Nancy Greene

Canada’s skiing sensation!


Nancy_at_Sun_Peaks_in_2000Nancy Greene is one of the best known names in Canadian skiing. Her success at the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France made a lasting impression on Canadian skiers and non-skiers alike, and Nancy has stayed in the public eye ever since.

Nancy was born in Ottawa on May 11, 1943 but has always considered herself to be from British Columbia. Both Nancy’s parents were from B.C., and her father was ‘on loan to the Government’ during the war when she was born. After the war, the Greene family returned to the Kootenays where Nancy grew up in Rossland and did her early skiing on Red Mountain. Nancy and her two sisters and three brothers all skied from the age of three. Her parents were both avid skiers and were founding members of the Red Mountain Ski Club.


Nicknamed “Tiger” because of her ‘go for it’ attitude and her aggressive style of skiing, she won the Canadian ski championship nine times and the United States championship three times. In 1967, Nancy Greene broke the European domination of the sport, winning the inaugural World Cup. That year she won seven of 16 events, taking the over-all title nancy green, slolomwith four giant slalom victories plus two in slalom and one in downhill. Her accomplishment earned her Canadian “Athlete of the Year” honours.

In 1968 she won the World Cup title again plus, at the Winter Olympic Games in Grenoble, France, she captured a gold medal in the giant slalom, by one of the largest margins in Olympic history, and a silver medal in the slalom. For the second time, she was named Canada’s “Athlete of the Year.”

Following her retirement from competition, she made a major contribution to Canadian sport by accepting an appointment to the federal Government’s “Task Force on Sport For Canadians.” During this period Greene also did promotional work for various companies including Rossignol, Pontiac and Mars Inc. In a 1970’s television commercial for the latter product she was seen to discard the wrapper onto a ski slope in the course of consuming the product. This minor act, coming at a time of nascent environmental sentiment, appears to have entered the public memory as references to it have dogged her over the years.

Married with twin boys, Nancy Greene and her husband Al Raine were instrumental in the early development of the Whistler-Blackcomb Resort in Whistler, British Columbia, and then later in the development and promotion of skiing at Sun Peaks Resort, just north of Kamloops, British Columbia. The expansion of the resort was not without controversy as some Native groups opposed the move, and protesters occupying the new site were removed by arrest under a provincial injunction.[2] Nancy is Director of Skiing at Sun Peaks Resort and skis almost every day. Nancy and Al built Nancy Greene’s Cahilty Lodge where they make their home. Dedicated to the promotion of her sport for more than 30 years, the Nancy Greene Ski League has been an important entry-level race program for young children.

Over the years, Nancy Greene has been the recipient of numerous awards including her country’s highest civilian honour, the Order of Canada. She has been honoured with the naming of “Nancy Greene Provincial Park” and “Nancy Greene Lake” in the Monashee Mountains of British Columbia’s Kootenay region. A stretch of Capilano Road in North Vancouver was renamed Nancy Greene Way. In 1999, her name was engraved in Canada’s Walk of Fame and she was voted Canada’s female athlete of the century in a survey of newspaper editors and broadcasters conducted by The Canadian Press and Broadcast News.


Source: “Nancy Greene, a short biography

Wikipedia –

Regina v. Drybones (1970)

“The Decision of the (20th) Century”


Supreme Court of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario.
Supreme Court of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario.

 In R v Drybones the Supreme Court of Canada, in a divided judgment called by some the decision of the century, rendered inoperative a provision of the Indian Act, basing its judgment on the “equality before the law” clause of the Canadian Bill of Rights.

 However, when the time came to tell Mr. Drybones of his momentous, legal victory, a dog team had to be sent to find him. It seems Mr. Drybones was getting on with the ‘important things in his life’—like extracting a living from the wilderness.


Joseph Drybones, an Aboriginal man, was drunk on the evening of April 8, 1967 at the Old Stope Hotel in Yellowknife, NWT where no “reserve”, as defined in the Indian Act, existed. Mr. Drybones was charged with being unlawfully intoxicated off a reserve, contrary to s. 94(b) of the Indian Act.

The Trial Decision

Mr. Drybones was first arraigned before Magistrate Anderson-Thompson. He spoke no English and was not represented by counsel. Mr. Drybones pled guilty to the charge and on April 10, 1967, he was sentenced to pay a fine of $10 plus the costs of the proceedings.

Appeal to the Territorial Court of the Northwest Territories

Mr. Drybones, who was now represented by a lawyer, appealed the guilty verdict to the Territorial Court of the Northwest Territories on legal and factual grounds. Mr. Drybones did not understand English, creating serious doubt that he understood his plea in the lower court. Therefore, the Territorial Court allowed him to withdraw his guilty plea and the appeal proceeded as a trial de novo with a plea of “not guilty.” A trial de novo is a new trial before another tribunal than the one that held the first trial. It is usually ordered by an appellate court when the original trial is found to be unfair in some way. Mr. Drybones made an application to include the Canadian Bill o Rights as a further ground of appeal.

Mr. Drybones’ lawyer argued that his client was not, in fact, an “Indian” within the meaning of the Indian Act. This argument did not succeed because the Regional Director of Indian Affairs had official records proving that Mr. Drybones was an “Indian”, as defined by the Indian Act.

Mr. Drybones argued that since there were no Indian reserves in the Northwest Territories, it would not be possible for him to be “off a reserve” within the meaning of s. 94 of the Indian Act. The court looked at precedent cases, which suggested that “off a reserve” is an important element of the offence charged. In order to be “intoxicated off a reserve” there must be a reserve to be off of. However, Justice Morrow of the Territorial Court did not apply these precedents and found that the words “off a reserve” were not essential to the charge.

Mr. Drybones argued that section 94 of the Indian Act offended “the right of the individual to equality before the law and the protection of the law…”, set out in s. 1(b) of the Bill of Rights.

The key issue raised by the appeal was the fact that it was not an offence for anyone except an Indian to be intoxicated elsewhere than in a public place. In other words, all non-Indian inhabitants of the Northwest Territories could be drunk as long as they were not in a public place. The legislation, which applied to all other Canadian citizens in the NWT, had no minimum penalty and did not make it an offence to be drunk in one’s own home. This placed Aboriginal people, because of their race, in a different position from that of other Canadians. The Territorial Court agreed and acquitted Mr. Drybones of the charges. The court held that the intoxication sections of the Indian Act “abrogate, abridge or infringe” the Bill of Rights and were therefore inoperative.

Appeal to the Court of Appeal for the Northwest Territories The crown appealed the decision of Territorial Court to the Court of Appeal for the Northwest Territories. The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal, agreeing with the reasons of the Territorial Court. In the decision, the Court of Appeal emphasized the importance of examining the effect of the legislation, not its purpose. Since the effect of s. 94 of the Indian Act was discrimination against Aboriginal people, the Court of Appeal agreed with the lower court’s ruling that the section was inoperative under section 1(b) of the Bill of Rights.

Appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada

Supreme Court JusticesThe crown applied for permission to have the case heard by the Supreme Court of Canada. Six of the nine judges agreed with the decision of the Court of Appeal. The majority found that in the Northwest Territories it was not an offence for anyone except an “Indian” to be intoxicated anywhere other than in a public place. Therefore, the Indian Act made it an offence for an Aboriginal person to be intoxicated in his or her own home, while all other citizens may be intoxicated anywhere but a public place.

In the majority decision, Justice Ritchie stated:

  “…I think that s.1(b) [of the Canadian Bill of Rights] means at least that no individual or group of individuals is to be treated more harshly than another under that law, and I am therefore of the opinion that an individual is denied equality before the law if it is made an offence punishable at law, on account of his race, for him to do something which his fellow Canadians are free to do without having committed any offence or having been made subject to any penalty.” (p.297)

Due to this difference in treatment, Mr. Drybones successfully argued that Aboriginal people were denied “equality before the law” and that s. 94(b) of the Indian Act authorized the abrogation, abridgement or infringement of one of the human rights protected by the Canadian Bill of Rights, contrary to s. 2 of the Canadian Bill of Rights.

However, the Supreme Court of Canada disagreed with the lower courts in that it did not declare all of s. 94 inoperative. The court stated that declaring a section or portion of a section of a statute inoperative is different from repealing the entire section. Only the portions of the statute that apply to the specific circumstances of the case can be declared inoperative. Therefore, the Supreme Court of Canada only declared s. 94(b) inoperative (not the entire section).

The Dissenting Opinions of the Supreme Court of Canada

The three dissenting judges discussed the intention of parliament and concluded that there was nothing in the language of the Canadian Bill of Rights to suggest that parliament intended to enable the courts to usurp the clearly expressed will of parliament in statutes. They felt that parliament was instructing the courts to construe and apply laws in accordance with the principles outlined in the Canadian Bill of Rights, but not to render laws inoperative.

The Result

The Crown’s appeal was dismissed and Mr. Drybones’ acquittal was upheld. Parliament repealed s. 94 of the Indian Act in 1971.

Source: Land Mark Case – 



Jacques Cartier, Explorer

The “Discoverer of Canada” (…Not that it was ever lost.)

jacques cartier - potraitJacques Cartier (December 31, 1491 – September 1, 1557) was a French explorer of Breton origin who claimed what is now Canada for France. Jacques Cartier was the first European to describe and map the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the shores of the Saint Lawrence River, which he named “The Country of Canadas”, after the Iroquois names for the two big settlements he saw at Stadacona (Quebec City) and at Hochelaga (Montreal Island).

First voyage to Canada (1534)

Jacques Cartier made three voyages to Canada. On April 20, 1534, accompanied by approximately 60 sailors who were to handle two ships of about 60 tonnes each, Cartier set sail from Saint-Malo. Crossing the Atlantic went smoothly; after 20 days, he entered the Strait of Belle Isle. After Jacques Cartier map#3following the north shore of the gulf of St. Lawrence for a time, he turned back, then headed south following the west coast of Newfoundland. Then, sailing toward the continent, he deduced the existence of the Cabot Street, skirted the Magdalen Islands, rounded the northern tip of Prince Edward Island, and put in at Chaleur Bay. Believing he had discovered the passage to Asia, he travelled to the head of the bay, but then had to backtrack. A storm drove him into the bay of Gaspé, where he met more than 300 people from Stadacona (Québec), who had come there to fish. Two Amerindians who were relatives (sons) of the chief Donnacona were made to embark on Cartier’s ship; they accompanied the explorer on the remainder of his exploration.

Following this, weather conditions prevented Cartier from making out the entrance to the St. Lawrence River between the Gaspé peninsula and Anticosti Island. After hunting along the north shore of this island, he finally found a passage, but was unable to travel further inland on account of strong winds and opposing tides. As winter was not far off, Cartier and his men decided to head the two ships back to France. A second voyage thus became a compelling necessity: the St. Lawrence River might be the northern passage so ardently hoped for.

Second voyage (1535 – 36)

Cartier at Hochelega with Chief Donaconna
Cartier at Hochelega with Chief Donaconna

Upon returning from Hochelaga in mid-October, Cartier and his crew gradually confronted the rigors of the harsh Canadian climate. Intense cold froze the food and drink kept inside the ships, which were used for shelter during the winter season. The French were weakened by a combination of cold weather and poor food, and were unable to resist disease effectively. The 110 members of the crew primarily ate dried or salt meat; fruit and vegetables were absent from their diet. Owing to the lack of vitamin C, scurvy, a disease whose causes were unknown at the time, decimated the crew. By mid-February, nearly all of the sailors suffered from this disease. Their legs and arms became swollen, their gums rotted and their teeth fell out. Finally, and even though Cartier had employed a hundred and one ruses in order to dissimulate the poor health of his crew, the Amerindians supplied the scurvy-sufferers with an unhoped-for remedy.

At Cartier’s request, Domagaya had the medicine prepared by two Amerindian women. Annedda, a kind of tea, is made using the bark and twigs of a Canadian conifer believed to be the Eastern white cedar. These ingredients were crushed then boiled to make a brew that the sick were made to drink. The residues of this concoction were applied to parts of their body. During this particularly difficult winter, 25 sailors died from this horrible disease, and the others were saved in extremis thanks to the care provided by Domagaya.

Adding to the difficulties in connection with a harsh climate and rampant illness, relations with the Amerindians became acrimonious, which made wintering even more difficult. The palisades erected around the ships during Cartier’s journey to Hochelaga were not enough to calm the worries of the French. No sooner had fall ended than Domagaya and Taignoagny attempted to dissuade their fellow villagers from bartering with the sailors by declaiming against the worthless presents offered to the Amerindians. On November 5, however, a great celebration of reconciliation was held. The captain nevertheless remained distrustful.

In February, Chief Donnacona and men from the village set out on a hunting expedition. When they returned two months later, they came accompanied by several people whom Cartier was unable to recognize. Tensions mounted; the French now feared an attack. In early May, the captain took action, and had Donnacona, Domagaya, Taignoagny and several other inhabitants of Stadacona taken hostage. These Amerindians would guarantee safe passage for the French. In addition, they could describe the great marvels of Canada to François I. Cartier set sail for the home country on May 5, 1536.

Third voyage (1541 – 42)

Upon arriving in France, the Amerindians whom Cartier had taken with him were so convincing that in 1541, François I sponsored a vast colonizing expedition, and named Jean-François de la Rocque, Sieur de Roberval, as commander. Cartier arrived at the appointed destination one year before Roberval, and established a settlement at the foot of the cliffs at Cap-Rouge, where he also erected fortifications.

After making a second journey to Hochelaga, Cartier learned that the route beyond the Lachine rapids was long and difficult. This bit of bad news, coupled with his discovery of what he believed to be gold and diamonds in the rocks of Cap-Rouge, explain his hurry to return to France. En route, he encountered Roberval in Newfoundland. The commander ordered him to turn back. Cartier, who was anxious to convert his cargo into cash as quickly as possible, nevertheless disobeyed. Roberval, who was now deprived of Cartier’s assistance, spent a horrendous winter at the site of this navigator’s settlement, and had to repatriate the tiny colony to France the following spring. Cartier’s third voyage, which had been intended for exploration and colonization, proved a failure, as did Sieur de Roberval’s attempt at establishing a settlement, moreover. The gold and diamonds that Cartier believed he had discovered were actually nothing more than iron pyrite and quartz!

It was only in the early 16th century, following the dispersion of the S. Lawrence Iroquoians. Quebec became the centre of the first French colony in America.


(Source –


Tom Longboat

“I wouldn’t even send my dog to that place.” ~ Residential schools


TomLongboat - portaitCogwagee (Thomas Charles Longboat) (June 4, 1887 – January 9, 1949) was an Onondaga distance runner from the Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation Indian reserve near Brantford, Ontario, and for much of his career the dominant long distance runner of the time.

Longboat was born on the Six Nations reserve on June 4, 1887, a member of the Onondaga Nation. His Iroquois name was Cogwagee, which means “Everything.”

He was enrolled at the Mohawk Institute Residential School at age 12, a legal obligation under the Indian Act at that time. He hated life at the school, where he was pressured to give up his Onondaga beliefs in favour of Christianity, as well as his language. After one unsuccessful escape attempt, he tried again and reached his uncle’s home who agreed to hide him from authorities.

After his athletic successes, he was invited to speak at the institute but refused, stating that “I wouldn’t even send my dog to that place.”

tomLongboat - runningHe began racing in 1905, finishing second in the Victoria Day race at Caledonia, Ontario. His first important victory was in the Around the Bay Road Race in Hamilton, Ontario in 1906, which he won by three minutes. In 1907 he won the Boston Marathon in a record time of 2:24:24 over the old 24-1/2 mile course, four minutes and 59 seconds faster than any of the previous ten winners of the event. He collapsed, however, in the 1908 Olympic marathon, along with several other leading runners, and a rematch was organized the same year at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Longboat won this race, turned professional, and in 1909 at the same venue won the title of Professional Champion of the World in another marathon.

His coaches did not approve of his alternation of hard workouts with “active rest” such as long walks. When he was a professional, these recovery periods annoyed his promoters and the sports press often labelled him “lazy,” although the practice of incorporating “hard”, “easy”, and “recovery” days into training is normal today. Because of this and other disputes with his managers Longboat bought out his contract, after which his times improved.

In 1914, Longboat enlisted in the Canadian Army and served as a dispatch runner in France during World War I. He was wounded twice, and once when he was mistakenly reported as dead, his wife remarried.

When he returned home after the war, things had changed. Professional racing was no longer the draw it once had been and, although he still competed in a few races, Longboat soon had to turn his attentions to making a living through other means.

In early in 1949 he developed pneumonia and, on Jan. 9 at the age of 61, Tom Longboat died.


My list of of interesting books about Canada (to date).