Canadian members of the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) on the border between Egypt and Israel, 1962

In the aftermath of the Suez Canal crisis, Canada and nine other countries contributed a total of 6000 men to the first United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF). This directive set the precedent for Canada’s ongoing involvement with United Nations peace-keeping missions around the world.

Royal Ontario Museum
Dept of National Defence, Library and Archives Canada, PA-122737

1975-070 NPC or PA-122737
© Dept of National Defence, Library and Archives Canada. All Rights Reserved.


By the end of the Second World War,  a large part of Europe was in ruins, with 62 million people dead.

Nuclear bombs had been dropped for the first time, on two cities in Japan, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, destroying them. The race for a new kind of weapon with the ability to destroy an entire continent and even the world had begun.

The United States of America and the Soviet Union emerged as two super-powers.  Both of them held the keys that controlled these nuclear weapons of mass destruction.

This was the beginning of the Cold War era.

It was also the start of Canada’s peacekeeping efforts.  Through the United Nations, Canada played a significant role in promoting peace and workable compromises in world affairs.  During the Suez Canal crisis of 1956, Canada initiated the first international peacekeeping mission, which defused a volatile situation.

Here at home, Newfoundland and Labrador joined Confederation and became the tenth province.

After the Second World War, Canada encouraged new patterns of immigration. Our country accepted many displaced persons and refugees for humanitarian r Read More
By the end of the Second World War,  a large part of Europe was in ruins, with 62 million people dead.

Nuclear bombs had been dropped for the first time, on two cities in Japan, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, destroying them. The race for a new kind of weapon with the ability to destroy an entire continent and even the world had begun.

The United States of America and the Soviet Union emerged as two super-powers.  Both of them held the keys that controlled these nuclear weapons of mass destruction.

This was the beginning of the Cold War era.

It was also the start of Canada’s peacekeeping efforts.  Through the United Nations, Canada played a significant role in promoting peace and workable compromises in world affairs.  During the Suez Canal crisis of 1956, Canada initiated the first international peacekeeping mission, which defused a volatile situation.

Here at home, Newfoundland and Labrador joined Confederation and became the tenth province.

After the Second World War, Canada encouraged new patterns of immigration. Our country accepted many displaced persons and refugees for humanitarian reasons.  Up to 65,000 war brides and other Europeans, many of them Italians, also made this land their home.  They settled in urban areas and helped to expand a growing industrial sector.

First Peoples also tried to improve their situation but the Indian Act posed a key obstacle. Even though many returned to Canada as war heroes, they would have to wait another 15 years before being given the right to vote in federal elections.

During this era in Quebec, immigration more than doubled. There was a climate of change, which enabled people to question and reject certain institutions and values.  Making a break from the past, the province went through a process of change that was nothing short of a Revolution, albeit a quiet one.
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© 2006, Royal Ontario Museum. All Rights Reserved.

People commemorate Louis Riel Day in front of Queen's Park in Toronto

Louis Riel Day, Toronto, 2005. This Day, 16 November, commemorates a famous Métis and Canadian leader. In 1869-1870 Louis Riel helped his people form a government in what is now southern Manitoba. This was done as a result of the frustration at the lack of action from the Canadian Government and in response to the transfer of Rupert’s Land from Hudson’s Bay Company. Riel established a provisional government to fill a governance void and to protect the rights of the people who occupied the lands. However good and well intentioned the Provisional Government was, it was seen as a revolution by the Government of Canada. For his part in the creation of the Provisional Government and its actions Riel was branded a traitor. A Canadian military expedition was dispatched and Riel learned that a number of the soldiers meant to lynch him. With a bounty on his head, he fled and was banished to the U.S. for five years. Nevertheless, the actions of Riel and the Metis resulted in many of their “List of Rights” being included in the Manitoba Act. Following the Red River Rebellion, large numbers of Métis traveled west and settled in the Saskatchewan Valley. In 1885 Riel was asked to return to Canada to present Métis grievances to the Canadian Government. Once again with the influx of settlers and immigrants, Metis rights were no longer being respected, their lands were being taken and the government was not listening. Their patience was exhausted and Riel led a rebellion against the Canadian authorities. The resulting military confrontation, the North West Rebellion, was complicated by political and economic factors as well as cultural and social issues. The Métis were vastly out-numbered and after fierce fighting the resistance ended. Louis Riel escaped and only after ensuring the safety of his family and freedom for his people, he surrendered. In spite of a controversial decision by the court, he was found guilty of high treason and hanged on November 16th 1885. Louis Riel was the founder of the Province of Manitoba and a defender of Metis rights. Riel remains one of the most complicated, elusive and controversial figures in Canadian history.

Courtesy of Scott Carpenter, Métis Nation of Ontario

© Scott Carpenter, Métis Nation of Ontario. All Rights Reserved.


Historic Métis culture dates back to the 1600s.  Of almost one million people who identified themselves as aboriginal in the 2001 census, about 30% (293,000) reported that they were Métis.

It was both timely and appropriate to examine the Métis during Canada’s Centennial in 1967.  The Centennial was the celebration of Canada’s first century as a county.

In terms of firsts, Métis people believe that they are arguably the first true Canadians.  They evolved here on the land as a result of European settlement and the fur trade.

Métis history evolved with the history of Canada.

The Métis Nation is a unique aboriginal people with its own culture and with deep roots in this country.  The paternal ancestors of the Métis were French voyageurs, former employees of the Hudson's Bay Company and the Northwest Fur Company. Their maternal ancestors were Aboriginal women from various nations.

In many ways, the Métis people are the earliest ex Read More
Historic Métis culture dates back to the 1600s.  Of almost one million people who identified themselves as aboriginal in the 2001 census, about 30% (293,000) reported that they were Métis.

It was both timely and appropriate to examine the Métis during Canada’s Centennial in 1967.  The Centennial was the celebration of Canada’s first century as a county.

In terms of firsts, Métis people believe that they are arguably the first true Canadians.  They evolved here on the land as a result of European settlement and the fur trade.

Métis history evolved with the history of Canada.

The Métis Nation is a unique aboriginal people with its own culture and with deep roots in this country.  The paternal ancestors of the Métis were French voyageurs, former employees of the Hudson's Bay Company and the Northwest Fur Company. Their maternal ancestors were Aboriginal women from various nations.

In many ways, the Métis people are the earliest example of multiculturalism. 

In the late 1960s Canada began to embrace multiculturalism.  It is appropriate to look more closely at  Métis culture, which symbolizes and embodies this idea.
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© 2006, Royal Ontario Museum. All Rights Reserved.

Embroidered Métis panel bag, used for carrying personal medicines, tobacco, and flint and steel for making fire.

Panel bags were used for carrying personal medicines, tobacco, and flint and steel for making fire. After the introduction of the gun, panel bags were also used to carry shot. This Métis panel bag was collected in 1846 by the Toronto-based artist Paul Kane. It is believed that he acquired the bag from the Métis in the Red River region in what is now southern Manitoba.

Historical Advisor: Scott Carpenter, Métis Nation of Ontario
Acquired in memory of Arthur C. "Tony" Allan. This acquisition was made possible with the generous support of the Louise Hawley Stone Charitable Trust and the Friends of the Canadian Collections.

2006.13.1
© 2006, Royal Ontario Museum. All Rights Reserved.


These bags were used for carrying personal medicines, tobacco, and flint and steel for making fire.  After the introduction of the gun, panel bags were also used to carry ammunition.

It is made of glass beads, porcupine quills, sinew thread (which is very strong), and loom-woven cloth.  The cloth and beads would have been imported from Europe.  The porcupine quills and sinew thread would have been part of the local material culture.

This artifact represents the essential character of Métis culture – it combines elements from both First Nations and European-based cultures. The panel bag is a perfect marriage – everything is woven tightly together, becoming almost inseparable. It reminds us that the maternal ancestors of the Métis were Aboriginal women from various First Nations and that their paternal ancestors were French-speaking voyageurs (fur-traders).

It is for this reason that the Métis people are sometimes considered to be the earliest example of multiculturalism in Canada. This artifact symbolizes and embodies the idea of multiculturalism.

The bag also reflects the mobility of the Read More
These bags were used for carrying personal medicines, tobacco, and flint and steel for making fire.  After the introduction of the gun, panel bags were also used to carry ammunition.

It is made of glass beads, porcupine quills, sinew thread (which is very strong), and loom-woven cloth.  The cloth and beads would have been imported from Europe.  The porcupine quills and sinew thread would have been part of the local material culture.

This artifact represents the essential character of Métis culture – it combines elements from both First Nations and European-based cultures. The panel bag is a perfect marriage – everything is woven tightly together, becoming almost inseparable. It reminds us that the maternal ancestors of the Métis were Aboriginal women from various First Nations and that their paternal ancestors were French-speaking voyageurs (fur-traders).

It is for this reason that the Métis people are sometimes considered to be the earliest example of multiculturalism in Canada. This artifact symbolizes and embodies the idea of multiculturalism.

The bag also reflects the mobility of the Métis, which they still practise today. More than one-fifth of the Métis population have more than one residence.

Canadians often think of Louis Riel when the Métis are mentioned, but the Métis culture flourished long before the era of Riel, the middle and late 19th century.
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© 2006, Royal Ontario Museum. All Rights Reserved.

Louis Riel's great grand niece Jean Teillet, speaking about Métis culture.

Jean Teillet is a constitutional lawyer. She specializes in Aboriginal rights litigation and negotiations, with a particular emphasis on Métis rights. She is also a founding member of the Métis Nation of Ontario. She spoke to us about Métis culture.

It's an old culture. It's the first new North American culture. Like it is an indigenous culture to North America. So that's what I think is the take home point is that this is a culture it's not about blood quantum.

We have this idea that the Métis people either all died with Riel or that they all died when the fur trade disappeared and nothing could be further than the truth. People didn't go anywhere. They are still here. It's 2006, it's the beginning of the 21st century and the Métis people are still here. We only hanged one man. We didn't hang them all. It wasn't a massive holocaust  where we wiped them out. You know we didn't play, we did play in Canada a little bit of cowboys and Indians but not as much as they did in the United States. But our aboriginal people are here and we're not going anywhere.

Royal Ontario Museum
Jean Teillet

© 2006, Royal Ontario Museum. All Rights Reserved.


Louis Riel's great grand niece Jean Teillet, speaking about Métis culture.

It's an old culture. It's the first new North American culture. Like it is an indigenous culture to North America. So that's what I think is the take home point is that this is a culture it's not about blood quantum.

We have this idea that the Métis people either all died with Riel or that they all died when the fur trade disappeared and nothing could be further than the truth. People didn't go anywhere. They are still here. It's 2006, it's the beginning of the 21st century and the Métis people are still here. We only hanged one man. We didn't hang them all. It wasn't a massive holocaust where we wiped them out. You know we didn't play, we did play in Canada a little bit of cowboys and Indians but not as much as they did in the United States. But our aboriginal people are here and we're not going anywhere.

Royal Ontario Museum
Jean Teillet

© 2007, Royal Ontario Museum. All Rights Reserved.


Aerial view of Daniel Johnson Dam, Quebec

This multiple-arch-and-buttress dam is the largest of its kind in the world. Inaugurated in 1969, it was named after Quebec's Premier at the time, Daniel Johnson. Its reservoir is four times the size of the Island of Montreal. In 2000, Canada Post issued a stamp in honour of this structure. Hydro-Québec's successes soon made it a symbol of the Quiet Revolution and earned it an international reputation. Facts about Daniel Johnson Dam: Its construction spread over a 10-year period. It required 2.2 million cubic metres of concrete. That’s the equivalent of a regular sidewalk linking the north and south poles. The reservoir's surface area is 1,973 square kilometres. The dam’s height is 214 m and the length of its crest is 1.3 km.

Hydro-Québec
Courtesy of Caroline Cholette, Hydro-Québec Archives

Hydro-Québec Archives 68-3873 or 68-5377
© Hydro-Québec Archives. All Rights Reserved.


This platter is a holding tray, part of a set of dishes.  It was made for the Saint-Jean Baptiste Society in Quebec.

This platter is a holding tray, part of a set of dishes. It was made for the Saint-Jean Baptiste Society in Quebec. The images of the beaver and the maple leaf are transfer-printed (not hand-painted). Both of these images were emblems or symbols of the French-Canadian nation. Near the lower edge of the platter we see the following words: 'NOS INSTITUTIONS, NOTRE LANGUE ET NOS LOIS' (Our Institutions, Our Language and Our Laws). This was one of the mottos of the Saint-Jean Baptiste Society. The platter was made in the U.K. for export, by Edward Walley, a manufacturer of earthenware at Cobridge, England, whose company operated from 1845 to 1865.

Royal Ontario Museum
Gift of the Sigmund Samuel Endowment Fund
1865
963.152.H
© 2006, Royal Ontario Museum. All Rights Reserved.


This platter is a holding tray, part of a set of dishes.  It was made for the Saint-Jean Baptiste Society in Quebec.

This platter is a holding tray, part of a set of dishes. It was made for the Saint-Jean Baptiste Society in Quebec. The images of the beaver and the maple leaf are transfer-printed (not hand-painted). Both of these images were emblems or symbols of the French-Canadian nation. Near the lower edge of the platter we see the following words: 'NOS INSTITUTIONS, NOTRE LANGUE ET NOS LOIS' (Our Institutions, Our Language and Our Laws). This was one of the mottos of the Saint-Jean Baptiste Society. The platter was made in the U.K. for export, by Edward Walley, a manufacturer of earthenware at Cobridge, England, whose company operated from 1845 to 1865.

Royal Ontario Museum
Gift of the Sigmund Samuel Endowment Fund
1865
© 2006, Royal Ontario Museum. All Rights Reserved.


This is an insulator, made of a non-conducting material like glass or porcelain.

This is an insulator, made of a non-conducting material like glass or porcelain. It sits on an electrical pole or pylon and holds an electric wire in place. The need for insulators arose out of the need to transmit electrical power from one place to another. This artifact is actually a symbol of the Quiet Revolution and it embodies the changes that took place in Quebec during this time period, particularly in the 1960s. The creation and expansion of Hydro-Québec, the provincially-owned electrical utility, was considered a major step toward Quebec’s goal of achieving some degree of control over its future.

Royal Ontario Museum
Historical Advisor: Caroline Cholette, Centre d'archives d'Hydro-Québec
20th Century
© 2006, Royal Ontario Museum. All Rights Reserved.


Both the platter and the insulator can help us understand the changes that took place in Quebec during the 1960s – the years most associated with the Quiet Revolution.

The pattern on this platter has the emblems and motto of the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Society. The Saint-Jean-Baptiste Society is a patriotic institution in Quebec. It was founded on 8 March 1834. The Society was established to support the French-Canadian people within Canada and to preserve the French language and francophone culture.

On the bottom of the platter we see the following words: ‘NOS INSTITUTIONS, NOTRE LANGUE ET NOS LOIS’ (Our Institutions, Our Language and Our Laws). These words or ideas were also known as the Three Pillars of Survival. The Three Pillars of Survival defined the distinctiveness of Quebec in the North American context. As long as French Canadians would stay faithful to these three elements of their heritage, they would continue to exist as a separate entity.

However, when the Three Pillars of Survival were first expressed, they were: ‘Notre Foi, Notre Langue, Nos Institutions’ (Our Faith, Our Language, Our Institutions). If you Read More
Both the platter and the insulator can help us understand the changes that took place in Quebec during the 1960s – the years most associated with the Quiet Revolution.

The pattern on this platter has the emblems and motto of the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Society. The Saint-Jean-Baptiste Society is a patriotic institution in Quebec. It was founded on 8 March 1834. The Society was established to support the French-Canadian people within Canada and to preserve the French language and francophone culture.

On the bottom of the platter we see the following words: ‘NOS INSTITUTIONS, NOTRE LANGUE ET NOS LOIS’ (Our Institutions, Our Language and Our Laws). These words or ideas were also known as the Three Pillars of Survival. The Three Pillars of Survival defined the distinctiveness of Quebec in the North American context. As long as French Canadians would stay faithful to these three elements of their heritage, they would continue to exist as a separate entity.

However, when the Three Pillars of Survival were first expressed, they were: ‘Notre Foi, Notre Langue, Nos Institutions’ (Our Faith, Our Language, Our Institutions). If you look at the platter, you will see that ‘Notre Foi’ (Our Faith) has been replaced by ‘Nos Lois’ (Our Laws). This is not a printing error. In order to understand why there is a difference on the platter, we need to look at the Quiet Revolution.

Slogans during the Quiet Revolution:
• ‘Il Faut Que Ça Change’: Things Have to Change
• ‘Maîtres Chez Nous’: Masters of Our Own House

The slogan or motto stating that ‘Things Have to Change’ explains why we see the difference between the words on the platter and the original three Pillars of Survival. We can also see that the roots of the Quiet Revolution go back to the mid 19th century, when this platter was made. But it took a long time for these roots to really take hold.

During the Quiet Revolution there was a move away from certain institutions and ideas that previously held a lot of power in Quebec, such as the Catholic Church. There was a push to protect the French language and to involve francophones much more in the economy of the province, where anglophones had previously had a lot of influence.

This platter represents an early example of this move away from the Catholic Church or from religion in general. It shows that, instead, the leaders of Quebec society were beginning to focus their attention on protecting Quebec's civil law.

The Quebec Act of 1774 reinstated French colonial civil law, while maintaining British criminal law. Since the mid 19th century, Quebec’s civil law has been based on the French civil code, which was established during the Napoleonic period (early 1800s). The civil law of the English-speaking provinces of Canada is based on ‘Common Law’, which came from England. Common Law tends to be the civil law of those countries of the world that have a history as British territories or colonies.

Therefore one of the key factors that the people of Quebec wanted to protect and maintain was not so much their religious difference from the English-speakers around them, who were more Protestant than Catholic, but their difference from English-speaking Canadians in their civil law.

For the second slogan of the Quiet Revolution, ‘Maîtres Chez Nous’ or Masters of Our Own House, we need to look at the insulator. For years, the language of business and industry in Quebec was English because most of the natural resources were owned by private companies, most of which were controlled by English-speaking Canadians and Americans.

In a bold and strategic move the government of Quebec amalgamated and nationalized the companies that owned and operated the electrical utilities of Quebec. By doing this, the people of Quebec moved toward fulfilling the goal of becoming Masters of Their Own House. Hydro-Québec's successes soon earned it an international reputation and made it a symbol of the Quiet Revolution.
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© 2006, Royal Ontario Museum. All Rights Reserved.

Examining what the Canadian Flag and the maple leaf represent.

David Crombie speaking about the Canadian Flag. He served as Mayor of Toronto from 1972 to 1978 and as Member of Parliament from 1978 to 1988, during which time he served in three different federal Cabinet posts - Minister of Health and Welfare, Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs and Secretary of State. In 2005, David Crombie became an Officer of the Order of Canada. The official ceremony inaugurating the new Canadian flag was held on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on February 15, 1965.

Most flags are about the history or the culture or the ideology or all three of the place that it represents, go down any… We are a single maple leaf that is extraordinary, a very unusual symbol. What it tells us is that while history may be unclear to us, our connection with nature is very strong, very, very strong. Not in everybody and not all the time but it is deep and it can be evoked easily.

Royal Ontario Museum
Hon David Crombie: President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Urban Institute (CUI)

© 2006, Royal Ontario Museum. All Rights Reserved.


Examining what the Canadian Flag and the maple leaf represent.

Most flags are about the history or the culture or the ideology or all three of the place that it represents, go down any… We are a single maple leaf that is extraordinary, a very unusual symbol. What it tells us is that while history may be unclear to us, our connection with nature is very strong, very, very strong. Not in everybody and not all the time but it is deep and it can be evoked easily.

Royal Ontario Museum
Hon David Crombie: President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Urban Institute (CUI)

© 2007, Royal Ontario Museum. All Rights Reserved.


Learning Objectives

  • Analyzes the development of French-English relations in Canada.
  • Investigates the characteristics of the French presence in Canada and its contributions to Canadian history.
  • Evaluates the extent to which Canada has been transformed into a pluralistic society.
  • Analyzes the development of citizenship in Canada and what it means to be Canadian.
  • Demonstrates an understanding of the historical context that underlies the current relationship between the Métis, First Peoples and the government of Canada.

Learning Activity: Métis panel bag

The Métis people are an early example of cultures melding together to create a new identity, rich in both traditions. But this vibrant community has struggled with its unique identity. Since they are neither First Nations, nor Inuit, nor non-Aboriginal, the relationship of the Métis with the Canadian government has been unclear and often troublesome. Compare and contrast the status of the Métis with that of First Nations and Inuit groups under The Indian Act.


Learning Activity: Platter & Insulator

The Quiet Revolution was an example of an internal shift in identity – it was powered by internal, rather than external forces. Nevertheless, it had a tremendous impact both within Quebec and across all of Canada. With the passing of The Official Languages Act in 1969, Parliament established bilingualism as an important priority across the country.

Although the Quebecois were the largest and most vocal francophone community, there were, and continue to be, francophone communities across Canada. Since the time of the Quiet Revolution, each of these has developed its own unique identity – an identity within an identity – based on regional history and concerns. These communities include:
  • Acadians
  • Franco-Ontarians
  • Francophones in the West
  • Francophones in the North
Choose one of these communities. Outline briefly its history and identify three features that make its francophone identity unique.







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