Unit 1

Early Canada

Skill Check

Practice Your Skills: Primary and Secondary Resources

You will study many pictures and maps in this course. You will need to know the difference between a primary source and a secondary source of information.

A primary source provides a first-hand account of events recorded during or shortly after the events occurred.
Primary sources can include newspaper articles, government documents, diaries, photographs, and maps.

Primary sources might include letters, eyewitness testimonies, official reports, home videos, or speeches.

A secondary source of information was produced later by someone who did not experience first-hand or participate in the events.
A secondary source can present facts, but it provides interpretations of events.

Secondary sources include textbooks, essays, scholarly articles, biographies, or encyclopedias.

Figure 1.1 Map of Montreal: Map of Montreal, 1700
Creative Commons

Notice that Figure 1.1 Map of Montreal is an original map with an authenticated stamp on the picture. This is how we know this map is a primary source.

Figure 1.2 Halifax, Canada
Creative Commons

Figure 1.2 Halifax, Canada is a painting by an artist showing what Halifax looked like in the early 1800s. Because this painting was made after 1800, it is a secondary source.


  1. Read “Skill Check: Interpret Images” on page 6 of your textbook to learn more about primary and secondary source images.
  2. View Figure 1.7 and read the information beneath it on page 15 of the textbook.
      • Is this image a primary or secondary source?
      • How do you know?

The image is a secondary source because it was created in 1990.