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English Influences in Canada

You might know people who come from different countries or speak a different language, but you probably speak English with them most of the time. Have you ever wondered why most Canadians speak English and not Russian, or Italian, or Greek?


Even though Canada is made up of many different immigrant groups, at the time that Canada became its own country in 1867, most Canadians were from England. Canada had a close relationship with England. England was a rich, successful country. Canada profited from this in many ways. In return, England expected Canada to help in certain situations. For example, when England went to war in South Africa in 1899, Canada sent 7,000 soldiers to help fight even though Canada was not directly involved.


In 1914, a much larger war began. Although the war was fought mainly in Europe , and Canada was not directly threatened, its ties to England compelled it to send soldiers. By the end of the war in 1918, over 650,000 Canadians had served in this war, known as the First World War. Over 60,000 men died and many more were wounded.


Why did so many Canadians volunteer to fight in the war?


Many Canadians thought the war would be a grand adventure. Young men volunteered by the thousands because of old-fashioned, romantic notions of what war was like. They expected a short war. It soon became obvious that this war would be long and horrible nothing like what people had expected.

Canada was at war with Germany during the First World War, and German-speakers in Canada suffered as a result. Mennonites, even though they were not from Germany, did speak German. They had problems as well.

Twenty-five years later, another war began. This one was called the Second World War.

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