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Category — History

Canada: Cornelia Hahn Oberlander: Genius Loci

Cornelia Hahn Oberlander is among the most eminent landscape architects in the world

January 20, 2021 – March 13, 2021
West Vancouver Art Museum

Cornelia Hahn Oberlander is among the most eminent landscape architects in the world, known for many projects in Canada and abroad. Genius loci, meaning the protective spirit of a place, is embodied in the seven decade span of her work. Her landscape designs demonstrate her desire to create terrains that are less an interruption and more an amplification of what already exists on a site. Her training in modernist design and a desire to connect people with nature is immediately apparent in her landscapes. At a time when our relationship to the earth is of paramount importance, Oberlander’s projects reveal consistent and significant stewardship of the natural environment. Many of her designs—even those from 50 years ago—remain largely unchanged, testaments to her technical skill, research techniques, and judicious selection of flora.

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January 5, 2021   No Comments

UK: Weeding uproots Tudor gold coin hoard

This year has seen a rise in backyard finds. More than 47,000 finds have been reported this year in the UK.

The History Blog
Dec 12, 2020


A little lockdown weeding has unearthed a Tudor-era hoard of 63 gold coins and one silver coin in a backyard in New Forest, Hampshire. The family was turning up soil to clear weeds when the gold coins sprang from the ground. The coins range in date from the late 15th century to the early 16th and were issued during the reigns of Edward IV (r. 1461-1470), Henry VII and Henry VIII.

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December 24, 2020   Comments Off on UK: Weeding uproots Tudor gold coin hoard

Boston’s Fenway Victory Gardens

Making a Teaching Garden
Fenway Victory Gardens’ Teaching Garden is designed to help experienced and novice gardeners to better understand cultivation methods. The “Green Team” of the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, above, helped construct the 17 raised plots for the Teaching Garden.
Photograph Courtesy Mike Mennonno, The Fenway Victory Gardens

Fenway—it’s more than home to the Boston Red Sox! Learn the story behind America’s oldest victory garden.

By Mary Schons
National Geographic
November 30, 2011


The Fenway Victory Gardens in Boston, Massachusetts, is the oldest surviving victory garden in the United States. The Fenway gardens were established in 1942, at the urging of President Franklin Roosevelt.

Victory gardens were planted on private and public land in the U.S. during World War I and World War II to reduce pressure on the nation’s food supply during wartime. Victory gardens were sometimes called “war gardens” or “food gardens for defense.”

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December 14, 2020   Comments Off on Boston’s Fenway Victory Gardens

Canada: August 1942, Response from the Federal Government to Request for Victory Garden Support

Victory Gardens in Montreal.

The growing shortage of labour may by next spring make it necessary to adopt an entirely different attitude, and encouragement of vegetable production in urban home gardens may become necessary.

August 6th, 1942.

To: R. W. Mayhew, Esq., M.P.,
3125 Beach Drive,
Victoria, BC

Dear Mr. Mayhew:

In the absence of the Minister, your letter of July 30th with its enclosure of a communication from an organization entitled “Victory Garden Brigade,” of Victoria, B.C., has been referred to me for reply.

I note that the opinion of the above organization is that this Department should encourage an all-out campaign for home vegetable production, and also the reference to advice given by the Department with respect to 1942 garden plans.

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December 4, 2020   Comments Off on Canada: August 1942, Response from the Federal Government to Request for Victory Garden Support

Canada: 1942 – Victoria’s ‘Victory Garden Brigade’ Urges Federal Gov’t to Start Campaign

Mr. And Mrs. Sandy Stefanik at their Victory Garden plot in the Fleet Street gardens, Toronto
May 9, 1940. Photographer: John H. Boyd

In Victoria we have proved that amateur gardeners, even on land newly broken, have been able to keep themselves in fresh vegetables for the last two or three months, to have some for winter use and some to give away.

1039 Richardson St.,
Victoria BC
Oct. 1, 1942.

To: The Hon. J. G. Gardiner,
Minister of Agriculture,
Parliament Buildings,


On behalf of the Victory Garden Brigade, Victoria, B.C., we, the undersigned, beg to draw attention to a letter we wrote on the 23rd of July to urge that in the face of rapidly changing conditions, more encouragement might be given by the Departments of Agriculture to the Victory Garden move. Our member, Mr. R.W. Mayhew, intended to present our letter himself, but, in your absence, wrote a letter in support of our stand.

We have not, to date, had any acknowledgement of our letter of July, but Mr. Mayhew has kindly sent us a copy of the letter he received from the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, which, we conclude, is intended as an answer to ours. A pamphlet “Home Vegetable Gardening” was enclosed. 

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December 3, 2020   Comments Off on Canada: 1942 – Victoria’s ‘Victory Garden Brigade’ Urges Federal Gov’t to Start Campaign

Canada: 1943 – Canada’s Prime Minister Visits a New York City Victory Garden

The Andrew Carnegie Mansion is a historic house located at 2 East 91st Street at Fifth Avenue in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Andrew Carnegie moved into his newly completed mansion in late 1902 and lived there until his death in 1919; his wife, Louise, continued to live there until her death in 1946.

Prime Minister Mackenzie King Visits with Mrs. Andrew Carnegie at her mansion on 90th Street

From the Diaries of William Lyon Mackenzie King
New York City, May 31, 1943

At 4PM, called on Mrs. Andrew Carnegie. [Wife of the Scottish-American industrialist and philanthropist.]

She gave me a warm welcome. She was anxious to show me her Victory Garden. We went out together to the little enclosure which lies between 90th Street and her beautiful residence.

I gave her my arm and we walked together around the green path of lawn around a vegetable garden which was where the lawn had formerly been.

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December 2, 2020   Comments Off on Canada: 1943 – Canada’s Prime Minister Visits a New York City Victory Garden

Canada: BC First Nations reawaken an ancestral practice: agriculture

The Qqs Projects Society supported over 100 households this year through the “granny gardens” project, explained ‘Cúagilákv, and more are interested to join in 2021. Photo by ‘Cúagilákv

“They would take much of their food off the land in terms of hunting and their kitchen garden if they could. And, of course, like white settlers, they would preserve food for the winter. They would can their peas and preserve their vegetables and have root cellars, and so on.”

By Marc Fawcett-Atkinson
National Observer
November 25th 2020


“There was an agriculture here that wasn’t immediately recognizable to Europeans,” he explained. For instance, Coast Salish people on the province’s south coast used controlled burns to maintain camas and wild potato plantations, but these well-tended clearings weren’t recognized by early Europeans as cultivated fields. As more Europeans arrived in present-day B.C., those practices started adapting to a new import: potatoes.

The potato trade wasn’t limited to the north coast. Lutz said communities from southern Vancouver Island to Alaska picked up the potato trade and usually grew them in fertile and moist pockets of land scattered across their territories.

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December 2, 2020   Comments Off on Canada: BC First Nations reawaken an ancestral practice: agriculture