Monday, November 25, 2013

10 Hilariously Bizarre US-Canada Border Incidents

For a country with a reputation for being kind of boring, Canadian history is an unending succession of rebellions, intrigue, and simmering inter-provincial hatred. In 1837, a rebellion broke out in Ontario, which had been dominated by a small group of powerful men known as the Family Compact. The rebellion was quickly defeated, but many of the revolutionaries fled to the islands of the Niagara River on the border of New York and Ontario, where they continued their resistance to the Canadian government.

The rebels gained significant support from the US, where many people were eager to help their republican brethren against the tyranny of the British crown. One group of American sympathizers agreed to supply the rebels with arms via the steamboat Caroline. The Canadian response was to storm the Caroline as it crossed the river, set it on fire, and then cast the blazing ship adrift over Niagara Falls, presumably while air-guitaring furiously.

The dramatic incident certainly created a stir—look at that painting, it’s like a lost Motörhead album cover. Sadly, the awesome image was somewhat undercut by the fact that one of the crew members of the Caroline was tragically killed during the incident, outraging popular opinion in America. The ensuing scandal resulted in both sides dispatching troops to the border, and conflict was only narrowly averted after cooler heads prevailed. A year later, a group of Canadian rebels—lead by notorious river pirate William Johnson—got their revenge by burning the steamer Sir Robert Peel, while one of the leaders of the attack on the Caroline was assassinated in his home by Irish-Canadian rebels.



Debra She Who Seeks said...

See? Canadian history can be fun!

Kal said...

And destructive. We can blow shit up too. I keep thinking of the movie where John Candy and his buddies invade Canada - Canadian Bacon.