The game is six degrees of Canadian history. Take two seemingly unrelated pieces of Canadian culture and connect the dots through various people, places and events to discover how they’re distantly — or maybe not-so-distantly — related. Along the way, we visit the quizzical and curious, the tragic and comic, and everything in between.
The Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) is Canada's national agency for geoscientific information and research. It studies and reports on Canada’s geology, natural geological hazards, and the development of natural resources. Established in 1842 primarily to promote the mining industry, it is one of the country’s oldest scientific organizations. Throughout its history, the Survey has produced some of the most comprehensive and detailed maps of the Canadian landscape, and published several important reports on its ecology and natural history.
Overdoses from a class of painkiller drugs called opioids are claiming the lives of thousands of Canadians from all walks of life. The death count is the result of an escalating public health crisis: an epidemic of opioid addiction. The crisis is made more deadly by an influx of illicit fentanyl and chemically similar drugs, but it can be traced to the medical over-prescribing of opioids, including oxycodone, fentanyl, and morphine.
During the 20th century, the federal government established racially segregated “Indian hospitals” for the treatment of First Nations and Inuit peoples in Canada. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the government supported Christian missionary efforts to provide rudimentary hospital care on some reserves, but aggressively expanded its system of Indian hospitals after the Second World War. By 1960, the government owned 22 hospitals with more than 2,200 beds, mostly in Ontario and westward. Indian hospitals did not provide Indigenous medicines, midwives or holistic notions of illness and its treatment. To the contrary, the hospitals were intended to further assimilationist goals and replace traditional healing with biomedicine. Although the institutions were originally justified to isolate tuberculosis, they actually functioned as general hospitals, admitting patients based on Indian status, not disease. Certainly many people were made well in these hospitals, but patients, often far from home, recall loneliness, vulnerability, fear and, for some, abuse in strange institutions where medical staff did not understand their cultures and languages. There were never any medical training programs for Indigenous people in the Indian hospitals. With the coming of medicare in the late 1960s, the government began to close most of the Indian hospitals, though it continues to operate hospitals at Norway House and Hodgson in Manitoba.
The aerospace industry includes the development and production of aircraft, satellites, rockets and their component parts. Aerospace is a major component of Canada's economy, employs tens of thousands of Canadians, and accounts for a large part of Canadian trade with foreign markets. Canada boasts a diverse aerospace sector and is one of just a few countries that produce airplanes. Through close partnership with the United States space agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Canada has also launched satellites as well as built sophisticated components used on the International Space Station.
The Canadarm was a remote-controlled mechanical arm, also known as the Shuttle Remote Manipulator System (SRMS). During its 30-year career with NASA’s Space Shuttle Program, the robotic arm deployed, captured and repaired satellites, positioned astronauts, maintained equipment, and moved cargo.
Palaeontological and geological studies of these deposits go back about 130 years. These include work carried out by George Mercer Dawson in 1890 as part of his survey of British Columbia for the Geological Survey of Canada, with occasional research published in the 1920s and 1930s.
Influenza, often referred to as the flu, is a common, contagious respiratory illness. There are four types of influenza viruses: A, B, C and D. While influenza A, B and C viruses can infect humans, influenza D is believed to primarily affect animals such as cattle and pigs. Influenza C is rare in comparison to influenza A and B, which are the main sources of the “seasonal flu,” or the viruses that circulate in Canada and other countries each winter. Influenza A is also the source of flu pandemics. Canada has experienced five influenza pandemics since the late 19th century, in 1890, 1918, 1957, 1968 and 2009. In Canada, influenza causes an estimated 12,200 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths each year.
High Arctic Weather Stations, managed by the Monitoring and Science Division, Prairie and Northern Region of Environment Canada, began as the Joint Arctic Weather Stations. The plan for a network of Arctic weather bases was approved by the US on 12 February 1946, and on 28 January 1947 Cabinet formally agreed to participate. Between 1947 and 1950, five sites were selected and built jointly by Canada and the US (at Eureka, Isachsen, Mould Bay, Resolute and Alert) to provide the data required for the understanding and prediction of meteorological phenomena on a hemispheric scale and, more specifically, to improve weather predictions for North America. The meteorological data collected is also used by forecasting offices, airlines, northern shipping, climatology studies and research.
Most Indigenous ethnology collections found in Canadian museums today were gathered (and sometimes confiscated) by missionaries, government agents, amateur and professional collectors and anthropologists such as Edward Sapir and Marius Barbeau during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Today, many Indigenous nations are requesting that these items be returned to their true home.
In spring and summer the most abundant substance in leaves is chlorophyll, which gives them their green colour. Chlorophyll is essential for photosynthesis, the process which converts the energy of sunlight into sugar. Sunlight is also necessary for the synthesis of chlorophyll itself.
Climate change occurs when long-term weather patterns begin to shift. These periods of change have occurred throughout the Earth’s history over extended periods of time. However, since the Industrial Revolution the world has been warming at an unprecedented rate. Because of this, the current period of climate change is often referred to as “global warming.” Human activities that release heat-trapping greenhouse gases, such as the burning of fossil fuels, are largely responsible for this increased rate of change. The implications of this global increase in temperature are potentially disastrous and include extreme weather events, rising sea levels and loss of habitat for plants, animals and humans. In Canada, efforts to mitigate climate change include phasing-out coal-fired power plants in Ontario and instituting a carbon tax in British Columbia.
We celebrate the heroism and mourn the sacrifices of our military through two world wars, and assorted other foreign conflicts and peacekeeping missions. Yet less attention has been paid to the related efforts of women — in particular, the nurses who have built their own proud tradition of service and sacrifice.