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  #1  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2018, 8:33 AM
balletomane balletomane is offline
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Canadian Alternate Histories

I know there was a similar thread in the City Discussions forum, but I thought it might be interesting to have a Canada-only thread.

I often imagine what Winnipeg would be like had the Panama Canal never opened, effectively stopping the city's boom era and leading to the city that we know today. Politicians in pre-WW1 Winnipeg spoke of the city becoming the "Chicago of the North" and anticipated that it would grow to about 5 million today, while others figured that it would be at least a Vancouver-sized city today. While I think this is intriguing and I've imagined the city at that size, those growth projections reflect the optimism of the era, and realistically, I figure the city would have about 1.25 - 1.5 million today had the Panama Canal never opened. The city's boom era would've continued longer, perhaps growing to about 500,000 by WW2, but the city would've likely declined in importance as happened to many rust belt cities in the US in the post-WW2 era. That and the rise of oil in Alberta, the city would still have declined in relative importance on the national stage, but would be more prominent than today if were roughly the same size Calgary, Ottawa or Edmonton.

Last edited by balletomane; Jan 8, 2018 at 8:17 AM.
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  #2  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2018, 3:47 PM
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I've always been curious on a delayed WWI. Even delaying it to 1920 probably gets an extra 1,000,000 immigrants in the absence of war.

Most of those would be central/ eastern European immigrants to the prairies. With natural growth, it nets an extra 2,000,000 people in Canada.

The change in Saskatchewan would be profound. Instead of the population stagnating around 1 million for 80 years, it likely hits 1,500,000 mid century. Maybe even hits 2,000,000 in present day.
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Old Posted Jan 7, 2018, 4:33 PM
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I always wonder what the west coast would be like if British Envoy Richard Pakenham actually gave a crap during the Oregon Treaty negotiations and the Columbia river became the US/Canada border, as it should have been. What is now Vancouver, WA, would be the third biggest city in the country with tons of room to sprawl like LA. It would also be far and away the best climate in Canada, just as far south as Toronto but with moderating ocean effect and no imposing mountain range to trap all the rain clouds.

That means Seattle would be part of Canada too, with significantly reduced importance and population. Current Vancouver would have a different name and be even smaller still, only relevant due to the Fraser River. Portland, as a border city, would probably be smaller too. Or maybe more important to the US? Not sure. Despite its name it's not really an important port. Though as the new northwest corner of the USA it would probably become an important US military city, much like San Diego.

Victoria, too, would see reduced importance since the need to secure Vancouver Island for Canada wouldn't happen with Fort Vancouver staying put. And Fort Vancouver would most likely be the BC capital instead of New Westminster/Victoria.

The real impact would be 100+ years from now when more people have settled in the west, lured by multiple large cities and warmer climates. Current Vancouver WA might eventually become the largest city in the country, and the west coast would have far more political influence with 3+ cities over 1 million.

Last edited by Pinion; Jan 7, 2018 at 4:58 PM.
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Old Posted Jan 7, 2018, 4:53 PM
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I also have wondered the opposite as well, what if the US border did take BC all the way to 54.40.

That literally would have left Canada with a tiny sliver wedged between 54.40 and the Alaskan panhandle for Pacific access.

Would there be a big city there sandwiched between the US on both sides?

There was also another option that had the border going through Vancouver Island as well at 49 degrees. Would have lost Victoria as well if that happened. Maybe Nanaimo as a border city would have been larger?
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Old Posted Jan 7, 2018, 5:01 PM
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Well personally, I feel that the US/Canada boundary should have extended west from the tip of Lake Superior (Duluth) to the Pacific coast.
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Old Posted Jan 7, 2018, 5:03 PM
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Originally Posted by MonctonRad View Post
Well personally, I feel that the US/Canada boundary should have extended west from the tip of Lake Superior (Duluth) to the Pacific coast.
And we would have had an alternative TCH route too.
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Old Posted Jan 7, 2018, 5:05 PM
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What if one of the British Caribbean colonies joined Canada the way Newfoundland did?

Canada came close to negotiating the Bahamas joining it, but racial attitudes at the time stopped it from happening. What if the Bahamas ended up Canadian?

"In 1911, at the request of the Bahamian House of Assembly, the Canadian and the Bahamian governments began serious negotiations for Bahamian accession to the Canadian confederation.[45] However, a racial panic ignited by the migration of over one thousand African-Americans fleeing violence in Oklahoma derailed the discussions. Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier turned against the idea, citing incompatible "ethnical origin". After Laurier lost the September 1911 federal election, Bahamian Governor William Grey-Wilson travelled to Canada to reopen accession talks with newly elected PM Robert Borden. In a meeting between Grey and Borden on 18 October 1911, Borden rejected the possibility of taking the Bahamas into the Canadian confederation. His reasoning was that the events of the past year had proved that Canadian public opinion would not countenance the admission of a majority-black province."
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Old Posted Jan 7, 2018, 5:07 PM
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What if one of the British Caribbean colonies joined Canada the way Newfoundland did?
Boy would they have got left out in federal politics most of the time.
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Old Posted Jan 7, 2018, 5:15 PM
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Boy would they have got left out in federal politics most of the time.
Just like everyone outside else outside ON/QC.

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Originally Posted by Metro-One View Post

Would there be a big city there sandwiched between the US on both sides?
There would have to be, but I can't imagine it attracting as many people as Vancouver, and ON/QC political dominance would be even larger.
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Old Posted Jan 7, 2018, 5:21 PM
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Just like everyone outside else outside ON/QC.



There would have to be, but I can't imagine it attracting as many people as Vancouver, and ON/QC political dominance would be even larger.
Just like everyone outside the Toronto/Ottawa/Montreal axis you mean........
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Old Posted Jan 7, 2018, 5:23 PM
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Yeah.
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Old Posted Jan 7, 2018, 5:36 PM
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The Webster-Ashburton Treaty gave all of northern Maine to the Americans. If this had not been the case, the Maritimes would not have been nearly as geographically isolated from central Canada. It's interesting to speculate how this might have changed the economy of the Maritimes in general (and NB in particular).

Alternatively, a little known chapter of the Revolutionary War is the Eddy Rebellion. Jonathan Eddy was a planter with revolutionary sympathies who obtained a letter of support from George Washington to try and sway Nova Scotia to the separatist cause. In 1776, he and a group of sympathizers launched an attack on Fort Cumberland (formerly Fort Beausejour) near Sackville NB. They very nearly took the fort, which would have allowed them to control land access to peninsular NS, and have given them a base of operations to continue to harry British forces in the Maritimes. If they had ultimately been successful, NS (and NB) might now belong to the USA.
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Old Posted Jan 7, 2018, 6:39 PM
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Interesting one for me is what if the city of Vancouver adopted the unicity model early on and annexed Burnaby, new west etc.
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Old Posted Jan 7, 2018, 7:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jigglysquishy View Post
I've always been curious on a delayed WWI. Even delaying it to 1920 probably gets an extra 1,000,000 immigrants in the absence of war.

Most of those would be central/ eastern European immigrants to the prairies. With natural growth, it nets an extra 2,000,000 people in Canada.

The change in Saskatchewan would be profound. Instead of the population stagnating around 1 million for 80 years, it likely hits 1,500,000 mid century. Maybe even hits 2,000,000 in present day.
I've also often wondered this myself...not even a delayed WW1 but one where Canada continued to accept as many immigrants as it was in the years leading up to the war. I figure this would have made the greatest impact in the prairies where many immigrants were headed at the time, I imagine both Manitoba and Saskatchewan being double their current size, while Alberta would be closer to 5 million (assuming its pre-oil boom population was larger).

Last edited by balletomane; Jan 8, 2018 at 8:17 AM.
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Old Posted Jan 7, 2018, 7:08 PM
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Originally Posted by MonctonRad View Post
The Webster-Ashburton Treaty gave all of northern Maine to the Americans. If this had not been the case, the Maritimes would not have been nearly as geographically isolated from central Canada. It's interesting to speculate how this might have changed the economy of the Maritimes in general (and NB in particular).
The British-controlled area also should have extended to the Penobscot river, where Bangor is today. The border was very nearly a much more sensible straight-ish line extending east from the southern tip of Quebec.

The situation in Maine fit the age-old theme of colonials fighting tooth and nail over regionally important gains which were then used as bargaining chips in a wider imperial strategy. This is part of what precipitated the American Revolution in the first place; New Englanders fought hard to take over Louisbourg and Cape Breton and then Britain turned around and traded it back to France in exchange for colonies on the other side of the planet.

These trades also had the effect of making colonial warfare more destructive because there was an incentive to make sure there was nothing left to trade back.

Quote:
Alternatively, a little known chapter of the Revolutionary War is the Eddy Rebellion. Jonathan Eddy was a planter with revolutionary sympathies who obtained a letter of support from George Washington to try and sway Nova Scotia to the separatist cause. In 1776, he and a group of sympathizers launched an attack on Fort Cumberland (formerly Fort Beausejour) near Sackville NB. They very nearly took the fort, which would have allowed them to control land access to peninsular NS, and have given them a base of operations to continue to harry British forces in the Maritimes. If they had ultimately been successful, NS (and NB) might now belong to the USA.
Maybe it would have had an effect in the "butterfly flapping its wings" sense but back in those days the ithsmus was not very important because land travel was so challenging. It took people months to get from Massachusetts to peninsular Nova Scotia by land, and there were only a few small roads. The British had naval control of the area so running an effective rebellion would have been hard.

Eddy had about 400 rebels at Fort Cumberland but they were dispersed by a single ship. In that same year there were more than 10,000 soldiers in Halifax and there would have been dozens of British ships. Once key areas like New York were clearly lost the British forces assembled in Halifax and completely swamped the local population. George Washington wrote a number of letters about how he would have liked to invade Nova Scotia (and wipe Halifax off the map completely), but did not find it strategically possible.

One interesting aspect of the rebellion in the Maritimes which I didn't realize was that participation didn't fall down along clear Old World vs. colonial lines. There was limited interest among the Planters who originally came from New England, but many of the rebels were Irish immigrants (including one of Nova Scotia's future attorney generals, Richard John Uniacke). In a lot of cases it may have had more to do with how individuals did under British colonial rule. If they were well-connected they tended to support the old order, and if they were not or saw an opportunity for more wealth and power without the British around then they tended to support the revolution. Somewhat similar today, but a lot more extreme.
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Old Posted Jan 7, 2018, 7:30 PM
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Interesting one for me is what if the city of Vancouver adopted the unicity model early on and annexed Burnaby, new west etc.
We'd probably end up looking a lot more like Portland, minus the freeways.
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Old Posted Jan 7, 2018, 7:33 PM
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Another what if: what if the deportation of the Acadians never happened?

In 1755 there were around 14,000 Acadians in Nova Scotia and 11,500 were eventually deported. There were 20,000-30,000 Europeans in total in Nova Scotia back then (compared to 55,000 in New France, and extremely little European settlement farther west). Many of the Acadians who were deported died and much of their property was destroyed. Many Acadians who escaped the deportation moved to frontier areas of that time, like PEI and farther north in New Brunswick, or left the region entirely. The deported Acadians ended up in a bunch of places including Louisiana and Quebec.

The deportation itself was a somewhat strange event that might easily not have happened. A new British governor of Nova Scotia, Charles Lawrence, decided on his own to execute his plan and the New England colonies helped. London didn't approve of the plan and it's not clear that earlier or later governors would have either (Nova Scotia's governor in the 1740's, Paul Mascarene, was a bilingual Huguenot). Lawrence had little understanding of Nova Scotia or the Acadians. He was mostly convinced that they were guaranteed supporters of France in the event of invasion. That was doubtful and France never invaded again anyway.

If the deportation hadn't happened I think the Maritimes would be more like 50/50 Francophone or more, and Halifax would have had a linguistic character closer to what Montreal is like today (based on the legacy of a large rural French-speaking population and an English-speaking urban elite). It's not clear if NB would have been more or less Francophone; maybe it would have been much more Francophone because there would have been fewer places for English-speaking Loyalists to move to. New Brunswick as a separate entity may never have existed at all. The Maritimes might have also developed a bit faster due to not having lost as much of their head start in demographics and wealth.
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Old Posted Jan 7, 2018, 8:54 PM
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Another what if: what if the deportation of the Acadians never happened?
That is a very interesting question indeed.

I agree, the deportation was mostly Governor Lawrence's idea. The Crown did not order it, and likely would not have condoned it, but by the time the government in London found out, it was too late.

I think the linguistic distribution of the Maritimes would be considerably different if the deportation had not occurred.

I think that the Annapolis Valley would still be mainly French, as well as the Cobequid shoreline and the Beaubassin/Trois Riviere region (Tantramar marshes, Memramcook and Petitcodiac River valleys. This is where the bulk of the Acadian population at the time resided. The New England Planter migration to the Annapolis Valley, the Yorkshire immigration to Sackville NB and the Pennsylvania Dutch migration to the Moncton area wouldn't have occurred. The whole area around the Bay of Fundy therefore would still be primarily French.

Curiously, there are areas of the region that are francophone now, which might not have been in an alternate history setting. When the Acadian diaspora returned after the deportation, they settled in areas like southwestern NS, the Northumberland Shore of NB and the Baie des Chaleur. This might not have happened.

I think Halifax would still be mainly an English city, but there might have been a competing large francophone city in the Wolfville area since this was the heartland of Acadia. A francophone city in this location would have displaced Moncton as the "Capitale d'Acadie".

Saint John and Fredericton were small Acadian communities at the time. I don't know if SJ would have become a major Loyalist community if the pre-existing Acadian population had not been displaced, but I doubt it. Maybe the Loyalist community would have developed a little bit further to the west, around Saint Andrews and the Passamaquoddy Bay. In your scenario, Fredericton obviously wouldn't have developed as the capital of a new Loyalist province. It likely would have remained a small Acadian farming community. The entire upper Saint John River valley might have ended up being French.

Moncton likely would have remained a francophone community. If Wolfville had become the francophone metropolis for the Maritimes, I doubt that Moncton would have ended up being as large as it is today.

Since Planters and Loyalists were so important to the early population growth of the Maritimes, the non displacement of the Acadians might have had huge ramifications for the ultimate population distribution in the region. The Maritimes likely would have become nearly a second Quebec, with a 50/50 population split, or perhaps even a francophone majority.
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Old Posted Jan 7, 2018, 10:38 PM
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Another what if: what if the deportation of the Acadians never happened?

....
We may have had a country which was primarily French speaking, with the English speaking province of Ontario being the one wanting to separate. Thus the likelihood of parts of Canada joining the States would have been greater.

Now, what about an alternate history in which Newfoundland voted to remain independent? (#canofworms).
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Old Posted Jan 8, 2018, 5:00 PM
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