AN EXTREMELY BRIEF HISTORY OF CANADA

Hey there. It's Jonni.

Is Canada 155 years old today? That depends on how you look at it.

It’s been 155 years since Canada formed a Confederation. But what about the hundreds of years of European history? What about the thousands of years of indigenous history? What about the millions of years of natural history?

It's all shaped Canada. And it’s been millions of years in the making. 

Did you know that Canada has some of the oldest rocks on the earth - literally 4 billion years old! And there's proof of living organisms that are also 4 billion years old, making Canada home to the most ancient terrains on earth. 

The First Nations and Inuit people have lived in Canada for at least tens of thousands of years. In fact, an ancient village on Triquet Island off the west coast of BC is believed to be one of the oldest human settlements in North America. With tools, fish hooks, spears, etc. dating back to the Ice Age, this village is calculated as older than Peru's Machu Picchu and even Egypt's pyramids of Giza. (I never knew that, did you?)

In Canada, there are trees older than the historic buildings in the country. The oldest is a larch tree that's almost 2000 years old. And there's a 1,650-year-old cypress and a 1,400-year-old Douglas fir. And at the other end of the country, we have some of the oldest icebergs. In. The. World. 

Of course, when Europeans finally arrived, the tumultuous relationship began. But fast forward to today, and Canada is often seen as one of the most respectful countries in the world with regard to indigenous rights. The willingness to not only confront the severe aspects of our history but to celebrate the longer history of First Nations culture is what makes Canada a developing progressive, humanistic nation. 

So, in celebrating Canada’s 155th birthday, what we're really marking is the anniversary of a stage in government. In fact, many of the provinces weren't even included in the Confederation of 1867. It was just New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Ontario. 

The way I see it, we can recognize the importance of Canada's political age, we can honour the legacy of thousands of years of First Nations culture, AND we can just as easily acknowledge and celebrate the Triquet Island settlement of 14,000 years ago.

Semi-random fact - Did you know that the inspiration for A.A.Milne's 'Winnie the Pooh' was a Canadian black bear from Winnipeg (named Winnie, naturally) who was donated to the London Zoo in 1915? My young heart believes that's a natural history claim-to-fame for Canadians. 

And did you know that 'Oh Canada' became our national theme in 1980? What did we sing before that? 'God Save the Queen'. (I'd forgotten.)

We legalized same-sex marriages in 2005, had our first female prime minister in 1993, and finally gained our full independence from Britain in 1982.

So Happy Birthday, Canada - however you choose to look at it.

 

Love Jonni

Currently obsessed with both the new Obi-wan Kenobi series and Only Murders in the Building. You?

 

 

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