The beaver has long been associated with Canada because of the fur trade. The Hudson’s Bay Company shield consists of four beavers separated by a St. George’s Cross, and a coin was struck that was equal to the value of one male beaver pelt. It was known as a buck, after the buck-toothed beaver. Canada’s first postage stamp issued in 1851 was the “Three Penny Beaver”.
Despite all the early recognition, the beaver didn’t get the official status as an emblem of Canada until An Act to provide for the recognition of the beaver (castor canadensis) as a symbol of the sovereignty of Canada received royal assent on March 24, 1975.
Thirty-one years later, Ontario Senator Nicole Eaton proposed that the beaver has had its day and the polar bear, noble and rugged, should replace the “dentally defective rat” as our national symbol.
Picture: National Post (http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/07/13/hey-america-thats-no-way-to-treat-canadas-national-emblem/)
Reuters Canada (http://ca.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idCATRE79R50120111028)
Maclean’s Magazine (http://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/beaver-be-dammed/)