Portal:History of Canada/Selected biography

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Portal:History of Canada/Selected biography/1

Cartier.png

On June 24, 1534, French explorer Jacques Cartier planted a cross on the Gaspé Peninsula and took possession of New France in the name of King Francis I of France. On his second voyage on May 26, 1535, Cartier sailed upriver to the St. Lawrence Iroquoian villages of Stadacona, near present-day Quebec City, and Hochelaga, near present-day Montreal.

In 1541, Jean-Francois de la Roque de Roberval became lieutenant of New France and had the responsibility to build a new colony in America. It was Cartier who established the first French settlement on American soil, Charlesbourg Royal.France was disappointed after the three voyages of Cartier and did not want to invest further large sums in an adventure with such uncertain outcome. A period of disinterest in the new world on behalf of the French authorities followed. Only at the very end of the 16th century interest in these northern territories was renewed.

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Portal:History of Canada/Selected biography/2

Lester B. Pearson with a pencil.jpg

Lester Bowles "Mike" Pearson, PC, OM, CC, OBE (23 April 1897 – 27 December 1972) was a Canadian professor, historian, civil servant, statesman, diplomat, and politician, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957 for organizing the United Nations Emergency Force to resolve the Suez Canal Crisis. He was the 14th Prime Minister of Canada from 22 April 1963, until 20 April 1968, as the head of two back-to-back minority governments following elections in 1963 and 1965.

During his time as Prime Minister, Pearson's minority government introduced universal health care, student loans, the Canada Pension Plan, the Order of Canada, and the current Canadian flag. During his tenure, Prime Minister Pearson also convened the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism. With these accomplishments, together with his groundbreaking work at the United Nations and in international diplomacy, Pearson is generally considered among the most influential Canadians of the 20th century.

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Portal:History of Canada/Selected biography/3

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Louis Alexander Slotin (December 1, 1910 – May 30, 1946) was a Canadian physicist and chemist who took part in the Manhattan Project. He was born and raised in the North End of Winnipeg, Manitoba. After earning both his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from the University of Manitoba, Slotin attended King's College London, where he obtained his doctorate in physical chemistry in 1936. Afterwards, he joined the University of Chicago as a research associate to help design a cyclotron. In 1942, he was invited to participate in the Manhattan Project.

As part of the Manhattan Project, Slotin performed experiments with uranium and plutonium cores to determine their critical mass values. After World War II, Slotin continued his research at Los Alamos National Laboratory. On May 21, 1946, Slotin accidentally began a fission reaction, which released a burst of hard radiation. He was rushed to hospital, and died nine days later on May 30, the second victim of a criticality accident in history.

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Portal:History of Canada/Selected biography/4

Brady-Handy John A Macdonald - cropped.jpg

Sir John Alexander Macdonald, GCB, KCMG, PC, PC (Can), (11 January 1815 – 6 June 1891) was the first Prime Minister of Canada and the dominant figure of Canadian Confederation. Macdonald's tenure in office spanned 18 years, making him the second longest serving Prime Minister of Canada. He is the only Canadian Prime Minister to win six majority governments.

He was the major proponent of a national railway, the Canadian Pacific Railway, completed in 1885, linking Canada from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. He won praise for having helped forge a nation of sprawling geographic size, with two diverse European colonial origins, numerous Aboriginal nations, and a multiplicity of cultural backgrounds and political views.

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Portal:History of Canada/Selected biography/5

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Terrance Stanley "Terry" Fox, CC, OD (July 28, 1958 – June 28, 1981) was a Canadian humanitarian, athlete, and cancer research activist. In 1980, as a one-legged amputee, he embarked on a cross-Canada run to raise money and awareness for cancer research. Though the spread of his cancer forced him to end his quest after 143 days and 5,280 kilometres (3,280 mi), and ultimately cost him his life, his determination and example created a lasting, worldwide legacy. The annual Terry Fox Run, first held in 1981, has grown to involve millions of participants in over 60 countries and is now the world's largest one-day fundraiser for cancer research; over C$500 million has been raised in his name.

In 1980, he began the Marathon of Hope, a cross-country run to raise money for cancer research. Fox hoped to raise one dollar for each of Canada's 24 million people. He started with little fanfare from St. John's, Newfoundland in April and ran the equivalent of a full marathon every day. Fox was the youngest person ever named a Companion of the Order of Canada, the nation's highest civilian award. He won the 1980 Lou Marsh Award as the nation's top sportsman and was named Canada's Newsmaker of the Year in both 1980 and 1981. Considered a national hero, he has had many buildings, roads and parks named in his honour across the country.

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Portal:History of Canada/Selected biography/6

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The Group of Seven were a group of Canadian landscape painters in the 1920s, originally consisting of Franklin Carmichael, Lawren Harris, A. Y. Jackson, Franz Johnston, Arthur Lismer, J. E. H. MacDonald, and Frederick Varley. Tom Thomson (who died in 1917) and Emily Carr were also closely associated with the Group of Seven, though neither were ever official members. The Group of Seven is most famous for its paintings of the Canadian landscape. It was succeeded by the Canadian Group of Painters in the 1930s.

The Group of Seven was strongly influenced by European Impressionism of the late nineteenth century in the Montmartre district of Paris. The Group of Seven has received criticism for its reinforcement of terra nullius presenting the region as pristine and untouched by humans when in fact the areas depicted have been lived on for many centuries. In 1995, the National Gallery of Canada compiled a Group of Seven retrospective show, for which they commissioned the Canadian rock band Rheostatics to write a musical score. That score was released on album as Music Inspired by the Group of Seven.

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Portal:History of Canada/Selected biography/7

Agnes Macphail - PA-165870.jpg

Agnes Campbell Macphail (March 24, 1890 – February 13, 1954) was the first woman to be elected to the Canadian House of Commons, and one of the first two women elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Active throughout her life in progressive Canadian politics, Macphail worked for two separate parties and promoted her ideas through column-writing, activist organizing, and legislation.

As a radical member of the Progressive Party, Macphail joined the socialist Ginger Group, faction of the Progressive Party that later led to the formation of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF). She became the first president of the Ontario CCF in 1932. However, she left the CCF in 1934 when the United Farmers of Ontario pulled out due to fears of Communist influence in the Ontario CCF. While Macphail was no longer formally a CCF member, she remained close to the CCF MPs and often participated in caucus meetings. The CCF did not run candidates against Macphail in her three subsequent federal campaigns.

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