On July 1st, 2017, Canada will celebrate its 150th birthday as an independent nation. In honour of this historic event, it is important to recognize the stories that have shaped our nation and the people that have contributed to its development. In this article, we will explore some of the most iconic Canadian stories, the people behind them, and the lasting legacy they have left behind.
The first story we will explore is that of Pierre-Esprit Radisson and Médard Chouart des Groseilliers, two French-Canadian fur traders who are credited with the discovery and exploration of the Canadian northwest. Their journey began in 1659, when they set out from what is now Quebec City in search of the fabled Northwest Passage. After travelling over 10,000 kilometres of uncharted wilderness, they eventually returned to Europe with a wealth of knowledge about the land, its resources, and its people. This was a defining moment for Canada, as it opened the door for the fur trade and other economic activities that would bring wealth and prosperity to the region.
The next story we will explore is that of Joseph Brant, a Mohawk Chief who played a key role in the negotiations between the British and the Iroquois during the American Revolution. Brant was a highly respected leader in both the native and European communities, and he was instrumental in preventing further bloodshed between the two sides. Through his diplomatic efforts, he was able to secure a treaty that allowed the Iroquois to keep their lands and gave them a degree of autonomy. His legacy lives on today in the form of the Six Nations Reserve, which was established in accordance with the treaty he helped to negotiate.
The third story we will explore is that of Laura Secord, a Canadian heroine who is credited with warning British forces of an imminent attack by American forces during the War of 1812. Secord set out on a 30-kilometre journey through enemy territory in order to deliver her warning, and her bravery has become a symbol of Canadian courage and patriotism.
Next, we will explore the story of Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald. Macdonald was a highly effective leader who is credited with unifying the country through the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway and the implementation of the National Policy. He was also responsible for the establishment of the North-West Mounted Police, which helped to bring law and order to the western regions of the country.
The fifth story we will explore is that of the Klondike Gold Rush. This event was a major catalyst for the development of the Yukon, as thousands of prospectors from around the world flocked to the region in search of riches. This influx of people and capital helped to transform the region from a remote wilderness to a thriving commercial hub.
Finally, we will explore the story of Emily Carr, one of Canada’s most influential artists. Carr was a pioneering figure in the development of Canadian art, and she was a major proponent of the Group of Seven. Through her bold and vibrant paintings, she helped to define a distinctly Canadian style of art that celebrated the beauty of the Canadian landscape.
These stories, and the many more that have shaped our nation, are part of the fabric of Canadian identity. They remind us of the courage and resourcefulness of our ancestors, and the beauty of our land. As we celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, it is important to honour these stories and remember the people who contributed to their creation. These stories are part of what makes Canada such a great place to call home, and they will continue to inspire us for generations to come.