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Immigration to Canada (Plain-Language Summary)

Aside from Indigenous peoples, everyone living in Canada has ancestors who arrived in Canada during the past 400 years. The first Europeans to permanently settle in Canada were from France. Then, people from the United States, Britain and Ireland came to Canada. Black people also came from the United States to escape enslavement. After this, people from Continental Europe and China arrived. Now, people from all over the world come to Canada. (See Multiculturalism.) A large percentage of Canadians alive today are first-generation Canadians who immigrated. Many are second-generation Canadians — children of immigrants. Without immigration, Canada would not be what it is today.

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

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Great Depression in Canada (Plain-Language Summary)

The Great Depression took place in Canada and around the world in the 1930s. The term “Depression” is used to describe an economic decline that lasts for a long time. During the worst period of the Depression about 30 percent of Canadians were unemployed. This made life very difficult because Canada had few social programs at the time. This changed because of the Depression. In the 1930s the government created social programs to help those in need. It also became more involved in the economy.

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

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New France (Plain-Language summary)

New France was a French colony in North America. By the early 1740s, France controlled what is known today as the Maritime provinces, much of modern-day Ontario and Quebec, and the Hudson Bay region. The territory also stretched from today’s Northeastern United States to the Gulf of Mexico. Quebec City was the center of culture, society and economics. The French living in New France created a distinct culture. The French population of New France were known as habitants. Many habitants had a better life in New France than peasants in France. That said, not many people from France wanted to emigrate to New France. Most people in France thought New France was too cold and very dangerous. Because there was little immigration, New France had a very small population. In 1763, approximately 70,000 French colonists lived in New France. (See Population Settlement of New France.) This small population made New France weak. It was one of the most important reasons why New France was taken over by Britain in 1763.

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

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Quiet Revolution (Plain-Language Summary)

The Quiet Revolution transformed Quebec in the 1960s. The Quiet Revolution refers to a series of drastic political, societal and cultural changes. The Quiet Revolution was led by the Quebec Liberal Party under Premier Jean Lesage. The slogan was “Maîtres chez nous” (Masters of our own house). The goal was for francophones to take leadership positions in Quebec and to guide Quebec into the future. The goal was met. The Quiet Revolution contributed to changing Quebec, and Canada, forever.

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

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Second World War (Plain-Language Summary)

Canada played an important role in the Second World War. It did much to help the allies win the war. Canadians fought on land, in the air and on sea. More than 1 million Canadians served in the military. Over 43,000 Canadians died. Approximately 50,000 Canadians were wounded. The war changed Canada forever. By the end of the war Canada had a very large military force. The Canadian economy was one of the strongest in the world. Canada paid more attention to world affairs than before. Canadians helped to create NATO and the United Nations.

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

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Battle of the Plains of Abraham (Plain-Language Summary)

The Battle of the Plains of Abraham took place on 13 September 1759. The Plains of Abraham are in Quebec City. It was fought between the French and their Indigenous allies against the British. The British won. Losing the battle was a major defeat for the French. Soon after, France lost all of Quebec. In 1763, France gave all of Canada to Britain. The era of New France was over. Until Confederation in 1867, Britain would control the colonies that became Canada. (See Confederation (Plain-Language Summary).)

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

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First World War (Plain-Language Summary)

The First World War occurred between 1914 and 1918. Approximately 425,000 Canadians served overseas in Europe. More than 60,000 Canadians died. Over 170,000 were seriously wounded. Canadians suffered more casualties in the First World War than the Second World War. (See Second World War (Plain-Language Summary).)

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

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Acadian Expulsion (Plain-Language Summary)

The original Acadians were from France. Acadia is now part of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The French first began settling in Acadia during the first decade of the 17th century. In 1713, the British took over Acadia. They expelled the Acadians in the 1750s. The British did not trust the Acadians. The expulsion of the Acadians is also known as the Great Upheaval. The expulsion of the Acadians was tragic. In the 1760s, the British let the Acadians come back. Acadia remains alive and well today in the Maritimes. Thousands of Canadians are the descendants of the Acadians.

(This article is a plain-language summary of the Acadian Expulsion. If you are interested in reading about this topic in more depth, please see our full-length entry, Acadian Expulsion (The Great Upheaval).)

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Eaton's

Founded in 1869, the T. Eaton Company Ltd., commonly known as Eaton’s, was an iconic Canadian department store with a retail presence in every province, at its height. From its beginnings as a retail store in Toronto to its eventual bankruptcy and absorption into its long-time rival, Sears Canada, Eaton’s significantly shaped Canadian shopping. The Eaton’s name and legacy persist today, from Toronto’s Eaton Centre to the red bricks incorporated into the facade of Winnipeg’s Bell MTS Place, a reminder of the former Eaton’s store that stood on the site for so long.

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Siminovitch Prize

The Siminovitch Prize acknowledges artistic excellence in Canadian theatre. It is Canada’s largest theatre arts award. Also called the Elinore and Lou Siminovitch Prize in Theatre, it was established in honour of playwright Elinore Siminovitch and her husband, the renowned geneticist and medical scientist Louis Siminovitch. It was created in 2001 and is awarded annually to a playwright, director or designer. The prize is valued at $100,000 and is unique in its emphasis on mentorship; a total of $25,000 is shared with up to two theatre protégés of the recipient’s choosing.

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Conscription in Canada

Conscription is the compulsory enlistment or “call up” of citizens for military service. It is sometimes known as “the draft.” The federal government enacted conscription in both the First World War and the Second World War. Both instances created sharp divisions between English Canadians, who tended to support the practice, and French Canadians, who generally did not. Canada does not currently have mandatory military service. The Canadian Armed Forces are voluntary services.

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Floods in Canada

Floods are primarily caused by naturally occurring changes in the height of rivers, lakes and oceans. According to Public Safety Canada, floods are the most common natural hazard in the country and among the costliest. Historic floods have occurred across Canada, with many of the worst happening on major river systems that pass through populated areas. Scientists predict that flooding linked to the impacts of climate change will increase as the 21st century progresses, particularly in coastal areas of the country.

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#MeToo Movement in Canada

The #MeToo movement protesting sexual violence against women began in the United States in October 2017 in the wake of accusations against Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein. Since then, it has rapidly expanded internationally through Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. In Canada, #MeToo and its French equivalent, #MoiAussi, have amplified the voices of victims and changed the conversation pertaining to rape, sexual abuse, sexual assault and other forms of sexual violence, harassment and misconduct.

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Everett Klippert Case

Everett George Klippert was the only Canadian ever declared a dangerous sexual offender and sentenced to what amounted to life in prison, for no other reason than he was a gay man. Outrage over that sentence, which was upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1967, led to the decriminalization of gay sex two years later. Klippert was released from prison in 1971. In 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau indicated he would recommend a pardon for Klippert. The following year, the Trudeau government formally apologized and issued a compensation package to men who were charged, convicted and punished simply because they were gay.

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Komagata Maru

The SS Komagata Maru was a chartered ship featured in a dramatic challenge to Canada’s former practice of excluding immigrants from India. This challenge took place in the spring and summer of 1914, on the eve of the First World War. It proved to be a bitter and tragic experience for the passengers, first in an unsuccessful and eventually physical confrontation with officials, police and the military at the Port of Vancouver, and then in a deadly encounter with police and troops near Kolkata on the passengers’ return to India.

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Forestry

Forestry is the science and practice of caring for forests. Both the meaning and practice of forestry in Canada have evolved over time.

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Canadarm

The Canadarm was a remote-controlled mechanical arm, also known as the Shuttle Remote Manipulator System (SRMS). During its 30-year career with NASA’s Space Shuttle Program, the robotic arm deployed, captured and repaired satellites, positioned astronauts, maintained equipment, and moved cargo.