On July 1, 1867, the provinces we now know as Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia joined together in Confederation to create the new country of Canada. The British North America Act of 1867 made this Confederation legal.
As time passed, other provinces and territories joined the Confederation and became part of Canada.
Dates when provinces and territories joined the Confederation
Quebec Nova Scotia
|1873||Prince Edward Island|
The maple leaf is a popular symbol of Canada. Historians say it was used as a symbol of Canada as early as 1700. You will see it on the one-cent coin, where its design has hardly changed since 1937.
Since February 15, 1965, a red maple leaf has been featured on the national flag of Canada. It has become our most prominent symbol.
In 1965, Canada adopted its official red and white flag with the maple leaf. All federal government buildings fly the Canadian flag.
In 1867, Sir John A. Macdonald became the first prime minister of Canada. His picture appears on the ten-dollar bill.
Canada's Constitution is the system of laws and conventions by which our country governs itself. Until 1982, changes to the Constitution had to be approved by the British government. In 1982, the new Constitution Act allowed us to change our Constitution without asking the British government's approval. This is the year when the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms became part of the Canadian Constitution.
Each year on July 1, we celebrate Canada Day, the anniversary of the Confederation.
In 1535, two Indian youths used the Huron-Iroquois word "kanata," which means "village" or "settlement," to tell Jacques Cartier the way to Stadacona (site of present-day Québec City). Cartier used "Canada" to refer not only to Stadacona, but also to the entire area subject to Donnacona, Chief at Stadacona.
By 1547, the first world map to show the discoveries made on Cartier's second voyage applied the word "Canada" to the area north of the gulf and river St. Lawrence.
By 1550, maps were also placing the name south of the river. The first use of "Canada" as an official name came in 1791 when the Constitutional Act (or Canada Act) divided Québec, then considerably larger, into the provinces of Upper Canada and Lower Canada.
In 1841, they were united to become the Province of Canada. At the time of Confederation (1867), the new country took the name of Canada.