Archaeology is a historical science aimed at the discovery and understanding of past human behaviour through the study of material remains. Archaeologists draw the bulk of their information from physical artifacts left at locations where people lived, worked, visited and were buried long ago. The Canadian Encyclopedia features articles on many of the country’s archaeological sites, organized here by the provinces and territories in which they are found.
For Canada, Asia does not exist “over there.” It is, has been, and will continue to be, right here, contributing to and shaping our country. Canada’s citizenry includes over 6.7 million people — 20 percent of the population — who were born outside Canada. Recent immigrants to this country are more likely to have come from Asia and the Middle East than from Europe (Census of Canada, 2011).
Cultural appropriation is the use of a people’s traditional dress, music, cuisine, knowledge and other aspects of their culture, without their approval, by members of a different culture. For Indigenous peoples in Canada, cultural appropriation is rooted in colonization and ongoing oppression. Indigenous peoples have seen culturally significant symbols and motifs used in non-Indigenous goods, marketing and art. They have also seen stereotypical images of “Indians” used in sports logos and the sale of various products.
The Livre d’orgue de Montréal is the most voluminous extant manuscript of French organ music of the period of Louis XIV. Consisting of 398 pieces composed between 1675 and 1724, it was brought to Montréal in 1724 by Jean Girard, a Sulpician cleric and later organist at the parish of Notre-Dame. The document now belongs to the Fondation Lionel-Groulx in Montréal, where it was rediscovered in 1978 by Élisabeth Gallat-Morin. Containing works of great quality (the most notable of which were composed by king’s organist Nicolas Lebègue), as well as more simple but not necessarily inferior pieces, the Montréal manuscript represents an important addition to the French organ repertoire of the end of the 17th century.
Trickster is a word used to describe a type of supernatural figure that appears in the folklore of various cultures around the world. In Canada, the word has been popularized by anthropologists studying the role of these figures in Indigenous teachings and oral histories. Indigenous peoples call tricksters by their own names, such as Glooscap or Glooskap (Algonquian), Wisakedjak or Weesageechak (Cree) and Nanabush or Nanabozho (Anishinaabe). While Indigenous nations construct tricksters in their own ways, there are some cross-cultural similarities. Often considered cultural heroes, tricksters are credited with protecting (and in some cases, creating) human life. As their name suggests however, tricksters are also associated with rule-breaking. They are curious pranksters who frequently cross and challenge boundaries, as well as ignore social harmony and order. For generations, trickster stories have been used to entertain community members as well as to transmit traditional knowledge about society, culture and morality.
Indigenous languages are spoken in all regions of Canada. There are around 60 distinct Indigenous languages in Canada, falling into 10 separate language families. While in many places there has been decreased transmission of languages from one generation to the next, recognition of this has led to efforts by Indigenous peoples to revitalize and sustain their languages. Canada, and North America more generally, represent a highly complex linguistic region, with a large number of languages and great linguistic diversity. Indigenous languages are spoken widely, and are official languages in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, while the Yukon recognizes the significance of the Indigenous languages of the territory. On 6 December 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a plan to implement a new law to protect and preserve Indigenous languages in Canada.
Coined by 19th century anthropologists, the term “vision quest” describes a spiritual journey in various Indigenous cultures in which participants, often adolescents, are said to receive sacred knowledge and strength from the spirit world. Practised as a rite of passage among some Indigenous cultures in North America, such as the Siksika (Blackfoot), Cree, Anishinaabe (including the Ojibwe) and Inuit, vision quests reflect the role of spirituality and contemplative thinking in Indigenous cultures, and provide an important connection between the participant, the Creator and nature. Though reduced as a practice following colonization, vision quests remain part of the cultural traditions of Indigenous populations in Canada in the modern era.
The term francophonie has been in common use since the 1960s. It has several meanings. In its most general sense, it refers to all peoples and communities anywhere in the world that have French as their mother tongue or customary language. The term can also refer to the wider, more complex network of government agencies and non-government organizations that work to establish, maintain and strengthen the special ties among French-speaking people throughout the world. Lastly, the expression “La Francophonie” is increasingly used as shorthand for the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (International Organisation of La Francophonie).
Mr. Dressup was one of Canada’s most beloved and longest-running children’s television series. The program starred Ernie Coombs as the jovial Mr. Dressup and ran for 29 years (1967–96) and more than 4,000 episodes. A precursor to the popular American series, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Mr. Dressup was influential in tailoring children’s programming towards developing the child’s emotional and logical intelligence. The series won three Gemini Awards and earned Coombs an appointment to the Order of Canada. A 2017 crowd-sourced online vote unofficially declared Mr. Dressup Canada’s most memorable television program.
Founded in 1958 by Ludmilla Chiriaeff, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal is the most progressive and experimental of Canada’s three big ballet troupes (the National Ballet of Canada and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet being the other two). It is noted for a diverse repertoire that has emphasized new works as well as traditional 19th-century story-ballets and 20th-century classics. The company has also had a strong record of commissioning original works that are often choreographed, composed and designed by Canadians (see also Dance in Canada).
Slings & Arrows (2003–06) is a television comedy series that satirizes the backstage antics of a Shakespearean theatre festival. Written and created by Susan Coyne, Bob Martin and Mark McKinney, it was produced by Rhombus Media for The Movie Network (TMN) and later aired on Sundance TV in the United States. It starred such Canadian stage and screen stars as Paul Gross, Rachel McAdams, William Hutt, Martha Burns, Stephen Ouimette, Don McKellar, Colm Feore, and Sarah Polley. It was named one of the Top 10 Canadian TV shows of the decade (2000s) by Maclean’s, won 13 Gemini Awards (including two for best television series), and remains one of the most critically acclaimed television programs in Canadian history.
A windigo is a supernatural being belonging to the spiritual traditions of Algonquian-speaking First Nations in North America. Windigos are described as powerful monsters that have a desire to kill and eat their victims. In most legends, humans transform into windigos because of their greed or weakness. Various Indigenous traditions consider windigos dangerous because of their thirst for blood and their ability to infect otherwise healthy people or communities with evil. Windigo legends are essentially cautionary tales about isolation and selfishness, and the importance of community.
L’Anse aux Meadows is the site of an 11th-century Norse outpost at the tip of Newfoundland’s Great Northern Peninsula. Arguably the location of Straumfjord of the Vinland sagas, it is believed to be the first European settlement in North America. L’Anse aux Meadows was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1968 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978. Today, it is the site of a popular interpretive centre and ongoing archeological research.
Canada’s recorded population history begins in the 16th century with the arrival of Europeans and the subsequent depopulation of Indigenous peoples, due largely to epidemic disease. High rates of fertility and immigration caused the country’s overall population to grow rapidly until the mid-19th century, when it slowed slightly. Population growth continued to be slow through the First World War, Great Depression and Second World War, following which growth rates began to increase again. Today, Canada’s population growth is dependent on international migration. As of the 2016 census, Canada’s population was nearly 35.2 million (35,151,728).
The Canadian newspaper industry moved away from political patronage and partisanship about the turn of the 20th century, when the number of daily newspapers peaked. Objectivity rather than partisanship gradually became the focus of newspaper journalism, which became increasingly professional. As more people moved to cities and literacy rates climbed, competition among newspapers became fierce in markets where multiple daily newspapers were sold. As a result, many newspapers closed, merged with others or were acquired by growing media conglomerates, which became highly profitable corporations. By the 1980s, media concentration was the subject of government study and concern. However, no changes were implemented for fear of encroaching on press freedom. Near the end of this period, experiments with electronic publishing signalled the great changes ahead.
Indian food is a more recent addition to the culinary scene in Canada, having gained prominence primarily in the post-1960s era of immigration. It is characterized mainly by the Northern Indian approach to cuisine, which features breads and warm curries and the use of yogurt and cream in meat-based dishes. But it also bears the influence of South Indian cooking, which frequently plays with the combination of sour and spicy and the use of tamarind and chilies. However, many typical Indo-Canadian dishes, such as kedgeree and some chutneys, are a product of Anglo-Indian cuisine stemming from Britain’s colonial rule of the Indian subcontinent.