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George Robert Parkin

(1846—1922) educationist and imperialist


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(1846–1922), educator, imperialist, author. Parkin was the best known of Canada's imperial nationalists from 1880 to 1920. An influential teacher in New Brunswick, 1868–89, reforming headmaster of Upper Canada College, 1895–1902, and first organizing secretary of the Rhodes scholarships, 1902–20, he was throughout a tireless advocate for closer unity within the British Empire. This was not slavish colonialism, but Canadian national pride. Geopolitical position in an age of railways and steamships, and moral strength bred of northern climate, Loyalist roots, and idealist values, ensured for Canada a ‘keystone’ imperial role. Through such influential books as Imperial Federation (1892), Round the Empire (1892), The Great Dominion(1895), and Sir John A. Macdonald (1908), Parkin advanced a two-pronged historical interpretation: that Canada was increasingly pan-Britannic in orientation, and that (anticipating the Laurentian thesis) the east–west geographical features of Canada resisted north–south continental integration.

From The Oxford Companion to Canadian History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: History of the Americas.


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