Category Archives: Local History

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 »

Public Spaces and Indigenous Land: Whitefish Island

by Krista McCracken Whitefish Island is tucked in near the northern bank of the St. Mary’s River that runs between Sault Ste Marie Ontario and Sault Ste Marie Michigan. The island is minutes from downtown Sault Ste Marie but is devoid of development and has rural feeling.  It is tear shaped, approximately 1 km long, and home to many species… Read more »

“Working on the Water, Fighting for the Land”: A New Comic Book about Colonialism, Capitalism, and Indigenous Labour History

By Sean Carleton In the fall of 2013, Active History.ca featured a blog post by the Graphic History Collective announcing the start of the Graphic History Project, an online series of short, accessible, and free historical comic books. In addition to outlining the aims and aspirations of the Graphic History Project, the post publicized the release of the first comic… Read more »

Review of Testimonies and Secrets: The Story of a Nova Scotia Family 1844-1977, by Robert M. Mennel

By Christine Moreland “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there”.  Can we then ever really understand who ‘they’ were and how they lived? In Testimonies and Secrets: the Story of a Nova Scotia Family 1844-1977, Robert M. Mennel invites the reader to explore the themes of family, work and community life in a very foreign place: Crousetown,… Read more »

Spoils of the War of 1812: Part II: British Honour

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By Alan Corbiere This post is the second part of a series of essays by Alan Corbiere focusing on Anishinaabeg participation in the War of 1812.    The Anishinaabeg (Ojibwe, Odawa, Potowatomi) have always revered the island of Michilimackinac. So much so that at the conclusion of the War of 1812, the Odawa tried to keep it in their possession. The… Read more »

Saskatchewan Farmland: A Bargain?

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By Merle Massie Last week, the Saskatchewan government (led by Brad Wall and the Saskatchewan Party) reset a course direction that had veered off target. That course redirection affects who – along with what – is allowed to purchase Saskatchewan farmland. A Canadian citizen? Come on down. A Canadian-owned corporation engaged in the business of farming? Saskatchewan agriculture is open… Read more »