When they burn down The Canadian Museum of Civilization in Hull, Quebec, Moira McCaffrey is making a dash for Champlain’s astrolabe. I know: it’s a shock to me, too, this news of the coming conflagration at one of the country’s most beloved museums, but if Maclean’s is reporting it in their July 9 edition, I guess it’s true.
Or — okay: if. Now that I’ve re-read it I see what they’re is saying that if flames were to flare in the museum, and McCaffrey happened to be on hand, wearing (maybe) an asbestos suit, assuming (as Maclean’s does) that the museum’s vice-president of research and collections only had time to save ten pieces, Champlain’s astrolabe is one of the artifacts she’d pass through heat and smoke to rescue. Also: the last Red Ensign to fly above Parliament Hill in 1965 before we got our new Maple Leaf; Sir John A. Macdonald’s golden watch; Sir George Back’s watercolour of Sir John Franklin’s fateful HMS Terror; and (of course) Rocket Richard’s red woolen number 9, the sacred cloth of which dates from the last years of his career, 1955-60, and was manufactured by L.J. Parent & Fils Ltée. in Montreal.