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Article

Music History

Since colonization began in the 17th century, the mainstream of musical development has been little affected by native music. The original settlers transplanted their songs, dances and religious chants, and successive waves of immigrants reinforced old-world traditions.

Editorial

Flag of Canada: Alternate Designs

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.

Article

The Great Depression in Canada

The Great Depression of the early 1930s was a worldwide social and economic shock. Few countries were affected as severely as Canada. Millions of Canadians were left unemployed, hungry and often homeless. The decade became known as the Dirty Thirties due to a crippling droughtin the Prairies, as well as Canada’s dependence on raw material and farm exports. Widespread losses of jobs and savings transformed the country. The Depression triggered the birth of social welfare and the rise of populist political movements. It also led the government to take a more activist role in the economy.

Article

Meech Lake Accord

In 1987, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney attempted to win Quebec’s consent to the revised Canadian Constitution. The result was the Meech Lake Accord. It was an agreement between the federaland provincial governments to amend (change) the Constitution. The Accord proposed strengthening provincial powersand declaring Quebec a “distinct society.” The Accord was never put into effect. Political support for it unravelled in 1990. Many Québécois saw the Accord’s failure in English Canada as a rejection of Quebec. Support for separatism soared in Quebec and led to the 1995 Quebec Referendum.

Article

Charlottetown Accord

The Charlottetown Accord of 1992 was a failed attempt by Prime Minister  Brian Mulroney and all 10 provincial premiers to amend the Canadian Constitution. The goal was to obtain Quebec’s consent to the Constitution Act, 1982. The Accord would have recognized Quebec as a distinct society; decentralized many federal powers to the provinces; addressed the issue of Indigenous self-government; and reformed the Senate and the House of Commons. The Accord had the approval of the federal government and all 10 provincial governments. But it was rejected by Canadian voters in a referendum on 26 October 1992.

Article

The Sacking of York

A crushing defeat for the British in the WAR OF 1812, the sacking of York began on the morning of 27 April 1813. At dawn, a flotilla of 16 American ships under Commodore Isaac Chauncey made its way to the capital of Upper Canada, YORK [Toronto].

Article

Iroquois Wars

The Iroquois Wars, also known as the Beaver Wars and the French and Iroquois Wars, were a series of 17th-century conflicts involving the Haudenosaunee Confederacy (also known as the Iroquois or Five Nations, then including the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca), numerous other First Nations, and French colonial forces. The origins of the wars lay in the competitive fur trade. In about 1640, the Haudenosaunee began a campaign to increase their territorial holdings and access to animals like beaver and deer. Hostilities continued until 1701, when the Haudenosaunee agreed to a peace treaty with the French. The wars represent the intense struggle for control over resources in the early colonial period and resulted in the permanent dispersal or destruction of several First Nations in the Eastern Woodlands.

Article

Exploration

Exploration of Canada by Europeans began with the Norse in the late 10th century on the country’s East Coast. Following Jacques Cartier’s arrival in 1534, over the course of the next three centuries British and French explorers gradually moved further west. Commercial, resource-based interests often drove exploration; for example, a westward route to Asia and later, the fur trade. By the mid-19th century most of the main geographical features of Canada had been mapped by European colonists. (See also Arctic Exploration.)

Article

Black Enslavement in Canada

In early Canada, the enslavement of African peoples was a legal instrument that helped fuel colonial economic enterprise. The buying, selling and enslavement of Black people was practiced by European traders and colonists in New France in the early 1600s, and lasted until it was abolished throughout British North America in 1834. During that two-century period, settlers in what would eventually become Canada were involved in the transatlantic slave trade. Canada is further linked to the institution of enslavement through its history of international trade. Products such as salted cod and timber were exchanged for slave-produced goods such as rum, molasses, tobacco and sugar from slaveholding colonies in the Caribbean. 

This is the full-length entry about Black enslavement in Canada. For a plain language summary, please see Black Enslavement in Canada (Plain Language Summary).

(See also Olivier Le Jeune; Sir David KirkeChloe Cooley and the Act to Limit Slavery in Upper Canada; Underground Railroad; Fugitive Slave Act of 1850; Slavery Abolition Act, 1833Slavery of Indigenous People in Canada.)

Article

Company Towns

Company towns, important in Canada's capital formation and industrialization, urban development, and trade-union movement.

Article

Castle Frank

Castle Frank was a concession of land in the colonial town of York, purchased by John Graves Simcoe in the name of his son, Francis, in 1793. A log house later built on the site also bore the same name. Today the name Castle Frank is preserved as a street, a brook and a station on Toronto’s transit line.

Article

Journée nationale des patriotes (National Patriots’ Day)

The holiday which takes place on the first Monday immediately preceding 25 May has had several names: Victoria Day, the Queen’s Birthday, Empire Day, Commonwealth Day, fête de Dollard, fête de Dollard et de Chénier and Journée nationale des patriotes (National Patriots’ Day). This day is at the heart of a conflict between representations and memories. For most people, it represents the arrival of sunny days. (See also National Holidays.)

Article

Treaties 1 and 2

Treaties 1 and 2 were the first of 11 Numbered Treaties negotiated between 1871 and 1921 Treaty 1 was signed 3 August 1871 between Canada and the Anishinabek and Swampy Cree of southern Manitoba. Treaty 2 was signed 21 August 1871 between Canada and the Anishinabe of southern Manitoba.

Article

Place Names

Canada has about 350,000 official place names. These include names of populated places, water bodies (e.g. lakes) and geographical features (e.g. mountains).

Macleans

Kennedy Tragedy

It was another Kennedy family reunion at the storied Hyannisport, Mass., island compound where they have shared so much joy and sorrow.

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