Archaeology is a historical science aimed at the discovery and understanding of past human behaviour through the study of material remains. Archaeologists draw the bulk of their information from physical artifacts left at locations where people lived, worked, visited and were buried long ago. The Canadian Encyclopedia features articles on many of the country’s archaeological sites, organized here by the provinces and territories in which they are found.
L’Anse aux Meadows is the site of an 11th-century Norse outpost at the tip of Newfoundland’s Great Northern Peninsula. Arguably the location of Straumfjord of the Vinland sagas, it is believed to be the first European settlement in North America. L’Anse aux Meadows was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1968 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978. Today, it is the site of a popular interpretive centre and ongoing archeological research.
Gastown is a retail and commercial district in Vancouver, British Columbia. It is bounded by Cordova Street and the waterfront between Richards Street and Main Street. The original Gastown settlement formed the nucleus for the City of Vancouver and is now a National Historic Site. Today, Gastown is a popular tourist destination and home to restaurants, gift shops, boutiques, galleries, nightclubs and bars. It is also part of the Downtown Eastside, Vancouver’s lowest-income neighbourhood, and the location of single resident occupancy hotels, social housing and social services.
Stirling, Alberta, incorporated in 1901, population 978 (2016 census), 1,090 (2011 census), area 2.71 km2. The Village of Stirling is located in the County of Warner, approximately 30 km southeast of Lethbridge on Highway 4 and 70 km north of the United States border. Stirling is significant as a national historic site and is Canada’s best-preserved example of a Mormon agricultural village.
Located in Nova Scotia, Port-Royal National Historic Site features a reconstruction of the Port-Royal Habitation, one of the first settlements attempted by the French in North America (1605). Administered by Parks Canada, this historic site offers interpretive activities that convey the French settlers’ challenges in implementing the new colony. Visitors can also learn about the culture of the Mi’kmaq, the area’s first inhabitants of the land.
The 1869–70 uprising in the Red River Colony (also known as the Red River Resistance) was sparked by the transfer of the vast territory of Rupert's Land to the new nation of Canada. The colony of farmers and hunters, many of them Métis, occupied a corner of Rupert's Land and feared for their culture and land rights under Canadian control.2
Montgomery’s Tavern was a focal point in the Rebellion of Upper Canada in 1837. Owner John Montgomery sympathized with the Reform movement but not the actual rebellion. His tavern served as the headquarters for William Lyon Mackenzie — culminating in a skirmish there between local rebels and government militia. The location in Toronto today, at Yonge Street and Montgomery Avenue, is a national historic site.
The Battle of Vimy Ridge, during the First World War, is Canada's most celebrated military victory — an often mythologized symbol of the birth of Canadian national pride and awareness. The four divisions of the Canadian Corps, fighting together for the first time, attacked the ridge from 9 to 12 April, 1917 and captured it from the German army. It was the largest territorial advance of any Allied force to that point in the war – but it would mean little to the outcome of the conflict. More than 10,500 Canadians were killed and wounded in the assault. Today an iconic white memorial atop the ridge honours the 11,285 Canadians killed in France throughout the war who have no known graves.2
Castle Frank was a concession of land in the colonial town of York, purchased by John Graves Simcoe in the name of his son, Francis, in 1793. A log house later built on the site also bore the same name. Today the name Castle Frank is preserved as a street, a brook and a station on Toronto’s transit line.
Notre-Dame Basilica of Montréal is located at the intersection of Notre-Dame Street West and Saint-Sulpice Street in the borough of Ville-Marie in Montréal. This jewel of Québec’s religious heritage was built by the Sulpicians over the years 1824 to 1829, to serve as a parish church. It is one of the oldest examples of Gothic Revival religious architecture in Canada. At the time it was built, it was a daring, innovative edifice on a scale unequalled anywhere else in North America. The architect was James O’Donnell, an Irish immigrant to New York City. Its interior decor, which was overseen by Victor Bourgeau, along with its rich ornamentation, are unique and evoke a true sense of wonder in visitors. The Basilica is also one of the major tourist attractions in the city of Montréal.