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Toronto Huskies

On 1 November 1946, the Toronto Huskies faced the New York Knicks in the first professional basketball game played in Canada. Although the Huskies folded after only one season, it was Canada’s first professional basketball team and a founding member of the Basketball Association of America – what would later become the National Basketball Association.


Nanaimo Bar

The Nanaimo bar is a no-bake dessert bar that traditionally consists of three layers: a graham wafer crumb and shredded coconut base, custard-flavoured butter icing in the middle, and a chocolate ganache on top. It is named after Nanaimo, British Columbia, where it was popularized in the years following the Second World War. It subsequently rose to wider prominence after Expo 86. In 2006, the Nanaimo bar was declared Canada’s favourite confection by a reader’s poll in the National Post.


Romeo Saganash

Romeo Saganash, lawyer, politician, advocate for Indigenous rights (born 28 October 1962 in Waswanipi, a Cree community southeast of James Bay in central Quebec). Saganash is Quebec’s first Indigenous Member of Parliament and the province’s first Cree person to receive an undergraduate law degree. He is believed to be the first Indigenous leader in Canada to run for the leadership of a major political party. For the last 20 years, Saganash has represented the Cree at numerous national and international forums concerning Indigenous issues. He spent 23 years helping to negotiate the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples — a resolution that provides a framework to implement treaty rights between First Peoples and Canada and to fulfill other obligations in international agreements. He has spent his life furthering the economic, environmental, legal and constitutional rights of Indigenous peoples in Canada, particularly the Cree in the James Bay region.


Quebec City Mosque Shooting

The Quebec City mosque shooting took place in 2017 at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City, located in the suburb of Sainte-Foy. The gunman, 27-year-old Alexandre Bissonnette, pleaded guilty to six counts of first-degree murder and six counts of attempted murder. It was one of the deadliest mass shootings in Canadian history, described as an act of terrorism by both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard. The event prompted widespread public debate around Islamophobia, racism and the rise of right-wing terrorism in Canada. 


Kim’s Convenience

Kim’s Convenience is a CBC TV sitcom about a Korean Canadian family that runs a convenience store in Toronto. Based on a 2011 play by Ins Choi, it is the first Canadian comedy series to star a primarily Asian Canadian cast. The acclaimed comedy explores the generational tension between immigrant parents and their Canadian-born children and was inspired by Choi’s experience growing up in a Korean family in Toronto. The show was an instant hit when it premiered on CBC in fall 2016, with its first season averaging 933,000 viewers per episode. The series has since won six Canadian Screen Awards.


Terry Fox

Terrance Stanley (Terry) Fox, CC, athlete, humanitarian, cancer research activist (born 28 July 1958 in Winnipeg, Manitoba; died 28 June 1981 in New Westminster, British Columbia). Terry Fox inspired the nation and the world through his courageous struggle against cancer and his determination to raise funds for cancer research. Not long after losing his leg to cancer, Fox decided to run across Canada to raise awareness and money for cancer research. He ran from St. John’s, Newfoundland, to Thunder Bay, Ontario, covering 5,373 km in 143 days, but was forced to halt his Marathon of Hope when cancer invaded his lungs. The youngest person to be made a Companion of the Order of Canada, he has inspired millions across the world, many of whom participate in the annual Terry Fox Run for cancer research.


Blueberry Grunt

Blueberry grunt, also called “slump” or “fungy,” is a dessert of tea biscuit dumplings cooked in blueberries, typically served with ice cream or whipped cream. Essentially a stovetop cobbler, it is most common in Atlantic Canada. The name is said to come from the “grunting” sound the blueberries make while being cooked. The origins of the blueberry grunt are unclear. Some claim it was first made by early colonial settlers as an adaptation of British pudding using local ingredients, while others claim it originated as a form of Acadian “forage food.” It is most likely the result of both of those factors combined.


Elections to Remember

We love them and we hate them.

They bring out the best in us, and the worst.

They frequently divide us, and sometimes — as with John Diefenbaker's thunderous victory in 1958 — federal elections succeed in uniting the country behind a single impulse, or a single voice.

One thing's for sure: amid all the change that has swept across Canada since Confederation, there has remained one steadfast certainty — that every few years, we ordinary citizens have the right to collectively choose who should govern us. Today, this privilege is not shared by billions of the world's people. How lucky that our democracy endures.

When Canadians return to the polls, not only will we be carrying out the business of voting, we'll be writing a new chapter in Canada's rich electoral history. It's an intriguing story, filled with high stakes, hijinks and high passions, not to mention a colourful cast of political characters.

Here are some famous elections from the past, and how they changed Canada . . .


Mothers of Confederation

“My Diaries as Miss Bernard did not need such precautions [a lock] but then I was an insignificant young Spinster & what I might write did not matter. Now I am a Great Premier’s wife & Lady Macdonald & ‘Cabinet secrets and mysteries’ might drop or slip off unwittingly from the nib of my pen.”
Lady Agnes Macdonald, 5 July 1867.

Written just days after Confederation, Lady Agnes’ first entry in her new, locked, diary is a gaze forward in history. Canada's first spouse of the Prime Minister later expresses, on 17 November 1867, that she writes with the expectation that someone will someday pick up on her words. Given her insight to the political goings-on of her day, she says, “that is rather an important consideration.”

It’s been nearly 150 years since Macdonald wrote; and still, her work remains on the outskirts of history. Volumes have been dedicated to the Fathers of Confederation, but what about their wives and daughters, valuable record-keepers and political players in their own right?

Official records of the 1864 Charlottetown and Québec Conferences, which paved the road to Confederation, are sparse. But historians have been able to flesh out the social and political dynamics at play in these conferences by consulting the letters and journals of the Mothers of Confederation. They not only provide a view into the experiences of privileged women of the era, but draw attention to the contributions those women made to the historic record and political landscape.

Below are six of these women.



Sweetgrass is a fragrant grass with long, satiny leaves. Also known as vanillagrass, mannagrass and holy grass, it is well known to many Indigenous people in Canada and the United States as a material for baskets, as well as a scent, medicine and smudge. Two closely related species are native Canada: common sweetgrass (Hierochloë hirta subspecies arctica) and alpine sweetgrass (H. alpina). As a widely used and revered sacred plant, sweetgrass is still harvested today, and continues to play an important role in Indigenous cultures.


Round 2: How do you get from...

How do you get from Anne to the Red River Settlement?

In this round of six degrees of Canadian history, we start with a spunky youth from Prince Edward Island and point the Red River carts west. The Red River Colony was a colonial settlement established in 1812, the early period of British North American westward expansion, and would later become part of the province of Manitoba. So how is it related to Anne of Green Gables, the best-selling tale of an 11-year-old orphan girl? It’s a real trip.


Round 1: How do you get from....

How do you get from Carly Rae Jepsen to the last spike?

In this round of six degrees of Canadian history, we start with a pop singer-songwriter who captured the world’s attention and end with the ceremonial link that unified a growing nation. The “last spike” of the Canadian Pacific Railway was driven into the ground at Craigellachie, British Columbia, on 7 November 1885. One hundred years later and some 500 km away, pop star Carly Rae Jepsen was born in Mission, BC. That’s a lot of time and distance to traverse.

Here’s how we did it.


Round 3: How do you get from...

How do you get from the Suez Crisis to Wayne Gretzky?

In this round of six degrees of Canadian history, we start with the world’s first great peacekeeping force and arrive at “The Great One.” The Suez Crisis was a military and political confrontation in Egypt that might have divided the United States and Great Britain were it not for some pretty impressive Canadian stickhandling — perhaps even more impressive than Gretzky’s.


Women and the Quiet Revolution

The Quebec of the 1960s was synonymous with the Quiet Revolution. The mandate of the Liberal government led by Jean Lesage, which began with the election on 22 June 1960, marked a period of significant reforms. Political, economical, social, cultural — these reforms had major repercussions on the people of Quebec and drastically changed the lives of women. With the creation of a Ministry of Education, women obtained the same right to higher education as men. Additionally, Bill 16 conferred in principle full legal capacity to married women. The reformist spirit was also at work within the Union Nationale governments of Daniel Johnson, Sr., from 1966 to 1968 and Jean-Jacques Bertrand from 1968 to 1970. Finally, it was during the Quiet Revolution that women in Quebec began to use contraceptive pills to control their fertility, entered the workforce in large numbers and demanded maternity leave as well as the right to equality with men in all areas of public life.


Three Day Road

Joseph Boyden’s first novel, Three Day Road, made him one of Canada’s most prominent writers of fiction. It won multiple awards and drew attention to an overlooked aspect of Canada’s history, namely the role Indigenous people played in Canada’s military history. Inspired by the story of Anishnaabe First World War sniper Francis Pegahmagabow, Three Day Road follows a wounded soldier’s journey home. The novel parallels the death that hangs over the battlefields of the First World War with the destruction of traditional Indigenous cultures. The book won the McNally Robinson Aboriginal Book of the Year Award, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and the in Canada First Novel Award.


Round 4: How do you get from...

How do you get from the narwhal to women’s suffrage?

In this round of six degrees of Canadian history, we dive with a species of whale known to descend at least 1,500 m, and surface at women’s suffrage. The narwhal, perhaps best known for its spiralled tusk, is a whale living in Canada’s Arctic waters. How on Earth does it connect with the hard-fought battle for women’s right to vote in provincial and federal elections?