Category Archives: History and Culture

Bookstores and Memory: Marking the Closure of the Toronto Women’s Bookstore

Last Friday, the Toronto Women’s Bookstore opened its doors for the last time. This is an occasion for the kind of celebration and mourning that has occurred in events held in Toronto and beyond. It is also a chance to think about alternative bookstores, change, and remembrance.

The Mosaic vs. the Melting Pot? A Roundtable and Podcast

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By Benjamin Bryce Over the past century, the ‘mosaic’ and the ‘melting pot’ have emerged in North America as concepts to explain Canada and the United States’ relationship with immigration and cultural pluralism. The term mosaic traces its origins to John Murray Gibbon’s 1938 book, Canadian Mosaic, while the melting pot emerged in public consciousness as the result of Israel… Read more »

The Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives, Research, and the Public

By Donald W. McLeod Next year will be the fortieth anniversary of the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives (CLGA), which began as a single filing cabinet in the Toronto office of the newsmagazine Body Politic, and has grown into a dynamic organization. We presently have a volunteer board of nine members, a paid general manager, seventy volunteers (forty of whom… Read more »

Experimenting with Victorian anthropometrics: What can we learn from past scientific practices?

By Efram Sera-Shriar Imagine yourself as a nineteenth-century naturalist living in Britain. You are working on a project that seeks to examine differences (both cultural and physical) between the various peoples of the world. You want to collect information from distant locations scattered throughout the globe, but you are unable to travel abroad because of vocational and familial obligations at… Read more »

Chop Suey on the Prairies

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This is the first in a series of posts for the upcoming temporary exhibit about Chinese restaurants in Alberta opening at the Royal Alberta Museum in April 2013.  Over the final months of planning and mounting the exhibit this series will give a glimpse into what goes into creating a museum exhibit as well as share some of the stories… Read more »

Unfinished History

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By Tina Loo When Eric Hobsbawm died earlier this month, his passing was the occasion for a lot of thoughtful reflection about the practice of history and its connection to a larger politics. Hobsbawm, his comrade E.P. Thompson, and Natalie Davis were partly responsible for me doing what I now do. As a science undergrad, my program was fairly structured,… Read more »

Lobstick: Canada’s next symbol?

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By Merle Massie When Senator Nicole Eaton called for Canada to declare a new biopolitical symbol in the fall of 2011, she suggested replacing the ‘dentally defective rat’ –– known as beaver, or castor Canadensis –– with the perhaps more ‘stately’ polar bear. In one simple suggestion, she set off a firestorm of controversy across Canada’s social and public media… Read more »

The Day the Music Died: Remembering Sam the Record Man

By Jay Young The passing of Sam “the Record Man” Sniderman at the age of 92 filled the airwaves, newspaper pages, and conversations on the street in Toronto this past week.  Sniderman owned the largest chain of record stores in Canada and ardently promoted the Canadian music industry.  Many people expressed warm memories of the entrepreneur and his flagship shop… Read more »

Active History on Stage: Party People at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival

By Daniel Ross How do we create art about history? Can we make it powerful, relevant, and pedagogical? What happens when the people whose lives and struggles we portray are still alive – and in the audience? Anyone making art about the past has to come to grips with questions like these. But it’s rare to find artists comfortable enough… Read more »