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The Expansion & Growth of Canada as a Nation

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1867 — Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick

1870 — Manitoba, Northwest Territories (N.W.T.)

1871 — British Columbia

1873 — Prince Edward Island

1880 — Transfer of the Arctic Islands (to N.W.T.)

1898 — Yukon Territory

1905 — Alberta, Saskatchewan

1949 — Newfoundland and Labrador

1999 — Nunavut



canada's first prime minister

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In 1867, Sir John Alexander MacDonald, a Father of Confederation, became Canada’s first Prime Minister. Born in Scotland on January 11, 1815, he came to Upper Canada as a child. He was a lawyer in Kingston, Ontario, a gifted politician and a colourful personality. Parliament has recognized January 11 as Sir John A. MacDonald Day. His portrait is on the $10 bill.

Sir George-Étienne Cartier was the key architect of Confederation from Quebec. A railway lawyer, Montrealer, close ally of MacDonald and patriotic Canadien, Cartier led Quebec into Confederation and helped negotiate the entry of the Northwest Territories, Manitoba and British Columbia into Canada.

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A Railway From Sea TO Sea

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British Columbia joined Canada in 1871 after Ottawa promised to build a railway to the West Coast. On November 7, 1885, a powerful symbol of unity was completed when Donald Smith (Lord Strathcona), the Scottish-born director of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), drove the last spike. The project was financed by British and American investors and built by both European and Chinese labour.

 Afterwards the Chinese were subject to discrimination, including the Head Tax, a race-based entry fee. The Government of Canada apologized in 2006 for this discriminatory policy. After many years of heroic work, the CPR’s “ribbons of steel” fulfilled a national dream.


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