Help support New Advent and get the full contents of this website as an instant download. Includes the Catholic Encyclopedia, Church Fathers, Summa, Bible and more all for only $19.99...
(See also CATHOLICITY IN CANADA)
Canada, or to be more exact, the Dominion of Canada, comprises all that part of North America north of the United States, with the exception of Newfoundland, Labrador, and Alaska. The distance from the Atlantic Ocean on the east to the Pacific Ocean on the west is 3000 miles, and from the borders of the United States to the farthest point in the Arctic Ocean at least 1500 miles. With its 3,745,574 square miles, Canada exceeds in size both the united States and Australasia, and is almost as large as Europe.
The physical aspect of the land shows a wide central plain lying between two mountainous regions, the Columbian on the west and the Laurentian plateau on the east. The most important mountain system is that of the west, which consists of the northern end of the Cordilleran region. The great parallel chains enclose British Columbia and Yukon, then decreasing in height turn towards the west, finally ending on the shores of Alaska. The most prominent of these ranges is the eastern, known as the Rocky Mountains. From an average height of 5000 to 10,000 feet, they rise at times to 13,000 and 14,000 feet, like Mounts Brown, Columbia, Hooker, etc. Mounts Purcell, Selkirk, and the Gold Range, which rise west of the Rocky Mountains in successive and parallel lines, are not as high but are very picturesque, bordering on the plateau of British Columbia. Of an average height of 2000 or 3000 feet and more than 100 miles wide, this plateau is crossed by the rivers Fraser and Columbia, which flow through wide basins interrupted here and there by rapids and waterfalls. It extends towards west as far as the Coast Range, which lies parallel to the Pacific Ocean, where it suddenly rises to a great height, cut by innumerable fiords reaching as far as the borders of Alaska. The highest peak in Canada is Mount Logan (19,539 feet). Finally, there is a range partly submerged, which forms the islands of Vancouver and Queen Charlotte; it attains a height of 6840 feet in the Victoria Peak in Vancouver. The mountains in the east of Canada, which are far less important, are called the Laurentians because they rise on the left shore of the St. Lawrence River. From Labrador to Hudson Bay, whose basin it outlines, as it also does that of the St. Lawrence, this range is at least 3000 miles in length. The average elevation is 1500 feet, but a few peaks in the northern part reach a height of 3000 to 4000 feet. Studded with innumerable lakes and crossed here and there by rivers, these mountains of granite, quartz, gneiss, and mica are extremely picturesque. South of the St. Lawrence, the Alleghanies or Appalachian Mountains, leaving their course from south to north, turn towards the east and form the peninsulas of Gaspé and Nova Scotia.
The immense central plain which stretches as far as the frozen north is simply the continuation of the Missouri and Mississippi valley in the United States. In the valley of the Mackenzie the altitude varies between 500 and 1000 feet, and from the border of Lake Winnipeg to the Arctic Ocean the width is from 100 to 300 miles. Between the two the ground rises to a maximum height of 2000 feet, the highest parts being near the Rocky Mountains. In Alberta and the southern part of Saskatchewan the elevation varies between 2000 and 5000 feet. This vast plain contains many lakes, pools, and ponds, which have no doubt taken the place of glaciers. Besides the great lakes to the south of Canada which form the boundary and belong, with the exception of Lake Michigan, partly to the United States and partly to Canada, there are also many sheets of water such as Great Slave Lake, Great Bear Lake, Lake Athabasca, Reindeer, Manitoba, Winnipeg, and Winnipegosis Lakes. The lakes of Canada cover an area of 77,391,304 acres, distributed as follows: British Columbia 1,560,830; Manitoba 6,019,200; Maritime Provinces 277,332; Ontario 25,701,944; Quebec 3,507, 318; Alberta and Saskatchewan 8,665,620; Mackenzie 18,910,080; Keewatin 8,588,260; Ungava 3,745,440; Yukon 415,280. These immense bodies of water drain into the oceans through large rivers which empty into four basins: the Pacific basin with an area of 387,800 sq. m. into which empty the Frazer, Columbia, Stikine, and Yukon; the Hudson bay basin, area 1,486,000 sq. m., principal rivers Nelson, Red River, Saskatchewan, Churchill, Albany, Dubawnt, Assiniboine, Winnipeg, Moose, Nottaway, Big, and Koksoak; the Atlantic basin, area 554,000 sq. m., principal rives the St. Lawrence, with its tributaries Ottawa, St. Maurice and Saguenay; and the Arctic basin, area 1,290,000 sq. m., principal rivers the Mackenzie, Peace, Athabasca, and Liard.
The vegetable products are diverse, owing to the varied climates. There are three principal zones. The southern zone close to the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence is known for its fruit, especially apple, trees, its grain, and its prairies. In the central zone, which extends somewhat beyond 60 N. lat., grain is also grown, but this region is better known for its forests, north of 50°. In the great northern region, beyond 60°, where winter reigns during the greater part of the year, there is nothing to the west but sparsely grown forests and stunted trees, and to the east barren lands covered during the summer with moss and lichens. Agriculture is the source of Canada's greatest wealth. The census of 1901 valued at $363,126,384 the annual farm production of Canada, and the value of farms, including live stock, was appraised at $1,787,102,630. There is no doubt that these figures have increased since then. In the five years, 1901-06, the production of wheat was doubled. In 1901 it was 55,572,368 bushels, in 1906, 119,011,136. Farm products occupy a conspicuous place among the exports.
The farm products of Canada are quoted in the exports of 1906 at $120,518,297, that is more than half the total value of the exports for that year. It is evident also that the progress of agriculture has been very rapid during the last decade, exceeding that of the lumber industry.
Throughout Canada there are vast forests. It is estimated that 1,326,258 square miles are covered with timber, this being more than a third of the total area of Canada. Outside of the Maritime Provinces, which have altogether more than 8000 square miles of forests, there are three distinct wooded zones. That of British Columbia is 770 miles long by 200 to 300 miles wide, where grow the red or Oregon pine, the red and the yellow cedar, the fir tree, and the western oak. Owing to the mildness of the climate these trees attain an enormous size. The northern zone runs from the banks of the Mackenzie to the border of Labrador, a length of 3000 miles, with a width of about 200 miles, and contains the largest forest of fir trees in the world. The southern zone is between 45° and 50° N. Lat. in the provinces of Quebec and Ontario and stretches towards the west, taking in the northern part of Saskatchewan and Alberta as far as the Peace River. The chief resource of this region is the white pine. The figures of exportation do not show the entire value of the wood, which serves many purposes. It is used not only for building purposes but is also ground to pulp and converted into paper, in consequence of which a great many paper mills have been erected. In 1904 they employed nearly 55,000 men, and the income from this industry is estimated at $51,082,605, distributed as follows: Quebec, $18,969,716; Ontario, $21,351,898; Nova Scotia, $3,409,528; New Brunswick, $2,998,038; British Columbia, $2,634,157; Manitoba, $950,057; the Territories, $484,263; Prince Edward Island, $285,038.
The Dominion Government has kept under its control 742,798 square miles of land, of which 506,220 square miles are managed by the Provincial Governments, which concede the right of exploitation within certain limits. For some years now the Federal Government has retained immense territories under the name of parks or reservations, where game and furred animals are protected. This example has been followed by the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. The best known are Yoho Park in the Rocky Mountains, Algonkin Park of more than 200,000 acres, in Ontario, and Victoria Park near Niagara Falls. Quebec also has a reservation in the northern part of the province, covering 1,620,000 acres.
This industry has always employed many hands and still on the increase. In 1881 there were 59,056 fishermen; in 1886, 62000; in 1891, 65,575; in 1900, 78,290; in 1903, 79,134. Fishing, which in 1881 yielded an income of $15,817,162, in 1891 brought $18,977,878; in 1901, $25,737,154; in 1903, $23,101,878. Nova Scotia, British Columbia, New Brunswick, and the Province of Quebec rank highest. The value of the boats, nets, and fishing tackle has been estimated at $12,241,454. Cod, lobster, salmon, herring, and mackerel form the principal catch. The salmon fisheries of Columbia are known all over the world. In 1901 their value of $7,221,387 headed the list, but in 1903 they fell to third place, with a valuation of $3,521,158. The chief exports go to Great Britain (in 1903, $3,904,793); the United Stat es ($3,760,266); the West Indies ($938,721), France, and the Antilles.
Though there are many mines in Canada, they are far from being all in operation. Coal is found in large quantities on Vancouver Island and in Nova Scotia and even in Manitoba and Saskatchewan; pit-coal in Nova Scotia north of Lake Superior and in the Province of Quebec. Nickel is found at Sudbury, Ontario and in British Columbia; asbestos in the Province of Quebec and mica in Ontario. Besides the rich placers of the Klondike, there is gold in the Province of Quebec and in Saskatchewan. The mineral products, which in 1886 amounted to $10,221,255, reached $19,931,158 in 1894; $49,584,027 in 1899, $60,343,165 in 1904, and $80,000,048 in 1906. From 1899 the gold production is included in the sum total. Columbia holds first rank in the output of minerals. Ontario comes next, with its silver mines at Cobalt.
Canadian factories employ a large number of labourers. The census of 1900 gave the number of employees as 313,344 and the capital invested $446,916,487. The provinces of Ontario and Quebec stand first. In 1900 Ontario produced $241,533,486, and Quebec $158,287,994 of the total value of manufactured articles.
Of the $273,173,877, the value of exports in 1907, all but $28,992,955 represented the natural products of the country. The most important commerce is with Great Britain and the United States, as is evident from the following figures. In 1907 the value of exports to England reached $134,469,420, to the United Stat es $109,772,944, to other countries $217,964,242. The total value of imports for 1906 reached $340,374,745; imports from England $83,229,256, from the United Stat es $208,741,601, other countries $45,304,148; the custom receipts $46,671,101. The total commerce for 1907 reached $612,581,351.
A census of Canada is taken every tenth year. That of 1901 gives the population as 5,371,315, which has, however, greatly increased since. In 1906 it was estimated by the Department of the Interior as 6,440,000. The increase is chiefly the result of immigration and has taken place principally in the Provinces of the West, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. During the nineteenth century the increase in population was 5,000,000. The population is for every 10,000 inhabitants, 5,123 men to 4,877 women. 87 per cent are natives of Canada and 94 per cent are British subjects. The yearly increase in immigration has swelled these figures and altered this proportion, as is evident from statistics of immigration to Canada between 1 January, 1897, and 31 March, 1907.
During the decade ending 1907, 35 per cent of the immigrants were of British origin, 33 per cent from the United States, and 32 per cent of other nationalities. During the first nine months of the fiscal year 1906 - 07, 90,008 immigrants received at the various ports were classed according to occupation: 18,191 agriculturists, 26,807 general labourers, 24,414 mechanics, 6,686 clerks, 2,878 miners, 4,583 female servants, 6,449 unclassified. Of these the Maritime Provinces received 6,491, Quebec 18,063, Ontario 32, 265, Manitoba 17,036, Saskatchewan 4,257, Alberta 3,474, British Columbia 8,406, and Yukon 16. These figures do not include the 34,659 arrivals from the United States.
In all parts of Canada there are still to be found descendants of the aborigines whom the white men met on landing three hundred years ago. But their condition now is very different. Deprived of all they possessed, they are dependent on the nation which despoiled them. They are divided into four large families: (1) The Huron-Iroquois; (2) the Innuit or Eskimo; (3) the Tinneh; and (4) the Algonquins. The first three named belong to the Turanian race and are allied to the Mongolians and the Turks; the fourth belong to the Polynesian Malays of the Pacific Islands. Their language, physique, and disposition indicate two different races. The Iroquois loves the land, the Algonquin the water; the former is fond of war and all manly sports, the latter although aggressive is lazy; the Algonquin is taciturn and nomadic, the Iroquois is garrulous and sedentary in his habits. The Eskimo (consumers of raw flesh) live on the shores of the Arctic Ocean from Labrador to Alaska. They speak the same language and form but one tribe. The Tinneh or Déné Dindejies are found in the valleys of the Athabasca and Peace Rivers, in the regions of the Great Bear Lake and on the slopes of the rocky Mountains south of British Columbia, on Vancouver and Queen Charlotte Islands. They are divided into nineteen tribes. The Algonquins are scattered from the Atlantic Ocean to the Rockies and comprise eleven tribes. To the east are the Micmac, Malecite, Abnaki, Nascapi, and the Montagnais of Labrador; west of Quebec are the Missisauga and the Ojibwa Confederacy; and in the southern part of the northwest the Saulteurs, Wood Cree, Plain Cree, the Blackfeet, the Mixed-bloods, and the Piegans. The home of the Iroquois is in the valley of the St. Lawrence, at Lorette near Quebec; Caughnawaga; Lake of the Two Mountains; Saint Regis; between Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie; and near the Rocky Mountains where they are known as Assiniboin and Sioux.
The first Indian census was taken in 1871. They then numbered 102,358, as follows: Eskimo 4028; Tinneh 42,000; Algonquins 46,000; Huron-Iroquois 10,330. Their division according to provinces is: Prince Edward Island 323; Nova Scotia 1666; New Brunswick 1403; Quebec 6988; Ontario 12,978; Manitoba 500; British Columbia 23,000; Rupert's Land 33,000; Labrador and the Arctic regions 22,000. The census of 1901 shows a decrease of 8904 in thirty years, if the given figures (93,454) are correct. In 1905, the superintendent of the Indian bureau gave the total number of Indians as 107,637. Of this number 22,084 lived outside the reservations. The 85,553 who were in the reservations in 1905 owned 44,195 acres of cultivated land and had 44,972 head of cattle and 33,119 horses. They had at that time 302 schools with an attendance of 10,113 pupils. 104 of these schools were under Catholic clergy, 86 under the Anglicans, 49 under the Methodists, 16 under Presbyterians, and 47 were nonsectarian. The same census gave 35,060 Catholic Indians, 15,079 Anglicans, 11,791 Methodists, 1489 Presbyterians, 1103 Baptists, 646 other Christians, and 10,906 pagans.
Freedom of worship and the equality of all creeds before the law forms the basis of the political constitution of Canada. When Canada became a British dependency, the Catholic Church ceased to be the State Church. Governmental favour was now transferred to Anglicanism, which strove to acquire on Canadian soil the position it occupied in Great Britain. This gave rise to a constant friction between the two religions, intensified by the differences of nationality (English and French) and the relative positions of conquerors and conquered. Protected by British colonial rights, by the terms of surrender of Quebec and Montreal, and by the Treaty of Paris (1763), the Catholic religion was free and independent, in spite of the systematic persecutions organized against it in England. It was the Legislature of Lower Canada that first gave expression to this principle of freedom of worship now recognized throughout the Dominion. It stated in 1851 that "the equality before the law of all religious denominations is a recognized principle of the colonial legislation and that in the state and condition of this province (Quebec) to which it is particularly applicable, it is desirable that the principle receive the direct sanction of the Legislative Assembly, which recognizes and declares that it is the fundamental principle of our social policy". Then it was proclaimed by statute "that the free exercise and enjoyment of profession and religious worship without distinction or preference, but in such manner as not to serve as an excuse for outrageous acts, nor as a justification for practices at variance with the peace and safety of the province, be allowed by the constitution of this province to all her Majesty's subjects living therein" (14 and 15 Victoria, Ch. 175). This liberty, so clearly formulated in 1851, had by degrees entered into public legislation.
The Catholics of Upper Canada who were in the minority had already benefited by this. In 1843 the Legislative Assembly drafted a bill allowing all denominations the right of corporation; in this it was declared that the Catholic bishops of Upper Canada, those occupying the present bishoprics then in existence as well as bishoprics to be erected in the future, would each form a corporation sole. The Legislative Council rejected this bill. But in 1845 a special act, embodying the same idea, was adopted by Parliament and a;;roved by the Crown, at the request of Bishop Power of Toronto and Bishop Phelan, coadjutor of Kingston. This act constitutes each bishop a perpetual corporation, with the right of owning real estate in mortmain without restrictions as to extent or revenue. It further states that all church goods, buildings, chapels, cemeteries, rectories and immovable property of any kind, be declared and recognized as belonging exclusively to the bishop of the diocese. All this was to apply equally to churches, chapels, etc. which should bed erected in the diocese at any future time. Any one holding immovable property in trust for the Catholic Church was to transfer titles to such property to the bishop, who thereby becomes sole proprietor of church goods. He alone can transfer them with the consent of the coadjutor and vicar-general, or in their absence, in the presence of two priests chosen by him. These provisions applied to any bishopric which might be established in Upper Canada in the future. They are still in force in the diocese where no parishes are canonically erected though still having churchwardens (marguilliers), and a board of trustees (conseil de fabrique) responsible for the administration of church property.
Therefore, outside of the Province of Quebec ecclesiastical property is directly under the episcopal corporation, though the management of it is in the hands of the parish or resident priest, sometimes assisted by a committee of laymen chosen by himself; within that Province its administration rests with the board of trustees of each parish. This board, like any ecclesiastical body, exercises its administration according to laws laid down by a higher authority. The civil law also in clear terms recognizes these holdings as "things sacred by their very nature as well as their purpose, inalienable and imprescriptible so long as they serve their original purpose" (Cod. Civ., art. 1486, 2217). Church goods comprise in addition to the immovable property mentioned above (1) the pew rents; (2) the due connected with certain ecclesiastical functions; (3) funds from which is derived the income necessary for the support of Divine worship and the maintenance of the parish priest; and (4) pious endowments for educational purposes or the celebration of Masses; these are res ecclesiæ proindeque sub potestate et jurisdicione ecclesiæ constitut, as expressed in the Eleventh Provincial Council of Quebec. The parish priest is at the head of the marguilliers, and by right the president of the board of trustees, which cannot convene without him.
Throughout the Dominion, places of worship and adjacent land used for religious purposes are exempt from taxation. The same may be said of colleges, schools, universities, and educational institutions with their yards and gardens, also any immovable property and land set apart for charitable purposes. The religious communities in the Province of Quebec enjoy the same immunity from taxes. The laws governing asylums, hospitals, and other charitable institutions are left to the provincial governments which support them in whole or in part as the case may be. Sometimes the districts or cities in which these institutions are established maintain them entirely or obtain a grant for that purpose from the provincial government. Generally, these grants are in the form of a fixed sum and an allowance per capita for the inmates, though the methods are also used separately. The Federal Government also allows a certain sum for each alien received in these institutions. These grants, however, would rarely be sufficient for the support of such houses, hospitals, hospices, homes, crèches, and shelters, were it not for previous endowments or the ingenuity and labour of the religious in charge. Many have formed committees of patronesses who by means of entertainments and personal contributions strive to provide these charities with the necessary funds. Similarly, institutions in charge of men have formed committees of patrons.
The greatest liberty in the matter of wills exists in Canada. A man may dispose of all his goods in any manner he chooses, without any restriction of law. A father may leave everything to one of his children to the exclusion of the rest. He may even exclude them all and leave his property to a stranger. There is the same liberty in the choice of testamentary executors. A priest, even the testator's confessor, may be legally chosen for the office. However the lawful heirs who have been dispossessed may contest the document in court and have it declared null and void, if it is proved that undue influence was used to coerce the will of the testator. These testaments are generally in one of three forms: (1) written entirely by hand by the one making the will and signed by himself, when it is called holographic; (2) written in the presence of two proper witnesses, who may be women, and signed by the testator after it has been read to him, and countersigned by the witnesses; this is the form derived "from English law"; (3) it may be written before a notary and two witnesses or, as it is generally done today, before two notaries; or written by one in the presence of the other at the dictation of the testator, and the two notaries or the notary witness; this is the "public" or "authentic" will. In case the testator cannot sign his name, mention is made of this fact at the end of the will and the reason stated.
The North American Act has left to the Federal Government the question of marriage and divorce. (See DIVORCE, sub-title II. In Civil Jurisprudence.) The solemnization of marriage and everything pertaining thereto is left by the same Act to the provincial legislatures. In the Province of Quebec the civil law had adopted the legislation of the Church on this point; in other words there is no such thing as civil marriage. Marriage is a religious ceremony and the law recognizes the impediments and conforms to the dispensations of the Church. When two persons have decided to be married the banns are published in the presence of the assembled faithful three successive Sundays before the solemnization; a dispensation may be obtained from one or two publications, but not from all. If there is no impediment the marriage takes place before the parish priest, generally the bride's pastor, and two witnesses, after which an entry is made in a special register. It is read aloud, and signed by the priest, the witnesses, the bride and bridegroom, and all those present who wish to do so. The same entry with the same signatures is made in a second register which the parish priest returns to the city or country record office at the end of each year. The Church is strongly opposed to all mixed marriages, viz. of Catholics with Protestants or schismatics. In cases where consent is given ad duritiam cordis to such unions, promise must be given not to go before a clergyman, Protestant or otherwise, and to rear the children in the Catholic Faith after having baptized them.
As military duty is voluntary in the Dominion, a priest is not compelled to serve. He is also exempt from jury duty both in criminal and civil cases. He cannot belong to the municipal council in his own parish or any other. But there is no law to prevent his becoming a member of Parliament or taking an active part in the agricultural development of his country. In point of fact it is the colonizing priests who give much needed help in directing the work of colonization and in applying progressive methods to the cultivation of the land.
Education in Canada is a provincial and not a federal matter. Each province has its own system. Ontario and British Columbia have a minister and a general superintendent of education. In the Province of Quebec, education is under the control of the superintendent of public instruction, assisted by a council of 35 member divided into two committees, one in charge of Catholic, the other of Protestant schools. In Manitoba, New Brunswick, Alberta, and Saskatchewan, the schools are left in control of the executive, who names a superintendent and other competent persons to take charge; in Nova Scotia educational matters are under the executive and a superintendent, in Prince Edward Island under a committee and superintendent.
Public schools are divided, on a religious basis, in Quebec and part of Ontario. In those two provinces there are separate schools for Catholics and for Protestants, and it is left to the parents to decide which schools their children shall attend. In the other provinces the educational laws do not recognize any such distinctions. In fact, Catholics, who are in the minority in other provinces, strive, as far as their means and the tolerance of the civil authorities will permit, to maintain separate schools, which more aptly, perhaps should be named minority schools.
Atlas of Canada, published by the Department of the Interior (Ottawa, 1906); Le Canada, son histoire, ses productions et ses ressources naturelles, published by the Minister of Agriculture of Canada (Ottawa, 1906); Annual Report of the Department of the Interior (1907); PAGNUELO, La liberté religieuse en Canada (Montreal, 1872); MIGNAULT, Droit civil canadien (Montreal, 1895-98); IDEM, Droit civil canadien (Quebec); Report of the department of Trade and Commerce (Ottawa, 1907).
APA citation. (1908). Canada. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03227a.htm
MLA citation. "Canada." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 3. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03227a.htm>.
Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Ted Rego. Dedicated to the parishioners of St. Suzanne's Parish, Pierrefonds, Province of Quebec.
Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. November 1, 1908. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.
Contact information. The editor of New Advent is Kevin Knight. My email address is webmaster at newadvent.org. Regrettably, I can't reply to every letter, but I greatly appreciate your feedback — especially notifications about typographical errors and inappropriate ads.