"A choke of emotion, a great heart-leap": English-Canadian Tourists in Britain, 1880s-1914

  • Cecilia Morgan

Abstract

Many English-Canadian travellers to Britain at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century arrived with preconceived notions of themselves as “Canadians” and as members of the British Empire, as well as of the historical and cultural landscapes through which they would move. While their diaries and letters are strikingly similar in terms of places seen and attractions experienced, this repetition did not preclude some revisioning, or at least questioning, of the well-known script. They encountered, and to varying degrees were performers in, some of the more obviously staged dramas of imperialism in late Victorian and Edwardian Britain. Coronation celebrations, Victoria’s Golden and Diamond Jubilees, royal funerals, and imperial and colonial exhibitions enabled tourists to reflect on their own Canadian identity as well as their relationship to the imperial centre and to other members of the Empire. Also, while English-Canadian men and women shared many similar experiences as colonial tourists, their participation in and reactions to these presentations of empire and history demonstrate the importance of gender in how meaning is shaped.
Published
2006-05-01
Section
Nation, Race, and Empire