John’s Believe It Or Not… May 19th

In 1911 – Founding of Parks Canada. In 1957 – Fernand Lachance invents poutine. In 1536 Ann Boleyn the second wife of English King Henry VIII is beheaded at the Tower of London. In 1935 Lawrence of Arabia dies. In 1588 Spanish Armada sets sail.

John Fioravanti Stands at the front of his classroom in 2006

TGIF – It’s Friday Again! Did you know…

* 1957 – Fernand Lachance, owner of the Le Café Idéal in Warwick, Québec, invents poutine. (When it comes to poutine, three things are certain: it was invented in Québec, it’s best made with fresh cheese curds and it’s undeniably delicious. What’s less clear is who first made it, and when. The very history of this palate-pleasing, artery-clogging French Canadian masterpiece is a hot mess, peppered with colorful characters and laced with a distracting array of secret sauces and gooey melted cheese curds. Two Québec restaurants in the region south of Trois-Rivieres claim to be first to serve up the now-iconic dish. Café Ideal, later re-named Le Lutin Qui Rit (The Laughing Elf), has the earliest claim. The story has it, the Warwick, Qué. café was serving poutine — or something quite like it — as early as 1957. But detractors suggest that even if Café Ideal served it first, their piping hot bag of fries and fresh cheese curds was missing a key ingredient — the gravy, known in Québec as ‘sauce brune.’ The more widely accepted claim to serving all three key ingredients together comes from Drummondville’s Le Roy Jucep, once owned by the late Jean-Paul Roy. Le Roy Jucep holds the trademark as “l’inventeur de la poutine” but just like their menu, which offers 23 options for cheesy, sauce-smothered fries, their origin story comes in several flavors. Some say it was an out-of-town customer who first asked his waitress to toss fresh cheese curds — widely available in the dairy-rich region — onto his plate of fries and gravy. Others claim the culinary ménage a trois was a frequent off-menu request from the diner’s regulars – so frequent that Roy decided to make it an official menu option around 1965 or 1967.)

Dish of poutine.
(Encyclopedia Britannica)

* 1911 – Founding of Parks Canada, world’s first national parks service. (Canada established the first national parks service in the world in 1911. Under the leadership of James B. Harkin, the Dominion Parks Branch became a leading conservation body, both nationally and internationally. Influenced by the rise of a conservation movement and the rise of tourism as a significant part of Canadian economic development, the Dominion Parks Branch linked together exceptional natural and historic Canadian landscapes, giving them a shared identity as “Dominion Parks.” Harkin’s work culminated in the passage of the National Parks Act in 1930 and left a legacy that is the basis of the modern system of national parks and national historic sites that welcome millions of visitors annually. Whether national parks or national historic sites, the Dominion Parks Branch coordinated the expansion of a system of protected places in Canada. Across the Dominion, this new organization set in place the foundation for today’s network of heritage places, and initiated a tradition of national and international leadership in their management, conservation, and presentation.)


* 1536 Ann Boleyn, second wife of English King Henry VIII is beheaded at the Tower of London. (Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry VIII, served as queen of England in the 1530s. She was executed on charges of incest, witchcraft, adultery and conspiracy against the king. While Queen Anne’s public persona was that of sexually promiscuous status seeker—due in no small part to the public’s long-held allegiance to Catherine of Aragon—her efforts to play the traditional role of the queen during her reign were both valid and sincere, focusing on improvements for the poor. Anne was also renowned at court for her stylish wardrobe, much of which followed French fashion trends of the time. England would never warm up to Queen Anne, however. She would remain disliked, by and large, for the rest of her short life. Anne Boleyn was born circa 1501, likely in Bickling (Norfolk), England. She was the second wife of King Henry VIII—a scandalous marriage, given that he had been denied an annulment from his first wife by the Roman Church, and that his mistress was Anne’s sister, Mary. Thusly, King Henry VIII broke from the Church to marry Anne. She gave birth to a daughter, but could not conceive a son. On May 19, 1536, Anne Boleyn was executed on false charges of incest, witchcraft, adultery and conspiracy against the king. Her daughter, Elizabeth, emerged as one of England’s greatest queens. Anne Boleyn died on May 19, 1536, in London, England.)

Anne Boleyn Executed For Adultery, Incest and Treason
Anne Boleyn Executed For Adultery, Incest, and Treason (New Historian)

* 1935 Lawrence of Arabia dies. (T.E. Lawrence, known to the world as Lawrence of Arabia, dies as a retired Royal Air Force mechanic living under an assumed name. The legendary war hero, author, and archaeological scholar succumbed to injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident six days before. Thomas Edward Lawrence was born in Tremadoc, Wales, in 1888. In 1896, his family moved to Oxford. Lawrence studied architecture and archaeology, for which he made a trip to Ottoman (Turkish)-controlled Syria and Palestine in 1909. In 1911, he won a fellowship to join an expedition excavating an ancient Hittite settlement on the Euphrates River. He worked there for three years and in his free time traveled and learned Arabic. In 1914, he explored the Sinai, near the frontier of Ottoman-controlled Arabia and British-controlled Egypt. The maps Lawrence and his associates made had immediate strategic value upon the outbreak of war between Britain and the Ottoman Empire in October 1914. Lawrence enlisted in the war and because of his expertise in Arab affairs was assigned to Cairo as an intelligence officer. He spent more than a year in Egypt, processing intelligence information and in 1916 accompanied a British diplomat to Arabia, where Hussein ibn Ali, the emir of Mecca, had proclaimed a revolt against Turkish rule. Lawrence convinced his superiors to aid Hussein’s rebellion, and he was sent to join the Arabian army of Hussein’s son Faisal as a liaison officer. Under Lawrence’s guidance, the Arabians launched an effective guerrilla war against the Turkish lines. He proved a gifted military strategist and was greatly admired by the Bedouin people of Arabia. In July 1917, Arabian forces captured Aqaba near the Sinai and joined the British march on Jerusalem. Lawrence was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel. In November, he was captured by the Turks while reconnoitering behind enemy lines in Arab dress and was tortured and sexually abused before escaping. He rejoined his army, which slowly worked its way north to Damascus, which fell in October 1918. In February 1935, Lawrence was discharged from the RAF and returned to his simple cottage at Clouds Hill, Dorset. On May 13, he was critically injured while driving his motorcycle through the Dorset countryside. He had swerved to avoid two boys on bicycles. On May 19, he died at the hospital of his former RAF camp. All of Britain mourned his passing.

History: May 19, 1935: Lawrence of Arabia Responsible for Motorcycle Helmets!
History: May 19, 1935: Lawrence of Arabia Responsible for Motorcycle Helmets! (History and Headlines)

* 1588 Spanish Armada sets sail. (A massive Spanish fleet, known as the “Invincible Armada,” sets sail from Lisbon on a mission to secure control of the English Channel and transport a Spanish invasion army to Britain from the Netherlands. In the late 1580s, Queen Elizabeth’s support of the Dutch rebels in the Spanish Netherlands led King Philip II of Spain to plan the conquest of England. A giant Spanish invasion fleet was completed by 1587, but Sir Francis Drake’s daring raid on the port of Cadiz delayed the Armada’s departure until May 1588. The Invincible Armada consisted of 130 ships and carried 2,500 guns and 30,000 men, two-thirds of them soldiers. Delayed by storms, the Armada did not reach the southern coast of England until late July. By that time the British were ready. On July 21, the outnumbered English navy began bombarding the seven-mile-long line of Spanish ships from a safe distance, taking full advantage of their superior long-range guns. The Spanish Armada continued to advance during the next few days, but its ranks were thinned considerably by the English assault. On July 28, the Spanish retreated to Calais, France, but the English sent ships loaded with explosives into the crowded harbor, which took a heavy toll on the Armada. The next day, an attempt to reach the Netherlands was thwarted by a small Dutch fleet, and the Spanish were forced to face the pursuing English fleet. The superior English guns again won the day, and the Armada retreated north to Scotland. Battered by storms and suffering from a lack of supplies, the Armada sailed on a difficult journey back to Spain through the North Sea and around Ireland. By the time the last of the surviving fleet reached Spain in October, half of the original armada was destroyed. Queen Elizabeth’s decisive defeat of the Invincible Armada made England a world-class naval power and introduced effective long-range weapons into naval warfare for the first time, ending the era of boarding and close-quarter fighting. Historians also suggest that British naval superiority paved the way for the establishment of the mighty British Empire.)

elizabeth the golden age fleet
elizabeth the golden age fleet (

Acknowledged Sources:

* Canadian History Timeline – Canada’s Historical Chronology

* On This Day – History, Film, Music and Sport

* This Day In History – What Happened Today

* Parks Canada                             

* Biography                                      

Author: John Fioravanti

I'm a retired History teacher (35 years), husband, father of three, grandfather of three. My wife, Anne, and I became business partners in December, 2013, and launched our own publishing company, Fiora Books (, to publish my books. We have been married since 1973 and hope our joint business venture will be as successful as our marriage.

18 thoughts on “John’s Believe It Or Not… May 19th”

  1. Great post, John. My “make a wish” is to travel to each of the National Parks in the U.S.A. and Canada. I salute each of the visionaries who thought it important to protect these areas – from our avarice and short-sightedness. My heart longs for such beauty; I suspect all hearts long for such majesty. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Another super post, John. I’m sure Poutine must have started as a tongue in cheek slap at the food establishment of the day. (Much like deep fried Twinkies). Poor Anne, poor Spanish, poor Lawrence, yay parks.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I always felt a great deal of sympathy for poor Anne – falsely charged, unfairly imprisoned and executed so brutally all because a licentious ruler wanted a male heir to the throne. Still, she got what she said she wanted in the end – for her Elizabeth to wear the crown.

    May 19th, btw, was also my late brother Michael’s birthday. And NOW, eyelids drooping, Tink and I are off to bed. Have a wonderful weekend.
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, Madelyn, that Anne Boleyn was treated shabbily. I wonder what his excuse would have been if they knew back then that the male determines the gender of the child – not the woman. I wonder if Henry would have sneered and then yelled “Fake News!” LOL. Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

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