Lesson 8) Canadian Magical Communities
The classroom is unexpectedly cold today, though the professor seems quite cheery about it, donning her house scarf beckoning to all the students with gloved hands to come in. Experimentally, some students exhale to see their own breath, a surprising thing to be able to do in the near-summer that’s going on outside of the History of Magic classroom. “It’s neither a prank or a meteorological magical malfunction, students! Just thought I’d give us a change of scenery to match our topic for the day! Though… not all of Canada is constantly chilly, there are certainly some frigid regions!” With a wave of her wand, the professor creates a snowball that splats satisfyingly on the closed door of the classroom as the lecture begins in earnest.
As we have discussed both the United States of America and parts of South America, it seems only fair that we move north of both and explore some of the magical communities within Canada. As I am sure you’re all aware, it is a rather large country, meaning there are a considerable number of magical communities each with their own fascinating history. There are far too many for us to discuss so I will focus on a select few instead today and maybe inspire you to do some research on your own later!
No? Well, I can dream, can’t I? In any case, let’s get to it.
Our first Canadian wizarding village, one of the few all-magical ones and the only predominantly French-speaking city we will cover today, can be found just on the Canadian side of the St. Lawrence Seaway, close to Alexandria Bay. This bustling island, Toulimar, has a storied history that predates the founding of Canada itself.
In May of 1642, fifty Frenchmen arrived by boat to found the city of Montreal. However, one of these men, a wizard named Artus Internas, wanted to branch out further and carve out his own, unique legacy. En route to Montreal, they had passed a number of islands in the St. Lawrence Seaway and Internas felt one of the bigger ones would be the perfect place for his plans.
Internas left almost everything behind in France, so once he had settled on this island, he sent for his wife and eight children to join him in his new life. Due to the island’s location, it was an ideal place to set up a trading network, as items could be easily shipped anywhere including back to France, Europe, and beyond. And that is exactly what Internas did. He created and ran two separate businesses: one for witches and wizards and another for Muggles. The latter was, in truth, more of a fur-selling front to allow him to ship things via Muggle transportation if need be. His wizarding business, however, dealt in all manner of goods. He kept his ears open whenever people visited and listened to what witches and wizards on both sides of the river (and pond) wanted. In no time at all, he had a thriving business, and as a former Beauxbatons graduate, he had quite the network of connections. Pair this with his resourcefulness and word of mouth, and before long the Internas name travelled far and wide within the wizarding community. The simple business grew into something resembling a small town and people would travel from quite far in the “New World” to see his wares. Some wizarding folk actually went so far as to move to the island in earnest, so they could have access to all the conveniences of a well-stocked shop, as well as live somewhere they didn’t have to hide their magic. While not quite part of the “Great Clustering,” as it was a bit delayed and not in the right area of the world, the sentiment was still the same: safety in numbers (and in being with your own kind). Over time, these people formed the basis of what is Toulimar today.
As the city grew, so did Internas’ family. As mentioned, the family had eight children: all but one of them magical. However, instead of sending his children to the still-new Ilvermorny or shipping them back to France to Beauxbatons, Internas and his wife Hélène decided to teach their children themselves, having received an excellent education from Beauxbatons many years prior. This allowed them to specialize the lessons to their children’s interests, skills, and talents. Splitting their time, the parents helped each child pursue what fascinated them, which not only helped their children, but their business as well.
For example, Bastienne, who grew up loving books and history, went on to trade rare tomes and ancient manuscripts, even doing a bit of translation work periodically. Another child, Fermin, had a keen interest in plants and nature, so he went on to research, grow, and eventually sell useful plants and remedies (which was quite the marketable skill in the Americas at the time). Even the non-magical child was able to pursue his interests (he had quite the mind for numbers and running a business) and so Marche, the youngest, inherited his father’s fur trading business. With his natural knowledge of non-magical practices, he maintained the disguise much more effectively than his siblings could, and his passion for business and shrewd managing resulted in enormous profits.
These eight stores, shops, and service centers -- along with the wares and skills of the other families that had since settled on the island -- formed the basis for the (now famous) Toulimar Bazaar, which grew with each passing year. In the present day, this is the downtown area of “Old Toulimar” and supports no fewer than 300 shops. While many of these are permanent, others may come and go based on the interest of patrons, sellers, or even the seasons. In the very center, you can find the main street where it all started, known lovingly as Internassian Alley. This sprawling avenue is still home to many of the original stores and services -- such as “Fermin’s Philters and Flora” and “Bastienne’s Book Bastion” -- which enjoy booming business to this day.
It wasn’t always smooth sailing, though. In 1732, the entire island almost fell into the sea due to nearby earthquakes. The island -- nearly split in half -- lost many of its original buildings and businesses (though they have since chosen to ignore this minor setback and proudly claim their original founding date) which fell into the river or were reduced to rubble that even the most robust Reparo couldn’t remedy. However, this did not discourage the inhabitants. The villagers there (though truly it was more of a city at this point) resolved to rebuild Toulimar even better than it had been before. Much of the “old district” was recreated in the same late medieval French style, though with amenities that had not been around when the original buildings were put in place. They took advantage of the opportunity to do a fair bit of logical city planning (a luxury that most cities of this period lack) and created a beautiful marriage of logical infrastructure, current conveniences, and old world aesthetics. They also took it upon themselves to magically enhance the interior space of nearly all businesses. Because of this, many seemingly modest storefronts on Internassian Alley are, in fact, many floored warehouses of magical goods! The “newer” district, now nicknamed “Toulimoderne” was planned in a similar fashion, also with a heavy emphasis on utilizing wizard space to make the most out of their limited square footage on the island.
Most importantly, along with the clever city planning and enchantments, those in charge decided it would be best to finally remove themselves from the public (Muggle) eye, and many magical defenses such as Muggle-Repelling Charms, clever disillusionments, and methods of camouflage were woven into the rebuilding process. The result? Present-day Toulimar is invisible to non-magical folk, and has carefully reapplied charms that divert the boat traffic from a large wide radius in the middle of the river. Why? Most Muggles will forget what they’re talking about if you mention it, but the official reason on file is that there is debris on the riverbed that makes it dangerous for boats to pass through the area. And so the island and its two districts enjoy economic success and privacy from the No-Majs to this day.
This is not the only wizarding community or city on the eastern side of Canada; there are many! To discuss the next one, I will pass you over to Professor Wessex, our Ancient Runes expert, who will enlighten you about a sprawling city which is also home to some interesting magical history.
Thank you, professor. It’s been quite some time since I was last here to share topics of mutual interest. One magical community in Canada of particular interest is Ifingval, home to one of the Euro-Glyph School of Extraordinary Languages. I see some of you have heard of it, though I am sure few of you know of its humble beginnings.
Leading up to the arrival of European colonists, Ifingval was simply a patch of unmarred countryside like much of the unexplored or underexplored territories of North America. The only inhabitants were the indigenous peoples, though they were progressively pushed farther and farther away by the slow creep of immigrant settlers. However, starting in the early 1800s, it became home to a strange assortment of people.
In 1817, what is potentially the longest single citizen-lead attempt to protect the International Statute of Secrecy began. It started with Étiennette Forseti and Vorent Travert, two European librarians with an interest in both Viking history and foreign languages. They set out to the Americas in search of a rumor: they had heard tales of a runestone uncovered in the northern regions of the “New World.” While magihistorians of their time didn’t know nearly as much about early Norse exploration in the Americas as we know today, the pair felt these rumors were possible. More importantly, they knew that any discovery could all-too-easily spell trouble for keeping Muggles in the dark about magic.
When they arrived on the east coast, they immediately set out north towards the territory known as Canada and happened upon the French trading post, Montréal. It was far on the outskirts of this bustling hub that they made their makeshift home, using it as a base of operations. The group spent years finding, cataloging, and safely transporting the stones from their points of discovery back to the growing homestead just across the river from
Montréal. Forseti and Travert took great care to ensure the protection of the International Statute of Secrecy. However, because of the large number of stones and the rapid population growth of both Canada and the then-budding nation of the United States, they were, on occasion, too slow. In these cases, fakes were made and switched with the originals at great personal effort and clever planning.
By 1826, with many runestones accounted for, Forseti, Travert, and the few colleagues that had joined them (mostly historians and linguists) were eager to start investigating the stones in earnest. They knew the stones were a veritable treasure trove of historical, magical, and runic information waiting to be unlocked. They were not disappointed. It is partially from these stones that we know what you discussed in Lesson Two of this year. Accounts of the indigenous peoples’ magical prowess, mentions of seidr, and comparisons of the magical creatures native here to those back in Scandinavia were all translated from these uncovered stones. Ecstatic at their findings, this motley crew of researchers wrote back home, inspiring rabid curiosity. Over time, the little town naturally grew into a sort of haven for intellectuals. It couldn’t compete with the already-flourishing Ilvermorny further south, but was renowned in its own right, particularly among scholars of language.
It wasn’t until 1867 that anything became official, however. At the time, Euro-Glyph Schools was merely an idea of Euphant Merrylin’s, who had learned of various prominent language schools around the world and sought to connect them to better share knowledge and expertise. The little campus in Ifingval was one of the first three to be simultaneously recognized as a Euro-Glyph School and its renown has only grown since, along with its curriculum. Every now and again since the formation of the school, reports of newly-discovered runestones surface, prompting the school to offer a delegate to the Canadian Ministry of Magic to help deal with the issues. However, as time goes on, these accounts require less and less effort to discredit, as most are simply Muggles emulating what they believe to be past hoaxes.
Today, the school offers courses in 183 different languages and scripts, including Australian aboriginal dialects, Gobbledegook, Mi’kmaq hieroglyphics, Old Norse, and Rovásírás. Their most recent addition is their Foucault Wing, dedicated to language revival and ancient spell research. In addition to the language school there, other academies -- each extremely specific -- have opened up in Ifingval, including a Kabbalist school and, most recently, a small school of Occlumency. The many inhabitants of the city are viewed as a bit odd by their neighbors, but this is usually written off as the sort of aloofness and eccentricity that comes with scholars in their ivory towers.
But I will not go on all afternoon. If interested in the Euro-Glyph schools, but unable to travel to Ifingval, I recommend investigating either of the campuses in London or Leeds, as they matriculate all months of the year and offer summer courses. For now, I turn you over to your professor to continue your discussion.
As a bit of a foil to the previous city, I have something less academic for you next. Do we have any Quidditch fans here today? If so, you may have already heard of our next topic for discussion. Haileybury’s story starts back in 1889, with a wizard named Charles Cobbold Farr. He was born and raised in England by his Muggle parents, and when he received his Hogwarts letter, Farr’s parents declined the offer and insisted on him having a regular boarding education at a mundane boarding school, incidentally, called Haileybury. Despite the fact that it was non-magical, he made lifelong friends at the school, and Farr’s appreciation for the Muggle world, developed both at home and this school, showed in nearly everything he did. The one thing Haileybury lacked was instruction in magic. Fortunately Farr was resourceful and able to seek out tutors to teach him the skills he needed to compete in the magical world (and help him procure a wand) while still attending a Muggle boarding school. Some time after finishing his education, Farr took up employment with the Hudson Bay Company in Canada where he stayed for six years before realising he wanted to make his own mark on history, and that is exactly what he did. He found a rather large area of land alongside Lake Temiskaming, declared it the town of Haileybury, and it was as simple as that.
Or, well, more or less. There was an initial struggle getting other people to settle there with him and his family. He sent out leaflets to non-magical folks and the very few people he knew from the wizarding world, as he wasn't fussy about who lived in his town. His favorite former tutor, Titus Rashley, helped him advertise in places he’d never visited himself (due to his lack of a traditional wizarding school experience), and while it was slow going at first, things suddenly picked up! Seemingly overnight, the population was booming. The area quickly became a mining community made of wizards and muggles working side by side. Wizards covertly helped with their magic when the No-Majs weren't around, generally quite early in the morning before work or in the dead of night, and the No-Majs were content enough to not ask questions and got along well with even the strangest of their neighbors.
It was all going astonishingly well until October 4th, 1922, when a huge wildfire demolished nearly 90% of the small town. Magical folk could only look on helplessly as the inferno -- started suddenly via a deadly combination of normally-controlled brush fires, a particularly dry autumn, and gale-force winds -- ravaged the town over a period of two days. Rather than reveal their secret, wizards worked alongside their Muggle brethren the only way they could (and even the few that conjured it up in secret were unable to make much of a difference owing to the sheer amount of water that was needed). The rebuilding process (and the shared trauma), which took quite a few years, resulted in even stronger ties between the magical and No-Maj citizens, and is part of the reason that Haileybury presently enjoys such excellent relations with its non-magical residents.
Present-day Haileybury is actually one of three villages that have combined to form the city called Temiskaming Shores. It is known for its mining and forestry, its nature-based recreation opportunities, and the Haileybury Hammers -- a middling Quidditch team known for their development of extraordinary plays that often involve incredible feats of cooperation. One such example being the Winged Wall, which involves all six players (aside from the keeper) creating a wall of opposition. In doing so, the players block any goals by holding onto their neighbor’s broom handles and staying synced in flight to avoid the opposing Chaser’s attempts to fly under, over, or around them to score. I’m sure you’ll all agree that this tactic (and the team) is a fitting testament to the history of cooperation in the city.
Another community with ties to Quidditch is Moose Jaw, a city located out in the western province of Saskatchewan. Home to roughly 33,000 Moose Javians spanning roughly 36 villages or neighborhoods, unbeknownst to the non-magical folks there, many of their neighbors in these villages have interesting secret lives.
Up until the 1920s, the tiny population of magical persons in Moose Jaw was quite cut off from the rest of the wizarding world, and thus it was a rather dangerous place to live, as many magical communities are centered around more easterly points in Canada, as they were settled first. However, an expansive system of tunnels, originally built to accommodate a steam system, eventually served as a solution for a number of troubles.
Attention was first drawn to the tunnels during the early 1900s, when Chinese workers used them as a method of escape as well as residences at a time when the average Asian-Canadian suffered significant unjust scrutiny. Later on, wizards and witches became interested in using these tunnels for similar purposes, though expanded the systems to meet their needs. While many of these tunnels are common knowledge to Muggles, they are only aware of a little over fifty percent of them. There are hundreds of unknown tunnels running under Moose Jaw (and surrounding areas) that serve a variety of magical purposes, including commerce, travel, education, and even housing. Since the expansion and use of the tunnel network in the 1920s, Moose Jaw’s magical population has increased 300% and is still rising.
Perhaps a bit at odds with this high level of secrecy, Moose Jaw is also home to one of Canadian Quidditch’s most successful teams. Known for their flashy celebrating, the team was nearly disbanded in the 1970s for repeated infractions against the International Statute of Secrecy for obvious and suspicious celebrations after every winning Quidditch match. The team and its fans have since shaped up and abided by regulations after serious threats of breaking up the team were levelled, but celebrations are still quite exuberant (though are fortunately contained in the tunnels below).
Finally in our journey, we reach Nunavut, an entire territory with a comparable population to the city of Moose Jaw. However, to put this in perspective, Nunavut is nearly eight times the size of the UK, whereas Moose Jaw in the western province of Saskatchewan, is roughly the size of Diagon Alley and the surrounding village. Needless to say, the entire area feels a bit empty.
There is only one registered location in Nunavut that is large enough to be considered a city (Iqaluit) and the rest of the scattered two dozen hamlets have populations between 129 inhabitants to a whopping 2,842. Or, at least, so the non-magical records of Nunavut’s government say…
In fact, Nunavut is home to quite a large proportion of North America’s magical creature sanctuaries, as well as a smattering of wizarding villages and towns. It is here that the majority of Canadian all-magical villages are (with Toulimar as the main exception). Areas in Nunavut (and the Yukon and Northwest Territories) are considered quite safe for those with magical backgrounds, and therefore there are many magical locales to choose from, though we only have time to discuss one today: Nalunaktuk.
This community falls into the earlier-mentioned group of sanctuary cities, of which there are quite a few. There are Jobberknoll areas, Re’em reserves, and even a large dragon preserve for Canadian Colddrakes. However, Nalunaktuk has the most famous of them all: Nalunaktuk Nature Park. Not only does it house your traditional rare native creatures to the area, such as those with Re’em, it is also equipped with research facilities, wildly successful breeding programs, and housing for the families of reserve workers to live year-round. All in all, the expansive 107,000 mi2 park is home to far more animals than wizards, but still houses roughly a cool 5,000 human citizens.
Ah, did I say cool? Well, that is indeed the issue. One of the reasons for the sparse population in this region of Canada is the frigid temperatures and odd seasonal cycles. Of course, witches and wizards are able to combat much of this with magical alterations, and have even equipped different havens to behave like many creatures’ natural habitats, such as is used in their Snidget sanctuary area and their triple eagle hatchery. Because of all these amenities, this park is quite popular among scholars in professions related to magizoology and the model upon which many parks are based and to which many are compared.
Unfortunately, it seems we have run out of time today and we’ve only covered a tiny portion of all that Canada has to offer. There are quite a few more locales around Ontario, such as Baldoon -- famous for the spirit strike of the 1830s -- and many more in western Canada, such as Stonewall where magical miners grew tired of their No-Maj brethren taking too long and secretly conspired to help things along with interesting results. While I wish we could continue with this discussion next lesson, you will have the opportunity to hear a bit about some of them -- in a roundabout fashion -- when we discuss some of the famous witches and wizards of North and South America for our final lesson next week.
Your assignments today consist of a quiz on today’s material, an extra credit research opportunity to investigate another wizarding village, town, city, or full-blown community in the northern reaches of North America, and an assignment quizzing you on which facts came from which village, town, city, or community. If you have any issues, please do contact me. Next week is the final lesson of the year, so I hope you will revise all the material covered this year in preparation for your final.