Canadian Identity

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Canadian identity refers to the unique culture, characteristics and condition of being Canadian, as well as the many symbols and expressions that set Canada and Canadians apart from other peoples and cultures of the world.
Primary influences on the Canadian identity trace back to the arrival, beginning in the early seventeenth century, of French settlers to Acadia and the St. Lawrence River Valley, English settlers to Newfoundland, the British conquest of New France in 1759, and the ensuing dominance of French and British culture in the gradual development of both an imperial and a national identity.
Throughout the 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, First Nations played a critical part in the development of European colonies in Canada, from their role in assisting exploration of the continent, the fur trade and inter-European power struggles to the creation of the Métis people. Carrying through the 20th century and to the present day, Canadian aboriginal art and culture continues to exert a marked influence on Canadian identity.
The question of Canadian identity was traditionally dominated by three fundamental themes: first, the often conflicted relations between English Canadians and French Canadians stemming from the French Canadian imperative for cultural and linguistic survival; secondly, the generally close ties between English Canadians and the British Empire, resulting in a gradual political process towards complete independence from the imperial power, and, finally, the close proximity of English-speaking Canadians to the military, economic and cultural powerhouse of the United States. With the gradual loosening of political and cultural ties to Britain in the twentieth century, immigrants from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean have reshaped the Canadian identity, a process that continues today with the continuing arrival of large numbers of…...

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