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Editorial

Editorial: Baldwin, LaFontaine and Responsible Government

The following article is an editorial written by The Canadian Encyclopedia staff. Editorials are not usually updated.

The BaldwinLaFontaine government of 1848 has been called the “great ministry.” In addition to establishing responsible government, it had an incomparable record of legislation. It established a public school system and finalized the founding of the University of Toronto. It set up municipal governments and pacified French-Canadian nationalism after a period of unrest. Responsible government did not transform Canada overnight into a fully developed democracy. But it was an important milestone along the road to political autonomy. Most importantly, it provided an opportunity for French Canadians to find a means for their survival through the British Constitution. The partnership and friendship between Baldwin and LaFontaine were brilliant examples of collaboration that have been all too rare in Canadian history.

Editorial

Editorial: The Canadian Flag, Distinctively Our Own

The following article is an editorial written by The Canadian Encyclopedia staff. Editorials are not usually updated.

On 15 February 1965, at hundreds of ceremonies across the country and around the world, the red and white Maple Leaf Flag was raised for the first time. In Ottawa, 10,000 people gathered on a chilly, snow-covered Parliament Hill. At precisely noon, the guns on nearby Nepean Point sounded as the sun broke through the clouds. An RCMP constable, 26-year-old Joseph Secours, hoisted the National Flag of Canada to the top of a specially-erected white staff. A sudden breeze snapped it to attention.

List

Mysteries in Canadian History

Everyone loves a good mystery. Canadian history is rich with stories of great secrets, unsolved crimes, and events that defy explanation. Among them are the following five mysteries, each shrouded in puzzling circumstances and unresolved endings.

Editorial

Voting in Early Canada

The following article is an editorial written by The Canadian Encyclopedia staff. Editorials are not usually updated.

Before Confederation, elections were rowdy, highly competitive and even violent.

Article

Ross Rifle

In the early 20th Century, the Ross rifle, a Canadian-made infantry rifle, was produced as an alternative to the British-made Lee-Enfield rifle. The Ross rifle was used during the First World War, where it gained a reputation as an unreliable weapon among Canadian soldiers. By 1916, the Ross had been mostly replaced by the Lee-Enfield.

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

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

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

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

Women in the Labour Force

Women are considered labour force participants only if they work outside the home. In the past women have been expected to be in the labour force only until they marry; this reflects the historical, idealized notion of a society in which the man is the breadwinner and the woman the homemaker.

Article

Battle of Hudson Bay

The Battle of Hudson Bay took place on 5 September 1697 during King William’s War, the North American theatre of the Nine Years’ War between England and France. Throughout the conflict, French forces tried to capture enemy forts in and around Hudson Bay. One of these was York Factory, a lucrative and important trading post the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) built in 1684. The French captured York Factory in 1694, only to have the English take it back a year later. Then, in 1697, a naval battle ensued in Hudson Bay between English and French forces. Captain Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville succeeded in taking York Factory for the French. The fort was later transferred back to the British after the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713. (See also Fur Trade in Canada.)

Article

Vancouver Feature: Gassy Jack Lands on the Burrard Shore

The following article is a feature from our Vancouver Feature series. Past features are not updated.


When Capt. Jack Deighton and his family pulled their canoe onto the south shore of the Burrrard Inlet in 1867, Jack was on one more search for riches. He had been a sailor on British and American ships, rushed for gold in California and the Cariboo, piloted boats on the Fraser River and ran a tavern in New Westminster. He was broke again, but he wasted no time in starting a new business and building the settlement that would become Vancouver.