Gwen Tuinman



Canadian History

Steamship Travel in Early Canada

Since childhood, I’ve been interested in the “olden days” and how people lived. As a historical fiction author, I take delight in curating facts and impressions about people’s daily lives and how the times in which they lived impacted them. You can imagine the extensive research required to construct a believable world within a novel. For history lovers, this aspect of writing is pleasurable work.

This being said, I’ve been learning about steamship travel in Canada in the 1800s and early 1900s. What might my characters encounter aboard such ships? I’d imagined grunge and simplicity at every turn.

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Early Settlers and Milling Grain

I’ve always imagined the hardships our earliest settler families might list would include isolation, lack of survival skills, or illness. Upon arriving in Upper Canada, Loyalist settlers were promised a three-year supply of food by the government. One of their greatest challenges was getting their grain allotment ground into flour.

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Scots in Nova Scotia

I’m currently writing a novel set in Nova Scotia which translated means New Scotland. The Canadian province is revered for its rich Scottish culture. Here I’m sharing an early sweep of research that’s helping me establish the underpinnings of my Scottish characters.

As early as the 15th and 16th centuries, Scots adventured to England, Scandinavia, France, Germany and Russia in search of better lives. The first Scottish immigrants arrived in the 1600s to settle Nova Scotia. After the 1746 defeat of the Jacobite army at Culloden, many Jacobites crossed the Atlantic for a new life in the Thirteen Colonies. Following the American Revolution, the majority of the Scots who supported the British king, fled the Thirteen Colonies migrated as Loyalists to Nova Scotia (or New Brunswick and Québec).

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