Category Archives: Local History

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 »

Reunions as an Oral History Source

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By Ryan O’Connor One of the defining countercultural phenomena of the 1970s was the back-to-the-land movement. During this period, tens – maybe hundreds – of thousands of North Americans abandoned their urban dwellings for a rural lifestyle. This movement, which eschewed the postwar consumer culture, brought thousands of people “from away” to Prince Edward Island. Some stayed a few weeks;… Read more »

Oblivion stalks Postal Station K

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by Tom Cohen “Postal Station K!” Poetic resonance: none! Just one more slightly surplus postal station – in this age of electronic mail, a property easily unloaded, after all. A splendid spot on Yonge Street, in booming North Toronto, just perfect for a big condominium, with a shopping podium at sidewalk level. So sell it, right! Now wait a minute…. Read more »

2012 London Olympic Park Through Time

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By Jim Clifford View Larger Map The 2012 Summer Olympic park is located in the Lower Lea River Valley in the east of London. The games were sold to the British public from the beginning as an opportunity to transform one of London’s most economically disadvantaged regions. Early promotional material on the London 2012 website in 2006 put the goal… Read more »

Travelling by Story

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by Merle Massie A few weeks ago, I was privileged to visit with Solomon and Renée Carriere at their home: Big Eddy Camp, northern Saskatchewan. If that seems like a vague description, it is. Few people would be able to find Big Eddy on any map, unless you are a canoe racer, dogsled racer, or know the Saskatchewan River Delta…. Read more »

Remembering an Extraordinary Struggle for Sexual Equality in Ontario

By Christine McLaughlin Sometimes ordinary people can do extraordinary things. I had the pleasure of witnessing an example of this recently when I attended a tribute luncheon in honour of the 23rd annual Agnes Macphail Award winner, Beverly McCloskey. Agnes Macphail was the first woman in Canada elected to the House of Commons and first woman sworn into the Legislative… Read more »

Ottawa House: Public History and Active History

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By virtue of its very lack of polish, commitment to community artifacts, and desire to treat different social groups fairly, Ottawa House presents more than a frozen past. It is not perfect, but it shows an active past, where goods moved along a range of trade networks to reach destinations far from their starting points.

Living History at New York’s Tenement Museum

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By Jay Young I recently spent an extended weekend in New York City.  Along with the well-known sights, sounds and tastes of the Big Apple, I was excited to visit the Tenement Museum, a restored five-storey building at 97 Orchard Street that educates visitors about life in the Lower East Side during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  The… Read more »