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Article

North-West Mounted Police

The North-West Mounted Police (NWMP) was the forerunner of Canada's iconic Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Created after Confederation to police the frontier territories of the Canadian West, the NWMP ended the whiskey trade on the southern prairies and the violence that came with it. They helped the federal government suppress the North-West Resistance and brought order to the Klondike Gold Rush. The NWMP pioneered the enforcement of federal law in the West, and the Arctic, from 1873 until 1920.

Article

Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa is an African American cultural holiday that has been adopted around the world, including in Canada, to celebrate African family, community and culture.

Article

Canadian War Art Programs

Since the First World War, there have been four major initiatives to allow Canadian artists to document Canadian Armed Forces at war. Canada’s first official war art program, the Canadian War Memorials Fund (1916–19), was one of the first government-sponsored programs of its kind. It was followed by the Canadian War Art Program (1943–46) during the Second World War. The Canadian Armed Forces Civilian Artists Program (1968–95) and the Canadian Forces Artists Program (2001–present) were established to send civilian artists to combat and peacekeeping zones. Notable Canadian war artists have included A.Y. Jackson, F.H. Varley, Lawren Harris, Alex Colville and Molly Lamb Bobak.

Article

Patriation Reference

The Patriation Reference, formally known as Re: Resolution to Amend the Constitution, was a reference case of the Supreme Court of Canada. On 28 September 1981, the court decided that it was legal for the federal government to patriate and amend Canada’s Constitution without the consent of the provincial governments. But it also found that to do so in areas that affect provincial powers would be a breach of constitutional convention. The court’s decision concluded that such conventions are of great significance. In the words of the court, “Constitutional convention plus constitutional law equal the total constitution of the country.”

Article

James Bay Project

In 1971, Hydro-Québec and the government of Quebec initiated the James Bay Project, a monumental hydroelectric-power development on the east coast of James Bay. ( See also Hydroelectricity in Canada.) Over the course of two phases, a total of eight generating stations were built, allowing for the pollution-free production of a significant portion of Quebec’s electricity. However, the project also profoundly disrupted the environment and the Indigenous communities living in the region, the effects of which are still being felt today.

Article

Canadian Recipients of the Victoria Cross

The Victoria Cross (VC), instituted in 1856 by Queen Victoria, is the Commonwealth's premier military decoration for gallantry. It is awarded in recognition of the most exceptional bravery displayed in the presence of the enemy, although in rare instances the decoration has been given to mark other courageous acts. In total, there have been 99 Canadian recipients of the Victoria Cross. In 1993, Canada adopted its own national version of the Victoria Cross. The Canadian VC has not yet been awarded.

Memory Project

Jack Mussellam (Primary Source)

Read and listen to M. Mussellam's veteran's testimony below.

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

Sir George Williams Affair

The Sir George Williams affair (also known as the Sir George Williams riot) took place in winter 1969, when more than 200 students decided to peacefully occupy the ninth floor of the Henry F. Hall Building at Sir George Williams University in Montreal. These students were protesting the university administration’s decision regarding a complaint of racism that had been filed several months earlier by six Black students from the Caribbean. On 11 February 1969, to dislodge the students occupying the building, the police intervened forcefully, and the situation deteriorated, resulting in over $2 million worth of damage and the arrest of 97 people. The Sir George Williams affair is regarded as the largest student riot in Canadian history. For many observers and historians, it represents a key moment in the rebirth of black militancy in Montreal.

Article

Women in the Canadian Armed Forces

Canadian women have served in all three branches of the Canadian Armed Forces, which includes the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force. As early as 1885, Canadian women served as nurses in military hospitals during the North-West Resistance. During the First and Second World Wars, women took on various roles in the military as medical personnel and in clerical and administrative positions. Women served in the Cold War and during peacekeeping operations. In 1989, the majority of military occupations were open to women, including combat roles. Submarine service was opened to women in 2001. (See also Canadian Women and War.)

Article

Hudson’s Bay Company (Plain-Language Summary)

The Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) was founded in 1670. It is Canada’s oldest company. It started as a fur trading company. Much later, it got involved in retail. It owns 239 department stores in Canada and the United States. These stores include Saks Fifth Avenue and Saks OFF 5th.

This article is a plain-language summary of the Hudson’s Bay Company. If you are interested in reading about this topic in more depth, please see the full-length entry, Hudson’s Bay Company.

Article

Parti Québécois

The Parti Québécois (PQ) is a nationalist (see Francophone Nationalism in Quebec) political party formed in Quebec in 1968 through the merger of the Mouvement souveraineté-association (see Sovereignty-Association) and the Ralliement national. René Lévesque was the PQ’s first leader and held that position until 1985. The party was elected to its first term in office in 1976 and went on to hold two referendums on Quebec sovereignty: one in 1980 and the other in 1995. (See Quebec Referendum (1980); Quebec Referendum (1995).) Since October 2020, the party leader is Paul St-Pierre Plamondon.

Article

Politics in Quebec

In 1867, French Canadians in united Canada (territories covered by present-day Quebec and Ontario), helped create the Canadian Federation. In fact, there were four French Canadians (see Francophone) among the 36 Fathers of the Confederation. Since 1 October 2018, the first fixed election date in Quebec history, the province is led by a majority government. The premier is François Legault and the lieutenant-governor is honourable J. Michel Doyon (see also: New France; Seven Years’ War; Battle of the Plains of Abraham; Treaty of Paris 1763).

Article

​Québec solidaire

Québec solidaire is a progressive, left-wing provincial political party officially formed on 4 February 2006 in Montreal. Its key principles and values are the environment, social justice, feminism, alter-globalization, democracy, pluralism, sovereignty and solidarity. Québec solidaire has ten members in the National Assembly of Quebec, as a result of the 2018 elections, being the third-largest party. Since May 2017, its parliamentary spokespersons are Manon Massé and Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois.

Article

Ice Storm of 1998

The ice storm of 1998 was one of the largest natural disasters in Canadian history. Between 4 and 10 January 1998, sections of the St. Lawrence Valley from Kingston to Québec’s Eastern Townships received up to 100 mm of ice pellets and freezing rain — more than double the icy precipitation normally received in those areas in a whole year. The storm claimed as many as 35 lives, injured 945, and resulted in the temporary displacement of 600,000 people. Several roads were shut down and massive power outages occurred, cutting off electricity for nearly 1.4 million customers in Québec and over 230,000 in eastern Ontario. The total financial cost of the storm is estimated at $5.4 billion.

Article

Timber Slide

A timber slide is a water-filled chute or runway built to carry “cribs” of timber around rapids and waterfalls. (See also Raft). Similar devices for individual pieces of wood were called “flumes.” Timber slides contributed to the growth of the timber industry in the 19th century (see Timber Trade Industry).

Article

Media Convergence in Canada

Media convergence refers to the merging of previously distinct media technologies and platforms through digitization and computer networking. This is also known as technological convergence. Media convergence is also a business strategy whereby communications companies integrate their ownership of different media properties. This is also called media consolidation, media concentration or economic convergence. (See also Media Ownership.)