#ThrowbackThursday: Pre-Divorce Act Divorces

As I wrap up Throwback Thursday Family Law month, I had to include this little piece of history I learned about one day while going through old Statutes of Canada. This may be old news to many of you, but I thought it was quite interesting. As too did Library and Archives Canada, since I’m going to shamelessly steal text from them for this:

The first federal Divorce Act was passed by Parliament in 1968, establishing a uniform divorce law across Canada. Before that, there were different laws relating to divorce in different provinces.

From 1840 to 1968, many divorces in Canada were granted by private acts of the Parliament of Canada. Before 1867, only five divorce acts were passed and published either in the Statutes of the Province of Canada or in the Journals of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada.

From 1867 to 1968, in some provinces a person wishing to obtain a divorce was first required to place a notice of intent to petition the government for an Act of Divorce in the Canada Gazette and in two newspapers in the district or county where the petitioner resided. It was to appear for a six-month period.

The petition would contain details such as the date and place of the marriage, and events surrounding the demise of the marriage. In the case of adultery or bigamy, a co-respondent was often named. If the petition was allowed, Parliament would pass an Act of Divorce nullifying the marriage.

Between 1867 and 1963, a transcript of the Act was published in the Statutes of Canada for the current year. Between 1964 and 1968, the transcript was published in the Journals of the Senate of Canada.

For more from Library and Archives Canada, click here.

#ThrowbackThursday: Family Law 1992

As mentioned last week, this month for Throwback Thursday, we’re looking at past family law conferences put on by the CCLA. This week’s entry is the program from our first official Annual Institute of Family Law. This seminar was held in May 1992, and though this schedule doesn’t indicate the location, it was held at the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa. Fun fact: this conference was actually jointly sponsored by the Faculty of Law at the University.



#ThrowbackThursday: Family Law 1983

This month, we’ll be holding the 26th Annual Institute of Family Law in Montebello. Accordingly, this month’s Throwbacks will feature programs from past family law conferences. You might be thinking at this point, however, that the title of this post says 1983, which is most definitely older than 26 years. And you’d be right!

A few weeks ago, I noticed a binder for the “Family Law Seminar” from 1983 on the shelf. If anyone can remember from the time what this was about, please leave a comment below! At any rate, what is clear is that before our Annual Institute of Family Law got started in 1992, we at least had this two-day seminar in May 1983 in Mont Ste-Marie. Here’s a look at the agenda:


#ThrowbackThursday: Cartier Square

My love for old pictures of Ottawa has been documented on this blog before, and I’m happy to report that I’m at it again! I stumbled upon these pictures of what used occupy the land the current Courthouse sits on, and I’m fascinated by the difference!

Certainly some of our readers will remember these, known as the Cartier Square buildings. They were constructed at the start of WWII and were specifically intended to be temporary buildings. Temporary in the case of the buildings on this lot lasted until 1980, when these were demolished. I particularly like the second photo above, looking at the front of the building (of what today would be the front of the Courthouse), from the position of Elgin and Nepean. A future post of what pre-dates Place Bell is certainly in the future!

If you’d like to learn more about Ottawa’s temporary buildings, I suggest this article from Urbsite. (In fact, I recommend spending a lot more time on Urbsite, if you’re into old Ottawa!)

#ThrowbackThursday: Minister of Finance’s New Budget Shoes

It’s everybody’s favourite time in Ottawa: BUDGET WEEK! Yay!

Ok, so maybe it’s not that exciting. For our throwback this week I went digging for interesting tidbits in really old budgets, but those also turned out to be not so exciting! Who knew.

What I did come across though, was a strange tradition that the Minister of Finance would wear new shoes when presenting the new budget to the House. A little further searching as to the origins of this revealed that the Library of Parliament did their own thorough investigation into this tradition, and summarized it into a beautiful chart that I could not possibly hope to outdo. As it turns out, Donald Fleming was the first confirmed minister to wear new shoes, for the budget day in 1960, and it’s unknown where or how this custom came about.

Nevertheless Bill Morneau has again followed suit this year, sporting a $250 pair from the Edmonton company Poppy Barley.

#ThrowbackThursday: Ottawa-Carleton Practice Guide

How many of you remember this item? Better yet, how many still have one kicking around the office?

The Ottawa-Carleton Practice Guide was first published in 1993, and was a place to keep the CCLA by-laws, local practice directions, and back copies of the CCLA Bulletin. It was available only to members in good standing, and to be honest, this is a really nice quality binder, so I can see why! As tempting as it is to revive this publication (librarians: we’re all obsessed with stationery products), you could say our website performs this same function today. Bylaws! Practice directions! Newsletters!

#ThrowbackThursday: “Online Searching – What can it do for YOU???”

As previously discussed on this blog, we love references to old technology, old terminology, and old librarianship topics. I was flipping through the old CCLA Bulletins, and found this delightful piece on online searching.


This was written almost exactly 24 years ago, and obviously in that time online searching has become the first (and for many people, last) stop in their research. I don’t think I’d have to work this hard to convince many people nowadays to try searching online! I found the tidbit about Quicklaw having “peak hours” for researching to be particularly interesting – that is certainly from before my time as a law librarian (and those prices – ouch!).

#ThrowbackThursday: The Carleton Medal

Of the four awards handed out annually by the CCLA, the Carleton Medal is our oldest and most prestigious. This award celebrates someone from our community who has made a significant impact on the profession over the course of their career. The list of recipients of the Carleton Medal is truly impressive – you can check out the full list here.

Carleton Medal – Kenneth Jarvis, R.C.A. (1988)

The history of the Carleton Medal is told with great detail in the book that was written for the 100th anniversary of the CCLA. The Medal was actually struck in that year to mark the centenary, and was designed by Kenneth Jarvis, Q.C., R.C.A. The design was based on the armorial bearings of Guy Carleton, 1st Baron Dorchester. Here’s what The First Century has to say:

The main element of his armorial achievement was the broad arrow, and this has been incorporated in the design of the Carleton Medal in two modes; on the obverse it appears in the naturalistic form of the arrowhead plant, a hardy and familiar native of Canadian lakes and streams. In this form it represents growth and vigour, striving upward towards the light, and producing, in due season, fine white blossoms. At the top of the obverse of the medal are the buds of future flowers symbolic of continuing growth. The two plants with their leaves and blooms represent the French and English components of the Association.

The motto, vicimus virtute, may be translated victory through merit and combines the ideas of conflict and the just resolution of it in favour of the more meritorious or deserving. … The motto relates also to Guy Carleton’s motto, quondam his vicimus armis, which may be translated, with these arms of yore we conquered.

(From: William C.V. Johnson, ed, The First Century: Essays on the History of the County of Carleton Law Association by Various Hands on the Occasion of the Association’s Centenary, 1888-1988 (Ottawa: Bonanza Press Ltd., 1988).)

The recipient of this year’s Carleton Medal will be announced in the coming weeks, and will be presented at the CCLA Awards Dinner on March 7.