Spies in the 19th Century

Yes, Amy, I'm here. There's a quickness in your communication with me tonight, like you're in some sort of a pickle in the 19th century. Tell me right now, as coherently as possible, what's gone wrong this time. Don't make me have to drag it out of you.


Ya, well I'm pretty sure it's nothin' for you to get all insane about, but yesterday I was in the parlour when the lawyer guy who's still here in the mansion - Burt Graham is his name - came in and we started to talk. Uh, I mighta mentioned something about British Columbia becoming a part of Canada in a coupla years, you know, like I learned in history class. I dunno ... it just came to me and so I said it without thinking. And I thought nothin' much of it until his face got all red.

And then he asked me who told me this coz it turns out, ha, that only a few people, like him for instance, have been told this is gonna happen in 1871.

And ever since then he's been askin' me all sorts of questions, like who told me and where do I come from and who my sources are, and where is my family and how can he get in touch with them ... like he thinks I'm a friggin' SPY or something! 


Whoa, what?! This, after all the conversations we've had about how important it is for you to not divulge what you know about people who haven't been born yet, or inventions ... or anything that hasn't already happened? How simple is it to simply not talk about anything that hasn't happened past the year 1868?
I'm afraid this slip of yours may have serious consequences, Amy. Very serious indeed. 

Spying or espionage is a kind of intelligence activity that carries the task of gathering information in a hidden manner.

In the early 1860's the Canadian government first created an intelligence service to monitor the activities of the exiled Irish group, FENIAN, who wanted to create an invasion from bases in the United States.

Also in the mid-19th century when you currently exist, units are being formed in the Canadian militia to provide scouting and espionage skills. The formation of two secret police forces and the formal intelligence service in Canada is already in place.

During World War II (1939-1945), Canada will join with allied intelligence to strengthen Canadian intelligence services. 

Camp X, a secret allied training camp in Ontario, will lead to the formation of the Communications Security Establishment, and the first biological germ warfare station. 

Monument at the site of Camp X in Whitby, Ontario

In December of 1941, Camp X will become the unofficial name of the secret Special Training School No. 103, a paramilitary installation for training covert agents. Camp X will be summarized by the historian Bruce Forsythe: 

"Trainees at the camp learned sabotage techniques, subversion, intelligence gathering,  lock picking, explosives training, radio communications, encode/decode, recruiting techniques for partisans, the art of silent killing and unarmed combat." 

Even Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie-King will be unaware of its full purpose.