On 17 May 1642, a group of French settlers led by Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve and Jeanne Mance established the missionary colony of Ville-Marie on the Island of Montréal. Today, this modest settlement founded in the middle of the St. Lawrence River is Canada’s second largest city and home to nearly half of the province of Québec’s population. A centre of francophone culture in North America, Montréal also enjoys international renown. Through exhibits, images and articles — as well as several Heritage Minutes about influential Montrealers — this collection celebrates the 375-year heritage and history of this important cultural and economic centre.
In 1673, in order to develop the young colony of New France, Governor Louis de Buade de Frontenac gave large concessions of land to administrators, priests and high-ranking soldiers who became seigneurs. The seigneurie des Mille-Îles was created north of the river that bears the same name.
Port Alberni, BC, incorporated as a city in 1967, population 17,678 (2016 c), 17,743 (2011 c). The present-day City of Port Alberni is the result of the 1967 amalgamation of two cities, Port Alberni (incorporated in 1912) and Alberni (incorporated in 1913). Port Alberni is located on central Vancouver Island, 195 km north of Victoria, at the head of Alberni Inlet, a deep fjord-like inlet that almost divides the island in two. The inlet was named after Don Pedro de Alberni, the Spanish officer in command of the Nootka garrison in 1791 during the Spanish occupation. In 1964, a tsunami caused by the Good Friday earthquake in Alaska moved up the inlet and hit the twin cities. About 375 houses were damaged, 55 of which were washed away, but there were no casualties.
Resource towns, or "new towns," are the small, isolated communities built around resource-based industries and transportation, such as mining towns, mill towns, railway towns and fishing villages. Examples include: Fort McMurray, Alberta (oil); Grand Falls-Windsor, Newfoundland (pulp and paper); Glace Bay, Nova Scotia (coal); Black's Harbour, New Brunswick (fish packing); Murdochville, Québec (copper); Elliot Lake, Ontario (uranium); Snow Lake, Manitoba (copper, zinc); and Kitimat, British Columbia (aluminum). Resource development has long been recognized as a significant factor in shaping patterns of Canadian development. It has been argued that all Canadian urban growth ultimately depends on the production of staple products. Resource towns have been important agencies in this process of staple exploitation. Because of their dependence on single industries, the economies of resource towns are often unstable and precarious.
Winnipeg, Manitoba, incorporated as a city in 1873, population 705,244 (2016 c), 663,617 (2011 c). The city of Winnipeg is the capital and largest city of Manitoba, and is located at the confluence of the Red River and Assiniboine River 100 km north of the Minnesota border. The name is derived from the Cree name for Lake Winnipeg, 65 km north, win-nipi, meaning "murky water." Winnipeg is an important economic and cultural centre for the Prairies. Lying midway between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, it has been called "Bull's Eye of the Dominion," and because of its location between the Canadian Shield and the prairie, "Gateway to the West."
Vancouver's Chinatown features a distinctive hybrid of architectural styles that combines Chinese regional architecture with locally established Western motifs. The main streets in Chinatown follow a traditional Western grid pattern, while the north side is distinguished by interior courtyards, alleyways and façades that face both lanes and streets.
Halifax, Nova Scotia, incorporated as a city in 1841, population 403,131 (2016 c), 390,096 (2011 c). Halifax is the capital of Nova Scotia and the largest urban area in Atlantic Canada. On 1 April 1996 Halifax was amalgamated with neighbouring communities to form the Halifax Regional Municipal Government. Halifax Regional Municipality occupies a strategic and central location on the province's east coast and is one of the world's largest harbours. Sometimes called "Warden of the North" for its historic military role, today it is a major regional centre for Atlantic Canada's economy.
St. John's, NL, incorporated as a city in 1921, population 108,860 (2016 c), 106,172 (2011 c). The capital and largest city of Newfoundland and Labrador, the city of St. John's is located on the eastern side of the Avalon Peninsula of southeast Newfoundland. Its landlocked harbour is approached through a long, narrow channel and is protected by the high hills on which the city is built. The origin of the name St. John's is not known, but its use appears on a Portuguese map by Pedro Reinel (1516–20) as "Rio de San Johem" and later, in a 1527 letter by the English seaman John Rut, as the "Haven of St. John's." According to popular folklore, however, the city takes its name from the feast of Saint John the Baptist and the arrival of Italian explorer Giovanni Caboto (John Cabot) on the shores of Newfoundland on 24 June 1497.
Whitehorse, Yukon, incorporated as a city in 1950, population 25,085 (2016 c), 23,276 (2011 c). The City of Whitehorse, the capital of Yukon, is located about 87 km north of the British Columbia border. Communities like Whitehorse, which fall along the Alaska Highway, are often identified by where they sit on this stretch of road. With Dawson Creek, British Columbia at 0 km, Whitehorse is at kilometre 1,476. The city lies mainly on the western side of the Yukon River on a 600 m wide river plain backed by a steep escarpment with a plateau-like summit 60 m above. The Whitehorse landscape is dominated by Canyon Mountain (locally known as Grey Mountain) to the east, Haeckel Hill to the northwest and Golden Horn Mountain to the south. Nestled in a protected valley, Whitehorse enjoys a moderate climate for the North, with warm, dry summers. Long hours of summer daylight (almost 20 hours in June) offset a short growing season and dark winters.
Québec City, Québec, founded in 1608, population 531,902 (2016 c), 516,576 (2011 c). Québec City, the capital of the province of Québec, is located on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River where it meets the Rivière Saint-Charles. Here, the St. Lawrence narrows to a width of just over 1 km, and navigation is made difficult by a group of islands, the largest of which is Île d'Orléans. Cap-Diamant, a promontory with an elevation of 98 m, dominates the site and was used effectively as a fortification, earning Québec City the name "Gibraltar of North America." The name "Québec" is probably derived from an Algonquian word meaning "narrowing of the river."