Category Archives: History and Culture

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 »

Could Covid Cure Classical Music?

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By Jessi Gilchrist With the onset of COVID-19, we have seen orchestras, operas, and small ensembles retreat from the concert stage and disperse into their lonely practice rooms. There is no doubt that COVID-19 is not being kind to Canada’s musicians or music institutions. Yet this time away from the spotlight also provides an opportunity for critical reflection on the… 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 »

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 »

12 Black Scholars on the Black Lives Matter Movement and Canada

As millions around the world take to the streets to defend Black lives, decry racist police violence and structural racism, and articulate visions for a radically different future, a number of Black scholars in Canada have engaged with public audiences to help contextualize this moment and lay out how racism is very much a Canadian problem as well. The below… Read more »

Jean Little: Celebrating Friendship and Kindness

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By Catherine Carstairs One of Canada’s best-known children’s writers, Jean Little, passed away at the beginning of April at the age of 88.  With COVID-19 dominating the news cycle, her death attracted little attention. And yet, as we live through a severe epidemic, perhaps we need Jean Little’s wisdom more than ever.  Little created a world in which injustice was… Read more »

Reading Canadian History in Isolation

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Donald Wright Billing them as tonics to our unnerving times, newspapers around the world are keeping pandemic reading lists. When the Globe and Mail invited Margaret Atwood to weigh in, she recommended In the Lateness of the World, a new poetry collection by Carolyn Forché. But, she quickly added, Forché’s poetry can be “pretty dire.” Indeed, the image of a… Read more »

Humorous History: Bram Stoker’s Wilde Side

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This is the first in our series on humour in history. Submit your tales of humour in the archives or historiography to tpeace@uwo.ca. By Estelle Clements A few years back, I was asked to reconstruct the wedding of Bram Stoker for the city of Dublin. In this capacity, I conducted archival research, focusing on his life, to formulate the script…. Read more »

The Branded Puerto Rican Drink with Cuban Connections

Carlos A. Santiago In 1893, Puerto Rican poet Lola Rodriguez referred to Cuba and Puerto Rico as “two wings of the same bird.” Both islands experienced colonialism under the Spanish empire and were exploited by the hegemonic power of the United States. Although they have had similar experiences, these two islands have historically been viewed differently. During the nineteenth and… Read more »