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Irish Music in Canada

The Irish component in the population of Canada is the fourth largest (after English, French, and Scottish) and one of the oldest. Irish fishermen settled in Newfoundland in the early 17th century. By the mid-18th century that island had some 5000 Roman Catholic Irish inhabitants - about one-third of its population. There were Irish among those who founded Halifax in 1749. The United Empire Loyalists who moved to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick after 1776 included many of Irish descent. The famine in Ireland during the early 19th century sent thousands of Irish farmers to Upper Canada (Ontario). By 1871 the Irish were the second largest ethnic group in Canada (after the French); in 1950 there were 1,500,000 Irish, catholic and protestant. In the 1986 census there were 699,685 Canadians of single Irish descent and a further 2,922,605 with some Irish ancestry.

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Edward Patrick Roche

Edward Patrick Roche, Roman Catholic archbishop of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador (born 19 February 1874 in Placentia, Newfoundland; died 23 September 1950 in St. John’s). Roche was a prelate in the Roman Catholic Church and served as archbishop of St. John’s from 1915 until he died in 1950. He is best known for his opposition to Confederation with Canada. Roche was also a strong supporter of Catholic education in Newfoundland and oversaw the construction of many new schools. As archbishop, he championed healthcare and established St. Clare’s Mercy Hospital in St. John’s.

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Icelandic Canadians

Icelanders, coming by way of Greenland, were the first European visitors to what is now Canada. The 2016 Canadian census reported 101,795 people with Icelandic ethnic origins, and 1440 people whose mother tongue was Icelandic.

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James Hyndman

James Hyndman, actor (born 23 April 1962 in Bonn, Germany). After studying theatre for three years in Paris, this Quebec actor won favourable notices for his performance as Lenny in a French-language production of Harold Pinter’s play The Homecoming at Montreal’s L’Espace la Veillée in 1992. In the 1990s, he was cast in important roles in major films by Charles Binamé (Eldorado, 1995), Robert Lepage (Le polygraphe, 1996) and Jean Beaudin (Souvenirs intimes, 1999). The winner of two Prix Gémeaux (2003 and 2016), Hyndman has also played several major characters on Quebec television.

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Oscar Peterson

Oscar Emmanuel Peterson, CC, CQ, OOnt, jazz pianist, composer, educator (born 15 August 1925 in Montréal, QC; died 23 December 2007 in Mississauga, ON). Oscar Peterson is one of Canada’s most honoured musicians. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time. He was renowned for his remarkable speed and dexterity, meticulous and ornate technique, and dazzling, swinging style. He earned the nicknames “the brown bomber of boogie-woogie” and “master of swing.” A prolific recording artist, he typically released several albums a year from the 1950s until his death. He also appeared on more than 200 albums by other artists, including Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong, who called him “the man with four hands.” His sensitivity in these supporting roles, as well as his acclaimed compositions such as Canadiana Suite and “Hymn to Freedom,” was overshadowed by his stunning virtuosity as a soloist. Also a noted jazz educator and advocate for racial equality, Peterson won a Juno Award and eight Grammy Awards, including one for lifetime achievement. The first recipient of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement, he was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the International Jazz Hall of Fame. He was also made an Officer and then Companion of the Order of Canada, and an Officer in the Order of Arts and Letters in France, among many other honours.

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Indigenous Services Canada

Indigenous Services Canada (part of the former Indigenous/Indian and Northern Affairs Canada or INAC) was created by the federal government in 2017 to provide and support the delivery of services such as health care, child care, education and infrastructure to First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities. The overarching vision of the department is to support self-determination as a means of providing Indigenous peoples with the power to deliver their own services.

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Julie Holtzman

Julie (Julie Heathers) Holtzman. Pianist, jazz singer, teacher, b Montreal, of Polish parentage, 13 Jul 1945; Première médaille ear training (Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Montréal [CMM]) 1955, Premier prix piano (CMM) 1956, Premier prix chamber music (CMM) 1957, diploma (Juilliard) 1961.

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Terry Fox

Terrance Stanley Fox, CC, Order of the Dogwood, athlete, humanitarian, cancer research activist (born 28 July 1958 in WinnipegMB; died 28 June 1981 in New WestminsterBC). After losing his right leg to cancer at age 18, Terry Fox decided to run across Canada to raise awareness and money for cancer research. With the use of a customized running prothesis, he set out from St. John’s, Newfoundland, on 12 April 1980 and covered 5,373 km in 143 days — an average of 42 km (26 miles) per day. He was forced to stop his Marathon of Hope in Thunder Bay, Ontario, on 1 September 1980, when cancer had invaded his lungs. He died shortly before his 23rd birthday. The youngest person to be made a Companion of the Order of Canada, he was awarded the 1980 Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s athlete of the year and was named a Person of National Historic Significance by the Government of Canada. He was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and has had many schools, institutions and landmarks named in his honour. The annual Terry Fox Run has raised more than $800 million for cancer research. The Marathon of Hope raised $24 million by February 1981.  

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Anne Kahane

Anne Kahane, sculptor (b at Vienna, Austria 1 Mar 1924). Kahane is nationally recognized for dense, monumental and 3-dimensional figures carved in wood, portraying political satire, humour and human foibles. She immigrated with her parents in 1925, settling in Montréal at age 5.

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David Zeisberger

David Zeisberger, Moravian clergyman (b near Ostrava, Czech 11 Apr 1721; d in Ohio 17 Nov 1808). Beginning in the 1740s he carried on Moravian missionary work among the Indians of Pennsylvania and founded a settlement in Ohio.

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George Hills

George Hills, Anglican bishop of British Columbia 1859-95 (b at Eythorne, Eng 21 June 1816; d 10 Dec 1895). An early graduate of Durham University, Hills was influenced by the Tractarians, serving under Dr Hook at Leeds parish church (1841-48).

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Ali Pourfarrokh

Ali Pourfarrokh, choreographer and ballet director (b at Kermanshah, Iran 27 Nov 1938). As artistic director of the Alberta Ballet Company from 1988 to 1998, he played a major role in giving the troupe a fresh image.

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Charles Hibbert Millard

Charles Hibbert Millard, labour leader (b at St Thomas, Ont 25 Aug 1896; d at Toronto 24 Nov 1978). Originally a carpenter by trade, Millard helped organize United Auto Workers Local 222, which he led in the historic 1937 OSHAWA STRIKE. From 1938 to 1939 he was Canadian UAW director.

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Hippies in Canada

“Hippies” is a term used to describe young people who participated in the 1960s counterculture movement, which originated in the United States and spread throughout Canada in the second half of that decade. As a noun, “hippie” was a play on the adjective “hip,” which was used to describe young bohemians who lived in Greenwich Village in New York City, and in San Francisco, in the 1950s and early 1960s. Hippies were part of the “baby boom” generation, born immediately following the end of the Second World War (see Baby Boomers in Canada). This demographic wave was significant enough to transform Canadian society; by the mid-1960s more than half of Canada’s population of 20 million was under the age of 25.

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Judy Rebick

Judy Rebick, feminist, social activist, author, broadcaster, public speaker (born 15 August 1945 in Reno, Nevada). Judy Rebick has championed the rights of women, minorities and the working class since the 1960s. She was a member of the NDP’s Waffle caucus and a pro-choice spokesperson for the Ontario Coalition for Abortion Clinics. She rose to national prominence as the president of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women (1990–93) and as the host of CBC TV programs (1994–2000). From 2002 to 2010, she was the Sam Gindin Chair in Social Justice and Democracy at Ryerson University. She is also a best-selling author and was the founding publisher of rabble.ca.

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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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McIvor Case

The McIvor v. Canada case was about gender discrimination in section 6 of the 1985 Indian Act, which deals with Indian status. Sharon McIvor — a woman who regained status rights after the passing of Bill C-31 in 1985 — was not able to pass on those rights to her descendants in the same way that a man with status could. In her case against the federal government, the British Columbia Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that section 6 did, in fact, deny McIvor’s equality rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In response to this case, the federal government introduced new legislation (Bill C-3) in 2011 to counter gender discrimination in the Indian Act.