Category Archives: Canada’s First World War

The Toronto Church Memorials to Soldiers of the Great War Project

Ross Fair Each Remembrance Day, Torontonians assemble for services of remembrance at public cenotaphs such as the civic cenotaph at the front steps of Old City Hall, the University of Toronto’s Soldiers’ Tower and at the Cross of Sacrifice in Prospect Cemetery, where hundreds of Great War soldiers are buried. Yet, these public sites of remembrance represent but a small… Read more »

The Active History of Canada’s First World War: A Thematic Guide

By Sarah Glassford and Nathan Smith The “Canada’s First World War” series launched on ActiveHistory.ca with a Call for Blog Posts, published on 4 August 2014. It concluded in the Fall of 2019, with a total of 78 posts, including this post. The series editors during this five-year run were: Mary Chaktsiris, Sarah Glassford, Christopher Schulz, Nathan Smith, and Jonathan… Read more »

In Conversation VI: Making Sense of the Centenary of Canada’s First World War

By Mary Chaktsiris, Sarah Glassford, Chris Schultz, Nathan Smith, and Jonathan Weier   Preamble During the first half of 2019, we the editors of www.ActiveHistory.ca’s long-running series “Canada’s First World War” stepped back and reflected on the editorial work we undertook over of the course of four and a half years of Great War centenary commemorations, 2014-2019. In response to… Read more »

In Conversation V: Publishing, Precarity, and the Public History of Canada’s First World War

Mary Chaktsiris, Sarah Glassford, Chris Schultz, Nathan Smith, and Jonathan Weier During the first half of 2019, we the editors of ActiveHistory.ca’s long-running series “Canada’s First World War” stepped back and reflected on the editorial work we undertook over of the course of five years of Great War centenary commemorations, 2014-2019. In response to a series of questions circulated over… Read more »

Francophone Alberta: Deeply Engaged in the First World War

By Rebecca Lazarenko As news of impending conflict travelled across Canada on August 4, 1914, a monstrous manifestation in favour of the declaration of war was held in downtown Edmonton. Thousands of French and English residents marched up and down the streets of the city, proudly waving the French, British and Canadian flags, shouting “hourah!” in favour of the declaration,… Read more »

The francophone community of Alberta and the First World War

By Rebecca Lazarenko When Canadians consider the French-Canadian experience of the First World War, what most often comes to mind is the opposition of French Canadians in Québec to conscription, and the war itself more broadly. Very few Canadians consider that there were multiple francophone communities outside of Québec and that their experiences during the war varied. Even fewer consider… Read more »

Reflections on the First World War

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By Eric Story, Brittany Dunn and Alexander Maavara Anniversaries invite reflection. Regardless of historians’ tendency to hastily dismiss commemorations or celebrations of the past as pesky purveyors of myth, these events nonetheless generate discussion––sometimes informed, other times less so––about history. The centenary of the First World War was no different. Between 2014 and 2018, people around the world engaged in… Read more »

In Conversation IV: Preserving and Passing-On the Legacies of Canada’s First World War

By Sarah Glassford and Jonathan Vance Preamble This post is the product of a Q&A email exchange between Dr. Jonathan Vance, a professor in the Department of History at The University of Western Ontario, and Dr. Sarah Glassford, an archivist at the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick. We met at Western as student and professor in the autumn of 1997;… Read more »

We need to stop talking about Vimy

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Jonathan Weier As a historian of Canada’s involvement in the First World War I get awfully tired of talking and writing about the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Especially tiresome is the intellectual work of critiquing the reification of Vimy’s nationalist mythology, a topic that seems to come up annually when its anniversary rolls around. The Vimy mythology has an enduring… Read more »

Growing Pains: The Great War Veterans’ Association, Early Poppy Day Campaigns, and the Seeds of Commemorative Tradition

Jonathan Scotland As Andrea Eidinger reminded us in her recent post on the changing nature of poppies and Remembrance Day, the poppy has been central to Canadian commemorations of wartime sacrifices since its adoption ninety-seven years ago.[1] Despite this ongoing effort to remember, the iconic red flower’s history is often taken for granted, its early years almost completely overlooked. Even… Read more »