Defining Moments in the Canadian History.

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All throughout Canada in the 20th Century there have been numerous events,

actions and decisions that we call defining moments. Canada has been through

many battles, very hard chosen decisions, and gone through many changes that

have changed the way Canadians live today. The battle of Vimy Ridge, the life

on the home front in World War One, the invasion of D-day, and the impact of

immigration were the most important defining moments for Canada in the 20th


Vimy Ridge is now called a Canadian Milestone. It was one of the notable

moments because it brought world recognition and a strong sense of patriotism

towards Canada. The battle of Vimy Ridge took place at Vimy Ridge and was on

Easter Monday, 1917. There had been more than just one battle over the Ridge.

The French had tried to win the Ridge three different times, but they were not

successful. In fact, none of the countries were. When it came time for Canada,

they used a new and different approach. They combined careful preparation,

precise timing, and a great job of the gunners. Canada won the battle in a four

day victory. Canada gained more land, more captured artillery than any other

British offensive in the entire war, and more prisoners. The battle of Vimy Ridge

was so very important because it was after this fight that people started to

appreciate Canada and thought that Canadians could manage to be their own

nation. Any time before the battle of Vimy Ridge, Canada had always been allied

with Britain. With the winning of the Ridge, Canada got more independence that

changed the way people thought of Canada. One Canadian soldier at the battle

recalled: "The winning of the Ridge gave every man a feeling of pride. A

national spirit was born; we were Canadian and could do a good job of paddling

our own canoe."1. The Canadians had won the only significant victory for the

Allies in 1917. It was a turning point in the war for the Allies and for Canada as

a nation.

The beginning of World War One had a great impact on the living conditions

back on the home front in Canada. While the war was going on, it was a totally

different situation back at the home front in Canada. Since most of the men

were at war fighting overseas for their country, things had to change for the

women of Canada. They had to help out their country in different ways then

1. Evans, R., Fielding, J. Canada. (Canada: Nelson Thomas Learning, 2000), 82

fighting. Many of the women helped by knitting warm clothing and making

bandages for the distribution by the military. They also contributed by

organizing numerous committees and became unofficial military recruiters,

pressed by posters appealing to wives and the patriotic mothers of the war.

Many of the women took on jobs that had been considered men's work before

the war started. They started working in factories and took up all kinds of

laboring jobs. The role of Canadian women in the war also gave them additional

ammunition in their own campaign for their right to vote. Until 1917, the

Canadian law stated that "No women, idiot, lunatic, or criminal shall vote."2.

Women winning the right to vote changed the way that people felt about

women. Before the war, their job was to stay at home to cook, clean, look after

their men and children. The men had always worked and supported their family.

Without World One starting, women today may still be living the same way

because they would have not had the chance to show everyone that they were

capable of doing men's jobs and have to the right to vote.

D-day was considered as the turning point of World War Two to many people.

Operation Overload took place June 6, 1944 in Normandy, France. The invasion

was supposed to start June 5th, but got postponed due to weather. The Allies

had learned from the disaster at Dieppe, that this time that they had to plan and

rehearse the invasion down to the smallest detail. It was a long-awaited

invasion that the Canadians knew they could do right and try to forget the tragic

loss at Dieppe. They had managed to keep the whole invasion a secret from the

Germans. The Normandy beach of northern France was the selected site for the

invasion. Although Canadian forces were smaller then the other Allied forces,

their contribution to the invasion of Operation Overload was critical. Most of the

Canadian contributed by landing on Juno Beach, where the landing went pretty

smooth. The invading force was supported by a large amount of artillery

firepower given by Allied ships. There had also been a special landing craft

equipped to fire rockets on the Germans. The Canadians faced underwater

obstacles, land mines, barbed wire, and heavy machine-gun fire from the

Germans. Canadians managed to get through all this and move inland. This

was a great victory for Canada because at the end of the day they had been the

2. Bain, C.M., DesRivieres, D., Flanerty, P., et al. Making History. (Toronto: Pearson,

2000), 33

only Allied troops to reach their D-day objectives. The terrific progress that was

made from the landing on Juno Beach was the most important start that led

other great things to start happening for D-day. Later on in D-day, Canadians

were given the task to liberate the Netherlands. The Canadians did an

extraordinary job on that order. Facing defeat, Germany surrendered on May 8,

1945 and Hitler then committed suicide. Most say that it was the turning point

that signaled the end of the war. By doing such a great job during D-day it let

Canadians liberate other countries and made Canadians really feel good about

their country.

One of the most important changes of all in Canada was the impact of

immigration. In 1967, Canada had made a new immigration policy. Immigrates

were chosen by a point system based on an education and employment

perspective. Canada needed people with training and specific skills. Under this

system, applicants were given points according to criteria such as age,

education, ability to speak English or French, and the current demand for any

specific job skills the applicant possessed. Those who received enough points

were allowed to immigrate to Canada. Letting immigrants in the country really

enriched Canadians lives with contributions to food, fashion, religion, education,

and politics. Immigrants came in significant numbers from places varied as

Pakistan, Hong Kong, India, China and the Caribbean. In 1976 the Immigration

Act was changed to allow immigrants in Canada with family members to come to

Canada and encourage independent immigrants who were bringing needed job

skills. This really helped out Canada and used the immigrants to help work in

Industry. Multiculturalism came into effect when immigrants starting coming to

Canada. For some Canadians it made them feel uncomfortable at first, but later

on became familiar with it. The Immigration Act was also a response to

Canada's economic needs. Canada's birth rate and the size of Canadian families

started to increase. The Immigration Act was a way for the federal government

to keep Canada's population and encourage economic growth. From the Act,

Canada is now friends with a lot more different countries. Those counties are

willing to help out Canada when in need of help and Canada will do the same.

In conclusion, the four most significant, defining moments in Canada in the 20th

Century were the battle of Vimy Ridge, the life on the home front during World

War One, the invasion of D-day, and the Immigration Act. In the battle of Vimy

Ridge, we grew to be our own nation, brought world recognition and gave

Canadians their own thought of patriotism. The life on the home front during

World War One was important because it was then when women had a new role

to play. They got to vote and had all kinds of jobs that would usually be men's

work. The invasion of d-day was a signaled turning point to end the war.

Canadians played a great role in the invasion. The impact of Immigration helped

a lot by enriching Canada with their contributions to food, fashion, religion,

education, business, politics and many more. All these moments were significant

for Canada and changed the way that Canadians live today.