Who's your favourite unsung Canadian hero/heroine?


JorCON5
#1
This is a discussion in the nature of heros/heroines in the Canadian imagination. It is not exclusive to "unsung" heros, it could be someone famous. Just explain how you believe he/she is a hero/heroine and how they resonate with Canadians. I'm looking forward to your response Reverend Blair :P
 
JorCON5
#2
I guess I will begin. I choose a little know man largely responsible for labour rights in Canada. Technically he is from Scotland. His name is James Bryson McLachlan and he was born in Scotland in the late 1800's. He began working in the Scottish coal mines at a young age and became concerned with the working environment. McLachlan started union talks and would be banished for it. In this time industrialism was driven entirely on coal production. Therefore any disruption in production generally ended in violence. McLachlan moved to Cape Breton and began working in the coal mines only to find that the work environments were similar. He went on to form a union and become it's representative. Nicknamed Fightinf Jim, once in position he stayed firm in his cause for the workers. He is reported to come home from work without shoes. When his daughter asked him about this he said that he met a worker on the way home that needed them more. Anyway to sum it up McLachlan was a pioneer in Canadian labour. A Cape Breton coal miners life moved from almost sure death in the pits to having better working conditions and a union to back him up. Often history books talk about the great nation builders like Macdonald and Donald Smith but fail to credit the common workers. The very backbone of nation building. McLachlan still resonates with Canadians because of many of the rights we have today we owe to J.B. and people like him.
 
Reverend Blair
#3
I think we have a lot of heroes in and for Canada. They aren't necessarily all Canadians, but people who spread ideas and ideals that we think of as Canadian. There are also a lot of Canadians that are famous, but their other work goes largely unnoticed. Then there's the people that nobody even realises are Canadian.

Just to pick a few Canadians though...

1. Stephen Lewis. His works on AIDS in Africa is likely better known outside of Canada than in.

2. The Holstein breeders of Canada. Every holstein cow on the planet carries Canadian genes. These cows produce massive amounts of milk and they are very much a Canadian breed though.

3. Our aid workers. There's a story about an American International Red Cross guy who was putting together people for a multi-nation mission to a disaster. He ordered up specialists from several countries then said, "...and get me a couple of Canadians." Our aid workers have a reputation for just doing whatever has to be done, no matter what their specialty.
 
missile
#4
Sam Steele,of the RCMP.Explorer Pierre Radisson.
 
Reverend Blair
#5
The woman who just sold me tobacco. She has the flu, she's hung over, her car wouldn't start this morning, and she showed up for work on one of the busiest days of the year and still finds time/the will to be friendly to everybody and yack with the regulars while wearing elf ears and a Santa hat.

She's a symbol of the Canadian work/friendliness ethic if there ever was one.
 
peapod
#6
I have a few but one that always stands out for me because doing genealogy, especially the first world war, which some of my family members were in. He is Francis Pegahmagabow. I not only admire his feats and courage, because if you understand even a little of what this war was like, his survival is a miracle. All this in a time I am sure that his indian hertiage was not to your advantage. Well maybe in the woods it was :P
Here is a little about him from civilization website.


Corporal Pegahmagabow was awarded the Military Medal with two bars, in effect three Military Medals, for heroism on the battlefield. There is no specific documentation on when Pegahmagabow won the Military Medal and his second bar, but evidence suggests that he was awarded the Military Medal for his bravery at the June 1916 battle of Mount Sorrel and his second bar at Amiens in August 1918.

Corporal Francis Pegahmagabow (1891-1952) is one of the most highly decorated aboriginal soldiers in Canadian military history. He was an Ojibwa from the Parry Island Band in Ontario who was awarded the Military Medal plus two bars for his battlefield service during the First World War. Pegahmagabow was one of only thirty-nine men in the entire Canadian Expeditionary Force to receive the Military Medal with two bars.

Peggy, as his fellow soldiers called him, enlisted in August 1914 and was part of the First Contingent of soldiers to go overseas. He sailed overseas with the 1st Battalion and was engaged in fierce fighting at the desperate trial-by-fire battle of 2nd Ypres in April 1915 where the Germans unleashed chlorine gas for the first time in the history of warfare.

Peggy survived even though the 1st Battalion lost almost half of its strength in three days of bitter fighting. The front returned to its static nature and soldiers dug deeper trenches to avoid the murderous artillery and sniper fire. Cpl Pegahmagabow soon acquired a fierce reputation among his fellow soldiers as a deadly sniper. Establishing himself behind the front lines or slowly worming his way into No Manís Land at night, Peggy would wait for German soldiers to show themselves. He proved to be an effective and deadly marksman, and quickly began to account for dozens of the enemy.

In addition to his role as a sniper, Peggy exhibited great battlefield bravery at the Battle of Mount Sorrel in June 1916 where he captured a large number of German prisoners. Several months later, while fighting on the Somme, he was wounded in the leg. Despite having clearly already done his duty in two years of difficult conditions, Peggy returned to his battalion. In November 1917, the 1st Battalion was again thrown into battle, this time in the soggy morass near the ruined village of Passchendaele. He won the first bar to his Military Medal here and the citation reads:

At Passchendaele Nov. 6th/7th, 1917, this NCO [non-commissioned officer] did excellent work. Before and after the attack he kept in touch with the flanks, advising the units he had seen, this information proving the success of the attack and saving valuable time in consolidating. He also guided the relief to its proper place after it had become mixed up.

Passchendaele was a battle of nightmarish conditions. Pegahmagabow would have spent the battle racing over land through the quagmire of mud under a hail of shrapnel fire. With the regular severing of telephone wires by artillery fire, it was only through the bravery of runners and scouts like Peggy that those in the rear had any hope of assisting the fighting men at the "sharp end" of battle. Through courage and determination, the Canadians eventually captured Passchendaele ridge, a position that had eluded the rest of the British Army for three months.

Pegahmagabow was one of those rare Canadian soldiers who enlisted in 1914 and fought to the end of the war. Throughout his service at the front, he became Canadaís premier sniper of the war. Although there are no exact figures recorded, accounts of his "kills" vary to as high as 378.

Pegahmagabow returned to Canada in 1919 and lived on Parry Island. He continued to serve with the Algonquin [Militia] Regiment. From 1921 to 1925, Pegahmagabow was chief of the Parry Island Band, and a councillor from 1933 to 1936. His son, Duncan, recounted that Peggy always felt "very strongly about his country." He was also remembered for ensuring that the culture of his people was not lost and, while chief, he encouraged the study and practice of the bandís traditions. He is a member of Canadaís Indian Hall of Fame and died in 1952.
 

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