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Macleans

Boer War Remembered

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on November 15, 1999. Partner content is not updated.

The first contingent of 1,000 troops sailed from Quebec City 100 years ago, on Oct. 30, 1899. Another 7,638 young soldiers and 12 nurses followed over the next 2½ years. Their destination: South Africa, to join British troops battling the Afrikaner republics of Transvaal and Orange Free State.

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Minnow

Many people refer wrongly to any small fish as a minnow. Properly, minnows are small to large freshwater fish of class Actinopterygii, order Cypriniformes, family Cyprinidae.

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Canada and the Battle of Hong Kong

Hong Kong was the first place Canadians fought a land battle in the Second World War. From 8 to 25 December 1941, almost 2,000 troops from Winnipeg and Quebec City — sent to Hong Kong expecting little more than guard duty — fought bravely against the overwhelming power of an invading Japanese force. When the British colony surrendered on Christmas Day, 290 Canadians had been killed in the fighting. Another 264 would die over the next four years, amid the inhumane conditions of Japanese prisoner-of-war camps.

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Paardeberg Day

The Battle of Paardeberg was the first time men in Canadian uniform, fighting in a Canadian unit, made war overseas. It also inspired one of the first remembrance ceremonies in Canada: from 1900 until the end of the First World War, Canadians gathered not on November 11, but on February 27 — Paardeberg Day — to commemorate the country’s war dead and its achievements in South Africa (see also Remembrance Day in Canada).

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Hornet

Hornet is the common name for wasps in the genus Vespa. They are members of the insect family Vespidae in the order Hymenoptera, which also includes other social wasps like yellowjackets and paper wasps. There are 22 species of hornets worldwide, none of which are native to Canada. However, three introduced species have been found here: the European hornet (Vespa crabro) in southern Ontario and  Quebec, and the Japanese yellow hornet (Vespa simillima) and Asian giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia) in coastal British Columbia. The bald-faced hornet (Dolichovespula maculata) is native to Canada, but is actually a species of yellowjacket.

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Population of Canada

Canada’s recorded population history begins in the 16th century with the arrival of Europeans. Indigenous peoples were subsequently depopulated, due largely to epidemic disease. High rates of fertility and immigration caused the country’s overall population to grow rapidly until the mid-19th century, when it slowed slightly. Population growth continued to be slow through the First World War, Great Depression and Second World War. Following this period growth rates began to increase again. Today, Canada’s population growth is dependent on international migration. As of the 2021 census, Canada’s population was nearly 37 million (36,991,981).

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Chinese Canadians of Force 136

Force 136 was a branch of the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) during the Second World War. Its covert missions were based in Japanese-occupied Southeast Asia, where orders were to support and train local resistance movements to sabotage Japanese supply lines and equipment. While Force 136 recruited mostly Southeast Asians, it also recruited about 150 Chinese Canadians. It was thought that Chinese Canadians would blend in with local populations and speak local languages. Earlier in the war, many of these men had volunteered their services to Canada but were either turned away or recruited and sidelined. Force 136 became an opportunity for Chinese Canadian men to demonstrate their courage and skills and especially their loyalty to Canada.

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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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Chickadee

Chickadees (genus, Poecile) are small birds, which live in woodlands throughout Canada, often visiting backyard birdfeeders.

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West Edmonton Mall

The WEM remains the largest shopping centre in North America. It was among the first shopping centres to offer a wide range of amenities, from water parks to themed streets - attractive at any time of year but particularly during winter.

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Pitcher Plant

Tropical Asian and N Australian pitcher plants of the genus Nepenthes belong to the family Nepenthaceae. The Australian flycatcher (Cephalotus follicularis) of SW Australia is the only species of the family Cephalotaceae.

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Victor Eric Wong (Primary Source)

"“Why should you go when you’re not even a Canadian?” So we all decided in our town hall meetings that the best way to do is to go and sign up and go and come back and lobby for the franchise. This is exactly what we did."

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.

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Women's Suffrage in Canada (Plain-Language Summary)

Women’s suffrage means the right of women to vote in elections. Before Canada became a country in 1867, very few women had the right to vote. After 1867, no women had the right to vote. Only male property owners over the age of 21 had the right to vote. Women were not allowed to vote because most men believed that women should take care of the home and children. They should not get involved in politics. Politics was the realm of men. Another reason why most men did not think women should vote was that women were considered too emotional and could not serve in the military.

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

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Sixty Years On, Korean War Still Echoes

When is a war not a war? For the Korean War, the answer is not always clear. This year, 2013, marks the 60th anniversary of the ceasefire of a war that not everyone describes that way. It had ambiguous beginnings, more than 20 participating countries, and still no formal end. But some things are evident. This year, Historica Canada is commemorating this sometimes-forgotten but still-resonant period of our recent history, and Canada’s role therein. Our country sent more than 26,000 members of our military to the Korean “theatre.” More than 500 Canadians died, and another 1,000 were wounded; 32 became prisoners of war.

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South Sea Company

South Sea Company, chartered in 1711 by the British Parliament, with a monopoly over the W coast of the Americas to a distance of 300 leagues out to sea. In 1720 it assumed a large part of the British national debt and almost collapsed that year in a stock market crash known as the South Sea Bubble.

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North-South Institute

The North-South Institute is an independent, nonprofit corporation established in 1976 to conduct professional and policy-relevant research on Canada's relations with developing countries.

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Canadian Census

A census is a count of a population in a specific region. In Canada, there are two types of censuses: the Census of Population and the Census of Agriculture. Both are conducted every five years by Statistics Canada, a department of the federal government. The larger of the two censuses, the Census of Population, gathers demographic information. This information includes where people live, as well as their age, sex, marital status and ethnic origin. The government uses this information to establish electoral boundaries, to make federal transfer payments (money given to the provinces) and to monitor various social programs and policies (e.g. Canada Pension Plan, health care and education). In addition, the data is available to non-governmental organizations and to the general public. Some older data is available to individuals interested in genealogical research.

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Battle of Paardeberg

The Battle of Paardeberg was the first major British success in the South African War since "Black Week," 10-15 December 1899. Faced by a reorganized British offensive directed at their capitals, the Afrikaners made a stand at Paardeberg, a point on the Modder River some 130 km from Bloemfontein.

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Beekeeping

The complex social organization, the biology and the industrious nature of honeybees (genus Apis) have long fascinated people.

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Canada and the Battle of Kapyong

The Battle of Kapyong is one of Canada’s greatest, yet least-known, military achievements. For two days in April 1951, a battalion of roughly 700 Canadian troops (the 2nd Battalion of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry Regiment) helped defend a crucial hill in the front lines of the Korean War against a force of about 5,000 Chinese soldiers. Besieged by waves of attackers, the Canadians held their position amid the horror of close combat until the assaulting force had been halted and the Canadians could be relieved. Their determined stand contributed significantly to the defeat of the Communist offensive in South Korea that year.