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Indigenous Peoples' Medicine in Canada

Since time immemorial Indigenous peoples in Canada have been using plants and other natural materials as medicine. Plant medicines are used more frequently than those derived from animals. In all, Indigenous peoples have identified over 400 different species of plants (as well as lichens, fungi and algae) with medicinal applications. Medicine traditions — the plants used, the ailments treated, protocols for harvesting and application, and modes of preparation — are similar for Indigenous peoples across the country. In many Indigenous communities, there are recognized specialists trained in traditional medicine, and their practice often reflects spiritual aspects of healing as well as physical outcomes. In many cases, the therapeutic properties of Indigenous medicines are attributable to particular compounds and their effects on the body, but in other instances, their application is little understood by western medical practitioners. Within Indigenous communities, specific methods of harvesting and preparation of medicines are considered intellectual property of particular individuals or families.

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Observatory

Of the observatories in use before the invention of the telescope, perhaps the most scientifically productive was that of Tycho Brahe, built 400 years ago on the island of Hveen in the Baltic Sea.

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Entomology

Entomology is the branch of zoology dealing with the study of insects, although which organisms are included is open to interpretation.

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Evolution

Modern understanding of evolution began in 1859 with publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection.

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Sustainability in Canada

Sustainability is the ability of the biosphere, or of a certain resource or practice, to persist in a state of balance over the long term. The concept of sustainability also includes things humans can do to preserve such a balance. Sustainable development, for instance, pairs such actions with growth. It aims to meet the needs of the present while ensuring that future people will be able to meet their needs.

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Computer Systems Applications

MATHEMATICS spawned the computer in the 1940s and gave it its name. Its first application was the computation of theoretical ballistic tables for traditional bombs, but calculations for the atomic bomb and then for guided missiles soon became the driving force for computer development.

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Linguistics

Linguistics is the study of language. Language accompanies almost all human activities, and is the medium for many of them.

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Hail

Hail, precipitation consisting of lumps of ICE, about 5 mm to 10 cm in diameter and about 0.1 g to 1 kg in weight. A 290 g hailstone that fell near Cedoux, Sask, is one of the largest recorded in Canada. The authenticated world record belongs to a 770 g hailstone that fell in Coffeyville, Kansas.

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Snowshoes

Snowshoes are footwear that help to distribute the weight of a person while they walk over deep snow, preventing them from sinking too far into the snow with every step. In the past, Indigenous peoples used snowshoes for winter travel in Canada, outside the Pacific and Arctic coasts. Snowshoeing has since become a popular Canadian pastime, enjoyed by hikers and sportspeople.

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IMAX Systems Corporation

IMAX emerged from the Expo 67 cultural context. Corporation co- founders Graeme Ferguson, Roman Kroitor and Robert Kerr all participated in some of the popular large- and multiple-screen film experiments that were part of the Montréal Expo.

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Woodward and Evans Light Bulb

In 1874, Canadians Henry Woodward and Mathew Evans patented a design for an incandescent light bulb. Their invention preceded that of American Thomas Edison by several years. In fact, the second patent (issued in 1876 in the United States) was among those that Edison bought as he refined the technology to create a longer-lasting bulb. Woodward and Evans’s early work on the light bulb in Toronto has gone largely unrecognized. It was nevertheless an important development in the invention of electric lighting.

Click here for definitions of key terms used in this article.

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Birchbark Canoe

The birchbark canoe was the principal means of water transportation for Indigenous peoples of the Eastern Woodlands, and later voyageurs, who used it extensively in the fur trade in Canada. Light and maneuverable, birchbark canoes were perfectly adapted to summer travel through the network of shallow streams, ponds, lakes and swift rivers of the Canadian Shield. As the fur trade declined in the 19th century, the canoe became more of a recreational vehicle. Though most canoes are no longer constructed of birchbark, its enduring historical legacy and its popularity as a pleasure craft have made it a Canadian cultural icon.

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Montréal Planetarium

​Montréal’s Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium is part of the Space for Life complex, which includes Montréal’s Biodome, Insectarium and Botanical Gardens. Space for Life is the largest natural science museum complex in Canada.