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Social Studies

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Social studies is an interdisciplinary, content-rich subject that empowers students to be lifelong learners. It draws from history, geography, civics, economics, and other disciplines. Social studies provides opportunities for students to learn about and appreciate ideas that have shaped Alberta, Canada, and the world over time. Students acquire foundational knowledge and build understandings of relationships between people, places, and environments. They acquire a growing body of essential knowledge on historical and contemporary controversial issues. Students revisit content as knowledge builds from grade to grade. In social studies, students develop skills that will prepare them to lead fulfilling lives and play a significant role in our democratic society.
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Organizing Idea
History: Understanding the history of our province, nation, and world and developing cultural literacy allow us to appreciate the varied richness of our shared human inheritance of original writings, artifacts, stories, beliefs, ideas and great cultural and artistic achievements from different times and places. Lessons of the past and knowledge of diverse experiences help us overcome ignorance and prejudice and recognize our common humanity and dignity.
Guiding Question
How did Alberta and the North West develop during the expansion of the West?
Guiding Question
What was the impact of the Great Migration on early modern Canada?
Guiding Question
How do the United States and Canada compare in their origins, early development, and founding events?
Learning Outcome
Students examine how fur trade rivalries, early explorations, North West Mounted Police rule, and Treaties led to early settlement and to the transfer of Rupert’s Land to the Dominion of Canada.
Learning Outcome
Students investigate and explain the impact of the Great Migration and the War of 1812 in shaping society, culture, and institutions in British North America.
Learning Outcome
Students examine and explain the extent to which the United States and Canada share a continent and emerged out of both commonly shared and distinctly different historical experiences.
fur trade rivalries – competition between the Hudson’s Bay Company (1760) and the North West Company (Nor’Westers) for control of the main trade routes, from Cumberland House (1774) onwards, including Anthony Henday to the Rockies, La Verendrye in the American West

fur trading posts in the Athabasca region: Peter Pond and North West Company posts, Fort Chipewyan (1788), and Fort Edmonton (1795)

Women, mostly Métis, were present in fur trade country and many intermarried with traders living a la façon du pays (in the fashion of the country).

Plains Cree culture and the bison as staple food – using all parts of animal, use of pemmican (high energy dried buffalo meat with berries) used by frontier traders

clearing the way for agriculture – Captain John Palliser’s Expedition (1859–1862) and origin of Palliser Triangle – fertile prairie lands

transfer of Rupert’s Land to the Dominion of Canada, 1869, and impact on the North West
The Hudson’s Bay Company, based in London, claimed all lands and rivers emptying into Hudson Bay (covering one third of the continent) and faced stiff competition from Montreal traders controlling the Great Lakes region and further west.

Fort Chipewyan on Lake Athabasca was home to traders, Cree, De’né and Métis peoples, and was the base for Alexander Mackenzie’s northern explorations.

North West Company trader Alexander Mackenzie (1789; 1792–1793) travelled by canoe and foot searching for a Northwest passage to the Pacific. Instead, he journeyed up a great river to the Beaufort Sea in the Arctic, then across the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean.

Dried meat food was first produced by the Plains Cree from pulverized bison meat and berries (pemmican) and was widely used by Arctic explorers.

Palliser’s Expedition report awakened people to the existence of a fertile triangle and encouraged agricultural settlement.

Prime Minister John A. Macdonald and his lead cabinet member, George E. Cartier, completed the deal to transfer Rupert’s Land to Canada.
Skills & Procedures
Examine the evidence: Study some appropriate key passages of the charter of the Hudson’s Bay Company, May 1, 1670. How much land was granted to the Hudson’s Bay Company by their charter?

Ask a question: Who was Peter Pond and what role did he play in the fur trade and exploration of the North West?

Continuity and change: How do the names of major rivers help us to remember the past?

Ask questions: Why is pemmican still well known today? Which food products are most like pemmican?

Cause and effect: What prompted Palliser’s Expedition and what was its impact on agriculture in Alberta?

Ask a question: Was the takeover of Rupert’s Land a good deal for the Canadian government?
The Great Migration (1800–1850) and the arrival of eight million immigrants from England, Scotland, and Ireland to British North America and the American Thirteen Colonies. The population of British North America (Upper Canada, Lower Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland) was 461 000 by 1806, but rose to 750 000 by 1821 and reached 2 300 000 by 1850. The flood of immigrants came from a cross-section of classes, propertied and impoverished, and nationalities, English emigrants, Catholic and Protestant Irish, Highland and Lowland Scots, and German-speaking Lutherans. Newcomers survived rough Atlantic sea crossings and laid claim to land in the so-called “new country.”

Colonial War of 1812–1814 and the peace settlement:
  • causes of the War of 1812 and the declaration of war
  • key military events, including battle of Detroit
  • British alliance with Tecumseh
  • Sir Isaac Brock at Queenston Heights (1812)
  • Tecumseh’s death (Moraviantown 1813)
  • British campaigns of 1814
  • Peace Treaty of Ghent (1814)
The Great Migration of British peoples shaped the society, customs, structures, and practices of the population, most clearly shown in the pioneer experiences in Upper Canada. Most of the settlers were men, but the populace also included pioneer women like Susanna Moodie, clearing a farm near Peterborough, Upper Canada, in the 1830s, and living in the more settled town of Belleville, Upper Canada, in the 1840s.

The War of 1812–1814 commenced with an American attack on Upper Canada, led to a retaliatory series of British attacks on the east coast of the United States, and resulted in a draw with no changes in boundaries. It may have reinforced a sense of solidarity among British North Americans and produced symbols of national pride.
Skills & Procedures
Examine the evidence: Read aloud and study short age-appropriate passages (in the original language) from Susanna Moodie’s famous accounts, Roughing It in the Bush and Life in the Clearings. Why was Susanna Moodie so discouraged in the early years and what changed to lift her spirits?

Explain continuity and change with a timeline showing the events in the War of 1812 from 1812 (invasion of Upper Canada) to 1815 (battle of New Orleans).

Identify the turning points in the continental war.
Early colonial America:
  • Jamestown (tobacco/Virginia)
  • Plymouth (Pilgrims/Massachusetts)
  • Massachusetts Bay (John Winthrop/Puritans)
  • New Amsterdam (Manhattan)
  • Pennsylvania (Quaker/William Penn)
  • Florida
Early French settlements in colonial America:
  • Cajuns in Louisiana
  • Acadians in British North America
The American Thirteen Colonies were colonized by many different dissenting groups, many seeking political rights and religious toleration, including Pilgrims, Puritans, and Quakers.

French settlements survived and persisted in both countries long after the political division of the continent.
Skills & Procedures
Explore the origins of American national character: How much did Governor John Winthrop and the Puritans of Massachusetts Bay Colony contribute to shaping the idea of an American identity?

Compare how French minority populations fared in both countries
in the USA and Canada—the Cajuns of Louisiana and the Acadians of Maritime Canada.
origin and advance of North West Mounted Police (NWMP) rule – law and order to encourage settlement (1873–1905)

NWMP headquarters was in Fort MacLeod, Alberta and later in Regina, Saskatchewan.
Perspectives on NWMP presence among First Nations and settlers were both positive and negative, with the Mounties generally being distinguished as being more reliable and trustworthy than their United States' counterparts.
Skills & Procedures
Draw a sketch of the NWMP in uniform: Why are Mounties often shown on horseback?

Examine multiple perspectives on the NWMP presence in the Canadian West and Northwest according to original accounts in primary documents as well as secondary sources.
The tale of a young Upper Canadian woman, Laura Secord, warning the British before the battle of Beaver Dam (June 23, 1813) is legendary.
legend of Laura Secord, Canadian heroine of War of 1812, separating myth from reality, and why her warning the British was not honoured until 1853

Her reputation inspired the creation of Laura Secord chocolate candies.
Skills & Procedures
Watch the video, the “Laura Secord” episode in the Canadian Historica Heritage Minutes Series, and discuss whether it fairly represents her role.

Ask questions:
  • Why do stories like Laura Secord become popular?
  • What role do they play in shaping our understanding of history?
  • What other stories could we tell about the War of 1812?
The battle for Quebec, September 1759: General James Wolfe and his British forces scale the Quebec cliffs and defeated the French under Marquis de Montcalm on the Plains of Abraham, leading eventually in September 1760 to the surrender of Quebec.

Conquest and revolution: two different transformations—the British conquest of New France and the American Revolution and their impact on each society—remaining British (Loyalist tradition) and breaking away (republican patriot tradition) from the British colonial empire
The battle for Quebec claimed the lives of both the French and British military commanders, and one famous 1770 painting, Benjamin West’s “The Death of Wolfe” captured the scene in vivid fashion from the British viewpoint.

The conquest of 1760 turned Quebec British, and Americans in the Thirteen Colonies (from Massachusetts to Florida) chose to become independent of British rule on the continent. It’s commonly agreed that the American Revolution created two societies, the United States of America and what became the Dominion of Canada.
Skills & Procedures
Examine and analyze Benjamin West’s famous painting “The Death of Wolfe” to see how an Anglo-American artist saw the battle and particularly Wolfe’s death at the moment of victory. :
  • Does it present the fallen Wolfe as a martyr?
  • Were those grouped around him actually present at that time?
  • Why could it be regarded as one of the best-known images in 18th-century art?
disappearance of the bison herds – depletion of bison (also known as buffalo) population originally numbering some15 million migratory animals
One of the earliest endangered species was the prairie bison, decimated mainly by hunters shooting hundreds of bison on expeditions.
Skills & Procedures
Drawing conclusions: What caused the near extinction of the Plains Bison? Who or what was responsible for the disappearance?
Struggle for reform and the union of the two Canadas, in act of union, 1820–1841:
  • origins of the conflict over political reform—British colonial rule (family compact and clergy reserves)
  • land owning system
  • American republican influences
  • struggle for political rights, and stirrings for radical change (William Lyon Mackenzie in Upper Canada/rebels, and Louis-Joseph Papineau in Lower Canada/Patriotes)
William Lyon Mackenzie’s Yonge Street Rebellion (1837): why it failed and what it contributed to democratic reform
Stirrings for democratic reform sparked two different rebellions in Upper Canada and in Lower Canada, each with similar sources, except for the racial conflict underlying the Patriotes Revolt in Lower Canada.

“Fiery rebel” William Lyon Mackenzie of Toronto initiated a failed rebellion, but he planted the seeds of democratic reform in the populace.
Skills & Procedures
Read aloud and discuss the appropriate passages of speeches and writings touching on the roots of the Rebellions of 1837: Sir Francis Bond Head (governor, Upper Canada), on the “Social Fabric” (A Narrative, 1839), William Lyon Mackenzie, “Rise Freemen from North of the Ridges,” 1837; and Louis-Joseph Papineau (Leader of patriotes) on “Democratic Institutions,” Speech to Legislative Council, La Minerve, 1833).

Examine images of the Patriotes that have been used to depict the rebellions. What messages do such drawings communicate about the people and events, and why are such images still well known in Quebec today?

Examine historical images of the burning of the Parliament buildings in Montreal, Canada East, in1848. Why were British loyalists upset enough to torch the colonial assembly?
American invasion of Canada, 1775: American General Robert Montgomery led an invasion in a campaign launched as part of the War of Independence. Americans faced local resistance in Quebec and eventually abandoned the attempt at occupation. First Nations were divided and allied on both sides of the war. Some First Nations remained neutral in the conflict. Founding father
Benjamin Franklin visited Montreal in a failed attempt to turn the elite into joining the War of Independence against Britain.

The American War of Independence and coming of the Loyalists:
  • The Iroquois Confederacy allied with the British forces in the war.
  • Thousands of United Empire Loyalists settled in Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick.
  • Settlement of the St. John River valley provided the base of the population for the creation of New Brunswick, 1784.
American independence forces invaded Canada via two routes, trying to take Montreal and Quebec City, because they believed the French-Canadians would welcome Americans as liberators.

The Iroquois Confederacy aligned with the British side in the American War to assert their sovereignty and push back against American settlement further west.

Loyalists included African-Americans opposed to slavery and First Nations allies of the British Crown, including Joseph Brant, chief of the Mohawks.

Loyalists of many backgrounds (British, Indigenous, German, and African) settled in Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick.
Skills & Procedures
Analyzing the situation:
  • Why did the Americans think that the conquest of Canada in 1775 would prove easy?
  • How were the American forces actually turned back?
Conduct an investigation into the motivations of First Nations (Joseph Brant and Six Nations) in siding with the British in the American War of Independence.
Retell the life of Joseph Brant in your own words.

Examine the evidence: Who were the United Empire Loyalists? Compare the perceived image of the “Loyalist” as being British with the reality of the diversity of groups drawn to the British side in the American War of Independence.
ranching and cowboy culture: cattle and horses are present on the prairie grasslands, arrival of horses northward, grazing of cattle, first NWMP cattle herd and horses (1879), lawlessness on the range, spread of cattle herds (25,000 head and 11,000 horses, 1882–1883, Big Four ranches in Southern Alberta, south of Fort Calgary, 1875), early Calgary was known as “Cow Town”
Ranching emerged on the Alberta prairie and it was pioneered by the first generation of western cowboys riding horses imported from Europe via Spanish colonies (e.g., Mexico, Argentina).

Herding cattle grazed freely right across the American plains and northward into Canada.
Skills & Procedures
Examine the evidence: Study the most common words used by cowboys roping horses and driving cattle on the range. What words in cowboy culture (lingo, ranch, rodeo, stampede, lariat, lasso, buckaroo) have Spanish origins? Why the Spanish influence?
Responsible government:
  • Lord Durham’s Report of 1839
  • the Union of the Canadas (1841)
  • Governor General Lord Elgin and the achievement of responsible government in the Canadas (1848)
  • In Nova Scotia, Halifax publisher and reform advocate Joseph Howe and reformers led the movement.
Achieving responsible government was a step toward democratic government because it ensured that the Governor General was required to rule with the “advice and counsel” of an elected body—in this case, the elected members of the Assembly. Today, in Ottawa, it’s the House of Commons.
Skills & Procedures
Draw a diagram to illustrate the idea of responsible government showing Upper Canada in 1836 and in 1849.
Continental War: the War of 1812–1814 and its impact on Canadian self-image:
  • heroism of Sir Isaac Brock at battle of Queenston Heights (1812)
  • the burning of the two capitals
  • Fort York and French-Canadian resistance inspired by Lieutenant Colonel Salaberry in the victory over the Americans at the 1813 Battle of Chateauguay
  • The American invasion of Upper Canada ended with the British victory in 1814 at Lundy’s Lane on the Niagara Frontier.
Thomas Jefferson was confident that the United States would prevail in the War of 1812. In August 1812, the former president boasted to the editor of a Philadelphia newspaper that “the acquisition of Canada would be a mere matter of marching.” It proved otherwise.
Skills & Procedures
Weighing perspectives:
  • Why would Americans like Thomas Jefferson assume that Canadians could be wooed into joining the United States?
  • When Americans looked at the northern British colonies, what did they see?
  • Why were the vast majority of British North Americans unmoved by appeals from Washington?
Jerry Potts (1840-1896), was a leading scout, interpreter, hunter in the North West.

Famous Black rancher John Ware (1845-1905), along with his wife Mildred and family, was a ranching pioneer and folk hero in Alberta (Howdy, I’m John Ware, 2020).

John Ware’s funeral in 1905 was one of the largest in Alberta history.
Black rancher John Ware, born a slave in South Carolina, escaped into Canada and with his wife, Mildred, was a pioneer with a 160-acre homestead west of Calgary.

Jerry Potts’ mother was from the Kainai-Cree and his father was Scottish, and he lived and worked with Métis, European, and local First Nations, earning their trust and respect through his knowledge of the prairies and his skill as a scout, hunter, and soldier.
Skills & Procedures
Investigate the lives of John Ware and of Jerry Potts. How did they contribute to the development of what would become Alberta?
Origins of British Columbia:
  • James Douglas, governor of Vancouver Island (1851–1863) and governor of British Columbia (1858–1864)
  • growth and expansion of Pacific colony
  • establishment of borders and boundaries—the forty-ninth parallel to the Pacific formed the border between United States and Canada
Governor Douglas was an important historical figure; born into the wealthy Scottish merchant class on his father’s side and his mother was “free coloured” Barbadian Creole, which means she was of African descent
Colonial expansion sparked debate over the future of British rule in Pacific coast colonies (Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia). The British claim was staked by James Douglas, overseeing an expanding fur trade empire. Douglas negotiated land purchase treaties and the British agreed to draw the line at the forty-ninth parallel.
Skills & Procedures
Describe how James Douglas expanded and developed British Columbia and its coastal trade, sometimes at the expense of the interests of local First Nations. How should we remember his complex legacy?
Symbols of nationhood:
  • the retaliatory raid on Washington blackened the White House
  • the battle of Fort McHenry (1814) produced an anthem, Star-Spangled Banner
  • the legacy of Indigenous-British alliances was cemented by Shawnee chief Tecumseh
  • The war led to the erection of Brock Monument and awarding of the War of 1812 medals.
The War of 1812 produced an enduring mythology and a number of symbols of emerging Canadian national sentiment, including landmark battle sites, monuments, and war medals.
Skills & Procedures
Examining historical significance:
  • What should we remember from the War of 1812?
  • Which of the symbols and monuments deserve to remain as a historical marker?
  • Which monuments should be built but are missing?
grain growing and agriculture: settling in a prairie “ocean of grassland,” homesteading (loneliness and hardships – drought, early frosts, grasshoppers, grass fires), invention of Red Fife wheat (Rev, John Gough Brick, Peace River district, 1892–1893)

origins of prairie grain elevators: first elevator, Gretna, Manitoba, 1881, storing grain for loading on rail cars, multiplied from 90 in 1890 to 454 by 1900
Harsh conditions on the Alberta prairie test the will of many farmers, especially in winters, and the isolation and loneliness can make life difficult at times. Frost resistant wheat prolonged the growing season over much of the prairies.

Grain elevators are known as “prairie sentinels” and dot the landscape, alerting travellers to the names of towns, and as symbols of grain growing in the region.
Skills & Procedures
Write a letter expressing the concerns of a prairie farm family suffering through the hard times in the early 1890s.

Weigh different viewpoints: Should prairie grain elevators be saved? How much of our history should be preserved? Why?
Confederation and adding to the Dominion, 1867–1873: The British North American colonies, facing threats related to the American Civil War (1861–1865), came together in a federal union with four original provinces, Ontario (Canada West/Upper Canada), Quebec (Canada East/Lower Canada), Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. The new Dominion of Canada was officially born on July 1, 1867, now known as Canada Day. Joining later were Manitoba (1870), British Columbia (1871), and Prince Edward Island (1873).
The Dominion of Canada began July 1, 1867, with four original provinces (Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick) and first Prime Minister John A. Macdonald succeeded in striking deals to secure the admission of Manitoba (1870), British Columbia (1871), and Prince Edward Island (1873).
Skills & Procedures
Continuity and change: Make a timeline to explain the sequence of events in rounding out the Dominion from 1867–1873. Explain which territories were left out until much later (1905–1949).
American Civil War and Canadian Confederation (1861–1867): The US Civil War was fought between the northern states (Union) and the southern states (Confederates), who wanted to secede, largely because the southern economy was heavily dependent on slavery, which many in the north wanted to abolish.

The US Civil War was the result of a country founded on an ideal of equality that still upheld slavery in many of its states (3.5 million slaves out of a population of 31 million). It was the bloodiest war in history till that time, 750 000 dead. The north won, and the emancipation proclamation led to the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery.

the American threat and the movement to unify the British North American colonies under the Crown of Great Britain
The United States Congress, controlled by the Democratic party, ruled in the Fugitive Slave Act that escaped slaves must be returned to their owners.
Skills & Procedures
Social life in Confederation times: Mercy Coles, daughter of PEI Premier George Coles, journeyed overland to Quebec Conference (October 1864) and wrote a journal of her perspectives of social life at the time in Ottawa political circles.
According to Mercy Coles, women lived in “separate spheres” during Confederation times in the 1860s.
Skills & Procedures
Write a short scene for a play starring Mercy Coles and focusing on one of two age-appropriate real-life episodes: talking with Premier Leonard Tilley (a widower) and her father George Coles during the stagecoach ride to Quebec City, or her spell of illness in the Quebec Hotel and the visit of Dr. Charles Tupper to check on her condition.
Continental tensions, 1849–1871: Border tensions arose over a succession of contentious issues:
  • burning of Parliament buildings (Montreal, 1848)
  • Annexation Manifesto (1849)
  • Fugitive Slave Act (1850)
  • Underground Railroad (1850–1860)
  • ending of Reciprocity Treaty between Canada and United States (1854)
  • Ottawa chosen as capital of province of Canada
  • construction of Parliament begins (1859)
  • Trent Affair
  • risk of war (Britain and United States 1861)
  • outbreak of Civil War (1861)
  • Fenian border raids (1866)
  • migration of American settlers northward
  • Treaty of Washington (1871)
In the 1861 Trent Affair, Britain and the United States came to the brink of war. This encouraged the movement towards Canadian Confederation.

Instead of the northern United States, Canada became the main escape destination for escaped slaves via the Underground Railroad, a network of friends and associates. African-American fugitive slaves followed the North Star (Polaris), a symbol of freedom, to Canada.
Skills & Procedures
Examine the myth of the undefended border: Today, Canadians and Americans take pride in maintaining peace along the forty-ninth parallel and in having “the world’s longest undefended border.” Take a closer look at the period from 1775–1871. Was it an undefended border back then?
Debate over the real Father of Confederation: Three prominent British North American politicians played key roles in the achievement of Canadian Confederation:
  • John A. Macdonald (Kingston, Canada West)
  • Georges E. Cartier (Montreal, Canada East)
  • George Brown (the Globe/Toronto/Canada West)
It is much debated whether Macdonald, Cartier, or Brown deserves most credit as the “father” of Confederation.

Prominent Canadian political cartoonist J. W. Bengough provided his personal views in caricature drawings, and one of his political cartoons looked at who was the real Father of Confederation.
Skills & Procedures
Examine and discuss J. W. Bengough’s famous cartoon, “Confederation, The Much-Fathered Youngster.” What did each of John A. Macdonald, Georges E. Cartier, and George Brown contribute to the formation of the Canadian union?
1609–1924: the American “Indian wars”:
  • Some 70 armed settlers attacked the Paspahegh capital (August 9, 1610), burning the houses and cutting down cornfields, beginning the first Anglo–Powhatan War (1610–1614).
  • passage of Indian Removal Act (1830)
  • Sioux War (1876–1877)
  • Battle of the Little Big Horn and Custer’s Last Stand (1876)
  • Sitting Bull and the Ghost Dance movement
  • Battle of Wounded Knee (1890)
  • Isolated skirmishes continued with the Apache Wars up until 1924, considered the end of the long period of conflict between the American government and First Nations.
Indigenous peoples were displaced and forced onto reservations in both the United States and Canada. The American Indian Wars were tragic encounters. The American Republic encroached on Indigenous traditional territory and dispatched the US cavalry to escort First Nations to reservations.
Skills & Procedures
Explain the historical significance: Compare the American and Canadian approach to recognizing First Nations rights with respect to traditional territory.
Guiding Question
What factors led to the creation of the province of Alberta in 1905?
Guiding Question
How was early modern Canada affected by the Atlantic slave trade, abolition, and Canadian immigration policy?
Guiding Question
How do Canada and the United States compare in their histories and policies relating to religious and ethnic pluralism?
Learning Outcome
Students investigate the main factors leading to the creation of Alberta, including the building of railways and immigration of diverse groups.

Learning Outcome
Students examine how slavery, the fight for abolition, emancipation of enslaved people, and Canadian immigration policy helped shape early modern Canada.
Learning Outcome
Students investigate Alberta’s and Canada’s ethnic and religious diversity.
building and completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) – from Regina to British Columbia (1883–1887), and mistreatment of Chinese railway workers (navvies), mass burials, and origin of Chinese head tax:
  • Immigrants from China and India were early builders of Canada and Alberta, working in railway construction, forestry, and local merchandise trade.
  • Chinese immigrants settled in what were often called “Chinatowns.” Surviving examples can be found in Edmonton and Calgary. Chinese immigrants also settled in small towns across the prairies, where many were entrepreneurs and became business owners.
The building of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) was considered a national project with “ties that bind” the Dominion together, but much of the work was done by immigrant workers, including Chinese and Indian workers.

Chinese and Indian immigrants suffered racial discrimination and immigration restrictions.

Exclusionist policies were introduced to restrict the numbers of Chinese and Indians entering the Dominion. The “Yellow Scare” sparked open discrimination against Chinese immigrants, and a 1906–1908 spike in migrants from the Indian sub-continent sparked harsh restrictions, capping the numbers admitted to fewer than 100 per year.
Skills & Procedures
Examine photos of “The Last Spike” of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR). What do they tell you about what actually happened in building the line?

Examine the evidence of racial exclusion – compare the Chinese head tax from 1885 to 1923 and Indian immigration “cap” restrictions from 1908 to 1957.

Compare and contrast the early Chinese and Indian immigrant experiences. What drew them to the Pacific West and Alberta? Why did they face overt discrimination and how did they fare?
Slavery was officially abolished by law in Upper Canada beginning in 1793, (Governor John Graves Simcoe) and then across the British Empire beginning in 1807 (Slave Trade Act) and 1833 (Slavery Abolition Act), though it took longer for the practice to end in some places.

William Wilberforce (1759–1833) was a leading British abolitionist, who spoke passionately in the British Parliament against the slave trade.

Arrival of the Black Loyalists seeking freedom during and after the American Revolution (1776–1783):
  • More than 3000 Black people migrated to Nova Scotia.
  • About 1500 settled in Birchtown, Nova Scotia, and endured hardship and discrimination.
  • About 1200 of the Black settlers left Halifax in 1792 to find a better life in Sierra Leone.
  • Remaining Black settlers formed first generation of Black Canadians and many remain today in Nova Scotia.
Earliest Black migrants, known as Black Loyalists, arrived in 1770s, settling in Nova Scotia, where they suffered hardships and discrimination. Some 1200 abandoned Nova Scotia for Sierra Leone in Africa, and remaining settlers formed first generation of African Nova Scotians.
Skills & Procedures
Recognize the causes and effects of American slavery and its implications upon British North America and Canada, especially the voyage and settlement at Birchtown, Nova Scotia.
A popular theory, proposed as a way of drawing a distinction between two different societies, the United States and Canada: It suggests that there is a difference between the Canadian mosaic, where ethnic groups have maintained their distinctiveness while functioning as part of the whole, and an American melting pot, where peoples of diverse origins have allegedly fused to make a new people.
The metaphor of a mosaic versus a melting pot has value when applied to the cultural outlook and the pattern of immigration, ethnicity, and willingness to accommodate differences. It oversimplifies the reality because the two countries have shared similar immigration policies and experienced similar problems with racism, integration, and discrimination.
Skills & Procedures
Compare the myth and the realities of the Canadian mosaic and the American melting pot: Choose two Canadian provinces and two American states for comparison purposes. Study the ethnocultural compositions of the respective populations at different points in their history.
  • Does the popular metaphor hold true?
  • Would the metaphor hold better if we were comparing Canada and the United States to more historically homogenous European or Asian countries?
Louis Riel, Métis nationhood, and the suppression of the Red River and North West resistance (1869–1885): Métis leader Louis Riel, Head of Buffalo Hunt Gabriel Dumont, and two uprisings in 1869–1870 (Red River) and 1885 (Saskatchewan)

Métis scrip was an attempt by the government to compensate Métis for the loss of land base through their acquisition of Rupert’s Land. Very few Métis were successful in exchanging scrip for land.

Following Riel’s death, the Métis fled west to what is now Alberta and as a result many Métis live in the province today.
Métis leader Louis Riel was a controversial figure—revered as a hero by French Canadians, admired by Métis, yet at the time labelled a traitor and radical of the Western Frontier.

Métis were displaced as a result of the purchase of Rupert’s Land. Métis were displaced from their homelands in Manitoba and faced challenges in trying to settle further west.

Alberta is home to the only recognized Métis settlements in Canada.
Skills & Procedures
See history through different eyes: Why did the federal government consider Riel a traitor? Why would Métis and French Canadians regard him as a hero?

Explore the challenges that Métis faced in moving to Alberta. Research experiences of Métis in attempting to apply for and receive scrip.

Identify the eight Métis settlements in Alberta.
  • slavery in the southern United States
  • the Fugitive Slave Act (1850) and its impact in Canada
  • the Underground Railroad
  • Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation (1864)
  • the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery
  • the persistence of laws and customs (“Jim Crow”) maintaining segregation
The route to freedom in Canada was known as the Underground Railroad and its end point was at Amherstberg, near the border town of Windsor, in Canada West, which is Ontario today. Fugitive slaves established farms all over southeastern Ontario.
Skills & Procedures
Historical thinking exercise: Explore the Underground Railroad experience.
Today’s Canada and Alberta are becoming increasingly ethnically diverse and is projected to become increasingly so over in the next 20 years. In Alberta, the ethnic composition of the population will shift significantly.

Canada’s latest ethnic composition statistics and projections for growth 20 years later
Contemporary Canada and modern-day Alberta aspire to be open, welcoming, and inclusive societies, exemplifying multiculturalism and acceptance of differences.

Canada welcomes people from around the world to our multicultural society. At the same time, most newcomers have to show English or French language ability and meet education qualifications to immigrate to Canada and must pass a citizenship test to become a Canadian citizen.
Skills & Procedures
Examine the latest Canadian census data on ethnic diversity and projections for changes 20 years later.

Make a pie graph to represent the changing ethnic composition of Alberta from the most recent statistics compared to 20 years later, based on Statistics Canada figures and projections. Clearly indicate the shifts in ethnic composition by ethnic group. What are the biggest projected changes?
Alberta’s Francophone history:
  • explorers/voyageurs/​guides/interpreters
  • French main spoken language
  • Francophone immigration
  • French-speaking newcomers came from French Canada, New England, and other French-speaking countries in Europe
Catholic missionaries and many clerics founded towns where Francophone colonizers settled, including Vegreville, Plamondon, Morinville, Legal, Beaumont, and Rouleauville (Calgary).

minority language rights:
  • French-speaking Métis upheld French language rights and Francophones gradually moved to Alberta from Quebec and other provinces.
  • The first French settlement (1872) was established at Lamoureux; in the 1890s, French settlers were attracted by Father Jean-Baptiste Morin; and by 1898 the population around Edmonton numbered 2,250 first language French-speakers.
Father Lacombe (1827–1916), priest and pioneer

language rights – Manitoba Act (1870), North West Territories Act (1875), and F. W. G. Haultain and Alberta rights, 1886–1891
Francophones contributed to the establishment of the province of Alberta today.

The Francophone community remains a vibrant and significant part of the Alberta landscape.

French settlements, distinct from Métis communities, grew up around Edmonton from 1877 to the late 1890s.
Skills & Procedures
Create a timeline retracing Alberta’s Francophone history.

Identify Francophone contributions to Alberta history.

Compare the different local histories of St. Albert and Edmonton (still distinct) with Rouleauville and Calgary (the Calgary enclave was absorbed into the Mission District because it was the home of the French Catholic mission, but street signs provide clues to its French Catholic origins).

Cause and effect: What minority rights were extended in the Manitoba Act and what was the impact?
Immigration and racism: Sikhs and the Komagata Maru incident, 1896–1914:
  • refusal of port authorities to allow Komagata Maru to dock
  • arrival of the first Sikhs with some working on the railway, in forestry and lumbering
  • the first Sikh Temple established in Vancouver (1908)
Restrictive immigration policy affected the Sikhs and people of colour seeking refuge in Canada. Some 376 migrants on the Komagata Maru were blocked for two months from coming ashore. The Pacific coast province remained “British” and true to its name.
Skills & Procedures
Tackle an ethical issue: Baring the door to the Komagata Maru in 1914 was a clear act of racial discrimination. Explain why, referring to the evidence of what happened. Examine the composition of the groups that made up the passengers.
  • Why did they charter the boat?
  • What was its route?
  • What happened to them?
The religious affiliation of most Albertans is Christian, and the largest denominations are Roman Catholic, United, Anglican, Lutheran, and Baptist churches. There is growing ethnic and religious diversity in the population.

Canada and Alberta’s latest census data on Albertan and Canadian religious diversity

One of the largest Sikh temples in Canada is located just outside Edmonton. Most of Alberta's Jewish population lives in Calgary and Edmonton.
Freedom of religious practice is encouraged, but we sadly know from history that acceptance can come less easily—in part, because newcomers bring new and unfamiliar religious faiths and practices. But fear of the unknown can be no excuse for intolerance. Students will specifically study other faith traditions so that unfamiliar practices become respected and understood in a pluralistic society.
Skills & Procedures
Examine the latest census data on Albertan and Canadian religious diversity.

Research and produce a report on religious diversity in the local and surrounding community using the most recent Census Canada data.
great wave of immigration and settlement – the “Last Best West” campaign (1896–1905), arrival of Galicians/Ukrainians (Dr. Joseph Oleskiw and sponsored steamship voyages, 1895–1900, and Alberta promoter, John Plypow, Lamont, 1894)

gold rush and opening of the Klondike: gold discovered at Bonanza Creek, Yukon Territory, 1896, rush of 40,000 prospectors, depletion of gold deposits, closing of last mine, 1966

creation of the province – origin and terms of the Autonomy Act (1905), creating Alberta and Saskatchewan; Alberta’s F. W. G. Haultain fought for responsible government and favoured a larger Province of Buffalo

Black settlement in Alberta: early trek from Oklahoma into Canada, settling in Amber Valley (1909), Junkins (Wildwood), Keystone, and Campsie, Alberta; pioneer stories of Jefferson Davis Edwards and Agnes Leffler Perry; arrival of the Ku Klux Klan (1920s); racism and eventual disappearance of Amber Valley (1940s to 1971); success stories – lawyer Violet King and teacher Gwen Hooks

Early Chinese Canadian Pacific Railway workers and pioneers paved the way for further migrations, settling in larger centres. By 1910, Calgary, Edmonton, Medicine Hat, and Lethbridge all had Chinese districts. Most Chinese immigrants faced anti-Chinese sentiment and established local businesses, including stores and laundry services. The life story of former Edmonton football star Norman (Normie) Kwong (The China Clipper) and his family is a testament to their success.
Alberta experienced a slow, gradual transition to provincial status influenced by the advance of western settlement.

The “Last Best West” was the Canadian government’s European immigration campaign slogan under Wilfrid Laurier, promising free land for thousands of settlers.

The Klondike gold rush opened up the Yukon and people came through Alberta. It showed the hard realities of a boom-and-bust mining economy.

Joining the Dominion was the option favoured by Ottawa, but there were other alternative proposals, including Haultain’s plan for a larger North West province.

Early experiences of newcomers, such as Black settlers, Chinese workers and Hutterite farmers in Alberta illustrate what it’s like to face hardships in a new country.

Racism, discrimination, and exclusion were everyday realities, especially in the 1920s and 1930s. Some Black Albertans overcame prejudice and achieved individual success. Many Chinese pioneers persevered and established successful local businesses.
Skills & Procedures
Examine advertisements of the Last Best West campaign (1896–1905). What attracted early farmers? Would such a plan for Alberta work today?

Examine photographs of gold seekers in the Chilkoot Pass and explore the life of “Klondike Kate,” Kathleen Eloise Rockwell, known as Queen of the Yukon.

Examine the evidence: Study the Alberta Act and Autonomy Bill (1905) and describe the actual boundaries of Alberta.

Assess the significance of the growth and disappearance of Amber Valley over the years using sources including “Black Settlers Come to Alberta,” Alberta Land of Opportunity, and “The black people in the middle of nowhere; The lost community of Amber Valley, AB.”

Research the family history of Norman (Normie) Kwong, 1929–2016, the son of Chinese immigrants from Taishan, Guangdong, China, who entered Canada in 1907 and paid the head tax. Explain how Normie and his family overcame prejudice and achieved success in Alberta.
Christianity: principal teachings:
  • Jesus Christ is Son of God
  • the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit)
  • Sermon on the Mount
  • New Testament (including the four Gospels, that tell the life of Jesus)
  • Christmas
  • the Cross, crucifixion
  • Salvation, heaven and hell
  • well-known stories (parables) and teachings: good Samaritan; prodigal son; lost sheep; empty tomb; rich man and eye of a needle; meek inherit the earth; first shall be last; conversion on the road to Damascus.
Learning about what other people believe and what their religions mean in their daily life can break down prejudice.
Skills & Procedures
Describe the main ideas and beliefs of Christianity.
resilience of the Hutterites: The German-speaking Christian Anabaptist group arrived in Alberta from the American Mid-West after the First World War, settling in little colonies, seeking freedom of worship and escape from enforced military service. The Hutterites wore traditional clothing, lived in separate communities, and faced discrimination and limits on further purchase of rural land.
The Hutterites came seeking refuge and religious freedom and survived, overcoming local resistance and discrimination.
Skills & Procedures
Research and report on what you learn about Hutterites in Alberta, their religious beliefs, social and cultural life, and the sources of the resistance to their settlements. How did the Hutterites manage to survive in villages near Magrath, Cardston, and Pincher Creek and eventually secure a place for themselves in Alberta?
Judaism: principal teachings of the Jewish religion:
  • belief in one God
  • the Torah
  • covenant between God and the Jewish people
  • Old Testament
  • Ten Commandments
  • law, justice, and social responsibility
  • following Kosher Law (dietary law)
  • Well-known stories: Garden of Eden, Noah’s ark and the rainbow, Abraham, Isaac, and the Covenant; David and Goliath; Exodus from Egypt; Moses and parting of the Red Sea, the Ten Commandments, and the Promised Land; Destruction of Solomon’s Temple; Jonah and the Whale; Psalms.
Learning about what other people believe and what their religions mean in their daily life can break down prejudice.
Skills & Procedures
Describe the main ideas and beliefs of Judaism.
the first mosque on the prairies – The first mosque built in Canada, was Al-Rashid Mosque in Edmonton, Alberta. It was erected in 1938 and was initiated by a Muslim woman, Hilwie Hamdon, with funds from Jews, Christians, and Muslims. The mosque was supported by Mayor John Fry. There were about 700 Muslims in Canada at the time. The Al-Rashid Mosque was built shortly after the first U.S. mosque in Ross, North Dakota.
The mutual support across religious lines and the architecture of the “onion dome” and “cupola dome” churches of the prairies can tell us a lot about the history of Alberta.
Skills & Procedures
Study photographs of the Al-Rashid Mosque (1938).

What’s distinctive about the mosque’s dome? Who was the architect? Which aspects of the building reflected Greek Orthodox and Ukrainian influences? Distinguish between “onion” and “cupola” domes?
Islam: principal teachings of the Muslim religion:
  • The five pillars: 1) One God, Allah; 2) prayer; 3) alms (gifts); 4) fasting; 5) pilgrimage, Mecca
  • the Quran (Muslim holy book)
  • major Muslim stories from Islamic texts: Yusuf and his jealous brothers, Habil and Qabil, Harut and Marut, Suleyman, Dawud (David), jinn, and the Ant story, the prophet Yunus, Ibrahim’s courage, miracles of Allah, story of the heifer, belief in angels, Mohammed and the Archangel Gabriel in the cave
Learning about what other people believe and what their religions mean in their daily life can break down prejudice.
Skills & Procedures
Describe the main ideas and beliefs of Islam.
Hinduism: principal teachings of the Hindu religion:
  • Dharma (ethical conduct); karma (the consequences of one’s actions in life for the future of one’s soul); immortality of the soul (atman) through cycles of rebirth or reincarnation (samsara) until the soul achieves liberation (moksha) from this cycle.
  • Hindus believe in a supreme, all-encompassing being called Brahman, as well as many gods and goddesses, including Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma, Ganesh, Rama, and Krishna.
  • The Hindu holy books are called the Vedas
  • Hinduism is the oldest of the major world religions, with its origins pre-dated recorded history; it has no human founder and has many traditions and practices.
Buddhism: principal teachings of the Buddhist religion:
  • By following a series of ethical disciplines and spiritual practices (the Three Universal Truths, the Four Noble Truths, and the Eightfold Path) a sentient being can transcend all suffering and attachment to impermanent things and attain nirvana, a non-self or enlightened emptiness free of all attachments.
  • Buddhism grew out of Hinduism and is based on the teachings of called the Buddha, whom Buddhists believe was born Siddhārtha Gautama and lived in the 4th or 5th Century BC in what is now modern day Nepal and India.
  • Meditation is a common spiritual practice of Buddhism, and monasticism has played an important part in the teaching and preservation of the religion.
Sikhism: principal teachings of the Sikh religion: One God, religious faith founded by Guru Nanak, Dev Ji, eleven gurus have guided Sikhism; Five Tenets of Sikh faith: compassion: Bhai Daya Singh; duty: Bhai Dharam Singh; courage: Bhai Himmat Singh; honour: Bhai Mohkum Singh; royal: Bhai Sahib Singh; three golden rules or guiding principles:
  • Kirit Karo: work hard and earn/make a living honestly, without exploitation or fraud
  • Vand Chakko: sharing with others, helping those with less who are in need
  • Naam Japo: meditating on God's name to control the five weaknesses (thieves) of the human personality
Sikhism is a distinct religion, even though it exhibits Islamic and Hindu influences. The Sikh community has both religious and secular followers. It is a relatively new religion that arose at the same time as Protestantism in the Christian faith.
Learning about what other people believe and what their religions mean in their daily life can break down prejudice.
Skills & Procedures
Describe the main ideas and beliefs of Hinduism.

Describe the main ideas and beliefs of Buddhism.

Describe the main ideas and beliefs of Sikhism.
Confucianism and Taoism: principal teachings of Confucius: Follow Dao de Jing, the Tao, or “The Way.” The essential Analects of Confucius:
  • concept of ren (virtue, right conduct, humaneness, benevolence)
  • concepts of family, relationships, citizenship, and government
Fundamental questions:
  • What is the Dao or Tao?
  • What is De, virtue?
  • How is De related to Dao?
  • Why does every person deserve respect?
  • Could some persons deserve more respect than others?
  • What is an ideal human?
  • Is it possible to have an ideal government or society?
Guidance is provided by Confucius on each of these questions. He exemplified the ideal model of a “gentleman” (a well-cultivated and virtuous person, rather than someone belonging to a particular social class). The fundamental virtues:
  • honesty, reciprocity, and humaneness/benevolence
  • strong belief in traditional ritual, the family, and piety honouring family and ancestors
Learning about what other people believe and what their religions mean in their daily life can break down prejudice.
Skills & Procedures
Describe the main ideas and beliefs of Taoism and the principles of Confucianism.
Guiding Question
How were Indigenous people in early modern Canada affected by agreements, treaties, and legislation, including the residential school system?
Guiding Question
How do Canada and the United States compare when looking at interactions with Indigenous peoples and other racial minorities?
Learning Outcome
Students examine how the negotiation of treaties and the imposition of the Indian Act and the residential school system impacted First Nations, Métis, and Inuit in Canada, both in the past and present.
Learning Outcome
Students compare residential school policy and the early fight for racial equality Canada and the United States.
First Nations and Indigenous land rights: western expansion of settlement and the displacement of Indigenous peoples (treaty system)

The Indian Act, 1876 defined how First Nations communities were governed, who is an “Indian,” and who is excluded. Seeking to access more land, the Dominion government sought to assimilate Indigenous peoples into mainstream Canadian society. Amendments between 1880 and 1905 banned Indigenous peoples from conducting their own ceremonies, leaving the reserve without permission, purchasing alcohol, selling agricultural products, wearing regalia, and traditional dancing.
The Indian Act was created for the purpose of controlling and assimilating Indigenous peoples and communities in Canada in order to gain access to traditional Indigenous territories.

The Canadian government signed treaties with Indigenous communities across Canada to gain access to lands for settlement, resources, and railroad expansion.
Skills & Procedures
Describe how the Indian Act placed limitations on First Nations and communities and defined their legal status, rights, and privileges.

Examine the evidence: Why did Cree chiefs such as Mistahi-maskwa (Big Bear) and Pîhtokahanapiwiyin (Poundmaker) refuse to sign Treaty No. 6 in 1876? Explain why he claimed that the white man had no right to the land in the North West.

Read the terms of the treaty still in place in your region of Alberta. What do they say? Who are they between? How are they still relevant today? What does “We are all treaty people” imply?
Assimilation and American Indigenous residential schools

Assimilation was the explicit goal of American Indian Affairs policy with respect to educating Indigenous children in day and boarding schools. The United States government passed the Civilization Fund Act in 1819. Federal funds were provided to benevolent groups and church organizations to educate Indigenous peoples.

In 1824, the American government created a Bureau of Indian Affairs to administer the fund.

In 1891, the American government issued a compulsory attendance law that forced Indigenous children to be taken from their homes and placed in residential schools.
Religious organizations took primary responsibility for education of Indigenous children.

The Civilization Fund Act of 1819 was responsible for the assimilation of Indigenous people of the United States and led to the creation of residential schools.

Residential schools were managed by religious organizations and were tasked with assimilating Indigenous children into the mainstream culture, referred to as a “civilization process.”

Indigenous children were forced to abandon their traditional languages, cultures, and practices.
Skills & Procedures
Identify the ultimate goal of American Indian policy: Why did the United States government seek to educate Indigenous children into mainstream American culture? What lessons can be learned from the experience?

Examine the impact of the compulsory attendance law and its effects on Indigenous peoples and cultures.

Compare two Indigenous affairs policies, the Civilization Fund Act and the Canadian Indian Act of 1876, to identify similarities and differences. Compile a comparison chart identifying the key similarities and differences in the two approaches.
Origins of Indigenous residential schools: The Indian Act was amended in 1884 so that attendance at residential schools was mandatory for Indigenous children from the ages of 7 to 16.

Impact on Indigenous boarding school students:
  • Students in residential schools were not allowed to speak their own languages or practice their culture.
  • Parents who resisted turning over their children to the Indian Agents faced fines, imprisonment, or threats of permanent loss of their children.
  • Conditions of the residential schools were poor and family visitors were restricted or denied.
  • Instruction styles and structures were different from traditional learning systems of Indigenous communities.
  • Students were forced to abandon their languages and traditional customs and practices.
The curriculum was focused on vocational occupations. Thousands of residential school students died and those that re-entered mainstream society are known as “survivors.”

Disease, malnutrition, lack of medical care, and neglect of children contributed to thousands of deaths. Former residential school students are known as “survivors” and the whole system remains a black mark on Canada’s national reputation as a compassionate, tolerant, and caring society.
The harsh realities of the Canadian Indigenous residential school system from 1884 to the 1970s remained largely hidden until recent years. The full scope of the tragedy was revealed in June 2015 with the release of Justice Murray Sinclair’s major report for the federal Truth and Reconciliation Commission (2008–2015).
Skills & Procedures
Listen to an Interview with Chief Wilton Littlechild on the residential school experience. How does Chief Littlechild tell how he survived and eventually become a successful lawyer in Alberta and advocate at the United Nations?

Examine the evidence: Consider the mistreatment of Indigenous residential school students.
  • Why is it important to know about what occurred?
  • How does this knowledge support reconciliation?
Racial segregation on the North American western frontier: the rise and fall of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK): Racial intolerance broke out into the open with the arrival of the KKK, revived in Georgia in 1915, spreading from its southern base into the American and Canadian West from 1920 to 1923. The KKK targeted the Black community, people of colour, and Catholic and Jewish people. The slogan “One Flag, One Language, One School, One Race, One Religion” attracted thousands who held mass meetings, carried torches, and tormented Black people and other groups from the 1920s, until well into the 1930s in Canada. The activities of the KKK are diminished and are no longer openly practised in Canada. In Canada, it is unlawful for one group to promote hatred of another group.
The Ku Klux Klan appealed to Americans and Canadians who felt distracted by social changes and the advances of groups they believed were inferior. Deep racial prejudice and a misguided and anti-scientific belief in the inherent superiority of one race over another fueled the movement. The KKK sought to enforce racial segregation, such as keeping Black people and other groups out of mainstream white society. In some places, it was such a powerful organization that, especially in the southern United States, some politicians, policemen, and even judges were members.
Skills & Procedures
Examine the evidence:
  • Where was KKK membership the highest?
  • Why did it find some support in Canada?
The impact and abuses were documented in the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission report, which issued 94 “Calls to Action.”
The tragedy of Canada’s Indigenous residential schools is better known since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission investigations and report. Personal testimonies are revealing and one of the most powerful is Chief Wilton Littlechild, a Cree from Erminiskin Reserve, Alberta, raised largely at residential schools from 1951–1964.
Skills & Procedures
Read aloud passages from the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (2015) and take notes to summarize the key findings and most important recommendations.

Asking fundamental questions: How have Indigenous people been affected by the loss of language and culture?
Organizing Idea
Civics: Canada’s constitutional monarchy, democracy, rule of law, and citizenship are understood through knowledge of the origins and development of various contrasting political traditions and ideas.
Guiding Question
What shaped the government and politics of Alberta and makes the province unique?
Guiding Question
What are the similarities and differences between First Nations and Canadian forms of government?
Guiding Question
How does the American political system compare to Canada’s political system, and what are some of the most important reasons for those differences?
Learning Outcome
Students explore the transfer of Rupert’s Land, Treaties, the establishment of a provincial government, and political ideas that advanced the development of Alberta.
Learning Outcome
Students compare and contrast governing structures, laws, and practices of the Iroquois Confederacy and Canadian forms of government.
Learning Outcome
Students compare democracy and rulership, constitutions, the rule of law, community responsibility, and individual rights in Canada and the United States.
transfer of Rupert’s Land to the Dominion of Canada (1869) and its impact on Alberta – a new frontier for Western expansion, controlled by Ottawa, 1869–1905

Treaties and reserve system: The British Crown negotiated treaties with First Nations peoples in Alberta territory – Treaty 6 (Central Alberta, Carlton and Fort Pitt, 1876); Treaty 7 (Southern Alberta, Blackfoot Crossing, Fort Macleod, 1877), and Treaty 8 (Northern Alberta at Lesser Slave Lake, 1899). Three treaties, 45 First Nations on 140 reserves, covering 812,771 hectares of reserve land

Treaties are living documents that still apply today and are a foundational part of Alberta.

struggle for provincial rights: Frederick W. G. Haultain and the struggle for self-government – the first clash with Ottawa – the Haultain Resolution (1892) and amendments, status as advocate of responsible government in Alberta
What is now Alberta was transferred from the British Crown to the Dominion Government in Ottawa, a step on the road to territorial self-government.

First Nations and the Crown each had reasons for the signing of treaties.

Each treaty is unique and included provisions related to land use and rights.

All people living in Alberta are Treaty people.

Prominent member of the Territorial Legislative Council, Frederick W. G. Haultain of Fort MacLeod, Alberta, challenged British Colonial Office representative Lieutenant-Governor Edgar Dewdney, and campaigned for “responsible government” – a government accountable to the people’s elected representatives.
Skills & Procedures
Identify the extent and boundaries of Rupert’s Land at the time of the transfer to Canadian government administration.

Make a chart showing the three major treaties in Alberta, the main date and location of the signing, the region covered, and provisions included within each treaty and representative nations.

Discuss the meaning of “We are all Treaty people.”

Weigh differing viewpoints: Does Frederick W. G. Haultain deserve more recognition as the father of responsible government in Alberta?
The Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) Confederacy, established by Five Nations in Upper State New York borderlands, provides a window onto Indigenous governance structures and democratic principles. The law was written on wampum belts, conceived by Dekanawidah, known as the Great Peacemaker, and his spokesperson, Hiawatha.

The Great Law of Peace, or Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) Confederacy constitution, provided a statement of the core principles of cooperation and set of laws committed to mutual support for group strength and support, survival, and respectful relationships with others. The Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) Confederacy was made up of five nations: Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca. A sixth nation, the Tuscarora, was added in 1722.

The Great Law Of Peace established how the confederacy would be governed, how conflicts would be resolved, and how peace would be upheld. Each nation would maintain its own council, with chiefs chosen by the clan mothers, to address community matters. The grand council addressed overall issues affecting the whole confederacy and was intended as a way to unite the different nations and create a peaceful means of decision making to live in harmony.

The Iroquois Confederacy was a matrilineal society, where women, clan mothers, had considerable political authority and influence and the clans were made up of extended family who took responsibility for protection, leadership, peacemaking, wisdom, and spirituality. Membership in a clan could be hereditary or through community appointment, marriage, or adoption.

The people of the longhouse: A longhouse was a dwelling for several families and also functioned as a central place for decision making and cultural gatherings.
The Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) Confederacy is a model of a good government—a federated union of nations, united with common democratic principles, laws, and practices aimed at maintaining peace and harmony and providing standards of conduct. It was cooperative and the nations were bound together in an interdependent relationship with give and take between the member nations.

The confederacy was a matriarchal (women-led) society, unlike early European society headed by men with a patriarchal line of authority, kings, and male-dominant culture.

Women were the heads of society as they were recognized for their gifts. Clan mothers were responsible for selecting a male leader as spokesperson or chief. The system modelled showing respect, sharing supplies, and avoiding conflict as ways of living together. Everyone was expected to perform specific functions to ensure community well-being and security.
Skills & Procedures
Examine the evidence: Identify the main provisions of the Great Law Of Peace (Haudenosaunee Guide for Educators).

Asking questions:
  • What opportunities did the people have to participate in decision making?
  • To what extent did the confederacy embrace the principles of equity and fairness?
Weighing the viewpoints: Did the Great Law Of Peace shape American democracy?
American Declaration of Independence: Thomas Jefferson’s Vision, 1776:

The core ideas of American democratic creed were captured in the famous Declaration that gave birth to the Republic:
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another … a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation ...

A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people ...

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness ...

Democracy in America:
  • Alexis de Tocqueville’s Vision (1835): One of the classic descriptions of the American democratic way of life was written by a French aristocrat, Alexis de Tocqueville, after a tour of the United States in the 1830s.
  • His book, Democracy in America, presented a description of American democratic ways and view of the equality of people in mainstream society.
The American Revolution spirit, expressed in the Declaration of Independence, may have given birth to two countries, the United States by design and Canada by accident, in reaction against the revolutionaries.

A segment of the American population, called British Tories, resisted American independence and some migrated to Canada as United Empire Loyalists.

The Loyalist refugees included two notable groups who refused to join in the Revolution, former American slaves of African heritage, and a colony of Iroquois, led by chief Joseph Brant, displaced by the war who settled around Brantford as the Six Nations of Grand River.

The French observer Alexis de Tocqueville, studying the American prison system, noted the more humane approach in the treatment of convicts. While French prisons were brutal and harsh places full of human abuses, he noted that the United States considered isolation and removal of freedom to be a harsh enough sentence.
Skills & Procedures
Identify the significance of the two different reactions to the conditions that gave rise to the American Revolution.
  • Why were Americans inspired to take up arms and overthrow British rule in the Thirteen Colonies?
  • Were the American colonies suffering under British rule and, if so, how?
  • How might have the King of England, George III, acted differently?
Asking key questions about Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence: The document proclaimed that “all men are created equal,” yet its prime author was a Virginia slave owner.
  • Did Jefferson see the contradiction (“I tremble for my country when reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever”)?
  • How was this quote realized in the bloody American Civil War?
  • How long did it take for these ideals to be realized in the United States?
Debate the issue: Write a short speech defending the American Revolution or rejecting the appeal of the American patriots bent on breaking away from British rule and traditions.

Weighing different perspectives:
  • How did American society and its prisons look to the French social reformer Alexis de Tocqueville?
  • Why did he view the new world society differently?
provincial government in Alberta: established following first election (1905), with a small Provincial Assembly of 25 seats and some 25,336 voters, which expanded to 59 seats and 298,087 voters in 1921, when the United Farmers of Alberta (UFA) took power
The Alberta Legislative Assembly is based in Edmonton, the provincial capital, and the province is governed by a Premier in Council (with his cabinet), based upon the British parliamentary system. Unlike the federal government, there is only one legislative body, not two (House of Commons and Senate), as in Ottawa.
Skills & Procedures
Discuss and debate: “One House of Assembly is all Alberta needs to provide sound and effective government.”
Original Canadian constitution: The British North America Act, passed into law March 29, 1867, and effective July 1, 1867 (Dominion Day, later Canada Day)

The British North America Act established a constitutional monarchy with a British parliamentary system, composed of a Parliament with two legislative bodies, the House of Commons (elected lower house with Members of Parliament from across Canada) and the Senate (appointed upper house), representing the provinces.

The Canadian system is a federal system with a federal/national government and provincial governments with power shared between the two levels. In the preamble to Section 91, the national government is responsible for “peace, order, and good government.”

The official head of state remained the King or Queen, as represented by the Governor General (King or Queen’s representative) and the prime minister governed with the support of the elected council (cabinet) or the ministry.

Governing authority is based upon the fundamental principle of “responsible government” (powers of monarch limited by the constitution), especially by the powers of Parliament.
The original British Westminster model simply conferred on the Dominion government “all the rights and privileges” found in the British tradition embodied in constitutional monarchy with parliamentary power at the heart of government.

“Peace, order, and good government” are considered the core political values, in stark contrast to the United States principle of “life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

The Canadian government system is modelled after the British system with ideas borrowed from the United States and also found in Australia.
Skills & Procedures
Examine the evidence: Compare two different views of Confederation of Governor General Lord Monck and John A. Macdonald.

Develop and produce a short comparison chart comparing the compromise: Canadian constitution with the Iroquois Great Law of Peace, using the following headings:
  • basic philosophy
  • federal system
  • main decision-making body
  • process for making decisions
  • role of women in political society
Project learning: Complete a project, produce a short report, and a plan for an interview with a major historical figure in Canada’s early history. Choose one of the following figures:
  • John A. Macdonald
  • Louis Riel
  • Big Bear
  • Poundmaker
  • Crowfoot
  • Shanawdithit
  • Aatsista-Mahkan
  • Harriet Tubman
  • Mary Ann Shadd
  • Josiah Henson
  • Susanna Moodie
  • George Brown
  • George E. Cartier
  • Hector Langevin
  • Mercy Coles
  • George Simpson
  • Alexander Mackenzie
  • F. W. G. Haultain
  • Amor de Cosmos
  • Donald A. Smith
  • Sam Steele
  • Gabriel Dumont
  • George Vancouver
  • James Douglas
  • Simon Fraser
  • John Molson
  • Mildred Ware
  • Pat Burns
  • John Palliser
  • Henry Wise Wood
  • Matthew Begbie
  • Wilfrid Laurier
  • Honore Mercier
  • A. C. Rutherford
  • Charles Stanley Monck
  • Stephen Angulialik
  • Peter Pitseolak
  • Lucy Maud Montgomery
  • Nellie McClung
  • Emily Murphy
  • Henrietta Muir Edwards
  • Louise McKinney
  • Irene Parlby
Two constitutions: the American republic and Canadian constitutional monarchy

Responsible government means the cabinet is responsible to the elected House in Canada.

In Canada, the government governs in the name of the Sovereign (Her Majesty’s Government and Her Majesty’s loyal Opposition). Ministers of the Crown are accountable to Parliament, and the government must call a new election if it loses the “confidence of the House”
(Eugene Forsey, How Canadians Govern Themselves).

The US has a veto system to ensure checks and balances on arbitrary rule.
Each political system, a republic and a constitutional monarchy, have their own strengths and flaws.

Canada is a constitutional monarchy while the United States is a republic.

The Westminster system is known as “a republic in disguise,” while the US has something like an “elected monarch with term limits.”
Skills & Procedures
Draw a comparison: Explain the qualities and drawbacks of each system using an authoritative handbook, such as How Canadians Govern Themselves, by Senator Eugene Forsey.

Draw comparisons in a chart listing the key differences and similarities between Canada’s constitutional monarchy and a republican form of government.

Explain to what extent the Westminster system is actually “a republic in disguise,” while the US has something like an “elected monarch with term limits.”

Assessing significance: Why is the phrase “peace, order, and good government” considered important in Canada?
Government has three branches:
  • executive (Governor-General-in-Council/cabinet, including the prime minister)
  • legislative (two houses of Parliament)
  • judiciary (courts, including the Supreme Court)
Checks and balances in the system: The Governor General is appointed, but the executive is elected and drawn from Parliament, normally the elected House of Commons. Since the executive (prime minister and cabinet/ministry) is drawn from Parliament, it can be defeated in the elected House. It’s different than in the United States, where the president can only be removed by Congress via formal impeachment and conviction process.

Recent changes in the Canadian constitution: In 1982, Canada patriated its constitution from Britain and nine of the 10 Canadian provinces agreed with the federal government to a new constitution, which included most of the British North America Act (now the Constitution Act, 1867) and adding new provisions, most notably the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Now laws passed by Parliament and most actions of the government (executive) must comply with the provisions of the Charter.
The core principles of Canadian government were guaranteeing the rights and privileges of British parliamentary democracy, three distinct branches of government, checks and balances, and a federal system with power shared between two levels of government, national and provincial.
Skills & Procedures
Explain the rationale of having three branches of government and a system of checks and balances.
Federalism: Canada has
10 provinces and the US has 50 states, plus territories.

Each political community (country, province, state) has responsible government and is sovereign in its own sphere.
A federal system requires different political bodies to work together.
Skills & Procedures
Compare federal systems:
  • How do the two different forms of federalism compare?
  • What’s similar and different between the United States and Canada?
Separation of powers: Political powers are separated in both systems as a check on arbitrary decision making and to make it harder for one group of people, or faction, from gaining absolute power.

The Canadian Parliamentary-cabinet government is accountable to the House of Commons and ensures this principle.

The United States has separation of powers in Congress, presidency, and Supreme Court. Only Congress may declare war (though this has not been the practice since World War II) and ratify treaties.

Appointments must be confirmed by the US Senate.

The US Supreme Court is part of the judiciary, which is one of the three branches of government.

In the US system, Congress was given most of the power (the power to legislate and the “power of the purse”), although the presidency has increased in authority over time, with the growth of the federal administration in the 20th century. Similarly, the judiciary (especially the US Supreme Court) has come to exercise much more power over Congress and the executive branches than originally intended.

In Canada, the executive branch has the exclusive power of appointment, declaration of war, and making treaties. (For a treaty to be binding in Canadian law, it must be incorporated into law by Parliament, like any other law.)

The British North America Act (BNA), 1867 allowed for Canada to create its own Supreme Court. Initially, the Supreme Court was formalized in 1875 under Alexander Mackenzie’s Liberal government. A Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in the United Kingdom served as the place for final appeals under Canadian law until 1933 for criminal cases and 1949 for civil cases.

Voting rights did not always apply equally for women, First Nations, Métis, and Inuit, or for people of colour.
Separation of powers was inspired by the constitution of Athens and the Roman Republic. The American founding fathers were educated in this classical political history and it informed how they built the constitution of their “modern” democracy.

The system in Canada is different from the United States as the concentration of power is in the executive (the “government” or the “cabinet” or the “ministry,” made up of ministers and the prime minister, which is accountable to Parliament). Members of the House of Commons are, in turn, accountable to the people via elections.
Skills & Procedures
Explain the background context: Explain clearly where the idea of the separation of powers comes from in ancient times and how the Americans applied it to their new republic.

Drawing conclusions: Explain how the Canadian (British Westminster) system is built around a concentration of power in the executive.

Cause and effect:
  • How long have Canada’s First Nations had the right to vote in federal elections?
  • How did they acquire the right to vote in federal elections?
  • Who supported extending voting rights?
  • What were the obstacles, and how were they overcome?
  • Compare the Canadian situation with that in the United States.
Two houses of government: The legislative branch of both systems is bicameral, meaning it has two chambers rather than one legislative body or assembly.

The federal Parliament in Canada has two houses, the House of Commons and the Senate, and the United States has two houses of Congress, the Senate, and the House of Representatives.

Some of Canada’s provinces had upper houses but all are now unicameral.
  • fixed terms and fixed election dates in the US
  • elected Senate vs. appointed Senate
In Canada, members of parliament are elected while senators are appointed. In the United States, Congress people, the president, and senators are all elected to provide regional representation and each state has equal representation (two per state).

Regional representation in Canada: Provinces are allocated weighted representation in the House of Commons, and the Crown recognizes certain groups left out of the system. Senate representation is by region, not by either equal representation (as in the United States) or by population.

First Nations have recognized status. It was granted to First Nations before they acquired voting rights in the system (section 35 of Constitution).
The United States and Canada both have bicameral systems to ensure checks and balances against arbitrary use of power. The president is restrained by Congress, and the prime minister is accountable to the House of Commons and the Canadian Senate reviews all legislation to ensure “sober second thought” before bills become law.

The Canadian Senate is appointed by the Governor-in-Council on the advice of the prime minister, and senators can serve up the age of 75, whereas the United States Senate is elected directly to six-year terms by the people of each state and senators can serve as many terms as they are elected for.
Skills & Procedures
Compare the make-up of the United States Congress (House of Representatives and Senate) and the Canadian Parliament (House of Commons and Senate).
  • How are they similar?
  • How are they different?
  • Why are some provinces in Canada given more representation in the House of Commons or the Senate than others?
  • What are the barriers to providing more representation to underrepresented provinces?
Debate the issue:
  • Does Canada need an appointed federal upper house or Senate?
  • What role does the Senate of Canada actually play in our government system?
  • Why did the provinces do away with their second houses?
Overall powers in the two systems: Sections 91 and 92 of the Canadian constitution divide powers of government between the federal government (which used to sometimes be called the “Dominion government”) and the provincial governments.

Section 91 of the Canadian Constitution says, “It shall be lawful for the Queen, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate and House of Commons, to make Laws for the Peace, Order, and Good Government of Canada, in relation to all Matters not coming within the Classes of Subjects by this Act assigned exclusively to the Legislatures of the Provinces.” It says “the Queen,” but in practice this means the federal parliament.
Federations like Canada and the United States divide powers between the federal and provincial/state governments in different ways.
Skills & Procedures
Compare: List the powers of the federal government and the powers of the provincial governments.
  • Why do you think power was divided the way it was?
  • How does the fact of federal taxation let the federal government influence how provinces exercise their powers (federal spending power)?
  • How do cities (municipal government) fit into this (creations of provincial government)?
Organizing Idea
Geography: Understanding the world we live in, and the relationship of people and places, is supported by knowing features of the natural and political world, such as oceans, mountain ranges, and boundaries.
Guiding Question
How does geographic knowledge support understanding of Alberta’s past and present?
Guiding Question
What do geographic representations tell us about the natural features of Canada?
Guiding Question
What do historical maps show us about changes over time in terms of migration, conflict, and boundary changes?
Learning Outcome
Students examine people, places, locations, and boundaries related to Alberta over time.
Learning Outcome
Students examine landform regions, major bodies of water, climate zones, and political boundaries in Canada.
Learning Outcome
Students examine continental migrations of people, cross-border conflicts, and boundary changes in a spatial context.
The North West Territories was divided in 1882 into five administrative districts, including Alberta, Athabasca, Assiniboine East, Assiniboine West, and Saskatchewan.

Geographic locations can be described using specific positioning on the globe. Places in Alberta are located at meridians of longitude and parallels of latitude. Longitude starts at the Prime Meridian in Greenwich, UK (0 degrees longitude) and latitude starts at the equator (0 degrees latitude). The International Date Line is 180 degrees longitude. Time zones follow the meridians.

Alberta place names have a wide variety of origins and can be different in Indigenous languages.

Local place names with French origins include Lamoureux, Leduc, Lacombe, Bonnyville, Morinville, Beaumont, Trochu, Riviere-qui-Barre, and Vegreville.
The names of two of the five original districts became the official names of the two provinces of the Dominion in 1905, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

All places in Alberta, Canada, and the world have specific geographic locations on the globe, at intersection points of latitude and longitude.

Indigenous names for places help to explain their history and significance.

Alberta has approximately 2000 communities and natural sites with French-influenced names.
Skills & Procedures
Draw a map of the division of the North West Territories in 1882, showing the locations of each of the five districts and then draw the actual boundaries of the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan as of their creation in 1905.

Test your geographic skills: Find the geographic locations of towns and cities in Alberta, including Edmonton, Calgary, Vegreville, Lloydminster, Lac La Biche, Banff, Brooks, and Pincher Creek.

Examine place names: Some local Indigenous language place names include Edmonton (Beaver Hills House, Cree), Calgary (Elbow, Blackfoot) and Fort Chipewyan (Land of Willows, Dene).

Identify the location of Francophone settlements and draw a map identifying the original French settlement towns.
Traditional Indigenous lands in early Canada: geographic locations of the First Nations people at the time of contact with Europeans: Times of contact vary, depending upon the region. For the East Coast and the St. Lawrence River-Great Lakes region, the date was 1534 (Jacques Cartier’s records). For the southern Plains, it was 1754. For the West coast, it was 1778.
First Nation, Métis, and Inuit territories and regions can best be understood in connection to land, kinship ties, seasonal travel routes and settlements, trade networks, cultural groups, and language families. Most maps are snapshots in time that do not capture the migration patterns of Indigenous peoples over time.
Skills & Procedures
Examine a map of Canada showing First Nations peoples at first contact with Europeans, and identify the regions inhabited by First Nations, Métis, and Inuit in what is now Canada.
  • Why do the First Nations have two names?
  • Why did the names get “anglicized”?
Identify and trace the seasonal travel routes or trade networks of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit.

Understand historical First Nations east-west and north-south trade routes with other First Nations communities. For example, communities now located in Alberta traded with communities (Navajo, Blackfeet) located in the United States.
Migrations of First Nations and Inuit before European contact: First Nations and Inuit in northern North America did not live in one place over the entire span of the 30 000 years before contact with Europeans. Archeological finds and surviving records have been used to reconstruct those movements. Some First Nations were more settled in concentrated communities, while others migrated from place to place in response to changes in climate, growing seasons, and the movement of animal herds.

Displacement of the First Nations: The disruptive process of displacement is graphically illustrated in the map tracing the forced relocation of various First Nations from 1770 to 1890. The trail of tears of the Cherokee from 1816 to 1839 is well known, but many others have gone unrecognized in most history books.
Conventional maps showing Indigenous peoples before European contact living in distinct areas tend to simplify the pattern of settlement and obscure the movement of peoples over time.

Maps reveal the extent of displacement of Indigenous peoples in what is now the United States.
Skills & Procedures
Compare two maps: Examine maps showing traditional territories of Indigenous peoples and the migrations of Indigenous peoples before contact with Europeans in northern North America. Why is it so difficult to get an accurate picture in maps?

Draw conclusions: Examine a map showing the displacement of Indigenous peoples in North America.
  • What caused the upheaval and displacement of America’s Indigenous peoples?
  • How does the pattern compare with the experience to the north in British North America and early Canada?
Landforms maps show the surface relief and elevations above sea level of physical features across the whole landscape, showing mountains, hills, valleys, passes, and small depressions (coulees).

Map scales provide a way of calculating distance from one place to another on a map, usually measured in either centimetres to kilometres or inches to miles.
Alberta is a province with vast plains, mountains, foothills, hills, and many lakes, rivers, and creeks. Elevations above sea level range from the lowest point at Slave River Valley (573 feet [175 metres]) to the highest point at Mount Columbia (12,294 feet [3,747 metres]).
Skills & Procedures
Calculate the change in elevation from Fort Chipewyan to the Crowsnest Pass in the Rocky Mountains. (That’s the kind of climb Alexander Mackenzie undertook by canoe and on foot in the 1790s.)

Use a map scale: Take out a map of Alberta or find one on the Internet with a map scale at the bottom. Calculate the distance in kilometres travelled by the North West Mounted Police from Regina to Duck Lake during the 1885 Métis uprising.
A geographic region encompasses landforms, bodies of water, climate, and natural barriers.

Landform regions of Canada:
  • Canadian Shield
  • Great Lakes
  • St. Lawrence Lowlands
  • Appalachian Region
  • Interior Plains
  • Hudson Bay or Arctic Lowlands
  • Western Cordillera
  • Innuitian Mountains
Main bodies of water:
  • Atlantic Ocean
  • Pacific Ocean
  • Arctic Ocean
  • Gulf of St. Lawrence
  • St. Lawrence River and Seaway
  • Great Lakes
  • Hudson Bay and James Bay
  • Nootka Sound
  • Salish Sea and Strait of Georgia
  • major rivers, including the Mackenzie, Fraser, Thompson Columbia, and North and South Saskatchewan River systems
Climate zones of Canada: Seven major climate zones have been identified:
  • Atlantic
  • Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Lowlands
  • Prairie
  • Cordillera
  • Pacific
  • Arctic
  • Subarctic
A landform region is an area of physical landscape space with unifying characteristics, such as continuous open water, mountain, plateau, valley, or lowland terrain.

A climate zone is an area of physical landscape with identifiable common climate and weather characteristics.

Climate is a region’s weather over a long period. Each of the zones depends on conditions such as proximity to large bodies of water, altitude, and latitude. The major determinant of whether a climate zone is hot or cold is its latitude, or geographic position north of the equator.
Skills & Procedures
Mapping skills: On an outline map of Canada, draw the main landform regions, bodies of water, and major river systems.

Conduct Internet research: Investigate the Indigenous names of these bodies of water and the reasons why Europeans renamed them.

Making connections: How are the climate zones related to the region’s position on the globe and in relation to major bodies of water and physical landscape features?

Research and write a report on Canada’s Arctic, focusing on one of the following themes:
  • climate and weather
  • physical landforms
  • geographic boundaries
  • Indigenous communities
  • economic activities
  • politics and government
Border disputes and conflicts: Sharing a continent with the American Thirteen Colonies and the American republic has not always been a peaceful experience. Since 1775, a number of cross-border conflicts can be identified:
  • American invasion of Quebec during the Revolution (1775)
  • War of 1812: American invasion of Upper Canada (1812–1813) and Lower Canada (1813)
  • Oregon boundary dispute (1844–1846)
  • the Canadian Confederates St. Albans raid (Vermont, 1864)
  • Fenian raids in Niagara frontier (battle of Ridgeway, 1866)
  • Alaska boundary dispute (1867–1903)
Historic maps showing changing boundaries over time are important and useful in helping to understand border disputes and colonial continental wars.

The North American boundary line between the United States and Canada was a “defended border” up until the Treaty of Washington (1871) and it was marked by cross-border raids and boundary disputes. All of the boundary disputes were eventually resolved at the negotiating table. Since 1871, the border has been largely undefended, making it “the longest undefended border in the world.”
Skills & Procedures
Draw a map and explain the border conflict: Choose one of the border conflicts and conduct research to reconstruct the sequence of events and examine previous maps generated to explain your chosen conflict. Prepare to provide an illustrated explanation of the conflict.
Organizing Idea
Economics: Knowledge of basic economic concepts, such as needs, wants, resources, labour, innovation, trade, and capital, will build toward an understanding of economic systems.
Guiding Question
How are goods and services exchanged in trade?
Guiding Question
What does the economy look like in the different regions of Canada?
Guiding Question
What does economics tell us about the global economy and the continental relationship in North America?
Learning Outcome
Students examine trade and transportation and its influence on the distribution of goods and services, past and present.
Learning Outcome
Students examine the economic regions of Canada.
Learning Outcome
Students compare the relative economic strength of the United States and Canada and examine where North America fits in the world economy.
balance of trade in the fur trade of the North West – a case study examining the Fort Chipewyan trade region, 1822 to 1899, signing of Treaty No. 8 (Patricia A. McCormack, Fort Chipewyan and the Shaping of Canadian History, 1788–1920s, 2010, Map, p. 5)

timeline of important events:
  • 1822 – first York Boats built at Fort Chipewyan
  • 1826 – Hudson’s Bay Company withdrew liquor from trading district
  • 1869 – Hudson’s Bay Company monopoly ended when Rupert’s Land surrendered to Canada
  • 1881 – small pox epidemic
  • 1882–1883 – Fort Chipewyan bypassed by HBC trail to Athabasca Landing
  • 1886 – Transportation by York Boats ended
  • 1887 – Great famine
  • 1893–1898 – Gold seekers passed through on route to Klondike
A balance sheet shows the difference between revenues coming in (for goods and services) in relation to expenses (costs going out) in a business or trading area. The balance sheet is directly affected by surrounding economic conditions and ups and downs caused by changing conditions.
Skills & Procedures
Make a balance sheet for trade at Fort Chipewyan from 1822 to 1898, plotting the ups and downs of total trade (profits vs. losses) in relation to the ups and downs of conditions.
The three basic economic questions:
  • What to produce?
  • How to produce?
  • For whom to produce?
Market economy: A type of economy most often associated with Western countries, such as Canada and the United States.

Main characteristics of a market economy:
  • originated with the rise of trade and commerce in the market towns of the Middle Ages
  • includes private property, freedom of choice, competition, limited government intervention
  • prices and wages mostly set by supply and demand for goods and services
All economies respond to the three basic questions in different ways, and, in the case of Canada, the economy is generally governed by the market with some government involvement to promote sharing of services and resources.

Scarcity is the condition of not being able to have all of the goods and services that are needed or desired.

In a market economy, consumers and businesses play a determining role in economic life.
Skills & Procedures
Analyze the economy of Canada: Why is Canada’s economy often described as a mixed market economy?

How does the market respond to the problem of scarcity? Who makes most of the economic decisions—consumers or governments?
The global or world economy is a term used to describe the economic activity within and between countries.

A world economy can include
  • trade of goods and services
  • sharing of economic values
  • production
  • distribution
  • consumption
Production is the making of a good or service.

Distribution refers to supplying goods or services to business to sell to consumers.

Consumption is the good or service being used or consumed.

Great inequalities exist among national economies in the world and the problem is termed “the widening gap.”
The global economy is dominated by a few major national economies, led by the United States, China, the European Union, and Russia, based upon volume of domestic production (gross domestic product).

Inequalities exist between national economies, separating the advanced industrial economies from the developing countries. The United States and Canada are both advanced industrial economies with high rates of production measured in GDP per person.

Production and consumption are connected, and more advanced economies produce more than they consume and increase their wealth, measured in national income and income per capita/person.
Skills & Procedures
Study the production (gross domestic product) of the top 10 nations in the world economy and the comparable figures for the 10 nations at the bottom in terms of GDP per capita.
  • Why do we use production and production per capita as an economic indicator?
  • Is it an accurate measure of relative prosperity?
  • What are other ways to measure a society?
  • Compare rankings of countries by happiness, corruption, consumption, and carbon footprint (total and per capita) to rankings by GDP and per capita GDP.
What can happen to an economy over time if it is dependent on resources that can make big swings up and down in value (boom and bust)? What are the advantages of a more diversified economy?
Transportation hubs are important to Alberta’s trade and economic activity and changed from the early years to modern times from waterway and railway centres to highway junctions and airports.
Changes in means of transportation can affect which places are transportation hubs as the Albertan and Canadian economy continues to diversify.
Skills & Procedures
Identify and compare major Alberta transportation hubs in 1800, 1900, and 2000.

Make a map of major Alberta transportation hubs and trace the changes in Alberta, over time. Where do they link to around Canada and the world?
Economic regions of Canada:
  • Atlantic Canada
  • Quebec
  • Ontario
  • the West
  • British Columbia
  • the North
Prosperity and wealth of a region can be influenced by its resources, their abundance and scarcity, including income, supply of labour, quality of land, and growing season.
Geographic circumstances can affect the property and development of regions and whether they are a reasonably wealthy “have” region or an underdeveloped or “have not” region.

Limited resources and/or difficult access can lead to scarcity and underdevelopment of some regions and communities.
Skills & Procedures
Examine the evidence: Compare the production of Canada’s economic regions, utilizing the latest gross domestic product (GDP) and GDP per capita/person figures for each region.
  • Which regions are the biggest producers in terms of production?
  • Which regions have the highest and lowest GDP per person?
  • Which regions are most diversified?
Identify and explain the disparities that exist between and within the economic regions of Canada.
Continental scale: comparing two national economies, the United States and Canada: some important economic facts and figures

Most recent data for both the United States and Canada:
  • population size
  • total land area
  • total production (GDP according to IMF)
  • gross domestic product, per capita
  • government debt (as % of GDP)
  • total trade (exports and imports)
  • fresh water (per person)
Comparing the basic facts for population, land area, and economic activity demonstrates that Canada is slightly bigger in physical size, but the United States has a much larger population and a much bigger economy. Close observers of United States-Canada relations commonly use a ratio of 10 to 1 in comparing the United States to Canada. That ratio is based upon relative population size.
Skills & Procedures
Examine the evidence:
  • How reliable is the ratio 10 to 1 in comparing the United States with Canada?
  • Study the basic facts and explain whether the ratio is a reliable guide in comparing the two countries. Does it apply to the scale of the economy, measured in production?
  • Should the 10 to 1 ratio be used in drawing comparisons?
Comparing world economic systems: Four main types of systems were identified by American economist Robert Heilbroner:
  • traditional: custom and tradition, bartering over goods (market towns)
  • command: government controlled and led or owned, cooperative (socialism/communism)
  • market: private enterprise, competition, consumer choice (capitalism)
  • mixed: a combination identified as mixed market or mixed command (social democracy or enterprise)
Three distinct types were first identified; then the last one added, representing a mix of command and the social market or the market and command.
World economic systems can be classified and better understood by studying their essential features and applying one of the four categories. Such classifications can change over time, usually following a political upheaval or an abrupt shift in economic policy by the government.
Skills & Procedures
Analyze economic systems of the United States and Canada, and develop a comparison chart examining the main features of each system. Do either of them fit the pure type, or are they both mixed economies?
Organizing Idea
Financial Literacy: Responsible choices to build a thriving life for self, family, and society are supported by knowledge, skills, and understanding of earning, investing, spending, borrowing, and financial security.
Guiding Question
Why is developing a business plan a good idea when managing an operation or planning a new project?
Guiding Question
Why do we save and invest in our everyday life?
Guiding Question
How do you prepare a budget for a small, local enterprise?
Learning Outcome
Students develop a business plan to support historical understandings of the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Learning Outcome
Students investigate how decisions about saving and investing are made and are important for individuals and a healthy Canadian economy.
Learning Outcome
Students create a budget as an essential step in managing an enterprise in a market economy.
Features of a business plan include
  • type of business
  • description of business
  • costs
  • market
  • tracking of revenue and expenses
  • profit
Planning and managing: Using a business plan involves studying the benefits in relation to costs and helps businesses be more successful.
Skills & Procedures
Identify basic features of a business plan.

Explain how a business plan helps to guide decision making in a business or in carrying out a new project.

Asking questions: How is your family like or unlike a business (budgeting, costs, profit)?
Basics of banking: Saving and investing has its own vocabulary:
  • bank account
  • saving
  • chequing
  • balance
  • deposits
  • withdrawals
  • debt
  • service fees
  • debit card
  • credit card
  • interest
  • e-transfers
Canada’s first bank was the Bank of Montreal, founded in 1817.
Online banking and automated teller machines (ATMs) are tools that can assist with money skills and decisions.
Skills & Procedures
Develop your financial literacy: Examine a bank account in your family or an example from elsewhere and a printout of transactions.

What’s the purpose of saving? How might saving help you to achieve a personal goal? Give some examples of what might be possible.
A budget is a financial document providing an estimation of income and expenses over a future period of time, normally a year.

Personal income is money received in exchange for providing a good or service or through an investment. An expense is the cost required for a good or service.

Enterprises make money when income from sales of products or services exceeds expenses.

Money is not good or bad. It is a tool, a resource—it can work for you or against you.
Budgeting is a valuable economic practice that can help you “balance your books” and ensure the success of an enterprise. It is also helpful in encouraging sound and responsible financial decision making.
Skills & Procedures
Practice problem solving: One of the following local issues needs to be addressed and it’s your opportunity to try something new. Take on one of these personal challenges:
  • A youth club providing after-school community basketball programs are in financial difficulty and needs help to turn things around. Prepare a budget to address the problem, listing your revenues and expenses, and a plan to break even at the end of the sports season.
  • Identify a need in the community that is currently being unmet, large or small, and plan to take some action to create a service or a product. Turn your idea into a business by preparing a budget to get it off the ground, showing income and expenses and a plan to make a little money for yourself for a community group.
Discuss how your money can work for you. How can it work against you (e.g., interest earned vs interest paid)?
A business plan is a document that summarizes plans to carry out projects over time. Plans normally include the following: type of business, description of business, costs (construction), market (potential customers), sources of revenue (funding, tickets), costs (land, rails, tracks, engineers, and workers), and possible profits.

Constructing the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) was the biggest business project at the time.
Developing a business plan helps to ensure the success of a business or a project, large or small, by assessing the potential benefits (gains) and possible costs (losses).
Skills & Procedures
Make a business plan to plan for the Construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway (1881–1885). It will be a risky plan to effectively manage resources and keep initial losses to a minimum. What are the costs and the benefits in economic and human terms?

Choose a contemporary example of government support for regional development. Why do governments provide support?
Interest on deposits and investments: The formula for calculating interest involves principal (size of deposit), rate of interest, and term of deposit.
Interest on money in savings or investment funds can be paid out to you or earned and retained in your account.
Skills & Procedures
Distinguish between deposits and loans: Identify situations where an individual can earn interest or pay interest.

Calculate the interest to be paid back on a bank loan.
The value of goods goes up or down in the marketplace. A rise in demand will increase its value and make some money (appreciate), but repeated use of a good or service may cause it to wear out or show its age (depreciate). Motor vehicles and bicycles lose value when you drive them off the car lot or cycle home for the first time. Money put into business or rare collectibles can grow your money (appreciate).

Borrowing for appreciating assets is sometimes called “good debt.” Borrowing for depreciating assets is sometimes called “bad debt.”
A wise financial practice is to consider whether buying an item makes good sense or may result in personal losses. Buying a rare hockey card or a piece of art might be a good decision if it appreciates or grows in value. Goods showing wear and tear can provide valuable or necessary service, like a vehicle that gets one to work or school, but go down in value with time and use.
Skills & Procedures
Make a wise decision: Dreaming of buying a new pair of Tessa Virtue figure skates or a rare hockey card (Connor McDavid or Wayne Gretzky rookie card)? How much will the skates depreciate in a year when you outgrow them? Is the hockey card likely to appreciate in value over time? Make a personal list of factors to consider. It’s a lot of money, so be sure it’s a wise move.

Discuss the potential risks and benefits of “good debt.” What are the potential risks and benefits of “bad debt?”
Loans: money borrowed from others, including banks and financial institutions: The loan can come from family, friends, institutions, or alternative financial services.
Borrowing money in the form of loans can cost money in the form of interest on the amount borrowed and over the term of the agreement.
Skills & Procedures
Be money wise with borrowing money from others, including banks.
  • Why is it wise to deal with chartered banks or credit unions?
  • Why are “pay day loans” risky and expensive?
Investments: Putting money into investment funds, stocks, and bonds can be a way to earn money for knowledgeable investors.
Interest earned can vary greatly with the investment and the estimated risk associated with the deposit or investment. Some investments are “high risk” and others “low risk” or “no risk” in the market.
Skills & Procedures
Calculate the interest on various accounts and investments:
  • What is the interest paid on regular chequing accounts, savings accounts, and term deposits?
  • When does saving become investing?