SermonIndex Audio Sermons
Image Map
Discussion Forum : General Topics : How Canada got its Name

Print Thread (PDF)


Joined: 2002/12/11
Posts: 37399
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11

 How Canada got its Name

Sir Samuel Tilley

Politician (born in 1818 at Gagetown, N.B.; died in 1896 at Saint John, N.B.) Tilley was New Brunswick’s leading Father of Confederation. In the years before Confederation he sat in the New Brunswick legislature (1850-51, 1854-56, 1857-65, and 1866-67).

Life in New Brunswick rested firmly on the Christian foundations laid in the earliest days of European settlement, and augmented through the evangelistic efforts of many churches in the province. One product of this Christian heritage was Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley, Premier of New Brunswick at the time of Confederation and a Father of Confederation.

His direct contribution to Canada’s Christian tradition is truly national in scope: from Tilley came both Canada’s official motto, and the country’s unique title: “The Dominion of Canada”.

Both the term “Dominion” and the motto - “A mari usque ad mare”, are taken from Psalm 72:8 - “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.”

Tilley’s son tells of his father’s contribution:
“I have heard my father state how he came to suggest it at the B.N.A. Conference. When the fathers of Confederation were assembled discussing the terms and conditions of Confederation and the drafting of the British North America Act, there had been considerable discussion the day before and many suggestions as to what the new United Canada should be called, and no conclusion had been reached. The discussion on the name stood over until the next day. The next morning, as was Sir Leonard’s custom, he read a chapter from the Bible, and that particular morning he read Psalm 72, verse 8: ‘He shall have dominion also from sea to sea.’ When reading verse 8 of said Psalm, the thought occurred to him, what a splendid name to give Canada… the ‘Dominion of Canada’. When he went back to the sitting of the convention that morning, he suggested the word ‘Dominion’, which was agreed to, and Canada was called ‘Dominion of Canada’.”

The motto represents Tilley’s belief, obviously shared by many of Canada’s founding fathers, that God should have His rightful place in the new country, the “Dominion of Canada”.

Tilley was a devoted member of the Church of England, and his church attendance was reported to be “constant and regular”. His biographer says that “the secret of his life was that he loved his God and his country.”
This is perhaps best shown by the faith expressed by Sir Leonard as he lay on his deathbed. One of his final instructions to his gathered family and friends was that his tombstone should simply read: “His trust was in Jesus.” He explained with his fading breaths that he wanted passers-by to know that his faith in Jesus Christ had been the true source of any success he had known, and the power that had most influenced his life.
Just as Sir Leonard Tilley said, “His trust was in Jesus” so you too can have this same confidence and trust. Open up your Bible to John 3:16 and John 14:6 and discover it for yourself.
Pray for our Country

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord;” (Jesus) Psalm 33:12.
The House of Commons instituted a new prayer in February of 1994 and they have changed and gotten away from the founding Christian principles and values that this country was built on. The original prayer ended with the words, “In Jesus Christ our Lord.” God hears our prayer when we pray in Jesus’ Name.

He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, no man or woman or country can come to the Father but by Him. (Read John 14:6). Dying on the cross for us, Jesus opened up access to the Father. Our prayer for our country must be in Jesus’ Name.

SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2010/11/27 12:18Profile

 Re: How Canada got its Name

You know, I visit Fernhill cemetery quite often. It's a place of quietness amid the rush of traffic just a few hundred feet away. I've seen Tilley's gravestone and I don't ever recall his stone saying anything about trusting Jesus. I will take a look again to be sure. There is a wooden statue of Tilley amongst other wooden figures that made up Canada's history that the Irving Oil family have put together on a vied area of the city that they set aside as park land. It's an excellent spot that over looks the city in all directions. I will be looking at Brother Tilley a lot differently when I pass his grave. Thanks Greg for that history lesson of one of our confederate fathers who trusted God.

 2010/11/27 16:54

Joined: 2002/12/11
Posts: 37399
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11



It will be interested to hear what you find out. Some of the founding people in Canada and America where not Christians but deists. None-theless there is a great heritage of the Scriptures and a belief in God in the founding of our countries.

SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2010/11/27 17:20Profile

Joined: 2009/4/5
Posts: 2003
Joplin, Missouri


Greg: Many of the founders of the United States have been wrongly labeled as Deists. Over the last 150 years or so there has been an effort to rewrite history in our nation and many who were, though by their own admission and writings born again Christians,labeled as deists. There were some deists, but I think this was a very small minority of the founding fathers. David Barton has some really good information about US history on his "wallbuilders" website.

Another tidbit that I recalled as I read your post. Australia's name is also very interesting. Here is a proclamation form the early 1600's.


Day of Pentecost, 14th May, 1606

Let the heavens, the earth, the waters with all their creatures, and those present, witness that I, Captain Pedro Ferdinand de the name of Jesus Christ... hoist this emblem of the holy cross on which His person was crucified and whereon He gave His life for the ransom and remedy of all the human race...on this day of Pentecost, 14th May....I take possession of all this part of the south as far as the pole in the name of Jesus...which from now on shall be called the southern land of the Holy Ghost...and this always and forever...and to the end that to all natives, in all the said lands, the holy and sacred evangel may be preached zealously and openly.

Quote taken from "Honouring Australia's Christian Heritage" by Col Stringer


 2010/11/27 17:33Profile

Joined: 2010/2/17
Posts: 32
BC, Canada

 Re: How Canada got its Name

The spirit to tear Canada from it's Christian roots has been existent for so long. Many are still trying to remove the line "God keep our land glorious and free" from the National Anthem. It started many many years before. If you haven't read the original version of the National Anthem, I highly recommend doing so. Take this last verse for instance:

Ruler supreme, who hearest humble prayer,
Hold our dominion within thy loving care;
Help us to find, O God, in thee
A lasting, rich reward,
As waiting for the Better Day,
We ever stand on guard.

Praise God that there is still a line of prayer in our anthem. May God truly keep this land glorious and free!

Dustin Savage

 2010/11/29 11:11Profile

Promoting Genuine Biblical Revival.
Affiliate Disclosure | Privacy Policy