Canada's Defining Moments

Canada's Past to Present

Canada's involvement in history, facing many challenges but with being rewarded by great victory which we all learn about and praise today. Our involvement has built Canada and we are still being positively affected by the events today. Canada has shown courage and strength through the hardest times. The following events which I will be talking about will show these characteristics being the Battle of Vimy Ridge, the Stock Market Crash leading to the great depression, Multiculturalism Act, and the North America Free Trade Agreement.

The Battle of Vimy Ridge - 1917

Canada has fought many battles through WWI and WWII and all were significant to us in different ways, but one battle which is interesting and stood out to me is the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

Canadians Take the Victory!

The battle of Vimy Ridge began at 5:30 on April 9, 1917 (Easter Monday) to April 12,1917. Bloody Easter they called it, the day the battle started. We see the four divisions of the Canadian Crops working together for the first time and defeating the Germans and taking over Vimy Ridge. Over 100,000 Canadian soldiers fought in this battle and many didn't make it back home. When I was learning about this battle in class, I asked myself what is Vimy Ridge? Well Vimy Ridge is a long cliff/hill, located in Northern France (about 175 km north of Paris).

Creeping Barrage - The Plan

This battle was greatly planned, using a new way of fighting at that time. The plan was being discussed as early of November 1916 and as discussion started Canadians started to make their way toward Vimy Ridge. This great plan was to continue to fire even as the Canadian soldiers left their trenches. They wanted to hurl shells ahead of advancing soldiers, so that the Germans were forced to stay back, letting the Canadians get closer to them. The plan was formally called creeping barrage.

Victory for Canadians!

On April 9, 1917, 40,000 Canadian soldiers left their trenches and the attack has begun. The artillery (shells, bombs) fired just in front of the Canadian troops (was timed to a minute) as they made their way towards the Germans. It took two days of firing until the Germans retreated from the ridge, letting the Canadian's take the victory.
"The Battle of Vimy Ridge remains one of the most powerful moments in our military history, a victory for Canada on the world stage, though with much sacrifice. While Canadians mourn the loss of so many lives, we take pride in the valour of those who fought at Vimy Ridge in the name of peace, security, and freedom." ~ The Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs

Why is this a defining moment for Canada?

The battle of Vimy Ridge is a defining moment for Canada because it showed that Canadians were powerful, they showed the Germans they were not weak and were ready to fight back with all their force. It gave Canadians hope that we would take the Victory for the first World War. Also this was a really interesting battle because of the plan the Canadians were executing.

Vimy Ridge Memorial

The Vimy Ridge memorial is located in France. This memorial was made to dedicate the soldiers who fought in the battle. It took 11 years to make and was unveiled on July 26, 1936.

Visual of the Battle

The Battle of Vimy Ridge

Stock Market Crash - 1929

Economic Boom!

After the first world war which ended in 1918, Canada's economy didn't jump back right into shape. Canada had to pay $164 million per year to pay off their debt from the war. Many soldiers came home to no job, many factories shut down, mostly being because they produced war equipment which was not need at the time. Also European countries were not buying Canadian products because they had no money. Slowly as years went by, by the mid decade (1920's) the economy started to turn around in Canada. Wheat prices started to rise, helping farmers. The pulp and paper industry started to rise and became the 2nd largest industry in Canada after agriculture. Hydroelectric power production had started in Ontario and Quebec, giving Canada a great new invention. Oil was discovered in Alberta in 1924, helping create a economic boom for the province! Along with all of this the United States began to invest money in Canadian industries and the U.S have loans to European industries which lead them to buy Canadian products again. Overall these discoveries, new inventions, rise in prices helped bring Canada's economy back up, bringing more jobs to the unemployed and something new for everyone to discover with new inventions.

New Inventions!

1929 “It came with a speed and ferocity that left men dazed. The bottom, simply fell out of the market..... The streets were crammed with a mixed crowd — agonized little speculators,... sold-out traders,... inquisitive individuals and tourists seeking ... a closer view of the national catastrophe..... Where was it going to end?” ~ Account of the stock market crash in the New York Times.

From Good to Bad...

As the economy started to rise up, people finally had enough money to spend on themselves and not just necessitates. People were getting rich overnight by 'playing' the stock market. People could now afford to buy the new modern conveniences like the automobile, radio and get electricity to run new appliances. But for the people who were not as rich, they started to buy on credit, which was much more common in the 1920's. With all this buying on credit and not paying for the products at the time and also buying on margin, the money was just not adding up and balancing and everything just crashed. The stocks had started to fall from about October 4, 1929 and from then on it got worse and worse. The morning of October 24, 1929 also known as "Black Thursday" was the day when stock prices started to collapse. But on October 29, 1929 also known as "Black Tuesday" was the worst day in the drop of stocks. Everyone was blown away and didn't know how to feel and what to think of the situation.

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Why is this a defining moment for Canada?

The economic boom to the stock market crash was a huge event in the 1920s and 30s and this event caused the great depression. The great depression was a really tough time for Canadians where food, money, jobs and other necessities were hard to obtain. People were living happily one day and the next day they didn't even have homes. It left a big impact on history and left people shocked then and today when we are learning about it.
Here is a video showing the causes and effects of the crash, some of the information relates to America as the U.S stock market crashed at that time.
The Stock Market Crash of 1929 - Causes and Effects

Trudeau Era - Multiculturalism 1971

Coming Together!

Pierre Trudeau was the person who introduced the Multiculturalism Policy in Canada. This policy was a celebration of racial, religious, and cultural backgrounds, bringing people together. This was the first policy of its kind in the world and it brought many changes toward Canada's culture and reputation. This type of act was being implemented in America as well, but Canada was the first to act upon it. As this was great for Canada back then, it is affecting us positively today. On October 8, 1971, Pierre Trudeau introduced the Multiculturalism Policy in the House of Commons (Parliament). Canada now had a more open immigration policy, letting people from all over the world to come to Canada, which were known as immigrants. The policy in general recognized Canada's multicultural heritage and that heritage must be protected, the rights of aboriginals, English and French remain the two official languages written and spoken however other languages can be used, social equality, and minority rights to enjoy to other cultures.

Pierre Trudeau's Personality

Pierre Trudeau was a really famous Canadian politician and prime minister later. He was known of dating celebrates and being "silly" at times. He once slid down the banister at the parliament building, it's not like he did something bad, but usually people working in the government are very classy and professional. He was always positive and a open person, he brought a positive 'vibe' to Canada. It is good to know that a Pierre Trudeau brought the multiculturalism act to Canada.
Canada will be a strong country when Canadians of all provinces feel at home in all parts of the country, and when they feel that all Canada belongs to them. ~ Pierre Trudeau

Quick Video on Multiculturalism - Quick Details

Multiculturalism in Canada

Cultural Diversity

After World War II, people were left with no homes, in different places and sometimes they did not want to be in their national country depending on their political reasons such as, weak government. So many immigrants came to Canada for a fresh start and a safe place to live. This gave Canada a huge population increase which is still continuing to this day. At the time when this policy was new, not all provinces in Canada had enacted it. Some provinces looked at how people were feeling about it and slowly in other provinces to see if it was doing well. All the provinces recognized the general terms of the policy but they also added their likes and beliefs ( - this link will take you to the outline of the policy in different provinces).

Why is this a defining moment for Canada?

Multiculturalism has impacted Canada positively in many ways and gives Canada a great reputation. Canadians had a more diverse society, people from all over the world were able to practice and have their traditions in Canada which was never seen until 1971. People got to wear their cultural costumes, celebrate by festivals, and eat their cultural food. People were encouraged to retain their unique backgrounds while embracing Canadian values. Also the two main languages in Canada were English and French and after other cultures immigrating, other languages (Punjabi, Arabic, Hindi, etc) were seen more. Today we can see Canada's diversity on the chart located on the left, bringing productivity, creativity, and innovation. With different types of people, we are able to see situations differently and learn more from different perspectives, giving Canada a particular character.
Pictures on the documents

On this page you will see pictures of documents on the Multiculturalism Policy. *Pictures are near the ending of the page*

“I have a multicultural back ground, so I tend to have an open mind about things, and I find other cultures interesting” ~ Viggo Mortensen

Opinions on Multiculturalism!

In this video, you can see peoples opinion on multiculturalism. They talk about how they feel about it and how it has affected them and Canada. It also shows how Canada is seen today by others in different countries.
Canadian Citizenship, Cultural Diversity and Multiculturalism

North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) - 1994

Canada, US and Mexico!

On January 1, 1994 was the day Canada, U.S and Mexico signed an agreement to trade between each other without tariffs, custom duties, and other trade barriers. This was the largest free trade region in the world. As the three countries would benefit from economic growth by exporting, this was also helping to raise the standards of living for the three countries. The three countries strengthened their rules of trading , procedures, and investment to create a solid foundation for businesses and prosperity to Canada. The NAFTA has set a great example of trade agreements to the rest of the world. As this agreement came into effect there was increase in trade and production, resulting in more jobs in all countries. As Canada and the US were developed countries and Mexico was not, there was a environmental issue. For this agreement to not cause any environmental issues, a law had to be enacted to protect the environmental impact of transporting the goods from country to country. This would increase the pressure on governments update their equipment and mechanisms. Also NAFTA secured intellectual-property rights. The three countries would protect against industrial theft, inventions, and ideas. This will help business not lose their sales.

Is NAFTA a success story or damaging policy?

Here is very interesting video debating if NAFTA is a success or a damaging policy. You will obtain some cool facts and hear opinions on NATFA!
Is NAFTA a success story or damaging policy?

NAFTA At A Glance

Here is a chart showing some facts about the NAFTA and how it has effected the three countries. More cool facts can be found at

Why is this a defining moment for Canada?

The North America Free Trade Agreement was not only bringing three countries together, it was also bring economic growth to Canada and this is why the NAFTA is something which Canada is noble to be part of today. When this policy went into effect, many feared that industries in Canada would suffer in sales and material for example the furniture industry but instead grew. In 2008, Canada's exports to the US and Mexico were at $381.1 billion in this one year alone. One of the biggest effects of NAFTA were between Canada and US which boosted agricultural flows. Investment was a big part in this agreement as well. At the end of 2014, Canada invested $363.0 billion in the NAFTA partners. Canada and the US has one of the largest investment relationships. With this agreement Canada along with US and Mexico were able to maximize their capabilities, making their economy more innovative and competitive. Now this agreement was not all about trading, it was about coming together and making things together, creating a unique relationship between the three countries.
NAFTA recognizes the reality of today's economy - globalization and technology. Our future is not in competing at the low-level wage job; it is in creating high-wage, new technology jobs based on our skills and our productivity. ~ John F. Kerry

To Conclude

Canada has displayed courage, intelligence, and faith when they faced hard times. In the battle of Vimy Ridge Canada showed great planning skills and offensiveness skills before and during the battle. From the planning, underground operations, to the execution of the battle Canada was showing great fighting skills. For the 1920s and 30s, Canada went from good to bad. As everyone was buying on the margin and playing the stock market everything was not balancing out and the stock market crashed and Canada's economy went downhill. This crash led to the great depression which is whole other topic. After this I talked about the post war era or Trudeau era as they call it. Justin Trudeau was improving and adding laws to Canada. One was the Multiculturalism Act, which is something Canada is known for today and something we benefit from. Finally I talked about the NAFTA which is a great example for other countries around the world. It is not just an agreement but it is three countries working together to make things and share them. Throughout these four events/themes we can see Canada went through positive and negative times but never lost hope or courage and made intelligent decisions along the way. Making us Canadians happy to look back and learn about our history!

Ted Talk!

Here is a interesting video talking about Canadian history isn't as boring as you might think it is. Explaining why history is important and how it has shaped Canada. As it is a ted talk, its learning with jokes and laughter, enjoy!
Why Canadian history isn't as boring as you think it is: Chris Turner at TEDxYYC

By: Arjan Cambo


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(n.d.). Retrieved December 17, 2015, from

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(n.d.). Retrieved January 15, 2016, from