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How Canada was formed

On The Road to Confederation

For all of these reasons the Province of Canada began to plan for Confederation. Leaders from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island had already thought about joining together in a Maritime union and were planning a conference. The politicians from the Province of Canada asked if they could come to the meeting to propose a larger union of all the British North American colonies. The Maritime colonies agreed to let them attend, and all the leaders met at Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island. This was the first of the three conferences that led to Confederation in 1867.

The Charlottetown Conference, September 1864

The Charlottetown Conference, 1864

The Charlottetown Conference, 1864

The politicians from the Province of Canada convinced the politicians from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island to consider a larger union. They agreed to meet again to discuss Confederation. The next conference was at Quebec City.

The Quebec Conference, October 1864

During this conference the leaders had to work out how the new country would be run. The decisions they came to were called the Quebec Resolutions. Although Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland both took part, after the conference they both decided not to join Confederation at that time.

The London Conference, December 1866-January 1867

Painting: The Fathers of Confederation at the London Conference, 1866

The Fathers of Confederation at the London Conference, 1866.

This was the last conference, and it took place in London, England. Leaders from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and the Province of Canada had to take the rough draft of the Quebec Resolutions and come up with a final agreement. The document they created was called the British North America Act. Once British Parliament approved it, Confederation could go ahead.

Confederation, July 1, 1867

On this date Canada became a country with four provinces. New Brunswick and Nova Scotia hardly changed, but the Province of Canada was split into two new provinces: Ontario and Quebec. A look at the map of Canada in 1867 will show a very different Canada from that of today.

It would take more than a century to add the other six provinces and three territories that today make up Canada. This site is the story of how each province and territory came to be part of Canada.

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