timeline

Confederation

The Dominion of Canada wasn't born out of revolution, or a sweeping outburst of nationalism. Rather, it was created in a series of conferences and orderly negotiations, culminating in the terms of Confederation on 1 July 1867.

Night Rideau Canal

February 11, 1839

Confederation 

Durham Report is Presented to Parliament

Lord Durham completed his Report on the Affairs of British North America, which recommended the union of Upper and Lower Canada and paved the way for responsible government. The report played an important role in the development of Canadian democracy and political autonomy from Britain. 

January 01, 1847

Opposition to Confederation 

Founding of the Parti Rouge

A group of francophones founded the Parti rouge. It called for repealing the Act of Union that had merged Upper and Lower Canada, or, failing that, for the Province of Canada to be annexed by the United States. Parti Rouge members, particularly the Dorion brothers, staunchly opposed Confederation, believing it would strip power from Lower Canada. Antoine-Aimé Dorion denounced Confederation at the 1864 Québec Conference

October 10, 1849

Opposition to Confederation 

Annexation Manifesto

Acute economic depression in Canada led to a short-lived agitation for annexation to the United States.

September 01, 1858

Confederation 

Canada East and West Propose Federation

In October 1858, politicians from Canada East and WestAlexander Tilloch Galt, George-Étienne Cartier and John Ross — presented a proposal for a British North American federation to the Colonial Office in London, England. It was received with “polite indifference.”

December 11, 1858

Confederation 

De Cosmos Promotes Federation

In the first issue of his newspaper, The British Colonist, Amor de Cosmos promoted a federation of Britain’s North American colonies. He later played a prominent role in bringing British Columbia into Confederation

August 03, 1860

Opposition to Confederation 

Nova Scotians Elect Joseph Howe

As Premier, Joseph Howe argued that the same electorate should decide if Nova Scotia will join Confederation. He compared the proposed plan for Confederation to uniting Scotland with Poland, making the case that Nova Scotia’s interests did not match Canada’s. Even after 1867, Howe battled to repeal Confederation. When that hope slipped away, he fought to improve the conditions of the agreement for Nova Scotia.

January 01, 1862

Confederation 

A Possible Maritime Union

The Province of Canada refused to pay a portion of the costs for the Intercolonial Railway, sparking discussions among the Maritime colonies about merging into a single colony in the hopes of gaining political strength and attracting financial investment.

June 22, 1864

Confederation 

Great Coalition Formed

The Great Coalition was formed. Reform leader George Brown joined a coalition with John A. Macdonald's Conservatives and George-Étienne Cartier's Bleus, starting the process of Confederation in the Province of Canada. The ministers of the Great Coalition were sworn in on June 30.

September 01, 1864

Confederation 

Charlottetown Conference

John A. Macdonald attended the Charlottetown Conference to persuade the Maritime provinces to join Canadian Confederation.

October 10, 1864

Confederation 

Québec Conference

Confederation was debated at the Québec Conference, where the Québec Resolutions were agreed upon, paving the way for Confederation. John A. Macdonald is said to have written 50 of the 72 resolutions.

October 19, 1864

Confederation 

St. Albans Raid

A party of Confederate agents based in Canada raided the town of St. Albans, Vermont. This northernmost land action of the American Civil War caused much tension between Great Britain and the United States. Incidents like the St. Albans Raid increased fears of American expansion north in the lead-up to Canadian Confederation.

February 20, 1865

Parliament Buildings (Original)

Confederation 

Vote for Confederation

The legislative council of the Province of Canada adopted an address urging the Imperial Parliament to pass legislation to achieve the union of British North America. The Assembly adopted the address on March 11.

March 04, 1865

Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley

Confederation 

Tilley Defeated in NB

The New Brunswick government, led by pro-Confederation Leonard Tilley, was defeated in the only election held on the issue of Confederation.

January 01, 1866

Opposition to Confederation 

PEI’s “No Terms Resolution”

James Pope became premier of Prince Edward Island in 1865. In 1866, he brought the “No terms Resolution” to the assembly. The resolution rejected the Quebec Conference’s terms for entering Confederation and ensured that PEI would not join.

April 09, 1866

Confederation 

Fenian Raids Begin

Fenians staged a raid against Campobello Island in New Brunswick. The Fenian invasions actually marshalled support for a British North American union, as they badly weakened anti-Confederation positions and revealed shortfalls in the leadership, structure and training of the Canadian militia. The threat the irregular Fenian armies posed to British North America, along with growing concerns over American military and economic might, led to increased support among British and Canadian officials for Confederation.

December 04, 1866

Confederation 

London Conference

Sixteen delegates from the Province of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick met with the British government in London, England. During the three month conference, delegates reviewed the Québec Resolutions — creating a document that would form the basis of the British North America Act — chose "Canada" as the name of the new country and designated it a Dominion.

March 08, 1867

Confederation 

British North America Act

The British North America Act was passed by the British Parliament and given royal assent by Queen Victoria on 29 March. It came into effect on 1 July. The Act joined the colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in one federal union. In 1949, Newfoundland becomes Canada’s newest province. In 1999, Nunavut becomes Canada’s newest territory. Its creation establishes self-governance for the region’s Inuit population.

March 18, 1867

Confederation 

BC Resolution on Confederation Passed

Amor De Cosmos' resolution calling for "the admission of BC into Confederation on fair and equitable terms" was given unanimous support by the colony's legislative council.

May 22, 1867

Confederation 

Proclamation of Confederation

A royal proclamation declared that the Dominion of Canada would come into existence on July 1.

August 07, 1867

Confederation 

Conservatives Win First Majority

In the first general election after Confederation, the Conservatives won a majority with 101 seats to the Liberals' 80; Sir John A. Macdonald, who had been chosen prime minister by the Governor General when Canada was created, remained prime minister.

July 31, 1868

Prince Rupert

Confederation 

Rupert's Land Act

The Rupert's Land Act was passed, allowing the Crown to declare Rupert's Land part of the Dominion of Canada.

December 01, 1869

Constitutional Act, 1791

Confederation 

HBC Surrenders Rupert's Land

The Hudson's Bay Company surrendered Rupert's Land to the Canadian government.

July 15, 1870

Manitoba Coat of Arms

Confederation 

Manitoba Joins Confederation

The Manitoba Act went into effect, making Manitoba Canada's fifth province.

July 15, 1870

Prince Rupert

Confederation 

Transfer of Rupert's Land

The British Crown officially transferred Rupert's Land and the North-Western Territory to Canada. These lands comprise present-day Manitoba, most of Saskatchewan, southern Alberta, southern Nunavut, and northern parts of Ontario and Québec.

July 20, 1871

British Columbia Coat of Arms

Confederation 

British Columbia Joins Confederation

British Columbia entered Confederation as the sixth province. The legislature met for the first time after Confederation on 15 February 1872.

August 03, 1871

Signing of Treaty No 1

Confederation 

Treaty No. 1

The first post-Confederation treaty was signed at Lower Fort Garry, Man. The first of many “Numbered Treaties,” Treaty No. 1 was signed between the Crown and the Ojibwa and Swampy Cree Nations. The treaty included the provision of livestock, agricultural equipment and the establishment of schools in exchange for ceding large tracts of Aboriginal hunting grounds.

August 21, 1871

Confederation 

Treaty No. 2

Treaty Number 2 was concluded with Chippewa of Manitoba, who ceded land from the mouth of Winnipeg River to the northern shores of Lake Manitoba across the Assiniboine River to the United States frontier.

July 01, 1873

Prince Edward Island Coat of Arms

Confederation 

Prince Edward Island Joins Confederation

Prince Edward Island entered Confederation as Canada's seventh province.

October 03, 1873

Confederation 

Treaty No. 3

Treaty No. 3 was signed by the Saulteaux (Chippewa) of northwestern Ontario and of Manitoba. For the surrender of a tract comprising about 55,000 sq. miles, the Dominion Government reserved not more than one square mile for each family of five and agreed to pay $12 per head and an annuity of $5 per head.

September 15, 1874

Confederation 

Treaty No. 4

Treaty No. 4 was signed at Fort Qu'Appelle, Sask, with Cree, Saulteaux (Chippewa) and other First Nations.

September 20, 1875

Confederation 

Treaty No. 5

Treaty No. 5 was concluded at Lake Winnipeg ceding an area of approximately 100,000 sq. miles inhabited by Chippewa and Swampy Cree (Maskegon) of Manitoba and Ontario.

August 23, 1876

Cree Encampment

Confederation 

Treaty No. 6

Treaty No. 6 was signed at Carlton and at Fort Pitt with the Plains Cree, Woodland Cree and Assiniboine. It ceded an area of 120,000 sq. miles of the plains of Saskatchewan and Alberta.

September 22, 1877

Red Crow

Confederation 

Treaty No. 7

Treaty No. 7 was signed at Blackfoot Crossing in southern Alberta by the Blackfoot, Blood, Peigan, Sarsi and Stoney. Canadian officials understood that by the treaty First Nations surrendered some 35,000 sq miles of land to the Crown in return for reserves, payments and annuities.

March 26, 1885

Opposition to Confederation 

The North-West Rebellion Begins

The Métis, Cree, Blackfoot, Blood, Peigan and Saulteaux began a violent resistance against Canada’s expansion into the Prairies. Canadian expansion into their western lands had pushed the Indigenous and Métis peoples toward starvation. The North-West Rebellion was eventually defeated by Canadian troops.

June 13, 1898

Yukon Legislature Chamber

Confederation 

Yukon Becomes Separate Territory

By Act of Parliament the Yukon became a separate territory with a commissioner and partly elected council.

June 21, 1899

Pitikwahanapiwiyi (Poundmaker), Plains Cree Chief, 1885

Confederation 

Treaty No. 8

Cree, Beaver, Chipewyan and Slavey First Nations ceded territory south and west of Great Slave Lake in northern Alberta to the federal government in Treaty No. 8.

September 01, 1905

Laurier, 1905

Confederation 

Alberta and Saskatchewan Become Provinces

Alberta and Saskatchewan entered Canada as the 8th and 9th provinces by two federal Acts which received royal assent on 20 July. Alberta's boundary with Saskatchewan was set at 110°, though Albertans wanted 107°. The Acts (Autonomy Bills) declared that the West was to have non-denominational schools.

December 02, 1933

Confederation 

Newfoundland Reverts to Crown

Newfoundland lost its Dominion status due to its financial situation; its constitution was suspended and it reverted to a Crown colony.

February 16, 1934

Gros Morne

Confederation 

Newfoundland Commission Government

Newfoundland began its government by a Commission appointed by Britain.

June 03, 1948

Confederation 

Newfoundland Votes vs Canada

A Newfoundland referendum resulted in 69,000 votes for self-government, 64,000 for union with Canada, and 22,000 for no change in the island's status. Another vote on 22 July showed a majority of 7,000 for union with Canada.

March 31, 1949

Confederation 

Newfoundland Becomes Province

Newfoundland entered the Dominion of Canada as the 10th province through an Act of Westminster. The first session of the legislature was held at St. John's on 13 July.

September 11, 1960

Opposition to Confederation 

The Rassemblement pour l’indépendence nationale Begins

The separatist movement re-emerged as a political force in Quebec in the late 1950s and the 1960s. The most important early manifestation of this rejuvenation was the leftist Rassemblement pour l'indépendance nationale (RIN). 

March 01, 1963

Opposition to Confederation 

FLQ Movement

The Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) was founded in March 1963 by two Québécois, Raymond Villeneuve and Gabriel Hudon, and a Belgian, Georges Schoeters. The FLQ was the radical wing of the Quebec separatist movement. Not opposed to using violence as a tool to achieve Quebec’s separation from Canada, the FLQ was responsible for the kidnapping and murder of federal Cabinet minister Pierre Laporte and the ensuing October Crisis.

February 14, 1973

Whitehorse Rapids

Confederation 

Yukon Land Claims

The federal government established a committee to negotiate land claims in the Yukon.

September 07, 1973

Confederation 

NWT Court Allows Land Claim

The Northwest Territories Supreme Court allowed the Indian Brotherhood of the NWT to file a land claim for one-third of the NWT.

May 20, 1980

Opposition to Confederation 

First Quebec Referendum on Independence

Under the premiership of the Parti Québécois's René Lévesque, the province of Quebec held its first referendum on leaving Confederation. Independence was rejected by 60 per cent of the vote.

November 12, 1992

Confederation 

Inuit Endorse Nunavut

The Inuit endorsed the creation of Nunavut, a semi-autonomous territory, in a referendum.

September 30, 1995

Opposition to Confederation 

Second Quebec Referendum on Independence

Held on 30 October 1995, under the premiership of Jacques Parizeau, the second referendum on Quebec sovereignty was settled by a narrow victory for the “No” camp, which won 50.58 per cent of the vote.

February 15, 1996

Confederation 

Nisga'a Land Claim Agreement

Federal and provincial officials signed an agreement of land claims with the Nishga'a in northwestern British Columbia. The Final Agreement calls for cash payments to the Nisga'a of approximately $190 million over a period of years, and recognizes the communal ownership and self-governance of about 2,000 km2 of Nisga’a lands in the Nass River Valley.

September 06, 1996

Confederation 

Residents Keep NWT Name

Residents of the Northwest Territories voted to keep that name for the western part of territory after the eastern part became the territory of Nunavut in 1999.

April 01, 1999

Nunavut Flag

Confederation 

Nunavut Declared

The new territory of Nunavut, covering some 2 million sqare kilometers of the eastern Arctic, was declared as part of Canada's first territorial changes since Newfoundland joined Confederation in 1949.

December 13, 1999

Confederation 

Nisga'a Treaty Approved

The House of Commons voted 217-48 in favour of a bill that would give the Nisga'a of northwest BC the right to self-government. The band received 2000 sq km of land and $253 million. In return they agreed to pay taxes and relinquish future claims.

April 13, 2000

Confederation 

Nisga'a Treaty

The Nisga'a Treaty was given royal assent by Governor General Adrienne Clarkson.

May 11, 2000

Confederation 

Nisga'a Final Agreement

The Nisga'a Final Agreement, recognizing Nisga'a lands and self-government, went into effect.

June 26, 2014

Supreme Court of Canada

Confederation 

Tsilhqot'in First Nation Granted Title Claim in Supreme Court Ruling

Tsilhqot’in First Nation was granted title to 1,700 km2 of land in British Columbia after a Supreme Court of Canada ruling, the first to grant a declaration of Aboriginal title to a First Nation.