Category Archives: Local History

History Variations

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by Lani Russwurm The internet has the potential to enrich and increase our interactions with the past simply through making historical sources widely available and by making the tools to produce and disseminate history accessible to anyone. This means the historian’s role is becoming less that of a gatekeeper of the past as traditional print-based published histories increasingly co-exist with… Read more »

Walking History: Jane’s Walk in Toronto and Vancouver

68 cities recently took part in Jane’s Walk, an annual weekend of free walking tours honouring the vision of urbanist Jane Jacobs.  Ordinary people, Jacobs argued, can learn about and improve their surroundings by observing their daily environments at street level.  These walks also bring out the histories of place through members of the local community – walk leaders and… Read more »

Endangered Places: Lansdowne Park

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In June 2010 Ottawa City Council will decide the fate of Lansdowne Park, a significant area of public space in Ottawa’s Glebe community, a portion of which is marked for proposed commercial redevelopment. Over the past year, public consultations have been a platform for concerned citizens in the Glebe, and in other areas of Ottawa, to express their concerns over… Read more »

Remembering and Commemorating a Complicated Past

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In this post, I look at controversies surrounding a statue of Nellie McClung, due to her early-20th century support of eugenics.

Jane’s Walks: community history tours

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Since 2007 people have come together once a year to celebrate and remember the life of Jane Jacobs by leading or participating in walking tours of their local communities.  As Jacobs argued, walkability is essential for urban communities.  These tours seem to be a truly fitting monument to Jacob’s legacy.  The walks began in Toronto, but have since spread well… Read more »

Street History

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Often the public face of history is seen in museums or government issued historical plaques; but important historical narratives also exist outside of these structures, and they often tell stories that otherwise remain obscure or hidden by more official ways of historical story telling. I call this way of sharing the past street history.

Public Trust at Your Local Museum

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The ethic guidelines established by the Canadian Museum Association (CMA) maintain that museums which operate in the public trust have two main responsibilities to the public: stewardship and public service.  Stewardship refers to the need for museums to acquire and preserve valuable heritage, as a means of protecting this heritage for the general public.  The public service component refers to… Read more »

Space and Historical Imagery: Making History Accessible

This post quickly looks at some neat new internet-based websites that attempt to make historical imagery accessible to the general public.

Walking Tours: Brooklyn and Beyond

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By Teresa Iacobelli Relocating to a new city can be exciting, but it can also be overwhelming. Recently I have made the move from Ottawa, Ontario to Brooklyn, New York, and in the short time that I have been here I have felt a slew of emotions ranging from awe to frustration. Living in a city of this size can… Read more »

Colborne Street Breakdown: Public Protest, a University, and Academic Activism

This is a story about heritage buildings, those trying to save them, a city council, a university, and academics caught in the middle. It’s a story that raises questions about academics’ responsibilities in the community, academic freedom and activism, and the universities they work for.