The Canadian Centenary Series

Canada 1874-1896

Arduous Destiny

Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Volume XIII of the Canadian Centenary Series

Now available as e-books for the first time, the Canadian Centenary Series is a comprehensive nineteen-volume history of the peoples and lands which form Canada. Although the series is designed as a unified whole so that no part of the story is left untold, each volume is complete in itself.

In 1874 Canada was only seven years old, still a vast agglomeration of territories joined together only by a paper constitution and some useful common interests. The Intercolonial Railway that would stitch the Maritime Provinces to Quebec and Ontario was still unfinished; the Canadian Pacific Railway was still a chaos of unknowns. To sustain Canada was to take great energy and persistence. By 1896, however, Canada had developed the basis for a distinctive national existence. From arguments between the provinces and the Dominion over borders to religious disputes in Quebec, Manitoba, and the Maritimes, to the second Riel rebellion, during these two decades Canada faced the challenge of consolidating its sparse and scattered elements, and succeeded in drawing its immensity close enough together to withstand the pull to join the United States. 

Professor Waite has written a history that engages politics, poetry, and personalities. His conviction that it is people who make history brings to life some of the most dynamic people this country has ever known: Macdonald, Blake, Mackenzie, the Tuppers, father and son, and more austere figures like Tardivel and D’Alton McCarthy. Professor Waite has written a scholar’s history in the best sense: informative, readable, lively, not without humour, and unafraid of telling the truth.

First published in 1971, Peter B. Waite’s important contribution to the Canadian Centenary Series is available here as an e-book for the first time.