Category Archives: Local History

How Did the Urban Reformers Change Toronto?

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By Daniel Ross For more than four decades, John Sewell has been a constant presence in Toronto civic life, where he has somehow managed to combine relentless criticism of the status quo with a long record of public service. He first drew attention as a community organizer in the late 1960s, before going on to have a career in city… Read more »

Canadian Girls In Training: 100 Years With A Purpose

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by Krista McCracken Last week 50 women gathered at a church along the North Shore of Lake Huron to celebrate their shared memories, reminisce over local connections, and reflect on the national Canadian Girls in Training (CGIT) movement.  This year marks the 100th anniversary of CGIT.  I volunteered during the local anniversary celebration and learned about what CGIT meant for… Read more »

The Idiosyncrasies of Memory: Marking the Life of Harold Geddes

Andrew Nurse, Mount Allison University I never knew Harold Geddes, although I saw him now and then fifteen years ago when I first starting working at Mount Allison. Geddes died in 2004 after a long life that is now marked — literally — on the town of Sackville, New Brunswick. He was one of those characters that people in small… Read more »

Our Bodies and Inescapable Ecologies: A Look at the Mining Community of Sudbury, Ontario

By Kaleigh Bradley “Where does the body end and ‘non-human nature’ begin? When we recognize that human bodies are directly affected by their environments, we are forced to acknowledge that humans are not simply agents of environmental change, but objects of that change” – Linda Nash, Inescpable Ecologies Last week I was surprised to hear about the toxic leak of… Read more »

Disappearing into White Space: Indigenous Toronto, 1900-1914

ActiveHistory.ca is pleased to announce the publication of Jasmine Chorley’s new paper: “Disappearing into White Space: Indigenous Toronto, 1900-1914″   There is an empty space in the written history of Canada. In monographs, textbooks, and articles alike, narratives of Indigenous peoples fade out following the Indian Act (1876) and the Numbered Treaties (1871-1921). Coll Thrush expressed this as a phenomenon… Read more »

A Fish Box and a Folk Festival

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By David Frank I keep my camping gear in an old wooden box that sits neatly in the back of my car. Nothing unusual about that. But when I packed up to go Canso for the Stan Rogers Folk Festival this summer, I realized this would be a kind of homecoming — for the box. Let me explain. The box… Read more »

Film Friday: British Columbia’s Contact Zone Classrooms, 1849–1925

Film Fridays give active historians a chance to share their work in a new format. If you would like to submit a film about history, get in touch! By Sean Carleton Canada’s sordid history of colonial education has yet again become a topic of controversy and debate. While the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is coming to an… Read more »

Who built Toronto’s St Lawrence Neighbourhood?

(adapted from an earlier post on torontoplanninghistorian.com) By Richard White Earlier this month, it was Jane’s Walk time again in Toronto, and thousands were out this past touring various urban locales under the guidance of local experts. It is a remarkable success story, this concept, and a fitting legacy for someone who conceived one of the most influential books of the twentieth century… Read more »

Sharing Local History on the John Rowswell Hub Trail

by Stacey Devlin Situated at the meeting point of three Great Lakes on the traditional territories of Garden River and Batchewana First Nations, Sault Ste. Marie is one of Canada’s oldest settlements. Its natural beauty, rich past, and diverse culture make it an exceptional place to live, work, and visit. Even so, it’s not always easy to find or access… Read more »

Toronto vs. Montréal: A Short History

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By Daniel Ross Last month, the mayors of Canada’s two largest cities met in Toronto, and the mood was positive. After discussing business partnerships, security, the upcoming federal election and—inevitably—hockey, Denis Coderre and John Tory announced a new era for relations between Montréal and Toronto. “The two solitudes are over,” stated the charismatic Coderre, who last made the news in… Read more »