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.
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.
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.
Bar U Ranch, officially known as the North West Cattle Company, was founded in 1882 in the southern foothills of the Rocky Mountains, in what would become the province of Alberta. Nicknamed “Bar U” after the shape of its cattle brand, the ranch was one of the largest of the ranches dominating the prairies in the late 1800s. In the early 1990s, Parks Canada bought Bar U with the aim of turning it into a public place commemorating Canada’s ranching history. The Bar U Ranch National Historic Site opened in July 1995.
Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site, near Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, commemorates a series of fur-trade posts built between 1799 and 1864 by the North West Co and the Hudson's Bay Co (HBC) near the junction of the North Saskatchewan and Clearwater rivers.
In 1848-49 Bellevue was leased to John A. MacDonald, then a member of the Legislative Assembly and receiver general for the Province of Canada. Bellevue was purchased by Parks Canada in 1964 and is now operated as a national historic park. It has been restored to the late 1840s period.
The Battle of Queenston Heights National Historic Site commemorates a battle fought on 13 October 1812, when the British army and Canadian militia, assisted by First Nations allies, defeated an invading American army on the Niagara Escarpment overlooking the village of Queenston.
The Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada designated the battleground at Cook's Mills as a national historic site in 1921. Two years later, a plaque summarizing the story of the skirmish was mounted on a stone cairn on the field of action.
In 1976, the cairn was moved to the newly created Battle of Beaverdams Park in Thorold. Also moved to the park was a stone monument, erected in 1874, marking the grave of 16 American soldiers found during the construction of the third Welland Canal.