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Egghead

Caroline Pignat’s Egghead (2008) is a young adult novel that details the effects of bullying through the eyes of three junior high school students. The novel has been lauded for its sensitive portrayal of multiple perspectives of the causes and effects of bullying. Egghead was shortlisted for numerous prizes, including the Ontario Library Association’s Red Maple award, the Saskatchewan Young Reader’s Association Snow Willow Award and the Canadian Library Association’s Young Adult Book of the Year award. 

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Schitt’s Creek

One of the most acclaimed Canadian TV series of all time, Schitt’s Creek is a CBC sitcom about a wealthy family who loses their fortune and is forced to live in the fictional small town of the show’s name. Created by co-stars Daniel Levy and his father, Eugene Levy, the series is centred on the tension between the town’s down-to-earth residents and the ostentatious Rose family. In 2020, it won nine Primetime Emmy Awards and became the first comedy series ever to win all seven of the top awards: best comedy series, best lead and supporting actor and actress, and best writing and directing. It has also won two Golden Globes and 24 Canadian Screen Awards, including five for best actress in a comedy series (Catherine O’Hara) and three for best comedy series.

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Fatty Legs

Fatty Legs (2010) is a memoir about a young Inuvialuit girl’s two years at a religious residential school. It is based on the experiences of Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, who cowrote the novel with her daughter-in-law Christy Jordan-Fenton. Published by Annick Press, the book features illustrations by Liz Amini-Holmes and archival photographs from Pokiak-Fenton’s personal collection. Fatty Legs was a finalist for the Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize. It received many other nominations and was named one of the 10 best children’s books of the year by the Globe and Mail.

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"Alouette!"

"Alouette!" The most popular Canadian folksong. It also has become a symbol of French Canada for the world, an unofficial national song identifiable from the first few measures of its lively chorus in 2/4 time. Marius Barbeau is of the opinion that "Alouette" originated in France, but James J. Fuld, in The Book of World-Famous Music (New York 1966), points out that the first written version, "Alouetté," appeared in A Pocket Song Book for the Use of Students and Graduates of McGill College (Montreal 1879). The song was published later as "Alouette" in the McGill College Song Book (Montreal 1885). The first known printed version in France dates from 1893: it appeared in Julien Tiersot's Revue des traditions populaires, vol 8 (Paris). The words and music are found in many anthologies and collections in Canada, the USA, and even Europe, notably in William Parker Greenough's Canadian Folk-life and Folk-lore (New York 1897). Several versions exist in Canada. Marius Barbeau summarizes the different texts in a work appropriately named Alouette (Montreal 1946). However, in all versions of the song, with its enumerations and frequent recapitulations, the idea remains the same: the lark's feathers are plucked from its head, wings, back, tail, and so on.

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National Aboriginal Veterans Monument

The National Aboriginal Veterans Monument was unveiled in 2001 in Ottawa to commemorate the contributions made by Indigenous peoples in Canada during the First World War, Second World War and Korean War. The monument, a bronze statue with a granite base, was created by Indigenous artist Noel Lloyd Pinay of the Peepeekisis First Nation in Saskatchewan. It is situated in Confederation Park, directly across from the Lord Elgin Hotel. It is the first monument dedicated to Indigenous veterans in Canada.

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Alias Grace

Margaret Atwood’s ninth novel, Alias Grace (1996), is a work of historical fiction that centres on the mysterious figure of Grace Marks. She was convicted in 1843 at the age of 16 for the murder of her employer, Thomas Kinnear, a wealthy Scottish Canadian, who was killed along with his housekeeper and mistress, Nancy Montgomery. Alias Grace won the Giller Prize for fiction in 1996. It was also shortlisted for a Governor General’s Award and England’s Booker Prize. In 2017, Sarah Polley adapted Atwood’s novel into a six-part CBC/Netflix miniseries, starring Sarah Gadon as Marks.

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Canadian Tulip Festival

The Canadian Tulip Festival takes place in and around Ottawa every spring. It is one of the world’s largest tulip displays. During the festival, over a million tulips in over 100 varieties are in bloom in the National Capital Region. The festival’s origins lie in Canada’s role in both liberating the Netherlands and hosting members of the Dutch royal family during the Second World War. After the war, the Netherlands began presenting Canada with tulip bulbs in gratitude. This tradition continues to this day. The inaugural festival was held in 1953. (See also Liberation of the Netherlands.)

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Fifth Business

Robertson Davies’s landmark novel Fifth Business (1970) explores the life and psyche of a seemingly ordinary history teacher, Dunstan Ramsey, who has unwittingly played a key role in some remarkable events. It was the first book of Davies’s Deptford Trilogy, which also includes The Manticore (1972) and World of Wonders (1975). Fifth Business became arguably Davies’s most recognized novel and catapulted him to international recognition.

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The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz

The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz is Mordecai Richler’s fourth and best-known novel. Published in 1959, it tells the story of a young Jewish man from Montreal who is obsessed with acquiring status, money and land. Bitingly satirical, it is a landmark Canadian novel. It established Richler as an international literary figure and sparked an interest in Canadian literature both at home and abroad. It also drew criticism from those who felt the main character embodied anti-Semitic stereotypes. Richler also received several awards and an Oscar nomination for his screenplay for the 1974 feature film adaptation, co-written with Lionel Chetwynd and directed by Ted Kotcheff.

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Section 23 and Francophone Education outside of Quebec

Section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms ensures the right to instruction in French or English to the children of the francophone and anglophone minority communities in all of Canada’s provinces. Section 23 allows francophones to establish French-language school boards in each of the majority-anglophone provinces. Thanks to this key provision of the Charter, francophones outside of Quebec and anglophones in Quebec can pursue their education in their own language.

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Juno Awards

The Juno Awards are Canada’s music recording industry awards. They have been administered by the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) since 1975, when the awards ceremony was first telecast. The gala’s popularity has grown significantly since 1995, when it was transformed from an industry function into a public event at an arena concert venue. In the early 2000s, the “Juno Week” ceremony was expanded to include public entertainment events; these include the Songwriters' Circle, JunoFest, Juno Fan Fare and the Juno Cup charity hockey game. The Juno Awards also encompass the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. It was founded by CARAS in 1978.

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Welsh Music in Canada

Immigration of the Welsh to Canada occurred in cycles corresponding to economic depressions in the homeland in the 19th and 20th centuries. Some moved to Canada via the USA and others via the Welsh community established in the Argentine.

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Quillwork

Quillwork refers to the Indigenous art of using coloured porcupine quills to decorate various items such as clothing, bags, medicine bundles and regalia. Quillwork pieces have been preserved in museums and cultural centres across North America. Now considered a rare artform, elders and specialized artists use quillwork to promote cultural traditions.

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The Wars

Timothy Findley’s 1977 novel about the mental and physical destruction of a young Canadian soldier in the First World War won the Governor General’s Literary Award for English Language Fiction. It is widely regarded as one of the country’s definitive historical war novels. It has been called “one of the most remarkable novels of war ever published” and “the finest historical novel ever written by a Canadian.” The Globe and Mail referred to The Wars as “the great Canadian novel about the First World War.”