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ARCHIVED - A Nation's Chronicle: The Canada Gazette

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Activity 3
Examining Symbols

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The Canada Gazette plays a significant historical role in documenting many government decisions in Canada. The Canada Gazette's masthead contains the coat of arms of Canada. This coat of arms has symbols that have significance for both the country and the Canada Gazette.

1- Have students, in groups or as a class, brainstorm 10 different symbols for Canada. Think of the different provincial symbols, the landscape, the people, the weather, leisure activities, government, etc.

2- Ask students:
From this list, which symbols do you think would be found in the coat of arms of Canada? Select 2, explain your choices.

3- Look at the coat of arms of Canada on Handout 3. (This may be projected on an overhead, or students may visit the following website:

4- Ask students:
Did you find any of the symbols that you thought of during your earlier brainstorming session in the coat of arms of Canada?

Why do you think this is? (Think about when the Canada Gazette began, and what Canada might have been like as a country at that time.)

What would have been important symbols of Canada? (Refer to British Empire, English/French settlers, the fur trade industry, relations with First Nations, etc.)

What do you think the symbols in the coat of arms of Canada signify?

5- Ask students to read about the history of the coat of arms of Canada at:

Once they are acquainted with the history of Canada's coat of arms, refer back to the symbols mentioned during your brainstorming session.

Ask students:
What symbols would you choose if you were designing a coat of arms for Canada? Explain your choices.

6- Refer to Handout 3 for comprehension questions and the coat of arms designing activity.

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