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Joseph Bloor

Joseph Bloor, innkeeper, brewer (also spelled Bloore; born in 1789 near Staffordshire, England; died 31 August 1862 in Toronto, ON). Bloor is the namesake of Toronto’s Bloor Street and was a prominent innkeeper and brewer in the early half of the 19th century. He was the founder of the village of Yorkville, which is now part of the city of Toronto.

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Donald Alexander Smith, 1st Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal

Donald Alexander Smith, 1st Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal, fur trader, railroad financier, diplomat (born 6 August 1820 in Forres, Scotland; died 21 January 1914 in London, England). Smith was a leading businessman, politician, diplomat and philanthropist of the 19th and early 20th century. He was governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company, president of the Bank of Montreal and high commissioner for Canada in the United Kingdom. Smith also played an important role in the development of the Canadian Pacific Railway, the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal and the Royal Victoria College for women at McGill University.

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Catherine (HRH The Princess of Wales)

Her Royal Highness (HRH) The Princess of Wales, née Catherine “Kate” Middleton (born 9 January 1982 in Reading, United Kingdom) is the wife of HRH The Prince of Wales (The Prince William) , who is first in line to the thrones of Canada, the United Kingdom and 14 other Commonwealth realms. Kate has become famous worldwide for her philanthropy and fashion, and is closely associated with the modernization of the monarchy. William and Kate have three children: Prince George of Wales (born 22 July 2013), Princess Charlotte of Wales (born 2 May 2015), and Prince Louis of Wales (born 23 April 2018).

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Patriation of the Constitution

In 1982, Canada fully broke from its colonial past and “patriated” its Constitution. It transferred the country’s highest law, the British North America Act (which was renamed the Constitution Act, 1867), from the authority of the British Parliament to Canada’s federal and provincial legislatures. The Constitution was also updated with a new amending formula and a Charter of Rights and Freedoms. These changes occurred after a fierce, 18-month political and legal struggle that dominated headlines and the agendas of every government in the country.

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Residential Schools in Canada (Plain-Language Summary)

In the early 1600s, Catholic nuns and priests established the first residential schools in Canada. In 1883, these schools began to receive funding from the federal government. That year, the Government of Canada officially authorized the creation of the residential school system. The main goal of the system was to assimilate Indigenous children into white, Christian society. (See also Inuit Experiences at Residential School and Métis Experiences at Residential School .)

(This article is a plain-language summary of residential schools in Canada. If you are interested in reading about this topic in more depth, please see our full-length entry Residential Schools in Canada.)

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Michel Cadotte

Michel Cadotte, pioneer fur trader, interpreter, mediator (born 22 July 1764 in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan; died 8 July 1837 in La Pointe, Wisconsin). Cadotte established a large, successful fur trade along the south shore of Lake Superior, which covered present-day northern Wisconsin and extended into parts of northern Minnesota. Half French Canadian and half Ojibwe, he endeared himself to the Indigenous people of the area by marrying Ikwesewe, the daughter of an Ojibwe chief, and by his compassionate understanding of Indigenous ways. These factors allowed Cadotte to gain a monopoly on the fur trade with the Indigenous peoples of the area.

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Pierre Elliott Trudeau

Pierre Elliott Trudeau, PC, CC, CH, FRSC, prime minister of Canada 1968–79 and 1980–84, politician, writer, constitutional lawyer (born 18 October 1919 in Montreal, QC; died 28 September 2000 in Montreal). A charismatic and controversial figure, Pierre Trudeau was arguably Canada’s best-known politician, both at home and abroad. He introduced legal reforms to make Canada a more “just society” and made Canada officially bilingual with the Official Languages Act of 1969. He negotiated Canada’s constitutional independence from Britain and established a new Canadian Constitution with a Charter of Rights and Freedoms. He played an important role in defeating the Quebec separatist movement of the 1970s and 1980s; although his decision to invoke the War Measures Act in response to the 1970 October Crisis drew sharp criticism. His federalist stance as well as his language and economic policies alienated many in Canada, particularly in the West. His eldest son, Justin Trudeau, became leader of the Liberal Party in 2013 and prime minister in 2015.

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Demasduit

Demasduit (also known as Demasduwit, Shendoreth, Waunathoake, and Mary March), creator of a Beothuk dictionary (born 1796; died 8 January 1820 at Bay of Exploits, Newfoundland). Demasduit was a Beothuk woman taken captive by English fishers in 1819. She was subsequently sent to an Anglican missionary where she created a list of Beothuk vocabulary. After her death, her remains and those of her husband were taken to Scotland. After much lobbying, the remains were returned to Newfoundland in 2020. The Government of Canada has recognized Demasduit as a Person of National Historic Significance.

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Adam Dollard des Ormeaux

Adam Dollard des Ormeaux, soldier, French colonist (born 23 July 1635 in France; died in May 1660 near Carillon, in New France). Adam Dollard des Ormeaux was the garrison commander in Ville-Marie­. He led a group of French fighters and their Algonquin and Huron-Wendat allies against the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) at the battle of Long Sault. Adam Dollard des Ormeaux has long been considered both a hero and a martyr who sacrified himself in the defence of Ville-Marie. Recent studies, however, have cast doubt on how heroic his conduct actually was.

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Mistahimaskwa (Big Bear)

Mistahimaskwa (Big Bear), Plains Cree chief (born near Fort Carlton, SK; died 17 January 1888 on the Little Pine Reserve, SK). Mistahimaskwa is best known for his refusal to sign Treaty 6 in 1876 and for his band’s involvement in violent conflicts associated with the 1885 North-West Resistance.

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British Home Children

On 14 April 1826, an obscure police magistrate in London, England, Robert Chambers, told a committee of the British Parliament dealing with emigration: "I conceive that London has got too full of children." Chambers was alarmed at the number of youngsters, victims of east-end London's chronic poverty, who were begging in the streets and sleeping in the gutters. He had a recommendation which may well have been in the minds of others and which was to become reality several decades later in one of the most Draconian movements in the history of emigration. Chambers recommended that Britain's surplus children be sent to Canada as farm labour.

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Canada’s Walk of Fame

Canada’s Walk of Fame is a non-profit organization dedicated to honouring Canadians who have achieved excellence in the fields of arts and entertainment, science and technology, business, philanthropy and athletics. Modelled after the Hollywood Walk of Fame, it stretches along 13 city blocks in Toronto’s Entertainment District. Each inductee’s name and signature are etched onto a plaque embedded on the sidewalk, along with a star resembling a maple leaf. Inductees are honoured at an annual, nationally broadcast gala in Toronto. More than 210 people have been inducted since the Walk was founded in 1998.