Backyard History

Atlantic Canada’s Hidden Stories. Backyard History unearths the often hilarious, mostly mysterious, always surprising untold tales of Canada’s East Coast, as only a Maritimer can spin them. Based on host Andrew MacLeans’s newspaper column, and produced by Jordan Lauzier, and brought to life with friends voicing contemporary quotes! 🌐 📧 Support Backyard History:

Listen on:

  • Apple Podcasts
  • Podbean App
  • Spotify
  • Amazon Music
  • TuneIn + Alexa
  • iHeartRadio
  • PlayerFM
  • Listen Notes
  • Samsung
  • Podchaser
  • BoomPlay


Saturday May 04, 2024

When a Wolastoqiyik man wasn’t allowed on a stagecoach, he vowed to race it to its destination, and won!
Buy the book:

Tuesday Apr 09, 2024

The dramatic grand finale of the rum running boat The Liberty in part three of the Liberty On The Rocks trilogy.
Order a signed copy of the Backyard History book at

Monday Apr 01, 2024

At age 15, Hugh Corkum becomes a rum runner to provide for his family after his father, a Lunenburg Nova Scotia sea captain, loses his job after crashing into an American sumbarine.
Part Two of the 'Liberty On The Rocks' trilogy about the Liberty, the fastest rum running ship of Atlantic Canada!
Buy the Backyard History book at

Sunday Mar 24, 2024

The Mounties lay a trap for The Liberty, the most famous rum running ship in the Maritimes during Prohibition!
Part one of a three part series called "Liberty On The Rocks."

Tuesday Mar 05, 2024

A killer sent boxes of poisoned candies to religious leaders of Saint John, in this, the Backyard History's magnum opus episode!

Message in a Molasses Barrel

Sunday Feb 11, 2024

Sunday Feb 11, 2024

Isolated islanders find a unique way to let Canadians know a storm cut them off from the mainland.

Sunday Feb 04, 2024

As Babe Ruth's life fell apart, he headed into the woods of the Maritimes in a secret and mysterious effort to get better...

Wednesday Jan 10, 2024

The Canadian Forces in Italy during WW2 rescue a horse who they name Princess Louise who accompanies them throughout Europe and back home.

Friday Dec 29, 2023

Juliana Horatia Ewing, a Victorian British author in Fredericton, formed an unlikely friendship with Welastekokewiyik master canoe builder Peter Polches, challenging societal norms; her transformative experiences led to a notable confrontation defending Indigenous people at a prestigious New Year's Party in 1869.

Saturday Dec 23, 2023

Backyard History's Christmas Special for 2023!

Sunday Dec 10, 2023

The dramatic rise and fall of Fredericton's curious detox centre, which involved patients taking a gold-based medicine to cure alcoholism!

The Second Halifax Explosion

Sunday Nov 19, 2023

Sunday Nov 19, 2023

As explosions rang out in Halifax in 1945, ordinary Haligonians raced toward the central ammunition storage depot to stop the flames before the city blew up … again!

Friday Nov 10, 2023

Two young men volunteer to for a mysterious secret mission in Russia. One of them will not make it home alive.

Monday Oct 30, 2023

One of the Maritimes’ most popular ghost stories is the tale of a cursed, eternally burning sailing ship haunting the waters off of the Northern coast of New Brunswick.

Monday Oct 16, 2023

Leon Trotsky missed the beginning of the Russian Revolution because he was in -of all places- Amherst, Nova Scotia.

Sunday Oct 01, 2023

PEI didn't even know it was at war when the American fleet appeared. The invaders went house to house stealing clothes, carpets, and curtains ... and their Great Seal. However, one Islander who was taken captive went on to become an important spy...

The World’s Worst Nazi Spy

Friday Sep 15, 2023

Friday Sep 15, 2023

A spy arrives by U-Boat to sabotage Canada. He isn't very good.

Wednesday Aug 30, 2023

Houdini goes to Halifax. When his circus is arrested, he has to reevaluate his whole career.

Tuesday Aug 22, 2023

A young Harry Houdini was on the verge of giving up on magic until a Maritimes tour changed his life.

Wednesday Jun 28, 2023

A forest fire approaches the thriving town of Musquash, sending its residents fleeing to a nearby marsh for safety.
Musquash was a thriving community on the Bay of Fundy, boasting several factories, mills, a railway station, and a port. All of that came to an abrupt end when the town was completely destroyed in only a couple of hours one afternoon in 1903.

Wednesday Jun 14, 2023

Everyone ignored the warnings. But the predictions were right: the storm of the century hit at exactly the hour that one man had predicted a year before...
#weather #storm #astronomy #astronology #Canada #history #strange #podcast #podcastsofcanada #backyardhistory #story #true #newengland #boston #halifax #novascotia #newbrunswick #pei #mystery #spooky #paranormal

Sunday Jun 04, 2023

Nova Scotia (and New Brunswick) came much closer to joining the United States than a lot of Canadians today would be comfortable with!

The Real Klondike Kate

Tuesday May 23, 2023

Tuesday May 23, 2023

Two Kates go to the Yukon Gold Rush. One becomes famous, the other is forgotten. But who was the REAL Klondike Kate?

Tuesday May 09, 2023

In 1949, a little Canadian island off of the coast of Nova Scotia declared itself to be its own country.  
Calling itself The Principality of Outer Baldonia, it quickly developed all of the trappings of an independent nation: it had its own currency, postage stamps, its own flag, and a coat of arms boasting on it pictures of a tuna fish, a sheep, and a smiling lobster. 
It soon became “one of the zaniest hoaxes in the history of international affairs.”

Tuesday May 02, 2023

How did 111 Russian coins get buried in Bathurst? Who did it? Where did they come from and what happened to them? Lets dig into this Backyard Mystery!

Sunday Apr 23, 2023

Giant squid attacked Newfoundland fishing boats in 1873. This was all the more shocking because at the time people didn't believe giant squid were even real. Soon, the entire world's attention would turn towards Newfoundland.

The Red Devil

Monday Apr 17, 2023

Monday Apr 17, 2023

Flying Through History as The Red Devil Takes to the Skies!
On a clear Autumn day in 1912 thousands of people gathered to see the world famous Red Devil.
Amid a backdrop of the Saint John Exhibition -then the second largest in the country- competing with Toronto’s CNE for position of biggest Exhibition in Canada, another rivalry was playing out.
The Red Devil’s pilot, Captain Baldwin, was competing with the airplane's then rival for the future of the skies; the hot air balloon, and its pilot Professor Bonnette. Back then hot air balloons were considered much safer and faster than airplanes, and most sensible people thought the airplane would be a short-lived novelty.
The rival airplane versus balloon pilots competed for the public’s approval by engaging in increasingly daring and risky behavior.
After Professor Bonnette wowed the crowd by parachuting out of his balloon –and accidentally ending up in the Harbour– Captain Baldwin decided to one-up him by taking a local Saint Johner along with him aboard The Red Devil.
One extremely reluctant and very unhappy reporter was forced by his newspaper editor to go on a trip on the airplane, a then-brand new technology only invented nine years earlier. His vivid description of flying over Saint John in the earliest days of aviation memorably begins with the angry opening line: “The editor is an autocrat...”

Monday Apr 10, 2023

Camp B-70, near Fredericton,  held captured German Nazis and Fascist Italians during the Second World War. The prisoners and guards played an elaborate game of cat and mouse, with constant attempts at escape. Remarkably, one escape was actually stopped by an actual real live cat, who had been performing in the camp as part of a traveling circus..

Saturday Apr 01, 2023

When a bank robber gets stuck in a chimney on April Fools Day, nobody believes a 12 year old boy trying to save him..
On the cold and moonless night in the winter of 1848, the only ever attempted robbery of the Bank of New Brunswick in Saint John took place.
It was not the least bit successful, and turned into quite the bizarre -but true- night long incident.

Monday Mar 27, 2023

“While I am writing to you the shells are screaming and the bullets are hitting but why should I care? I have just had a good meal!” wrote Emile Goguen, an Acadian lumberjack from New Brunswick who had volunteered to go fight fascism in the Spanish Civil War, and who would be interrogated about his activities while there.
More than 1500 Canadians volunteered to fight fascism in the Spanish Civil War. The only New Brunswicker to join was Emile Goguen.

When PEI Banned Cars

Monday Mar 20, 2023

Monday Mar 20, 2023

Prince Edward Island was the first place in Canada to have a car ... and the only province to ban them!

The Radical Gardener

Sunday Mar 12, 2023

Sunday Mar 12, 2023

A beloved Canadian radio host and author had a radical past.
In the 1960s a Maritimer achieved Canada wide fame for his talent in gardening. Known as Mr Green Thumbs, this kindly old man put out no fewer than four massive bestselling books on gardening, and ran a popular regular radio show on how to grow plants.
Mr Green Thumbs’ many dedicated fans likely didn’t know that behind the friendly voice and the kindly writing style of the old man, was a devoted lifelong communist who was so dedicated to his cause that soon after the Russian Revolution and the establishment of the communist Soviet Union, the radical gardener went to that new country to see the revolution in action for himself…

Sunday Mar 05, 2023

Elizabeth Beard fought in the American Revolution ... against the Americans.
One New Brunswick woman became something of a worldwide sensation for her remarkable feats fighting in the American Revolution. She was fighting not for the Americans though, but against them.
Her heroics were completely overlooked and forgotten during that chaotic time, but late her life, the public learned about what she had done decades earlier, and stories of her youthful acts became widely known all over both Europe and North America.

Sunday Feb 26, 2023

Saint John's genteel Rockwood Park was once turned into a modern electric circus.
For several years Saint John’s iconic Rockwood Park –the largest urban park in Canada at the time– was turned into a summer fair grounds based on Coney Island. In the early 1900s it featured rides that had never been seen before like a ferris wheel and merry go around, nightly fireworks, bars and restaurants, and acrobatic performances so daring the daredevil chickened out, but a local waiter stepped in to perform them instead.

The Battle of Fort Nashwaak

Sunday Feb 19, 2023

Sunday Feb 19, 2023

Like the Alamo, but in Fredericton.
Fredericton’s first European settlement was a French fort, which was attacked and besieged by a fleet from New England.
The story of the battle is kind of like the American myth of the Alamo. A small and beleaguered band of defenders is facing down a vastly larger and better equipped army of invaders. Except in this case they are coming up from what is now the United States.
The invaders have a reputation for massacres, and losing the battle would likely mean death.
However, just before the battle begins, the defenders' spirits are bolstered by a group of famous heroes of their time, who have come to aid the motley crew of defenders in their time of need…

The Year of the Mice

Sunday Feb 12, 2023

Sunday Feb 12, 2023

In 1815 Nova Scotia was overrun by mice.
Dr. George Patterson later interviewed people who lived through what was called Year of the Mice.
The horrors of that year left a mark on those who had experienced it so deep that he found that elderly people that had personally experienced the mouse invasion still used it as a measurement of time. ‘Sixty-two Years After The Mice,’ Dr. Patterson wrote that these had been no ordinary mice:
“They were very destructive and actually fierce. If pursued, when hard pressed, they would stand at bay, rising upon their hind legs, setting their teeth and squealing fiercely. A farmer on whom I could rely told me that having, after planting, spread out some barley to dry in the sun before the door, in a little while he saw it covered with them. He let the cat out among them, but they actually turned upon her and fought her.”

Sunday Feb 05, 2023

A fleet of Fascist Italian airplanes stop in a little seaside resort town in the Maritimes … with a dark political agenda.
On July 13th 1933 a reporter for the Moncton Daily Times was rushing towards the newly built wharfs of the tiny seaside village of Shediac. He is trying to make it in time to catch a glimpse of an incredible sight: 24 massive airplanes flying in a giant V formation that were arriving all the way from Italy...
To see plenty of photos of the Italian Air Armada's arrival in Shediac check out:

The Dark Harbour Hermits

Thursday Jan 26, 2023

Thursday Jan 26, 2023

*Top Episode of 2023!
In the 1920s two hermit brothers on Grand Manan became internationally famous as the mysterious “Dark Harbour Hermits.”
Hundreds of tourists from the United States and even faraway Europe came to visit them in their homemade shacks on the beaches of the strange and isolated place known as Dark Harbour, where the hermits would entertain the tourists with their art, their poems, and their songs.

Tuesday Jan 10, 2023

The Maritimes were briefly the Dutch colony of Nova Hollandia..
We’re always taught in school that ever since European colonists arrived in what is now Canada, that it was always a colony of either England or France. However, it’s a little-known fact that for a brief time the Maritimes were conquered by the Dutch, and were a short lived colony with a remarkably bizarre history, named Nova Hollandia.

Wreck and Rescue of the Velma

Thursday Dec 15, 2022

Thursday Dec 15, 2022

An unlikely trio is celebrated by a US President for their heroic rescue of sailors stranded for days on a rock in a storm.

Copyright 2023 All rights reserved.

Podcast Powered By Podbean

Version: 20240320