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.
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.
The Forks is a public space where the Red and Assiniboine rivers meet in the heart of what is now the city of Winnipeg, Manitoba. It occupies the waterfront zone east of Main Street and south of the CN mainline rail bridge. The Forks has played a complex role in the history of the region and of Canada as a whole. It has been a traditional gathering place for thousands of years and was an important hub of the fur trade in the 18th and 19th centuries. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many immigrants stopped at the Forks on their journey west. It was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1974 and is home to other sites of historical and archeological significance, as well as museums, monuments, parks and theatres.
Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site, near Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, commemorates a series of fur-trade posts built between 1799 and 1864 by the North West Co and the Hudson's Bay Co (HBC) near the junction of the North Saskatchewan and Clearwater rivers.
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The 1869–70 uprising in the Red River Colony (also known as the Red River Resistance) was sparked by the transfer of the vast territory of Rupert's Land to the new nation of Canada. The colony of farmers and hunters, many of them Métis, occupied a corner of Rupert's Land and feared for their culture and land rights under Canadian control.5
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.
Gastown is a retail and commercial district in Vancouver, British Columbia. It is bounded by Cordova Street and the waterfront between Richards Street and Main Street. The original Gastown settlement formed the nucleus for the City of Vancouver and is now a National Historic Site. Today, Gastown is a popular tourist destination and home to restaurants, gift shops, boutiques, galleries, nightclubs and bars. It is also part of the Downtown Eastside, Vancouver’s lowest-income neighbourhood, and the location of single resident occupancy hotels, social housing and social services.
Stirling, Alberta, incorporated in 1901, population 978 (2016 census), 1,090 (2011 census), area 2.71 km2. The Village of Stirling is located in the County of Warner, approximately 30 km southeast of Lethbridge on Highway 4 and 70 km north of the United States border. Stirling is significant as a national historic site and is Canada’s best-preserved example of a Mormon agricultural village.
Located in Nova Scotia, Port-Royal National Historic Site features a reconstruction of the Port-Royal Habitation, one of the first settlements attempted by the French in North America (1605). Administered by Parks Canada, this historic site offers interpretive activities that convey the French settlers’ challenges in implementing the new colony. Visitors can also learn about the culture of the Mi’kmaq, the area’s first inhabitants of the land.