Nina D. Cole and Rhona G. Berengut INTRODUCTION The mythologies of Canada emanate from three fundamental aspects of Canadian life: its northern geography, its three founding cultures and its complex democracy. The physical geography of Canada covers six time zones, and includes flat, rolling prairies, soaring mountain peaks and the frozen north. English, French, and First Nations peoples joined together to unite the land from sea to sea to sea. The peaceful democracy of Canada has endured despite, or perhaps due to, its constitutional complexity. Together, these three historical realities have shaped a national culture characterized by accommodation of differences. These mythologies of Canada will now be further explored. OVERVIEW OF CANADIAN MYTHOLOGIES Mythologies of the Land that Shapes it Canada is a vast and often inhospitable land, abundantly rich in geographic variety. Bounded by three oceans, it stretches from a southern boundary that shares latitude with Northern California, to a northern boundary above the Arctic Circle. Perhaps nothing has shaped the Canadian psyche as much as the challenges of living within its physical realities. Myths of the land Canada is a land whose character has been shaped by the vastness of distance, the harshness of weather, and the compromises that both require in order to survive. Early European explorers, rather than trying to conquer the terrain, learned from the First Nations peoples their ways of travel and life. The Voyageurs explored the waterways and paved the way for the Hudson’s Bay Company, one of the world’s oldest commercial enterprises....
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