Essay from Concise Atlas

Both landscapes and building styles vary greatly across Canada. The artists of the Group of Seven were not the first to paint in different parts of the country; they were preceded by fully a century of artists and photographers whose landscapes from the Appalachians, Great Lakes-St. Lawrence lowland, Canadian Shield, Cordillera, and Barren Grounds are reproduced in 19th Century Images of Canada. Places where selected artists painted are marked on the map, and the travel routes of four painters and photographers are laid out. The development of photography in Canada is analysed in the notes to this chapter.

The Look of Domestic Building, 1891 shows regional differences that had emerged in domestic building design by 1891. Many factors influenced styles in Canada: folk-housing patterns carried from former homelands, influential designs from particular periods in Europe and the United States, and the mix of ideas and technologies existing in par­ticular regions as settlement progressed from pioneer to mature stages.

Literacy and education changed life in 19th-century Canada. Literacy is one of the great human achievements, the basis of the present information age (The Printed Word, 1752-1900). In the 19th century, more and more books and journals were published, newspapers founded, and public libraries established. Provision of schooling for the general population furthermore became a great state endeavour (The Quest for Universal Schooling, 1851-1891). Tax-supported schools were built, teachers were trained and certified, and new technologies, such as blackboards, were introduced. School boards increasingly hired female teachers, in part because they commanded lower wages than men, as an increasing proportion of the school-age population across the country started attending school. Through these opportunities people gained access to a wider world and could more easily learn about one another.

Immigrants bring their religion with them, and migrations from Europe account for the predominance, and diversity, of Christian denominations in Canada (Religious Adherence, 1891-1961, two main maps). The strong regional concentrations of Roman Catholics east of the Ottawa River valley and Protestants west from there in 1921 are distinctive. The union of several Protestant denominations to form the United Church of Canada in 1925 resolved factional stresses that had existed among Christian communities for well over a century (Illustration: The Road to Church Union, and Map: Presbyterian vote on Church Union, 1924-25). It was an important event in consolidating the transcontinental nation.

Printed Historical Atlas of Canada source:

Concise Historical Atlas of Canada, pp. 4-5.