The game is six degrees of Canadian history. Take two seemingly unrelated pieces of Canadian culture and connect the dots through various people, places and events to discover how they’re distantly — or maybe not-so-distantly — related. Along the way, we visit the quizzical and curious, the tragic and comic, and everything in between.
IT TOOK just nine seconds to turn the clock back a century. A voltage fluctuation in some Ohio transmission lines. Then, at 4:11 p.m. n a muggy August Thursday, a faster-than-you-can-blink reversal in the flow of current, suddenly sucking away a city's worth of power from the eastern half of the continent.
During the 20th century, the federal government established racially segregated “Indian hospitals” for the treatment of First Nations and Inuit peoples in Canada. With the coming of medicare in the late 1960s, the government began to close most of the Indian hospitals, though it continues to operate hospitals at Norway House and Hodgson in Manitoba.
Pipelines are systems of connected pipes used to transport liquids and gases — namely oil and natural gas — across long distances from source to market. More than 840,000 km of pipelines criss-cross the country, part of a larger oil and gas sector that employs between 100,000 and 200,000 Canadians. According to Natural Resources Canada, the sector earns the government an average of $19 billion in royalties, fees and taxes each year. It also contributes nearly 8 per cent of Canada’s gross domestic product. Yet pipelines have also been controversial in Canada over fears that the fossil fuel use they facilitate could be significantly contributing to climate change. In recent years, Indigenous groups, environmentalists, municipalities, mayors and labour unions have opposed numerous pipeline projects they believe could contaminate local waterways through spills and leaks.
In 1970, the Canadian government introduced guidelines for the development of a pipeline corridor south from the Mackenzie River delta to Alberta and the United States. Energy companies have since proposed three separate projects to transport natural gas by pipeline along this route — the Arctic Gas Pipeline, the Foothills Pipeline and the Mackenzie Gas Project — with an oil pipeline likely to follow in the first two cases. However, due to high costs, engineering challenges, environmental concerns, Indigenous land claims and changing markets, none of these pipelines has been built.
Climate change occurs when long-term weather patterns begin to shift. These periods of change have occurred throughout the Earth’s history over extended periods of time. However, since the Industrial Revolution the world has been warming at an unprecedented rate. Because of this, the current period of climate change is often referred to as “global warming.” Human activities that release heat-trapping greenhouse gases, such as the burning of fossil fuels, are largely responsible for this increased rate of change. The implications of this global increase in temperature are potentially disastrous and include extreme weather events, rising sea levels and loss of habitat for plants, animals and humans. In Canada, efforts to mitigate climate change include phasing-out coal-fired power plants in Ontario and instituting a carbon tax in British Columbia.
In the early years of the mental-health movement, mental health was often defined as the absence of symptoms of mental illness. Since that time, attempts have been made to relate mental health to a concept of psychological well-being and to certain capacities of individuals, eg, the capacity to perceive reality "objectively," to be flexible in meeting new situations and to understand another's point of view. However, no clear line divides the mentally healthy from the mentally unhealthy, and in addition, the definition of mental health is relative and is dependent on cultural context. The characteristics of a mentally healthy person in one milieu may seem very different from those of a mentally healthy person in another.
The amount of rain or snow that reaches the ground can vary dramatically on any particular given day, even over short distances. Many people have experienced a near-deluge of rain in their backyard, while at the same time their front yard or their neighbour's home remains quite dry.2
Overdoses from a class of painkiller drugs called opioids are claiming the lives of thousands of Canadians from all walks of life. The death count is the result of an escalating public health crisis: an epidemic of opioid addiction. The crisis is made more deadly by an influx of illicit fentanyl and chemically similar drugs, but it can be traced to the medical over-prescribing of opioids, including oxycodone, fentanyl, and morphine.
Winter occurs as the Earth's axis tilts away from the sun during the planet's annual rotation. The portion of the Earth that is furthest from the sun experiences winter, with weather that is colder than the other seasons. In the Northern Hemisphere, winter officially begins with the winter solstice, around 21 December, and ends at the spring equinox, around 21 March. Winter figures largely in Canada's climate, cultural experience and mythology. Every aspect of life in Canada is affected by winter, whether by heavy rains on the West Coast, isolation during the long Arctic winters, raging blizzards across the prairies or huge snowfalls in eastern Canada. Winter is reflected in Canadian art, literature, music, fashion, pastimes and attitudes.