Scandals and charity of evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson

“Los Angeles gasped at the costumes worn” by Ontario-born Pentecostal evangelist, radio preacher and faith healer Aimee Semple McPherson when she testified before a committee of the California legislature during impeachment hearings of state Supreme Court Judge Carlos Hardy, the Vancouver Sun reported, February 5, 1929. McPherson had given Hardy a $2,500 cheque, an alleged […]

Last of the saddleback preachers

  English-born Methodist minister Robert K. Peck, Alberta, 1910. “Wearing cowboy clothes, the Reverend Peck used to ride around the country preaching,” notes Calgary’s Glenbow Museum. Glenbow Archives NA-101-13. The passing of the fiery itinerant preachers, who galloped by horse throughout Canada, from hamlet to hamlet, to spread the gospel in the backwoods of nineteenth […]

Gold miners pine for preacher

The Hollywood image of the old west gold mining camps as lawless, lustful and licentious did not apply to peaceful, law-abiding Canada, judging by a report on September 19, 1864 in the Vancouver Times (Victoria, Vancouver Island). The biggest complaint of Vancouver Island miners appeared to be a lack of clergymen on Sundays. The editor […]

When children drank whisky at breakfast

  Booze 1829 — 1920 From my book, About Canada, Toronto, Civil Sector Press, 2012. For more than a century-and-a-half, Europeans had been killing North America’s Indians by giving them firewater—whisky, brandy, rum, port, sherry—in exchange for furs. Now, in the first decades of the nineteenth century, Canada’s pioneer settlers were killing themselves with their […]