In 1901, “being Canadian” meant, almost without exception, honouring one's Native, French, or British cultural traditions, sometimes in combination, in a fresh spacious setting. In the 21st century "being Canadian" applies to dozens of ethnic, religious, and linguistic groups associated with all parts of the world, most commonly living in a few large cities.
Consider the interactive map of Ethnic Origin, 1961, showing the first, second and third largest groups. Note the small percentages of "others", neither French nor English, often clustered into enclaves: Scandinavians in Edmundston (New Brunswick), or Dutch near Georgian Bay. Only in Québec is there no dominant third group. The graph of Major Ethnic Groups 1901, 1931, 1961 traces back to 1901, showing the emergence of these “other” Canadians, from only two groups (German and Native) with more than 1% in 1901 to eight in 1961.
Bilingualism refers to individuals who can function in two languages – historically French and English – and also to the idea of a country in which two languages dominate. On the interactive map: The Bilingual Belt, 1961 the pinks and light blues form a belt, a long narrow strip from southeastern Quebec through the Ottawa River valley into northern Ontario, with a branch westward to the Soo. Another piece runs along the northeastern shore of New Brunswick. In these belts English and French mix on city streets and from one country road to the next. But the proportion of these people who would, individually, be bilingual calls for a rather different map.
It is generally agreed that in Canada the balance tipped from rural to urban in the 1910s (graph of Population Growth 1891-1961). With only a slight setback during the Depression of the 1930s, population has moved steadily towards more than 80 per cent urban today. The graph of Urban and Rural Population is actually a cartogram – mixed map and graph – in which the urban and rural extent is given spatial treatment, regions positioned in blocks as they occur across the country. Ontario reaches well south of the 49th parallel, often symbolic of the American boundary. The Depression is echoed in the Population Profiles graphs (or “age-sex pyramids”). Births declined. The pinch in the 0-4 age bracket for 1931 is repeated for the 20-30 age groups in 1961. The 2001 census will show the same feature among those in their 60s.