- Upper Canada
Infobox Former Country
conventional_long_name = Province of Upper Canada
common_name = Upper Canada
continent = North America
era = British Era
status = Colony
status_text= British Province
empire = United Kingdom
government_type = Constitutional monarchy|
Constitutional Act of 1791
year_start = 1791
date_start = December 26
Act of Union 1840
year_end = 1841
date_end = Feb 10
date_event3 = |
p1 = Province of Quebec (1763-1791)
flag_p1 = Union flag 1606 (Kings Colors).svg
s1 = United Province of Canada
flag_s1 = Flag of the United Kingdom.svg|
image_map_caption = Map of Upper Canada (orange)
capital = Newark 1792 - 1797
Torontoin 1834) 1797 - 1841
common_languages = English
leader1 = George III
year_leader1 = 1791-1820
leader2 = Victoria
year_leader2 = 1837-1841
title_leader = Sovereign
deputy1 = See list of Lieutenant-Governors
title_deputy = Lieutenant-Governor;
Executive Council of Upper Canada- cabinet
legislature = Parliament of Upper Canada
house1 = Legislative Council
house2 = Legislative Assembly
Executive Council of Upper Canada- cabinet
stat_year1 = 1806
stat_pop1 = 70718
stat_year2 = 1840
stat_pop2 = 432159
The Province of Upper Canada (French: "Province du Haut-Canada") was a British colony located in what is now the southern portion of the Province of
Ontarioin Canada. Upper Canada officially existed from 1791 to 1841 and generally comprised present-day Southern Ontarioand, until 1797, the Upper Peninsulaof what is now part of the U.S. stateof Michigan. Its name reflected its position closer to the headwaters of the St. Lawrence Riverthan Lower Canadawas, the same relationship between Upper Egyptand Lower Egypt.
Upper Canada included all of modern-day southern Ontario and all those areas of northern Ontario in the 'pays d'en haut' which had formed part of
New France, essentially the watersheds of the Ottawa River, Lake Huron, and Lake Superior. It did not include any lands within the watershed of Hudson Bay.
It passed from French control into British control with the
Treaty of Paris (1763). It was incorporated into the Province of Quebec by the Quebec Actof 1774. Upper Canada became a political entity on 26 December 1791with the Parliament of Great Britain's passage of the Constitutional Act of 1791. The Act divided the Province of Quebec into Upper and Lower Canada. The division was effected so that Loyalist American settlers and British immigrants in Upper Canada could have English laws and institutions, and the French-speaking population of Lower Canada could maintain French civil law and the Catholic religion.
The colony was administered by a
lieutenant-governor, legislative council, and legislative assembly. The first lieutenant-governor was John Graves Simcoe. On February 1, 1796the capital of Upper Canada was moved from Newark (now Niagara-on-the-Lake) to York (now Toronto), which was judged to be less vulnerable to attack by the Americans.
Local government in the Province of Upper Canada was based on districts. In 1788, four districts were created:
*Lunenburgh District, renamed "Eastern" in 1792
*Mecklenburg District, later "Midland"
*Nassau District, later "Home"
*Hesse District, later "Western"Additional districts were created from the existing districts as the population grew until 1849, when local government mainly based on counties came into effect. At that time, there were 20 districts; legislation to create a new Kent District never completed. Up until 1841, the district officials were appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor, although usually with local input. A Court of Quarter Sessions was held four times a year in each district to oversee the administration of the district and deal with legal cases.
War of 1812 (1812–1815)
War of 1812with the United States, Upper Canada was the chief target of the Americans, since it was weakly defended and populated largely by American immigrants. However, division in the United States over the war, a lacklustre American militia, the incompetence of American military commanders, and swift and decisive action by the British commander, Sir Isaac Brock, kept Upper Canada part of British North America.
Detroit was captured by the British on
August 6, 1812. The Michigan Territory was held under British control until it was abandoned in 1813.
Major battles (or attacks) fought on territory in Upper Canada included;
Battle of Queenston Heights, October 13, 1812
*Burning of York,
April 27, 1813
Fort George, May 27, 1813
Battle of Stoney Creek, June 5, 1813
Battle of Beaver Dams, 1813
Battle of Lake Erie, September 10, 1813
Battle of the Thames, October 5, 1813
Battle of Crysler's Farm, November 11, 1813
*Burning of Newark,
December 10, 1813
Battle of Chippewa, July 5, 1814
Battle of Lundy's Lane, July 25, 1814
Many other battles were fought in American territory bordering Upper Canada, including the
Northwest Territory(most in modern day Michigan), upstate New Yorkand naval battles in the Great Lakes.
Treaty of Ghent(ratified in 1815) ended the war and restored the status quo ante bellumbetween the combatants.
Dissidents and 1837 Rebellion
After 1800 there emerged a dissident faction that questioned the direction and handling of the colony by the Tories, including both colonial and imperial officials. The leaders were
Robert Thorpe, Joseph Willcocks, Robert Gourlay, and especially, William Lyon Mackenzie. They challenged the establishment about taxes, land policy, the privileges of the Anglican Church and the Family Compact, appropriations, and freedom of the press. They claimed that all citizens and not just the enfranchised were entitled to a voice, but they did not form a political party; there were no parties. In 1831 the Tories expelled MacKenzie from the Assembly, and the conflict escalated. Their brief armed rebellion in 1837 failed. Officials blamed American influence, "In this country unfortunately the settlement of American citizens has been too much permitted and encouraged, and thus in the bosom of this community there exists a treacherous foe... in many parts of the Province the teachers are Americans.... These men are utterly ignorant of everything English and could not if they tried instruct their pupils in any of the duties which the connection of the Province with England casts upon them." [Rea] The oligarchic Family Compactwas defended by Tories who explained, "The Radicals, Revolutionists or Destructives was composed of all the American settlers and speculators in land, some of the more simple and ignorant of the older class of farmers, and the rabble of adventurers who poured in every year from the United States or from Britain, to evade the laws of their respective countries." [Rea] Lord Durham's support for "responsible government" undercut the Tories and gradually led the public to reject what it viewed as poor administration, unfair land and education policies, and inadequate attention to urgent transportation needs. Finally there emerged responsible government under Robert Baldwinand Louis LaFontaineby the late 1840s.
Land had been settled since the French regime, notably along the
Detroit Riverand the Saint Lawrence River. However, impetus to land settlement came with the influx of Loyalist refugees and military personnel in 1784 after the American Revolution. As a result, prior to the creation of Upper Canada in 1791 as a separate colony, much land had been ceded by the First Nations to the Crown in accordance with the Royal Proclamation of 1763. This land was surveyed by the government of the Province of Quebec, particularly in eastern Ontario along the Saint Lawrence River, as the Western Townships, while the Eastern Townshipswere in Lower Canada.
Rudimentary municipal administration began with the creation of districts, notably Western (including present day Brantford), Eastern, Gore (including present day Hamilton) and Home (including present day
Act Against Slaverypassed in Upper Canada on July 9, 1793.
Organized settlement tracts were laid out with portions set aside for the
clergy reserves, one exception was the Talbot Settlementon the north shore of Lake Erie which was set up in 1804.
These land tracts expanded in reach well beyond the St. Lawrence-Lake Ontario-Lake Erie shores after the war of 1812. In 1828, Britain appointed Upper Canada's first Chief Agent of Emigration,
A.C. Buchanan. His title reflected the centrality of Britain's perspective on migration in the colonies at the time, especially since most new arrivals in Upper Canada were from the United Kingdom.
British regiment soldiers who were veterans of the war were offered free land, some remained despite the harsh winters. Unlike the period prior to the war, immigration was now directed at Europe and more specifically to the
United Kingdomand Ireland, not from the US, which was the largest source of immigration before the war. Very cheap or even free land was offered with advertisements to entice immigrants to settle there, even those in financially meager circumstances. Passage could be obtained across the Atlantic on returning empty lumber ships for little fare. During the early 1830s, the population increased more than 10% of its total each year. In the 1820s many German speaking Mennoniteimmigrants came to the Grand River region of Upper Canada from Pennsylvania, they were joined as well by many German speaking Amishimmigrants. This region was sometimes called "Little Pennsylvania", however this term is no longer used today. Many of their descendants continue to speak a form of German called Pennsylvania German.
It is estimated that thousands of escaped slaves entered Upper Canada from the United States, using the
Upper Canada ceased to be a political entity with the
Act of Union (1840), when, by an act of the British Parliament, it was merged with Lower Canada to form the United Province of Canada. This was principally in response to the Upper and Lower Canada rebellions of 1837 and 1837-38, respectively. At Confederation in 1867, the Province of Canada was re-divided along the former boundary as the provinces of Ontarioand Quebec.
The name 'Upper Canada' lives on in a few historical forms, most notably the
Law Society of Upper Canada, Upper Canada Lumber, Upper Canada College, Upper Canada Mall(in Newmarket, Ontario), and the Upper Canada Brewing Company. When the capital was first moved to Toronto from Newark (present-day Niagara-on-the-Lake) in 1796, the Parliament Buildings of Upper Canadawere located at the corner of Parliament and Front Streets, in buildings that were burned by United States forces in the War of 1812, rebuilt, then burned again by accident. The site was eventually abandoned for another, to the west. In 2001, some remnants of the original Parliament building were found. Today, there is an ongoing fight by preservationists and historians who propose the government develop and interpret the historic site. Currently the government leases most of the site.
United Province of Canadafor population after 1840)
Source: Statistics Canada website Censuses of Canada 1665 to 1871.
Coins of Upper Canada.
Canada West was the western portion of the
United Province of Canadafrom February 10, 1841to July 1, 1867. cite web|url=http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0006530|title=Province of Canada, 1841-67|accessdate=2007-06-16 |author=J.M.S. Careless] Its boundaries were identical to those of the former Province of Upper Canada.
The area of Canada West covered all of modern-day
Southern Ontarioand all those areas of Northern Ontarioin the "pays d'en haut" which had formed part of New France, essentially the watersheds of the Ottawa River, Lake Huron, and Lake Superior.
Canada West was a political entity and a geographic way of referring to the former Province of Upper Canada, following its merger into the United
Province of Canada. Canada West was given 42 seats in the Legislative Assembly of Canada, exactly the same number as Canada East.
The area was named the Province of Ontario under the British North America Act of 1867.
The population of Canada West had grown substantially during the period it existed, mostly due to unprecedented immigration and a high birth rate. In 1841 it was 455,000 but grew to approximately 1,500,000 people or more than 300% at the time of Confederation in 1867.
Censuses were conducted in 1851 [http://www.collectionscanada.ca/archivianet/1851/index-e.html] and 1861 and the population in those years was 952,004 and 1,396,091 respectively. [http://www.statcan.ca/english/freepub/98-187-XIE/colonial.pdf]
Upper Canada Rebellion
Timeline of Ontario history
*Armstrong, Frederick H "Handbook of Upper Canadian Chronology" Dundurn Press, 1985. ISBN 0-919670-92-X
*Clarke, John. "Land Power and Economics on the Frontier of Upper Canada" McGill-Queen's University Press (2001) 747pp. (ISBN 0-7735-2062-7)
*Craig, Gerald M "Upper Canada: the formative years 1784-1841" McClelland and Stewart, 1963, the standard history [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=10369212 online edition]
*Dieterman, Frank "Government on fire: the history and archaeology of Upper Canada's first Parliament Buildings" Eastendbooks, 2001.
*Dunham, Eileen "Political unrest in Upper Canada 1815-1836" McClelland and Stewart, 1963.
*Errington, Jane "The lion, the eagle, and Upper Canada: a developing colonial ideology" McGill-Queen's University Press, 1987.
* Edward Grabb, Jeff Duncan, Douglas Baer; "Defining Moments and Recurring Myths: Comparing Canadians and Americans after the American Revolution" "The Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology," Vol. 37, 2000
*Johnston, James Keith. "Historical essays on Upper Canada" McClelland and Stewart, 1975.
*Kilbourn, William. "The Firebrand: William Lyon Mackenzie and the Rebellion in Upper Canada" (1956) [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=99227317 online edition]
*Lewis, Frank and Urquhart, M.C. "Growth and standard of living in a pioneer economy: Upper Canada 1826-1851" Kingston, Ont. : Institute for Economic Research, Queen's University, 1997.
*McCalla, Douglas "Planting the province: the economic history of Upper Canada 1784-1870" University of Toronto Press, 1993.
*McNairn, Jeffrey L "The capacity to judge: public opinion and deliberative democracy in Upper Canada 1791-1854" University of Toronto Press, 2000.
* [http://www.mhs.mb.ca/docs/transactions/3/rebellion1837.shtml J. Edgar Rea. "Rebellion in Upper Canada, 1837" "Manitoba Historical Society Transactions" Series 3, Number 22, 1965-66 online] , historiography
*Wilton, Carol. "Popular Politics and Political Culture in Upper Canada, 1800-1850." McGill-Queen's University Press, (2000). 311pp
*Winearls, Joan "Mapping Upper Canada 1780-1867: an annotated bibliography of manuscript and printed maps". University of Toronto Press, 1991.erdvrv
* [http://www.collectionscanada.ca/immigrants/ Moving Here, Staying Here: The Canadian Immigrant Experience] at Library and Archives Canada
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