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Article

Nellie Rettenbacher (Primary Source)

"And then all of a sudden I thought, “Oh, I don’t want to do this work around the kitchen or whatever.” So I asked if I could join the military police."

See below for Mrs. Rettenbacher's entire testimony.


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.

Article

None Is Too Many

Written by Irving Abella and Harold Troper, None Is Too Many: Canada and the Jews of Europe 1933–1948 (published in 1982), documented antisemitism in the Canadian government’s immigration policies as they applied to European Jews fleeing persecution from Nazi Germany. The phrase “none is too many” entered the Canadian political lexicon largely because of this book. Even before its publication, the book played a crucial role in changing the Canadian government’s policies toward refugees, such that the government of Joe Clark welcomed Vietnamese refugees then referred to as the “Boat People.”

Article

CANTASS

The Canadian Towed Array Sonar System (CANTASS) has been used by Canadian ships since the late 1980s for long-range detection and identification of submarines. It is a passive system that “listens” but does not transmit any noise. The CANTASS uses a hydrophone array developed by the US Navy in conjunction with a powerful signal processor developed by Litton Systems Canada Ltd. The CANTASS has been fitted to the Annapolis-class destroyers, Halifax-class frigates, and the Oberon and Victoria-class submarines.

Article

North-West Territories (1870–1905)

The North-West Territories was the first Canadian territory. It was Established on 15 July 1870. As a territory, the region became part of Canada. But it lacked the population, economic and infrastructure resources to attain provincial status. It thus fell under the jurisdiction of the federal government. It covered a vast area, stretching west from a disputed boundary with Labrador, across the northern portions of present-day Quebec and Ontario, through the Prairies to British Columbia, and north from the 49th parallel to the Arctic Ocean. The territory was subject to numerous boundary changes before 1905. At that time, the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta were carved out of the southwest portion of the region. In 1906, the remaining territory was renamed the Northwest Territories.

Article

Halifax-class Frigates

The Halifax class of helicopter-carrying frigates (FFH) are multi-purpose warships of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN). There are 12 ships in the class. They were conceived in the 1970s as a replacement of the St Laurent and related classes of destroyer escorts, to provide antisubmarine warfare (ASW) protection for the fleet. The Halifax class entered service in the early 1990s, just after the end of the Cold War, and proved instead to be highly versatile general-purpose warships. Due to a major class-wide modernization project completed in the 2010s, they remain the backbone of the RCN surface fleet. The Halifax class will be replaced in the 2030s by the Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) ships announced in 2019.

Article

Constitutional History of Canada

The Constitution of Canada is the country’s governing legal framework. It defines the powers of the executive branches of government and of the legislatures at both the federal and provincial levels. Canada’s Constitution is not one legal document. It is a complex mix of statutes, orders, British and Canadian court decisions, and generally accepted practices known as constitutional conventions. The Constitution has been in constant evolution from colonial times to the present day. The story of the Constitution is the story of Canada itself. It reflects the shifting legal, social and political pressures facing Canadians, as well as their choices as a society.

Article

Numbered Treaties (Plain-Language Summary)

The Numbered Treaties are a series of 11 treaties. A treaty is an agreement between two or more nations. The Numbered Treaties were signed by the Canadian government and Indigenous people. All 11 treaties were signed between 1871 and 1921. The Numbered Treaties cover parts of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario. They also cover portions of Yukon and the Northwest Territories.

The treaties provided the Canadian government with land. The government wanted land for industrial development and white settlement. In exchange, the government promised Indigenous people special rights and benefits. These treaty terms are controversial and contested. The Numbered Treaties have ongoing legal, social, and economic impacts on Indigenous communities. (See also Treaties with Indigenous Peoples in Canada.)

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

Article

Language Policy in Canada

Language policy is comprised of a body of theory, principles, laws, programs and measures designed to manage one or more languages in a country. In monolingual societies, language policy is usually concerned with promoting an approved, standardized grammar of the common language. In bilingual or multilingual societies, it is intended to manage situations in which two or more languages are in contact and/or conflict, and to enhance the use and status of certain languages over others. Language policy in Canada has been designed to manage historical relationships among multiple languages – notably FrenchEnglish and Indigenous languages - and their various communities. While it has evolved over time, Canadian language policy has not always been marked by positive or just measures.

Article

Frank Bing Wong (Primary Source)

"“Your blood, our freedom.” That’s how they think of the Canadians."

See below for Mr. Wong's entire testimony.


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.

Article

Fred Joyce (Primary Source)

"He said, “Come over here, I’ve got something to show you.” And this is a 50 foot trailer and it’s a refrigerator car. And he opened up the back door and there at the very, very front end was the ice cream for 10,000 people."

See below for Mr. Joyce's entire testimony.


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.

Article

Helen Jean “Jean” Crawley (Primary Source)

"As Mr. Winston Churchill said in one of his last speeches after the war, he said “without the women, we may have lost the war.”"

See below for Ms. Crawley's entire testimony.


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.

Article

Thomas Kwok Hung “Tommy” Wong (Primary Source)

"We [Chinese-Canadians] did our share during the war and we did our share to fight for our rights which we got in 1947, we got our vote [in federal elections] now, so we were equal to harmonize with the fabric of our society."

See below for Mr. Wong's entire testimony.


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.

Article

Dennis William Knapik (Primary Source)

"And so we started to circle the base and plead with them to let us come down because when we had fired our Very pistols there, the colours were wrong. They thought it might be Japanese."

See below for Mr. Knapik's entire testimony.


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.

Article

Edison Yeadon (Primary Source)

"The German submarines don't like this weather but we do, to keep them down."

See below for Mr. Yeadon's entire testimony.


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.

Article

First World War (WWI)

The First World War of 1914–1918 was the bloodiest conflict in Canadian history, taking the lives of nearly 61,000 Canadians. It erased romantic notions of war, introducing slaughter on a massive scale, and instilled a fear of foreign military involvement that would last until the Second World War. The great achievements of Canadian soldiers on battlefields such as Ypres, Vimy and Passchendaele, however, ignited a sense of national pride and a confidence that Canada could stand on its own, apart from the British Empire, on the world stage. The war also deepened the divide between French and English Canada and marked the beginning of widespread state intervention in society and the economy.

(This is the full-length entry about the First World War. For a plain-language summary, please see First World War (Plain-Language Summary).)

Article

Second World War (WWII)

The Second World War was a defining event in Canadian history, transforming a quiet country on the fringes of global affairs into a critical player in the 20th century's most important struggle. Canada carried out a vital role in the Battle of the Atlantic and the air war over Germany and contributed forces to the campaigns of western Europe beyond what might be expected of a small nation of then only 11 million people. Between 1939 and 1945 more than one million Canadian men and women served full-time in the armed services. More than 43,000 were killed. Despite the bloodshed, the war against Germany and the Axis powers reinvigorated Canada's industrial base, elevated the role of women in the economy, paved the way for Canada's membership in NATO, and left Canadians with a legacy of proud service and sacrifice embodied in names such as Dieppe, Hong Kong, Ortona and Juno Beach.

(This is the full-length entry about the Second World War. For a plain-language summary, please see Second World War (Plain-Language Summary).)