Ontario Series

The Champlain Society – Ontario Series

Ontario Series Published 1957-59
Ontario Series Published 1960-69
Ontario Series Published 1970-79
Ontario Series Published 1980-89
Ontario Series Published 1990-96


Ontario Series Published 1957-59

Ontario Series I – The Valley of the Trent (Publication date: 1957):

Editor:  Edwin C. Guillet

This compilation of documents pertaining to the European arrival and settlement of this lake-studded region of south-central Ontario begins with Samuel de Champlain’s account of his 1615 visit and continues into the mid-nineteenth century. The volume traces the development of Hastings, Durham, Northumberland, Peterborough, Haliburton, and Victoria counties. Subject sections include surveying and initial homesteading, the 1825 Peter Robinson emigration, the Trent Canal, general transportation, the lumber trade, community life (including politics, land boards, religion, and education), selected contemporary observations, and “poetical productions of the inhabitants.”

Ontario Series II – Royal Fort Frontenac (Publication date: 1958):

Translator: Richard A. Preston

Editor: Leopold Lamontagne

The volume assembles all available materials associated with Fort Frontenac, which was the first military establishment in Ontario and stood at present-day Kingston. English translations as well as transcriptions of original French documents are provided. Sections address the Quinte mission, begun by the Sulpicians in 1668, the establishment of Fort Frontenac in 1673, the Sieur de La Salle, war with the Iroquois, the re-establishment of Fort Frontenac, a half-century of uneasy peace, and the fall of Fort Frontenac in 1758. Kingston’s history is continued in another volume in the Ontario series, Kingston before the War of 1812.

Ontario Series III – Kingston before the War of 1812: A Collection of Documents (Publication date: 1959):

Editor: Richard A. Preston

“Kingston, at the turn of the nineteenth century, was the leading centre of what is now the Province of Ontario — in fact, if not in name,” wrote editor Richard Preston in his introduction. Documents relating to the French period are contained in a separate Champlain Society volume in its Ontario Series, Royal Fort Frontenac. This volume addresses the English settlement period, beginning with Carleton Island during the American Revolution and continuing through the Loyalist arrival, the development of Kingston and environs, and the naval base and garrison town, until the outbreak of the War of 1812.
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Ontario Series Published 1960-69

Ontario Series IV – The Windsor Border Region: Canada’s Southernmost Frontier. A Collection of Documents (Publication date: 1960):

Editor: Ernest J. Lajeunesse

Windsor is the only Ontario location that can claim a continuous settlement predating the British conquest of Quebec in 1760. Father Lajeunesse draws on documents as early as the Jesuit Relation of 1640-41 to illuminate the founding of Detroit and the Huron Mission, and the first European settlers, beginning with the French in 1749. The arrival of Loyalists and disbanded British troops following the American Revolution is recorded, and the settlement history continues to the establishment of the first towns, Sandwich and Amherstburg, in the late eighteenth century.

Ontario Series V – The Town of York, 1793-1815: A Collection of Documents of Early Toronto (Publication date: 1962):

Editor: Edith G. Firth

This first of two volumes on the history of the town of York begins in the summer of 1793, with the arrival of Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe and the Queen’s Rangers, and concludes in April 1815 when news arrived that the War of 1812 was officially over. Included are documents relating to York’s role in the war. “The problems of defence, commercial development, and local government, administration of justice, communications, politics, religion, and education are illustrated through contemporary documents,” wrote John P. Robarts, Premier of Ontario, in the foreword.

Ontario Series VI – Muskoka and Haliburton, 1615-1875: A Collection of Documents (Publication date: 1963):

Editor: Florence B. Murray

Ontario’s Muskoka and Haliburton region, stated Florence B. Murray in her introduction, “occupies a strategic position on the land barrier that separates the Ottawa River from Georgian Bay and displays the rugged terrain characteristic of the southern part of the Laurentian Shield. These physical factors largely determined its history, from the first exploration of the navigable rivers to the great days of the lumber camp and the sawmill, and the beginnings of the tourist trade.” Documents begin with Samuel de Champlain in 1615 and encompass early exploration, native peoples, surveying on land and water, European settlement, transportation development, elections, communities and institutions, lumber, mining and the fur trade, and the arrival of tourism.

Ontario Series VII – The Valley of the Six Nations: A Collection of Documents on the Indian Lands of the Grand River (Publication date: 1964):

Editor: Charles M. Johnston

This compilation sheds important light on events and personalities involved in the creation of the Grand River reserve for the Six Nations people following the American Revolution, when military chief Joseph Brant (Thayendanegea) led his loyalist Mohawk people out of New York to resettle in British territory. “In the introduction and the Documents that follow an attempt has been made to illumine several facets of that history and in the process some of the Six Nations’ social, military, and political affairs in old Ontario,” wrote Charles M. Johnson in the preface. Documents include seventeenth-century French descriptions of the (then) Five Nations, observations of the Six Nations in the late eighteenth century, and extensive documentation relating to the Grand River exodus and disputes over the lands extending into the mid-nineteenth century.

Ontario Series VIII – The Town of York, 1815-1834: A Further Collection of Documents of Early Toronto (Publication date: 1966):

Editor: Edith G. Firth

The second of two volumes on the history of the town of York continues where the first volume (The Town of York, 1793-1815) left off, with the arrival in early 1815 of news that the War of 1812 was officially over. It details the settlement’s story until March 6, 1834, when the town of York disappeared into a new civic entity, the city of Toronto. “In this short time,” wrote Edith Firth in her preface, “York was altered in every way. In 1815 it was a small, isolated village; in 1834 it was a boom town with an assured and rosy future.”
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Ontario Series Published 1970-79

Ontario Series IX – Thunder Bay District, 1821-1892: A Collection of Documents (Publication date: 1973):

Editor: Elizabeth Arthur

This work begins in the “twilight period” that followed the amalgamation of the North West and Hudson Bay companies, and extends into the years of fresh economic activity that enlivened the district in the late nineteenth century. “The Introduction and the Documents are arranged with the idea of stressing the peculiarities of Thunder Bay history, especially for the reader unacquainted with it,” explained Elizabeth Arthur. Subjects covered include jurisdiction problems, the 1870 Wolseley expedition to Red River, vital surveying between 1855 and 1870, and the construction of the transcontinental railway.

Ontario Series X – Ontario and the First World War, 1914-1918: A Collection of Documents (Publication date: 1977):

Editor: Barbara M. Wilson

This compilation “reflecting the mood of wartime Ontario” draws on collections such as the Public Archives of Canada, National Library, Ontario Archives, Canadian War Museum, and archives of the University of Toronto, Queen’s University, and City of Toronto. Documents are organized into the following subjects: Civic Holiday, 1914; The Home Front; Loyalty in Question; Women; Schools; Universities; Ontario’s Black Volunteers; Indians; Ontario’s First War Artist; and Armistice.
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Ontario Series Published 1980-89

Ontario Series XI – John Prince: A Collection of Documents (Publication date: 1980):

Author: John Prince

Editor: R. Alan Douglas

John Prince was a truly enigmatic figure in the history of nineteenth-century Ontario. A lawyer in Cheltenham, Prince emigrated to Upper Canada in 1833 and settled on the banks of the Detroit River, near Sandwich. As a landowner, entrepreneur, militia commander, magistrate, and politician, Prince cut a large and routinely controversial figure in his community. He ordered the execution of five Patriot prisoners in 1837, fought a duel, and engendered an aura of myth around his life and actions that endured long after his death. The volume emphasizes his role in the public affairs of Canada, and includes selections from his diaries.

Ontario Series XII – The Rebellion of 1837 in Upper Canada: A Collection of Documents (Publication date: 1985):

Editors: Colin Read, Ronald J. Stagg

ISBN: 0-88629-032-5

The rebellion of 1837 is one of the central events of Ontario’s history. Among its characters, William Lyon Mackenzie is undoubtedly the most famous, and he occupies a central role in these documents. The failure of his rebellion decisively repudiated the armed uprising as a means to effect change in Upper Canada; soon afterwards, reactionary ultra-tory extremism was equally undermined and discredited. Thus, the rebellion was at once the most marked break in the evolutionary pattern that has so largely characterized the province’s political development over its two-hundred-year history and a confirmation of that more moderate, gradualist tradition.

Ontario Series XIII – The Bank of Upper Canada: A Collection of Documents (Publication date: 1987):

Editor: Peter Baskerville

ISBN: 0-88629-061-9

The Bank of Upper Canada was founded through political maneuvering by which interests at tiny York defeated a group at Kingston, then the province’s largest urban centre. One-quarter of its shares were initially held by the Government of Upper Canada, which also appointed four of its fifteen directors. For many years under the Union of the Canadas, the bank acted as banker to the Canadian government. Its story offers one of the first cases of government-business relationships in the development and regulation of financial institutions. More than just the study of a bank, this is an extended account of the financial politics and practices of two governments, those of Upper Canada and of the Province of Canada.

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Ontario Series Published 1990-96

Champlain Ontario Series XIV – The Upper Ottawa Valley to 1855: A Collection of Documents (Publication date: 1990):

Editor: Richard Reid

ISBN: 0-88629-061-9

In its geography, economy, and history, the Ottawa Valley has always been a distinctive region of southern Ontario. Relatively remote from the provincial capital, York, and linked by water and by trade in square timber to Montreal and Quebec, it could in its first years almost have been a part of Lower rather than Upper Canada. Its population, shaped more than in western areas of the province by relatively large-scale, planned settlement programs, was a unique and sometimes volatile mix of Protestants and Catholics; of Scots, Irish, English, Americans, and French Canadians. Not surprisingly, ethnic and sectarian violence was a dimension of the Valley’s early history, though Richard Reid significantly qualifies some of the stereotypes on this subject. He stresses the ways in which traditional values and institutions were sustained and adapted in this frontier region. His story of a strengthening social order focuses on churches, schools, and economic life, and on the parts played by politics and governments – British, provincial, and local.

Champlain Ontario Series XV – The Eldon House Diaries: Five Women’s Views of the 19th Century (Publication date: 1994):

Editors: Robin S. Harris, Terry G. Harris

ISBN: 0-9693425-3-5

The Eldon House Diaries documents the life of a large upper middle-class family living in London, Ontario, during the nineteenth century. Amelia Ryerse Harris, John Harris, and their then eight children moved into Eldon House on September 10, 1834, and members of the family occupied it thereafter for the next 125 years. This house, and their families, dominate the pages of the Eldon House diaries selected for the years between 1848 and 1882.

Champlain Ontario Series XVI – The French Regime in the Upper Country of Canada during the Seventeenth Century (Publication date: 1996):

Editor: Cornelius J. Jaenen

ISBN: 0-9693425-7-8

In the eyes of the French colonial administrators of New France, the “Upper Country of Canada” – the pays d’en haut – comprised the region to the west of the island of Montreal that centered on the Great Lakes. Unknown to them at that time, these lands that they were attempting to integrate into the French domain in North America would eventually become Upper Canada and, later, Ontario. Professor Jaenen’s thesis is that the early history of this core region of Canada “can be understood only in the context of the French colonial expansion, Laurentian valley settlement, and French-Amerindian contact relations.”
Professor Jaenen has gathered together, translated, and interpreted a selection of documents that illustrate how the French perceived the great extent of land to the west of Montreal Island. These documents explore the French regime’s exploration of this territory and their interaction with the First Nations and the British in attempting to control it.

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