Quiz about our history at Public Services and Procurement Canada

After reading stories in our series called Celebrating Public Services and Procurement Canada’s history, test your knowledge by taking our quiz.

How much do you know about PSPC, its history and the famous people who have worked for the department?

For many years after the introduction of the automobile, highways would close down for the winter. When were inexpensive methods of removing snow from streets developed?


By 1918, inexpensive methods of removing snow from streets had been developed in cities where economic activities were too important to be interrupted by snow.

In 1918, which name was used to describe all of the government-owned and -operated railways?

  1. Canadian National Railways
  2. North America's Railroads
  3. Canadian Government Railways
  4. Canadian National

a. Canadian National Railways. In 1918, the federal government created the Canadian National Railways (CNR) as a means to simplify the funding and operation of the various railway companies that existed at the time. By 1923, the Intercolonial, Canadian Northern, National Transcontinental and the Grand Trunk Railways had become part of the CNR. The system was referred to as the Canadian National Railways between 1918 and 1960, and as Canadian National (CN) from 1960 to the present. The CN is the largest rail network in Canada and the only transcontinental rail network in North America. It transports hundreds of billions of dollars in goods, and in 2013 earned over 10 billion dollars in revenue.

A blown-up photo of which public works engineering project was featured in Montréal at Expo ‘67?


Blown-up photos of wind tunnel models were exhibited in Montréal at Expo ’67. The turbulent testing of full models was regarded as one of Canada’s best engineering and public works projects because it enabled engineers to better understand how suspension bridges react against the harsh Canadian climate.

Hint: Read Fast facts about Public Services and Procurement Canada

Employees in the Ontario Region wished Canada a happy birthday in 18 different languages. Can you identify this language based on the following phrase?

“Sikukuu ya kuzaliwa Canada; pongezi kwa miaka 150”


Swahili. In English, this phrase translates to: “Happy birthday, Canada; congratulations on 150 years!”

This dance is performed by Indigenous peoples all across North America as a form of celebration. What is the name of this dance?


The round dance. The round dance requires participants to join hands and side-step to the beat of the drum. The union of hands symbolizes the equality of all people in the circle.

How many public servants make up Public Services and Procurement Canada?

  1. 10,000
  2. 6,000
  3. 12,000
  4. 20,000

c. 12,000.

Hint: Read Public Services and Procurement Canada employees celebrating Canada’s big year

Since 1901, what service had the Agroforestry Development Centre, located on the Indian Head property in southern Saskatchewan, been providing to farmers near and far across the Prairies?


The Agroforestry Development Centre had been providing loyal service to farmers growing and shipping seedlings. Farmers used the seedlings as a “shelterbelt,” a barrier of plants used to protect crops and soils from the elements.

What is the name of the First Nation that purchased the property at Indian Head?


Carry the Kettle First Nation in Saskatchewan expressed its interest in the 256 hectare (634-acre) property soon after Agriculture and Agri-food Canada announced the Agroforestry Development Centre at Indian Head would be closed. The sale was successfully finalized in April 2017.

Following Confederation in 1867, how many treaties did Canada sign with First Nations in central and western Canada?

  1. 13
  2. 10
  3. 11
  4. 27

c. Canada signed 11 treaties with First Nations, in part, to deal with the waves of settlers moving across the Prairies. Under these treaties, Canada promised to reserve alternative lands for First Nations (that is, create reserves). While many First Nations in Saskatchewan received the full land allocations promised under the treaties they signed with the Government of Canada, others did not.

Hint: Read A real estate success story with a real history

By what name was the RCMP known before it became the Royal Canadian Mounted Police on February 1, 1920?


North-West Mounted Police.

In 1881, the North-West Mounted Police and the Department of Public Works played an important role during the construction of which famous railroad?


The Canadian Pacific Railway. While workers from the Department of Public Works were building the Canadian Pacific Railway, the North-West Mounted Police were ensuring their safety.

How did the Government of Canada refer to the groups that travelled across Canada to inspect the territory where the Canadian Pacific Railway was about to be built?

  1. Exploration parties
  2. Surveying parties
  3. Observation groups
  4. Examination groups

b. Surveying parties.

Hint: Read A long-lasting relationship with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police

The Confederation Bridge is the longest bridge in Canada, measuring nearly 13 kilometres in length. How many people drive across it every year to visit Prince Edward Island?

  1. 500,000
  2. 1 million
  3. 1.5 million
  4. 750,000

b. 1 million. For generations, the only way to reach Prince Edward Island was by ferry. But thoughts of a bridge were never too far from Islanders’ minds. In 1988, Islanders voted 59.4% in favour of a bridge. After years of planning, official construction of the bridge began in October 1993. The bridge took almost 4 years to build.

How many piers are used to support the Confederation Bridge?

  1. 50
  2. 140
  3. 65
  4. 100

c. The bridge is supported by 65 piers. In the middle of the bridge, the piers are separated by spans as long as 250 metres each. During the height of construction, 1 span was built every week.

The Confederation Bridge was named in honour of which famous conference in 1864?


The Confederation Bridge was named in honour of the Charlottetown Conference of 1864. This famous conference helped pave the way to Confederation just 3 years later.

Hint: Read The Confederation Bridge: Celebrating 20 years of connecting Canadians

In 1945, the Army Language Bureau developed a military dictionary, creating words to designate new weapons and the most recent innovations in military strategy when no word existed in the other official language. How many terms were compiled in the final edition of the military dictionary?

  1. 100,000
  2. 15,000
  3. 80,000
  4. 20,000

a. 100,000

How many bureau translators did Canada lend to the American Army’s Language Bureau in 1942 to assist with the translation of 500 manuals for French Forces in Africa?

  1. 100
  2. 12
  3. 18
  4. 57
  5. 43

c. 18

In 1942, the Canadian Army Language Bureau began translating foreign languages. During this time, which foreign language was especially in demand?

  1. Romanian
  2. Arabic
  3. Russian
  4. German

c. Russian

True or False. In cooperation with the general staff of the Canadian Army and the War Department of the United States, Bureau translators invented new words for the English-French, French-English Military Dictionary.


True. The team had to create many words to designate new weapons and the most recent innovations in military strategy when no word existed in the other official language.

Hint: Read Our department during the Second World War

Which term has been used to describe the Right Honourable Clarence Decatur (C.D.) Howe?

  1. Man of the Year 1952
  2. Canadian by choice
  3. Minister of everything
  4. All of the above

All of the above.

Before entering Canadian politics, Howe became famous and wealthy building what?


Grain elevators, which are the tall buildings farmers use to store grain.

How long was C.D. Howe a Cabinet minister?

  1. 17 years
  2. 22 years
  3. 10 years
  4. 25 years

22 years. During his time as Cabinet minister, C.D. Howe led many major projects, including Canadian National (CN) Railways and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).

Hint: Read C.D. Howe, the “minister of everything”

In the search for a uniquely Canadian flag, how many design submissions did the national flag committee receive in 1964?


5,900 submissions.

When Mr. Donovan and his team of designers were asked to assemble prototypes of 3 proposed flags in just one evening, who did they call when no tailor could be found?


Donovan’s 20-year-old daughter, Joan O’Malley: “I really didn't realize what I was getting into when I got that phone call from my father in 1964. I was just doing my father a favour, not participating in history. And sewing the flag was not easy. I was no professional; I had just sewed some of my clothes before this. My sewing machine wasn't made for such heavy material. But eventually, the flag came together.”

Who designed the Canadian flag?


Dr. George Stanley.

Hint: Read Helping to make the first Canadian flag

Bonus questions

What year did Queen Elizabeth II sign the royal proclamation for the new flag?



How many points are on the flag’s maple leaf?



In which year did the National Flag of Canada first enter space?



What does a vexillologist study



In 1982, the National Flag of Canada was brought to the top of what mountain by Laurie Skreslet?


Mount Everest.

The Centre Block survived a massive fire in 1916. After the fire, it needed extensive restoration.

  1. True
  2. False

b) False. The Centre Block was completely destroyed by the blaze. Only the Library of Parliament survived. After the fire, the rubble from the old building was removed, and Public Works started to build a new Centre Block building in its place.

The Library survived because of the foresight of librarian Alpheus Todd and clerk Connie MacCormac. Todd had insisted that the architect put in iron fire doors. MacCormac ordered the doors to be slammed shut before evacuating.

The Centre Block, East Block and West Block are examples of what architectural style?


Gothic Revival style. The design of the Centre Block, however, is based on Beaux-Arts principles.

What do Canada’s Library of Parliament and the New York State Capitol building have in common?


They were both designed by Thomas Fuller, the Chief Dominion Architect with Public Works from 1881 to 1896. Fuller designed the original Centre Block building. The building was destroyed by a massive fire in 1916. Only the Library survived.

Hint: Read Building and rebuilding Canada’s Parliament Buildings

What was the former name of Supply and Services Canada back in 1940?

  1. Department of Munitions and Supply
  2. Department of Defence Production
  3. Department of Reconstruction and Supply
  4. War Supply Board
  5. Department of Supply and Services

a) Department of Munitions and Supply.

Public Works and Government Services Canada was formed in 1993 by an amalgamation of which four departments?


Public Works Canada, Supply and Services Canada, the Translation Bureau, and the Government Telecommunications Agency.

When did Public Works Canada begin as the Board of Works?

  1. 1846
  2. 1841
  3. 1905
  4. 1839

d) 1839

Although this was not always the case, public servants today are equipped with all the necessary tools to do their jobs. What standard fixture could be found in government offices across Canada by 1886?


Telephones. By 1886, the Department of Public Works had provided telephones as a standard fixture in government offices across Canada, but it wasn't until 1890 that workers in government buildings enjoyed electric lights, and then only in urban areas.

Hint: Read Who we were, who we are

What did Public Works employee Sir Sandford Fleming do?

  1. Designed Canada’s first postage stamp
  2. Engineered much of the Canadian Pacific Railway
  3. Invented standard time
  4. All of the above

d) All of the above. Sir Sandford Fleming is known for designing Canada’s first postage stamp, engineering railways and inventing standard time. This Public Works employee also surveyed and mapped much of our country.

What province has a town named after Sir Sandford Fleming?

  1. Nova Scotia
  2. Saskatchewan
  3. Ontario
  4. British Columbia

b) Saskatchewan. The town of Fleming, Saskatchewan, was named after this famous Public Works employee.

Hint: Read Sir Sandford Fleming: Public Works employee and the “father of standard time”