Fortuitous timing at the Glenbow


Timing can make up for a lot of things.

If you happen to be at the right place at the right time, sometimes that is more important than how talented one is.

A very good example of this is in picking stocks. It is possible that someone can do excellent technical and fundamental analysis, and also be the smartest guy on the block, but if they don’t have good timing it doesn’t matter how good they are.

Today I heard a piece of fortuitous news for the Glenbow. It is possible that they may not even realize this as it hasn’t even been published in print edition of the newspapers yet.

Here is why.

This afternoon (only a few hours ago) it was announced that one of Sir John Franklin‘s two ill-fated ships (HMS Erebus and HMS Terror) that tried to find the Northwest Passage in 1845/1846 has been found. The news reports I found online say it is too early to determine which one it was.

This will no doubt be considered as being sort of big news for Northern Development and Canadian Nationalism and Sovereignty in the Arctic.

Why is this incredible timing for the Glenbow?

Later this month on September 27th, the Glenbow will be opening a new in the third of a four-stop travelling exhibition originating from the Whatcom Museum just a few kilometres across the Canada/USA border in Bellingham, Washington. This exhibition entitled Vanishing Ice: Alpine and Polar Landscapes in Art 1775 – 2012 ties in well with this breaking news. What ties in even better to this news, is a parallel exhibition that the Glenbow is producing from its own collections, entitled From our Collection: Searching for the Northwest Passage.

There is also interesting local history going on relating to this news:

  • The Glenbow has a significant collection of Arctic paintings that are rarely put on display. Many have been in the collection since Glenbow founder, Eric Harvie was still living. The planned Northwest Passage exhibit will show some of these works;
  • Past President & CEO, and current Glenbow Board of Governors member, Michael Robinson prior to accepting the Glenbow position in 2000 (he resigned in 2007), held executive positions at the Arctic Institute of North America and elsewhere relating to the Arctic;
  • Past-President and CEO (from 1989-1999) Robert R. Janes, prior to accepting the Glenbow position was the founding Director of the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre and held other posts in the Northwest Territories;
  • Since the Glenbow is located in Calgary, it is safe to say that over the past number of decades many oil and gas companies along with some mineral exploration companies which are headquartered in the city have flirted with or actively explored the idea of oil and gas along with resource development above the Arctic Circle; and,
  • Current Prime Minister (and Calgary-based Member of Parliament) Stephen Harper has prominently shown selected artefacts from the ill-fated Franklin expedition in a large display case outside of his office on Parliament Hill. The recent title of a full-page National Post article from this past May 22nd, seems to have neatly summarized up the article which presents a perception of his government’s “oddly obsessive search for two sunken British ships in the Arctic (and how it) became a centrepiece of Conservative Canadian nationalism.” (see selected bibliography below for complete title)

This all seemingly has presented the Glenbow with excellent timing to host this travelling show and its own planned show.

Congratulations to the Glenbow on the excellent timing. I am sure that it will be a beneficiary of this increased awareness and attendance as a result.



Selected bibliography (by date):

Anonymous, “There were strange things done in the midnight sun in 1825 – was it hockey?” National Post, February 18, 2006, A9.

Graham Fraser, “Arctic defence; Sure, he missed the AIDS conference, but Stephen Harper made waves in the Arctic this week. But were the PM’s tough words on Arctic sovereignty anything more than just mere talk?” Toronto Star, August 19, 2006, F1.

Randy Boswell, “Finding lost ships will help claim on Arctic” Edmonton Journal, August 16, 2008, A1.

Greg Lyle, “Hugging our heritage while cutting our culture” The Globe and Mail, August 21, 2008, A17.

Tom Ford, “Arctic region heating up; Conservatives hope to make the Arctic a key issue in federal election campaign” The Guelph Mercury, September 16, 2008, A8.

Tristin Hopper, “Ice, terror & darkness; After 160 years, an underwater robot may finally be able to find the final resting place of the doomed Franklin expedition’s ships” National Post, July 05, 2011, A4.

Randy Boswell, “Fate of fabled sunken ship continues to hang in limbo; Canada, U.K., to resume talks on Investigator” Calgary Herald, August 18, 2012, A8.

Randy Boswell, “Franklin ships may have been found; Parks Canada seeking doomed Arctic expedition” The Windsor Star, September 25, 2012, D6.

Shane McCorristine, “Searching for Franklin: A contemporary Canadian ghost story” British Journal of Canadian Studies, vol. 26, no. 1, (2013): 39-57.

Kat Long, “Franklin Fever; How the oddly obsessive search for two sunken British ships in the Arctic became a centrepiece of Conservative Canadian nationalism” National Post, May 22, 2014, A13.

Alex Boutilier, “Full program on tap for PM’s Arctic sojourn: Harper slated to take part in ‘sovereignty exercise’ during ninth pilgrimage to the North” Toronto Star, August 20, 2014, A6.

Michael Den Tandt, “To touch the hand of Franklin; The search for the ill-fated British explorer is being used by the Harper government to promote Arctic development” National Post, August 26, 2014, A3.

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