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Article

Joe Shuster

Joe Shuster, cartoonist (born 10 July 1914 in Toronto, ON; died 30 July 1992 in Los Angeles, California). In 1933, along with writer Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster created the Superman comic book character.

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Michael Kusugak

Michael Arvaarluk Kusugak, Inuk children's writer, storyteller in English and Inuktitut (born 27 April 1948 in Qatiktalik [Cape Fullerton, NT], now NU). Kusugak is known for his picture books, almost all of which are illustrated by Vladyana Krykorka. Kusugak’s children’s stories all feature Inuit life and traditions. His books demonstrate how stories can be used to teach history and culture. Kusugak’s books have reached international audiences, with some translated into Japanese, Korean, French and Braille.

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Pierre Elliott Trudeau

Pierre Elliott Trudeau, PC, CC, CH, FRSC, prime minister of Canada 1968–79 and 1980–84, politician, writer, constitutional lawyer (born 18 October 1919 in Montreal, QC; died 28 September 2000 in Montreal). A charismatic and controversial figure, Pierre Trudeau was arguably Canada’s best-known politician, both at home and abroad. He introduced legal reforms to make Canada a more “just society” and made Canada officially bilingual with the Official Languages Act of 1969. He negotiated Canada’s constitutional independence from Britain and established a new Canadian Constitution with a Charter of Rights and Freedoms. He played an important role in defeating the Quebec separatist movement of the 1970s and 1980s; although his decision to invoke the War Measures Act in response to the 1970 October Crisis drew sharp criticism. His federalist stance as well as his language and economic policies alienated many in Canada, particularly in the West. His eldest son, Justin Trudeau, became leader of the Liberal Party in 2013 and prime minister in 2015.

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Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights in Canada

Since the late 1960s, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in Canada has seen steady gains in rights. While discrimination against LGBT people persists in many places, major strides toward mainstream social acceptance and formal legal equality have nonetheless been made in recent decades. Canada is internationally regarded as a leader in this field. Recent years have seen steady progress on everything from health care to the right to adopt. In 2005, Canada became the fourth country worldwide to legalize same-sex marriage.

Article

James Barry

James Miranda Steuart Barry, FRS (probably born Margaret Anne Bulkley), military surgeon, physician (born c. 1789–99; died 25 July 1865 in London, England). Posted across the British Empire, Barry reformed medical standards in the British army. His final and highest-ranking position was as inspector-general of military hospitals in the Province of Canada in the 1850s. After his death, it was reported that Barry’s assigned sex at birth was female. This has sparked significant debate about his identity.

Note on pronouns: This article refers to James Barry with masculine pronouns, as this was how Barry referred to himself throughout his life.

Click here for definitions of key terms used in this article.

Article

Two-Spirit

​Two-Spirit, a translation of the Anishinaabemowin term niizh manidoowag, refers to a person who embodies both a masculine and feminine spirit. Activist Albert McLeod developed the term in 1990 to broadly reference Indigenous peoples in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community. Two-spirit is used by some Indigenous peoples to describe their gender, sexual and spiritual identity. (See also Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights in Canada.)

Article

Robert Munsch

Robert Norman Peter Maria Munsch, CM, children’s writer, storyteller (born 11 June 1945 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania). Robert Munsch is a successful children’s writer. He has published more than 60 books in over 30 languages, including eight Indigenous languages. His books, including The Paper Bag Princess (1980) and Love You Forever (1986), have sold more than 30 million copies worldwide. He won a Juno Award for Best Children’s Album in 1985, received the Ruth Schwartz Children’s Book Award in 1986 and was named the Canadian Booksellers’ Association’s Author of the Year in 1992. He is a Member of the Order of Canada and Canada’s Walk of Fame.

Article

Leonard Braithwaite

​Leonard Austin Braithwaite, CM, OOnt, QC, lawyer, politician (born 23 October 1923 in Toronto, ON; died 28 March 2012 in Toronto). Braithwaite was the first Black Canadian elected to a provincial legislature. He served as a Liberal member of the Ontario Legislature from 1963 to 1975.

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Black Enslavement in Canada

In early Canada, the enslavement of African peoples was a legal instrument that helped fuel colonial economic enterprise. The buying, selling and enslavement of Black people was practiced by European traders and colonists in New France in the early 1600s, and lasted until it was abolished throughout British North America in 1834. During that two-century period, settlers in what would eventually become Canada were involved in the transatlantic slave trade. Canada is further linked to the institution of enslavement through its history of international trade. Products such as salted cod and timber were exchanged for slave-produced goods such as rum, molasses, tobacco and sugar from slaveholding colonies in the Caribbean.

This is the full-length entry about Black enslavement in Canada. For a plain language summary, please see Black Enslavement in Canada (Plain Language Summary).

(See also Olivier Le Jeune; Sir David Kirke; Chloe Cooley and the Act to Limit Slavery in Upper Canada; Underground Railroad; Fugitive Slave Act of 1850; Slavery Abolition Act, 1833; Slavery of Indigenous People in Canada.)

Article

Queen Elizabeth II

Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, the United Kingdom and 13 other Commonwealth realms (born 21 April 1926 in London, United Kingdom; died 8 September 2022 at Balmoral Castle, Aberdeenshire, Scotland). The Queen reigned since 1952 and was the Head of State of Canada, the United Kingdom and 13 other Commonwealth realms. Elizabeth II was the first monarch to be crowned Queen of Canada. She was the longest reigning monarch in British and Commonwealth history and celebrated her Platinum Jubilee, the 70th anniversary of her accession to the throne, in 2022.

Article

Jean Lumb

Jean Bessie Lumb (née Toy Jin Wong), CM, community leader, restaurateur (born 30 July 1919 in Nanaimo, BC; died 17 July 2002 in Toronto, ON). Jean Lumb was the first Chinese Canadian woman and first restaurateur inducted into the Order of Canada. She is also best known for her role in successfully lobbying the federal government to change its discriminatory immigration policies that separated Chinese families. Lumb also led the Save Chinatown Committee to prevent further demolition of Toronto’s Chinatown in the 1960s.

Article

Demasduit

Demasduit (also known as Demasduwit, Shendoreth, Waunathoake, and Mary March), creator of a Beothuk dictionary (born 1796; died 8 January 1820 at Bay of Exploits, Newfoundland). Demasduit was a Beothuk woman taken captive by English fishers in 1819. She was subsequently sent to an Anglican missionary where she created a list of Beothuk vocabulary. After her death, her remains and those of her husband were taken to Scotland. After much lobbying, the remains were returned to Newfoundland in 2020. The Government of Canada has recognized Demasduit as a Person of National Historic Significance.

Article

Steven Point

Steven Lewis Point (Xwĕ lī qwĕl tĕl), OBC, lawyer, judge, chief, lieutenant-governor of British Columbia (born 28 July 1951 in Chilliwack, BC). A member of the Skowkale First Nation, Point was 23 years old when he began his career as chief of that community in 1975. He served in the role of chief for a total of 15 years on several occasions. From 1994 to 1999, he was tribal chair of the Stó:lō Nation and Grand Chief of Stó:lō Tribal Council. Point was also the chiefs' representative for the Stó:lō Nation Government House. He was appointed Chief Commissioner of the British Columbia Treaty Commission in 2005. Point went on to become the first Indigenous lieutenant-governor of BC in 2007. In 2020, he also became the first Indigenous chancellor of the University of British Columbia.

Article

Louis Siminovitch

Louis Siminovitch, CC, OC, OOnt, FRS, FRSC, molecular biologist (born 1 May 1920 in Montreal, QC; died 6 April 2021 in Toronto, ON). Siminovitch served on various national and provincial research and educational organizations. As a founder of the field, his research centered on somatic cell genetics and on the molecular biology of mammalian cells. (See also Genetics.) He has had a major influence on the careers of numerous Canadian molecular biologists, including James Till and Ernest McCulloch with their groundbreaking stem cell research.

Article

Mi'kmaq

Mi’kmaq (Mi’kmaw, Micmac or L’nu, “the people” in Mi’kmaq) are Indigenous peoples who are among the original inhabitants in the Atlantic Provinces of Canada. Alternative names for the Mi’kmaq appear in some historical sources and include Gaspesians, Souriquois and Tarrantines. Contemporary Mi’kmaq communities are located predominantly in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, but with a significant presence in Quebec, Newfoundland, Maine and the Boston area. In July 2022, the Mi'kmaq language was recognized as the first language of Nova Scotia.

List

Remarkable Indigenous Scientists and Researchers in Canada

Indigenous scientists and researchers in Canada have helped to advance their respective professional fields by posing new questions to seek better ways of thinking, healing and understanding. Many of them have incorporated both Western and Indigenous perspectives and teachings into their important work. In many cases, these individuals have faced discrimination and systemic racism, and persevered. Many have the honour of being the first Indigenous person to graduate and practice in their professional field. This article lists some of the most accomplished Indigenous individuals in Canada who have excelled in the areas of science, research and related fields.

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James Francis “Stocky” Edwards

James Francis “Stocky” Edwards, CM, fighter and fighter-bomber pilot, ace (born 5 June 1921 in Nokomis, SK; died 14 May 2022 in Comox, BC). Edwards was credited with shooting down 19 enemy aircraft and another 7 “probables” during the Second World War. He also destroyed 12 aircraft and about 200 vehicles on the ground. His actual total was likely higher, as Edwards was unconcerned with claiming victories. He fought in the North African, Italian and North-West Europe campaigns — a rare record for an Allied pilot. Until his death, Edwards was likely the top surviving fighter pilot in the Commonwealth.

Article

Theresa Tam

Dr. Theresa Tam, BMBS, physician, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada (born 1965 in Hong Kong). Dr. Tam is Canada’s chief public health officer, the federal government’s lead public health professional. She has expertise in immunization, infectious diseases and emergency preparedness. She has served on several World Health Organization emergency committees and has been involved in international missions to combat Ebola, MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) and pandemic influenza. She has also worked toward the eradication of polio. Dr. Tam became widely known to Canadians through media briefings as she led the medical response to the novel coronavirus and the COVID-19 pandemic.