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Congress of Aboriginal Peoples

The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples speaks primarily for Non-Status Indian people and the Métis population in Canada, as well as for some other Indigenous groups (see Indian Act). In 1993, under the leadership of Jim Sinclair, the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP) grew out of a reorganization of the Native Council of Canada (NCC). Since its founding in 1971, the central objective of the NCC, and now CAP, has been to represent the interests of off-reserve Status and Non-Status Indians, Métis and some Inuit people.

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Vision Quest

Coined by 19th century anthropologists, the term “vision quest” describes a spiritual journey in various Indigenous cultures in which participants, often adolescents, are said to receive sacred knowledge and strength from the spirit world. Practised as a rite of passage among some Indigenous cultures in North America, such as the Siksika (Blackfoot), Cree, Anishinaabe (including the Ojibwe) and Inuit, vision quests reflect the role of spirituality and contemplative thinking in Indigenous cultures, and provide an important connection between the participant, the Creator and nature. Though reduced as a practice following colonization, vision quests remain part of the cultural traditions of Indigenous populations in Canada in the modern era.

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Swissair Flight 111

Swissair Flight 111 crashed in the sea off Peggy’s Cove, NS on 2 September 1998, while on a scheduled flight from New York to Geneva, Switzerland. All 229 passengers and crew were killed. It was the second-deadliest air accident to occur in Canada. An investigation by Canada’s Transportation Safety Board determined that a fire, sparked by arcing in the MD-11 aircraft’s electrical system, resulted in a catastrophic failure of the plane’s main operating systems.

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Pentecostal Movement in Canada

The Pentecostal movement, also known as Pentecostalism, is a charismatic faith known for expressions of the Holy Spirit through its members. According to the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, the largest Pentecostal denomination in Canada, around 235,000 people attend services in more than 40 languages across the country.

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Funeral Practices in Canada

Funeral practices consist of customary observances for the dead and arrangements made for disposition of the body. There is a network of social and legal requirements to be met that usually involve the services of various professionals.

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Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa is an African-American cultural holiday that has been adopted around the world including in Canada to celebrate African family, community and culture.

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Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia

Located in Cherry Brook, near Dartmouth (Halifax Regional Municipality), the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia has been open to the public since 1983. It is run by the Black Cultural Society, created in 1977. The centre is both a museum and a gathering place where people can explore the history and heritage of Black communities in Nova Scotia.

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National Flag of Canada

The National Flag of Canada, also known as the Canadian Flag or the Maple Leaf Flag (l’Unifolié in French), consists of a red field with a white square at its centre in which sits a stylized, 11-pointed red maple leaf. A joint committee of the Senate and House of Commons voted for the present flag in 1964 against formidable odds. After months of debate, the final design, adopted by Parliament and approved by royal proclamation, became Canada’s official national flag on 15 February 1965.

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British Columbia and Confederation

The colony of British Columbia was founded in 1858 in response to the Fraser River Gold Rush. (See also The Fraser River Gold Rush and the Founding of British Columbia.) The colony established representative government in 1864 and merged with the colony of Vancouver Island in 1866. In May 1868, Amor De Cosmos formed the Confederation League to bring responsible government to BC and to join Confederation. In September 1868, the Confederation League passed 37 resolutions outlining the terms for a union with the Dominion of Canada. The terms were passed by both the BC assembly and the federal Parliament in 1871. The colony joined Canada as the country’s sixth province on 20 July 1871. The threat of American annexation, embodied by the Alaska purchase of 1867, and the promise of a railway linking BC to the rest of Canada, were decisive factors.

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Buddhism in Canada

The first Buddhists to set foot in Canada were likely Japanese and Chinese labourers who came to work on the railroads and in the mines in the 19th century. However, it was Japanese Canadians who first established institutional Buddhism in this country. In 2006, the Parliament of Canada voted unanimously to make His Holiness the Dalai Lama an honorary Canadian citizen. In the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS), 366, 830 Canadians identified as Buddhist.

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Fleur-de-lys

The fleur-de-lys, a symbol of the French presence in North America, has featured on the Québec flag since 1948 and appears on the flags of a number of other French-speaking communities in Canada and the United States.

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Baptists in Canada

The term "Baptist" is derived from the name given to Christians who were baptized after they made a profession of faith, rather than baptized as infants. Baptists are distinct from other Christians who practice "paedo" or "infant" baptism. In the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS), 635,840 Canadians identified as Baptist.

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Smallpox in Canada

Smallpox is an infectious disease caused by the variola virus. The disease arrived in what is now Canada with French settlers in the early 17th century. Indigenous people had no immunity to smallpox, resulting in devastating infection and death rates. In 1768, arm-to-arm inoculation became more widely practised in North America. By 1800, advances in vaccination helped control the spread of smallpox. Public health efforts also reduced rates of infection. In the 20th century, Canadian scientists helped the World Health Organization eradicate smallpox. Eradication was achieved in 1979, but virus stocks still exist for research and safety reasons.

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Anglicanism in Canada

Anglicanism is that tradition in Christianity whose members are in full communion with the see of Canterbury, England. Originally confined to the British Isles, the Church of England has spread to many parts of the world. In the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS), 1,631,845 Canadians identified as Anglican.

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Catholicism in Canada

The Greek word katholikos means "general" or "universal." It refers most commonly to the Christianity that is in communion with the pope and the Church of Rome, that is, the beliefs and practices of a Catholic Church. The modern ecumenical movement often refers to all Christians as sharing in the church's Catholicism, which is derived from the universal headship and reign of Christ. In the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS), 12,810,705 Canadians identified as Catholic.

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One Big Union

The One Big Union (OBU) was a radical labour union formed in Western Canada in 1919. It aimed to empower workers through mass organization along industrial lines. The OBU met fierce opposition from other parts of the labour movement, the federal government, employers and the press. Nevertheless, it helped transform the role of unions in Canada.

Click here for definitions of key terms used in this article.