The evolution of Canadian nursing curricula has mutually influenced and reflected nursing's historical course: nursing practice and education are inextricably linked. This paper is a critical retrospective analysis of the evolution of nursing curricula in Canada from the 20th century to the present. Falk Rafael's (1996) dialectic exploration of power and caring in nursing guides the analysis. An ordered, assimilated, and empowered curriculum development framework results. Foucault's (1980) work in the sociology of knowledge and Belenky, Clinchy, Goldberger, and Tarule's (1986) epistemological conceptualization of women's knowledge development are incorporated. The intricacies of the relationship between nursing curriculum development and Canadian history, the navigation of societal paradoxes that mutually drive and inform education and practice, and the instrumental need for nursing education research are considered. A fourth and new dialectic layer is suggested that places nursing on the inter-professional team of architects of a co-constructed emancipatory curriculum.