Because it has represented different realities at different points in time, the term French Canada can be interpreted in different ways. Chronologically they are:
1. The historical homeland of the French Canadian people, the St Lawrence river valley, which was called le Canada in the time of New France. Later, this Canada was renamed the Province of Quebec (1763), Lower Canada (1791), Canada East (1840), and finally the Province of Quebec (1867) again.
- See Quebec.
2. All the communities where French Canadians have settled in North America. In this interpretation, Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan, Hawkesbury, Ontario, Montreal, Quebec, Manchester, New Hampshire, Burlington, Vermont are part of French Canada, but Ivujuvik, Quebec, Westmount, Quebec, or Stanstead, Quebec are not. These French Canadian communities were called "Little Canadas" in the United States.
3. All the Canadian communities where there is a significant concentration of Francophone Canadians, that is, Canadian citizens who speak French. In that sense, it is Quebec, parts of New Brunswick, Eastern Ontario, Northern Ontario, and Saint-Boniface, Manitoba. (See also bilingual belt.)
These Canadian Francophones refer to themselves as Québécois in Quebec, Acadiens in the Canadian maritimes, Fransaskois in Saskatchewan, Franco-Manitobains in Manitoba, Franco-Ontariens in Ontario, Franco-Albertain in Alberta and Franco-Colombiens in British Columbia. With the exception of the Acadians who have a different history altogether, most Franco-Canadians originated from Quebec.