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Prime Minister of Canada

The prime minister (PM) is the head of the federal government. It is the most powerful position in Canadian politics. Prime ministers are not specifically elected to the position; instead, the PM is typically the leader of the party that has the most seats in the House of Commons. The prime minister controls the governing party and speaks for it; names senators and senior judges for appointment; and appoints and dismisses all members of Cabinet. As chair of Cabinet, the PM controls its agenda and greatly influences the activities and priorities of Parliament. In recent years, a debate has emerged about the growing power of prime ministers, and whether this threatens other democratic institutions.

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Louis-Jean Cormier

Louis-Jean Cormier, singer-songwriter, musician, producer (born on 26 May 1980 in Sept-Îles, Quebec). He comes from a music-loving family and his songs are characterized by melancholy, love and collective engagement. Winner of the 2013 Juno Award for Francophone Album of the Year, Louis-Jean Cormier has accomplished the impossible: being idolized by both independent music aficionados and members of the general public.

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David Thompson

David Thompson, explorer, cartographer (born 30 April 1770 in London, England; died 10 February 1857 in Longueuil, Canada East). David Thomson was called “the greatest land geographer who ever lived.” He walked or paddled 80,000 km or more in his life, mapping most of western Canada, parts of the east and the northwestern United States. And like so many geniuses, his achievements were only recognized after his death.

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Indspire

Indspire is a national charitable organization, formerly known as the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation. Indspire is dedicated to investing in the education of Indigenous people in Canada. In so doing, the organization hopes to give Indigenous students the skills and opportunities to create positive futures for themselves and their communities. Indspire aims to inspire and promote excellence. Every year, Indspire presents awards to Indigenous peoples who have made significant contributions to their communities and to Indigenous peoples as a whole. Well-known recipients of the Indspire Awards include Murray Sinclair, Susan Aglukark, Maria Campbell, Daphne Odjig, Tomson Highway, Reggie Leach and hundreds more.

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Tedd Robinson

Edward “Tedd” Alan Buels Robinson, choreographer, dancer, artistic director, mentor (born 26 September 1952 in Ottawa, ON; died 27 August 2022 in Shawville, QC). Tedd Robinson was resident choreographer and artistic director of Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers for much of the 1980s. He established the first Festival of Canadian Modern Dance, in Winnipeg in 1985. In 1990, he founded his own company, 10 Gates Dancing, in Ottawa. He won the 1998 Chalmers National Dance Award and the Prix en art de la scène l'Avant-Première at the 2009 Culturiades de l'Outaouais. He was also an associate dance artist with the National Arts Centre.

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Inuit

This collection explores Inuit culture, history and society through the use of exhibits, images, videos and articles. These sources also illustrate the importance of Arctic lands, animals and the environment to Inuit identity and life in the North.

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Andrew Wiggins

Andrew Christian Wiggins (born 23 February 1995 in Toronto, ON). Andrew Wiggins is a Canadian professional basketball player with the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Raised in Vaughan, Ontario, Wiggins first rose to fame as the world’s top-ranked high school basketball player and was a second-team All-American in college. In 2014, he became the second Canadian to be selected first overall in the NBA draft. He is the first Canadian player to be named the NBA’s Rookie of the Year and the first to score more than 40 points in a game. Wiggins also helped Canada secure three bronze medals in international competition. He is the highest-paid Canadian athlete of all time.    

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Colored Hockey League

The Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes (CHL) was an all-Black men’s hockey league. It was organized by Black Baptists and Black intellectuals and was founded in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1895. It was defunct during and after the First World War, reformed in 1921 and then fell apart during the Depression in the 1930s. Play was known to be fast, physical and innovative. The league was designed to attract young Black men to Sunday worship with the promise of a hockey game between rival churches after the services. Later, with the influence of the Black Nationalism Movement — and with rising interest in the sport of hockey — the league came to be seen as a potential driving force for the equality of Black Canadians. Canada Post issued a commemorative stamp in honour of the league in January 2020.

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Indigenous Peoples

Indigenous Peoples are the original inhabitants of the land that is now Canada. Inuit and First Nations history extends well before the arrival of Europeans in Canada, while Métis emerged as a distinct culture after intermarriage between European settlers and First Nations people. Indigenous people were essential to the development of early Canada, but suffered massive population declines due to the arrival of European disease. In addition, though they were often military allies, they faced persecution at the hands of colonial governments in the form of displacement, starvation, land seizure and cultural genocide through residential schools and destructive legislation. Indigenous people live throughout Canada and continue to strive to reinvigorate traditional culture and ways of life.

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Jean Charest

Jean Charest, lawyer, politician, premier of Quebec from 2003 to 2012 (born on 24 June 1958 in Sherbrooke, Qc). As a member of the Progressive Conservative Party, Jean Charest became the youngest person to be appointed to Cabinet. Between 1993 and 1998, he led the party after Kim Campbell resigned. Charest then became the leader of the Quebec Liberal Party and acted as premier of Quebec from 2003 until 2012. In 2022, he joined Historica Canada’s board of directors.

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Audrey Farnell

Audrey Bernice Farnell, soprano, teacher (born 28 July 1921 in Amherst, NS; died 11 September 1995 in Toronto, ON). Audrey Farnell enjoyed a prominent career as both a soloist and recitalist. After winning the 1945–46 Singing Stars of Tomorrow competition, she performed with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, the Montreal Elgar Choir, the Halifax Choral Society and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, among others. She also performed for Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip during their first Royal Tour of Canada in 1951. Farnell later taught at the Alberta College Music Centre and at the Royal Conservatory of Music.

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Laurent Duvernay-Tardif

Laurent “Dr. Kill” Duvernay-Tardif, CQ, football player, doctor (born 11 February 1991 in Saint-Jean-Baptiste, QC). Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is an offensive lineman with the New York Jets of the National Football League (NFL). He was the 10th player ever drafted into the NFL from Canadian college and university football, and is the first Quebec-born football player to win a Super Bowl championship. Duvernay-Tardif is also the first active NFL player to become a doctor. He opted out of the 2020 season to work at a Montreal long-term care facility during the COVID-19 pandemic. He was made a Chevalier of the Ordre national du Québec in 2019. In 2020, he was named a Sportsperson of the Year by Sports Illustrated, as well as co-winner (with soccer player Alphonso Davies) of the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s athlete of the year.

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Bill Morneau

William Francis Morneau, businessman, philanthropist, politician, federal finance minister 2015–20 (born 7 October 1962, in Toronto, Ontario). Bill Morneau became president of his father’s finance company, Morneau and Associates, in 1992. He grew the 200-person company into Morneau Shepell, Canada’s largest provider of human resources services, with a staff of more than 4,000 people and a capitalization of over $1 billion. After serving as chair of the C.D. Howe Institute, Morneau was elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Toronto Centre in 2015. He was immediately appointed finance minister. Morneau served as MP and finance minister until his resignation on 17 August 2020. He resigned amid a conflict of interest investigation involving the WE Charity.

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Judie Alimonti

Judie Barbara Alimonti, immunologist (born 13 March 1960 in Kelowna, BC; died 26 December 2017 in Ottawa, ON). Alimonti made a significant contribution to one of Canada’s greatest achievements in medical science and public health, the development of the Ebola vaccine. (See also Medical Research.) From 2010 to 2015, Alimonti managed the Ebola vaccine during a time when research was underfunded. Alimonti received little recognition for her work during her lifetime, and her colleagues have called her the unsung hero of the Ebola vaccine story.

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Children’s Books About Residential Schools in Canada

Church-run schools for Indigenous children were created in Canada in the 1600s. In 1883, the Canadian government funded and helped establish more church-run schools. The goal was to assimilate Indigenous children into the dominant white, Christian society. By the time the last residential school closed in 1996, more than 150,000 First Nation, Métis and Inuit children had been forced to attend against their will and the wishes of their parents. Many children were physically, emotionally and sexually abused at the schools. Thousands died. The multigenerational social and psychological effects of the schools have been devastating and ongoing. The federal government and churches have apologized for what is now widely considered a form of genocide. (See also Genocide and Indigenous Peoples in Canada.)

Knowledge of what happened at the schools is an essential part of reconciliation and healing. Many children’s books have been written about residential schools as part of that essential effort. This list includes titles for toddlers to preteens. Together, these books explore a variety of themes related to residential schools, including intergenerational trauma, language revitalization, commemoration and the power of resistance.

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Herbert Philp

Herbert William Philp, MM, journalist and soldier (born 31 January 1889 in Sarnia, ON; died 19 January 1920 in Guelph, ON). From August 1914 to January 1919, Herbert Philp wrote detailed letters about his life as a soldier with the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) during the First World War. Most of his correspondence has survived, providing present-day readers with a first-hand account of the war from an enlisted man’s perspective and a unique window into a period when letters from the Western Front were subject to strict military censorship (see War Measures Act).

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Red Dress Day

Red Dress Day, also known as the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and Two-Spirit People, is observed on May 5th. The day honours and brings awareness to the thousands of Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people who have been subject to disproportionate violence in Canada. Red Dress Day was inspired by Métis artist Jaime Black’s REDress Project installation, in which she hung empty, red dresses to represent the missing and murdered women. Red dresses have become symbolic of the crisis as a result of her installation.

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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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First Nations in Quebec

There are 40 First Nations in Quebec. First Nation is one of three groupings of Indigenous people in Canada, the other two being Métis and Inuit. Unlike Métis and Inuit, most First Nations hold reserve lands, and members of a First Nation may live both on and off these reserves (see also Reserves in Quebec). While the term First Nation can describe a large ethnic grouping (e.g. the Cree Nation), in other cases it is synonymous with the term band, a word originally chosen by the federal government and used in the Indian Act. The word band describes smaller communities, such as the ones listed below. Many First Nations prefer the term First Nation over band. In terms of larger ethnic groupings, First Nations in Quebec are Algonquin, Cree, Naskapi, Mohawk, Innu, Mi’kmaq, Wolastoqiyik, Abenaki, Anishinaabe, and Atikamekw.