The Grand River Navigation Company Swindle

Upper Canada’s William Hamilton Merritt and David Thompson 1 are entrepreneurs and visionaries and they catch a bug. They catch “canal fever,” which, along with malaria, is running rampant on this continent in the 1830s. “Canal fever” is an unhealthy obsession with building canals – a pun on the mosquito-born illnesses that plague the navvies who do the… Read more …

The Markham Gang, 1845-46

“Gang members took an oath of secrecy. They vowed to support each other in any way possible. They pledged to provide alibis in case they were arrested, and to back each other in court. This was a homegrown, nineteenth century Canadian ‘Mafia,’ a ‘mob,’ one of the earliest known cases of organized crime in British… Read more …