Browse "History"

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Elections of 1957 and 1958

​In 1957 and 1958, Canadian voters swept aside 22 years of Liberal rule for the untested Conservatives under John Diefenbaker, whose campaign brilliance won him first a minority government, and then a historic majority.

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Elections of 1979 and 1980

Calling elections is like Goldilocks visiting the three bears — which political stew will turn out to be too soon, too late, or just right? The elections of 1979 and 1980 illustrate the perils of too late, followed by too soon.

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Emblems of Canada

Emblems of Canada include the national coat of arms and flag. When John Cabot arrived on the shores of North America in 1497, he raised a cross and the royal banner of England. Since then, Canada’s emblems have evolved out of those traditionally used by France and Britain.

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Enslavement of Indigenous People in Canada

To a tremendous extent, the enslavement of Indigenous peoples defines slavery in Canada. Fully two-thirds of the slaves in the colony of New France — which held the most slaves and for the longest duration in Canada — were Indigenous. These people were products of the slave trade that developed in the southernmost of Britain’s thirteen colonies during the late 1600s. It was there that settlers turned an Indigenous practice of slavery into a devastating cycle of events that tore apart Indigenous nations and affected all of the European colonies in North America.

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Eugenics

The word "eugenics" is derived from the Greek word meaning "well born." It was first used in 1883 by Sir Francis Galton, who founded the eugenics movement in England in 1904. The movement focused on both positive and negative eugenics, though with greater emphasis on the latter.

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Eugenics: Keeping Canada Sane

"Great men are almost always bad men," Lord Acton famously said. If that is so, we are going to have to tolerate flaws if we want to celebrate "great" Canadians. The eugenics movement of the early 20th century particularly tries our tolerance of several of our textbook heroes.

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Exploration

Exploration of Canada by Europeans began with the Norse in the late 10th century on the country’s East Coast. Following Jacques Cartier’s arrival in 1534, over the course of the next three centuries British and French explorers gradually moved further west.

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Family Compact

The term Family Compact is an epithet, or insulting nickname, used to describe the network of people who dominated the legislative, bureaucratic, business, religious and judicial centres of power in Upper Canada (Ontario) from the early- to mid-1800s. Members of the Family Compact held largely conservative and loyalist views and were notably against democratic reform and responsible government. By the mid-19th century, immigration, the union of Upper and Lower Canada, and the pressure of various democratic reformers had diminished the Family Compact’s power. The equivalent to the Family Compact in Lower Canada was the Château Clique.

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Famous Five

Alberta's "Famous Five" were petitioners in the groundbreaking Persons Case. Led by judge Emily Murphy, the group included Henrietta Muir Edwards, Nellie McClung, Louise Crummy McKinney and Irene Parlby.

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Fenian Raids

​The Fenians were a secret society of Irish patriots who had emigrated from Ireland to the United States. Some North American members of this movement were intent on taking Canada by force and exchanging it with Britain for Irish independence. From 1866 to 1871 the Fenians launched a series of small, armed incursions of Canada, each of which was put down by government forces — at the cost of dozens killed and wounded on both sides.

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Fenians

Fenian was an umbrella-term applied to members of various Irish nationalist organisations during the 19th century.

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Filles du Roi

Unmarried women sponsored by the king to immigrate to New France between 1663 and 1673. Private interests gave priority to bringing over male workers, and the French government and religious communities wanted to correct the gender imbalance in the colonies.

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Fire on the Hill!

Members of the press gallery who took their time going down the winding staircase were quickly immersed in thick black smoke. Along the way they ran into the prime minister, Sir Robert Borden, and his secretary making their way to the exit almost on hands and knees.

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First Nations and Métis Peoples in the War of 1812

First Nations and Métis peoples played a significant role in Canada in the War of 1812. The conflict forced various Indigenous peoples to overcome longstanding differences and unite against a common enemy. It also strained alliances, such as those in the Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) Confederacy in which some branches were allied with American forces. Most First Nations strategically allied themselves with Great Britain during the war, seeing the British as the lesser of two colonial evils and the group most interested in maintaining traditional territories and trade.

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Fort Anne

For the next 40 years, the British at Fort Anne maintained a precarious position in the Acadian-dominated province and were frequently attacked by French and Indian raiding parties. The status of the fort declined with the founding of Halifax (1749) and the expulsion of the Acadians (1755).