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.
Acadia is a land deeply imbued with history. Its present status is that of a minority, a "country" with vague outlines but a vigorous spirit. Its territorial origin follows the French colonial efforts in the early 17th century. The first permanent agricultural settlements in what is now Canada occurred there.
There are 13 First Nation communities in Nova Scotia. Spread over 42 reserves and settlements, these communities range from Acadia First Nation in the southwest to Membertou First Nation in northeastern Cape Breton. Of Nova Scotia’s 19,090 registered Mi’kmaq (in 2018), 10,878 live on reserve. Eight of these communities are on mainland Nova Scotia, and five are in Cape Breton. Their reserves vary in size from over 3,500 hectares to less than one, though almost every community has more than one land tract. Nova Scotia is unusual for the makeup of its on-reserve First Nation communities, in that they are all Mi’kmaq. In terms of the number of First Nation communities, Nova Scotia is comparable to New Brunswick (with 15 First Nations) and Yukon (18 First Nations). Other provinces, such as Ontario and British Columbia, have many more First Nation communities (127 and nearly 200, respectively), while those like Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador have significantly fewer (two and four, respectively).
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.
Lytton, British Columbia, incorporated as a village in 1945, population 249 (2016 census), 228 (2011 census). The village of Lytton is located on the Trans-Canada Highway, 260 km northeast of Vancouver, at the junction of the Thompson and Fraser rivers. This is one of the driest and warmest spots in Canada.
In 2016, 744,855 people identified as First Nations with Indian Status, 44.2 per cent of which lived on reserves. Reserves are governed by the Indian Act, and residence on a reserve is governed by band councils as well as the federal government. Under the Indian Act, reserves that serve as residences are referred to as Indian Bands. Many reserves or bands are now referred to as First Nations. Reserves may serve as spiritual and physical homelands for their people, but they are also tangible representations of colonial governance. As such they are often the focal point of activism relating to land claims, resource management, cultural appropriation, socio-economic conditions, self-governance and cultural self-determination.1
Greater Sudbury, Ontario, incorporated as a city in 2001, population 164,689 (2016 census), 163,067 (2011 census). The judicial seat for the District of Sudbury, the City of Greater Sudbury is located on the western shore of Ramsey Lake, about 60 km north of Georgian Bay. When incorporated in 2001, it replaced the former Regional Municipality of Sudbury (1973–2000) and City of Sudbury (1930–2000). The city owes much of its development to the mining industry, in particular the mining of nickel. The largest urban area in northeastern Ontario, Greater Sudbury now offers a concentration of business, cultural and educational services and is recognized for the impressive regreening program that it has been carrying out since the 1970s.
Tofino, British Columbia, incorporated as a municipality in 1932 and as a district in 1982, population 1,932 (2016 census), 1,876 (2011 census). The community of Tofino is located on the west coast of Vancouver Island, 317 km northwest of Victoria by road, on the northern tip of the Esowista Peninsula and the south side of Clayoquot Sound. The district encompasses an area of 19.09 km2 within the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve. Tofino developed around fishing and logging industries and is now a popular tourist destination, sought for its natural beauty and outdoor recreation.
Old Montreal is the historic district of the city of Montreal, located in the south-central part of Montreal Island and bounded by the St. Lawrence River to the south, Saint-Antoine Street to the north, McGill Street to the west and Saint-Hubert Street to the east. In the second half of the 20th century, this area came under pressure from urban change, as business and port activity shifted elsewhere, depriving Old Montreal of its historic roles. But in the 1960s, a long process began that completely transformed it into a heritage district (it was at this time that the name Old Montreal came into common use). The designation of the Arrondissement historique de Montréal by the Quebec government in 1964 marked an important step in this transformation. With massive investments from the three levels of government, as well as from businesses and individuals, a lengthy rehabilitation effort began. Nearly 60 years later, visitors can now follow the traces of Montreal’s history back to pre-colonial times, and the changes that the city has undergone since the first European settlers arrived in 1642.
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."
Soldiers rounding up terrified civilians, expelling them from their land, burning their homes and crops ‒ it sounds like a 20th century nightmare in one of the world's trouble spots, but it describes a scene from Canada's early history, the Deportation of the Acadians.8
Nunavut, or “Our Land” in Inuktitut, encompasses over 2 million km2 and has a population of 35,944 residents (2016 census), approximately 85 per cent of whom are Inuit. Covering roughly the part of the Canadian mainland and Arctic Archipelago that lies to the north and northeast of the treeline, Nunavut is the largest and northernmost territory of Canada and the fifth largest administrative division in the world. Nunavummiut live in 25 communities spread across this vast territory, with the largest number, 7,740 (2016 census), in the capital, Iqaluit. The creation of Nunavut in 1999 (the region was previously part of the Northwest Territories) represented the first major change to the political map of Canada since the incorporation of Newfoundland into Confederation in 1949. Beyond changing the internal political boundaries of Canada, Nunavut’s formation represented a moment of great political significance; through political activism and long-term negotiations, a small, marginalized Indigenous group overcame many obstacles to peacefully establish a government that they controlled within the Canadian state, thereby gaining control of their land, their resources and their future. As such, the creation of Nunavut represents a landmark moment in the evolution of Canada and a significant development in the history of the world’s Indigenous peoples.
Halton Hills, ON, incorporated as a town in 1974, population 61,161 (2016 c), 59,013 (2011c). Halton Hills is located approximately 45 km west of Toronto and was created by the amalgamation of Acton, Georgetown and Esquesing Township. It is also encompasses several hamlets — Ballinafad, Glen Williams, Stewarttown, Limehouse, Glen Lawson, Speyside, Ashgrove, Crewson’s Corners, Bannockburn, Henderson’s Corners, Whaley’s Corners, Mansewood, Hornby, Silver Creek, Terra Cotta and Norval. From 1926 to 1935, Norval was home to Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables.