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Roads and Highways

Canada's first highways were the rivers and lakes used by Indigenous peoples, travelling by canoe in summer and following the frozen waterways in winter. (See also Birchbark Canoe; Dugout Canoe.) The water network was so practical that explorers, settlers and soldiers followed the example of the Indigenous peoples. (See also Coureurs des bois; Voyageurs.) To a greater extent than most other countries, Canada depends for its social, economic and political life on efficient communication and transportation. (See also Economy; Politics.)

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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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Ottawa

Ottawa, Ontario, incorporated as a city in 1855, population 934,243 (2016 c), 883,391 (2011 c). The City of Ottawa is the capital of Canada and is located on the Ottawa River on Ontario's eastern boundary with Québec, about 200 km west of Montréal. The name "Ottawa" is thought to derive from an Algonquian-speaking First Nation of the same name, probably from a word meaning "to trade" (see Odawa). Amalgamation, on 1 January 2001, merged "old" Ottawa with 11 area municipalities and the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton to create a “new” city. The amalgamated city encompasses the municipalities of Ottawa, Vanier, Nepean, Kanata, Gloucester and Cumberland; the townships of Rideau, West Carleton, Goulbourn and Osgoode; and the village of Rockcliffe Park.

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Wapusk National Park

Wapusk National Park (11 475.0 km2) became part of Canada's national parks system on 24 April 1996 when a federal-provincial agreement was signed providing for its establishment.

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St. Lawrence Seaway

The St Lawrence Seaway (Great Lakes Waterway) is the system of locks, canals and channels linking the Great Lakes and the St Lawrence River with the Atlantic Ocean.

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Kitchener-Waterloo

The twin cities of Kitchener-Waterloo are located in central southwestern Ontario, 105 km southwest of Toronto. Each retains its own political culture within a common historical framework and with similar, but by no means identical, socio-economic developments. Kitchener (originally named Berlin), the larger of the two, was the county seat (1853), judicial and financial centre of Waterloo County from 1853 to 1973. It continues to have a predominant influence in the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, which was formed in 1973 by combining several communities and cities, including Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge.

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Mackenzie Mountains

Named after Prime Minister Alexander Mackenzie, they are a northern continuation, 800 km long, of the eastern system of the Rocky Mountains, composed almost entirely of folded sedimentary strata.

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Native People's Caravan

The Native People’s Caravan was a cross-country mobile protest that took place in 1974. Its main purpose was to raise awareness about the poor living conditions and discrimination experienced by Indigenous peoples in Canada. It travelled from Vancouver to Ottawa, where the subsequent occupation of a vacant warehouse on Victoria Island, near Parliament Hill, extended into 1975. The caravan brought various Indigenous groups together in protest of broken treaties, as well as a lack of government-supported education, housing and health care. As a result, meetings between Cabinet ministers and Indigenous leaders became more frequent. The protest is remembered as an important turning point in Indigenous activism in Canada.

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Stanley Park

​Stanley Park (established 1887, 4 km2) is Vancouver’s first city park and one of the largest urban parks in Canada. It encompasses the peninsula west of downtown Vancouver and is surrounded by the waters of Burrard Inlet, Coal Harbour and English Bay. Stanley Park is located on the traditional territory of Coast Salish First Nations, including the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil Waututh. In 1886, the council for the City of Vancouver sent a request to the Canadian government for permission to use the military reserve to the west of the city as a public park. The Canadian government granted the city permission to create such a park in 1887. Stanley Park later opened to the public on 27 September 1888. The park is named for Governor General Frederick Arthur Stanley.

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Canadian Pacific Railway

The Canadian Pacific Railway company (CPR) was incorporated in 1881. Its original purpose was the construction of a transcontinental railway, a promise to British Columbia upon its entry into Confederation (see Railway History). The railway — completed in 1885 — connected Eastern Canada to British Columbia and played an important role in the development of the nation. Built in dangerous conditions by thousands of labourers, including 15,000 Chinese temporary workers, the railway facilitated communication and transportation across the country. Over its long history, the Canadian Pacific Railway diversified its operations. The company established hotels, shipping lines and airlines, and developed mining and telecommunications industries (see Shipping Industry; Air Transport Industry). In 2001, Canadian Pacific separated into five separate and independent companies, with Canadian Pacific Railway returning to its origins as a railway company. CP, as it is branded today, has over 22,500 km of track across Canada and the United States. It is a public company and it trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol CP. In 2020, CP reported $7.71 billion in total revenues.

This is the full-length entry about the Canadian Pacific Railway. For a plain-language summary, please see The Canadian Pacific Railway (Plain-Language Summary).

Editorial

Editorial: The Arrival of Black Loyalists in Nova Scotia

“Freedom and a Farm.” The promise was exciting to the thousands of African Americans, most seeking to escape enslavement, who fought in British regiments during the American Revolutionary War (1775–83). Following the war, they joined tens of thousands of Loyalists — American refugees who had sided with the British. Between 80,000 and 100,000 Loyalists eventually fled the United States. About half came to British North America. The main waves arrived in 1783 and 1784. The territory that now includes the Maritime provinces became home to more than 30,000 Loyalists. Most of coastal Nova Scotia received Loyalist settlers, as did Cape Breton and Prince Edward Island (then called St. John’s Island).

List

Longest Rivers in Canada

Canada’s rivers have played a vital role in the country’s history and cultural heritage. As transportation routes for Indigenous people and early settlers, they connected the country before railways and other modes of transportation. They have also been a source of water, food and recreation for thousands of years. Below is a list of Canada’s 10 longest rivers. The list is ordered by the river’s total length, not just the portions within Canadian borders.

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Whistler

Whistler, British Columbia, incorporated as a resort municipality in 1975, population 11,854 (2016 census), 9,824 (2011 census). The resort municipality of Whistler is located about 120 km north of Vancouver near Garibaldi Provincial Park. Whistler is named after the hoary marmots (called “whistlers” because of their high-pitched warning call) that are common on Whistler Mountain.

Editorial

Habitants and French-Speaking Quebec

Habitants were once a symbol of French-speaking Quebec, in much the same way that cowboys became an iconic image of the American West and gauchos a symbol of Argentina. In the word’s most familiar meaning, going back to the late 17th century, a habitant was a farmer who worked and lived on a plot of land granted him by a wealthy seigneur (see Seigneurial System). Although the system of land tenure in Quebec changed in the wake of the British Conquest, for many decades afterwards the notion of a habitant remained crucial to the perceived identity of the province.

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North

In strictly geographic terms, the North refers to the immense hinterland of Canada that lies beyond the narrow strip of the country in which most Canadians live and work, but generally refers to the Northwest Territories, the Yukon and Nunavut.

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New France (Plain-Language summary)

New France was a French colony in North America. By the early 1740s, France controlled what is known today as the Maritime provinces, much of modern-day Ontario and Quebec, and the Hudson Bay region. The territory also stretched from today’s Northeastern United States to the Gulf of Mexico. Quebec City was the center of culture, society and economics. The French living in New France created a distinct culture. The French population of New France were known as habitants. Many habitants had a better life in New France than peasants in France. That said, not many people from France wanted to emigrate to New France. Most people in France thought New France was too cold and very dangerous. Because there was little immigration, New France had a very small population. In 1763, approximately 70,000 French colonists lived in New France. (See Population Settlement of New France.) This small population made New France weak. It was one of the most important reasons why New France was taken over by Britain in 1763.

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

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Jemseg Archaeological Site

The Jemseg archaeological site (Borden site designation number BkDm-14) is a major archaeological site located in south-central New Brunswick, on the stream that connects the Grand Lake system to the lower Saint John River.

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Toronto

Toronto, Ontario, incorporated as a city in 1834, population 2,794,356 (2021 census), 2,731,571 (2016 census). Toronto is Ontario’s capital city, Canada’s largest municipality and the fourth largest city in North America (see also Largest Cities in Canada by Population). It is made up of the former cities of Toronto, North York, Scarborough, York and Etobicoke, and the former borough of East York. The city is home to a large immigrant population, and is a national and international hub for finance, communications and cultural life.

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Chéticamp

Chéticamp, NS, Unincorporated Place. Chéticamp is located on the Gulf of St Lawrence, 48 km northeast of Inverness.

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Rocky Mountain Trench

The Rocky Mountain Trench is a long and deep valley extending approximately 1,500 km from the Bitterroot Valley in northwest Montana through British Columbia to the Liard Plain just south of the Yukon Territory. Its predominantly flat floor is 3–20 km wide and ranges in elevation between 600 m and 1,000 m above sea level. With walls made of sedimentary, volcanic and igneous rock, the Trench is sometimes referred to as the “Valley of a Thousand Peaks” because of the towering mountain ranges on either side: the Rocky Mountains to the east and the Columbia, Omineca and Cassiar mountains to the west. Humans have relied on the rich resources provided by this distinctive landscape from pre-colonial times to the present.