Search for "national holidays"

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Labour Day in Canada

Labour Day, the first Monday in September, has been a statutory holiday in Canada since 1894. It originated in the first workers’ rallies of the Victorian era. Historically, workers marked the day with various activities. These included parades, speeches, games, amateur competitions and picnics. The holiday promoted working-class solidarity and belonging during a time of rapid industrialization. Since the Second World War, fewer and fewer people have participated in Labour Day activities. Nevertheless, it remains a statutory holiday. Many Canadians now devote the Labour Day holiday to leisure activity and family time.

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Thanksgiving in Canada

The first official, annual Thanksgiving in Canada was celebrated on 6 November 1879, though Indigenous peoples in Canada have a history of celebrating the fall harvest that predates the arrival of European settlers. Sir Martin Frobisher and his crew are credited as the first Europeans to celebrate a Thanksgiving ceremony in North America, in 1578. They were followed by the inhabitants of New France under Samuel de Champlain in 1606. The celebration featuring the uniquely North American turkey, squash and pumpkin was introduced to Nova Scotia in the 1750s and became common across Canada by the 1870s. In 1957, Thanksgiving was proclaimed an annual event to occur on the second Monday of October. It is an official statutory holiday in all provinces and territories except Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.

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Parks Canada

The federal agency now known as Parks Canada was established in 1911 under the name of the Dominion Parks Branch. Charged with administering a small group of parks and reserves, it was the world's first national parks service.

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“O Canada”

“O Canada” is Canada’s national anthem. Originally called “Chant national,” it was written in Québec City by Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier (words in French) and composer Calixa Lavallée (music), and first performed there on 24 June 1880. It began to be sung widely in French Canada at that time and later spread across Canada in various English-language versions, of which the best-known was written by Robert Stanley Weir in 1908. The lyrics of this version were amended several times over the years, with the most recent changes occurring in February 2018; the French lyrics have been shortened but otherwise remain unaltered from the original. “O Canada” was approved as Canada’s national anthem by a Special Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Commons on 15 March 1967. It was officially adopted as Canada’s national anthem under the National Anthem Act on 27 June 1980. The Act was proclaimed by Governor General Edward Schreyer in a public ceremony on Parliament Hill on 1 July 1980.

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National Hockey League (NHL)

The National Hockey League (NHL) is a men’s professional ice hockey league. Widely recognized as the world’s premier hockey league, it was established in Montréal, Québec, in 1917. The league currently includes 31 franchises: 7 in Canada and 24 in the United States. The Canadian teams are the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Winnipeg Jets, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks. Teams compete annually for the Stanley Cup, the oldest professional sports trophy in North America.

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1972 Canada-Soviet Hockey Series (Summit Series)

For many Canadians, the eight-game series between Team Canada and the national team of the Soviet Union in 1972 provided the greatest moment in the country’s sporting history. Most expected that Canada would handily defeat the Soviet Union, but this confidence quickly disappeared when Canada lost the first game. The series was tied heading into the final game in Moscow, which ended in a dramatic fashion, with Paul Henderson scoring in the final seconds to give Canada the victory. The series would have a lasting impact on hockey in Canada and abroad.

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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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Film Distribution in Canada

Film distribution is one of the three main branches of the film industry. It provides the link between film production and exhibition. It is also the most profitable of the three sectors and is dominated by large multinational conglomerates. Film distribution companies supply movies, television programs, videos and new media to outlets such as cinemas and broadcasters. They do so in territories where they have acquired rights from the producers. Traditionally, distribution companies are the prime source for financing new productions. The distribution sector has been called “the invisible art.” Its practices tend to only concern industry insiders and go unnoticed by audiences. American companies dominate film distribution in Canada. They have controlled access to Canadian screens since the 1920s. (See also: Canadian Film History: 1896 to 1938.)

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Toronto Raptors

The Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association (NBA) are a professional basketball team based in Toronto, Ontario. After the Vancouver Grizzlies moved to Memphis in 2001, the Raptors became the only Canadian team in the NBA. Since its founding in 1995, the team has won six division titles, made the playoffs 11 times and won the NBA championship once. Star players have included Damon Stoudamire, Vince Carter, Chris Bosh, Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan and Kawhi Leonard. In 2017–18, the Raptors finished atop the Eastern Conference regular season standings and set a franchise record with 59 wins. They won another division title in 2018–19 and advanced to the NBA Finals, where they defeated the Golden State Warriors in six games for their first NBA championship in franchise history.

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Conn Smythe Trophy

The Conn Smythe Trophy is awarded annually to the player judged most valuable to his team in the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup playoffs. The player is selected by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association following the final game of the playoffs. The trophy was first presented in 1964 in honour of Conn Smythe, former coach, manager and owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs. However, the only Maple Leaf to win the award is Dave Keon (1967). Two-time winners include Bobby Orr (1970, 1972), Bernie Parent (1974, 1975), Wayne Gretzky (1985, 1988),  Mario Lemieux (1991, 1992) and Sidney Crosby (2016, 2017), while Patrick Roy won the award three times (1986, 1993, 2001). Five players have won the trophy despite their team losing the Stanley Cup Final: Roger Crozier (1966), Glenn Hall (1968), Reggie Leach (1976), Ron Hextall (1987) and Jean-Sébastien Giguère (2003).

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Massey Commission

The Massey Commission was formally known as the Royal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters and Sciences. It was officially appointed by Prime Minister Louis St-Laurent on 8 April 1949. Its purpose was to investigate the state of arts and culture in Canada. Vincent Massey chaired the Commission. It issued its landmark report, the Massey Report, on 1 June 1951. The report advocated for the federal funding of a wide range of cultural activities. It also made a series of recommendations that resulted in the founding of the National Library of Canada (now Library and Archives Canada), the creation of the Canada Council for the Arts, federal aid for universities, and the conservation of Canada’s historic places, among other initiatives. The recommendations that were made by the Massey Report, and enacted by the federal government, are generally seen as the first major steps to nurture, preserve and promote Canadian culture.

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Métis National Council

The Métis National Council represents more than 350,000 members of the Métis Nation, defined as Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and parts of Ontario, British Columbia and the Northwest Territories.

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Ottawa Senators

The Ottawa Senators are a professional hockey team in the National Hockey League. Based in Ottawa, Ontario, they play at the Canadian Tire Centre, an 18,500-seat arena that first opened in 1996. The modern Senators began playing in the NHL in 1992; they are the second team to play under the name. The original team (officially the Ottawa Hockey Club, but known as the Senators from around 1908) dominated Canadian hockey in the early 20th century, winning the Stanley Cup 11 times.

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Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Canadiens are a hockey team that plays in the National Hockey League (NHL). The Canadiens are the only existing NHL club to have formed prior to the league’s inception in 1917, and are the only team to have operated continuously throughout the league’s history. The Canadiens have won 24 Stanley Cup championships.

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Toronto Maple Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs are a hockey team that plays in the National Hockey League (NHL). The Maple Leafs are one of the "Original Six" NHL teams, and have won the Stanley Cup 13 times (11 as the Maple Leafs, one as the Arenas and one as the St. Patricks).

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Ice Hockey in Canada

Hockey is Canada's official national winter sport and perhaps its greatest contribution to world sport. Canada is considered the birthplace of ice hockey, and Canadians generally regard the sport as their own.

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Quebec Film History: 1970 to 1989

This entry presents an overview of Québec cinema, from the burgeoning of a distinctly Québec cinema in the 1970s, to the production explosion that followed Denys Arcand’s Le déclin de l’empire américain (1986). It highlights the most important films, whether in terms of box office success or international acclaim, and covers both narrative features and documentaries. It also draws attention to an aspect of filmmaking that still has difficulty finding its place: women's cinema.

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Vezina Trophy

The Vezina Trophy is awarded to the best goaltender in the National Hockey League during the regular season. Created in 1927 in honour of Georges Vézina, who died in 1926 at the age of 39, the trophy was originally awarded to the goaltender with the best goals-against average. Beginning in 1946, it was presented to the main goalie for the team that had allowed the fewest goals in the regular season; in 1965, it was expanded to include all of the team’s goalies who had played in at least 25 games. Since 1982, the winner has been determined by a vote among all NHL general managers. Voting occurs at the end of the regular season and the trophy is handed out during the NHL Awards, following the Stanley Cup playoffs.