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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 drought in 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.

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

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Canadian Tire

Canadian Tire Corporation, Ltd., is one of Canada’s most recognized retail chains. Founded in Toronto by brothers J.W. and A.J. Billes, the company got its start when the brothers bought the Hamilton Tire and Garage in 1922. In 1927, they incorporated the business as the Canadian Tire Corporation. Still headquartered in Toronto, the company operates a network of 1,700 stores and gas bars that extends to every province and territory except Nunavut. Canadian Tire owns Mark’s Work Wearhouse, Helly Hansen and FGL Sports, including the retail companies Sport Chek, Atmosphere and Sports Experts. It is a public company that trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol CTC. In 2020, Canadian Tire registered $14.9 billion in revenue and $862.6 million in net income and held $20.38 billion in assets.

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Maple Syrup Industry

Canada is the world’s leading producer and exporter of maple products, accounting for 75 per cent of the global market. In 2020, Canadian producers exported over 61 million kg of maple products, with a value of $515 million. The province of Quebec is by far the largest producer, representing 96.4 per cent of Canadian product exports. Maple syrup and maple sugar products are made by boiling down the sap of maple trees. World production of maple syrup and sugar is mainly limited to the Maple Belt, the hardwood forest stretching from the midwestern United States through Ontario, Quebec and New England and into New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island; however, British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan also produce some syrup.

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Edmonton Elks

The Edmonton Elks (formerly the Edmonton Football Team, or EE Football Team, and the Edmonton Eskimos) is a community-owned football team that plays in the West Division of the Canadian Football League (CFL). In the CFL’s modern era (post-Second World War), the team has won the second-most Grey Cup championships (14). This included three victories in a row from 1954 to 1956 and an unprecedented five straight championships from 1978 to 1982. The club also holds the North American professional sports record for reaching the playoffs in 34 consecutive seasons (1972–2005). Notable alumni include former Alberta premiers Peter Lougheed and Don Getty, former lieutenant-governor of Alberta Norman Kwong, former Edmonton mayor Bill Smith, and former NFL star Warren Moon.

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Imports to Canada

In international trade, imports refer to goods and services purchased by Canadian residents from residents of other countries. Billions of dollars of goods and services cross Canada’s border each year. In 2019, Canadians imported a total of $768 billion worth of goods and services. Canada’s largest source of imports by far is the United States. (See Canada-US Economic Relations.) The European Union, China and Mexico are also major sources of imported goods and services.

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TC Energy (formerly TransCanada)

TC Energy Corporation (formerly TransCanada Corporation) is a natural gas, oil and power-generation company headquartered in Calgary, Alberta. TC Energy owns more than 92,600 km of natural gas pipeline in North America and transports more than 25 per cent of the gas consumed on the continent. It also operates power plants and gas storage facilities. A public company, it trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol TRP. In 2018, TC Energy registered $13.7 billion in revenue and $3.5 billion in profit and held $98.9 billion in assets. The company employs about 7,300 people, more than half of them in Canada.

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Keystone XL Pipeline

Keystone XL was a proposed 1,947 km long pipeline project that would have carried crude oil from Alberta to Nebraska. It was owned by Calgary-based TC Energy Corporation. The pipeline was named XL for “export limited.” First proposed in July 2008, it was the prospective fourth phase of TC Energy’s existing Keystone Pipeline system. In Canada, Keystone XL had the support of both the federal and Alberta governments. However, the project faced significant opposition and legal challenges on environmental grounds. In January 2021, United States president Joe Biden cancelled its permit on his first day in office. On 9 June 2021, TC Energy and the Alberta government announced the termination of the Keystone XL pipeline.

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Eaton's

Founded in 1869, the T. Eaton Company Ltd., commonly known as Eaton’s, was an iconic Canadian department store with a retail presence in every province, at its height. From its beginnings as a retail store in Toronto to its eventual bankruptcy and absorption into its long-time rival, Sears Canada, Eaton’s significantly shaped Canadian shopping. The Eaton’s name and legacy persist today, from Toronto’s Eaton Centre to the red bricks incorporated into the facade of Winnipeg’s Bell MTS Place, a reminder of the former Eaton’s store that stood on the site for so long.

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Grey Cup

The Grey Cup is a trophy produced by Birks Jewellers that has been part of Canadian sports since 1909, when it was donated by Governor General Earl Grey for the Canadian football championship. The original conditions stated that the "cup must remain always under purely amateur conditions," although there is good reason to believe that this was at the urging of P. D. Ross of the Ottawa Journal rather than Lord Grey. The name "Grey Cup" has since been used to refer both to the trophy and the event.

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Hamilton Tiger-Cats

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are a professional team in the Canadian Football League (CFL). The franchise dates back to the formation of the Hamilton Football Club (the Tigers) in November 1869. The Tigers and another Hamilton football team, the Wildcats, amalgamated as the Tiger-Cats for the 1950 season and played in the Inter-provincial Rugby Football Union (IRFU). The IRFU became the Eastern Conference of the CFL in 1960. Since the early 20th century, the Tigers and Tiger-Cats have been associated with a tough, physical brand of football that reflects the blue-collar roots of Hamilton as an industrial city. The team’s iconic cheer, “Oskie Wee Wee, Oskie Waa Waa, Holy Mackinaw, Tigers… Eat ’em Raw!” is well known throughout Canada and dates back to the early 20th century. The Tiger-Cats have won the Grey Cup 13 times, including five times as the Tigers.

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Canada Pension Plan

The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) is an earnings-related public pension plan. The CPP makes a monthly payment to Canadians and their families to partially replace their income after retirement, disability or death. Working Canadians make regular contributions to the CPP in order to be eligible. The CPP covers all Canadian workers except those in Quebec who are covered by the parallel Quebec Pension Plan (QPP). The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) manages CPP assets, making it one of the largest pension fund managers in the world. As of 31 March 2021, CPPIB ended its 2021 fiscal year with net assets of 497.2 billion.

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Pipelines in Canada

Pipelines are systems of connected pipes used to transport liquids and gases — namely oil and natural gas — across long distances from source to market. More than 840,000 km of pipelines criss-cross the country. They represent part of the oil and gas sector which directly and indirectly employs approximately 740,000 people. According to Natural Resources Canada, the sector earns the government an average of $20 billion in royalties, fees and taxes each year (see Natural Resources in Canada). It also contributes nearly 11 per cent of Canada’s gross domestic product.

Pipelines, however, have been controversial in Canada. Pipelines help transport fossil fuels and research indicates that fossil fuel use, is significantly contributing to climate change. In recent years, Indigenous groups, environmentalists, municipalities and labour unions have opposed numerous pipeline projects due to the risk of contaminated local waterways from spills and leaks. (See also Environmental Movement in Canada).

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Bank of Montreal (BMO)

The Bank of Montreal was founded in 1817, making it Canada’s oldest incorporated bank. From its founding to the creation of the Bank of Canada in 1935, the Bank of Montreal served as Canada’s central bank. Today, the various components of the Bank of Montreal are collectively known as BMO Financial Group. BMO is Canada’s fourth largest bank by assets, and the eighth largest in North America. It offers services in three distinct areas — personal and commercial banking, wealth management, and investment banking. BMO is a public company that trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol BMO. In 2020, BMO registered $25.2 billion in revenue and $5.097 billion in profit and held $949.3 billion in assets. BMO employs more than 43,360 people who serve more than 8 million customers across Canada.

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Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)

The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, commonly known as CIBC, is the fifth largest chartered bank in Canada. It was created through the 1961 merger of two Ontario-based banks, the Canadian Bank of Commerce and the Imperial Bank of Canada — the largest merger of two chartered banks in Canada’s history. Today, CIBC operates its business in Canada and abroad through three divisions: retail and business banking, wealth management, and capital markets. CIBC is a public company that trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol CM. In 2020, CIBC registered $18.7 billion in revenue and $3.8 billion in profit and held $769.6 billion in assets. The bank employs approximately 43,853 people, who serve 10 million customers.

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Peasant Farm Policy

From 1889 to 1897, the Canadian government’s Peasant Farm Policy set limits on Indigenous agriculture on the Prairies. The policy included rules about the types of tools First Nations farmers could use on reserve lands. It also restricted how much they grew and what they could sell. The Peasant Farm Policy was built on the belief that Indigenous farmers had to gradually evolve into modern farmers. It also reduced these farmers’ ability to compete with settlers on the open market. The policy ultimately impeded the growth and development of First Nations farms. As a result, First Nations never realized their agricultural potential.

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Agriculture in Canada

Agriculture is the practice of growing crops and rearing animals mainly for food. Farmers also produce other items such as wool from sheep and CBD oil from hemp plants.

In Canada, agriculture is an important industry. Only about 7 per cent of Canada’s land can be farmed. Other marginal (poorer) land can be used to ranch cattle. Aquaculture operations are found on the East and West Coasts and in the Great Lakes. Some crops such as tomatoes, cannabis and flowers are grown in greenhouses in urban centres. Canadian agriculture faces many challenges. Some of these challenges concern crop protection, soil conservation, labour, climate change and health.

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

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Canadian Women's Press Club

The Canadian Women's Press Club (CWPC) was founded in June 1904 in a Canadian Pacific Railway Pullman car, aboard which 16 women (half anglophone, half francophone) travelled to the St. Louis World's Fair. All but one were working journalists who covered the event. The CWPC offered female journalists professional support and development in its mission to “maintain and improve the status of journalism as a profession for women.”

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Alcan Incorporated

Alcan Incorporated was a major Canadian aluminum mining and manufacturing corporation. From the early 1990s to the early 2000s, it was the second-largest aluminum producer in the world.The company was originally founded in 1902 as the Northern Aluminum Company Limited, located in Shawinigan, Québec. It was established as the Canadian subsidiary of the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa), one of the founders of which invented the process for extracting aluminum from bauxite. Northern Aluminum was renamed the Aluminum Company of Canada in 1925, and in 1928, it formally detached from Alcoa. In 1966, it was again renamed, this time as Alcan Aluminum Limited (becoming Alcan Incorporated in 2001). In 2007, Alcan was purchased by the British-Australian multinational corporation Rio Tinto for $38 billion. Today, Rio Tinto continues to operate several smelters in the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region of Québec, as well as in Kitimat, British Columbia.

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Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD)

The Toronto-Dominion Bank, commonly known as TD, is the second largest chartered bank in Canada. The Toronto-Dominion Bank is the result of the past mergers of three financial companies: The Bank of Toronto, The Dominion Bank, and Canada Trust. The mergers began in 1955 when The Dominion Bank merged with The Bank of Toronto. This group then acquired Canada Trust in 2000, creating a new entity called TD Canada Trust. Toronto-Dominion Bank is a public company that trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol TD. In 2020, TD registered $43.65 billion in revenue and $11.89 billion in profit and held $1.7 trillion in assets. The bank employs approximately 90,000 people, who serve more than 26.5 million customers.