocity

15. This sheet music cover best illustrates the concept of
A nationalism
B imperialism
C monarchism
D internationalism

16. This magazine cover was designed to
A promote enlistment
B encourage exercise
C promote conscription
D. market children’s clothing

17. The most dramatic change in Canada’s trade between 1881 and 1965 was the
A rise in trade from other countries
B decline in trade with the United Kingdom
C rise in trade with the Unites States of America
D rise and fall  of trade with the United Kingdom

18. The women depicted in these stamps made their mark in
A science
B health
C politics
D business

19. This illustration of Canadian immigration was likely produced in
A 1875
B 1915
C 1955
D 1995

20. The cartoon was likely published during
A the interwar years
B the Second World War
C the Cold War
D the post Cold War era

21. Oil was eventually moved from Prudhoe Bay to the United States by means of
A rail
B water
C pipeline
D pipeline and water 

22. This cartoon is critical of Canadian
A consumerism
B industrial policy
C clear-cut logging
D safety regulations 

23. Which one of the following is a secondary source description of the raising of the Maple Leaf flag on Parliament hill for the first time on February 15, 1965?
A A photograph of Prime Minister Lester Pearson raising the new Canadian flag
B An article describing the event written by someone born in 1965
C A tape recording of a radio announcer describing the flag raising ceremony
D Opposition leader John Diefenbaker describing how he felt when the new flag was raised

24. The accompanying photograph refers to a vote on
A sovereignty
B prohibition
C conscription
D capital punishment 

25. “We are living on islands of our own in the Sea of Canada – Chinatown, Greektown, Little Italy, Little India, Ste. Boniface, Westmount – associating with each other largely through trade and commerce. But we have nothing much in common. Canada is becoming a community of communities.”
Andrew Cohen, The Unfinished Canadian, 2007.

The author is questioning the concept known as
A bilingualism
B regionalism
C nationalism
D multiculturalism


(Suggested writing time 15 minutes; value 15% of your mark)

Study the two photographs and their captions. Write a short essay on the significance of French leader Charles de Gaulle’s visits to Ottawa in 1944 and Montreal in 1967.

Document A

France-Canada, Ottawa, August 1944. The photograph was taken in Ottawa. It shows, from left to right, a  Canadian general, Free French leader Charles de Gaulle, Prime Minister Mackenzie King, and Minister of Justice Louis St. Laurent. At the time de Gaulle was the leader of the Free French Forces who opposed the occupation of France by Nazi Germany and who were living in exile in England.

Document B

Journal de Montréal, July 1967. President Charles de Gaulle of France was invited to visit Expo 67 during Canada’s centennial celebrations. He landed in Quebec City. On his way to Ottawa he visited Montreal and gave a  speech in which he shouted “Vive Le Québec Libre!” 

(Suggested writing time 80 minutes; value 60% of your mark)

The purpose of this section is to test your ability to analyze and interpret historical documents. To complete this task successfully, consider the following steps and suggested time allowances:
(1) Read the background information and the instructions (5 minutes).
(2) Read and analyze documents 1–10 (20 minutes).
(3) Decide on a thesis and prepare an outline for your essay (10 min.).
(4) Write your essay in Section III of the answer booklet (40 minutes).
(5) Proofread your essay (5 minutes).

Use as many of the documents as possible.
Only the essay will be marked.

Background Information

In 1954 Donald Gordon was president of the Canadian National Railway (CNR), an independent Crown corporation. In November he announced that a new CNR hotel would be built in Montreal. With the newly crowned queen’s approval he stated that it would be called the Queen Elizabeth Hotel. It would be owned by the CNR and operated by the American-owned Hilton hotel chain. The Queen Elizabeth Hotel opened in 1958.


Write an essay explaining why you agree or disagree with Donald Gordon’s decision to name the new hotel the Queen Elizabeth Hotel. Be sure to indicate where you found the evidence to support your thesis (Documents 1, 2, 3 etc. – cite as D1, D2, D3 etc.).

Document 1

Ethnic Composition of Montreal Island, in Percentages, 1871-1961

Year French BritishOthers

Marc Levine, The Reconquest of Montreal, p. 10

Document 2

This is a French province and Montreal is an overwhelmingly French city, to which visitors flock from across the country and mainly from below the border, to be in an atmosphere that is different from the rest of North America...We have great respect for our gracious Queen but has the time not come for us to be a little more expressive of our being Canadians? Surely we have already paid more than sufficient respect to the Royal family in this City in the naming of hotels and hospitals.

James P. Nelson, “Were So Hoping For French Name,” letter to the editor, The Montreal Daily Star, 9 Nov. 1954.

Document 3

Our Anglo-Canadian fellow countrymen don't understand our aspirations and constantly seek to literally impose their language and traditions upon us. This attitude is particularly obvious in Montreal. The English-speaking capitalists of this city strive to give it an English character by all means imaginable, including the use of countless huge neon signs and billboards worded in their language. They have succeeded rather well to hide the French character of the metropolis...the Canadian National is the property of all Canadians, including some 4,500,000 French Canadians.

Claude Desrosiers, “This Hotel Name,” Newsletter published by La Société Saint-Jean Baptiste de Montreal, December 1954. [tr.]

Document 4
The arguments for [the name] Chateau Maisonneuve are so compelling that it seems incredible they did not prevail in the beginning... Maisonneuve, who founded Montreal more than three hundred years ago, repeatedly risked his life to save the little settlement from extinction and is properly remembered as one of our nation’s greatest men. Nothing could be less appropriate than that the Queen’s name be allowed to become the centre of a controversy about a hotel... The controversy can be ended with dignity in only one way––if the Queen’s advisors ask her to withdraw assent to the use of her name.

Editorial, “Donald Gordon and the Chateau Blunder,” Maclean’s Magazine, Toronto, 14 May 1955

Document 5

The  League for National Action took the lead...with a campaign to have the name changed [from Queen Elizabeth to Maisonneuve]. The League immediately received the spontaneous approval of a vast array of organizations:  La Société Saint-Jean Baptiste de Montreal, Association of French Canadian Youth, Council of French living in America, [500 municipalities] etc. A public petition was launched. In a few bore 250,000 signatures. 

Pierre Laporte, “Is the fight for Chateau Maisonneuve lost?”, L'Action Nationale, March 1956, pp. 648-51 [tr.]

Document 6 
In the most important centre of downtown Montreal...stands a splendid statue as a constant memorial to the founder of Montreal –– Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve. But a certain group of citizens, including Mayor Drapeau, consider this not enough, and wish to have the name [changed]... Do they not know that two of the finest hotels in Canada, the Chateau Laurier hotel in the national capital of Canada bears the name of Canada’s greatest French Canadian statesman, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, and Quebec City takes pride in the great Chateau Frontenac?

Fair Minded Citizen, “Maisonneuve Already Adequately Honored,” The Montreal Star, letter to the editor, 23 May 1956

Document 7

Document 8

The decision of the board of naming the hotel “The Queen Elizabeth,” was based generally on a belief that it, of all names, would symbolize the unity between the two language groups in our country... We have in the course of constructing the hotel...emphasized... Quebec history, in the decor and the choice of furnishings in the rooms of the hotel...[and in the naming of rooms]...the agitation which has developed represents a very small minority group, organized for the purpose of keeping this type of grievance alive...the great majority of the reasonable people of the province of Quebec find the name quite acceptable...

Donald Gordon, Testimony, Sessional Committee on Railways and Shipping, House of Commons, 18 March 1957

Document 9
Hotel's name protested 

“Students stomp on a loose straw effigy of Donald Gordon, CNR president, in a demonstration yesterday afternoon in front of the McGill St. head office of the railroad. The students were protesting the name of the new Queen Elizabeth Hotel, which they want to be called Chateau Maisonneuve.”

Photograph, “Hotel’s Name Protested,” The Gazette, Montreal, 28 March 1957

Document 10

The Chateau Maisonneuve affair”... was the wake-up call for French Canadian nationalism, fairly dormant since the post-war years... From this moment more and more French Canadians realized the contempt of English Canadians toward them and decided that Canada could no longer be their country. 

François-Albert Angers [founder of the League for National Action, see doc. 5], “The affair of the Chateau Maisonneuve,” L'Action Nationale, Montreal, 1978, vol. 68 (7), pp. 579-586 [tr.]
Answer Sheet