On 17 May 1642, a group of French settlers led by Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve and Jeanne Mance established the missionary colony of Ville-Marie on the Island of Montréal. Today, this modest settlement founded in the middle of the St. Lawrence River is Canada’s second largest city and home to nearly half of the province of Québec’s population. A centre of francophone culture in North America, Montréal also enjoys international renown. Through exhibits, images and articles — as well as several Heritage Minutes about influential Montrealers — this collection celebrates the 375-year heritage and history of this important cultural and economic centre.
Halifax, Nova Scotia, incorporated as a city in 1841, population 403,131 (2016 c), 390,096 (2011 c). Halifax is the capital of Nova Scotia and the largest urban area in Atlantic Canada. On 1 April 1996 Halifax was amalgamated with neighbouring communities to form the Halifax Regional Municipal Government. Halifax Regional Municipality occupies a strategic and central location on the province's east coast and is one of the world's largest harbours. Sometimes called "Warden of the North" for its historic military role, today it is a major regional centre for Atlantic Canada's economy.
St. John's, NL, incorporated as a city in 1921, population 108,860 (2016 c), 106,172 (2011 c). The capital and largest city of Newfoundland and Labrador, the city of St. John's is located on the eastern side of the Avalon Peninsula of southeast Newfoundland. Its landlocked harbour is approached through a long, narrow channel and is protected by the high hills on which the city is built. The origin of the name St. John's is not known, but its use appears on a Portuguese map by Pedro Reinel (1516–20) as "Rio de San Johem" and later, in a 1527 letter by the English seaman John Rut, as the "Haven of St. John's." According to popular folklore, however, the city takes its name from the feast of Saint John the Baptist and the arrival of Italian explorer Giovanni Caboto (John Cabot) on the shores of Newfoundland on 24 June 1497.
Whitehorse, Yukon, incorporated as a city in 1950, population 25,085 (2016 c), 23,276 (2011 c). The City of Whitehorse, the capital of Yukon, is located about 87 km north of the British Columbia border. Communities like Whitehorse, which fall along the Alaska Highway, are often identified by where they sit on this stretch of road. With Dawson Creek, British Columbia at 0 km, Whitehorse is at kilometre 1,476. The city lies mainly on the western side of the Yukon River on a 600 m wide river plain backed by a steep escarpment with a plateau-like summit 60 m above. The Whitehorse landscape is dominated by Canyon Mountain (locally known as Grey Mountain) to the east, Haeckel Hill to the northwest and Golden Horn Mountain to the south. Nestled in a protected valley, Whitehorse enjoys a moderate climate for the North, with warm, dry summers. Long hours of summer daylight (almost 20 hours in June) offset a short growing season and dark winters.
Québec City, Québec, founded in 1608, population 531,902 (2016 c), 516,576 (2011 c). Québec City, the capital of the province of Québec, is located on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River where it meets the Rivière Saint-Charles. Here, the St. Lawrence narrows to a width of just over 1 km, and navigation is made difficult by a group of islands, the largest of which is Île d'Orléans. Cap-Diamant, a promontory with an elevation of 98 m, dominates the site and was used effectively as a fortification, earning Québec City the name "Gibraltar of North America." The name "Québec" is probably derived from an Algonquian word meaning "narrowing of the river."
C.R.A.Z.Y. is the story of a young Montréal man’s coming of age and coming out during the Quiet Revolution, a time of great social change in Québec. Bursting with raw vitality and heartfelt performances, the film became a critical and commercial smash hit. It won 10 Genie Awards and 12 Jutra Awards (now Prix Iris) — including best picture, director, screenplay and actor at both galas — as well as the Golden Reel Award and the Billet d’Or as the year’s top-grossing domestic film in Canada and Québec, respectively. It was named one of the Top 10 Canadian films of all time in a poll conducted by the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in 2015, and one of 150 essential works in Canadian cinema history in a similar poll in 2016.
Yellowknife, NWT, incorporated as a city in 1970, population 19,569 (2016 c), 19,234 (2011 c). The City of Yellowknife is the capital of the Northwest Territories and the territory's only city. It sits on the Canadian Shield, on the north shore of Great Slave Lake, 512 km from the Arctic Circle and approximately 1,513 km north of Edmonton, Alberta. Due to its northerly location, Yellowknife is the Canadian city with the most hours of summer sunshine, averaging 1,030 hours per year. The city and Yellowknife Bay were named after the Yellowknives, a Dene band who lived on the islands of Great Slave's East Arm and travelled as far north as the Arctic coast to obtain copper for knives and other implements. They, in turn, acquired their name from the copper-bladed knives they carried.
Charlottetown, PEI, incorporated as a city in 1855, population 36,094 (2016 c), 34,562 (2011 c). The capital of Prince Edward Island, the City of Charlottetown is also the administrative centre of Queens County and the principal municipality of Canada's smallest province. It is situated on a broad harbour opening into the Northumberland Strait. Three rivers converge there, with the city located on a low-rising point of land between the Hillsborough (East) and North (Yorke) rivers just opposite the harbour's mouth. Suburban development has spread across the Hillsborough to Stratford, and between the North and West (Eliot) rivers at Cornwall. Besides its governmental functions, Charlottetown services a considerable agricultural hinterland and is the focus of Island communications. Its favourable climate, nearby beaches and claim to be the “Birthplace of Confederation” have made it a major tourist centre.
Iqaluit, Nunavut, incorporated as a city in 2001, population 7,740 (2016 c), 6,699 (2011 c). Iqaluit is the capital and largest community in Canada’s newest territory, Nunavut. It is also the territory's only city. Iqaluit is situated at the northeast head of Frobisher Bay, on southern Baffin Island. In an area long used by the Inuit and their ancestors, it is surrounded by hills close to the Sylvia Grinnell River and looks across the bay to the mountains of the Meta Incognita Peninsula.
Ottawa, Ontario, incorporated as a city in 1855, population 934,243 (2016 c), 883,391 (2011 c). The City of Ottawa is the capital of Canada and is located on the Ottawa River on Ontario's eastern boundary with Québec, about 200 km west of Montréal. The name "Ottawa" is thought to derive from an Algonquian-speaking First Nation of the same name, probably from a word meaning "to trade" (see Odawa). Amalgamation, on 1 January 2001, merged "old" Ottawa with 11 area municipalities and the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton to create a “new” city. The amalgamated city encompasses the municipalities of Ottawa, Vanier, Nepean, Kanata, Gloucester and Cumberland; the townships of Rideau, West Carleton, Goulbourn and Osgoode; and the village of Rockcliffe Park.
Guelph, Ontario, incorporated as a city in 1879, population 131,794 (2016 c), 121,688 (2011 c). The City of Guelph, the seat of Wellington County, is located on the Speed River in south central Ontario, 96 km west of Toronto and 28 km east of Kitchener-Waterloo. This industrial and educational centre is set in the heart of a highly productive agricultural region.
St. Catharines, ON, incorporated as a city in 1876, population 133,113 (2016 c), 131,400 (2011 c). The City of St. Catharines is the principal city of the Niagara Region. It lies south of Toronto across Lake Ontario (111 km by the Queen Elizabeth Way), 19 km inland from the international boundary with the United States, along the Niagara River. The city is named after Catharine Hamilton, wife of Robert Hamilton, an influential merchant of Queenston and a landowner with mills on Twelve Mile Creek; the growing community, then known as The Twelve or Shipman's Corners, was renamed in her honour after her death in 1796. After 1876, as the urban area of St. Catharines expanded, it was permitted to annex parts of the surrounding Grantham Township, culminating in 1961 in the complete amalgamation of the township as well as the adjacent towns of Merritton and Port Dalhousie. In 1970, the rural township of Louth to the west was split between St. Catharines and the new town of Lincoln.
Niagara Falls, Ontario, incorporated as a city in 1904, population 88,071 (2016 c), 82,997 (2011 c). The City of Niagara Falls possesses a fame and name that are based on the stunning, world-famous Niagara Falls on the Niagara River. Growth has combined tourism and gambling with railhead developments at this Canadian–US border crossing. In the past the manufacturing industry (including electrochemicals and abrasives) dominated, fuelled by cheap and readily available hydroelectric power.
The twin cities of Kitchener-Waterloo are located in central southwestern Ontario, 105 km southwest of Toronto. Each retains its own political culture within a common historical framework and with similar, but by no means identical, socio-economic developments. Kitchener (originally named Berlin), the larger of the two, was the county seat (1853), judicial and financial centre of Waterloo County from 1853 to 1973. It continues to have a predominant influence in the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, which was formed in 1973 by combining several communities and cities, including Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge.
Hamilton, Ontario, incorporated as a city in 1846, population 536,917 (2016 c), 519,949 (2011 c). The City of Hamilton is situated at the west end of Lake Ontario, on Burlington Bay, 68 km southwest of Toronto, and 66 km west of Niagara Falls and the American border. As part of the reorganization of municipal governments in Ontario, the boundaries of the city were enlarged in 2001 to include much of the surrounding suburban and rural area, including the former towns of Ancaster, Dundas, Flamborough and Stoney Creek, and the former township of Glanbrook. The city is Canada's largest steel producer and a major Great Lakes port.2
Toronto, Ontario, incorporated as a city in 1834, population 2,731,571 (2016 c), 2,615,060 (2011 c). As Ontario's capital city, Toronto has a vibrant history of change and growth, ranging from its early occupation over 1,000 years ago to its current status as North America’s fourth largest city. Toronto is Canada's largest municipality and is made up of the former cities of Toronto, North York, Scarborough, York and Etobicoke, and the former borough of East York. The city is home to a large immigrant population, and is a national and international hub for finance, communications and cultural life.2
Regina, Saskatchewan, founded in 1882, incorporated as a city in 1903, population 215,106 (2016 c), 193,100 (2011 c). The City of Regina is the capital, commercial and financial centre of Saskatchewan. Regina is situated 160 km north of the United States border. The city is set in a wide, level alluvial plain. It was named for Queen Victoria, mother-in-law of the Marquess of Lorne, governor general at the time of the city’s founding.1
Vancouver, British Columbia, incorporated as a city in 1886, population 631,486 (2016c), 603,502 (2011c). Vancouver is the largest city in British Columbia and the third largest census metropolitan area in Canada. The City of Vancouver lies on a peninsula in the southwest corner of the province's mainland. Two surrounding waterways — Burrard Inlet and the Strait of Georgia — provide a sheltered deep-sea port and convenient access to the Pacific Ocean, while the Fraser River offers an easy route to the rich agricultural lands of the Fraser River Lowland and the interior. Railways and highways give easy access to the interior.
Victoria, BC, incorporated as a city in 1862, population 85,792 (2016c), 80,017 (2011c). The capital of British Columbia, the City of Victoria is situated on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, about 100 km south of Vancouver. Occupying a peninsular site, Victoria is bordered by the Juan de Fuca and Haro straits. In addition, the Olympic Mountains lie to the south, the San Juan Islands to the east, and the fjord-like Saanich Inlet and richly forested Malahat Ridge and Sooke Hills to the west. Greater Victoria lies within the Capital Regional District (CRD), a federation comprising the following incorporated areas: the cities of Victoria, Colwood and Langford; the towns of Sidney and View Royal; and the municipalities of Saanich, Oak Bay, Esquimalt, Central Saanich, North Saanich, Sooke, Metchosin and Highlands. The CRD also includes the electoral areas of Juan de Fuca, the Southern Gulf Islands and Saltspring Island.