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National Parks of Canada (Plain-Language Summary)

Canada has 48 national parks. They were created and are run by the federal government. The national parks cover a vast amount of land — about 340,000 km2. This is about 3 per cent of Canada’s landmass. National parks serve two purposes. The first purpose is to preserve and protect nature. The second purpose is to give Canadians the chance to enjoy some of the country’s most beautiful and important natural settings. Millions of Canadians visit national parks every year.

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

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Physiographic Regions

Canada may be divided into seven physiographic regions: Arctic Lands, Cordillera, Interior Plains, Hudson Bay Lowland, Canadian Shield Forest Lands, St Lawrence Lowlands and Appalachia.

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Intergenerational Trauma and Residential Schools

Historical trauma occurs when trauma caused by historical oppression is passed down through generations. For more than 100 years, the Canadian government supported residential school programs that isolated Indigenous children from their families and communities (see Residential Schools in Canada). Under the guise of educating and preparing Indigenous children for their participation in Canadian society, the federal government and other administrators of the residential school system committed what has since been described as an act of cultural genocide. As generations of students left these institutions, they returned to their home communities without the knowledge, skills or tools to cope in either world. The impacts of their institutionalization in residential school continue to be felt by subsequent generations. This is called intergenerational trauma.

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Heritage Trail

Hundreds of trails are now found from coast to coast in Canada, installed and run by national and provincial parks, the Canadian Wildlife Service, tourist departments, conservation authorities, museums, universities, schools, botanical gardens and private agencies.

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Espace Libre

Espace Libre. A space for creation and dissemination dedicated to experimental theatre and research, Espace Libre marked the 30th anniversary of its founding in 2009.

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Lions Gate Bridge

Lions Gate Bridge, which officially opened on 29 May 1939, spans Burrard Inlet at the First Narrows, connecting Stanley Park and Vancouver’s city centre to the North Shore.

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Lillooet

Lillooet, BC, incorporated as a district municipality in 1996, population 2322 (2011c), 2324 (2006c). The District of Lillooet is located in the southern interior of British Columbia, 252 km northeast of Vancouver.

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Toronto Feature: Casa Loma

This text is from the free Toronto in Time app, which was created by The Canadian Encyclopedia and is available from the App Store and the Google Play store. Visit its companion website, which is linked below, to explore all the features of the app online.

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Kingston

Kingston, Ontario, incorporated as a city 1846, population 123,798 (2016 c), 123,363 (2011 c). Kingston was first settled in 1783, incorporated as a town in 1838 and as a city in 1846. It is located approximately 175 km southwest of Ottawa, 290 km west of Montreal and 260 km east of Toronto. The former capital of the Province of Canada (1841), Kingston’s position at the junction of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River, its proximity to the border with the United States and the dominance of the Canadian Shield in its surrounding area, have been crucial to its settlement, political and economic history.

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Reserves in Ontario

There are 207 reserves in Ontario, held by 123 First Nations. In 2019, there were 218,451 registered Indians living in Ontario, 44 per cent of whom lived on reserves. Reserves in Ontario are held by Anishinaabe, Cree, Oji-Cree, Haudenosaunee, Delaware and Algonquin peoples. There are also a handful of First Nations in Ontario who, for a variety of reasons, do not have reserve land.

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Chateau Lake Louise

Chateau Lake Louise is a world-renowned mountain resort and UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Banff National Park, Alberta. Known as the “Diamond in the Wilderness,” the chateau was built beginning in the late 1800s, and was developed as part of the CPR’s network of hotels. It shares a lineage with the Banff Springs Hotel, Le Chateau Frontenac in Québec City and the Empress Hotel in Victoria. Considering its remote location and its eventual scale, the Chateau Lake Louise marked an important point in the development of the Canadian West.

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Regina

Regina, Saskatchewan, founded in 1882, incorporated as a city in 1903, population 215,106 (2016 c), 193,100 (2011 c). The City of Regina is the capital, commercial and financial centre of Saskatchewan. Regina is situated 160 km north of the United States border. The city is set in a wide, level alluvial plain. It was named for Queen Victoria, mother-in-law of the Marquess of Lorne, governor general at the time of the city’s founding.

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Lighthouses

Before the automation of lighthouses, the duties of lighthouse keepers included the traditional "keeping of the light," maintaining radio communications and beacons, tending fog alarms and providing rescue services and sanctuary.