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French Language in Canada

French is one of Canada’s two official languages. Although every province in Canada has people whose mother tongue is French, Québec is the only province where speakers of French are in the majority. In 2011, 7,054,975 people in Canada (21 per cent of the country’s population) had French as their mother tongue.

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Loup-Garou

Traditional tales about the Loup-Garou are found in French Canadian and European folklore. The Loup-Garou is also called lycanthrope or werewolf. A Loup-Garou is generally believed to a person who can change into animal form, often as a wolf. In French Canadian folklore, the Loup-Garou is often a dog. It may also take the form of a calf or small ox, a pig, a cat or even an owl.

See also Oral Literature in French.

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Kim’s Convenience

Kim’s Convenience (2016–21) is a CBC TV sitcom about a Korean Canadian family that runs a convenience store in Toronto. Based on a 2011 play by Ins Choi, it was the first Canadian comedy series to star a primarily Asian Canadian cast. The acclaimed comedy explores the generational tension between immigrant parents and their Canadian-born children and was inspired by Choi’s experience growing up in a Korean family in Toronto. The show was an instant hit when it premiered on CBC in fall 2016; its first season averaged 933,000 viewers per episode. The series won eight Canadian Screen Awards, including Best Comedy Series in 2018. It also gained an international audience that year when it was made available on Netflix.

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Inuktitut

Inuktitut is an Indigenous language in North America spoken in the Canadian Arctic. The 2016 census reported 39,770 speakers, of which 65 per cent lived in Nunavut and 30.8 per cent in Quebec. Inuktitut is part of a larger Inuit language continuum (a series of dialects) stretching from Alaska to Greenland. Inuktitut uses a writing system called syllabics, created originally for the Cree language, which represent combinations of consonants and vowels. The language is also written in the Roman alphabet, and this is the exclusive writing system used in Labrador and parts of Western Nunavut. Inuktitut is a polysynthetic language, meaning that words tend to be longer and structurally more complex than their English or French counterparts.

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Apocalypsis

R. Murray Schafer’s Apocalypsis is a theatrical musical pageant in two parts — Part 1: John's Vision is adapted from the book of Revelation, about the end times, while Part 2: Credo is a serene and ecstatic meditation on the majesty of God. A massive and complex production that requires at least 500 performers, Apocalypsis was commissioned by the CBC in 1976 and premiered at Centennial Hall in London, Ontario, on 28 November 1980, as part of the city’s 125th anniversary. William Littler called it “one of the most spectacular events in the history of Canadian music.” In 2015, Toronto’s Luminato Festival closed with an acclaimed, $1.5 million production featuring a cast of nearly 1,000 musicians, singers, conductors, dancers and actors. The score to Part 1 and Part 2 are published separately and available through Schafer’s Arcana Editions (Part 1, 1981; Part 2, 1986).

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Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame

The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame (CSHF) is a non-profit organization that honours Canadian songs and songwriters. Music publisher Frank Davies founded the bilingual organization in 1998; its inaugural induction ceremony took place in 2003. Winners are inducted in one of three categories: songwriters; songs; and special achievement, for those who have made a significant contribution to the development and recognition of Canadian songs and songwriters. The CSHF has inducted over 60 songwriters and more than 170 songs since its inception.

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54-40

Alternative rock band 54-40 rose from the Vancouver punk scene of the late 1970s to achieve mainstream success in Canada in the late 1980s and the 1990s. They have had four platinum albums and one gold album and have been nominated for eight Juno Awards. They are perhaps best known for the hit singles “I Go Blind,” “Baby Ran,” “One Day in Your Life,” “Nice to Luv You,” “She La,” “Ocean Pearl” and “Since When,” among others. The band has been inducted into the BC Entertainment Hall of Fame and the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame. “I Go Blind” was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2021.

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Redpath Museum

The Redpath Museum is a natural history museum located on the grounds of McGill University, in Montreal, Quebec. Founded in 1882, it is the first purpose-built museum in Canada and one of the oldest continually operating museums in the country. The Redpath’s expansive collection is divided into four broad groups: mineralogy, palaeontology, zoology and world cultures (ethnology). (See also Minerals; Anthropology in Canada.) The collections are housed in a stand-alone museum building of Greek Revival style (see Architecture). In addition to its public education function, the Redpath is an integrated component of McGill University’s Faculty of Science, complete with research labs and undergraduate and graduate courses that make use of the museum’s ample collections.

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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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Nobel Prizes and Canada

The Nobel Prizes are awarded annually for achievements that have significantly benefitted humankind. The prizes are among the highest international honours and are awarded in six categories: physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, peace, and economics. They are administered by the Nobel Foundation and awarded by institutions in Sweden and Norway. Eighteen Canadians have won Nobel Prizes, excluding Canadian-born individuals who gave up their citizenship and members of organizations that have won the peace prize.

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Polaris Music Prize

The Polaris Music Prize was founded by Steve Jordan in 2006 and is awarded annually to the Canadian artist or group who creates the best full-length album. The mandate of the Polaris Music Prize has been likened to that of the UK’s Mercury Prize; all genres of contemporary music are eligible, and albums are judged on artistic merit rather than on commercial success. The winner is announced at the Polaris Music Prize Gala held each September in Toronto . The original cash prize of $20,000 was increased to $30,000 in 2011 and to $50,000 in 2015. Shortlisted artists have often performed at the Gala, which is broadcast live on CBC Radio 3 and YouTube.

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Orange Shirt Day

At an event in Williams Lake, British Columbia, in May 2013, the orange shirt was presented as a symbol of Indigenous peoples’ suffering caused by Indian Residential Schools, which operated from the 1830s to the 1990s. The event led to the annual 30 September Orange Shirt Day as a means of remembrance, teaching and healing. In June 2021, the federal government declared 30 September a national statutory holiday to coincide with Orange Shirt Day.


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The Handmaid's Tale

Margaret Atwood’s sixth novel, The Handmaid's Tale (1985) is a chilling dystopian vision of the future. It is set in the Republic of Gilead, a totalitarian America in which fundamentalist Christians have killed the president and Congress and imposed a puritanical theocracy. The Handmaid's Tale portrays a loveless police state that oppresses women and regulates all aspects of human life with constant surveillance. The novel won the Governor General's Literary Award and the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Science Fiction Literature. It has sold more than eight million copies in English. The Washington Post’s Ron Charles called it “the most popular and influential feminist novel ever written.” It has been adapted into a feature film, an acclaimed opera, a ballet, an Emmy Award-winning television series and a graphic novel. The Testaments, a highly anticipated sequel written by Atwood, was published in September 2019. It was awarded the Booker Prize in a rare tie with Bernardine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other.

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Murdoch Mysteries

Murdoch Mysteries is a TV series about William Murdoch, a fictional Victorian-era detective who is ahead of his time and uses forensic science and technology to solve Toronto’s most complex crimes. Often referred to as a Victorian-era CSI, the long-running police procedural features a mix of humour, intrigue, science fiction, history and period production values. Based on Maureen Jennings’s successful series of mystery novels, the show  attracted a cult following after premiering on City TV in 2008. It garnered a much larger audience after being picked up by the CBC in 2013. It was Canada’s highest-rated scripted television series in 2016, 2017 and 2018, and won the Golden Screen Award in 2017, 2018 and 2020. It is seen by millions of viewers in more than 100 countries.

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Black Canadian Theatre

With the emergence of the Black Theatre Workshop in the late 1960s, Black theatre began to flourish across Canada, providing dynamic venues for the work of Black playwrights, directors, and actors.

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The Halluci Nation (A Tribe Called Red)

Electronic group The Halluci Nation (preciously known as A Tribe Called Red) has garnered international acclaim for its politically charged, powwow drum-driven dance music. Featuring the DJs Bear Witness (Thomas Ehren Ramon) and 2oolman (Tim Hill), the group emerged from an Ottawa club party called Electric Pow Wow, which began in 2007. Former members include DJ Shub (Dan General), and founding members DJ NDN (Ian Campeau) and Dee Jay Frame (Jon Limoges). The group has described its “powwow step” music as “the soundtrack to a contemporary evolution of the powwow.” ATCR is part of what broadcaster and educator Wab Kinew has called the “Indigenous Music Renaissance,” an innovative new generation of Indigenous artists in Canada. The group was nominated for the Polaris Music Prize in 2013 and 2017, and has won three Juno Awards, including Breakthrough Group of the Year in 2014 and Group of the Year in 2018.