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In 1816? Gosh, who knew?

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I got a lengthy email from a woman in Alberta, chiding me repeatedly for my lack of historical knowledge.

Yes, I’m a history major, and a lot of what some people call history I recall as current events.....

Anyway, I was working Saturday and among my assignments was Cuthbert Grant Day out at Grant’s Old Mill near the Grace.

This Albertan took me to task for being unaware that ‘scollars’ contend that ‘Lois’ Riel and Gabriel Dumont were the real Metis leaders at the battle of Seven Oaks, not Grant.

So, I stand corrected on my ignorance about events of 1816, thanks to my Alberta reader. So, following on that, I assume that Dumont and Riel were about 110 years old at the time of Batoche?


I sneaked education into that Saturday assignment, quoting one of the event organizers and Grant descendant Sandra Horyski saying she learned nothing about Cuthbert Grant as a student in Selkirk, nor has her son heard Grant’s name in a Winnipeg classroom.

I can’t say I ever heard about Cuthbert Grant when I was growing up in Upper Canada. I do remember covering city council in the 90s — the 1990s, thank you very much — when a few councillors decided to try to rename Grant Avenue after the Aquatic Hall of Fame in the Pan Am Pool, not having a clue about the origins of the name. Watching them scramble and backtrack was not a pretty sight.


And here’s an email from a guy in Ottawa, who says he sold Pembina Trails School Division its email system, and is pitching a story on just how wonderful that system is.

And, says the guy, I can call him if I want him to arrange for me to talk to a school about this great email system.

And I’m thinking, wow, if this guy can rustle up students and teachers in the middle of July, that would be quite the story.


It hit me yet again about the passage of time. I looked up the women’s university varsity volleyball schedule to check a good time to visit Peterborough and watch child the younger this winter, and realized that after four years, the men’s half of the doubleheader was just an afterthought.

And continuing on that our public school days ended in June of 2009, it also hit me that I went through this school year just ended without ever setting foot in a school gym to watch an event.

In fact, I never once went to Grant Park, Kelvin or Sisler for a story, and can’t remember any of the three schools even pitching a story idea since last September. I did two stories at Churchill, before the unpleasantness, to be sure, was at River East, Glenlawn, other big schools. I refereed soccer matches at all WSD big three schools, but wrote nary a syllable for the paper. That just seems weird.

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About Nick Martin

Nick Martin is the old bearded guy at the back of the newsroom, the most experienced reporter at the Winnipeg Free Press, having started his career in Ontario in 1971.

He’s been covering education for the Free Press since the spring of 1997, after decades primarily covering municipal politics, including a four-year stint at the Ontario legislature for the London Free Press.

Nick moved to Manitoba in 1988 with his Winnipeg-born wife, who is a professor at the University of Manitoba. They have two kids, both of whom graduated from Grant Park High School: son Chris and daughter Gillian.

Nick has won a national journalism award from the Canadian Association of University Teachers, two Manitoba Human Rights Journalism awards, and the Ontario Reporters Association investigative award.

Nick is a long-distance runner, having finished and survived 18 marathons and 15 half-marathons and 30-kilometre races, and having (barely) survived 10 years as an outdoor and indoor soccer coach.

Nick became a soccer referee in 2007, delighting in his 60s in outrunning 16-year-olds and keeping his distance from obstreperous coaches and parents.

Nick and his wife have discovered a mutual love for kayaking at their Whiteshell cottage, and are both regulars at the Reh-Fit Centre. They hold season tickets to both the Manitoba Theatre Centre and the Warehouse, and as empty nesters, have rediscovered the joys of an active winter vacation.

A native of Jarrow-on-Tyne, England, Nick is a member of the Toon Army as a Newcastle United supporter, and a proud citizen of Leafs Nation.

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