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Editorial

Editorial: The Statute of Westminster, Canada's Declaration of Independence

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

In the fall of 1929, Canada’s Minister of Justice, Ernest Lapointe, travelled to England. He took with him Dr. Oscar Skelton — the “elder statesman” of the Canadian civil service, as William Lyon Mackenzie King once described him. When Lapointe and Skelton were done their negotiations, they had confirmed that Canada would have its independence from the British Empire.

Editorial

Eugenics: Pseudo-Science Based on Crude Misconceptions of Heredity

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

"Great men are almost always bad men," Lord Acton famously said. If that is so, we are going to have to tolerate flaws if we want to celebrate "great" Canadians. The eugenics movement of the early 20th century particularly tries our tolerance of several of our textbook heroes.

Editorial

Juno Beach: Day of Courage

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

The Canadian landings on the Juno Beach Sector of the Normandy coast were one of the most successful operations carried out on D-Day, 6 June 1944.

Editorial

Quebec Bridge Disaster

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

High above the St. Lawrence River, on a hot August day in 1907, a worker named Beauvais was driving rivets into the great southern span of the Quebec Bridge. Near the end of a long day, he noticed that a rivet that he had driven no more than an hour before had snapped clean in two. Just as he called out to his foreman to report the disquieting news, the scream of twisting metal pierced the air. The giant cantilever dropped out from under them, crashing into the river with such force that people in the city of Quebec, 10 km away, believed that an earthquake had struck.

Editorial

Editorial: The Charlottetown Conference of 1864 and the Persuasive Power of Champagne

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

On Monday, 29 August 1864, eight of 12 cabinet members from the government of the Province of Canada boarded the steamer Queen Victoria in Quebec City. They had heard that representatives of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI were meeting in Charlottetown to discuss a union of the Maritime colonies. (See Charlottetown Conference.) The Canadian officials hoped to crash the party. Their government was gripped in deadlock. Even old enemies such as John A. Macdonald and George Brown agreed that a new political arrangement was needed. As the Queen Victoria made its way slowly down the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Canadians frantically worked on their pitch.

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

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

Sheila Na Geira

According to legend, Sheila Na Geira (also spelled NaGeira and Nagira) was an Irish aristocrat or princess who, 300 or 400 years ago, while travelling between France and Ireland, was captured by a Dutch warship and then rescued by British privateers. She fell in love and was married to one of the privateers, Lieutenant Gilbert Pike. They settled at western Conception Bay. By the early 20th century, the legend was being told as part of Newfoundland’s oral tradition, and has since been popularized by poems, novels, scholarly articles and several plays.

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.)