Category Archives: Canadian history

Authenticity in Museums and Heritage Sites: All It’s Cracked Up to Be?

Kaiti Hannah Working in a museum, one of the most common questions asked by the public is “is it authentic?” As I’ve started to examine the use of the word “authentic” and the idea of authenticity in museums I’ve begun to realize that the word may have no place in a history museum at all. Many institutions get so wrapped… Read more »

Sex Ed, Gay-Straight Alliances, and the Alberta Curriculum

On May 21st, Alberta’s United Conservative Party (UCP) government introduced Bill 8: The Education Amendment Act, which will remove protections introduced by the NDP government’s Bill 24: An Act to support Gay Straight Alliances. Bill 8 removes provisions that had made it illegal for teachers to out students. Minister of Education Adriana LaGrange insists that existing privacy legislation will protect… Read more »

The Workers’ Revolt in Montreal

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Geoffrey Ewen In 1919, Montreal, Canada’s largest city and a major industrial, manufacturing, commercial and financial centre, was considered a stronghold of craft unionism with strong links to the American Federation of Labor (AFL). The Montreal Trades and Labour Council (MTLC) opposed proposals for a general strike in support of workers in Winnipeg during the General Strike, and Montreal workers… Read more »

The Workers’ Revolt in Toronto

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Jim Naylor The militancy, radicalism, and enthusiasm of large numbers of Toronto workers suggested they were on a parallel path to Winnipeggers leading up to that city’s general strike. The final year of the war had seen a new spirit among Toronto’s workers in ways that mirrored Winnipeg’s. For instance, Toronto’s Civic Employees’ Union had grown steadily to perhaps 1,500… Read more »

The Workers’ Revolt in Western Coal Country

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Tom Langford On 24 May 1919, some 7,000 unionized coal miners in Alberta and southeastern British Columbia (BC) went on strike even though their union, District 18 of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA), had recently agreed to a short-term contract extension and had not even begun bargaining for a new contract. This mass strike has perplexed labour historians… Read more »

The Workers’ Revolt in Brandon

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Tom Mitchell The the sympathetic strike in Brandon, Manitoba was the longest and most cohesive of the sympathy strikes that erupted across Canada in support of the Winnipeg General Strike. It began 20 May 1919 and persisted until the end of June. It was preceded in late April by a dramatic and successful civic employees’ strike following the creation of… Read more »

The Workers’ Revolt in Amherst

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Nolan Reilly Workers in Amherst, Nova Scotia milled around the gates to the sprawling yards of Canadian Car and Foundry railcar building shops. They were hearing union leaders report on the company’s refusal to give Amherst workers the same contract they had signed with workers in Montreal. There would be no union recognition, no nine-hour day with ten hours pay,… Read more »

The Workers’ Revolt in Winnipeg

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The Graphic History Collective and David Lester In 1919, 35,000 workers in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Treaty 1 territory and the homeland of the Métis Nation, staged a six-week general strike between 15 May and 26 June. Workers from various backgrounds withdrew their labour power—they went on strike—to demand higher wages, collective bargaining rights, and more power for working people. One hundred… Read more »

The 1919 Workers’ Revolt was National in Character

Gregory S. Kealey In 1984, on the 75th anniversary of the Winnipeg General Strike, Labour/Le Travail (L/LT) published the proceedings of a symposium held the previous year. The cover image we chose for that issue was “1919 MAJUS” by Biro Mihaly (1886–1948), the Hungarian revolutionary artist who was commemorating the new Hungarian Soviet led by Bela Kun. The image reflected… Read more »

Theme Week on the 1919 Strike Wave

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ActiveHistory.ca is launching a special Theme Week (17–21 June) that examines the 1919 strike wave in what is today known as Canada. The series is edited by Sean Carleton and Julia Smith. At a time of growing unrest, with calls for climate strikes and recent threats of general strikes in the United States and in Ontario, revisiting the 1919 strike… Read more »