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Green Party of Canada

The Green Party of Canada is a federal political party that advocates environmentalism as the key to a sustainable society. Annamie Paul was elected in 2020 to become the party’s leader, replacing Elizabeth May. Paul became the first Black Canadian and the first Jewish Canadian woman to permanently lead a federal political party. She resigned as leader after the party’s poor performance in the September 2021 federal election.

Two Green Party candidates were elected to the House of Commons in the 2021 election. (See Member of Parliament.)

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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.

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SARS in Canada

Canada experienced an outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003. Most of the infections originated in Toronto hospitals. The outbreak led to the quarantine of thousands, killed 44 people and took an economic toll on Toronto. It also exposed the country’s ill-prepared health-care system. Confusion around SARS fuelled an uptick in anti-Asian and anti-immigrant sentiment.

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

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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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Canada's Opioid Crisis

Overdoses from a class of painkiller drugs called opioids are claiming the lives of thousands of Canadians from all walks of life. The death count is the result of an escalating public health crisis: an epidemic of opioid addiction. The crisis is made deadlier by an influx of illicit fentanyl and chemically similar drugs, but it can be traced to the medical over-prescribing of opioids, including oxycodone, fentanyl and morphine.

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AES-90

The AES-90 word processor was an innovation released by the Montreal-based technology company Automatic Electronic Systems Inc. in 1972. The new machine was a pioneer within its generation that not only revolutionized office automation, but also set the trend for the design of word processors around the world.

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Kangaroo APCs (Armoured Personnel Carriers)

“Kangaroo” is the nickname given to a series of military transport vehicles (APCs) designed by the Canadian army in 1944, during the Battle of Normandy. (See Second World War.) It was a modified version of existing armoured vehicles such as the M7 (Priest) self-propelled gun, the Ram tank and the Sherman tank. Major components of these vehicles, such as their turret, were removed, thus allowing them to be used to transport infantry soldiers, safe from enemy fire.

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Filibuster

A filibuster is a parliamentary delaying tactic. It is typically employed by opposition parties to delay or prevent the passage of a bill they don’t like. A filibuster is brought about when legislators speak at great length in opposition to a bill; propose numerous, often trivial amendments; or raise many parliamentary points of privilege. All of this is designed to keep the bill from coming to a vote. The goal of a filibuster is to either change a bill or stop its passage.

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Extinct Animals in Canada

As of May 2021, 18 animal species once found in Canada are now extinct, according to the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). The committee’s definition of a wildlife species includes taxonomic categories as well as geographically distinct populations. For example, the Atlantic salmon appears on COSEWIC’s list of at-risk species 15 times, as there are 15 populations of Atlantic salmon in Canada facing different threats to their survival. Similarly, when one of these populations goes extinct — as was the case for Atlantic salmon in Lake Ontario in 1898 — there are specific, cascading effects for the ecosystem that the population belongs to. Communities may lose fishing opportunities and other animals may lose a source of food. Though the Atlantic salmon is an example of a species with populations still observable in the wild, this list of 18 also includes animals that no longer exist anywhere on the planet, such as the sea mink or great auk. The reasons for the extinction of these animals range from overhunting to predation from invasive species to,­ in the case of the Eelgrass limpet, a plight of slime mould.

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Hawker Hurricane

The Hawker Hurricane was a combat aircraft of the 1930s and 1940s, designed by the British aircraft manufacturer Hawker Aircraft Ltd. The Hurricane was one of the principal combat aircraft that defended the United Kingdom during the Battle of Britain. This fighter plane played a pivotal role in the Second World War, primarily serving with the Royal Air Force, Royal Navy, Royal Canadian Air Force and Soviet Air Force. The Hurricane was mass-produced, with over 14,000 examples manufactured from 1937 to 1944. The Hurricane was produced in the United Kingdom and in Canada, with 1,451 examples built at the Canadian Car & Foundry plant, which was located in Fort William (now Thunder Bay), Ontario. Hurricane production in Canada lasted from 1938 to 1943 and was overseen by Elsie MacGill, the first woman in Canada to earn a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering. MacGill was popularly known as the “Queen of the Hurricanes” for overseeing the rapid production of the aircraft. At the height of production, the Canadian Car & Foundry plant produced 15 new aircraft each week. 

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Opposition Party in Canada

An opposition party is a political party that does not win enough seats in a general election to form a government. The elected members of that party instead serve in the legislature as the opposition. An opposition party criticizes and challenges the governing party, with the goal of improving legislation and forming the government in the next election. The opposition party with the most seats is called the Official Opposition or Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. This title emphasizes that the party remains loyal to the Crown even as they oppose the governing party. The leader of the opposition party with the most seats is called the leader of the Opposition.

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Polaris Music Prize

The Polaris Music Prize was founded by Steve Jordan in 2006 and is awarded annually to the Canadian artist or group who creates the best full-length album. The mandate of the Polaris Music Prize has been likened to that of the UK’s Mercury Prize; all genres of contemporary music are eligible, and albums are judged on artistic merit rather than on commercial success. The winner is announced at the Polaris Music Prize Gala held each September in Toronto . The original cash prize of $20,000 was increased to $30,000 in 2011 and to $50,000 in 2015. Shortlisted artists have often performed at the Gala, which is broadcast live on CBC Radio 3 and YouTube.

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Polar Vortex

The polar vortex is a wind pattern surrounding the Earth’s poles. Both the North and South pole have polar vortices spinning around them. In both cases, the rotation is generally cyclonic — counter-clockwise around the North Pole and clockwise around the South Pole. While polar vortices exist year-round, they are strongest during each pole’s winter. Canadians tend to experience the effects of the North Pole’s polar vortex toward the end of winter. At this time, the vortex begins to weaken, and cold, polar air travels further south. Polar vortices are atmospheric phenomena which occur on other planets too, such as Mars, Venus and Saturn.

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Orange Shirt Day

At an event in Williams Lake, British Columbia, in May 2013, the orange shirt was presented as a symbol of Indigenous peoples’ suffering caused by Indian Residential Schools, which operated from the 1830s to the 1990s. The event led to the annual 30 September Orange Shirt Day as a means of remembrance, teaching and healing. In June 2021, the federal government declared 30 September a national statutory holiday to coincide with Orange Shirt Day.


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Cartography in Canada: Indigenous Mapmaking

Mapmaking was a widespread and well-developed art among Indigenous peoples in what is now Canada. However, this fact has been largely ignored in the history of cartography. Most common were navigational maps, because the more nomadic hunting and gathering bands depended on effective navigation over great expanses of wilderness. Indigenous peoples also drew maps to facilitate trade and warfare over long distances. Groups, in particular the equestrian Plains Indigenous people, used military maps to venture into the unfamiliar regions. (See also History of Cartography in Canada.)

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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.)