Canada’s first inhabitants were the natives who crossed from Siberia to Alaska and migrated eastward across the continent. The first Europeans to arrive were Vikings from Scandinavia, who came to the eastern shores of the country approximately one thousand years ago. The explorer John Cabot claimed Newfoundland for the king of England in 1497. In 1534, Jacques Cartier claimed another part of the land for the king of France. The colony was called New France and was filled with missionaries, fur traders and farmers. In 1759, British troops defeated French troops in the battle for control of New France. British North America became the Dominion of Canada on July 1st, 1867, with four provinces joining to form the new union. Over the years, the country grew to include ten provinces and three territories. Canada remains part of the British Commonwealth of nations, and as such is a fulfillment of prophecy (see GENESIS 35:11). The British and French contingents of Canada are both descended from the tribes of Israel (see Christian History of Britain and Christian History of France).
The founders built Canada on the Word of God, as can be seen in many examples. The name “Dominion of Canada”, the motto of Canada, “He shall have dominion from sea to sea” and the phrase on Canada’s coat of arms “A mari usque ad mare” (Latin for: From sea to sea”) are taken from PSALM 72:8.
When, in 1866, the fathers of Confederation were assembled to discuss the terms for uniting the Canadian provinces, Leonard Tilley – premier of New Brunswick – suggested the word “Dominion” from PSALM 72 for the new country. A letter signed by John A. MacDonald – Canada’s first prime minister – explained to Queen Victoria that the name was “a tribute to the principles they earnestly desired to uphold.” The last province to join Canada was Newfoundland whose motto is
Seek ye first the kingdom of God (MATTHEW 6:33).
The church with the most impact in the late 1700’s and 1800’s was the Methodist church. As John Wesley had sparked a revival by his preaching and teaching in Britain, the effects reached out to the far corners of this British Colony. William Black is named here as one out of many itinerant Methodist preachers who, in fair weather and in foul – travelled through the sparsely populated Canada and transformed society. Here is an excerpt from his journal from September 4, 1791(“The Journal of Mr. William Black, in his Visit to Newfoundland.” The Arminian Magazine 15, 1792):
“SUNDAY 4. I preached at CARBONEAR. The people sat with deep attention under the word. Many were much blessed, and silently melted down before the Lord. … An awful sense of the divine presence seemed to pervade every heart. Many were the weeping eyes, the falling tears, affectionate cries, and earnest prayers at the table and afterwards. Such backsliders were reclaimed, and restored to the favour of God again, and mightily filled with joy, as were the believers in general. There was a universal shaking among the people. The cries of the penitents, together with the songs of those who were converted, drowned my voice, so that it could not be heard. I attempted to sing, but still could not be heard. To see the very countenances of the people, was peculiarly moving. While distress and awe were painted on the cheeks, and flared through the eyes of those under conviction, inward joy and rapture sparkled in the eyes, and shone on the countenances of those who were lately brought out of darkness into the marvellous light of grace.”
In 1882 the Salvation Army began their work in London, Ontario, and many were converted from all walks of life. The work began with two young men, Jack Addie and Joe Ludgate, preaching and singing on street corners and market squares. In the early days, the neighbours complained of the marching through the streets with drums, inducing the City Council to forbid the use of drums. Knowing that two-thirds of all converts got saved through open-air meetings, Jack Addie prayed to God for guidance. Then he opened his Bible and read,
“And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the Lord, to deliver thee” (JEREMIAH 1:19). That night, Addie himself beat the drum in the march. When he was ordered in to court, he pleaded his own case and pointed out that he was not a lawbreaker, but that God had sent The Army to convert drunkards, thieves and lawbreakers. At that point, one converted drunkard jumped up and shouted, “Yes, here’s one right here” and this was followed by many others testifying that the power of God had changed their lives through the ministry of the Salvation Army. Jack Addie was sentenced, but it was never enforced!1 By 1887, five years from the start, the Salvation Army had reached the opposite side of the country – Victoria, BC. At the end of ten years, the Dominon Headquarters reported that “there are 264 Corps in the command of 452 officers.”2
The early part of the 1900’s saw the beginning of the Pentecostal outpouring in Canada. In 1906 Robert McAlister – a preacher in the Holiness Movement Church – heard about events taking place at a small mission on Azusa Street in Los Angeles. He traveled to Los Angeles and attended the meetings taking place there. He received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit with speaking in tongues and received the power from on high to spend the rest of his life as a witness to what God had done. On arriving back in Canada, he joyfully spread the news, traveling extensively and preaching at evangelistic meetings and Pentecostal conventions. Many miracles and signs followed his ministry, as promised in MARK 16:15-18. Likeminded people were used by God to spread the Pentecost movement all over Canada.
Another person who had a big impact in Canada was Charles S. Price, an American minister who received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit at a tent meeting in California. In the 1920s, he traveled through major cities from British Columbia to Quebec preaching the Gospel and many Canadians were converted and saw God’s healing power.
Most of the Canadian colleges and universities were founded by Christians or had Christian principles. King’s College in Nova Scotia, now known as Dalhousie University, was founded by the Anglicans, and McMaster University by the Baptists, just to name a few.
The Canadian education system has a Christian basis. Egerton Ryerson was a Methodist circuit rider whose main aim was to “preach Jesus to the lost sons of men.” In 1844 he was appointed the superintendent of education for Canada West (Ontario). He stated that “youth should be furnished with right principles, as well as with right knowledge … the first requisite is the religious and moral knowledge of right and wrong; the next is an acquaintance with the history of mankind.” Ryerson is called the father of Canadian public education and made education accessible for everyone. The students used textbooks in which Christian values and loyalty to the constitution were included. The Ontario school system, a “Christian public school system”, became the model for most of Canada.
There were many moments in government history where God was given the honour. For example on January 31st, 1957, Parliament proclaimed that Thanksgiving Day will be celebrated on the second Monday in October and it will be “A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed.” The Canadian Bill of Rights, introduced in 1960, begins with, “The Parliament of Canada, affirming that the Canadian Nation is founded upon principles that acknowledge the supremacy of God.”
Canada’s parliament buildings in Ottawa contain scriptures carved into the stones: EPHESIANS 6:13 is written around the altar in the memorial chamber:
“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” PSALM 139:8-10 is found on the wall in the same room beside a list of wars in which Canadians have fought and on the outside of the Peace Tower, PSALM 72:8, PROVERBS 29:18a and PSALM 72:1 are all engraved.
Many people in high offices were outspoken Christians: John Robson, premier of British Columbia (1889-1892) was led by his conviction that the stability of society rested on converted individuals, whose consciences served as moral rudders, steering them in a responsible direction in their personal and social lives. Toronto was once called “Toronto the Good”. William Howland, Toronto’s mayor (1885-1886) had a twelve-foot banner on his office wall guiding him in his office:
“Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” Ernest Manning, premier of Alberta from 1943-1968, had a radio program called the National Bible Hour – with up to 600,000 listeners from across Canada each week – where he urged Canadians to live in the light of Jesus’ imminent return.
Whereas many of our nation’s leaders, including our founding fathers, stood for Christian principles, the governments today are trying to change the laws of Canada to reflect the more “diverse population” that lives in this country. These changes have resulted in a moral decline in the country. Increases in violent youth crime, suicides among young people and the number of single parent families are only a few matters of concern.
For example, The Lord’s Prayer is no longer recited in public schools. An amendment to the Criminal Code of Canada was made, introducing the words “sexual orientation” as a basis for protection from hate crimes. This means certain passages in the Bible could be considered “hate literature”. A man in Saskatchewan put a paid ad in a newspaper that had scriptures on the left and an equal sign with a picture of two men holding hands with a line through it. Suggesting that these scriptures meant “no to homosexuality”, he was ordered to pay $1,500 or serve time in jail. A Christian couple in Prince Edward Island who ran a bed & breakfast refused to allow two homosexual men to stay at their home because of their beliefs. They were forced to close down their business and pay $1,000 in damages to the men. Same-sex marriage has been legalized in Canada, and marijuana and prostitution could soon follow. Our Founding Fathers would surely be outraged to hear and see all that is going on in our once-Christian nation.
The change that took place in Canada is well symbolized by the change of the official Canadian flag in 1965 under prime minister Lester Pearson. It was a conscious step to replace the Christian British heritage by a modern man-made United Nations philosophy of diversity and multi-culturalism – a trend that continued especially under Pierre Trudeau (1968-1984) and until today. Of course, in a multi-cultural society, Christianity is only one out of many religions. Modern Canada therefore has no other values but “diversity”.
Our Canadian national anthem includes the words “God keep our land glorious and free.” That was the reason why so many Canadians, under the Red Ensign, fought alongside Great Britain in the two World Wars. Many gave up their lives thus ensuring that we would live in a free land ruled not by tyrants but only by God’s laws. Canada’s only hope lies in returning to the values of old.
Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls JEREMIAH 6:16.
CANADA IN THE 17th CENTURY
However no permanent European settlements were made in Canada until the early 17th century. In 1603 a Frenchman named Samuel de Champlain (1567-1635) sailed up the St Lawrence River. In 1604 he founded Port Royal in Acadia (Nova Scotia). In 1608 de Champlain founded Quebec. (The name Quebec is believed to be an Algonquin word meaning a narrow part of a river). In 1642 the French founded Montreal. The new colony in Canada was called New France. By 1685 the population of New France was about 10,000. By 1740 it was 48,000.
In the early 17th century French missionaries such as the Jesuits attempted to convert the natives of Canada to Christianity – without much success. Meanwhile the French settlers traded with the natives for furs and farmed the land. Unfortunately they also brought European diseases like smallpox, to which the natives had no resistance.
However the English were also interested in Canada. In 1610 Henry Hudson discovered Hudson Bay. (In 1611 his crew mutinied and set him adrift). In 1631 Thomas James led another expedition. James Bay is named after him. Then in 1629 the English captured Quebec. However it was returned to France in 1632.
In 1670 the English founded the Hudson Bay Company. The company was given exclusive rights to trade with the inhabitants of the Hudson Bay area. They traded with the natives for skins and furs. Meanwhile rivalry between the British and the French in Canada continued.
CANADA IN THE 18th CENTURY
After the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1713) France was forced to recognize British control of Hudson Bay and Newfoundland. The French were also forced to cede Nova Scotia to Britain.
However more conflict between Britain and France was inevitable. During the Seven Years War (1756-1763) the two nations fought for control of Canada. In 1758 the British captured the French fortress of Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island. Then in 1759 General Wolfe captured the city of Quebec. (Wolfe’s victory at Quebec ensured that Canada would become British rather than French). Then in 1760 the British captured Montreal. Finally in 1763 the French were forced to surrender all their territories in Canada to Britain by the Treaty of Paris.
The British were then left with the problem of how to deal with the French Canadians. Wisely they decided to treat them gently and the Quebec Act of 1774 allowed the French Canadians to practice their own religion (Roman Catholicism). The French Canadians were also allowed to keep French civil law alongside British criminal law. By 1775 Canada had a population of about 90,000. The colony was flourishing.
When the American Revolution began in 1775 the Americans hoped the French Canadians would join them. However they were disappointed. An American army entered Canada in September 1775 and captured Montreal in November. However an attempt to capture Quebec in December failed and the American soldiers retreated in 1776.
After the American Revolutionary War about 40,000 Americans who remained loyal to Britain migrated from the newly independent country to Canada.
Then in 1791 the British parliament passed another act, which divided the Lawrence River Valley into two parts, Upper and Lower Canada. (Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were not affected).
Meanwhile exploration continued. George Vancouver (1757-1798) sailed along the west coast of Canada in 1791-94. Vancouver Island is named after him. Alexander Mackenzie (1755-1820) traveled from Great Slave Lake along the Mackenzie River and reached the Arctic Ocean in 1789. In 1793 he crossed the continent by land and reached the Pacific.
During the American War of 1812 the Americans invaded Canada but they were repulsed.
CANADA IN THE 19th CENTURY
Meanwhile in the early 19th century the population of Canada grew rapidly boosted by many migrants from Britain. A shipbuilding industry flourished in Canada and canals were built to help commerce.
However in the early 19th century many Canadians became dissatisfied with their government. In 1791 both Lower and Upper Canada were allowed an elected legislature. However the king appointed councils with executive powers. Yet both French and English speaking Canadians wanted a more democratic form of government.
Eventually in 1837 some Canadians rebelled. Louis Joseph Papineau led an uprising of French Canadians. However the rebellion was soon crushed. In Upper Canada William Lyon Mackenzie, who became the first Mayor of Toronto in 1834, led the insurrection. In 1837 he led an uprising, which was quickly crushed. Mackenzie himself was killed.
However Canada finally gained democratic government in 1867 when Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were federated as the Dominion of Canada. Canada then had a strong central government, which ruled from Ottawa, the new capital. The first prime minister of Canada was Sir John Macdonald.
Manitoba was made a province in 1870. British Columbia joined the confederation in 1871. Alberta and Saskatchewan joined in 1905.
In the late 19th century and the early 20th century the population of Canada grew rapidly. The Canadian economy also expanded rapidly helped by the spread of railways. A transcontinental railway, the Canadian Pacific Railway was completed in 1885.
Many Britons migrated to Canada and in the early 20th century many Eastern Europeans also migrated there. Vast areas of land were turned over to farming and manufacturing industries boomed.
Meanwhile in 1896 gold was found in the Klondike district of the Yukon and a gold rush ensued.
CANADA IN THE 20th CENTURY
More than 60,000 Canadian men died in the First World War. Meanwhile Manitoba was the first province of Canada to allow women to vote in provincial elections in 1916. Women in Canada were given the right to vote in federal elections in 1918. By 1925 all provinces except Quebec had granted women the right to vote in provincial elections. Quebec finally gave women that right in 1940.
The 1920s were, in general prosperous years for Canada. However like the rest of the world Canada suffered in the depression of the 1930s. Canada suffered from a huge drop in exports of timber, grain and fish. By 1933 unemployment had soared to 23%. The government introduced relief works but economic hardship continued throughout the 1930s. The depression only ended when the Second World War began in 1939. However during World War II 45,000 Canadians were killed.
In the late 20th century the population of Canada grew rapidly. In 1951 it was 16 million. By 1961 it had risen to 18 million. After 1945 people from Southern and Eastern Europe flocked to live in Canada. From the 1960s many immigrants came from South Asia.
Meanwhile during the 1950s and 1960s the Canadian economy boomed and Canada became an affluent society. Meanwhile television began in Canada in 1952. However things turned sour in the 1970s. In the early 1980s Canada suffered a deep recession and unemployment rose to 11%. There was another recession in the early 1990s. Yet Canada recovered.
In 1995 the people of Quebec voted in a referendum not to secede from Canada. Then in 1999 North West Territories was divided into two and a new territory called Nunavut was created.
Meanwhile in 1993 Kim Campbell became the first woman prime minister of Canada.
CANADA IN THE 21st CENTURY
Like other countries Canada suffered in the recession of 2009. However Canada soon recovered. In April 2012 unemployment in Canada stood at 8.1%. However by September 2013 it had fallen to 6.9%. Today Canada is a prosperous country and it has vast natural resources. Today the population of Canada is 35 million.
Chronology of Events Related to Canada below:
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