By Brian W. Hutchison

Many of us around the world, Canadians included, have never really thought about the territorial changes that have affected us and its populace. Most of us have thought only of other countries, European ones in particular, which have seen sometimes numerous and bloody results to border disputes that have often led to major continental changes. However, Canada is not one that has readily come to mind when we think of territorial evolutions. If you have been like many looking from the outside in, Canada seems simply like that “large-sea-to-sea frozen wasteland where people eke out a living, are so clean, and are, oh so friendly!” Things have always been the same there – haven’t they?

Well, alas, I think most of us Canadians would agree in saying that we are more than this and our history has affected our lives. Canada has not always been as we see her today and nor has our people. Fortunately, we have not seen nearly as bloody a history as some countries, including our friend to the south, but the evolutions have been significant to change, reshape, and alter completely the political, social, geographical, and economic fabric of this nation over our five-hundred-year-old history.

Even today as we speak, this reshaping is taking place with the division of our Northwest Territories into a pared-down version of itself and the new Territory of Nunavut. A change that will evolve into more significant impacts for these entities and the nation as a whole as it develops.

Today we will discuss the importance of these territorial evolutions that have affected the Canadian topography, why some of these issues occurred, and how these changes will alter your genealogical search strategies.