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Women’s Suffrage in Canada (Plain-Language Summary)

Women’s suffrage means the right of women to vote in elections. Before Canada became a country in 1867, very few women had the right to vote. After 1867, no women had the right to vote. Only male property owners over the age of 21 had the right to vote. Women were not allowed to vote because most men believed that women should take care of the home and children. They should not get involved in politics. Politics was the realm of men. Another reason why most men did not think women should vote was that women were considered too emotional and could not serve in the military.

(This article is a plain-language summary of Women’s Suffrage in Canada. If you are interested in reading about this topic in more depth, please see our full-length entry, Women’s Suffrage in Canada.)

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Edmonton Elks

The Edmonton Elks (formerly the Edmonton Football Team, or EE Football Team, and the Edmonton Eskimos) is a community-owned football team that plays in the West Division of the Canadian Football League (CFL). In the CFL’s modern era (post-Second World War), the team has won the second-most Grey Cup championships (14). This included three victories in a row from 1954 to 1956 and an unprecedented five straight championships from 1978 to 1982. The club also holds the North American professional sports record for reaching the playoffs in 34 consecutive seasons (1972–2005). Notable alumni include former Alberta premiers Peter Lougheed and Don Getty, former lieutenant-governor of Alberta Norman Kwong, former Edmonton mayor Bill Smith, and former NFL star Warren Moon.

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Stanley Cup

The Stanley Cup is the oldest trophy competed for by professional athletes in North America. It was donated by Governor General Lord Stanley in 1892 for presentation to the top hockey team in Canada, and was first awarded to the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association (1892–93). Since 1926, the Stanley Cup competition has been under the control of the National Hockey League (NHL). The Montreal Canadiens are the most successful team in Stanley Cup history, with 24 victories, followed by the Toronto Maple Leafs with 13. These two “Original Six” teams dominated the championship from the 1940s to the 1970s. (See also Lord Stanley and the Stanley Cup.)

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International Trade

International trade is the buying and selling of goods and services between members of different countries. This exchange has been a key part of the Canadian economy since the first settlers came. Canadian settlers depended on exports of resources such as timber and grain (see Timber Trade History; Wheat). In the 20th century, Canada’s exports shifted to services, manufactured goods and commodities such as oil and metals.

Since the 1980s, Canada has signed free trade agreements with dozens of countries to increase global trade and investment.

Canada’s three biggest trading partners are the United States, the European Union and China. The United States is Canada largest trading partner by far. However, trade with China grew quickly in the 2010s, and this trend will likely continue.

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

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Vezina Trophy

The Vezina Trophy is awarded to the best goaltender in the National Hockey League during the regular season. Created in 1927 in honour of Georges Vézina, who died in 1926 at the age of 39, the trophy was originally awarded to the goaltender with the best goals-against average. Beginning in 1946, it was presented to the main goalie for the team that had allowed the fewest goals in the regular season; in 1965, it was expanded to include all of the team’s goalies who had played in at least 25 games. Since 1982, the winner has been determined by a vote among all NHL general managers. Voting occurs at the end of the regular season and the trophy is handed out during the NHL Awards, following the Stanley Cup playoffs.

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James Norris Memorial Trophy

The James Norris Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the player selected by hockey writers as the best defenceman in the National Hockey League (NHL) during the regular season. It was presented to the league in 1953 by the children of James Norris, former owner of the Detroit Red Wings. The winner is chosen through a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association at the end of the regular season and is awarded after the Stanley Cup playoffs.

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Hart Memorial Trophy

The Hart Memorial Trophy (originally the Hart Trophy) is awarded annually to the player determined to be the “most valuable” to his National Hockey League (NHL) team during the regular season. The winner is chosen through a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

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Conn Smythe Trophy

The Conn Smythe Trophy is awarded annually to the player judged most valuable to his team in the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup playoffs. The player is selected by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association following the final game of the playoffs. The trophy was first presented in 1964 in honour of Conn Smythe, former coach, manager and owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs. However, the only Maple Leaf to win the award is Dave Keon (1967). Two-time winners include Bobby Orr (1970, 1972), Bernie Parent (1974, 1975), Wayne Gretzky (1985, 1988),  Mario Lemieux (1991, 1992) and Sidney Crosby (2016, 2017), while Patrick Roy won the award three times (1986, 1993, 2001). Five players have won the trophy despite their team losing the Stanley Cup Final: Roger Crozier (1966), Glenn Hall (1968), Reggie Leach (1976), Ron Hextall (1987) and Jean-Sébastien Giguère (2003).

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Bloc Québécois

The Bloc Québécois is a federal political party that was created officially on 15 June 1991 (registered by Elections Canada on 11 September 1993). It was founded as a parliamentary movement composed of Quebec MPs who left the Conservative and Liberal parties after the failure of the Meech Lake Accord. The party promotes Quebec's interests and Quebec sovereignty in the House of Commons. The party only runs candidates in the province of Quebec.

Yves-François Blanchet became leader of the party in January 2019. Under Blanchet, the Bloc won 32 seats in the October 2019 federal election, returning it to official party status.

See Canadian Electoral System; Voting Behaviour in Canada.

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Calder Memorial Trophy

The Calder Memorial Trophy is awarded annually “to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition in the National Hockey League.” First presented in 1933, the trophy is named for Frank Calder, who was president of the NHL from 1917 to 1943. The winner is chosen through a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association at the end of the regular season and is awarded after the Stanley Cup playoffs. Players who have won the trophy and gone on to stardom include Terry Sawchuk, Bobby Orr, Ken Dryden, Ray Bourque, Mario Lemieux and Martin Brodeur.

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Lady Byng Memorial Trophy

The Lady Byng Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the National Hockey League (NHL) player “adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.” The trophy was donated to the NHL in 1925 by Lady Evelyn Byng, wife of Governor General Byng. It was known as the Lady Byng Trophy until her death in 1949, when it was renamed the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy. The winner is chosen through a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association at the end of the regular season and is awarded after the Stanley Cup playoffs. Notable winners include Frank Boucher, Wayne Gretzky, Red Kelly, Pavel Datsyuk, Mike Bossy, Ron Francis and Martin St. Louis.

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Art Ross Trophy

The Art Ross Trophy is awarded annually to the player who leads the National Hockey League in scoring points during the regular season. If there is a tie at the end of the season, the trophy is awarded to the player with the most goals. The trophy was donated in 1948 by Arthur Howey Ross, general manager of the Boston Bruins. Several players have won the award multiple times, including Wayne Gretzky (10 times), Gordie Howe and Mario Lemieux (6 times), Phil Esposito and Jaromir Jagr (5), Stan Mikita (4), and Bobby Hull and Guy Lafleur (3).

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Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy

The Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy was added to the NHL’s awards for individual excellence in 1999. It is awarded each year to the league’s top goal scorer during the regular season. The trophy honours former Montreal Canadiens superstar Maurice “Rocket” Richard, who was the first player to score 50 goals in a season and the first to reach the 500-goal plateau. The tribute to Richard was a gift from the Montreal Canadiens and was first proposed by team president Ronald Corey. The award’s first recipient was Teemu Selanne of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. Alex Ovechkin has won the award nine times — more than any other player.

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Peasant Farm Policy

From 1889 to 1897, the Canadian government’s Peasant Farm Policy set limits on Indigenous agriculture on the Prairies. The policy included rules about the types of tools First Nations farmers could use on reserve lands. It also restricted how much they grew and what they could sell. The Peasant Farm Policy was built on the belief that Indigenous farmers had to gradually evolve into modern farmers. It also reduced these farmers’ ability to compete with settlers on the open market. The policy ultimately impeded the growth and development of First Nations farms. As a result, First Nations never realized their agricultural potential.

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2018 Toronto Danforth Shooting

Minutes before 10:00 p.m. on Sunday 22 July 2018, a 29-year-old man walked into a busy Toronto neighbourhood and began shooting people indiscriminately. He walked along Danforth Avenue, shooting others before exchanging gunfire with police and turning his handgun on himself. The shooter killed 18-year-old Reese Fallon and 10-year-old Julianna Kozis and left 13 people injured. The rampage led to calls for more gun control in Canada.

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Same-Sex Marriage in Canada

In 2003, Ontario and British Columbia became the first two provinces to legalize same-sex marriage. The federal Civil Marriage Act came into force on 20 July 2005, making same-sex marriage legal across Canada. Canada became the fourth country to permit same-sex marriages, after the Netherlands (2000), Belgium (2003) and Spain (2005). Since then, all provinces in Canada have recognized same-sex marriages. Marriage itself falls under federal jurisdiction in Canada. But the provinces regulate the solemnization of marriage (the formal ceremony that is either civil or religious). They also grant marriage licenses. The Supreme Court has ruled that under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a religious official cannot be legally compelled to perform same-sex marriages if it is contrary to their religious beliefs.

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Alex Polowin (Primary Source)

Alex Polowin was a Lithuanian-Jewish Canadian who served in the Royal Canadian Navy on HMCS Huron, a Tribal class destroyer. Polowin escorted convoys to Murmasnk to supply the Soviets, hunted down the battleship Scharnhorst, and supported the amphibious invasion of Normandy in 1944. Listen to Polowin describe his motivations for enlisting in the Navy and the operations in which he took part.

Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

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Bob Ducharme (Primary Source)

Bob Ducharme was a non-commissioned officer of a transport company during the Korean War. Bob fondly describes his service with the Second Division, recalling his encounters with the locals and the Koreans who served alongside him. Read and listen to Bob’s testimony of his time in Korea as he recalls what he witnessed and went through.

Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

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Elizabeth “Betty” Dimock (Primary Source)

Elizabeth “Betty” Dimock’s great ambition during the Second World War was to become a nurse. She registered in the South African army to treat wounded soldiers from the North African Campaign. Read and listen to Dimock’s story below.

Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

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Carol Elizabeth Duffus (Primary Source)

Carol Elizabeth Duffus was a Staff Officer and Tactical Table Trainer with the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service (WRCNS) during the Second World War. Women such as Carol Duffus made important contributions to the war effort, carving a path for future generations of women to join the Canadian Armed Forces. Listen to Duffus’ first-hand account of her service.

Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.