There’s an 800-year heritage of Canada history facts that you’ll certainly be tested on. 

The Canadian citizenship test covers these topics in detail. Plus, they’re available in Discover Canada, the official study guide.

To start learning, read on.

Dominion from Sea to Sea

In 1864 Sir Leonard Tilley suggested the term Dominion of Canada. His inspiration was from Psalm 72, “dominion from sea to sea, from the river to the ends of the earth.” 

This phrase embodied the vision of building a thriving country spanning a continent. 

The title written into the Constitution, was official for about 100 years, and remains part of Canada’s heritage.

Expansion of the Dominion

1867 – Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick 

1870 – Manitoba, Northwest Territories 

1871 – British Columbia 

1873 – Prince Edward Island 

1880 – Transfer of the Arctic Islands (to N.W.T.) 

1898 – Yukon Territory 

1905 – Alberta, Saskatchewan 

1949 – Newfoundland and Labrador 1999 – Nunavut 

Did You Know? 

In the 1920s, there were some beliefs that the British West Indies (British territories in the Caribbean Sea) should become part of Canada. 

However this did not occur. Though Canada, Commonwealth Caribbean countries and territories enjoy close ties today.

Canada’s First Prime Minister

 In 1867, Sir John Alexander Macdonald, became Canada’s first Prime Minister. Born in Scotland on January 11, 1815, he came to Upper Canada as a child. 

He was a lawyer in Kingston, Ontario, a gifted politician and a colorful personality. Parliament has recognized January 11 as Sir John A. Macdonald Day. His portrait is on the $10 bill.

Sir George-Étienne Cartier was a railway lawyer, Montrealer, close ally of Macdonald and patriotic Canadien.

He led Quebec into Confederation and helped to negotiate the entry of the Northwest Territories, Manitoba, and British Columbia into Canada.

These are significant Canada history facts that you should expect in the citizenship test.

Challenge in the West 

When Canada took over the vast northwest region from the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1869, the 12,000 Métis of the Red River were not consulted.

In response, Louis Riel led an armed uprising and seized Fort Garry, the territorial capital. 

Canada’s future was in jeopardy. How could the Dominion reach from sea to sea if it couldn’t control the interior? Ottawa sent soldiers to retake Fort Garry in 1870.

Riel fled to the United States and Canada established a new province: Manitoba. Riel was elected to Parliament but never took his seat. 

Later, as Métis and Indian rights were again threatened by westward settlement, a second rebellion in 1885 in present-day Saskatchewan led to Riel’s trial and execution for high treason. 

This decision was strongly opposed in Quebec. Riel is largely considered a defender of Métis rights and father of Manitoba. 

After the first Métis uprising, Prime Minister Macdonald established the northwest Mounted Police (NWMP) in 1873 to calm the West and assist in negotiations with the Indians. 

Today, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP or “the Mounties”) are the national police force and one of Canada’s best-known symbols. 

A Railway from Sea to Sea

British Columbia joined Canada in 1871 after Ottawa promised to build a railway to the West Coast. 

On November 7, 1885, a powerful symbol of unity became complete when Donald Smith (Lord Strathcona), the Scottish-born director of the Canadian Pacific Railway (C.P.R.), drove the last spike. 

The project was financed by British and American investors. And built by both European and Chinese labour. 

Moving Westward

Canada’s economy grew and became industrialized during the economic boom of the 1890s and early 1900s. One million British and one million Americans immigrated to Canada at this time.

Sir Wilfrid Laurier became the first French Canadian prime minister since Confederation and encouraged immigration to the West. His portrait is on the $5 bill. 

The railway made it possible for immigrants to settle in the West before 1914. Many Ukrainians, and other Europeans develop a thriving agricultural sector.

In Conclusion

It’s highly likely that Canada history facts  will be part of the questions in the Canadian citizenship test. 

If you study hard and understand these important facts, there’s no valid reason not to pass.