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Article

Indian Agents in Canada

Indian agents were the Canadian government’s representatives on First Nations reserves from the 1830s to the 1960s. Often working in isolated locations far from settler communities, Indian agents implemented government policy, enforced and administered the provisions of the Indian Act, and managed the day-to-day affairs of Status Indians. Today, the position of Indian agent no longer exists, as First Nations manage their own affairs through modern band councils or self-government.

Article

Richard Maurice Bucke

Richard Maurice Bucke, psychiatrist, author (b at Methwold, Eng 18 Mar 1837; d at London, Ont 19 Feb 1902). Brought to Upper Canada when one year old, Bucke was raised and educated on the family farm near Hamilton.

Article

The Underground Railroad (Plain-Language Summary)

The Underground Railroad was a secret organization. It was made up of people who helped African Americans escape from slavery in the southern United States. The people in this organization set up a system of routes that escaped slaves could travel to find freedom in the northern United States and Canada. In the 1800s (the 19th century) between 30,000 and 40,000 escaped slaves travelled to British North America (Canada) through the Underground Railroad.

(This article is a plain-language summary of the Underground Railroad in Canada. If you are interested in reading about this topic in more depth, please see our full-length entry on The Underground Railroad.)

Article

Tookoolito

Tookoolito, also known as Hannah and Taqulittuq (born in 1838 near Cumberland Sound, NU; died 31 December 1876 in Groton, Connecticut), Inuk translator and guide to American explorer Charles Francis Hall. Tookoolito and her husband, Ebierbing (traditionally spelt Ipiirvik), were well-known Inuit explorers of the 19th century who significantly contributed to non-Inuit’s knowledge of the North. The Government of Canada has recognized Tookoolito and Ebierbing as National Historic Persons.

Article

Franklin Search

The disappearance in 1845 of Sir John Franklin and his crew in the Canadian Arctic set off the greatest rescue operation in the history of exploration. More than 30 expeditions over two decades would search by land and sea for clues as to his fate, in the process charting vast areas of the Canadian Arctic and mapping the complete route of the Northwest Passage. The search for clues continued into the 20th and 21st centuries. On 9 September 2014, it was announced that one of the expedition ships, later identified as the HMS Erebus, had been found off King William Island. On 12 September 2016, a team from the Arctic Research Foundation announced that they had located the Terror in Nunavut's Terror Bay, north of where the Erebus was found.

Article

Portia White

Portia May White, contralto, teacher (born 24 June 1911 in Truro, NS; died 13 February 1968 in Toronto, ON). Portia White was the first Black Canadian concert singer to win international acclaim. She was considered one of the best classical singers of the 20th century. Her voice was described by one critic as “a gift from heaven.” She was often compared to the celebrated African American contralto Marian Anderson. The Nova Scotia Talent Trust was established in 1944 specifically to enable White to concentrate on her professional career. She was named a “person of national historic significance” by the Government of Canada in 1995.

Article

Tommy Prince

Thomas George Prince, war hero, Indigenous advocate (born 25 October 1915 in Petersfield, MB; died 25 November 1977 in Winnipeg, MB). Tommy Prince of the Brokenhead Ojibway Nation is one of the most-decorated Indigenous war veterans in Canada, having been awarded a total of 11 medals for his service in the Second World War and the Korean War. When he died, he was honoured at his funeral by his First Nation, the province of Manitoba, Canada and the governments of France, Italy and the United States. ( See also Indigenous Peoples and the World Wars.)

Editorial

Arrival of the War Brides and their Children in Canada

The following article is an editorial written by The Canadian Encyclopedia staff. Editorials are not usually updated.

Between 1942 and 1947, the Canadian government brought 47,783 "war brides” and their 21,950 children to Canada. Most of these women were from Great Britain, where Canadian forces had been based during the Second World War. Although the voyage and transition were difficult for many war brides, most persevered and grew to love their adopted homeland.

Article

Editorial: Canadian Art and the Great War

The following article is an editorial written by The Canadian Encyclopedia staff. Editorials are not usually updated.

Canadian painting in the 19th century tended towards the pastoral. It depicted idyllic scenes of rural life and represented the country as a wondrous Eden. Canadian painter Homer Watson, under the influence of such American masters as Frederic Edwin Church and Albert Bierstadt, created images that are serene and suffused with golden light. In On the Mohawk River (1878), for instance, a lazy river ambles between tall, overhanging trees; in the background is a light-struck mountain. In Watson’s world, nature is peaceful, unthreatening and perhaps even sacred.

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Editorial: The Stanley Flag and the “Distinctive Canadian Symbol”

The following article is an editorial written by The Canadian Encyclopedia staff. Editorials are not usually updated.

Prime Minister Lester Pearson and John Matheson, one of his Liberal Members of Parliament, are widely considered the fathers of the Canadian flag. Their names were front and centre in 2015 during the tributes and celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the flag’s creation. But the role played by George Stanley is often lost in the story of how this iconic symbol came to be.

Editorial

Editorial: Igor Gouzenko Defects to Canada

The following article is an editorial written by The Canadian Encyclopedia staff. Editorials are not usually updated.

A knock on the apartment door froze him in his steps. Another knock, louder, more insistent. The knocking turned to pounding. A voice called his name several times. Finally, the pounding stopped, and he heard footsteps going down the stairs. He knew he needed help.

Editorial

General De Gaulle and "Vive le Québec libre"

The following article is an editorial written by The Canadian Encyclopedia staff. Editorials are not usually updated.

On 24 July 1967, during a state visit to Expo '67, General Charles de Gaulle, president of France and a hero of the 20th century, proclaimed from the balcony of Montréal's City Hall a sentence that would change the history of Canada: “Vive le Québec libre.”