The Province of Canada or the United Province of Canada was a British colony in North America from 1841 to 1867. Its formation reflected recommendations made by John Lambton, 1st Earl of Durham in the Report on the Affairs of British North America following the Rebellions of 1837.
The Province of Canada ceased to exist at Canadian Confederation on July 1, 1867, when it was redivided into the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec.
Before 1841, the territory roughly corresponding to Southern Ontario in Canada belonged to the British colony of the Province of Upper Canada, while the southern portion of Quebec and the Labrador region of Newfoundland and Labrador belonged to the colony of the Province of Lower Canada (until 1809, when it was transferred to Newfoundland). Upper Canada was primarily anglophone, whereas Lower Canada was francophone. The Act of Union (1840), passed July 23, 1840, by the British parliament and proclaimed by the Crown on February 10, 1841, merged the two colonies by abolishing the legislatures of Upper and Lower Canada and replacing them with a single legislative assembly.
While this new legislature maintained equal representation for both of the former colonies, the democratic nature of Lower Canada's elections was fundamentally flawed. Despite the francophone majority in Lower Canada, most of the power was concentrated on the anglophone minority, who exploited the lack of a secret ballot to intimidate the electorate.
The area that had previously comprised Upper Canada was designated "Canada West", while the area that had comprised Lower Canada was designated "Canada East". The Province of Canada ceased to exist when the British North America Act passed by the British Parliament was proclaimed July 1, 1867.
Full article ▸