English and French
Modern Canadian society is rooted firmly in the traditions of the English and French speaking Christian traditions imported by European settlers. The majority of people speak either English or French, the two official languages of Canada. It is a legal requirement for the federal government to offer its services everywhere in Canada in both languages.
18 million Canadians now have English as their first language, with 7 million having French as their first language. Most Francophones (French speakers) live in Quebec province, but there are one million living in Manitoba, New Brunswick and Ontario, with others in smaller groups elsewhere. The only province that is officially bilingual is New Brunswick.
The Acadian culture stems from French settlers who put down roots in what we now call the Maritime provinces in 1604. When Britain and France were at war between 1755 and 1763, the majority of these people were deported from the area. This is referred to as the “Great Upheaval”, but Acadian culture survived and is now a vibrant element of the culture of Francophone Canada.
The people of Quebec are known as Quebeckers; most of them speak French. The majority descend from 8500 French settlers from the 17th and 18th centuries and have their own special language, culture and identity. In 2006 the Canadian state acknowledged that Quebeckers are their own nation that forms part of United Canada. Quebec incorporates a million Anglo-Quebeckers whose heritage stretches back 250 years.
In English-speaking regions, the culture was created by many hundreds of thousands of settlers from the British Isles, along with soldiers and migrants, over the last 400 years. These immigrants made a huge contribution to Canadian life and culture, and Anglophones (English speakers) are often termed English Canadians.