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Glossaries have been created to provide the definition of any words
that are specific to each theme area. It is suggested that teachers
review or point out the glossaries to students before they examine
a specific theme area. Students may access them under Student Resources.
Agrarian: Relating to the land and its ownership, cultivation,
or agricultural interests.
Auxiliary line: A subsidiary or supplementary rail line,
meaning it is not the main rail line.
Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR): The CPR was formed to unite
Canada from coast to coast. The groundbreaking ceremony near Fort
William (now Thunder Bay) on June 1, 1875, signaled the beginning
of its construction. The "Last Spike" of the main line
was driven in on November 7, 1885.
Cholera: An infectious disease of the small intestine characterized
by profuse watery diarrhea, vomiting, muscle cramps, severe dehydration,
and depletion of electrolytes.
Confectionary: A shop that sells thing like candy.
Czar: One of the male monarchs or emperors who ruled Russia
until the revolution of 1917.
Department of the Interior: The department of the Canadian
federal government that was charged with dealing with the internal
affairs of Canada. Its responsibilities included immigration, conservation,
and development of natural resources.
Dirty Thirties: Term referring to the Great Depression in
Canada from 1929 until 1939. Western Canada's economy had massive
unemployment, breadlines, relief camps, protest marches, and dust
storms. The beginning of the Second World War in 1939 brought Canada
out of the Great Depression.
Dominion: A self-governing nation within the British Commonwealth.
Drought: A long period of unusually low rainfall that adversely
affects growing and living conditions.
Emigration: To leave one country to move to and settle in
Foot Binding: A painful process where Chinese women wrapped
a bandage tightly around their feet, forcing the four small toes
under the sole of the foot. This made the feet narrower and shorter
and bowed the arch of the foot. It was done because it was thought
to be beautiful.
Freight: Goods carried or transported by a commercial vessel
Geology: The scientific study of the origin, history, and
structure of the earth.
Hot Springs: Groundwater seeps into a mountain and flows
deep into the earth's interior. It is heated, pressurized, loaded
with minerals and percolates back to the surface, emerging in several
Immigrant: A person who leaves one country to settle permanently
Immigration: To enter and settle in a country that a person
was not born in.
Irrigation: To artificially supply dry land with water by
means of manmade ditches, pipes, or streams.
Knighthood: The act of taking on a nonhereditary title conferred
by a king or queen in recognition of personal merit or service to
their country. (e.g. Sir William Van Horne)
Main line: The major or principal rail line of a railway
Maverick: There are two main definitions.
1. Originally, it referred to cattle that have not been branded
yet, usually meaning a calf that has become separated from its
mother. They were usually considered the property of the first
person to brand them.
2. Today, it refers to a person who is independent in thought
and deed, or who refuses to "go along with the group."
National Park: An area of land declared public property
by a national government in order to preserve and develop it for
purposes of recreation and culture.
Navvies: The men who actually built the railways. The word
is derived from the word "navigator."
Pioneer: A person or family that ventures into unknown territory
Rail car: A wheeled trailer adapted to the rails of railroad
and pulled by a railway engine.
Railway: The commercial organization responsible for operating
a railway system
Rheumatism: A condition of the muscles, tendons, joints,
bones, or nerves, characterized by discomfort and disability.
Superintendent: A person who has the authority to supervise
Surveyor: A person who determines the boundaries and elevations
of land and features such as lakes, rivers, and mountains.
Telegraphy: Communicating over a long distance by using
electric impulses through wire and Morse code.