Category Archives: Canadian history

On the Bay’s 350th, let’s remember department stores’ contributions to colonialism and white supremacy

In this post, Dr. Donica Belisle, author of Retail Nation: Department Stores and the Making of Modern Canada, and Associate Professor of History at the University of Regina, discusses the ways that Canadian retailers have profited from anti-Indigenous and anti-Black racism. She argues that capitalist enterprise has long profited from colonialism and white supremacy in Canada. This year marks the… Read more »

From Crisis to Clean-Up

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By Shirley Tillotson Imagine a 500% increase in business and a steady loss of your best staff, snaffled up by competing firms who double their salaries. It’s 1944. You’re the federal income tax department. Tens of thousands of unassessed returns pile up. By 1949, the backlog reaches 1.9 million. The Canadian Emergency Relief Program (CERB) is today’s explosively expanded program…. Read more »

Missing Pieces: The Romanticisation of the RCMP in CBC’s “When Calls the Heart”

By Erin Isaac With rising awareness and concern about police violence against people of colour in Canada and the United States, and following several recent instances of Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) violence against Indigenous persons — including the killing Rodney Levi of the Metepenagiag First Nation in New Brunswick, the RCMP attack on Chief Adam Allan of the Athabasca… Read more »

Cuban Serenade: Exploring the History of Cuban Music in Canada

Karen Dubinsky & Freddy Monasterio “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” Origin debatable. In the face of this indisputable cliché, we created a documentary podcast series. The first episode of Cuban Serenade premieres today (July 2), the birthdate of our first protagonist, Chicho Valle (1924-1984). Chicho was, we believe, the first professional Cuban musician in Canada. He arrived… Read more »

Miners’ Houses: Lawren Harris in Glace Bay

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David Frank I think I first learned about this remarkable painting when my friend Allen Seager sent me a postcard from the Art Gallery of Ontario. Eventually I used it as the cover illustration for my biography of the union leader J.B. McLachlan. More recently, it was featured in an exhibition at the AGO and in a documentary film. It… Read more »

The Festival Express 50th Anniversary 1970 – 2020

By James Cullingham It was a psychotropic June evening half a century ago. The superb British band Traffic led by Stevie Winwood played Nina Simone’s ‘Feeling Good.’ The sound of Chris Wood’s flute mingled with a marijuana haze as thousands sat or danced entranced on what was usually the Toronto Argonauts’s home field at CNE Stadium in Toronto. The Festival… Read more »

Remembering Emma Goldman: Pandemics, Prisons, and Mutual Aid

Franca Iacovetta & Cynthia Wright When the pandemic came, Emma Goldman was in a state penitentiary in Jefferson City, Missouri. Goldman and her life-long comrade and fellow revolutionary anarchist, Alexander Berkman, had been arrested under the Selective Service Act of 1917 for conspiring to oppose the draft. Goldman had been reaching audiences of thousands all over the US with her… Read more »

Stronger Together: The Potential Collaborative Agency of Historians and Archivists

Andrea Eidinger and Krista McCracken Over the past few years, the historical community in Canada has been rocked by a few scandals. No, we are not talking about the endless discussions around monuments. Rather, we are referring to the numerous public disputes between historians and archivists relating either to the discovery of or access to archival material. For example, you’ve… Read more »

Gary Potts – a tribute

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By James Cullingham We lost a towering, deeply rooted presence recently. His name was Gary Potts. He gave much to his Teme-Agama Anishinaabe – Temagami First Nation community, the Temagami region, this country called Canada and anyone whose path he crossed. Temagami is located about 100 kilometers north of North Bay. It’s a storied region chronicled by newcomers such as… Read more »

So long Dundas: From Colonization to Decolonization Road?

These are just two stories of many. With a roadway that stretches across all of eastern Canada, an opportunity presents itself not just to commemorate one life or history, but rather to use the road – Highway Two, which started out in Ontario as Dundas Street – as a heritage tool to substantially change how our national, region, and local histories are remembered. Renaming Dundas Street presents a positive opportunity to make a change.