Social and Historic Context
Canada becomes a country
Prior to 1867, Canada was a colony of the British Empire. The Confederation united the Province of Canada (territories of the future provinces of Ontario and Quebec), New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. These signatories to the British North America Act were joined thereafter by Manitoba (1870), British Columbia (1871) and Prince Edward Island (1873). Canada acquired internal self-sufficiency but remained dependant on London for its external affairs.
Territorial expansion and industrialization
From 1870 to 1920, Canada continued its expansion west. Businessmen made fortunes investing in the railroad in particular. The gold rush and farming in the Prairies contributed to the establishment of new communities. In the east, the economy was also flourishing. The paper and electrochemical industries were booming.
At the end of the 19th Century, industrial mechanization was speeding up and standardizing the production of several consumer goods such as textiles and shoes. In food production, the focus was on conditioning and canning.
Parallel to industrial progress made as a result of the internal combustion engine and electricity, other inventions during this era changed everyday life, communications and even leisure activities (for those who could afford them): the incandescent light bulb, the telephone, the phonograph and records, the pen and the typewriter. Public health also benefited from the discovery of a vaccine against rabies and X-rays.