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Northern Star Award

The Northern Star Award (formerly the Lou Marsh Trophy) is presented annually to Canada’s best athlete. It is decided by a committee of Canadian sports journalists convened by the Toronto Star. First awarded in 1936, the prize was originally named after sports journalist Lou Marsh. Calls to change the name of the award — due to Marsh’s long, documented history of racism and discrimination — led to it being renamed the Northern Star Award in November 2022. The trophy is made of black marble and stands about 75 cm high. It is kept on exhibit at Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. The most recent winner is hockey player Marie-Philip Poulin.

Article

Upper Canada

Upper Canada was the predecessor of modern-day Ontario. It was created in 1791 by the division of the old Province of Quebecinto Lower Canada in the east and Upper Canada in the west. Upper Canada was a wilderness society settled largely by Loyalistsand land-hungry farmers moving north from the United States. Upper Canada endured the War of 1812 with America, William Lyon Mackenzie’s Rebellion of 1837, the colonial rule of the Family Compact and half a century of economicand political growing pains. With the Act of Union in 1841, it was renamed Canada Westand merged with Lower Canada (Canada East) into the Province of Canada.

Editorial

Quebec Conference of 1864

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

There was no media circus surrounding the conference. The press was banned from the discussions, so the newspaper reports said a great deal about the miserable October weather, but precious little about what was discussed in the meetings.

Article

Editorial: Canadian Art and the Great War

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

Canadian painting in the 19th century tended towards the pastoral. It depicted idyllic scenes of rural life and represented the country as a wondrous Eden. Canadian painter Homer Watson, under the influence of such American masters as Frederic Edwin Church and Albert Bierstadt, created images that are serene and suffused with golden light. In On the Mohawk River (1878), for instance, a lazy river ambles between tall, overhanging trees; in the background is a light-struck mountain. In Watson’s world, nature is peaceful, unthreatening and perhaps even sacred.

Article

Editorial: The Stanley Flag and the “Distinctive Canadian Symbol”

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

Prime Minister Lester Pearson and John Matheson, one of his Liberal Members of Parliament, are widely considered the fathers of the Canadian flag. Their names were front and centre in 2015 during the tributes and celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the flag’s creation. But the role played by George Stanley is often lost in the story of how this iconic symbol came to be.

Editorial

Editorial: Igor Gouzenko Defects to Canada

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

A knock on the apartment door froze him in his steps. Another knock, louder, more insistent. The knocking turned to pounding. A voice called his name several times. Finally, the pounding stopped, and he heard footsteps going down the stairs. He knew he needed help.

Editorial

Flag of Canada: Alternate Designs

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

national flag is a simple, effective way of identifying a country and expressing its collective will and sovereignty. Its symbolism should be expansive, representing perspectives from across the country. But it should also be singular, offering a picture of unity. For almost a century, Canada did not fly a flag of its own. There were instead the Union Jack and the Canadian Red Ensign. They took turns flying above Parliament. But neither was distinctly Canadian, nor permanent. The issue of a new flag was raised in Parliament in 1925 and again in 1945. It was dropped both times due to a lack of consent. Some clung to tradition, and none could agree on a unifying symbol. When Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson re-opened the debate in 1964, he offered Canadians the chance to “say proudly to the world and to the future: ‘I stand for Canada.’” A joint committee of the Senate and House of Commons was assembled to decide on a suitable design. After months of vigorous debate, the final design was unfurled at Parliament Hill on 15 February 1965. The design process was open to the public. Thousands of suggestions were submitted. This article looks at 12 of those designs. It includes explanations for the symbols found in each. The designs express a vision for Canada, still young and still finding its mode of self-expression.

Editorial

Pontiac's War

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

Pontiac's War was the most successful First Nations resistance to the European invasion in our history. Though it failed to oust the British from Indigenous lands, the conflict forced British authorities to a recognition of Indigenous rightsthat has had had far-reaching consequences down to our own time.

Editorial

Editorial: The Death of the Meech Lake Accord

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

On a Sunday evening, 3 June 1990, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and the ten provincial premiers marked the third anniversary of the Meech Lake Accord at a dinner in the architectural splendour of the Canadian Museum of Civilization (now the Canadian Museum of History) in Hull, Quebec.

Editorial

Colonel By and the Construction of the Rideau Canal

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

On September 29th of 1826 the governor of Canada, the Earl of Dalhousie, turned the first sod for construction of the lowest lock of the Rideau Canal. Later that day the participants gathered at Philemon Wright's tavern in Hull, where they indulged in a lavish dinner and the drinking of numerous toasts. One of the great engineering feats of its time was underway.

Editorial

The "Other" Last Spike

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

The driving of the last spike may have been the great symbolic act of Canada’s first century, but it was actually a gloomy spectacle. The cash-starved Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) couldn’t afford a splashy celebration, and so only a handful of dignitaries and company men convened on the dull, grey morning of 7 November 1885 to celebrate the completion of the transcontinental railway.

Editorial

Editorial: The Indomitable Bluenose

As a symbol of Atlantic Canada and the golden age of sail, the Bluenose has no peer. She was launched in Lunenberg, Nova Scotia, 26 March 1921. Built entirely of Nova Scotia wood (except for the Oregon pine needed for the masts), Bluenose bobbed high in the water but settled down to her beautiful line as the ballast was poured in. When the finishing touches were being applied, the shipwright was asked, "What is this one going to be like?" "She will be all right, but she is a bit different to most vessels," was the understated reply.

Article

Treaty of Ryswick

The Treaty of Ryswick (or Rijswijk), signed in 1697, ended the Nine Years’ War in Europe between France and the Grand Alliance, which included England and several other European states. In the North American theatre of war, known as King William’s War, the Treaty of Ryswick ended armed conflicts between the French and English and their respective Indigenous allies. However, the peace was short-lived; Anglo-French hostilities resumed in 1702.

Editorial

The Great Crash of 1929 in Canada

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

In late October of 1929, terror seized the stock exchanges of North America. Capitalism’s speculative party, with its galloping share prices and its celebrity millionaires, came to an abrupt stop. The Great Crash, it was called, and it was followed by the Great Depression.