Pierre Trudeau's federal government adopted
as an official policy in 1971 in the aftermath of the
Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism conducted under the government of Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson.
Due to its colonial past, Canadian culture has historically been heavily influenced by British and French cultures and traditions.
In more modern times, Canadian culture is now greatly influenced by American culture, due to the proximity and the migration of people,
ideas, and capital. Amidst this, Canadian culture has developed unique characteristics. In many respects,
a more robust and distinct Canadian culture has developed in recent years, partially because of the civic nationalism that
pervaded Canada in the years prior to and following the
Canadian Centennial in 1967,
and also due to a focus by the federal government on programs to support culture and the arts.
There were and are many distinct First Nations across Canada, each with its own culture, language and history.
Their culture was transmitted largely through oral means and stories were
passed down through the elders to the younger generations.
Various tribes created unique styles of artifacts such as weaved baskets, painted pictures,
and carved sculptures of animals. Much of this artistic legacy remains celebrated in Canada to this day.
The emblem of the Vancouver
2010 Winter Olympics is the
inukshuk, a stack of rocks in human form that is a part of
From as early the 1500s, European explorers, traders, and fishermen from England,
Ireland and France helped form the basis of Canadian culture. During their colonization of Canada,
settlers created a folklore about the land around them.
The tales of Paul Bunyan
are a product of French-Canadian folklore and the style of
jigs from Newfoundland
found their origins in Ireland.
Canada and the United Kingdom share a common history and continue to work together through many organizations such as the
and NATO. The two countries share the same head of state,
and have among the oldest parliamentary democracies in the world. They still share many of the same customs,
values, and traditions, which have been reinforced by working side by side in two world wars and over half a century
of expanding peace and prosperity. The United Kingdom is Canada’s third largest trading partner and is the second largest source of tourists visiting Canada.
Many American movies, authors, TV shows, and musicians are equally popular in Canada (and vice versa). Many
Canadian musicians have been successful
in the U.S. and around the world. Most cultural products of these types are now increasingly marketed toward a unified
"North American" market, and not specifically a Canadian or American one.
The U.S. and Canadian governments share a variety of close working partnerships in trade, economic, legal, security,
and military matters.
As Canada and the U.S. have grown closer, many Canadians have developed complex feelings and concerns regarding what
makes Canada a "distinct" nation within North America.
Pierre Elliot Trudeau once told an American audience: "Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant.
No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is affected by every twitch and grunt."
The large American cultural presence in Canada has prompted some fears of a "cultural takeover,"
and has led to the establishment of laws and government institutions to protect Canadian culture.
Cultural institutions include the CBC, the
National Film Board of Canada,
Much of Canadian culture remains defined in contrast to American culture.
See: Canadian identity
In recent years, Canada has increasingly distinguished itself from the U.S. as more socially
liberal while still being fiscally conservative.
The current Canadian government supports
universal health care,
and decriminalization of marijuana, although these issues remain topics of political debate. In other matters,
Canadian and American politics place similar priorities on balanced budgets, tax cuts, and free trade.
Canadian and American politics compared
Sources: University World and Wikipedia