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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.

Article

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.

Article

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.

Article

Rose Johnstone

Rose Mamelak Johnstone, FRSC, biochemist (born 14 May 1928 in Lodz, Poland; died 3 July 2009 in Montreal, QC). Rose Johnstone is best known for her discovery of exosomes, a key development in the field of cell biology. These tiniest of structures originating in all cells of the human body are vehicles that transport proteins, lipids and RNA from one cell to another. A pioneer of women in science, Johnstone was the first woman to hold the Gilman Cheney Chair in Biochemistry and the first and only woman chair of the Department of Biochemistry in McGill University’s Faculty of Medicine.

Article

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. 

Article

Canada and the Development of the Polio Vaccine

During the first half of the 20th century, poliomyelitis, a.k.a. polio or “The Crippler,” hit Canada harder than anywhere else. Successive polio epidemics peaked in a national crisis in 1953. By that time, however, scientists at Connaught Medical Research Laboratories of the University of Toronto had made key discoveries that enabled American medical researcher and virologist Jonas Salk to prepare the first polio vaccine. Connaught Labs also solved the problem of producing the vaccine on a large scale. Canada went on to play an important role in the development of the oral polio vaccine and international efforts to eradicate the disease.

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

Article

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.

Editorial

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.

Article

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.

Article

Reserves in Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan is home to at least 70 First Nations and various Métis communities. It contains 782 reserves, settlements and villages, many of which are located in the southern half of the province. Reserves in Saskatchewan were created between 1874 and 1906 by Treaties 2, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10. As of 2016, 47.5 per cent of the province’s 114,570 self-identified First Nations peoples live on reserves, a percentage comparable to the province of Manitoba. Most of the remaining 47 per cent who reside off-reserve in Saskatchewan live in the cities of Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Albert.

Editorial

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 . . .

Editorial

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.

Article

Millennials in Canada

The millennial generation (also known as Generation Y) refers to a cohort of people born roughly between 1980 and 2000, though some have a more restrictive definition (see Population of Canada). Most millennials are children of members of the baby boom generation, a term which refers to those born immediately following the end of the Second World War. Millennials are often compared to and defined by the ways in which they are both a product of, and a challenge to, their parents’s generational traits.

Article

Sweetgrass

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.

Article

James Ryan

James Ryan, railway machinist, labour leader (born 1840 in County Clare, Ireland; died 17 December 1896 in Hamilton, ON). James Ryan was a machinist and railway engineer for the Great Western Railway and later the Grand Trunk Railway. He was a powerful voice in the Canadian Nine Hour Movement, which fought for a shorter workday. Ryan also helped establish the Canadian Labor Protective and Mutual Improvement Association in 1872, the forerunner of the Canadian Labor Union.

Editorial

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.

Editorial

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.

Article

The Breadwinner

The Breadwinner (2001) is the first book in a series of young adult novels set in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan by writer and activist Deborah Ellis. It was followed by Parvana’s Journey (2002), Mud City (2003) and the final book, My Name is Parvana (2012). Inspired by Ellis’s interviews with Afghan women in refugee camps, the series begins with 11-year-old Parvana, who must disguise herself as a boy to support her family after her father is arrested by the Taliban. It is a story of courage and empowerment and sheds light on the horrors of war, especially for the children caught in the crossfire. The Breadwinner was shortlisted for the Trillium Book Award, while Parvana’s Journey was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award. Nora Twomey’s animated adaptation of The Breadwinner (2017) received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for best animated feature, as well as four Canadian Screen Awards and numerous other honours.