his theme traces the activities of human communities as they use the resources of land and water to sustain themselves, build for the future and trade. Within this theme, Canadians recognize fishing, mining and other primary resource industries, along with the accomplishments of business leaders in the past. The theme also acknowledges the technologies of transportation, production and communication that help to keep Canadians trading with each other and the world.
In Canada, as in the rest of the Western hemisphere, Aboriginal economies developed for many thousands of years before Europeans arrived to compete for natural resources. Beginning 500 years ago, these European newcomers gradually began to harvest fish, fur and arable land. The nineteenth century saw a rapid expansion of agricultural settlement (chiefly through European immigration), the development of canal systems and penetration of remoter areas by railways, the growth of manufacturing and service industries, and continued European investment on a large scale. The twentieth century saw a rapid increase in the size and complexity of cities, increasing mechanization of all economic sectors, and continued reliance on the rest of the world for markets and investment.