Fathers of Confederation
Canada,  History,  Lucretia's World,  Rose's World,  Victorian era

Fathers of Confederation: Canada’s Humble Beginnings

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The Quebec Convention, 1864
The Quebec Convention, 1864

The United States has the Founding Fathers.  Canada has the Fathers of Confederation.  Unlike the Founding Fathers, whose new nation gained independence thanks to war, the Fathers of Confederation took a quieter, more methodical approach.

Fathers of Confederation refers to 36 men who represented their colonies at one or more conferences that were held to decide the future of British North America.

The Dominion of Canada was official formed on July 1, 1867, from three colonies.  While discussions of unification were not new, the purpose was to protect the Canadian colonies from potential American aggression as well as economic and population expansion.

The colonies were New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and the Province of Canada (modern day Ontario and Quebec).  Representatives from Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland also attended conferences, but opted not to enter confederation.

Three Conferences

The Charlottetown Conference was held September 1864.  The purpose was to discuss the possible unification of the Maritime colonies, but the Province of Canada was invited and soon discussion turned to unification of all the colonies.

The delegates discussed how the new government would operate, including a bicameral system with a Senate and House of Commons.

The Quebec Conference was held in October 1864 to discuss in greater detail the proposals made at the last conference.

The London Conference was held from December 1866 to March 1867 in Great Britain.  The purpose was to draft the British North America Act establishing the Dominion of Canada.  The legislation easily passed the British Parliament.

The Dominion of Canada

Proclamation of Canadian Confederation 1867
Proclamation of Canadian Confederation 1867

After Queen Victoria signed the British North America Act into law, a royal proclamation was issued.

“We do ordain, declare, and command that on and after the First day of July, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Sixty-seven, the Provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, shall form and be One Dominion, under the name of Canada.”

July 1 was originally commemorated as Dominion Day.  Today it is known as Canada Day.

When a new province was added, it was said to be entering into Confederation.  The first addition came in 1870 when Manitoba entered into Confederation.

By the start of World War I, all the provinces and territories we recognize today as modern day Canada existed with the exception of Newfoundland, which was an independent Dominion until after World War II, and Nanuvut which was formed out of the Northwest Territories in the late 20th century.

Where to Purchase the WWI Trilogy

The WWI Trilogy by Melina Druga
The WWI Trilogy by Melina Druga: Angel of Mercy, Those Left Behind and Adjustment Year

This post is a companion piece to Melina Druga’s WWI Trilogy: Angel of Mercy, Those Left Behind and Adjustment Year.  The trilogy focuses on Hettie and her family as they navigate the challenges and heartbreak World War I brings.

Angel of Mercy:  A nurse reluctantly sacrifices her career for marriage. An impending war will change her, and her husband’s, life forever.  Available in eBook, paperback and hardcover.  Click here for a full list of retailers.

Those Left Behind:  The brewing winds of war will soon rip the family apart. Available in eBook, paperback and hardcover.  Click here for a full list of retailers.

Adjustment Year:  A war nurse returns home. Society expects her to carry on as if the Great War never happened. But how can she?  Available in eBook, paperback and hardcover.  Click here for a full list of retailers.


Updated: 28 October 2020

Melina Druga is a multi-genre author with a lifelong love of history, books and the English language. She pens historical fiction, chick lit and nonfiction.


  • Leonie Zurakowsky

    Hello Melinda,

    I’m interested in your books but due to budget constraints I am unable to buy them currently.

    One thing that has been bothering me increasingly is the claim largely by evangelical Christians that Canada is a “Christian nation” and the fathers of confederation were also Christians. This seems highly unlikely to me as I have heard vaguely that many of them were escaping from religious persecution in what is now the UK and of course Europe.

    Seems that this information is OLD, so there is almost nothing to be found on the internet as regards their true religions – if any – and the story behind why they gave us ‘freedom of religion’. I can’t even find a full list of their names.

    Also why is Louis Riel included in many of the internet blurbs on Confederation?

    Any insight you can provide me would be helpful. I hope to track down some library books, possibly having to use interlibrary loans which could be on hold now considering that BC is pretty much cut off from the rest of Canada now.

    Thanks for your help.

    • Melina Druga

      Hello, Leonie,

      Thank you for taking time to read my post and for taking time to leave a comment.

      I did not conduct in-depth research into the Fathers of Confederation’s individual members’ biographies. However, considering they were of British, Scottish and French decent, they were Christian. Whether they were practicing or not, I cannot say. The full list of names can be found online, including this Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fathers_of_Confederation

      Riel is the founder of Manitoba. He is responsible for that province entering into confederation with the Dominion of Canada.

      I’m sorry I cannot provide further details, but this subject was not the main focus of my research and I’m American. We’re not even taught Canadian history in school. All I know is self taught.

      Best of luck with your research.