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Why was Canada named Canada?


This week, we have a wonder that many of us may not have given much thought about, but it is something that’s very important. Often we use words without knowing their origin, Oxford English Dictionary is a great resource to discover when a word was first used and where it originated from. But for this wonder, we’re going to use a different authoritative resource, The Government of Canada. A TPL Kids website visitor has asked, why was Canada named Canada?


According to the Government of Canada website, the name “Canada” likely comes from the Huron-Iroquois word “kanata,” meaning “village” or “settlement.” In 1535, two Aboriginal youths told French explorer Jacques Cartier about the route to kanata; they were actually referring to the village of Stadacona, the site of the present-day City of Québec. For lack of another name, Cartier used the word “Canada” to describe not only the village, but the entire area controlled by its chief, Donnacona.


The first use of Canada as an official name came in 1791, when the Province of Quebec was divided into the colonies of Upper Canada and Lower Canada. In 1841, the two colonies were united under one name, the Province of Canada.


So the next time someone asks you about Canada, you’ll be ready to wow them with the origin of its name.

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