Industry | The Canadian Encyclopedia

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  • Article

    Capitalism in Canada

    Capitalism is an economic system in which private owners control a country’s trade and business sector for their personal profit. It contrasts with communism, in which property effectively belongs to the state (see also Marxism). Canada has a “mixed” economy, positioned between these extremes. The three levels of government decide how to allocate much of the country’s wealth through taxing and spending.

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  • Article

    Coal Mining

    A carbonaceous fossil fuel, coal has a long history as the key energy source in the transition to industrialization, beginning in 17th-century Europe.

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  • Article

    Fur Trade in Canada (Plain-Language Summary)

    The fur trade began in the 1600s in what is now Canada. It continued for more than 250 years. Europeans traded with Indigenous people for beaver pelts. The demand for felt hats in Europe drove this business. The fur trade was one of the main reasons that Europeans explored and colonized Canada. It built relationships between Europeans and Indigenous peoples. (This article is a plain-language summary of the fur trade. If you are interested in reading about this topic in more depth, please see our full-length entry, Fur Trade in Canada.)

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  • Article

    Pro Pelle Cutem

    Pro pelle cutem (a Latin phrase meaning “a pelt for a skin”) is the traditional motto of the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC). It was adopted soon after the company received its charter in 1670 and has remained on the HBC coat of arms, apart from a brief period of rebranding between 2002 and 2013.

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  • Article

    Railway History in Canada

    The development of steam-powered railways in the 19th century revolutionized transportation in Canada and was integral to the very act of nation building. Railways played an integral role in the process of industrialization, opening up new markets and tying regions together, while at the same time creating a demand for resources and technology. The construction of transcontinental railways such as the Canadian Pacific Railway opened up settlement in the West, and played an important role in the expansion of Confederation. However, railways had a divisive effect as well, as the public alternately praised and criticized the involvement of governments in railway construction and the extent of government subsidies to railway companies. This is the full-length entry about Railway History in Canada. For a plain-language summary, please see Railway History in Canada (Plain-Language Summary).

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  • Article

    Ranching History

    Fort Macleod was the first cattle town in the Canadian West. Early ranching was centered around the headquarters of the North West Mounted Police (courtesy Glenbow Archives).A round-up in Alberta's ranching country (photo by Angus McNee, courtesy Take Stock Photography Inc.).Photo by Notman & Son (courtesy Library and Archives Canada/C-8812).Fall roundup: lead man John Thompson herding cattle back to ranches, Alberta, October 1975 (photo by Ted Grant/courtesy Library and Archives Canada/PA-142584).PreviousNext Ranching History Ranching developed...

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  • Article

    Royal William

    The Royal William was the first Canadian ship to cross the Atlantic entirely under steam power. It was built by Messrs Black and Campbell and launched on 27 April 1831 by Lord and Lady Aylmer at Québec. The steam

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  • Article

    Sailing Ships

    In Canada's age of sail (1800-75) over 4000 ships, each exceeding 500 tons burthen, were built in Canada. In 1878 Canadian-registered ships numbered 7196 and totalled 1 333 015 tons. Among the nations, Canada stood fourth in seagoing tonnage.

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  • Article

    Timber Axe

       Two basic types of axe were used in the early 19th-century eastern forest industry. The more common poll axe had a single, fan-shaped cutting edge, a narrow head weighing 1.5-2.5 kg, and a hickory or maple handle. It was used for felling, scoring and lopping branches off fallen trees.

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  • Article

    Timber Trade History

    Wood was the staple of Canadian trade for much of the 19th century. Fueled by European demand, the timber trade brought investment and immigration to eastern Canada, fostered economic development, and transformed the regional environment far more radically than the earlier exploitation of fish and fur (see Fisheries; Fur Industry). It encouraged exploration, the building of towns and villages, and the opening of roads. While a great resource for Canada, timber also contributed at times to economic instability. Over the course of the industry’s history, weather conditions, commercial uncertainties and imperfect market intelligence produced wide fluctuations in the demand for—and the price of—wood.

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  • Editorial

    Vancouver Feature: Canada’s First Gas Station Opens for Business

    The following article is a feature from our Vancouver Feature series. Past features are not updated. The first gasoline-powered automobile had arrived in Vancouver in 1904, and there were not many more by 1907. But that year someone in the local Imperial Oil office determined that filling cars with a bucket and funnel was not very safe. So the first Canadian filling station — a hot-water tank and a garden hose — was set up at the company’s storage yard at Cambie and Smithe.

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  • Article

    Westray Disaster

    An explosion on 9 May 1992, deep inside the Westray Mine in Plymouth, Nova Scotia killed 26 underground miners. The mine had been open less than eight months. A public inquiry blamed mine management, bureaucrats and politicians for a tragedy “that should have been prevented.” As a result of the disaster, in 2004 Parliament passed Bill C-45 imposing criminal liability on corporations and executives that fail to ensure a safe workplace.

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  • Macleans

    Westray Inquiry Winds Down

    This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on July 15, 1996. Partner content is not updated.

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  • Macleans

    Westray Miners Testify

    Wayne Cheverie shifted uneasily in his chair as he waited to testify last week at a provincial inquiry into the fatal May 9, 1992, explosion at Nova Scotia's Westray coal mine.This article was originally published in Maclean's Magazine on January 29, 1996

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  • Macleans

    Westray Verdict

    This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on December 15, 1997. Partner content is not updated. Outside, a wet, heavy snowfall is turning rural Nova Scotia into a pre-Christmas postcard of frosted evergreens and rolling white fields. Inside, Allen and Debbie Martin sit at their kitchen table, sipping coffee and trying to put their feelings into words.

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