Category Archives: Local History

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 »

More than “Prisoners”: Discovering Welfare History in Holy Trinity Cemetery, Thornhill

By Danielle Terbenche In 2012, I began attending Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Thornhill, Ontario. After learning I was a historian, some church members invited me to join the cemetery board. During my first visit to the church’s historic cemetery, I was intrigued by five concrete crosses marking the graves of eight men, dating from 1928 to 1931. In a… Read more »

A Toast to Jay Young

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ActiveHistory.ca is on a hiatus for the winter break, with a return to daily posts in early January. We’d like to leave you with an oldie but a goodie by Jay Young, Toronto’s subway historian and one of the founding members of the site. This winter Jay left ActiveHistory.ca for a new job doing public outreach with the Archives of Ontario. Those… Read more »