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Canadian Bill of Rights (Plain-Language Summary)

The Canadian Bill of Rights was the country’s first federal law to protect human rights and freedoms. It was groundbreaking when it was passed in 1960. But it proved too limited and ineffective. It applies only to federal statutes and not provincial ones. This is because the Bill did not receive provincial consent. The Bill is still in effect. But it was overridden by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982. Unlike the Charter, the Bill of Rights is not part of the Constitution.

(This article is a plain-language summary of the Canadian Bill of Rights. If you are interested in reading about this topic in more depth, please see our full-length entry, Canadian Bill of Rights.)

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Cicada

Cicadas are large, sound-producing insects in the family Cicadidae, best known for their multi-year life cycles. They are true bugs, belonging to the order Hemiptera. Scientists know of more than 3,200 species of cicada worldwide, most of them from the tropics. In Canada, scientists have recorded 21 species, found in forested areas across the country and as far north as Sambaa Deh Falls Territorial Park, Northwest Territories. The loud, distinctive calls of males are heard on warm summer days, and are unique to each species. Cicada species are either annual or periodical, depending on their life cycle. While annual species are seen each year, periodical species emerge in 13- or 17-year cycles. Only annual species of cicada are found in Canada.

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Dutch Canadians

From the earliest years of the 17th century, the Dutch were engaged in the fur trade on the Hudson River. In 1614, they established trading posts on Manhattan Island and at Fort Orange (present-day Albany, New York). But only after the American Revolution (1775-1783) did Dutch immigration to British North America (now Canada) begin. The Dutch who had long been settled in the Thirteen Colonies fit easily into Canadian society. Since that time, Canada has experienced three waves of immigration from the Netherlands, the largest of them after the Second World War.

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Ancaster Bloody Assize of 1814

The Bloody Assize of Ancaster was a series of trials conducted after the War of 1812, in 1814, in which 19 men accused of supporting the American cause were officially charged with High Treason. The Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board erected a memorial plaque in Ancaster to commemorate the trials.

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History of Cartography in Canada

Cartography is the art, science and technology of making maps, plans, charts and globes representing Earth or any celestial body at any scale. Cartographic documents have been used as vehicles of communication by different cultures for many millennia; the earliest map to survive, drawn about 2300 BCE on a clay tablet, was found in the Middle East. In Canada, Indigenous people drew maps on the ground and in the snow, and sometimes committed them to media such as animal skins or bark. The maps of the 16th century were rough and often conjectural; maps of the French period became more accurate in the better-known areas; and after 1800, with the widespread use of the sextant and advanced astronomical techniques for determining longitude (for example, using the marine chronometer), the major gaps in the map of Canada were filled. During the 20th century, mapping skills were greatly refined in Canada.

This article provides background on the history of cartography in Canada. For more detailed information please see Cartography in Canada: Indigenous Mapmaking; Cartography in Canada: 1500s; Cartography in Canada: 1600–1763; Cartography in Canada: 1763–Second World War; Cartography in Canada: Mapping Since the Second World War; National Topographic System; Cadastral Surveying.

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Constitution Act, 1867

The Constitution Act, 1867 was originally known as the British North America Act (BNA Act). It was the law passed by the British Parliament on 29 March 1867 to create the Dominion of Canada. It came into effect on 1 July 1867. The Act is the foundational document of Canada’s Constitution. It outlines the structure of government in Canada and the distribution of powers between the central Parliament and the provincial legislatures. It was renamed the Constitution Act, 1867 with the patriation of the Constitution in 1982.

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Traditional Plants and Indigenous Peoples in Canada

Indigenous peoples in what is now Canada collectively used over a 1,000 different plants for food, medicine, materials, and in cultural rituals and mythology. Many of these species, ranging from algae to conifers and flowering plants, remain important to Indigenous communities today. This knowledge of plants and their uses has allowed Indigenous peoples to thrive in Canada’s diverse environments. Many traditional uses of plants have evolved to be used in modern life by Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples alike. (See also Indigenous Peoples’ Medicine in Canada.)

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Canada and Antisubmarine Warfare during the Cold War

During the Cold War, the Canadian Navy played a crucial role in antisubmarine warfare (ASW), working closely with its allies to patrol and monitor the North Atlantic and Pacific Oceans for Soviet submarine activity. Canada invested in new technology and continually modernized its fleet of ships and aircraft to better detect and counter Soviet submarines. It also operated strategic warning systems with its allies, particularly the United States. By the end of the Cold War, Canada had developed a very high reputation in the field.

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Moss

Moss is a small terrestrial plant, usually less than 10 cm tall, that lacks true conducting tissues (xylem, phloem) and has a dominant gametophyte (sexual) generation. Mosses are the largest and most highly developed group of division Bryophyta (which also includes liverworts and hornworts). Bryophytes are sometimes known as the “amphibians of the plant world” because of their dependence on water for sexual reproduction. There are over 10,000 species of moss worldwide, of which about 1,250 are found in North America. Individual parts of Canada have fewer species (e.g., 466 species in Alberta, 445 in Newfoundland, 430 in Ontario). Mosses thrive in humid climates, and coastal parts of Canada have a greater diversity than the interior parts.

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Extinct Plants in Canada

There is one plant native to Canada that is extinct. Called Macoun’s shining moss (Neomacounia nitida), this plant grew near Belleville, Ontario. Given the abundance of plant species found in Canada, it’s perhaps surprising that only one is extinct, especially when compared to the number of extinct animals in the country — 18 as of 2021. However, Macoun’s shining moss is likely not the only extinct Canadian plant. It is possible that many more species went extinct before botanists observed and recorded them. Because early settlers were more likely to notice animals and use them for food and economic purposes, their disappearance was better documented. (See also Extinct Animals in Canada.)

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Colored Hockey League

The Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes (CHL) was an all-Black men’s hockey league. It was organized by Black Baptists and Black intellectuals and was founded in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1895. It was defunct during and after the First World War, reformed in 1921 and then fell apart during the Depression in the 1930s. Play was known to be fast, physical and innovative. The league was designed to attract young Black men to Sunday worship with the promise of a hockey game between rival churches after the services. Later, with the influence of the Black Nationalism Movement — and with rising interest in the sport of hockey — the league came to be seen as a potential driving force for the equality of Black Canadians. Canada Post issued a commemorative stamp in honour of the league in January 2020.

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Archaeological Survey of Canada

The Archaeological Survey of Canada (ASC) was established in 1971. It is the division of the Canadian Museum of History that deals with the archaeological heritage of Canada. The major goals of the ASC are to preserve archaeological sites, research into the history of Canadian Indigenous peoples and present the results of archaeological research to the public, through publications and exhibitions. The ASC’s Mercury Series of monographs is one of the main outlets for the reporting of archaeological research in the country. Its exhibitions, both in the Canadian Museum of History and smaller ones that travel across the country, enhance public understanding of the traditions of the Indigenous peoples of Canada. (See also Archaeology.)

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Cartography in Canada: 1500s

Most maps created in the 1500s that relate to Canada are manuscript compilations, often undated and anonymous. They were prepared by European cartographers rather than by explorers. Since cartographers had to work with available material, these maps are at times a perplexing mixture of new information and old, copied from unspecified sources. Any review of the sequence in which Canada was first mapped is therefore somewhat conjectural. (See also History of Cartography in Canada.)

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Pawpaw

The pawpaw (Asimina triloba) is a shrub or small tree of the Annonaceae, or custard-apple, family. It is the only member of the custard-apple family that grows in Canada. Sometimes called dog-banana, the pawpaw’s fruit is edible. It is believed that Indigenous people, including the Erie and Onondaga, introduced the tree to Southern Ontario from the United States. The plant is a beautiful ornamental shrub due to its large leaves and red-purplish flowers. Recently, this small tree has attracted the attention of researchers as a potential anticancer drug alternative.

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Ram Tank

The Ram was a Canadian cruiser tank produced during the Second World War (WWII) to overcome the lack of tanks in Canada. This Canadian tank used a modified version of the US M3 tank chassis, with the addition of a turret that could accommodate a 40-mm anti-tank gun in the initial design and a 57-mm gun from 1942 on. From 1941 to 1943, the Montreal Locomotive Works produced about 1,949 Ram tanks. Because of the availability of other, more modern tanks, the Ram never saw combat, but its design served as the basis for variants such as the Kangaroo armoured personnel carrier and the Sexton self-propelled gun. The Ram and its variants are the only tanks ever designed and built in Canada. (See also Armaments.)

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Imperial Munitions Board

Imperial Munitions Board, established November 1915 in Canada by the British Ministry of Munitions, with Canadian government approval. Headed by J.W. Flavelle, a prominent Toronto businessman, the board was responsible for letting contracts on behalf of the British government for the construction of war materials in Canada. 

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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.