Category Archives: Local History

The Changing Place of Foxes on Prince Edward Island

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by Ryan O’Connor I grew up on Prince Edward Island. As a youth I heard stories of the once-booming silver fox industry, which brought considerable wealth to the province in the early 1900s. While fox ranching has long since ceased, one need look no further than the provincial armorial bearings, adopted in 2002, for a reminder of its former significance.

Sad, Empty Places? Marketing ‘Ghost Towns’ in Saskatchewan

by Merle Massie A new and fashionable trend in tourism is invading rural regions of western Canada. SUV crossovers, front windows obscured by maps and cameras, are driving down gravel backroads, sweeping around correction line curves and screeching to a stop when a wide-eyed fox creeps across to its den in the culvert. Are lazy Sunday drives, once the mainstay… Read more »

Active History on the Grand: Heritage Trees in Ontario

I think that I shall never see, A poem as lovely as a tree. – Sergeant Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918) While many of us may be familiar with the designation of built heritage properties under the Ontario Heritage Act, recently municipalities have been using the Ontario Heritage Act to designate individual trees as heritage trees.  Municipalities like Burlington, Pelham, Thorold, Cambridge,… Read more »

New Podcast: Christine McLaughlin on General Motors, History Making, and Power in Oshawa, Ontario

“Sam McLaughlin’s name continues to loom large over the city of Oshawa.  But the stories of working people offer alternate versions of history.  Spaces in the city ought to be made for commemorating and remembering these stories,” historian Christine McLaughlin (no relation to Sam) recently argued during her talk at a local library in Toronto.  McLaughlin’s presentation, “Producing History in… Read more »

The Memorial Library: History without Historians

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The failed campaign to “Save the Memorial Library” (STML) at Mount Allison University is a fascinating study of the importance – or, lack thereof – of history in contemporary Canadian culture.

The Political Uses of Public Space: A Podcast of Craig Heron’s Talk on Labour Day Parades

http://activehistory.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Heron-2011-History-Matters-talk.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadOver the past few weeks, cities across Canada have evicted Occupy protesters from camping overnight in public parks.  Opinion remains divided over the tactics of the amorphous movement.  One lawyer recently defended the group by arguing in court that the occupation of Toronto’s St. James Park was a “physical manifestation of the exercise of… Read more »

Museum Closures, Heritage and Cultivating a Sense of Place in Toronto

If places have the power to shape our self-perception and how we situate ourselves in the world, as Basso and others have suggested, how has the uneven distribution of historical places influenced the culture and politics of Canada’s largest city?

Active History in an Age of Austerity

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Budget cuts at the municipal, provincial, and federal levels of government across the country have targeted cultural and heritage institutions, threatening the integrity of the capacity of Canada to maintain an adequate understanding of its collective past. Just as Margaret Atwood helped mobilize opposition to proposed cuts to Toronto libraries, the challenge for active historians who oppose such measures is to make their opposition public.

Active History on the Grand: the War of 1812 and the Six Nations

In Canada the debate over the commemoration of the War of 1812 largely ignores the role that the First Nations played as allies of Britain. For the Six Nations of the Grand River the war was a pivotal moment in their history, but the aftermath marked the end of their independence and sovereignty.