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Editorial

Celebrating Thirty Years of the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada

The following is an abridged excerpt from Unheard Of: Memoirs of a Canadian Composer by John Beckwith. (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, Waterloo, Ontario. February 2012)

When Helmut Kallmann's A History of Music in Canada 1534-1914 appeared in 1960, nothing half as thorough or as finely documented had ever been produced, either in English or in French, on this topic. When I asked what he planned to do for an encore, he thought his findings suggested two directions: an alphabetically organized dictionary about music and musical life in Canada; or a scholarly edition, probably in several volumes, preserving the most significant published music of the country’s past. This prediction amounted to an outline of his work on the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada.

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Media Bias in Canada (Plain-Language Summary)

Bias is when you support or oppose someone or something based on your own opinion, regardless of the evidence. Media bias is when content spread by media reflects the interests of that company or its ownership. Corporations may have a clear bias for one political party or issue. A company may have its media outlets reflect that bias. Journalists or news outlets may favour one side of an issue and reflect that bias in the way they cover stories. Bias can be overcome by being aware of it and talking about it. And by listening to people from less privileged backgrounds.

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Encyclopedia of Music in Canada

The Encyclopedia of Music in Canada was the first music encyclopedia published in Canada. It comprises more than 3,100 articles and 500 illustrations. It includes biographies of Canadian musicians and histories of music organizations in Canada. Topics that are covered include Inuit music, piano building, awards, education, instrument collections, folk music, the music scenes in Canadian cities and Canada's musical relations with other national cultures. Bibliographies, discographies and lists of compositions are included. Because of its role in documenting Canada's musical history, the EMC is a standard reference work for schools, libraries and musicians.

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Fur Trade in Canada

The fur trade was a vast commercial enterprise across the wild, forested expanse of what is now Canada. It was at its peak for nearly 250 years, from the early 17th to the mid-19th centuries. It was sustained primarily by the trapping of beavers to satisfy the European demand for felt hats. The intensely competitive trade opened the continent to exploration and settlement. It financed missionary work, established social, economic and colonial relationships between Europeans and Indigenous people, and played a formative role in the creation and development of Canada.

(This is the full-length entry about the fur trade. For a plain-language summary, please see Fur Trade in Canada (Plain Language Summary).)

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Hudson's Bay Company

The Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC), chartered 2 May 1670, is the oldest incorporated joint-stock merchandising company in the English-speaking world. HBC was a fur trading business for most of its history, a past that is entwined with the colonization of British North America and the development of Canada. The company now owns and operates nearly 239 department stores in Canada and the United States, including Hudson’s Bay, Saks Fifth Avenue and Saks OFF 5TH. Originally headquartered in London, England, its corporate headquarters are located in Toronto and New York. HBC is a private business owned by a holding company.

This is the full-length entry about the Hudson’s Bay Company. For a plain-language summary, please see Hudson’s Bay Company (Plain-Language Summary).

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North West Company

Founded in 1779, the North West Company was a major force in the fur trade from the 1780s to 1821. Managed primarily by Highland Scots who migrated to Montréal after 1760, or came as Loyalists escaping the American Revolution, it also drew heavily on French-Canadian labour and experience. The name first described Montréal traders who in 1776 pooled resources to reduce competition among themselves and to resist inland advances of the Hudson’s Bay Company.

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Trade Goods of the Fur Trade

During the fur trade in Canada, items of European manufacture (historically referred to in the literature as Indian trade goods) were traded with Indigenous peoples for furs. These items include, for example, metal objects, weapons and glass beads. (See also Trade Silver.) In various ways, however, cultural exchanges went both ways. Some Europeans, namely the voyageurs, adopted various Indigenous technologies and clothing during the fur trade, including the use of moccasins, buckskin pants and hats, and snowshoes.

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Canadian Space Agency

Established in 1990, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) promotes the peaceful use and development of space for the social and economic benefit of Canadians. It also coordinates federal government contributions to the CSA’s various partners in Canada and abroad. The agency’s current mandate includes the Canadian astronaut program, satellite development, space science and technology programs, space stations and robotics.

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

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Canada During COVID-19

Countries, communities, and individuals around the world are grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic. How will historians remember this time in history? Canada During COVID-19: A Living Archive is meant to capture the experiences of everyday Canadians as they live through this challenging time.

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Anti-Slavery Society of Canada

The Anti-Slavery Society of Canada was formed in Canada West (now Ontario) in 1851 to promote the global abolition of slavery and provide relief to African American refugees seeking freedom in Canada. Led by influential residents of the province from Black and White communities alike, the society was active until the early 1860s. It helped shape a sympathetic view of the abolitionist cause of the northern United States in the decade leading up to the American Civil War.

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Pro Pelle Cutem

Pro pelle cutem (a Latin phrase meaning “a pelt for a skin”) is the traditional motto of the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC). It was adopted soon after the company received its charter in 1670 and has remained on the HBC coat of arms, apart from a brief period of rebranding between 2002 and 2013.

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Black Cross Nurses in Canada

The Black Cross Nurses (BCN) is an auxiliary group intended for female members of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). The BCN was modeled on the nurses of the Red Cross. Its first chapter was launched in Philadelphia in May 1920. Under the leadership of Henrietta Vinton Davis, the BCN quickly became one of the UNIA’s most popular and iconic auxiliary groups. Offering a safe and inviting place for the Black community, UNIA halls became important cultural hubs in many cities and towns across Canada, where BCN divisions were also established. Although they were not professionally trained nurses, members of the BCN were expected to provide care and advice on matters of health and hygiene.

collection

Fur Trade in Canada

The fur trade was a vast commercial enterprise across the wild, forested expanse of what is now Canada. It was at its peak for nearly 250 years, from the early 17th to the mid-19th centuries. It was sustained primarily by the trapping of beavers to satisfy the European demand for felt hats. The intensely competitive trade opened the continent to exploration and settlement. It financed missionary work, established social, economic and colonial relationships between Europeans and Indigenous people, and played a formative role in the creation and development of Canada.

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Meng Wanzhou Affair (Two Michaels Case)

The Meng Wanzhou Affair (a.k.a. the case of the two Michaels) was a legal and diplomatic dispute that strained relations between Canada, China and the United States. It began in December 2018 when the RCMP in Vancouver arrested Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of the Chinese technologies company Huawei. They did so on behalf of an American court that wanted Meng extradited to the United States. Nine days later, the Chinese government arrested and detained two Canadians: Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. The two Michaels were imprisoned for 1,020 days. They were freed on the same day as Meng — 24 September 2021. The episode marked the emergence of China’s “wolf warrior diplomacy” and demonstrated Canada’s limited diplomatic options as a middle power.

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General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) (Plain-Language Summary)

The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was an international trade agreement. It was signed by 23 nations, including Canada, in 1947. It came into effect on 1 January 1948. It also led to the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995. The GATT was focused on trade in goods. It aimed to reduce tariffs and remove quotas among member countries. The GATT helped reduce average tariffs from 40 per cent in 1947 to less than five per cent in 1993. The GATT was an early step toward globalization. The WTO replaced the GATT on 1 January 1995.

This article is a plain-language summary of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). If you are interested in reading about this topic in more depth, please see our full-length entry: General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

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Robert Pickton Case (Plain-Language Summary)

In 2001, Robert Pickton was charged with murdering 26 women at his pig farm in Port Coquitlam, BC. He was convicted on six charges and sentenced to life in prison. Pickton claimed to have killed 49 women. His case was the largest serial killer investigation in Canadian history. It was also a flash point in the wider issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. In 2012, a government inquiry found that “blatant failures” by police led to a “tragedy of epic proportions.”

This article contains sensitive material that may not be suitable for all audiences. This article is a plain-language summary of the Robert Pickton Case. If you are interested in reading about this topic in more depth, please see our full-length entry: Robert Pickton Case.

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Canadian Astronauts

An astronaut is an individual involved in flight beyond the Earth’s atmosphere. Since the Canadian Space Agency held its first recruitment campaign in 1983, 14 Canadians have completed astronaut training and nine have participated in 17 missions to space. Specifically, they have flown as payload specialists, mission specialists, and flight engineers on NASA shuttle flights and expeditions to the International Space Station (ISS). Canadian astronauts have played key roles in repairing satellites and building the ISS using the Canadarm and Canadarm2 robotic technologies, and have advanced scientific knowledge by conducting a variety of experiments in space. (See also Robotics in Canada; Space Technology.)

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Fur Trade Route Networks

Throughout the period of the historical fur trade (early 17th to the mid-19th century), water routes were the natural “highways” of First Nations trappers and European fur traders. Water trading networks connected Indigenous societies from the Atlantic Ocean, along the St. Lawrence River to the Great Lakes, and then on towards the Hudson Bay watershed. North America’s waterborne geography facilitated intracontinental travel, enabled European expansion and settlement into Indigenous North America, and shaped the contours of Euro-Indigenous relations in the context of the fur trade. These extensive and interconnected systems of rivers, lakes and overland trails criss-crossed Indigenous territories and had been used for generations. At the height of the fur trade, the principal canoe route extended westward from the Island of Montreal through the Great Lakes, and from the northwestern shore of Lake Superior over the height of land into the Hudson Bay watershed. From the Lake Winnipeg basin, Indigenous trappers and European traders fanned out towards the Western Prairies via the Assiniboine, Qu’Appelle and Souris rivers, towards the foothills of the Rocky Mountains via the North and South branches of the Saskatchewan River, and finally towards the Athabasca Country via the Sturgeon-weir River and the Methye Portage.

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Organized Crime in Canada (Plain-Language Summary)

Organized crime is when a group of three or more people commit crimes to make money. Such crimes include gambling; prostitution; pornography; drug trafficking; insurance and construction fraud; illegal bankruptcy; motor vehicle theft; computer crime; and counterfeiting. The widespread nature of organized crime first came to light in the 1960s. Some criminal groups are based on ethnicity. Others are formed within certain industries. New laws were made in the early 2000s to address organized crime in Canada.

This article is a plain-language summary of organized crime in Canada. If you are interested in reading about this topic in more depth, please see our full-length entry: Organized Crime in Canada.