Posts Tagged ‘Canada’

Exploring Canada with ProQuest K-12 Resources

Rainbow Bridge
View from Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada Photo by: Prayinto via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]

ProQuest has several K-12 products young researchers can use to learn more about Canada’s culture, native peoples, history, and modern issues. Here are our top three picks of where to get started:

CultureGrams World and Kids Editions

CultureGrams is a great online resource with reliable and up-to-date information about the country of Canada! Explore the World and Kids Canada reports to learn fun facts and get a native’s perspective on daily life in Canada. CultureGrams also includes additional features such as printable country flags, audio of national anthems, photos, recipes, famous people, infographics, and interviews with people all over the world.

Image via CultureGrams World Edition: Canada

CultureGrams Canadian Provinces Edition   

Want more detailed information about each of Canada’s thirteen provinces and territories? Check out the kid-friendly CultureGrams Canadian Provinces Edition and read about environmental issues, Canadian wildlife, cultural festivals, local recipes, and the First Nations, Métis, and Aboriginal peoples of each province and territory. Reports also include historical timelines, images, maps, charts, data tables, and fun facts, and more.

Image via the CultureGrams Provinces Edition

SIRS Discoverer

Visit SIRS Discoverer and find info on all things Canada including current events, pro/con leading issues, animal facts, images, books, and much more. This database is searchable by grade level and Lexile range. Search articles and read up on Canadian authors such as Lucy Maud Montgomery, creator of the Anne of Green Gables books, and Farley Mowat, best known for his book Never Cry Wolf. Other famous Canadians include scientists Irene Ayako Uchido and Ralph Steinman, who made great advancements in the field of biology and Canadian comedians John Candy, Mike Meyers, and Jim Carrey.

Image of Lucy Maud Montgomery via Wikimedia Commons [Public Domain]




Cultures Meet in Canada

The first Syrian refugee family to land in Toronto (9 Dec 2015). Photo by Domnic Santiago, via flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The U.S. government recently decided to end temporary protected status of 2,500 Nicaraguans living in the United States and is deciding whether it will do the same for tens of thousands of refugees from Haiti, El Salvador, and Honduras. As a result, Canada is receiving a new wave of immigrants from those communities and expects these numbers to grow.

In contrast to its southern neighbor, Canada’s government is planning to increase its already generous immigrant acceptance policies and the majority of Canadians are on board. One went so far as to sponsor 50 Syrian refugee families, and others have participated in family-to-family sponsoring programs.  Such programs have largely been successful, but the struggles they do face often point to the importance of cultural education and understanding. And the more diverse Canadian society becomes, the larger the need becomes for refugees and Canadian citizens alike to learn about the other.

CultureGrams can provide a starting place for groups encountering each other for the first time, including a framework for exploring questions such as the following:

  • What ethnic groups are present in a country?
  • What languages do people speak?
  • What are the most prominent religions? And how might someone’s religious belief affect their daily behavior?
  • What common attitudes and values are shared by people in the country?
  • What do people in the country commonly wear?
  • How do people greet each other?
  • What gestures are potentially offensive?
  • What foods are typically eaten in the country? What customs are there that accompany eating?
  • What games and sports are popular?
  • What family structures and gender roles are common?

Explore these questions in relation to countries like HaitiSyria, and Canada today, in addition to delving into the history, culture, and society of specific Canadian provinces.

SIRS Discoverer Spotlight of the Month: Celebrate Canada

This July marks the 150th anniversary of the formation of the Canadian Confederation. Canada was just four provinces in 1867 and has now grown into ten provinces and three territories that reach from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans and go north to Arctic region. Canada is the second-largest country in the world. While the British monarch is head of state, the crown has no real power. Canada has two official languages: English and French. Students can learn all about Canada with the resources available on SIRS Discoverer.

Our Canada Facts offer snapshots of each Canadian province and territory. Canada Facts contain maps, flags, general statistics and links for further information.

Being such a beautiful and diverse country Canada has many points of geography worth exploring.

Located in northeastern Canada, Hudson Bay is home to polar bears that are believed to be impacted by global warming.

Polar Bears in Hudson Bay
Image from Pixabay

Spotted Lake in Canada’s Okanagan Valley is an unusual body of water with mineral “dots” in its basin.

Spotted Lake
Photo by anthropodermic via flickr is licensed under CCA-SA 2.0 Generic

The St. Lawrence River is an important trade route between the United States and Canada.

St. Lawrence River
By Abxbay (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Educators, how will you spotlight Canada with your students? Tweet us at #ProQuest.

Don’t have SIRS Discoverer? Request a free trial.

Canada … You Don’t Look a Day Over 149

Canada 150 via Flikr [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0]

July 1, 2017, marks the 150th anniversary (the sesquicentennial) of the Canadian Confederation.  On this date, the three British colonies of the Province of Canada (Ontario and Quebec), Nova Scotia and New Brunswick united to form the Dominion of Canada under the British North America Act of 1867.  What is now ten provinces and three territories sprang from these original four.

In celebration of her sesquicentennial, here are 13 interesting and fun facts about Canada.

  1. Canada’s name means “village” originating from the Iroquoian word, “kanata.” When the French explorer, Jacques Cartier, met the Iroquois chief, Donnacona, he inquired the name of the land. Whether Cartier truly understood Donnacona’s response or not, the country’s name has remained since the 16th century.
  2. While technically not a confederation, the use of the term Confederation became the go-to descriptor for Canada’s union in the 19th century. Canada is actually a federation because of its central government and partially self-governing provinces.

    National Flag of Canada via Wikimedia Commons [Created by E Pluribus Anthony]

  3. The iconic Canadian national flag, unofficially the Maple Leaf, did not become official until February 1965. That is almost 100 years after the formation of the Confederation! Until then, Canada had used about 13 different flag designs.
  4. Canada is huge in terms of area (9.9 million square km/3.8 million square mi).  It is the second largest country in the world.  Only Russia is larger.
  5. There are over 36 million people who call Canada home. Almost 21% of the Canadian population is foreign born.  Canadians claim over 200 languages, including 60 indigenous, but English and French are Canada’s official languages.  Montreal is the second largest French-speaking city in the world after Paris.
  6. Canada’s First Nations number 1.8 million people and 634 tribal governments and bands. Canoes, hockey, corn, snowshoes, chewing gum and cough syrup are just some of their contributions to Canada and the world.
  7. Canada has 20 percent (one-fifth) of the freshwater in the world. It has more lakes than the rest of the world’s lakes combined. No other country’s surface area is covered by as much water as is Canada’s – almost 9%.
  8. Record holder: Canada has the largest polar bear population, produces the most maple syrup and has the most doughnut shops per capita. It also claims the most educated society with over half its residents having college degrees.
  9. While polar bears are populous in Canada, they are not the national animal. That would be the North American Beaver.
  10. Canada could have become part of the United States if it had wanted. According to Article XI of Articles of Confederation, the first constitution of the United States, Canada would have been 

    Provinces of Canada, July 1867-July 1870 via Wikimedia Commons [CC BY-SA 3.0]

    automatically accepted into the union—no questions asked. Any other colony requesting admission would have required nine states to agree.
  11. Ice hockey is the most popular sport in Canada. It was invented by the Mohawks who called it “aukie.” What would surprise many is one of America’s most popular sports, basketball, was invented by a Canadian.  In an effort to keep his students active on rainy days, Dr. James Naismith created the game in 1891 in Springfield, Massachusetts.
  12. Canada vs. America: The United States invaded Canada twice – first during the American Revolutionary War in 1775, second during the War of 1812. The United States lost both times.
  13. Canadians are not Americans, and they don’t end every sentence with ‘eh.  The debate over Canadian identity has been ongoing since before Confederation.

Canada’s sesquicentennial is a year-long celebration.  For students in Canada and those in the United States who would like to learn more about their northern neighbor, eLibrary offers a multitude of resources.  Check out Research Topics on Canada’s First Nations, Canadian provinces and territories, Canadian history and Canadian identity.  Search Canadian publications to find provincial newspapers, magazines and reference works such as the Toronto Star, Canadian Geographic, and the Canadian Encyclopedia plus many others.  Canada’s official Canada 150 website offers the scoop on all the celebrations commemorating Canada’s 150th birthday.  For more facts about Canada, the CBC’s Amanda Parris shares 150 of them in this fun video.

To our Canadian friends:  How you are celebrating Canada’s 150th?  Tweet us at #ProQuest.

Notable Canadians

Learning about other countries and exploring their histories and cultures are integral parts of any K12 research. During the month of July, SIRS Discoverer’s Spotlight of the Month features articles and Web sites on the country of Canada. Our Spotlight of the Month presents information on Canada’s provinces and way of life, but it also highlights Canadian people who have influenced our world.


Several authors used Canadian themes and landscapes into their works. Lucy Maud Montgomery created the popular Anne of Green Gables books. Farley Mowat, best known for his books People of the Deer and Never Cry Wolf, often wrote about the Canadian North. Although her works are primarily aimed at adults, Margaret Atwood makes Canada–primarily Toronto–the setting for many of her books.

Artists and Entertainers

Emily Carr (1939) Odds and Ends

Odds and Ends
By Emily Carr (Malahat Review (archive)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Emily Carr painted Canadian landscapes and was often inspired by the Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast.

Canadian comedians Michael J. Fox, Mike Meyers, and Jim Carrey all started their careers in Canada. They have achieved fame and success all over the world


Dr. Birute Galdikas

Birute Mary Galdikas
By Simon Fraser University – University Communications (https://www.flickr.com/photos/sfupamr/5577180639/) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Birute Mary Galdikas is a famed primatologist and founder of Orangutan Foundation International.

Canadian scientists Irene Ayako Uchido and Ralph Steinman made great advancements in the field of biology.

Astronaut Chris Hadfield was the first Canadian to walk in space.

Historical Figures

Samuel de Champlain

Samuel de Champlain
By Book author: François Pierre Guillaume Guizot, 1787-1874; (Boston: Dana Estes & Charles E. Lauriat (Imp.), 19th C.), 190. Etching signed: E. Ronjat [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


French explorer Samuel de Champlain  founded Quebec and Lake Champlain is his namesake.

Laura Secord was a woman who warned Canadian troops about an attack during the War of 1812.

Direct your K12 students and young library patrons to ProQuest SIRS Discoverer and explore all that is Canadian! We are pretty sure that you’ll learn something new about this beautiful and diverse country.

CultureGrams—Teaching Activities: A Postcard from Canada

Did you know that CultureGrams offers almost 80 free teaching activities to its subscribers? If you don’t have access to CultureGrams, enjoy this free teaching activity today and sign up for a free trial of the product to access more.


Map of Canada from Provinces Edition

A Postcard from Canada

Grade Level: K–5


Research a Canadian province and create a post card depicting the highlights of the area.

National curriculum standard(s):

National Standards for Social Studies People, Places, and Environments

  • Standard H [Early Grades]: Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of people, places, and environments, so that the learner can examine the interaction of human beings and their physical environment, the used of land, building of cities, and ecosystem changes in selected locales and regions.
  • Standard G [Early Grades]: Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of people, places, and environments, so that the learner can describe how people create places that reflect ideas, personality, culture, and wants and needs as they design homes, playgrounds, classrooms, and the like.

(Developed by the National Council for the Social Studies)


Time Requirement Preparation: 15 minutes

In-class: 1 hour Materials

CultureGrams Provinces Edition Instructions

  • Have students choose a Canadian province they would most like to visit. Each student should read their province’s CultureGrams report, making notes about things that are unique to the province and things that attract visitors. They should also pay special attention to the Official Emblems section.
  • On 4×6 index cards, have students design post cards showing some of the highlights and unique traits of the province. Students may also want to incorporate one or more of the provinces’ official emblems, or they may do research to find some unofficial emblems.
  • On the back of the post card, have students write a message as though they were visiting the province and writing home. They should think about what they would want to do while in Canada, what difficulties they might run into, and what differences they would expect to find between their home and the province they are visiting.

Extension Activity:

Have students pretend that they are from the province they researched. If they were visiting the area in which the students live, what kind of post card would they send home? What would they want to be featured on the front? What would they write on the back? Have students design a post card for their area and write a message on the back to their family at home in Canada.

Kateri Tekakwitha, First Native American Saint

St. Kateri Tekakwitha

Kateri Tekakwitha Research Topic via ProQuest’s eLibrary

Kateri, the daughter of a Mohawk chief and a Catholic Algonquin woman, was born in 1656 just northwest of Albany, New York, in the heart of the Iroquois Confederacy. She was orphaned at the age of four when smallpox wiped out her family and most of her village. The disease also left Kateri blinded and disfigured. She converted to Catholicism at the age of 20 and was baptized in honor of Saint Catherine of Siena. She moved to Kahnawake, a Mohawk settlement south of Montreal where the Jesuits had a mission. Kateri died at the young age of 24, and minutes after her death, witnesses say her smallpox scars vanished, and she appeared radiant and beautiful. She is buried at a shrine on Kahnawake, Quebec, Canada.

Kateri Tekakwitha (1690)

Image of St. Kateri Tekakwitha [Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons]

Tekakwitha was canonized on October 21, 2012, by Pope Benedict XVI. Known as the “Lily of the Mohawks,” she is the patron saint of the environment and ecology. During the ceremony, Benedict said: “Saint Kateri, Protectress of Canada and the first Native American saint, we entrust to you the renewal of the faith in the first nations and in North America. May God bless the first nations.”

Some traditional Mohawks treated the naming of the first Native American saint with skepticism and feared that the Catholic Church was using it to shore up its image and marginalize traditional spiritual practices. They saw the story of Tekakwitha as yet another reminder of colonial atrocities and religious oppression. But many Mohawks downplayed any controversy and joined Catholics who see Kateri as a uniting figure and hope her elevation to sainthood might help heal old wounds.

Kateri Tekakwitha’s Feast Day is July 14.

Related Topics & Resources:

Juan Diego & Our Lady of Guadalupe (Research Topic)

Encyclopedia of North American Indians (Reference Book)

Catholics in America (Book)

Native American Religion (Book)

National Catholic Reporter (Magazine)

eLibrary Basic Search

Topic Search for Native American History

Topic Search for Native Peoples of Canada

Topic Search for Individual Saints

Happy Birthday, Canada! (and other fun stuff)

Fireworks on Canada Day in Vancouver, Canada.

Fireworks on Canada Day in Vancouver, Canada.
By Kenny Louie from Vancouver, Canada (Happy 141st Canada!Uploaded by russavia)
[CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

July 1 is Canada’s birthday, otherwise known as Canada Day. On this day in 1867, the region’s three colonies were united into a single country called Canada, but it remained under British rule. Canada gained full constitutional independence in 1982.

OK…enough history. Now for some fun stuff!

There are lots of similarities between the United States and Canada. But there are also lots of wonderful differences! Let’s explore some fun facts that you can share with your students.

If your students were going to school in Canada, they would not worry about their grades. They would instead worry about getting good marks. And when they arrived home from school, they wouldn’t plop themselves down on the couch…they would instead plop down on the chesterfield. Sounds fancy, doesn’t it? Oh…and if they lived in Canada and wanted their evening meal, they shouldn’t ask for dinner (they’d get lunch!). They must ask for supper!

Halloween, New Brunswick, Canada Halloween

Halloween, New Brunswick, Canada Halloween
By New Brunswick Tourism [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

On Halloween night in Canada, costumes would be worn under heavy winter coats. And instead of saying “trick or treat,” some Canadians exclaim “Halloween apples!” Canadians who celebrate Christmas decorate Christmas trees much like Americans…but it first needs to thaw, usually in the basement. And anyone watching New Year’s Eve fireworks in Canada may see fireworks in the shape of a very traditional symbol of the country–a maple leaf!

If your students were reciting the alphabet, the final letter would not be pronounced “zee,” but “zed.” They would call their moms mum. They would ask to use the washroom, not the restroom. They would take holidays over winter break, not vacations. And on these holidays, they could visit places with names like Moose Jaw, Blow Me Down, and Saint-Louis-Du-Ha-Ha.

On Canada Day, celebrate this beautiful country and its diverse and magnificent culture. Be sure to teach your students about our wintry northern neighbor! Visit SIRS Discoverer, and the product’s July Spotlight of the Month, for articles, Web sites, and photos to share with your class.

So, What Is Victoria Day, Anyway?

ProQuest Research Topic page, via eLibrary

ProQuest Research Topic page, via eLibrary

On May 18, 2015, Canadians will celebrate Victoria Day, which commemorates the birthday of the popular British queen who gave permission for the creation of the Dominion of Canada, the result of  Canadian Confederation. Prior to this, it was just a collection of colonies of the British Empire.

Everyone would gather
On the twenty-fourth of May
Sitting in the sand
To watch the fireworks display

As referred to in this nostalgic lyric from the Canadian band Rush’s Lakeside Park, Victoria’s actual birthday is May 24. (Yes, that was an obviously desperate effort to get Rush into a blog entry.) Even back in the early days of Victoria’s reign, her birthday had been celebrated, and in 1845, the United Province of Canada (one of the colonies) passed the first legislation declaring May 24 to be a holiday. It wasn’t until 1952 that Canada made it so that it would always occur on the Monday before May 25. That was the year that Elizabeth II ascended to the British throne and the holiday was also declared to be the official celebration of the current queen’s birthday. In recent years, some have pushed for another change in the holiday to also honor the country’s First Nations.

So, why does Canada still celebrate the birthdays of British queens? Because it is a constitutional monarchy that, as part of the Commonwealth of Nations, recognizes the British monarch as its own, a system that has its supporters and detractors. But, that is a blog for a different day.

What about Victoria herself? She became queen in 1837 at the age of 18, and a couple of years later married her cousin, Prince Albert. They had nine children, who eventually married into royal families all around continent, providing Victoria with the nickname “Grandmother of Europe.” When Albert died of typhoid in 1861, she remained in mourning for the rest of her life. As queen, she reigned over and became a symbol of an expanding empire, and despite her gloominess, earned the devotion of her country. Among the landmarks that bear her name are Lake VictoriaVictoria Falls and Victoria, British Columbia.

There is much, much more in eLibrary on Victoria, her influence on culture and the events that occurred during her time as Britain’s longest-reigning member of the British Monarchy. For a start, see our Queen Victoria Research Topic page and the resources about her at the Victorian Web site, which is accessible through eLibrary.


ProQuest SIRS Discoverer Spotlight: Celebrate Canada

Lucy Maud Montgomery in a photograph believed to have been taken at the time she arrived in Halifax to work at the Echo. <br \> by "Maud, the early years of L.M. Montgomery," Harry Bruce, Nimbus Publishing ltd, Halifax, NS, 2003, p. 93, via Wikimedia Commons

Lucy Maud Montgomery in a photograph believed to have been taken at the time she arrived in Halifax to work at the Echo.
by “Maud, the early years of L.M. Montgomery,” Harry Bruce, Nimbus Publishing ltd, Halifax, NS, 2003, p. 93, via Wikimedia Commons [Public Domain because of expired copyright]

Learning about other countries and researching their histories and cultures are integral parts of any elementary-school curriculum. During the month of July, SIRS Discoverer’s Spotlight of the Month features articles and Web sites on the country of Canada. Not only does the Spotlight present information on the country’s provinces and way of life, but it also highlights Canadian people who have impacted our world.

Canadian authors such as Lucy Maud Montgomery, creator of the Anne of Green Gables books, and Farley Mowat, best known for his book Never Cry Wolf and one of Canada’s most popular authors, incorporated Canadian themes and landscapes into their works. Canadian scientists Irene Ayako Uchido and Ralph Steinman made great advancements in the field of biology. Canadian comedians John Candy, Mike Meyers, and Jim Carrey all started their careers in their home country. Even “Esther the Wonder Pig,” the pig who became an Internet sensation and helped convince many people to become vegetarians, is from Canada!

Visit SIRS Discoverer and explore all that is Canadian! We are pretty sure that you’ll learn something new about this beautiful and diverse country.