Printer-friendly > FCCS > About > FCCS Links > Instructional Resources > Important Moments in Canadian History > 1800 to 1867

Important Moments in Canadian History

Compiled by Dr. Robert J. Belton

1800 to 1867

Mackenzie is knighted and becomes a member of the XY Company.

The XY Company is reorganized under Mackenzie's name.

The XY Company is absorbed by the North West Company. The earliest Fraktur paintings appear in Lincoln county, Ontario.

Le canadien, a Québec nationalist newspaper, is founded.

Slavery is abolished in British colonies.

The U.S. declares war on Britain (June 18), beginning the War of 1812. Americans under General William Hull invade Canada from Detroit (July 11). Canadians are victorious at the Battle of Queenston Heights (Oct. 13). The Red River settlement is begun in Canada's northwest (Aug.-Oct.) on lands granted to Lord Selkirk by the Hudson's Bay Company.

Americans burn York (Apr. 27). The Battles of Stoney Creek (June 5) and Beaver Dam (June 23) are Canadian victories, the latter in part due to Laura Secord's famous 32 km. walk to warn Lieutenant James FitzGibbon, who had already been warned by Indians. The Battles of Put-in-Bay, Lake Erie (Sept. 10) and Moraviantown (Oct. 5) are both American victories. At the latter, which is also known as the Battle of the Thames, British supporter and Shawnee Indian Chief Tecumseh is killed. The Battles of Chateauguay (Oct. 25) -- with mostly French-Canadian soldiers -- and Crysler's Farm (Nov. 11) -- with English-Canadian soldiers -- are Canadian both victories over larger American troops.

Victories alternate between U.S. and British forces until the Treaty of Ghent ends the war (Dec. 24).

After several years of harassment by agents of the North West Company, Métis and Indians under Cuthbert Grant kill Robert Semple, governor of the Red River settlement, and twenty others at Seven Oaks (June 19).

The Rush-Bagot agreement limits the number of battleships on the Great Lakes to a total of eight.

Canada's border is defined as the 49th Parallel from Lake of the Woods to the Rocky Mountains.

The Hudson's Bay Company and the North West Company amalgamate, creating unemployment for a substantial proportion of their Métis workforce.

The Lachine Canal is completed.

Louis-Joseph Papineau, a member of the legislative assembly since 1814, travels from Montréal to England to oppose an Act of Union identifying the French Canadians as a minority without language rights. The act is not passed in the British Parliament.

The first Welland Canal is completed, partly in response to American initiatives in the Erie Canal.

Royal engineer Col. John By builds the Rideau Canal.

York is renamed Toronto.

William Lyon Mackenzie becomes the first mayor of Toronto.

Joseph Howe, a Halifax printer and owner since 1828 of the weekly Novascotian, is arrested for libel but successfully argues his own case for freedom of the press. A local hero, he begins advocating the kind of responsible government that is only established in 1848.

Opening of Canada's first railway line, from St. Johns, Québec, to La Prairie, Québec.

Along with a general feeling that the government was not democratic, the failure of the executive committee to maintain the confidence of the elected officials leads to violent but unsuccessful rebellions in Upper and Lower Canada. The leaders, W.L. Mackenzie (Reformers) and Louis-Joseph Papineau (Patriotes), both escape to the U.S.

As governor general and high commissioner of British North America, Lord Durham arrives to investigate the circumstances behind the Rebellion of 1837.

Lord Durham's report recommends the establishment of responsible government and the union of Upper and Lower Canada to speed the assimilation of French-speaking Canadians. Territorial disputes between lumbermen from Maine and New Brunswick lead to armed conflict in the Aroostook River valley (the Aroostook War).

An Act of Union unites Upper and Lower Canada (Feb. 10) as the Province of Canada.

c. 1842
The Independent Order of Odd Fellows breaks from the Manchester Unity, soon opening lodges in Montréal and Halifax.

The Webster-Ashburton Treaty ends the Aroostook War, settling once and for all the Maine-New Brunswick border dispute (Aug.).

Britain's claim to Vancouver Island is assured by Fort Victoria.

Amnesty in Montréal provides for Papineau's return.

The so-called Great Ministry of Robert Baldwin and Louis-H. Lafontaine outlines the principles of responsible government in the Canadas. The Maritimes are brought into the plan by Howe, then a reform-minded member of the House of Assembly.

The boundary of the 49th Parallel is extended to the Pacific Ocean. An Act of Amnesty provides for W.L. Mackenzie's return from exile in the U.S.

The site of By's headquarters during the construction of the Rideau Canal is incorporated as Bytown. Plains Indian culture is at its height, sustained by the use of horses and the exploitation of large game.

Britain transfers control of the colonial postal system to Canada.

Laval's Séminaire du Québec founds Université Laval, North America's oldest French Language university.

The Grand Trunk Railway receives its charter.

Canada and the U.S. sign a Reciprocity Treaty, ensuring reduction of customs duties (June 6).

Bytown is renamed Ottawa.

The Grand Trunk Railway opens its Toronto-Montréal line.

Queen Victoria designates Ottawa as capital of the Province of Canada.

The Halifax-Truro line begins rail service. Chinese immigrants from California arrive in British Columbia, attracted by the Fraser River Gold Rush.

The cornerstone of the Parliament buildings is laid (Sept. 1).

Howe becomes Premier of Nova Scotia.

Mount Allison University accepts the first woman student in Sackville, N.B.

Originally designed to discuss Maritime union, the Charlottetown Conference (Sept. 1-9) takes the first steps toward Confederation. The Québec Conference (Oct. 10-27) identifies the seventy-two resolutions that set out the basis for union.

The Fenians, a group of radical Irish-Americans organized in New York in 1859 to oppose British presence in Ireland, begin a series of raids on Canadian territory in the hopes of diverting British troops from the homeland. The most serious of these was the Battle of Ridgeway (June 2), which lent a special urgency to the Confederation movement. The London Conference (Dec. 4) passes resolutions which are redrafted as the British North America Act.

Confederation. Britain's North American colonies are united by means of the BNA Act to become the Dominion of Canada (July 1). Sir John A. Macdonald is Canada's first Prime Minister. Ottawa offically becomes capital of the Dominion.

Last reviewed shim12/19/2012 11:15:49 PM