Canada has a long and unique distilling history to rival that of just about anywhere in the world.
The first legal distillery in Canada was opened in 1769 in Québec City and by 1840 there were more than 200 distilleries in Canada, mostly producing whisky. The whiskies produced in Canada are mostly light in body but with a big, spicy edge because of their signature ingredient - rye.
Due to this signature flavour Canadian whiskies can still carry the name "rye" even when the rye in question is only a small percentage of the cereals used in production. It is far more common for Canadian whiskies to be mostly made of corn but the way they are made and the type of rye used in Canada means that the spicy characteristics are always there to some degree.
Canadian whiskies really became popular during the years of Prohibition in the United States. Canada was the preferred smuggling option for many bootleggers and during this time the American public garnered a taste for the whiskies made there. Brands such as Canadian Club, which was built near the Detroit river (a border between Canada and the US), were smuggled into the speakeasies and clubs all over the United States.