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International Trade

International trade is the buying and selling of goods and services between members of different countries. This exchange has been a key part of the Canadian economy since the first settlers came. Canadian settlers depended on exports of resources such as timber and grain (see Timber Trade History; Wheat). In the 20th century, Canada’s exports shifted to services, manufactured goods and commodities such as oil and metals.

Since the 1980s, Canada has signed free trade agreements with dozens of countries to increase global trade and investment.

Canada’s three biggest trading partners are the United States, the European Union and China. The United States is Canada largest trading partner by far. However, trade with China grew quickly in the 2010s, and this trend will likely continue.

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

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Gourlay, Winter & Leeming Ltd.

Gourlay, Winter & Leeming, Ltd. Toronto retailer of pianos, player pianos, organs, music boxes, and phonographs, and manufacturer of pianos. The firm was established in 1890 by Robert S. Gourlay (b New York 21 Sep 1852, d Toronto 28 Nov 1932), Francis William Winter, and Thomas Leeming.

Article

Fur Farming

Starting in the late 1880s a new industry developed in Canada, as animals of various species began to be bred in captivity for their fur. Foxes were first farmed on Prince Edward Island. In 1913, the Island counted 277 fox farms and by 1923, there were 448.

Article

Aquaculture

Aquaculture is the human-controlled cultivation and harvest of freshwater and marine plants and animals. Synonyms include fish farming, fish culture, mariculture, fish breeding and ocean ranching.

Article

Rupert's Land

Rupert’s Land was a vast territory of northern wilderness. It represented a third of what is now Canada. From 1670 to 1870, it was the exclusive commercial domain of the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) and the primary trapping grounds of the fur trade. The territory was named after Prince Rupert, the HBC’s first governor. Three years after Confederation, the Government of Canada acquired Rupert’s Land from the HBC for $1.5-million. It is the largest real estate transaction (by land area) in the country’s history. The purchase of Rupert’s Land transformed Canada geographically. It changed from a modest country in the northeast of the continent into an expansive one that reached across North America. Rupert’s Land was eventually divided among Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and the Northwest Territories.

Article

Enbridge

Enbridge is a Canadian-based multinational corporation that generates, transports and distributes energy. It also has growing investments in wind, solar and geothermal energy generation. It owns and operates the world’s longest pipeline network, which transports 28 per cent of North America’s crude oil. It is North America’s leader in gathering, processing, transporting and distributing natural gas, with about 3.6 million customers in Canada and New York state. Enbridge’s headquarters is in Calgary, Alberta, and the company employs approximately 16,000 people. In 2016, it boasted revenue of $34.5 billion, $85.8 billion in assets and 2.1 billion in profits. Enbridge is a public company that trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange and New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ENB.

Article

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 2021, BMO registered $27.19 billion in revenue and $7.75 billion in profit and held $988.18 billion in assets. BMO employs more than 43,863 people who serve more than 8 million customers across Canada.

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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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Roots Canada

Roots Corporation (better known as Roots or Roots Canada) is a publicly traded retail clothing business. It was co-founded by fashion designers and businessmen Michael Budman and Don Green, both from Detroit, Michigan. Budman and Green first met in 1962, when they were attending Camp Tamakwa in Ontario’s Algonquin Park. Following their graduation from Michigan State University, Budman moved to Canada in 1969 and Green followed a few years later in 1972. In 1973, Budman and Green began production of their version of the “negative heel” shoe — the first product sold under the Roots brand. That same year, on 15 August, the duo opened their first store in Toronto. Inspired by their early years at Algonquin Park, Budman and Green quickly made Roots, with its beaver logo and cottage feel, an iconic Canadian brand. In 2015, Budman and Green sold a majority stake to Searchlight Capital Partners, though the founders remain prominent shareholders. In October 2017, Roots made its initial public offering (IPO) in Canada, trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol ROOT.

Macleans

Job Security and Outsourcing

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on September 30, 1996. Partner content is not updated.

So the meeting could have gone better. There was Mark Campbell, president of his own printing company, presenting to Kraft Canada Inc., executive level, in suburban Toronto. Initially, the meeting played exactly as Campbell had hoped.

Macleans

Seagrams Buys MCA

Last week, as investors tried to get used to the idea of Seagram Co. Ltd. as a show-biz giant, America’s newest movie mogul was in California. Edgar Bronfman Jr. was visiting the institution that redefined his company: the huge entertainment conglomerate MCA Inc.

Article

Irving Group of Companies

Companies owned by New Brunswick’s Irving family dominate the province’s natural resource industries, as well as its media, engineering and construction industries. The first Irving business was a sawmill purchased in 1881. The family now owns many companies that supply each other from different steps in the chain of production. These companies largely fall under four umbrellas: J.D. Irving Limited (whose many segments include forestry, food, construction and transportation), Brunswick News (newspapers), Irving Oil (oil refining and marketing) and Ocean Capital Holdings (real estate, radio, construction and materials). The Irving family owns Canada’s largest oil refinery, is one of the five largest landowners in North America, and employs 1 in 12 people in New Brunswick. It is one of the wealthiest families in Canada.

Macleans

JDS Uniphase Corporation

Jozef Straus has a reputation for being a bit, well, eccentric. There's that funky black beret he wears practically everywhere but in the shower - his company, Nepean, Ont.-based JDS Uniphase Corp., has even taken to handing copies of it out to visitors.

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Economic History of Central Canada

Ontario and Quebec constitute Central Canada, a region that accounts for over 58 per cent of Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP). The economic history of the region begins with the hunting, farming and trading societies of the Indigenous peoples. Following the arrival of Europeans in the 16th century, the economy has undergone a series of seismic shifts, marked by the transcontinental fur trade, then rapid urbanization, industrialization and technological change.

Article

Taxation in Canada

Taxes are mandatory payments by individuals and corporations to government. They are levied to finance government services, redistribute income, and influence the behaviour of consumers and investors. The Constitution Act, 1867 gave Parliament unlimited taxing powers and restricted those of the provinces to mainly direct taxation (taxes on income and property, rather than on activities such as trade). Personal income tax and corporate taxes were introduced in 1917 to help finance the First World War (see Income Tax in Canada). The Canadian tax structure changed profoundly during the Second World War. By 1946, direct taxes accounted for more than 56 per cent of federal revenue. The federal government introduced a series of tax reforms between 1987 and 1991; this included the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). In 2009, the federal, provincial and municipal governments collected $585.8 billion in total tax revenues

Macleans

Rogers Cable Apologizes

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on January 16, 1995. Partner content is not updated.

It may well go down as one of the rockiest product launches in the history of Canadian television. On Jan. 1, cable companies across the country began offering their 7.5 million subscribers seven new Canadian-owned specialty channels.