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Victoria Day

Victoria Day is a statutory holiday remembered informally as "the twenty-fourth of May,” or “May Two-Four.” Originally a celebration of Queen Victoria's birthday, the holiday now marks Queen Elizabeth II's birthday as well. Victoria Day was established as a holiday in the Province of Canada in 1845 and as a national holiday in 1901. It is observed on the first Monday before 25 May.

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Parti Québécois

The Parti Québécois (PQ) is a nationalist (see Francophone Nationalism in Quebec) political party formed in Quebec in 1968 through the merger of the Mouvement souveraineté-association (see Sovereignty-Association) and the Ralliement national. René Lévesque was the PQ’s first leader and held that position until 1985. The party was elected to its first term in office in 1976 and went on to hold two referendums on Quebec sovereignty: one in 1980 and the other in 1995. (See Quebec Referendum (1980); Quebec Referendum (1995).) Since October 2020, the party leader is Paul St-Pierre Plamondon.

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United Farm Women of Alberta

The United Farm Women of Alberta (UFWA) was the first provincial organization of farm women in Alberta. Originally an auxiliary of the United Farmers of Alberta (UFA), the UFWA became a separate organization in 1916. The organization became the Farm Women’s Union of Alberta (FWUA) in 1949 and the Women of Unifarm in 1970. The organization dissolved in 2000.

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Salamander

Salamander is a common name for most members of the tailed amphibia (order Caudata). There are about 410 species worldwide; 21 are native to Canada. Salamanders are found mainly in the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere and tropical South and Central America. In the latter, salamanders have radiated and the region contains more than a third of the species in the world. In Canada, salamanders are found from the Maritimes to British Columbia and north to central Labrador and northern British Columbia; none have been recorded on the island of Newfoundland.

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October Crisis

The October Crisis refers to a chain of events that took place in Quebec in the fall of 1970. The crisis was the culmination of a long series of terrorist attacks perpetrated by the Front de libération du Québec (FLQ), a militant Quebec independence movement, between 1963 and 1970. On 5 October 1970, the FLQ kidnapped British trade commissioner James Cross in Montreal. Within the next two weeks, FLQ members also kidnapped and killed Quebec Minister of Immigration and Minister of Labour Pierre Laporte. Quebec premier Robert Bourassa and Montreal mayor Jean Drapeau called for federal help to deal with the crisis. In response, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau deployed the Armed Forces and invoked the War Measures Act — the only time it has been applied during peacetime in Canadian history.


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Canada and the Holocaust

The Holocaust is defined as the systematic persecution and murder of 6 million Jews and 5 million non-Jews, including Roma and Sinti, Poles, political opponents, LGBTQ people and Soviet prisoners of war (POWs), by Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. Jews were the only group targeted for complete destruction. Nazi racial ideology considered them subhuman. Though Jewish Canadians did not experience the Holocaust directly, the majority endured anti-Semitism in Canada. Jewish Canadians were only one generation removed from lands under German occupation from 1933 to 1945. They maintained close ties to Jewish relatives in those lands. These ties affected the community’s response to the Holocaust. There was, for instance, a disproportionate representation of Jews in the Canadian armed forces. Jewish Canadians were also heavily involved in postwar relief efforts for displaced persons and Holocaust survivors in Europe.

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BlackBerry Limited

BlackBerry Limited (formerly Research In Motion) is a mobile communications company. Founded in 1984 by Mike Lazaridis and Doug Fregin in Waterloo, Ontario, the company released its first device — a pager capable of email — in 1999. Following the release of its first smartphone in 2002, BlackBerrys quickly became must-have pieces of technology, first among business people and later the general public. However, in the early 2010s they struggled to keep pace with the competitive smartphone market. In 2016, the company announced it would outsource all hardware production to other companies, instead focusing on software development. Today, BlackBerry is credited with putting Waterloo on the map as an innovation hub. The business trades under the ticker BB on the Toronto Stock Exchange and BBRY on NASDAQ.

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Railway Disasters

​Railway accidents may result from a number of situations, including improper track beds, metal fatigue, fire, flawed rails, human error and frail bridges.

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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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Star Weekly

The Toronto Star Weekly began publication in April 1910 in Toronto. Founded by Joseph E. Atkinson, the Toronto Star Weekly was an attempt to create a Sunday newspaper. The Toronto Star Weekly changed its name to the Star Weekly in 1938. The newspaper ceased publication in 1973.

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Walnut

Walnut (Juglans), genus of trees of the walnut family (Juglandaceae). The roughly 15 known species are widely dispersed through temperate and tropical regions.

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Canada and the Cold War

The Cold War refers to the period between the end of the Second World War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. During this time, the world was largely divided into two ideological camps — the United States-led capitalist “West” and the Soviet-dominated communist “East.” Canada aligned with the West. Its government structure, politics, society and popular perspectives matched those in the US, Britain, and other democratic countries. The global US-Soviet struggle took many different forms and touched many areas. It never became “hot” through direct military confrontation between the two main antagonists.

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Battle of the Plains of Abraham

The Battle of the Plains of Abraham (13 September 1759), also known as the Battle of Quebec, was a pivotal moment in the Seven Years’ War and in the history of Canada. A British invasion force led by General James Wolfe defeated French troops under the Marquis de Montcalm, leading to the surrender of Quebec to the British. Both commanding officers died from wounds sustained during the battle. The French never recaptured Quebec and effectively lost control of New France in 1760. At the end of the war in 1763 France surrendered many of its colonial possessions — including Canada — to the British.

(This is the full-length entry about the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. For a plain-language summary, please see Battle of the Plains of Abraham (Plain-Language Summary).)

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Canadian National Land Settlement Association

On 6 June 1919, the Canadian National Railway Company (CN) was created by the federal government to consolidate private and government railway systems into one public organization (see Railway History in Canada). The mandate of CN was to provide rail service throughout Canada. The company also had many other functions, such as promoting immigration and land settlement. CN established the Colonization and Agriculture Department (1919–63) and its subsidiary organization, the Canadian National Land Settlement Association (1925–61) to stimulate immigration, labour and land settlement in Canada. Both organizations contributed to the movement of people and the establishment of new farms in Western Canada (see also History of Settlement in the Canadian Prairies).

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Canadian Technological Inventions and Innovations

Technology is understood as the manipulation of the physical world to achieve human goals. Numerous people in Canada have innovated or invented new technologies in response to human needs and desires. These inventions and innovations have changed the way people work, communicate and understand the world around them. Below is a list of some of the technological inventions and innovations developed in Canada. Do you recognize any of these gadgets?