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! 🌐backyardhistory.ca 📧andrewmaclean@backyardhistory.ca Support Backyard History: https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/backyardhistory

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Episodes

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.
 
https://backyardhistory.ca/f/wreck-and-rescue-of-the-velma

Secret Diary From The Asylum

Monday Dec 05, 2022

Monday Dec 05, 2022

“They will not allow me to go home,” begins the haunting diary that Mary Huestis Pengilly wrote while locked up in the Saint John Lunatic Asylum, Canada’s first ever mental health institution.
She wrote vividly in a secret diary about her experiences as a patient in the Asylum in the 1880s, which she later published into a book. After her release, she became a high profile and outspoken advocate for reforming how mental health was treated in both Canada and the United States.
https://backyardhistory.ca/popular/f/secret-diary-in-the-lunatic-asylum

Saturday Nov 26, 2022

The Maritimes were home to the only German bombing in North America in World War One. Fortunately the Agent wasn't very good, and was more than willing to tell everything to an intrepid reporter...
 
https://backyardhistory.ca/articles/f/german-agents-bombed-a-new-brunswick-bridge

Sunday Nov 20, 2022

Nothing was quite what it seemed...
 
In the Summer of 1906 The Maritimes were captivated by a strange mystery when two young children disappeared in broad daylight from right in front of their house.
One reporter, who signed her articles simply as The Special Correspondent, went to the tiny village of Cape Tormentine to investigate the disappearances.
The more she learned about the case, the stranger it became, as she met a very unusual group of people, each of whom seemed to be hiding something...
https://backyardhistory.ca/f/the-mysterious-disappearance-of-the-creamer-children

Thursday Nov 10, 2022

A baseball star becomes one of the few Black Canadians to fight in the First World War.
 
https://backyardhistory.ca/f/fighting-for-the-right-to-fight

The Lost Colony

Sunday Nov 06, 2022

Sunday Nov 06, 2022

A simple question leads to a lost colony in Cape Breton..
 
What does “Fundy” mean? Where does the unusual name for the large bay between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia boasting the highest tides in the world come from? The short answer is that it’s Portuguese, but figuring out what “Fundy” means involves a lost colony, confused explorers, and a perplexing mix up..
 
There is some surviving evidence of a 1521 Portuguese lost colony in The Maritimes. If true, this would be the first European settlement in the whole continent, even earlier than the much more famous American lost colony of Roanoke. 
 
https://backyardhistory.ca/popular/f/what-does-fundy-mean
https://backyardhistory.ca/popular/f/the-lost-colony

The Spectre of Rexton

Friday Oct 28, 2022

Friday Oct 28, 2022

Is it a ghost haunting the woods or something else?
 
A car load of four young people -two guys and two girls- were driving home from a dance on a dark and stormy Halloween night in 1930. They were on a dark road going through the woods between the small towns of Richibucto and Rexton on New Brunswick’s East Coast, when they had a bizarre close encounter with a ghost…
 
https://backyardhistory.ca/f/the-spectre-of-rexton-bootleggers-dressed-as-ghosts

Pandemic 1918

Thursday Oct 20, 2022

Thursday Oct 20, 2022

One province defeats a pandemic and in the process influences all of North America, leading to improvements in healthcare all over Canada and the United States as they copy the latest developments in ... New Brunswick.
 
https://backyardhistory.ca/articles/f/pandemic-1918-how-one-doctor-saved-new-brunswick

Saturday Oct 01, 2022

Canada decides which side to drive on.
 
For much of its history half of Canada drove on the opposite side of the road from the other half. Ontario and Quebec drove on the right, while British Columbia and The Maritimes drove on the left. When New Brunswick changed sides of the road the year became wryly known as “The Year of Free Beef.”
https://backyardhistory.ca/articles/f/switching-from-driving-on-the-left-to-driving-on-the-right

Wednesday Sep 21, 2022

"Oh my god we're saved by a girl," the sailor gasped before passing out.
 
In 1882 a teenager was celebrated for risking her life heroically rescuing shipwrecked sailors in a cold Autumn storm.
https://backyardhistory.ca/popular/f/oh-my-god-were-saved-by-a-girl-teenager-saves-sailors-at-sea

The Pirate of Charlie Lake

Sunday Sep 11, 2022

Sunday Sep 11, 2022

After a life of piracy, a man retreats to the woods to escape justice and hide his treasure.
About an hour southwest of Fredericton is Charlie Lake, named after a mysterious hermit who lived there long ago, alone with his little dog. It was said the hermit was a pirate, hiding from the law, who had buried a great treasure by the lake which still bears his name..
https://backyardhistory.ca/articles/f/the-pirate-of-charlie-lake

Wednesday Aug 31, 2022

The host enters an abandoned spaceport in the Arctic.
 
An intricate maze of metal corridors connect the massive buildings far up in Canada's Arctic. It was once the centre of one of the world's leading space research facility. Later it became the center of an international race between Canada and the United States to build the world's first commercial spaceport. The winner would dominate the launch of the race of satellites in the then-upcoming 21st century.
In this very special episode of the Backyard History Podcast, host Andrew MacLean is stranded by airplane engine problems in Churchill Manitoba, encountering polar bears, beluga whales, the northern lights, and discovering the remains of the massive abandoned spaceport.
 
When he notices an open hatch on the roof, he climbs down a ladder and enters into the murky darkness below...
backyardhistory.ca

Saturday Aug 20, 2022

One woman's battle against lawmakers led to wins women's rights.
 
One largely forgotten New Brunswick woman led --and won-- not one but two important battles for women's rights in two separate provinces -one on each side of the country; first in New Brunswick and later in British Columbia.
https://backyardhistory.ca/articles/f/new-brunswick-woman-wins-fights-for-rights-in-nb-and-bc

Friday Aug 12, 2022

A 1961 nuclear attack drill goes awry. 
 
Air raid sirens rang out from coast to coast, and an eerie voice announced that Canada was under attack: 14 nuclear missiles were inbound. The sombre voice then went on to tell startled citizens that this was the beginning of a country-wide drill, and that for the next 24 hours Canada would be behaving as if it had just been the subject of a massive nuclear strike. 
The day was November 13th 1961, and for many Canadians this came as a surprise: while there had been some talk of the exercise beforehand, talk was quite different from air raid sirens going off for 3 minutes straight, followed by a voice announcing nuclear missiles were incoming.
https://backyardhistory.ca/articles/f/dont-forget-to-tell-the-public-about-the-mock-nuclear-attack

Friday Aug 05, 2022

A large stone with a face carved into it has people puzzled about who made it.
 
In 1863 a recent Scottish immigrant was wandering through the stark and desolate area above Lake Utopia looking for rocks to build a fireplace when he made an astonishing discovery. When he wiped a thick layer of moss off a large flat stone, he discovered that carved upon it was an intricately detailed human face. Speculation that it was an ancient Egyptian artifact quickly spread..
https://backyardhistory.ca/f/the-mysterious-lake-utopia-medallion
 

Tuesday Jul 26, 2022

Amelia Earhart visits Newfoundland and The Maritimes on the way to make history.
 
Amelia Earhart kept her plans to become the first woman to fly alone across the Atlantic a secret. But when she arrived in Saint John to refuel and spend the night, the secret was out and Saint Johners were in a wild frenzy to see the famous pilot about to make history…
https://backyardhistory.ca/f/when-amelia-earhart-came-to-the

The Mysterious Isle Haute

Tuesday Jul 12, 2022

Tuesday Jul 12, 2022

Said to be home to spirits, pirates’ buried treasure, and a trapped ghost ship..
 
https://backyardhistory.ca/articles/f/the-mysterious-isle-haute

Tuesday Jul 05, 2022

They had no idea the stranger who had come to Bathurst was an escaped Nazi Prisoner of War waiting for a U-Boat to get him..

Wednesday Jun 29, 2022

The story of one of the most famous rum running schooners that was sunk during an epic pursuit in the 1920s

Sunday Jun 05, 2022

Lobster. From pauper to proper. A history.
 
The North American lobster is now a staple of high-end restaurants, and a cultural icon in the Maritimes and New England, but this was not always the case.
At one time lobster was considered a paupers’ food, something people were embarrassed to be seen eating because it showed that they were poor. It was fed to prisoners and slaves, used as fertilizers in fields, and feed for pigs.
At one point servants would stipulate in their contracts that they could not be fed lobster, just to avoid having to eat the hated shellfish. 
https://backyardhistory.ca/f/from-pauper-to-proper-the-story-of-lobster-in-the-maritimes

A Brief History of the Beach

Sunday May 29, 2022

Sunday May 29, 2022

Here’s a question for a hot Summer day: did early Maritimers go to the beach?
 
https://backyardhistory.ca/articles/f/the-history-of-going-to-the-beach

Walking Across Canada On a Bet

Thursday May 19, 2022

Thursday May 19, 2022

The first people to ever walk all the way across Canada were Cape Bretoners who did it because someone bet them they couldn't.
 
https://backyardhistory.ca/articles/f/the-first-people-to-walk-across-canada-did-it-because-of-a-bet

The Great Campbellton Fire

Monday May 09, 2022

Monday May 09, 2022

In only two hours massive fire completely destroys bustling Campbellton.
 
At 2pm on July 11th 1910 Campbellton was a prosperous town of 6000 people on New Brunswick’s North Shore. Two hours later it would be completely destroyed in a massive inferno.
But it doesn't break the spirit of the people and they rebuild within a year.
 
https://backyardhistory.ca/popular/f/in-only-two-hours-campbellton-burned-to-the-ground

The Dungarvon Whooper

Sunday May 01, 2022

Sunday May 01, 2022

The true story behind the chilling ghost story.
 
Around Maritime campfires we tell the tale of the Dungarvon Whooper – a macabre ghost story of a cook who was murdered for a bag of money, and who haunted the forests making screaming noises that sounded like whoops.
The story was based on actual mysterious incidents around Miramichi in the mid-1800s. In 1896 one Fredericton reporter may have discovered the true story behind those haunting screams. And his true story is even stranger than the ghost story…
 
https://backyardhistory.ca/popular/f/the-dungarvon-who

The Year With No Summer

Sunday Apr 24, 2022

Sunday Apr 24, 2022

A grey mist hung over the land which the rain never cleared. Snow fell in June and July. Frost came in August. Crops didn’t grow. The spectre of starvation hung over the Maritimes.
One year Summer never arrived in the Maritimes, earning that miserable year the nicknames; The Poverty Year; Eighteen Hundred and Froze To Death, and The Year Without A Summer.
https://backyardhistory.ca/f/the-year-without-a-summer
 

Drinking in the Maritimes

Sunday Apr 17, 2022

Sunday Apr 17, 2022

If you think Maritimers drink a lot today, wait till you hear how much earlier generations of Maritimers drank!

Getting Away With Murder

Sunday Apr 03, 2022

Sunday Apr 03, 2022

A tragic true story of forbidden love, bloody murder, and miscarried justice in Fredericton.
 
Elizabeth Driscoll was considered the most beautiful young woman in Fredericton. “A very sweet, ladylike girl” wrote famous British author Juliana Horatia Ewing who happened to be in town during the murder, trial, and subsequent riots. "But," Juliana wrote, "Elizabeth’s family has always been a bad lot.”
 
https://backyardhistory.ca/popular/f/getting-away-with-murder

Tuesday Mar 29, 2022

After a small town mob boss starts making big moves in the black market, a straight-laced British detective goes undercover to try to figure out what is going on.

Sunday Mar 20, 2022

Much to a small village's surprise, a Soviet bomber crash lands in a bog. The world turns its attention to the 1939 race to get to first reach the pilots.

Sunday Mar 13, 2022

Unraveling a legendary Maritimes mystery.
 
A few days before Christmas in 1859 a mysterious stranger was found freezing, but still alive, alone deep in the woods. Disabled from his injuries, he would be murdered to save the town money. Or did he escape death and start a new life?
Coincidentally, around the same time he goes missing in New Brunswick, a mysterious legless man washes up on the beach of Sandy Cove, Nova Scotia. 
https://backyardhistory.ca/articles/f/the-legless-mystery-man

Sunday Mar 06, 2022

Newspaper reports tell the story of a crazy invention seen driving around the streets of Saint John NB. Was it the first car to be invented?

Sunday Feb 27, 2022

A circus rolls in to small town Fredericton, but tensions between the performers and the locals soon boil over. A dead snake is thrown on the stage, and a riot erupts..

Abducted by a U-Boat

Sunday Feb 20, 2022

Sunday Feb 20, 2022

During the First World War, the crew of a Canadian naval vessel was abducted by a German U-boat, but were surprised to find what they were met with on board.
 
https://backyardhistory.ca/f/ship-crew-gets-captured-by-u-boat-in-bay-of-fundy-served-lunch

Saturday Feb 12, 2022

When a young Oscar Wilde toured the Maritimes, not everything went according to plan.
 
When Oscar Wilde’s tour of the Maritimes was being booked, it was not expected to be a success. Despite being heckled in Fredericton, and reports circulating around the world that he got arrested in Moncton, the tour was a rousing success. Every date was sold out, scalpers were selling tickets outside at outrageous prices, Nova Scotia's Governor gave him a personal tour of Halifax, he received rapturous receptions, extra dates had to be added, and a wave of people began copying his style across the region.
 
https://backyardhistory.ca/f/oscar-wildes-tour-of-the-maritimes

Monday Jan 31, 2022

Lost deep in the woods of Nova Scotia on a maze of logging roads, I came across a faded sign saying “The Electric City - La Nouvelle France.” Intrigued, I followed it, and found the abandoned ruins of what had once been an egalitarian utopian society. It had been among the first places in the Maritimes to have electricity and running water, and even boasted a train which ran on wooden rails.
 
https://backyardhistory.ca/articles/f/the-electric-city

The Mystery of Mount House

Sunday Jan 23, 2022

Sunday Jan 23, 2022

What are the origins of the mysterious Mount House and is it the oldest building in The Maritimes?

Sunday Jan 16, 2022

There aren't any wolves in New Brunswick, right? Well not according to these 19th century accounts of wolf attacks that took place throughout the province.

The Race Against Death

Thursday Jan 13, 2022

Thursday Jan 13, 2022

When disease breaks out in a remote northern community, two ace pilots battle the elements of a Canadian Winter to bring them much needed medicine.

The First Flight in Canada

Wednesday Jan 05, 2022

Wednesday Jan 05, 2022

A tale filled with ups and downs, as one man tries desperately to get his balloon into air, in what was the first ever flight in Canada, which took place in Saint John.

Christmas: 1868

Thursday Dec 23, 2021

Thursday Dec 23, 2021

Christmas through the eyes and told through the diary entries of average  people living in the 19th century.

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