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Canada’s role in agriculture

Canada Day is Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

By Diego Flammini,

As of July 1st, 1867, Canada has been an independent nation, no longer being controlled by Britain.

On Wednesday, July 1st, 2015, Canada will celebrate its 148th birthday. That’s 148 years of memories in politics, sports, the environment and of course, agriculture.

Happy Canada Day

In Canada, almost all types of people who helped shape the country took part in agricultural practices whether they lived in the Maritimes, Ontario, or the Prairies.

Before the arrival of Europeans, Aboriginals who resided in the lower Great Lakes and St. Lawrence regions planted corn, squash and beans. They would eventually trade their crop for fur pelts.

Agriculture in the Maritimes can be dated back to almost 1605. Acadian settlers built walls near saltwater in the Annapolis basin, growing wheat and vegetables.

Between 1800 and 1860, what’s now known as Ontario dominated in wheat production. It was the easiest to grow and an important source of money. Between 1817 and 1825, Upper Canada (Ontario) shipped about 5,780,000 litres of wheat to Montreal.

During the First World War, wheat production in Western Canada skyrocketed with the innovations of steam, gas-powered tractors and other machinery. From 1901 to 1931, the amount of planted land increased from 1.5 to 16.4 million hectares.

Not only did Canada take part in agriculture, but in some cases they invented some of the crops that are harvested today, including:

  •  Keith Downey and Baldur Stefansson are considered the “Fathers of Canola” as they helped transform rapeseed into canola.
  • Agronomist Charles Saunders invented Marquis Wheat.
  • John McIntosh is credited with discovering the McIntosh apple.
  • Gary R. Johnston is credited with inventing the Yukon Gold potato.

Join the conversation and tell us how you’ll be celebrating Canada’s birthday.


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