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War of 1812

The War of 1812 (which lasted from 1812 to 1814) was a military conflict between the United States and Great Britain. As a colony of Great Britain, Canada was swept up in the War of 1812 and was invaded several times by the Americans. The war was fought in Upper Canada, Lower Canada, on the Great Lakes and the Atlantic, and in the United States. The peace treaty of Ghent (1814), which ended the war, largely returned the status quo. However, in Canada, the war contributed to a growing sense of national identity, including the idea that civilian soldiers were largely responsible for repelling the American invaders. In contrast, the First Nations allies of the British and Canadian cause suffered much because of the war; not only had they lost many warriors (including the great Tecumseh), they also lost any hope of halting American expansion in the west, and their contributions were quickly forgotten by their British and Canadian allies (seeFirst Nations and Métis Peoples in the War of 1812).

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James MacBraire

James MacBraire, soldier, merchant, shipowner, justice of the peace (b at Enniscorthy, Wexford, Ire 1760; d at Berwick on Tweed, Eng 24 Mar 1832). He is first recorded in Harbour Grace, Nfld, in the 1780s working as a clerk for a Bristol firm engaged in the cod fishery.

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No. 2 Construction Battalion

The No. 2 Construction Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) — also known as the Black Battalion — was authorized on 5 July 1916, during the First World War. It was a segregated non-combatant unit, the first and only all-Black battalion in Canadian military history.

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Canadian Peacekeepers in Rwanda

From 1993 to 1995, Canada was a leading contributor to a series of United Nations peacekeeping missions in the African nation of Rwanda. However, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR), led by Canadian Major-General Roméo Dallaire, was powerless to prevent the slaughter of 800,000 Rwandans in 1994. Following the genocide, a new contingent of Canadian troops returned to Rwanda as part of UNAMIR II, tasked with restoring order and bringing aid to the devastated population. Hundreds of Canadian soldiers, including Dallaire, returned from their service in Rwanda deeply scarred by what they had witnessed.

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Sir George Arthur

Sir George Arthur, soldier, colonial administrator (b at Plymouth, Eng 21 June 1784; d at London, Eng 19 Sept 1854). After an undistinguished military career and 2 minor colonial appointments, he became lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada in 1838.

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Gordon Flowerdew, VC

Gordon Muriel Flowerdew, VC, farmer, rancher, soldier, (born 2 January 1885 in Billingford, Norfolk, England; died 31 March 1918 near Moreuil, France). During the First World War, Lieutenant Flowerdew led one of the last great cavalry charges in history and was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross (VC), the highest award for bravery among troops of the British Empire.

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Thomas Gage

Thomas Gage, army officer (b in Eng 1719 or 1720; d at London, Eng 2 Apr 1787). He served during the SEVEN YEARS' WAR in North America from 1755 and was present during several of the operations preceding the CONQUEST in 1760.

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James Franklin

James Munroe Franklin, First World War soldier (born 12 October 1899 in Whitaker, Mississippi; died 8 October 1916 in France). Franklin, a private in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), was likely the first Black Canadian (and first Black North American) killed in action in the First World War.

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Filip Konowal, VC

​Filip Konowal, Ukrainian immigrant, Great War soldier, Victoria Cross recipient for valour at the Battle for Hill 70, patron of Branch #360 of The Royal Canadian Legion in Toronto, Parliament Hill janitor (born 25 March 1887 in Kutkiw, Ukraine; died 3 June 1959 in Ottawa, Ontario).

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Huron Brant

Huron Eldon Brant, Mohawk soldier, war hero, automobile mechanic (born 30 December 1909 in Deseronto, ON; died 14 October 1944 near Bulgaria, Italy). Brant was awarded the Military Medal (MM) for attacking a superior enemy force during the battle for Grammichele in Sicily (seeSecond World War) but was killed later during a battle on the Italian mainland (see The Italian Campaign).

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James Baby

James Baby (bap Jacques), officeholder, politician, militia officer (b at Detroit, Mich 25 Aug 1763; d at York [Toronto] 19 Feb 1833).

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Robert Shankland, VC

​Robert Shankland, soldier, accountant, Victoria Cross recipient (born 10 October 1887 in Ayr, Scotland; died 20 January 1968 in Vancouver, BC). During the First World War, Lieutenant Robert Shankland was one of three soldiers, all from the same street in Winnipeg, to be awarded the Victoria Cross (VC), the highest award for bravery among troops of the British Empire. The three VCs earned by the men of Pine Street — later named Valour Road — was a feat unmatched in any other part of the Empire.

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Percy Walker Nelles

Percy Walker Nelles, naval officer (b at Brantford, Ont, 7 Jan 1892; d at Victoria, 13 June 1951). Percy Nelles, the son of Charles Nelles, an officer in the Royal Canadian Dragoons, was the founding recruit of the Canadian Navy and became chief of the naval staff.

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Samuel de Champlain

Samuel de Champlain, cartographer, explorer, colonial administrator, author (born circa 1567 in Brouage, France; died 25 December 1635 in Quebec City). Known as the “Father of New France,” Samuel de Champlain played a major role in establishing New France from 1603 to 1635. He is also credited with founding Quebec City in 1608. He explored the Atlantic coastline (in Acadia), the Canadian interior and the Great Lakes region. He also helped found French colonies in Acadia and at Trois-Rivières, and he established friendly relations and alliances with many First Nations, including the Montagnais, the Huron, the Odawa and the Nipissing. For many years, he was the chief person responsible for administrating the colony of New France. Champlain published four books as well as several maps of North America. His works are the only written account of New France at the beginning of the 17th century.