Category Archives: Active History Events

Situating War Resistance within Canadian History

By Jessica Squires At this year’s Canadian Historical Association meeting in St. Catharines, I participated in a round table discussion about war resistance. As the panel showed, war resistance history is a growing area of research, offering a different perspective on traditional histories of war, politics, international relations, and social movements. The panelists included Bruce Douville (Algoma University), Rose Fine-Meyer… Read more »

An Idea Whose Time Has Come: A City Museum for Toronto

By Daniel Ross and Jay Young The Toronto Civic Museum, Humanitas, the Global City Museum: over the last forty years Toronto has seen a number of bold proposals for a city museum, but up until now there has been a distinct lack of shovels in the ground (or exhibits in the halls, as the case may be). That may change… Read more »

Of History and Headlines: Reflections of an Accidental Public Historian

By Ian Mosby When I first heard Alvin Dixon’s voice I was driving along Dupont Avenue in Toronto with my partner, Laural, and our three-month-old son, Oscar. Dixon was talking to Rick MacInnes-Rae, who was filling in as the co-host of the CBC Radio show As It Happens. The interview was about Dixon’s experience at the Alberni Indian residential school (AIRS)… Read more »

Video: Thomas Kuehn – “Ottoman Hero or Frontier Villain? Ahmed Feyzi Pasha (1839-1915)”

The last talk of the SFU History Department’s Heroes and Villains series featured historian Thomas Kuehn‘s reflections on Ahmed Feyzi Pasha. This high-ranking Ottoman bureaucrat and military officer was highly influential in terms of shaping Ottoman policy in strategically important borderlands of the empire in Arabia and present-day Iraq between the mid 1880s and his retirement in 1908. Arguably, he was one of the… Read more »

Video: Karen Ferguson – “The Yin-Yang of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.”

Our historical memory of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X most often sets them in opposition — racial integrationism vs. separatism, pacifism vs. violence, “good” vs. “bad” black leader (or vice versa).  But what happens if we move beyond this dualism and examine these African American icons together? What if we consider how and why their respective struggles for… Read more »

Spring 2014 History Matters lecture series line-up announced

ActiveHistory.ca and the Toronto Public Library are pleased to announce the Spring 2014 History Matters lecture series. This season’s series focuses on the theme of “Aboriginal Peoples in Canada: Past and Present.” The lectures are part of the TPL’s Thought Exchange programming. “What Sir John A. Macdonald Thought About ‘Indians’ and Other Courtroom Tales” William Wicken Wicken discusses the January 2013… Read more »

The Birth of Black History Month

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In the lead up to Opening the Academy: New Strategies for Exploring & Sharing African Nova Scotian History on 28 February 2014 and at the start of Black History Month, ActiveHistory.ca is republishing Karolyn Smardz Frost‘s “The Birth of Black History Month.” This short essay originally appeared in the Ontario Heritage Trust’s magazine Heritage Matters in 2006. For more information about… Read more »

Video: Trudeau 2.0: Pierre’s Legacy and Justin’s Future

Many Canadians view Pierre Elliott Trudeau as a Canadian hero, perhaps the most charismatic Prime Minister the nation has ever seen. Yet others are far more critical of Trudeau’s leadership and legacies. This ambivalence has led to popular opinion polls naming Pierre one of the greatest and worst Canadian of all time. Justin, Pierre’s 41-year-old son and current leader of… Read more »

January 11th is Sir John A. Day

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By Kaitlin Wainwright In 2001, the federal government officially declared January 11th to be Sir John A. Macdonald Day, in honour of Canada’s first prime minister and a Father of Confederation. While it’s not an official holiday (shame, we could all use one of those in the cold winter months), it is a “heritage day” along with National Flag of… Read more »

Video: Bidisha Ray – “Great Soul or Great Schemer? Exploring the Myth of Mahatma Gandhi”

Mahatma Gandhi’s name is synonymous with peace and saintliness almost everywhere on the planet. Yet in parts of postcolonial South Asia, Gandhi’s life, politics, ideologies, and legacy have been the subject of considerable controversy and even violent denigration. How, then, should we remember Gandhi? Misogynist tyrant or freethinking radical? Self-absorbed kingmaker or farsighted statesman? Economic genius or utopian fantasist? By… Read more »