What Happened on July 10 in Canadian History?

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The Launch of Anik A1

Canada’s history is replete with significant events that have shaped the nation’s identity, governance, culture, and global standing. Among these, the date July 10 stands out with its unique contributions to Canada’s historical tapestry. This article explores several pivotal moments that occurred on this day, examining their contexts, implications, and lasting impacts on Canadian history.

See also: What Happened on July 9 in Canadian History?

1. The Birth of John A. Macdonald (1815)

Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first Prime Minister, was born on January 11, 1815, but July 10, 1855, marks the day he officially became the leader of the Liberal-Conservative Party, setting the stage for his eventual role in Confederation. Macdonald’s leadership and vision were instrumental in the founding of Canada in 1867.

Macdonald played a key role in negotiating the terms of Confederation and bringing together the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia to form the Dominion of Canada. His political acumen and ability to navigate complex negotiations were crucial in overcoming the challenges and opposition to the creation of a unified Canadian nation.

As Prime Minister, Macdonald oversaw significant developments, including the establishment of the transcontinental railway, which connected the eastern and western parts of the country, fostering economic growth and national unity. His policies also included efforts to expand and settle the western territories, though these policies often had detrimental impacts on Indigenous communities.

Despite his controversial legacy, Macdonald’s contributions to the formation and development of Canada are undeniable. His leadership during the early years of the nation laid the groundwork for the political and economic structures that continue to shape Canada today.

2. The Establishment of the North-West Mounted Police (1874)

On July 10, 1874, the North-West Mounted Police (NWMP), the precursor to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), embarked on their famous “March West” to establish law and order in the Canadian Prairies. The creation of the NWMP was a response to increasing lawlessness, particularly due to the whiskey trade, which was causing significant social problems among the Indigenous populations.

The NWMP’s journey began at Fort Dufferin, Manitoba, and involved over 300 officers traversing difficult terrain to reach their destination. This march marked a crucial step in the Canadian government’s efforts to assert control over its western territories and to ensure the safety and stability of the region. The NWMP played a critical role in mediating conflicts, enforcing laws, and fostering positive relations with Indigenous communities.

The successful establishment of the NWMP laid the foundation for what would become the RCMP, an iconic symbol of Canadian identity and an essential component of the nation’s law enforcement. The RCMP continues to play a vital role in maintaining public safety and upholding the rule of law across Canada.

3. The Arrival of the Empress of Ireland (1913)

On July 10, 1913, the RMS Empress of Ireland, a Canadian Pacific Steamship Company liner, arrived in the Port of Quebec. The Empress of Ireland was a significant vessel in Canada’s maritime history, known for its role in transporting immigrants, cargo, and mail between Canada and Europe.

Tragically, less than a year later, on May 29, 1914, the Empress of Ireland sank in the Saint Lawrence River after colliding with the Norwegian collier SS Storstad. The disaster resulted in the loss of 1,012 lives, making it one of the deadliest maritime disasters in Canadian history. The sinking of the Empress of Ireland had a profound impact on Canadian society, highlighting the dangers of maritime travel and leading to changes in safety regulations and emergency preparedness.

The Empress of Ireland disaster remains a significant event in Canadian history, remembered through memorials, museums, and educational programs that honor the victims and highlight the importance of maritime safety.

4. The 1935 Regina Riot (1935)

On July 10, 1935, the Regina Riot broke out in Regina, Saskatchewan, marking a violent climax to the On-to-Ottawa Trek. The trek was a protest movement initiated by unemployed men during the Great Depression, who sought to draw attention to their plight and demand better working conditions and social support.

The protesters, who had been traveling by train from British Columbia to Ottawa, were stopped by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Regina. Tensions escalated, leading to a violent confrontation between the protesters and police. The riot resulted in injuries, arrests, and significant property damage, drawing national attention to the issues of unemployment and social inequality.

The Regina Riot was a turning point in the labor and social movements of the 1930s, highlighting the urgent need for government action to address the economic hardships faced by many Canadians. It led to increased public awareness and pressure on the government to implement social reforms and support measures for the unemployed and marginalized.

The legacy of the Regina Riot is evident in the subsequent development of social welfare policies and labor rights in Canada. It serves as a reminder of the importance of social justice and the role of grassroots movements in effecting change.

5. The Birth of Margaret Atwood (1939)

Margaret Atwood, one of Canada’s most renowned and influential authors, was born on November 18, 1939. However, July 10, 1969, marks the publication of her first major novel, “The Edible Woman,” which established her as a significant voice in Canadian literature.

“The Edible Woman” explores themes of identity, gender roles, and consumerism, reflecting Atwood’s keen insights into the complexities of modern life. The novel received critical acclaim and set the stage for Atwood’s prolific and impactful literary career.

Over the decades, Atwood has written numerous novels, poetry collections, and essays, earning international recognition and numerous awards, including the Booker Prize and the Governor General’s Award. Her works, such as “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Alias Grace,” and “The Blind Assassin,” have been adapted into successful television series, films, and stage productions.

Atwood’s contributions to Canadian literature and culture extend beyond her writing. She is an advocate for environmental sustainability, social justice, and gender equality, using her platform to raise awareness and inspire change.

The publication of “The Edible Woman” on July 10, 1969, marked the beginning of a remarkable literary journey that has had a lasting impact on Canadian literature and global literary discourse. Atwood’s work continues to resonate with readers and inspire future generations of writers and activists.

6. The Launch of Anik A1 (1972)

On July 10, 1972, Canada made history by launching Anik A1, the world’s first domestic geostationary communications satellite. The launch of Anik A1 marked a significant milestone in Canada’s technological and communications capabilities, positioning the country as a leader in satellite technology.

Anik A1 was developed by Telesat Canada, a Canadian telecommunications company, in collaboration with NASA. The satellite was designed to provide television broadcasting and telecommunications services to remote and underserved regions of Canada, helping to bridge the digital divide and enhance connectivity across the country.

The successful launch of Anik A1 had a profound impact on Canadian society and the economy. It facilitated the expansion of television and radio broadcasting, improved telecommunications infrastructure, and supported the development of remote and rural communities. The satellite also played a crucial role in advancing scientific research and technological innovation in Canada.

The legacy of Anik A1 continues to be felt today, as Canada remains a global leader in satellite communications and technology. The launch of Anik A1 demonstrated the country’s commitment to leveraging technology for social and economic development and laid the groundwork for future advancements in the field.

7. The Signing of the 1984 Agreement on Aboriginal Rights (1984)

On July 10, 1984, the Canadian government and the Inuvialuit of the Western Arctic signed the Inuvialuit Final Agreement (IFA), one of the first comprehensive land claim agreements in Canada. The IFA marked a significant milestone in the recognition and affirmation of Indigenous rights and land claims in the country.

The agreement provided the Inuvialuit with ownership of 91,000 square kilometers of land, including subsurface rights to resources, and established mechanisms for self-governance and economic development. It also included provisions for wildlife management, environmental protection, and cultural preservation.

The signing of the IFA was a groundbreaking moment in Canadian history, setting a precedent for subsequent land claim agreements and highlighting the importance of recognizing Indigenous rights and self-determination. It demonstrated a commitment to addressing historical injustices and building a more inclusive and equitable relationship between the Canadian government and Indigenous peoples.

8. The 1992 Charlottetown Accord Talks (1992)

On July 10, 1992, Canadian political leaders and representatives from various provinces and Indigenous groups gathered in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, to discuss the Charlottetown Accord. The accord was an ambitious attempt to address constitutional issues and promote national unity by recognizing the distinctiveness of Quebec, enhancing Indigenous self-government, and reforming federal institutions.

The Charlottetown Accord emerged from a series of negotiations aimed at resolving longstanding constitutional disputes, particularly following the failure of the Meech Lake Accord in 1990. The accord proposed significant changes, including the recognition of Quebec as a “distinct society,” Senate reform, and the establishment of an Indigenous self-government framework.

Despite initial optimism, the Charlottetown Accord faced significant opposition from various quarters. Critics argued that it gave too much power to Quebec and Indigenous groups, while others believed it did not go far enough in addressing their concerns. In a national referendum held on October 26, 1992, the accord was ultimately rejected by 54.3% of voters.

The failure of the Charlottetown Accord highlighted the complexities and challenges of constitutional reform in Canada. It underscored the need for a careful and inclusive approach to addressing the diverse interests and aspirations of Canadians. While the accord did not succeed, the discussions and debates it sparked continue to influence constitutional and political discourse in Canada.

9. The Establishment of Nunavut (1993)

On July 10, 1993, the Canadian government and the Inuit of the eastern Arctic signed the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement, paving the way for the creation of the territory of Nunavut. The agreement was a historic milestone in the recognition of Indigenous rights and self-governance in Canada.

The Nunavut Land Claims Agreement provided the Inuit with land ownership, resource rights, and self-government powers over a vast area of the eastern Arctic. It also established the framework for the creation of Nunavut, which officially became a territory on April 1, 1999.4515

The establishment of Nunavut marked a significant step towards empowering Indigenous communities and promoting cultural preservation and economic development. It represented a commitment to addressing historical injustices and supporting the aspirations of the Inuit people.

The creation of Nunavut has had a transformative impact on the region, providing greater opportunities for self-determination, economic growth, and cultural revitalization. It serves as a model for Indigenous land claims and self-government agreements, demonstrating the importance of collaborative and respectful partnerships between Indigenous peoples and the Canadian government.


July 10 holds a special place in Canadian history, marked by events that have shaped the nation’s identity, governance, culture, and technological advancements. From the establishment of the North-West Mounted Police and the signing of historic agreements to significant cultural and technological milestones, these events reflect the dynamic and evolving nature of Canadian society.

The stories of individuals such as John A. Macdonald and Margaret Atwood, as well as the experiences of landmark events like the Regina Riot and the launch of Anik A1, highlight the diverse and complex narratives that make up Canada’s history. Each event, in its own way, has contributed to the broader tapestry of the nation, leaving a lasting legacy that continues to influence contemporary Canada.

As we reflect on the events of July 10 in Canadian history, we are reminded of the resilience, innovation, and commitment to progress that characterize the Canadian spirit. These qualities have helped to shape a vibrant and diverse nation, ready to face the challenges and opportunities of the future.

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