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Editorial

Editorial: The Canadian Flag, Distinctively Our Own

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.

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Coal Mining Disasters

Coal mining involves deep workings, soft rock, dust, poisonous and flammable gases, explosives, machinery, transport and ventilation systems, and, in early times, open-flame lamps. Each has been a factor in the many Canadian coal mine tragedies, the worst of which are detailed here.

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On to Ottawa Trek and Regina Riot

In April 1935, about 1,500 residents of federal Unemployment Relief Camps in British Columbia went on strike. They travelled by train and truck to Vancouver to protest poor conditions in the Depression-era camps. After their months-long protest proved futile, they decided to take their fight to Ottawa. On 3 June, more than 1,000 strikers began travelling across the country, riding atop railcars. By the time they reached Regina, they were 2,000 strong. But they were stopped in Regina, where the strike leaders were arrested, resulting in the violent Regina Riot on 1 July 1935.

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Prehistory

Prehistoric humans first arrived in significant numbers in what is now Canada about 12,000 years ago. They crossed an ancient land bridge between present-day Siberia and Alaska and spread steadily across the North American continent.

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Refus global

Refus global was a manifesto published in 1948 and signed by 16 figures from Quebec’s artistic community. It challenged the traditional values of Quebec. The manifesto also fostered an opening-up of Quebec society to international thought. (See also Quiet Revolution.)

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Chinese Immigration Act

The Chinese Immigration Act of 1923, known also as the Chinese Exclusion Act, banned the entry of virtually all Chinese immigrants for 24 years. Although migration into Canada from most countries was controlled or restricted in some way, only Chinese people were singled out completely from entering on the basis of race. The four exceptions to the exclusion were students, merchants (excluding laundry, restaurant and retail operators), diplomats and Canadian-born Chinese returning from education in China. The limit on absence from Canada was two years, and the consequence for not returning on time was being barred re-entry. Additionally, every person of Chinese descent, whether Canadian-born or naturalized, was required to register for an identity card within 12 months. The penalty for noncompliance was imprisonment or a fine of up to $500. Though the Act was repealed in 1947, immigration restrictions on the basis of race and national origin were not fully scrubbed until 1967.

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Great Western Railway

  The London and Gore Railroad Co, incorporated 6 May 1834, changed its name to the Great Western Rail Road Co in 1845 and to the Great Western Railway in 1853. Promoted by lawyer-politician Allan Napier MACNAB and more significantly by Hamilton merchants Isaac and Peter Buchanan, R.W.

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Treaty Day

Treaty Day commemorates the day that certain treaties were signed by the Government of Canada and Indigenous peoples between the 18th and 20th centuries. Treaty Day is also a celebration of the historic relationship between Indigenous peoples and the federal government. It promotes public awareness about Indigenous culture, history and heritage for all Canadians.

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Fatty Legs

Fatty Legs (2010) is a memoir about a young Inuvialuit girl’s two years at a religious residential school. It is based on the experiences of Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, who cowrote the novel with her daughter-in-law Christy Jordan-Fenton. Published by Annick Press, the book features illustrations by Liz Amini-Holmes and archival photographs from Pokiak-Fenton’s personal collection. Fatty Legs was a finalist for the Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize. It received many other nominations and was named one of the 10 best children’s books of the year by the Globe and Mail.

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Crown Grant to the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte

The Crown Grant to the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, also known as Treaty 3½ or the Simcoe Deed, was issued in 1793. (See also Haudenosaunee and Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.) Ten years earlier, the Crawford Purchase had acquired a large piece of territory. The British granted a small portion of this purchase to the Mohawks in recognition of their support to the Crown during the American Revolution. Gradually, the Crown grant was reduced due to encroachment by non-Indigenous settlers. The ownership of the land is still being contested. (See also Treaties with Indigenous Peoples in Canada and Upper Canada Land Surrenders.)