Timeline of Canadian history

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is a brief timeline of the history of Canada, comprising important social, economic, political, military, legal, and territorial changes and events in Canada and its predecessor states.


Year Date Event Ref.
to 14,000 BCE At some unknown time prior to this date, Paleo-Indians moved across the Beringia land bridge from eastern Siberia into northwest North America, settling in some areas of Alaska and the Yukon,[1] but are blocked from further travel south into the continent by extensive glaciation.[2][3]
14,000 BCE Glaciers that covered Canada began melting, allowing Paleo-Indians to move south and east into Canada and beyond. [4]
3,000–2,000 BCE The Indigenous peoples of the Northeastern Woodlands begin to cultivate different types of squash. [5]
3,000 BCE Paleo-Eskimos begin to settle the Arctic regions of North America from Siberia. [6]

8th century[edit]

Year Date Event Ref.
796 CE Council of Three Fires (also known as the Three Fires Confederacy) was formed. [7]

10th century[edit]

Year Date Event Ref.
900 A short-lived Norse settlement is founded at L'Anse aux Meadows. It is possibly connected with the attempted colony of Vinland, established by Leif Erikson around the same period or, more broadly, with Norse exploration of the Americas. [8][9]

12th century[edit]

Year Date Event Ref.
1142 31 August The Iroquois Confederacy (also known as the League of Peace and Power) is formed. [10]

15th century[edit]

Year Date Event Ref.
1497 24 June Genoese navigator John Cabot lands the Matthew of Bristol somewhere on the northern Atlantic coast of North America, claiming the land for England by the Doctrine of discovery. The precise location of Cabot's landing is widely debated but generally believed to be on Newfoundland, already inhabited by the Beothuk people [11]

16th century[edit]

Year Date Event Ref.
1534 24 July Explorer Jacques Cartier claims the Gaspé Peninsula, already inhabited by Indigenous St. Lawrence Iroquoians, for France under the Doctrine of Discovery. He returns to France with two Iroquois captives. [12]
1583 Explorer Humphrey Gilbert lands in present-day St. John's and lays claim to the island of Newfoundland for the Kingdom of England under the Doctrine of Discovery. He dies at sea and permanent settlement by the British had to await better planned attempts. [13]

17th century[edit]

Year Date Event Ref.
1605 French colonists under Samuel de Champlain establish the first permanent European settlement in the future Canada at Port-Royal, founding the colony that would become known as Acadia. [14]
1608 3 July Quebec City founded by Champlain, becoming the capital of New France. [15]
1634 4 July Trois-Rivières founded, becoming the second permanent settlement in New France. [16]
1642 17 May Fort Ville-Marie -(Old Montreal) founded with the majority of immigrants coming directly from France led by Paul de Chomedey and Jeanne Mance, a lay woman. [17]
1666 First census of North America released. [18]
1670 2 May Hudson's Bay Company formed. It has an exclusive charter for trade in the Hudson's Bay watershed region known as Rupert's Land. The company administers the new colony on behalf of the King. [19]
1690 16–24 October The Battle of Québec was fought between the colonies of New France and Massachusetts Bay, then ruled by the kingdoms of France and England, respectively. It was the first time Québec's defenses were tested, with the new Englanders hoping to seize Québec, then the capital of New France. They failed to take the city. [20]

18th century[edit]

Year Date Event Ref.
1701 4 August The Great Peace of Montreal, between New France and 39 First Nations, is finalized. [21]
1710 In the Siege of Port Royal, the capital of Acadia falls to the British, defeating the French garrison and their Wabanaki Confederacy Indigenous allies. This begins an expansion into present-day Nova Scotia by the British. [22]
1713 11 April The War of the Spanish Succession is ended by the Treaty of Utrecht. France cedes the territory of Acadia to Great Britain and renounces claims to some British territories in Canada, as well as its claim to a monopoly of trade with the Indigenous population, but retains control of Île Royale colony (present-day Cape Breton Island and Prince Edward Island). [23]
1717 The Indigenous settlement of Kanesatake is founded at the confluence of the St.Lawrence and Ottawa rivers. It is founded by the Sulpician Order under a royal charter as a home for Catholic converts of the Indigenous peoples of the region, including the Mohawk. The lands' ownership becomes disputed between the Order and the Indigenous residents over the original land grant and title. The settlement would later be the location of the Oka Crisis. The land remains disputed. [24]
1749 21 June Halifax is founded and settled by the British, marking the first time that public rather than private capital was used to settle a British colony in the Americas. The Indigenous Mi'kmaq consider Britain's unilateral action as a violation of treaties signed after Father Rale's War in 1726, starting Father Le Loutre's War. British colonists would drive French and Mi'kmaq inhabitants from peninsular Nova Scotia but are repelled from Acadian settlements further north (present-day New Brunswick). [25][26][20]
1755 11 August British Brigadier-General Charles Lawrence orders the Expulsion of the Acadians. Over the next decade an estimated 11,400 French Catholics are deported to the Thirteen Colonies and Europe. Many settle in Louisiana. [27]
1758 8 June – 26 July The French naval fortress at Louisbourg is sieged for a second time by the British, having been returned to the French after a previous occupation in 1745. After being used to stage attacks on French Canada the following year, British soldiers reduce the fortress to rubble to prevent its return to the French a second time. [28][29]
1759 13 September A three-month British siege of Quebec City culminates in the pivotal Battle of the Plains of Abraham just outside the city's walls. Both the British and French commanders are killed in the battle. Following a decisive British victory, the French evacuate the city. [30]
1760-1761 10 March 1760 – 12 October 1761 The Halifax Treaties are signed between the Wabanaki Confederacy and the British Crown to end warring between the Indigenous peoples of the Maritimes and the British. One by one, various First Nations signed treaties to pledge "peace and friendship" with the British. The issue of aboriginal title is not covered in the treaties. [31]
1763 10 February The Seven Years' War is ended by the Treaty of Paris. France cedes New France to Great Britain, its colony Canada becoming the British Province of Quebec, and its remaining maritime colonies annexed by Nova Scotia. [32]
7 October The Royal Proclamation of 1763 is issued by King George III, forbidding settlement west of the Appalachian Mountains, which was delineated as an Indian Reserve. The document is the first to recognize aboriginal title, a right included in the Canadian Constitution. Its banning of settlements west of the 13 British Colonies would eventually become one of the factors inciting the American Revolution. [33]
1769 14 July St. John's Island is partitioned from Nova Scotia, becoming a separate colony from the mainland. The colony is renamed Prince Edward Island in 1798. [34]
1774 Quebec Act of 1774 is passed by the Parliament of Great Britain outlining how the Province of Quebec would be governed as colony, in an attempt to address damage to the economy/society of Quebec. Old boundaries were restored, free practice of Catholicism was guaranteed, and property and civil laws were to be decided according to traditional Canadian laws (thus preserving the Seigneurial system of New France for land ownership), with other matters of law left to English Common Law. The province was left to be governed by a legislative council, with no provision for an elected assembly. [20]
1775 The Invasion of Quebec and the Battle of Quebec take place, during the American Revolutionary War against Great Britain. These became a failed attempt at seizing military control of the British Province of Quebec and convince the French-speaking Canadiens to join the revolution on the side of the Thirteen Colonies. [20]
1782-1783 A preliminary peace treaty between Great Britain and the United States of America is signed. Citing one of the clauses, General George Washington insisted on the return of any present or former slaves. As part of documenting and evacuation of former slaves to British North America, the Book of Negroes was compiled in New York City. Enslaved Africans in America who escaped to the British during the American Revolutionary War became the first settlement of Black Nova Scotians and Black Canadians. [20]
1783 3 September The Treaty of Paris (1783) was signed by representatives of King George III of Great Britain and representatives of the United States of America on 3 September 1783, officially ending the American Revolutionary War. The treaty set the boundaries between the British Empire in North America and the United States of America. Details included fishing rights and restoration of property and prisoners of war. [35]
1784 22 May Over 3,000,000 acres (1,200,000 ha) of land is purchased by the British Crown from the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation in present-day Ontario for £1180.00 [36]
18 June New Brunswick and Cape Breton Island are partitioned from Nova Scotia, becoming separate colonies. Cape Breton re-joins Nova Scotia in 1820. [37]
25 October Under the terms of the Haldimand Proclamation, 550,000 acres (220,000 ha) of the lands purchased from the Mississaugas is granted to the Mohawks and the other Five Nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. The land is a tract extending 6 miles (9.7 km) on either side of the Grand River from source to mouth. However, it is later determined that the head of the Grand River was outside of the lands purchased from the Mississaugas. In 1792, Governor Simcoe unilaterally reduces the land grant to 270,000 acres (110,000 ha). Later land sales, government actions, and the creation of the Six Nations of the Grand River reserve would reduce the lands under Indigenous possession to a small fraction of the original grant. The land grant and its management is the basis of the Grand River land dispute between the Six Nations and Canada.
1791 The Constitutional Act of 1791 divides the Province of Quebec into Upper and Lower Canada (modern-day Ontario and Quebec). [38]

19th century[edit]

Year Date Event Ref.
1811 Settlement began of the Red River Colony, a 300,000 square kilometres (120,000 sq mi; five times that of Scotland) area, by Thomas Douglas, 5th Earl of Selkirk via a land grant from the Hudson's Bay Company, of which he was a part-owner. The territory later became part of Manitoba and the Missouri Territory. [20]
1813 21–22 June During the War of 1812, Laura Secord learns of an American plan to launch a surprise attack on British forces and walks 20 miles to warn the defenders. The British defeat the American invaders at the Battle of Beaver Dams on 24 June. [39]
1818 20 October The London Convention is signed, setting the boundary between the United States and British North America to the 49th parallel from the Northwest Angle in Minnesota west to the continental divide of the Rocky Mountains, and establishing joint control of the Oregon Country. [40]
1821 Merger of Hudson's Bay Company and the North West Company ending the Pemmican War, a series of armed skirmishes between the rival fur trading companies. As part of the merger, the monopoly of HBC is extended north to the Arctic Ocean and west to the Pacific Ocean. [41]: 369–370 
1829 6 June Shanawdithit, the last known full-blooded member of the Beothuk people native to Newfoundland, dies; she was about 29 years old. [42]
1837 Rebellions of 1837–1838 break out in both Upper and Lower Canada, inspired by republican ideals, against the dominated by a small group of businessmen represented by Château Clique and Family Compact [43][44][45]
1841 10 February Under the terms of the Act of Union 1840, the British colonies of Lower Canada and Upper Canada are merged into the single Province of Canada. [46]
1846 15 June The Oregon boundary dispute is settled with the signing of the Oregon Treaty, extending the boundary between British North America and the United States along the 49th parallel from the Rocky Mountains to the Juan de Fuca Strait, and defining the maritime boundary to the Pacific Ocean. [47]
1850 7 September 9 September The Robinson Treaties are signed between the Ojibwa and the British Crown, surrendering the northern shores of Lake Superior and Lake Huron for £2,160 and an annual payment of £600. [48][49]
1854 13 October The Surrender of the Saugeen Peninsula is signed between the Chippewa and the Crown, surrendering the lands of the Saugeen Peninsula (Bruce Peninsula) in Canada West in exchange for reserves and interest on the sale of the surrendered lands.
1862 18 March The first case of the 1862 Pacific Northwest smallpox epidemic is reported in Victoria, British Columbia. It spreads widely amongst the Indigenous populations, killing an estimated 20,000 or 2/3 of the Indigenous population. [50]
1864 1 – 9 September The Charlottetown Conference, the first of several meetings to discuss a Maritime Union and Canadian Confederation, is held in Charlottetown. [51]
1867 1 July The British North America Act, 1867, divides the Province of Canada into Ontario and Quebec and joins them with New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to form a confederated state called the Dominion of Canada. [52][53]
1869–1870 11 October – 12 May A group of Métis led by Louis Riel mount the Red River Rebellion against Canadian intrusion and in the Red River Colony. The Canadian government regains control after acceding to many of Riel's demands, but he flees into exile in the United States after the government refused to grant him amnesty. [54]
1870 15 July

Concluding a series of agreements between Canada, the United Kingdom, and the Hudson's Bay Company, Canada acquires Rupert's Land and the North-Western Territory, forming the Northwest Territories. In the aftermath of the Red River Rebellion, Manitoba is subdivided from the new territory in the area around Winnipeg, becoming Canada's fifth province. Land rights are granted to the Métis.

1871 20 July The colonies of British Columbia and Vancouver Island amalgamate and then enter Confederation as the Province of British Columbia, Canada's sixth province. [57]
3 August Treaty 1 is signed between the Chippewa and Swampy Cree First Nations and the Crown surrendering lands in Manitoba [58]
21 August Treaty 2 is signed between the Chippewa Cree First Nation and the Crown surrendering lands in Manitoba and Saskatchewan [58]
1873 23 May The North-West Mounted Police is established to enforce Canadian sovereignty of the Northwest Territories. [59]
1 July Prince Edward Island enters Confederation as the seventh province. [60]
3 October Treaty 3 is signed between the Ojibwe First Nations and the Canadian Crown, surrendering lands in Northwestern Ontario (present-day) and Manitoba [61]
1874 15 September Treaty 4 is signed between the Cree First Nations and the Crown of Canada, surrendering lands in present-day Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba. [62]
1875 20 September Treaty 5 is signed between the Saulteaux and Swampy Cree First Nations and the Canadian Crown, surrendering lands in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario. [63]
1876 12 April The Indian Act is passed. The Act updates previous legislation of the Province of Canada addressing the relationship between the Government of Canada and officially recognized First Nations. It establishes official definitions of "Indian status" and defines Indigenous government. [64]
23, 28 August 9 September Treaty 6 is signed between the Plain and Wood Cree First Nations and the Canadian Crown, surrendering lands in present-day Alberta and Saskatchewan. [65]
1877 22 September Treaty 7 is signed by the Nakoda and Blackfoot First Nations and the Canadian Crown, surrendering lands in southern present-day Alberta. [66]
1880 1 September The British Arctic Territories are ceded to Canada, becoming part of the Northwest Territories. [67]
1885 26 March – 3 June Several hundred Catholic Francophone Métis led by Louis Riel and supported by Cree fighters mount the North-West Rebellion and establish the Provisional Government of Saskatchewan. Riel is captured at the Battle of Batoche (9–12 May), tried for treason, and hanged on 16 November 1885. Francophones bitterly denounce the sentence and Canada becomes deeply polarized along ethno-religious lines. [68][69]
7 November The transcontinental Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), then the longest in the world, is completed. [70]
1896 16 August Gold is discovered in the Klondike region of the Yukon Territory, sparking the Klondike Gold Rush. Tens of thousands flood into the Klondike region during 1897 and 1898. [71]
1899 8 July Treaty 8 is signed by the Cree, Beaver, Chipewyan First Nations and the Canadian Crown, surrendering 840,000 square kilometres (320,000 sq mi) of lands in present-day British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. [72]

20th century[edit]

Year Date Event Ref.
1903 The United Kingdom and the United States settle the Alaska boundary dispute on the border with British Columbia. Canadians are disappointed by the lack of a sea-water port to connect to the Yukon. [73][74]
1905 1 September Alberta and Saskatchewan are partitioned out of the Northwest Territories to become the eighth and ninth provinces of Canada. [75]
6 November Treaty 9 is signed by the Anishinaabe (Algonquin and Ojibway) and Omushkegowuk Cree communities and the Crown, surrendering land in Northern Ontario and Northwestern Quebec to James Bay [76]
1906 28 August Treaty 10 is signed between several First Nations, including the Cree and Chipewyan, and the Crown, surrendering 220,000 square kilometres (85,000 sq mi) in northern Saskatchewan and Alberta. Additional nations signed on later in 1906 and 1907. [77]
1909 23 February The first powered heavier-than-air flight in Canada occurred on Bras d'Or Lake at Baddeck, Nova Scotia, when John Alexander Douglas McCurdy piloted the AEA Silver Dart over a flight of less than 1 kilometer. [78]
1910 4 May Royal Canadian Navy is established. [79]
1914 4 August Great Britain declares war on Germany, bringing Canada into the First World War. [80]
1917 9–12 April The four divisions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force fight together for the first time in the Battle of Vimy Ridge, which becomes celebrated as a national symbol of achievement and sacrifice and a formative milestone in the development of Canada's national identity. [81]
6 December An explosion caused by an accidental collision between two merchant ships, one filled with explosives for the war, occurs in Halifax Harbour, resulting in 2000 people dead and 9000 injured. [82]
1918 1 April Prohibition in Canada enacted federally by an Order in Council. [83]
24 May Women gain the right to vote in federal elections. [84][85]
2 August 1918 After years of press censorship along with numerous government policies suppressing strikes & lockouts. The 1918 Vancouver general strike, the first in Canadian history, takes place after prominent labour activist Albert "Ginger" Goodwin is shot by police. This sparks the beginning of the Canadian Labour Revolt.
19 September Canadian Air Force (after 1920, Royal Canadian Air Force) is established. [86]
2 August 1918 – 11 June 1925 A series of labour movements collectively known as the "Canadian Labour Revolt" begin, lasting 6 years.
1919 Canada sends a delegation to the Paris Peace Talks, the conference resolving war issues. Canada signs the Versailles treaty as part of the British Empire, with parliament's approval. [87]
Prohibition in Canada ends federally. [88]
1919 May 15 -June 26 The largest strike in Canadian history; the Winnipeg General strike occurs. Soliders returning from WW1 & over 30,000 workers walk off their jobs; shutting down the majority of the city’s privately owned factories, shops and trains. Public employees joined them in solidarity. These included police, firemen, postal workers, telephone and telegraph operators & utilities workers. Special constables were hired and laws were passed to immediately deport, without trial, anyone who was not born in Canada that was caught striking. events of this day led to the creation of the "One Big Union". [89]
1920 Canada is admitted as a full member of the League of Nations, independently of Britain. It joins the League Council (governing board) in 1927. Canada plays a minor role and opposes sanctions or military action by the League. The League is virtually defunct by 1939. [90]
1921 27 June 1921 until 22 August 1921 Treaty 11, the last of the Numbered Treaties, is signed by the Slavey, Dogrib, Loucheux, Hare First Nations and the Canadian Crown. It covers a region within the Northwest Territories. [91]
1926 25 June – 14 September A constitutional crisis, known as the King-Byng Affair, is precipitated when Governor General Byng refused Prime Minister King's request to dissolve parliament and call an election, instead asking opposition leader Meighen to form a government, which in turn was quickly defeated. King framed the dispute as one of Britain, represented by the Governor General, interfering with Canadian affairs. Consequently, the affair played a role in the Balfour Declaration of 1926, in which each Dominion of the British Empire was declared to be of equal status with Britain. [92]
1927 25 November Canada appoints Vincent Massey as its first fully accredited envoy to a foreign capital. [93]
1929 1929 - 1939 Great Depression in Canada begins, resulting in widespread poverty, unemployment, & violent labour protests for the next decade. [94]
1930 January the Workers Unity League is created. The WUL paralleled similar alternative trade union structures elsewhere: the Trade Union Unity League in the US, and the National Minority Movement in the UK.Some of the unions affiliated with the WUL include the Mine Workers' Union of Canada, Lumber Workers Industrial Union of Canada and the Relief Camp Workers' Union. Unlike both the Trades and Labor Congress of Canada (TLC) and the All Canadian Congress of Labour (ACCL), the WUL organized the unemployed as well.
1931 September 7- 29 Estevan riot was a confrontation between the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and striking coal miners from nearby Bienfait, Saskatchewan, The Mine Workers' Union of Canada in Bienfait, established by the national "Workers unity league" demanded a wage increase, an end to the company store monopoly, better living conditions, and improved workplace safety. Miners assembled in Estevan with their families to parade through the city in order to draw attention to their strike. As they walked from Beinfait to Estevan, they were met with lines of police officers, violence broke out, and RCMP began firing on the crowd killing 3 people.
11 December The Statute of Westminster 1931 is enacted in Britain, officially ending the power of the British parliament to pass and nullify laws in a Dominion without the Dominion's request and consent. The statute formally recognized the de facto independence attained by Canada following the First World War. [95]
1933 September 15, 1933 The Stratford General Strike of 1933 begins with strikes in several local furniture-making factories that the Workers Unity League had recently unionized, & Swift's Meat Packing Plant, a poultry company, who had unionized as the Food Workers' Industrial Union. At its height more than 2,000 strikers were involved. The army along with several Carden Loyd tankettes were sent to quell the violence. Controversy over the use of tankettes resulted in victory for the strikers with one of its leaders, Oliver Kerr, being elected mayor the following year. [96][circular reference]
1935 April 4- July 1 Over 1000 workers under the guidance of "Arthur "Slim" Evans" join the "Relief Camp Workers Union" and begin the "On-to-Ottawa" trek in protest of the conditions & wages of then prime minister RB Bennetts Government relief work camps. After arriving in Regina, Saskatchewan, the trekkers agreed to send only 8 delegates to Ottawa to represent their cause, with the rest remaining at the Regina Exhibition grounds with support provided by private citizens & government of Regina. after delegations in ottawa broke down, the group was ambushed on 3 sides by RCMP officers hidden in boxtrucks, with police firing into & above the crowd with pistols and automatic gun fire. 2 deaths and several hundred injuries led to then Premier of Saskatchewan, James Garfield Gardiner accusing the RCMP of "precipitating a riot" [97][98]
18 June Battle of Ballantyne Pier, 1000 protesters, consisting of the Vancouver and District Waterfront Workers' Association, under influence of the Workers unity league; marched towards Ballantyne Pier to prevent scabs from unloading ships in the harbour. Upon arriving at the pier they were ambushed by the Vancouver police, BC Provincial Police,& RCMP who had been hiding behind boxcars. Battle of Ballantyne Pier was one of many conlficts contributing to the creation of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union [99]
1938 19 June Bloody Sunday was the conclusion of a month-long "sitdowners' strike" by The Relief Project Workers' Union (an extension of the Relief Camp Workers Union) in Vancouver BC . 1,200 men split themselves between the post office, the Vancouver Art Gallery & The Georgia Hotel. At five o'clock on the morning of 19 June, City Police & RCMP entered the buildings and forcibly ejected the men, Of the 42 hospitalized, only five were police and all of those were Vancouver police constables. Later that afternoon, 10,000 to 15,000 turned out to a protest at the Powell Street Grounds against the "police terror" of Bloody Sunday.
1939 10 September Canada, with its parliament's support, enters the Second World War by declaring war on Germany. The Dominion of Newfoundland had entered the war as a British colony upon the United Kingdom's declaration of war one week earlier. [100][101]
1939 1939 - 1945 During the war, the government mobilizes Canadian money, supplies, and volunteers to support Britain while boosting the economy and maintaining home front morale. Canada plays a military role protecting convoys against German submarines and fighting the German Army in Western Europe, while helping to liberate the Netherlands. Canada expands its small navy into the third largest in the world, after the U.S. and U.K. It had 363 ships and 100,000 sailors (of whom 6700 were women.) [102][103]
1945 9 November Canada joins the United Nations, seeking to play a world role as a "middle power", with interest in the UN Charter and in relief agencies. [106]
1947 1 January The Canadian Citizenship Act, 1946 comes into force creating a new, separate, Canadian legal citizenship for all British subjects born, raised, or resident in Canada and automatic citizenship for all those born in Canada after this date. [107][108]
1949 31 March Newfoundland, the last British colony in North America, enters Confederation as the tenth province following a pair of contentious referendums on whether the island should remain a British Crown Colony, become fully independent, or join Canada. [109]
1959 27 June The Saint Lawrence Seaway, a joint project between Canada and the United States, is officially opened. [110]
1960 1 July First Nations people are granted the right to vote in federal elections without having to give up their status and treaty rights. [111]
1965 15 February Canada adopts the maple leaf for the national flag.
1967 27 April Expo 67 opens in Montreal.
1970 5 October The government invokes the War Measures Act to apprehend the Front de libération du Québec (FLQ), a separatist paramilitary group in Quebec that was responsible for over 160 violent incidents that killed eight people and in October 1970 had kidnapped a British official (later released) and Quebec labour minister Pierre Laporte, who they killed. The FLQ collapses. [112]
1973 31 January The Supreme Court of Canada rules in the Calder v British Columbia (AG) case that aboriginal title existed prior to the existence of the colonial government and was not a matter of Canadian law alone. The case recognized Nisga'a Nation aboriginal title. The ruling would lead the Government of Canada to update its land claims negotiation process. [113]
15 November The Quebec Superior Court blocks the James Bay Hydroelectric Project by ruling that the Indigenous peoples of the region had not extinguished their aboriginal title to the lands and that Quebec and Canada must negotiate for such title in order to build the project. The final accord is signed 11 November 1975 by Canada, Quebec, Hydro-Quebec and the Cree of Quebec. The treaty becomes enshrined in the 1982 Canadian Constitution. [114]
1980 20 May A referendum on Quebec independence is held, resulting in a majority (59.56%) of the province voting to remain in Canada. [115]
1981 Workers in British Columbia Telephone take over all of the provinces telephone exchanges for five days and run them under workers' control. [116]
1982 17 April The enactment of the Constitution Act, 1982, by royal proclamation. Canada achieves total independence from Great Britain through Patriation of its Constitution. The Constitution includes the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, guaranteeing individual human rights. The Act also guarantees all treaty rights of Indigenous peoples in Canada. The Government of Quebec refuses to sign the deal and attempts to veto the Act; the Supreme Court of Canada rules that Quebec's assent is not required. [117][118]
1987 3 June The Meech Lake Accord is signed by all ten provincial premiers and Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. The accord is intended to grant further powers to all provinces and grant distinct society status to Quebec, which had opposed the repatriation of the Canadian Constitution. The Accord is not ratified by all provincial parliaments within the required three years, heightening national unity tensions.
1989 1 January The Canada–United States Free Trade Agreement comes into force. Under the agreement, the countries start to reduce or eliminate trade barriers between the two countries. [119]
1990 11 July – 26 September The Oka Crisis occurs as Indigenous Mohawk activists protest the construction of a golf course on a burial ground, barricading roads and the Mercier Bridge. In August, after a series of violent standoffs between protesters and the Sûreté du Québec (SQ, Quebec's provincial police) which led to the death of one officer, Premier Robert Bourassa requests aid from the Canadian Armed Forces. In September, facing military invasion of their community, the protesters surrender and many leaders are arrested. Construction of the golf course is later cancelled. [120]
1992 28 August The Charlottetown Accord, a second attempt to settle constitutional grievances, is agreed to by leaders of all provincial governments and the federal government and Indigenous groups. However, a 26 October national referendum on the accord is defeated. [121]
1994 1 January The North American Free Trade Agreement came into force, creating a free trade zone between Canada, Mexico and the United States, superseding the 1988 Canada-US Agreement. [122]
1995 18 August – 17 September Indigenous Shuswap and non-Indigenous supporters exchange fire with Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers after a British Columbia rancher attempts to evict them from land being used for a traditional ceremony, beginning the Gustafsen Lake standoff. After the largest and costliest paramilitary operation in the province's history, the Ts'peten Defenders surrender to police. [123][124]
4 September Members of an Indigenous Ojibwe band occupy Camp Ipperwash in southwestern Ontario, on land which had been expropriated from the band for a military base during World War II under the War Measures Act, setting off the Ipperwash Crisis. Two days later, unarmed Ojibwe protester Dudley George is shot and killed by an Ontario Provincial Police officer. The land is transferred to the Ojibwe, but agreements to remove ordinance on the site is not reached, leaving the site only partially habitable. [125]
30 October Another referendum on Quebec independence is held. A majority (50.58%) of the province votes to remain in Canada. [126]
1997 11 December The Delgamuukw v British Columbia decision is rendered by the Supreme Court of Canada, determining that aboriginal title had not been distinguished in British Columbia. This ended the decades-long refusal of the BC government to participate in land claims to settle with First Nations, claiming that aboriginal title had been extinguished. [127]
1999 1 April Nunavut is partitioned from the Northwest Territories to become Canada's third territory, following a series of plebiscites in 1982 and 1992, and establishment of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement in 1993. [128]

21st century[edit]

Year Date Event Ref.
2003 7 December The Canadian Alliance and PC Party merged into the Conservative Party of Canada.
2005 20 July The Civil Marriage Act legalizes same-sex marriage throughout Canada. [129]
2008 1 June As part of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is established to document the history and lasting impacts of the Canadian Indian residential school system on Indigenous persons and their families. [130]
11 June In the House of Commons, Prime Minister Harper formally apologizes to the survivors of the Residential School System on behalf of the Government of Canada. [131]
2012 February Students in Quebec protest and stop proposed increases in university tuition. [132]
4 May The Royal Canadian Mint strikes the last Canadian penny. The coin is removed from circulation a few months later, though existing pennies remain legal tender. [133]
2018 17 October The Cannabis Act becomes law, making recreational cannabis use legal throughout the country. Canada is the second country (after Uruguay in 2013) to legalize recreational cannabis use nationwide. [134]
2020 7 January - March Widespread popular protests occur across Canada after the RCMP forcibly remove a peaceful protest blocking a pipeline construction project in British Columbia. The protests block several rail lines, forcing the shutdown of much of the Canadian rail network. [135]
2020 25 January First presumptive case of COVID-19 is identified; a man who travelled in China. The COVID-19 pandemic spreads widely in Canada. [136]
2022 January - February Right-wing protesters protesting vaccine mandates converge in Ottawa, overwhelming local police forces and disrupting residents in an occupation of downtown. After several weeks, the Canada convoy protest group is cleared after the Government of Canada invokes the Emergencies Act. Several police forces participate in a joint effort that forcibly removes the group.[137] Similar groups block Canada-US border crossings in Windsor, Ontario and Coutts, Alberta for days before also being cleared forcibly by police. [138]
2022 24 February - ongoing After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Canada promises $1 billion in aid to Ukraine.[139] Canada assists in training Ukrainian soldiers in third locations. Canada accepts thousands of Ukrainians fleeing the fighting. [140]
2022 24 to 29 July Pope Francis visits Canada to apologize for the Catholic Church's role in the Canadian Indian residential school system. Services were held in Alberta, Quebec City and Iqaluit. [141]
2022 8 September Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning Canadian monarch in history, dies aged 96, after a reign of 70 years. [142]

See also[edit]


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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]