Canadian History

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Canadian History

1. How did the symbol of the Maple Leaf come about?
The maple leaf is Canada's most prominent symbol, symbolizing Canada all around the world. In as early as 1700s, the symbol came about before the first European settlers visited Canada. Its original natives found out about the food properties of maple sap, which they then gathered every spring. They have been using the maple sap for food for many years. The maple leaf symbolized celebration of the nature and environment of Canada. 13 species of maple are native to North American, of which 10 are found in Canada. That is partly why the Canadians treat it like their national symbol of historical meaning.

The maple leaf today is found on the penny. However, between 1876 and 1901, it appeared on all Canadian coins. Today’s one-cent coin has two maple leaves on a common twig, a design that has not been changed since 1937.

2. What is Canada’s national animal and how did it come about?

The beaver became Canada’ national animal in 1975. The fur of beavers was heavily traded in the late 1600s and early 1700s, as it was needed for the popular fur top hats in the past. There were millions of beavers in Canada at that time as well. The fur trade that mainly included beavers’ fur opened up the country. They were so important that a Made Beaver (MB) - a prepared skin, was a medium of exchange. The beaver was the main type of fur traded and trapped by the Hudson Bay Company, which then honoured the animal by putting it on the shield of its coat of arms in 1678. The beaver fur trade helped to develop Canada, as timber and beaver pelts were the major exports then.

Sir Sandford Fleming assured the beaver a position as a true National Symbol when he featured it on the first Canadian postage stamp - the "Three Penny Beaver" of 1851. The beaver was made an official emblem of Canada on 24 March, 1975 when royal assent was given to "an act to provide for the recognition of the beaver...
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