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Canadian Place Names That Reference Geography

Canada has about 350,000 official place names. While many of these names honour people, a great many others reference physical or human geography. This list showcases the latter, highlighting names that point to the natural features of a place — take Montreal, for example — or how people interact with the land, be it through travel or settlement (as in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba). And, as with “Canada” itself, many of these names stem from an Indigenous word, or are themselves in an Indigenous language, such as Ulukhaktok, Northwest Territories (see also Largest Cities in Canada With an Indigenous Name).

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Klondike

Klondike (also spelled Klondyke). The name is derived from a Gwich'in word, thron-duick (hammer river), and identifies a town, a river, and a range of hills in the Yukon.

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Yukon

The name Yukon comes from the Gwich’in word Yu-kun-ah meaning "great river" and is a reference to the Yukon River. Lying in the northwestern corner of Canada and isolated by rugged mountains, the Yukon borders Alaska to the west, British Columbia to the south and the Northwest Territories to the east. Historically, it is indelibly associated with the great Klondike Gold Rush.

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Anne of Green Gables

Lucy Maud Montgomery’s first novel, Anne of Green Gables (1908), became an instant bestseller and has remained in print for more than a century, making the character of Anne Shirley a mythic icon of Canadian culture. The book has sold an estimated 50 million copies worldwide, been translated into at least 36 languages, as well as braille, and been adapted more than two dozen times in various mediums. A musical version first produced by the Charlottetown Festival in 1965 is the longest running annual musical theatre production in the world, while the award-winning 1985 CBC miniseries starring Megan Follows is the most-watched television program in Canadian history. Thousands of tourists visit Prince Edward Island each year to see the “sacred sites” related to the book, and the sale of Anne-related commodities such as souvenirs and dolls has come to constitute a cottage industry.

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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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Canada West

In 1841, Britain united the colonies of Upper and Lower Canada into the Province of Canada. This was in response to the violent rebellions of 1837–38. The Durham Report (1839) laid out the guidelines to create the new colony with the Act of Union in 1840. The Province of Canada was made up of Canada West (formerly Upper Canada) and Canada East (formerly Lower Canada). The two regions were governed jointly until Confederation in 1867. Canada West then became Ontario and Canada East became Quebec.

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Canada East

In 1841, Britain united the colonies of Upper and Lower Canada into the Province of Canada. This was in response to the violent rebellions of 1837–38. The Durham Report (1839) laid out the guidelines to create the new colony with the Act of Union in 1840. The Province of Canada was made up of Canada West (formerly Upper Canada) and Canada East (formerly Lower Canada). The two regions were governed jointly until Confederation in 1867. Canada West then became Ontario and Canada East became Quebec.

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Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland, the youngest of the Canadian provinces, joined Confederation in 1949. Some portion of its coast was undoubtedly one of the first parts of the continent seen by Europeans. Its total area is 405, 720 km2, of which Labrador makes up almost three-quarters (294,330 km2).

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Victoria Conservatory of Music

Victoria Conservatory of Music. Major British Columbia teaching institution, incorporated in 1964 as the Victoria School of Music. It adopted the name 'conservatory' in September of 1968 and was affiliated with the University of Victoria from October of that year until 1978.

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Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island is Canada's smallest province, making up just 0.1 per cent of Canada’s total land area. It is situated in the Gulf of St Lawrence and separated from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick by the Northumberland Strait.

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Moon

The dark grey lunar surface reflects only 7% of the sunlight it receives (comparable to the reflectivity of black soil). The moon is dominated by thousands of craters, ranging from microscopic pits to gigantic Clavius, diameter 230 km.

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City Parks

The period of intense park building (1880-1914) was stimulated by an interplay of 4 factors. The first was a belief that the city dweller's increasing separation from nature caused physical, mental and moral distress. Parks were seen as healing antidotes to this urban malaise.

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Manitoba

Sometimes referred to as the “keystone” province because of its position in the centre of the country, Manitoba is bounded by Nunavut and Hudson Bay to the north, Ontario to the east, the United States to the south and Saskatchewan to the west.

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Manitoba

Manitoba is a Canadian province located at the centre of the country, bounded by Saskatchewan to the west, Hudson Bay and Ontario to the east, Nunavut to the north, and North Dakota and Minnesota to the south. The province was founded on parts of the traditional territories of the Cree, Anishinaabe, Oji-Cree, Dakota/Lakota (Sioux) and Dene peoples, and on the homeland of the Métis Nation. The land is now governed treaties 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 10. As of the 2016 census, Manitoba had 1,278,365 residents, making it the fifth most populous province or territory in Canada. Manitoba joined Confederation in 1870, and its capital city, Winnipeg, was incorporated shortly thereafter, in 1873. Heather Stefanson is the province’s current premier, leading a majority Progressive Conservative government.

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Columbia River

The Columbia River runs from the southeast corner of British Columbia through Washington and Oregon states to the Pacific Ocean.

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Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan is part of the Prairie region and is the only province with entirely artificial boundaries. It is bordered by the US to the south, the Northwest Territories to the north, and Manitoba and Alberta to the east and west respectively.

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Quebec

Quebec is the largest Canadian province. At 1.5 million km², its territory accounts for 15.5 per cent of Canada's total area. The province shares borders with Ontario, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador.