Canadian Culture: The Northern Mosaic
Canada is one of two countries located in North America and is the second largest country in the world. It is situated just north of the United States and constitutes the northern part of the country, excluding Alaska. Over the years Canada's culture has been influenced by European culture and traditions, mainly that of the French and British. Canadian culture has also been influenced by the countries' first people, the Aboriginals, as well as the newer immigrated population (Wikipedia, 2007). Canada consists of ten provinces and three northern territories, almost all of which are "rich in land and natural resources" (Bailey, par. 2). Canada is often referred to as a mosaic community because there is such a wide variety of different cultures and ethnic groups that call it home. Three geographical regions of Canada, including the Prairies, the Eastern Maritimes and the Northern Territories will be discussed and the relationship between their geographical locations and the established cultures will be focused on.
To begin, the Prairies are often known for their agriculture and large, widespread land. Statistics Canada (1997) confirms that more than half of the farms in Canada can be found in the Prairie Provinces which includes Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba (cited in Wallace, 2002). Agriculture is one of the largest industries in this region (Agriculture Canada, 1989). Beef cattle and sheep are raised in Alberta and Saskatchewan and these provinces also "produce enough dairy products and poultry to meet its domestic needs" (Agriculture Canada, 1989, p.17). Alberta has more beef cattle than all the other nine provinces, as well, it is the "third largest producer of hogs and has a quarter of Canada's sheep" (p.17). First Nations have the oldest influence on Prairie culture as they have lived in this region for centuries. Fur traders and explorers from Eastern Canada were the first Europeans to come to the Prairies. "They gave rise to the Métis, famous for their skill in bison hunting" (Wikipedia, 2007, par.9). Located in Southern Alberta, there is an historical site, Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump, where they exhibit the large cliffs that the Métis would use to run the bison off of the edge. They were very resourceful and used all parts of the animal for their survival. Once the Canadian Pacific Railway was built more ethnic groups started to settle in this region. "The Prairies were settled in district ethnic block settlements giving certain areas a distinctly Ukrainian, German, French and Scandinavian Canadian cultures" (Wikipedia, 2007, par.9). Just outside of Edmonton, Alberta there is the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village which is a museum that was built to resemble pioneer settlements in east central Alberta. Buildings from the surrounding communities have been relocated to this area and have been preserved for their historical significance. There are also people who dress in historic costumes that actually play the roles of the men, women and children who lived at that time. Another culture that is prevalent in the southern prairies is the "cowboy culture" (Wikipedia, 2007, par.10). Because ranching is so popular in this region it was inevitable that some sort of sport or recreational activity would come of it. And that it did, "Canada's first rodeo, the Raymond Stampede, was first established in 1902" (par.10). Country music is also another popular artistic culture in the prairies and can be seen at one of the largest country music festivals, Big Valley jamboree, that takes place in southern Alberta every year and attracts thousands of people from all across Canada.
Another region to look at is the Eastern Maritimes which includes the smaller provinces of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island (P.E.I) and New Brunswick. Newfoundland is often accidentally included in the Maritimes but it is actually part of Atlantic Canada, thus referred to as an Atlantic province (Wikipedia,...
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