Red Ensign revered. Drum delights.
I read “Treasures of Canada” [AugustSeptember 2018] and, regarding the Red Ensign flag, perhaps can provide the reason so many “mourned its passing.”
All the people who served in any of the military forces in first and second world wars, plus in Korea, fought under the Red Ensign and/or the Union Jack. The Maple Leaf flag meant nothing to them. Both of my husbands (Army and Air Force) had a hard time accepting the Pearson flag.
So yes, a lot of Canadians mourn the Red Ensign.
Carol Koeslag Peterborough, Ontario
As a descendant of Private James Stephens, who served in the Nova Scotia Regiment of Fencible Infantry during the War of 1812, I was thrilled to see a regimental drum — shown in your “Treasures of Canada” article — that is preserved at the Nova Scotia Museum.
The fencibles were a British Army (full-time) militia unit raised locally to assist in reinforcing British interests.
Stationed at Halifax and captured by the American privateer Surprise while trying to resupply the garrison at St John’s, Newfoundland, Stephens was repatriated after hostilities and settled in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.
Kevin Stephens Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
The title “Champlain’s Astrolabe” for the one found near Cobden, Ontario, in 1867, 254 years after Champlain lost his, is misleading. The title, mentioned in the “Treasures of Canada” article, carries an air of authen-
ticity, whereas the Cobden astrolabe lacks provenance.
As Douglas Hunter wrote in an informative article “The Mystery of Champlain’s Astrolabe,” [ The Beaver, December 2004-January 2005], “The Champlain provenance case for the ‘Cobden astrolabe’ ... appears so weak as to be ephemeral.”
Champlain never mentioned its loss in his writings. When the Cobden astrolabe was discovered along with other items, those items were unconnected to it.
A myth has developed about the astrolabe that does not reflect the questionable facts surrounding the story.
George and Terry Goulet Sechelt, British Columbia
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