Podcast: Public, Private, Political: Charitable Organizations and Citizen Engagement

On June 2, 2015, a roundtable was held as part of the CHA Annual Meeting that examined the Canadian politics of charity through the history of citizen engagement and the historical relationships between state and charity and public and private.

Chaired by Lara Campbell (SFU), the roundtable featured Sarah Glassford (UPEI), Ian Mosby (McMaster), Will Tait (Carleton), Shirley Tillotson (Dalhousie), and Jonathan Weier (Western).

Activehistory.ca is pleased to present a recording of this roundtable.

Continue reading

History Slam Episode Sixty-Four: Canada Day & National Symbols

By Sean Graham

Maple LeafIt’s Canada Day up Canada way on the first day of July.
And we’re shoutin’ “hooray” up Canada way, when the maple leaf flies high.
When the silver jets from east to west go streaming through our sky.
We’ll be shoutin’ “hooray” up Canada way when the great parade goes by.

O Canada, standing tall together!
We raise our hands and hail our flag;
The maple leaf forever!

-Stompin’ Tom Connors

In this episode of the History Slam I talk with Joel Girourd, the Director of State Ceremonial and Protocol and at the Department of Heritage. We chat about how things become official national symbols, the protocols that surround national symbols, and policies surrounding the flag. Have a safe and fun Canada Day!
Continue reading

The Die-In: A Short History

By Daniel Ross

Cycle Toronto Die-in, June 2015. Jesse Milns

Cycle Toronto Die-in, June 2015. Jesse Milns

On June 19th, City of Toronto officials on their way to work had to step over the bodies of hundreds of cyclists lying in front of the entrance to City Hall. A week later, the busy intersection in front of the Bank of England in central London was shut down by a similar spectacle. And in January, business on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. was briefly interrupted by several dozen people of various religious backgrounds spontaneously dying in line for lunch.

Thankfully, the people involved in these incidents didn’t stay dead for long. Just a few minutes, in fact, long enough to create some visually arresting photo-ops, and to make their point. In London and Toronto, it was that cyclists are being killed by cars; in Washington, that young black men are targets for police violence. Different places, different causes, but the same tactic: the die-in. When did playing dead become a way of speaking out? Continue reading

Podcast: Children’s Drawings and Humanitarian Aid: Transnational Expressions and Exhibitions

On June 2, 2015 Dominique Marshall delivered her Presidential Address to the Canadian Historical Association Annual Meeting. The address was entitled ‘Children’s Drawings and Humanitarian Aid: Transnational Expressions and Exhibitions.’

Activehistory.ca is pleased to present a recording of the address.
Continue reading

History Slam Episode Sixty-Three: Metis and the Medicine Line

By Sean Graham

Metis It’s rare that a book is called the definitive book on the subject. But that’s exactly how one review summed up Metis and the Medicine Line: Creating a Border and Dividing a People. The book begins with the surveyors tracing the 49th parallel through the Prairies and tracks the Metis as they interact and adjust to the changing social, environmental, and political landscape that accompanied both American and Canadian expansion. In doing so, he situates the Metis as active participants in defining the borderland while also circumventing the official narrative surrounding the Canadian-American border when it proved beneficial.

In this episode of the History Slam, I talk with Professor Hogue about the book. We chat about the construction of borders, the treatment of Metis people in Canada and the United States, and the challenges of researching without a paper archive.
Continue reading

Coming Clean About Operation Soap: The 1981 Toronto Bathhouse Raids

By Forrest Picher

Implicitly, gay men are protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and supposedly enjoy the same rights as heterosexual people.1 Yet, there remains a legal discrimination against homosexual sex: homosexuals cannot engage in group sex, while heterosexuals can. Writing in 2014, Thomas Hooper explains “section 159 of the Criminal Code codifies mononormativity and maintains the legacy of gross indecency, as anal sex is only legal in Canada if it is ‘engaged in, in private, between… any two persons.’”2 In this way, any group sex between homosexual men, for example, is technically illegal in the Canadian Criminal Code and police are legally justified to raid places in which such activity occurs. And they do. In Calgary in 2002, for example, the police raided Goliath’s bathhouse, an establishment that was used by gay men in the community as a meeting place for sex.3 This raid demonstrates that the legal ambiguities that led to the 1981 bathhouse raids in Toronto, as I will discuss, continue to be problematic. In fact, one bartender in Calgary stated after the 2002 raid: “This is so reminiscent of 1981 in Toronto, it’s sickening.”4

On February 5, 1981, 200 plainclothes police officers raided four Toronto bathhouses leading to the largest mass arrest since the October Crisis ten years earlier. Continue reading

The Central Experimental Farm’s Inclusion on Endangered Heritage Place List is a Call to Action


Fields at the Central Experiment Farm. Author’s photo

By Pete Anderson

On May 26th, Heritage Canada The National Trust included an important Ottawa site in its annual list of Canada’s top ten endangered heritage places. Declaring that “the Feds play fast and loose with a national historic site,” the National Trust denounced the proposed severing of 60 acres of the Central Experimental Farm’s Field 1 for a future hospital campus without consultation. The Farm’s placement on the list is a call to arms for everyone who supports Canada’s history and federal scientific research programs. Continue reading

Podcast: Isn’t All History Public? Knowledge, Wisdom, and Utility in the Great Age of Storytelling

On June 1, 2015, Dean Oliver delivered the Keynote Address of the Canadian Historical Association Annual Meeting. His talk was entitled “Isn’t All History Public? Knowledge, Wisdom, and Utility in the Great Age of Storytelling.”

Oliver is the Director of Research at the Canadian Museum of History but his remarks are his alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the museum.

Activehistory.ca is pleased to present a recording of the address.

Continue reading

Kenneth Dewar, Frank Underhill and the Politics of Ideas

By Ann Walton

MQUP, 2015.

MQUP, 2015

This April, historian and professor Kenneth C. Dewar arrived at Carleton University’s History Department to launch his new book, Frank Underhill and the Politics of Ideas. The room was bustling with students and professors all chatting as we waited for the talk to begin. The subject of Dewar’s book was of particular interest here. Not only did Frank H. Underhill (1889-1971) teach at Carleton, the historian’s donated collection of books and journals still line the walls of the reading room named in his honour, and the annual graduate and undergraduate colloquiums bear the Underhill name. But Dewar’s discussion ventured in directions beyond the biographical; he spoke of the intellectual and political climate of Underhill’s time. What was so truly remarkable about the afternoon’s discussion was that it also encouraged a conversation regarding present-day politics. Continue reading

A Father’s Grief: The Case of Captain Robert Bartholomew

By Matthew Barrett

On September 13th 1918, Captain Robert Bartholomew suffered a sudden nervous breakdown after reading his son’s name in a newspaper casualty list. His only child, nineteen-year old Private Verne Lyle Bartholomew, had been killed in action at Hangard Wood on August 8th 1918. Unable to carry on with his administrative duties in England, the elder Bartholomew fell into a malaise and was hospitalized with neurasthenia one month later. A medical board recorded, “He is suffering from severe depression following the mental shock of the news.”[1]

VerneLyleBartholomew (2)

Verne Bartholomew

Although many historical studies of the First World War have detailed the psychological stress and trauma endured by frontline soldiers, more research is also needed into the mental and emotional effect of the war on those on the home front in England and Canada. To what extent did deaths of sons shape the ways in which the older generation of fathers interpreted the conflict? How did these reactions affect notions of masculinity, duty and patriotism for men too old to see active service themselves? For fathers who had enthusiastically championed the war, the death of a son exposed an underlying tension between public rhetoric and private grief. Continue reading