A brief history of Canada

17,000 years ago, the first people arrived in the area that is now Canada. They came via the Bearing Land Bridge from Siberia (when global sea levels dropped during the last ice age).

These people could only get as far as (the) Yukon because the rest of the country was still covered in ice. The ice age would continue for another 5,000 years.

The last ice age (Pleistocene Epoch) began about 2.6 million years ago and lasted until about 11,700 years ago.

It’s unlikely human people lived in Canada before the ice age (2.6 million years ago). Here’s a timeline of human evolution from Wikipedia.


16,000 years ago, as ice receded along the West coast (and along an ice-free corridor east of the Rocky Mountains) people started to move south.


12,000 years ago, some of the first people settled on the Haida Gwaii islands of British Columbia’s West coast.


10,000 years ago, almost all of the ice was gone now, allowing people to spread in all directions.

For about the next 10,000 years a variety of different cultures flourished in most areas of Canada.


1,500 – 1,000 years ago, the first Norse people arrived and settled on Canada’s East coast.


Modern History


The year 1492 – Columbus did his thing (*for reference).


The year 1497 – The first European arrived (John Cabot) and claimed Canada for Britain.


The year 1534 – Jacques Cartier arrives and claims Canada for France.

Several claims and counterclaims are made by others.


The year 1776 – The United States becomes an independent country (*for reference).


The year 1867 – The British North America Act is signed and the Dominion of Canada is formed.

Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia were the original provinces (others would join later).


The year 1871 – British Columbia decides to join Canada.

B.C. was the 6th province to join the confederation and in return “Canada” promised to cover B.C.’s massive debt and build a railroad from Montreal to Vancouver within 10 years.


The year 1964 – The first Tim Hortons opens in Canada (*for reference).


Today – 37.06 million people from 277 different ethnic origins now live together in Canada and we seem to be doing okay.


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