Fathers of Confederation
met in London's Westminster Hotel
in 1866 to frame the constitution of Canada, The
British North America Act. The British
Parliament passed the Act early in 1867, and
Queen Victoria gave her assent in March. The Act
was formally proclaimed on July 1, 1867.
first sailed to Canada in 1603, and that year
became one of the first Europeans to see Niagara
Falls. In 1605, he helped found a settlement at
Port Royal. In 1608, he founded Quebec, the first
permanent settlement in Canada.
with Father Jacques Marquette, followed the
Mississippi River to its junction with the
Arkansas River, in 1673.
Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle
led an expedition that, in 1682, succeeded in
following the Mississippi River all the way to
its mouth at the Gulf of Mexico. He then claimed
the entire region drained by the Mississippi
River and its tributaries for France.
Le Moyne, Sieur d'Iberville
spent ten years trying to win Canada for France
before founding the first permanent settlement in
Mississippi and what is now Mobile, Alabama.
was a Jesuit priest who, while exploring the
Canadian wilderness, went to great lengths to
learn the language and customs of the Indians he
was charged with converting. In 1673, he and
Louis Joliet followed the Mississippi River to
its junction with the Arkansas River.
was a well known defense lawyer before being
elected to the Canadian House of Commons in 1940.
He became leader of the Progressive Conservatives
in 1948, and became Prime Minister in 1957. A
dispute with the United States over the placement
of nuclear warheads in Canada led to his defeat
John Alexander Macdonald
was the first Prime Minister of the Dominion of
Canada. During his long public career, Canada
grew from a group of colonies into a
self-governing, united dominion extending across
served as Prime Minister from 1984 to 1993.
During his tenure, the U.S. and Canada signed a
free trade agreement, and the Canadian government
reached an agreement with the Inuit that
ultimately resulted in formation of the Territory
had a diplomatic career that included helping to
establish NATO, helping to end the Korean War,
and being the only Canadian ever to receive the
Nobel Peace Prize. As Prime Minister, he did much
to try and solve the crisis caused by Quebec's
desire for separate recognition from the national
government. He was also responsible for Canada's
now famous Maple Leaf Flag.
On January 1 the law granting the right of
Canadian citizenship to every native-born
Canadian and to all who take out citizenship
papers went into effect.
Visits Canada, in 1957
On October 14, 1957, Queen Elizabeth II became
the first reigning British monarch to open the
Princess Margaret of the United
Kingdom made a month-long visit across Canada,
beginning on July 12 in British Columbia, where
she spent two weeks participating in provincial
On June 18, Queen Elizabeth II and
Prine Philip arrived at St. John's Newfoundland,
to begin a six-week tour of Canada. On
August 1, the Queen approved the appointment of
Major General George Philias Vanier to succeed
retiring Vincent Massey as Governor-General.
During 1960 there were some signs that the
Canadian economy was slipping into a recession.
Canada marked the centennial of its Confederation
with a year-long celebration in 1967. The year
was also marked by the abolition of the death
penalty, unification of all Canadian military
forces under a single Canadian Armed Forces, and
an attempt by French President Charles De Gaulle
to spur the secessionist movement in Quebec.
Canadians voted for change in 1979.