11 May

The Order preparing for a "meeting"

More Sail to Port Royal

The first permanent settlement in Canada by white men was at Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. It was discovered by Champlain in 1604, when he made his first voyage to Canada with de Monts and Pontgravé. They called it Port Royal, and so it remained for many turbulent years, sometimes in the possession of the French, sometimes occupied by Britain.

One of the most delightful stories about Port Royal is that of the creation of the "Order of the Good Time," in the winter of 1606-1607. De Monts had returned to France in 1605, and with the help of Sieur de Poutrincourt, fitted out a second expedition which sailed from La Rochelle on May 11,

Champlain organized the "Order of the Good Time," the first social club in North America. Each of the fifteen members of the colony took his turn at being the Grand Master of the day and wore the insignia of office. At dinner he led the way to the table, at the head of the procession of members.

It became a point of honour with each member to try to outdo the others in providing the finest possible dinners. The party made friends with the Indians and went hunting and fishing. The dinner table groaned with the luxuries of the forest and streams. There were roasts of moose, caribou, beaver, otter, bears, porcupine and rabbits. For poultry, they had wild ducks, geese and ruffled grouse. Seafood was usually represented by salmon, trout, bass and cod, caught through the ice.

The Indian chiefs were invited to the feasts while warriors, squaws and children crouched in the corners of the dining hall where they would be given biscuits and bread which were novel treats for them.

One of the members of the group was Marc Lescarbot, who might be called Canada's first historian. He wrote: "Whatever our gourmands at home may think, we found as good cheer at Port Royal as they at their Rue Aux Ours in Paris, and that, too, at a cheaper rate."


11 May

-1615    Captain Richard Whitbourne was appointed commissioner to establish order in Newfoundland.

-1676    Begging without the permission of a priest was prohibited in Montreal.

-1690    Port Royal surrendered to Sir William Phips.

-1717    Commercial exchange began in Montreal when merchants were given permission to hold meetings.

-1760    Lévis attacked Quebec with a heavy artillery barrage.

-1839    The College of Physicians and Surgeons was established in Upper Canada.

-1870    Canada paid Hudson's Bay Company $1,500,000 for its territory.

-1880    Sir Alexander Galt was appointed first Canadian High Commissioner to Britain.

-1938    Lord Tweedsmuir visited Val Marie, Saskatchewan (see February 21).