Category Archives: Local History

Municipal Conflicts of Interest in Canada, Old and New

By Daniel Ross He was a controversial mayor from the start. An unabashed populist, he rallied support during his campaigns by promising to cut taxes and reduce waste at city hall. As a result, he won an impressive share of the popular vote. He never denied having links to the city’s business and development community—he ran a successful business himself—and… Read more »

Archives and Social Justice

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By Tim O’Grady In 1993 Verne Harris, a records management archivist at the South Africa State Archives Service, discovered some junior officials in the transitional Apartheid government had been told by the state’s security secretariat to destroy certain classified records in contravention of the nation’s Archives Act. After official efforts proved fruitless, Verne told a journalist, as well as the… Read more »

Unpacking Public Opinion in Oshawa and Durham Region: A Tale of Two Polls

By Christine McLaughlin I recently wrote about an ongoing struggle in Oshawa around the city’s waterfront – the federally-appointed Oshawa Port Authority (OPA) has approved an ethanol refinery at the harbour, despite longstanding local opposition. The battle over public opinion has coalesced around two polls conducted on this topic. The first, commissioned by the OPA, shows a majority in support… 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 »

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 »

Marie-Joseph Angelique: Remembering the Arsonist Slave of Montreal

By Mireille Mayrand-Fiset When wandering around the streets of Old Montreal, one may come across a public square facing City Hall named Place Marie-Josèphe Angélique. Most people will not give much thought to it, unaware that the woman who gave her name to the square was once accused of setting fire to the very streets they are walking on. Marie-JosephAngélique… Read more »

Cemetery Tour Reveals War of 1812 Stories

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By Kayla Jonas As a heritage lover I’ve been on walking tours in cities all around the world. Everywhere I go I like to get the city’s history by walking around and seeing the sights. But I’d never been on a cemetery tour, and surprisingly never on a tour in my hometown of Hamilton. A recent tour given by historian… Read more »

Canada’s Farming Roots: Agricultural Fairs and Education

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By Krista McCracken One of my favourite rural Canadian moments occurred when I was a child attending the International Plowing Match. I was standing with my parents in front of a pen that held two young calves, when a young girl yelled “Look at the sheep, Mom!” The girl was at least eight years old and apparently didn’t know the… Read more »

Finding History on the French River

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By Andrew Watson and Jim Clifford You really can’t go camping in Ontario without encountering the past. Especially not in a provincial park. Certainly not along the French River. The past is everywhere, around every bend in the river, next to every campsite, layered across every scenic landscape. Moreover, it is a really interesting history for two environmental historians. We’ve… Read more »

What Counts as History in Toronto? Digitally Exploring Toronto’s Heritage Plaques

By Ian Milligan When professional historians think of heritage plaques, some have knee-jerk reactions (“dead white man history!”) while others may see it as an engaging way to bring people into contact with the past in places they might otherwise not. On a leisurely stroll through the city, I enjoy checking out the few plaques that I pass: learning about… Read more »