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The Discovery of Insulin

For many years scientists believed that some kind of internal secretion of the pancreas was the key to preventing diabetes and controlling normal metabolism. No one could find it, until in the summer of 1921 a team at the University of Toronto began trying a new experimental approach suggested by Dr. Frederick Banting.

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Indigenous Women and the Franchise

The context for Indigenous women and the franchise has been framed by colonialism as much as by gender discrimination. Indigenous women (First NationsMétis, and Inuit) have gained the right to vote at different times in Canadian history. The process has been connected to enfranchisement — both voluntary and involuntary — which means that Indigenous women were afforded political participation and Canadian citizenship rights at the cost of Indigenous rights (see Indigenous Suffrage).

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Canada and the Cold War

The Cold War refers to the period between the end of the Second World War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. During this time, the world was largely divided into two ideological camps — the United States-led capitalist “West” and the Soviet-dominated communist “East.” Canada aligned with the West. Its government structure, politics, society and popular perspectives matched those in the US, Britain, and other democratic countries. The global US-Soviet struggle took many different forms and touched many areas. It never became “hot” through direct military confrontation between the two main antagonists.

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St Laurent-class Destroyer Escorts

The St Laurents were developed in the early Cold War as a high-speed, long-range antisubmarine frigate to counter the growing Soviet conventional submarine threat. They were the first major warship class designed and built in Canada and incorporated many ground-breaking features, earning them the nickname, the “Cadillacs.” Seven St. Laurents were built. The success of the design inspired a succession of follow-on classes: the Restigouche, Mackenzie and Annapolis classes. A total of 20 ships — all named after Canadian rivers — were built around the same hull configuration and propulsion plant. These iconic ships were the mainstay of the Canadian fleet from 1955 to 1995, including most of the Cold War.

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Emergencies Act

In July 1988, the War Measures Act was repealed and replaced by the Emergencies Act. The Emergencies Act authorizes “the taking of special temporary measures to ensure safety and security during national emergencies and to amend other Acts in consequence thereof.” In contrast to the sweeping powers and violation of civil liberties authorized by the War Measures Act, the Emergencies Act created more limited and specific powers for the federal government to deal with security emergencies of five different types: national emergencies; public welfare emergencies; public order emergencies; international emergencies; and war emergencies. Under the Act, Cabinet orders and regulations must be reviewed by Parliament, meaning the Cabinet cannot act on its own, unlike under the War Measures Act. The Emergencies Act outlines how people affected by government actions during emergencies are to be compensated. It also notes that government actions are subject to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Canadian Bill of Rights.

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Hamilton Tiger-Cats

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are a professional team in the Canadian Football League (CFL). The franchise dates back to the formation of the Hamilton Football Club (the Tigers) in November 1869. The Tigers and another Hamilton football team, the Wildcats, amalgamated as the Tiger-Cats for the 1950 season and played in the Inter-provincial Rugby Football Union (IRFU). The IRFU became the Eastern Conference of the CFL in 1960. Since the early 20th century, the Tigers and Tiger-Cats have been associated with a tough, physical brand of football that reflects the blue-collar roots of Hamilton as an industrial city. The team’s iconic cheer, “Oskie Wee Wee, Oskie Waa Waa, Holy Mackinaw, Tigers… Eat ’em Raw!” is well known throughout Canada and dates back to the early 20th century. The Tiger-Cats have won the Grey Cup 13 times, including five times as the Tigers.

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Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are a football team that plays in the Canadian Football League (CFL). Located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the Blue Bombers have alternated between the league’s West Division and East Division. They have been part of the West Division since 2014. Since its founding in 1930, the team has won 12 Grey Cup championships. In 2019, the team won its first Grey Cup since 1990 when it defeated the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 33–12. After the 2020 season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Blue Bombers defeated Hamilton in the 2021 Grey Cup by a score of 33–25. It marked the team’s first back-to-back championship since 1962, and the first in the CFL since the Montreal Alouettes in 2010.

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Grey Cup

The Grey Cup is a trophy produced by Birks Jewellers that has been part of Canadian sports since 1909, when it was donated by Governor General Earl Grey for the Canadian football championship. The original conditions stated that the "cup must remain always under purely amateur conditions," although there is good reason to believe that this was at the urging of P. D. Ross of the Ottawa Journal rather than Lord Grey. The name "Grey Cup" has since been used to refer both to the trophy and the event.

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Canada and SOSUS

The Sound Surveillance System (SOSUS) was a network of passive sonar stations established by the United States Navy (USN) in the early 1950s to “listen” for Soviet submarines. SOSUS was a core element of antisubmarine warfare (ASW) during the Cold War. It developed out of intense postwar oceanographic research into how sound is propagated under water. Given Canada’s shared responsibility for the defence of North America, the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) was actively engaged in this research and mission and helped operate SOSUS. The mission was highly classified throughout the Cold War and only declassified in 1991. SOSUS became part of the Integrated Undersea Surveillance System (IUSS), a broader network of fixed and towed sensors that remains operational.


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Coal Mining Disasters

Coal mining involves deep workings, soft rock, dust, poisonous and flammable gases, explosives, machinery, transport and ventilation systems, and, in early times, open-flame lamps. Each has been a factor in the many Canadian coal mine tragedies, the worst of which are detailed here.

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Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that impacts the body’s central nervous system. As of September 2020 an estimated 2.8 million people are living with MS worldwide. Canada has one of the highest rates of MS in the world with over 90,000 Canadians living with the disease. There is no known cure for MS, but treatments can help address symptoms and slow the progression of the disease.

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Voting Rights

The right to vote in Canada has not been straightforward. Race, ethnicity, and gender were often factors in determining who had the right to vote, a right that, once earned, could be taken away. Learn about the complicated history of Voting Rights in Canada.

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Iconic Highways in Canada

Canada’s most iconic highways were all built in the 20th or 21st centuries. Before the car became popular, good roads were hard to find once you left a city. As simple as they seem, it’s expensive to build and maintain roads. Rural routes were often treacherous for travelers.

Modern highways connect our massive country. A few of them stand out for their length, origins, or wondrous landscapes.

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Environmental Movement in Canada

The environmental movement seeks to protect the natural world and promote sustainable living. It had its beginnings in the conservation efforts of the early 1900s. During this time, conservationists aimed to slow the rapid depletion of Canadian resources in favour of more regulated management. Many scholars divide the evolution of the environmental movement into “waves.” These waves are periods in time easily characterized by certain themes. While the number of waves and their characterization may differ from scholar to scholar, they’re often defined as follows: The first wave focused on conservation; the second, pollution; the third, the professionalization of environmental groups; and the fourth, climate change.

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Plant Gene Resources of Canada

Plant Gene Resources of Canada (PGRC) is part of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. As Canada’s national seed gene bank it protects, preserves and enhances the genetic diversity of Canada’s important agricultural plants and their wild relatives (see Genetics; Seed Plants). Since its foundation in 1970, PGRC has played a major role in protecting Canada’s agricultural crops (see Agriculture in Canada). In doing so, it also helps protect biodiversity, which is disappearing in many places, and contributes towards food security at home and around the world. (See also Food insecurity in Canada.)

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

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Montreal Protocol

The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, known simply as the Montreal Protocol, is an international environmental agreement. It regulates the consumption and production of approximately 100 man-made, ozone-depleting chemicals. The Montreal Protocol is so named because it was initially signed in Montreal on 16 September 1987. To date, the Montreal Protocol is the only United Nations treaty that every country in the world has ratified.

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​Québec Values Charter

The contents of the Québec values charter were unveiled on 10 September 2013, by Bernard Drainville, a member of Pauline Marois’ Parti Québécois government and Minister responsible for Democratic Institutions and Active Citizenship. The goal of this highly anticipated charter was the creation of a secular society — a society in which religion and the state are completely separate. The result of numerous controversies in the media and in Québec society regarding reasonable accommodation, the charter encouraged religious neutrality by means of five “proposals.” One of the proposals was a ban on the wearing of any visible symbol indicating a religious affiliation, including a turban, hijab or kippah, by public servants when they are providing services to the public. The charter sparked controversy in Québec and divided the Québécois. On 7 November 2013, Drainville officially tabled the bill (Bill 60) in Québec’s National Assembly.