On 17 May 1642, a group of French settlers led by Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve and Jeanne Mance established the missionary colony of Ville-Marie on the Island of Montréal. Today, this modest settlement founded in the middle of the St. Lawrence River is Canada’s second largest city and home to nearly half of the province of Québec’s population. A centre of francophone culture in North America, Montréal also enjoys international renown. Through exhibits, images and articles — as well as several Heritage Minutes about influential Montrealers — this collection celebrates the 375-year heritage and history of this important cultural and economic centre.
Old Montreal is the historic district of the city of Montreal, located in the south-central part of Montreal Island and bounded by the St. Lawrence River to the south, Saint-Antoine Street to the north, McGill Street to the west and Saint-Hubert Street to the east. In the second half of the 20th century, this area came under pressure from urban change, as business and port activity shifted elsewhere, depriving Old Montreal of its historic roles. But in the 1960s, a long process began that completely transformed it into a heritage district (it was at this time that the name Old Montreal came into common use). The designation of the Arrondissement historique de Montréal by the Quebec government in 1964 marked an important step in this transformation. With massive investments from the three levels of government, as well as from businesses and individuals, a lengthy rehabilitation effort began. Nearly 60 years later, visitors can now follow the traces of Montreal’s history back to pre-colonial times, and the changes that the city has undergone since the first European settlers arrived in 1642.
There are 13 First Nation communities in Nova Scotia. Spread over 42 reserves and settlements, these communities range from Acadia First Nation in the southwest to Membertou First Nation in northeastern Cape Breton. Of Nova Scotia’s 19,090 registered Mi’kmaq (in 2018), 10,878 live on reserve. Eight of these communities are on mainland Nova Scotia, and five are in Cape Breton. Their reserves vary in size from over 3,500 hectares to less than one, though almost every community has more than one land tract. Nova Scotia is unusual for the makeup of its on-reserve First Nation communities, in that they are all Mi’kmaq. In terms of the number of First Nation communities, Nova Scotia is comparable to New Brunswick (with 15 First Nations) and Yukon (18 First Nations). Other provinces, such as Ontario and British Columbia, have many more First Nation communities (127 and nearly 200, respectively), while those like Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador have significantly fewer (two and four, respectively).
Québec City, Québec, founded in 1608, population 531,902 (2016 c), 516,576 (2011 c). Québec City, the capital of the province of Québec, is located on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River where it meets the Rivière Saint-Charles. Here, the St. Lawrence narrows to a width of just over 1 km, and navigation is made difficult by a group of islands, the largest of which is Île d'Orléans. Cap-Diamant, a promontory with an elevation of 98 m, dominates the site and was used effectively as a fortification, earning Québec City the name "Gibraltar of North America." The name "Québec" is probably derived from an Algonquian word meaning "narrowing of the river."
Soldiers rounding up terrified civilians, expelling them from their land, burning their homes and crops ‒ it sounds like a 20th century nightmare in one of the world's trouble spots, but it describes a scene from Canada's early history, the Deportation of the Acadians.6
Nunavut, or “Our Land” in Inuktitut, encompasses over 2 million km2 and has a population of 35,944 residents (2016 census), approximately 85 per cent of whom are Inuit. Covering roughly the part of the Canadian mainland and Arctic Archipelago that lies to the north and northeast of the treeline, Nunavut is the largest and northernmost territory of Canada and the fifth largest administrative division in the world. Nunavummiut live in 25 communities spread across this vast territory, with the largest number, 7,740 (2016 census), in the capital, Iqaluit. The creation of Nunavut in 1999 (the region was previously part of the Northwest Territories) represented the first major change to the political map of Canada since the incorporation of Newfoundland into Confederation in 1949. Beyond changing the internal political boundaries of Canada, Nunavut’s formation represented a moment of great political significance; through political activism and long-term negotiations, a small, marginalized Indigenous group overcame many obstacles to peacefully establish a government that they controlled within the Canadian state, thereby gaining control of their land, their resources and their future. As such, the creation of Nunavut represents a landmark moment in the evolution of Canada and a significant development in the history of the world’s Indigenous peoples.
Acadia is a land deeply imbued with history. Its present status is that of a minority, a "country" with vague outlines but a vigorous spirit. Its territorial origin follows the French colonial efforts in the early 17th century. The first permanent agricultural settlements in what is now Canada occurred there.
Halton Hills, ON, incorporated as a town in 1974, population 61,161 (2016 c), 59,013 (2011c). Halton Hills is located approximately 45 km west of Toronto and was created by the amalgamation of Acton, Georgetown and Esquesing Township. It is also encompasses several hamlets — Ballinafad, Glen Williams, Stewarttown, Limehouse, Glen Lawson, Speyside, Ashgrove, Crewson’s Corners, Bannockburn, Henderson’s Corners, Whaley’s Corners, Mansewood, Hornby, Silver Creek, Terra Cotta and Norval. From 1926 to 1935, Norval was home to Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables.