Ancestry.ca holds mock election to launch its new collection of historical records: Canada Voters Lists, 1935-1980
TORONTO, Oct. 3, 2012 /CNW/ - Given the option, the overwhelming majority of people polled today in a mock election in downtown Toronto voted for Barack Obama to lead Canada over current Prime Minister Stephen Harper, or any other Canadian party leader. Voters were also asked to select which former Prime Minister they would choose to lead Canada today, with Pierre Trudeau receiving more than 35 per cent of the vote.
Asked who they would choose to lead Canada in a vote between Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Stephen Harper or another Canadian party leader, people voted decidedly in favour of the current Amercian President, who received 42 per cent of the vote. Harper came in second with 25 per cent. Romney received just eight per cent support, with several write-in ballots championing Liberal leadership candidate Justin Trudeau and one write-in vote for Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.
When asked to choose between Harper and a select list of former Prime Ministers to lead Canada today, Lester B. Pearson was a distant second to Pierre Trudeau, receiving 15 per cent of the vote, followed by Sir John A. Macdonald (12 per cent). Eleven per cent backed Harper, with six per cent voting for Jean Chrétien and Sir Wilfrid Laurier.
Today's mock election was hosted by Ancestry.ca to celebrate the launch of a new collection of historical records. The Canada Voters Lists, 1935-1980 collection captures 45 years of the country's voting history and contains more than 80 million records of individuals who registered to vote during that period. The original records are held by the Library and Archives Canada (LAC) and this is the first time that they have been indexed and made available online.
Lesley Anderson, genealogist for Ancestry.ca. comments: "The digitization and indexing of the Voters Lists gives Canadians unprecedented access to these historical documents, which paint a vibrant picture of the country's voting history. It is now easier than ever to discover one's ancestors among the list of electors and discover their story."
The records within this collection can provide insightful information about one's ancestors, including their post office or street address, gender and occupation. Significantly, because the Voters Lists were created in election years and cover 15 federal elections, they make useful substitutes for censuses, which only took place every five or ten years, depending on the location. The records are searchable by a combination of name, district, province and year.
Canada Voters Lists also encapsulate a significant period in the country's voting history. By 1935 federal voting rights had officially been extended to men and women aged 21 and older. However, women living in Quebec had to wait several more years and only gained the right to vote in 1940. They can be found in the Voters Lists for the first time in that year.
During some of the years included in this collection, some racial and religious groups were denied or had conditions put on their voting rights. Some of these restrictions were based on exclusionary provincial laws, which were recognized on a federal level. The final discriminatory laws were removed in the early 1960s.
In 1970, the voting age was lowered to 18 and voting rights were reserved for Canadian citizens. As a result, some British subjects who retained their right to vote until 1975, are also included in the collection, as well as naturalized immigrants.
Some famous names found in this collection include:
- Pierre E. Trudeau and Lester B. Pearson - both appear as Prime Minister under their Sussex Drive address in 1972 and 1965, respectively, in the Ottawa East electoral district.
- Cairine Reay MacKay Wilson - Canada's first woman senator is listed in 1945 as a student in the Ottawa East electoral district.
- Margaret Atwood - in 1962, while she was a student, is listed under her Garden Circle address in the York East Electoral district.
- John Candy - Appears under his Woodville Avenue address in the York East electoral district. His occupation is listed as theatre.
Canadians interested in discovering the voting history of their ancestors can visit www.ancestry.ca/CaVotersLists and view the records through a 14-day free trial.
Canada's leading family history website, Ancestry.ca hosts 129 million Canadian records, including the complete historical Canadian censuses from 1851 to 1916, Ontario and British Columbia vital records from as early as 1813, Quebec vital records (The Drouin Collection), Canadian passenger lists and U.S. / Canada border crossings.
Ancestry.ca was launched in January 2006 and is part of Ancestry.com Inc, the world's largest online family history resource, with approximately 2 million paying subscribers. More than 10 billion records have been added to the site in the past 15 years. Ancestry users have created more than 39 million family trees containing more than four billion profiles. In addition to its flagship site www.ancestry.com, Ancestry.com Inc offers several localized web sites designed to empower people to discover, preserve and share their family history.
Image with caption: "A newspaper boy at a mock polling station at the launch event for Ancestry.ca's newest collection of historical records: Canada Voters Lists (Photo Credit: Jag Gundu) (CNW Group/Ancestry.ca)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20121003_C4130_PHOTO_EN_18834.jpg
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