Canada 150 Celebration and the Trans-Canada Highway



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Get free access to national parks, to historic sites, and if in a boat free lockage on certain canals.

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History Overview

Early Explorers and Settlement

In 2017, Canada turns 150 years old. Canada was discovered by John Cabot (an Italian, sailing for England) in 1497, and he raved about the amount of cod in the waters off Newfoundland.

Samuel de Champlain, exploring for the French sailed u the St Lawrence in 1603 realized the fur-trading opportunities, and by 1608, a settlement was founded in Port-Royal (now Annapolis Royal in Nova Scotia). The French settlement at Quebec City, was soon fortified to protect the fur-trading empire that expanded west to all the Great Lakes, and south down to the mouth of the Mississippi.

The British, busy with Newfoundland and the American colonies in warmer climes further south, did not get seriously interested in Canada until they launched the Hudson's Bay Company, which traded for furs with the Indians, in any waters flowing into the Hudson's Bay.

Of course the First Nations (as Canadians now refer to the "Indians") have been her for an estimated 12,000 years. It is presumed that they came over from Asia during the last Ice Age, either travelling on the land bridge over the Bering Strait created by lower ocean levels (all that water was stored in the mile-deep ice sheets that covered much of the northern hemisphere). There are also some theories that they travelling in boat, either following the shores, or by sailing across the Pacific (some theorists claim settlements in California, and Peru from such voyagers)

Impact of the United States

After the American Revolution, which ran from 1776 to 1782, which led to their independence from Britain, many Loyalists to the British crown moved north to Canada. This led to a population boom in what remained of British North America. In 1812, American thought they could invade and conquer Canada, and make if part of their country, but were rebuffed by a mix of colonists, British military forces and Indian warriors. The war ended in a "tie" and affirmed the territorial rights of both America and the British colonies.

Confederation

Fast forward to 1864 and the Charlottetown Conference, where lawyers & politicians from the various British Colonies in Canada met to discuss how to be stronger, and be able to resist the strong military and economic presence of the United States, currently embroiled in a Civil War, but who's forces could easily be redirected northwards. That led to an agreement, that convinced England to pass the British North America Act in 1867, which made Canada its own country, with its own national parliament.

At that time, the Hudson's Bay Lands in the North became part of Canada, as territories. British Columbia on the Pacific Ocean, was not yet part of Canada (it joined in 1871), and neither were PEI (joined in 1873), and Newfoundland (Britain's very first colony joined Canada in 1949, following a referendum). Some of the northwest territories became provinces, Manitoba in 1870, and Alberta and Saskatchewan followed in 1905.

History on the FoundLocally websites

We have created a capsule community history, looking at Geogrpahy, the First nations, early settlement, economic expandion, and recent history for EACH of the 30 FoundLocally sites across Canada. For each of those cities, we also have some "must see" travel itineraries, for a traveller in a hurry. What to do if you are visiting for only ONE DAY, what to visit in and around the community if you have an extra day, etcetera.

Local Histories & Visitors Tips



Canada - The Story of Us, on CBC

CLICK to view episodes of 'Canada The Story of Us' (10 episodes)
The 10-part series Canada: The Story of Us takes a broader look at Canadian history. Along with the explorers and politicians already familiar from school textbooks, the series shines a light on lesser known stories about the contributions of Indigenous people, women, immigrants and more. (CBC)

Canada The Story of Us

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