On 17 May 1642, a group of French settlers led by Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve and Jeanne Mance established the missionary colony of Ville-Marie on the Island of Montréal. Today, this modest settlement founded in the middle of the St. Lawrence River is Canada’s second largest city and home to nearly half of the province of Québec’s population. A centre of francophone culture in North America, Montréal also enjoys international renown. Through exhibits, images and articles — as well as several Heritage Minutes about influential Montrealers — this collection celebrates the 375-year heritage and history of this important cultural and economic centre.
The twin cities of Kitchener-Waterloo are located in central southwestern Ontario, 105 km southwest of Toronto. Each retains its own political culture within a common historical framework and with similar, but by no means identical, socio-economic developments. Kitchener (originally named Berlin), the larger of the two, was the county seat (1853), judicial and financial centre of Waterloo County from 1853 to 1973. It continues to have a predominant influence in the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, which was formed in 1973 by combining several communities and cities, including Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge.
Hamilton, Ontario, incorporated as a city in 1846, population 536,917 (2016 c), 519,949 (2011 c). The City of Hamilton is situated at the west end of Lake Ontario, on Burlington Bay, 68 km southwest of Toronto, and 66 km west of Niagara Falls and the American border. As part of the reorganization of municipal governments in Ontario, the boundaries of the city were enlarged in 2001 to include much of the surrounding suburban and rural area, including the former towns of Ancaster, Dundas, Flamborough and Stoney Creek, and the former township of Glanbrook. The city is Canada's largest steel producer and a major Great Lakes port.2
Toronto, Ontario, incorporated as a city in 1834, population 2,731,571 (2016 c), 2,615,060 (2011 c). As Ontario's capital city, Toronto has a vibrant history of change and growth, ranging from its early occupation over 1,000 years ago to its current status as North America’s fourth largest city. Toronto is Canada's largest municipality and is made up of the former cities of Toronto, North York, Scarborough, York and Etobicoke, and the former borough of East York. The city is home to a large immigrant population, and is a national and international hub for finance, communications and cultural life.2
Regina, Saskatchewan, founded in 1882, incorporated as a city in 1903, population 215,106 (2016 c), 193,100 (2011 c). The City of Regina is the capital, commercial and financial centre of Saskatchewan. Regina is situated 160 km north of the United States border. The city is set in a wide, level alluvial plain. It was named for Queen Victoria, mother-in-law of the Marquess of Lorne, governor general at the time of the city’s founding.1
Fort McMurray, Alberta, unincorporated population centre, population 61,374 (2011 c), 47,705 (2006 c). Fort McMurray is the largest community in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB). It is technically known as the municipality’s “Urban Service Area” and colloquially known as “Fort Mac.” The community is located near the confluence of the Athabasca and Clearwater rivers in northeastern Alberta, near the centre of the vast Athabasca oil sands deposit. Originally incorporated as a city in 1980, in 1995 Fort McMurray merged with much of the surrounding area — collectively known as Improvement District No. 143 — to create the RMWB. At 63,783 km2, the municipality is the largest in North America in terms of size, accounting for nearly 10 per cent of the province’s total area. In May 2016, Fort McMurray experienced one of the worst forest fires in Canadian history. More than 80,000 residents were evacuated and approximately 2,400 structures — about 10 per cent of the city — were destroyed.
Calgary, Alberta, incorporated as a city in 1894, population 1,239,220 (2016 c) 1,096,833 (2011 c). The city of Calgary is situated on the Bow River in southern Alberta, about 220 km north of the American border at the meeting point of the Western prairies and mountain foothills. It is the financial centre of western Canada, based on its key role in the development of the region’s oil and gas industry. With its panoramic backdrop of the Rocky Mountains and its historic association with cattle ranching and oil exploration, Calgary is one of Canada’s most identifiable cities.
Edmonton, Alberta, incorporated as a city in 1904, population 932,546 (2016 c) 812,201 (2011 c). Edmonton is the capital of Alberta, and is located on the North Saskatchewan River, near the geographical centre of the province. Commonly known as the "Gateway to the North," it is strategically situated on an economic divide between the highly-productive farmlands of central Alberta and a vast, resource-rich northern hinterland.1
Vancouver, British Columbia, incorporated as a city in 1886, population 631,486 (2016c), 603,502 (2011c). Vancouver is the largest city in British Columbia and the third largest census metropolitan area in Canada. The City of Vancouver lies on a peninsula in the southwest corner of the province's mainland. Two surrounding waterways — Burrard Inlet and the Strait of Georgia — provide a sheltered deep-sea port and convenient access to the Pacific Ocean, while the Fraser River offers an easy route to the rich agricultural lands of the Fraser River Lowland and the interior. Railways and highways give easy access to the interior.
Victoria, BC, incorporated as a city in 1862, population 85,792 (2016c), 80,017 (2011c). The capital of British Columbia, the City of Victoria is situated on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, about 100 km south of Vancouver. Occupying a peninsular site, Victoria is bordered by the Juan de Fuca and Haro straits. In addition, the Olympic Mountains lie to the south, the San Juan Islands to the east, and the fjord-like Saanich Inlet and richly forested Malahat Ridge and Sooke Hills to the west. Greater Victoria lies within the Capital Regional District (CRD), a federation comprising the following incorporated areas: the cities of Victoria, Colwood and Langford; the towns of Sidney and View Royal; and the municipalities of Saanich, Oak Bay, Esquimalt, Central Saanich, North Saanich, Sooke, Metchosin and Highlands. The CRD also includes the electoral areas of Juan de Fuca, the Southern Gulf Islands and Saltspring Island.
Saint-Lambert, Qué, City, pop 21 599 (2006c), 21 051 (2001c), first incorporated in 1921 and reincorporated in 2006. Saint-Lambert was amalgamated into the city of Longueuil from 2002-2006 when it then regained municipal status. It is located along the South Shore of the St Lawrence River across from Montréal, and is connected to that city by the Victoria bridge (completed 1859).