Category Archives: Local History

MacChe? Kingston prepares for the Macdonald Bicentennial

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Karen Dubinsky I live in downtown Kingston, Ontario. Two doors away from me are two sweet old white ladies. They live in John A. Macdonald’s boyhood home where, according to one of the two plaques outside, he spent his “character forming” years. When I first moved to this street I noticed that during relevant occasions (Macdonald’s birthday and Canada Day),… Read more »

The Home Archivist – Getting My Hands Dirty

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By Jessica Dunkin In the last Home Archivist post, I described how I came to be in possession of a box of nineteenth-century letters. In this post, I open the box again for the first time. When the MacKendrick letters arrived at my house in early August, they were quickly shuttled into the basement and I assumed that they would… Read more »

Vacating Science and Forgetting History at the Central Experimental Farm

By Peter Anderson On November 3rd, John Baird announced that Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada transferred approximately 24 hectares (60 acres) of the Central Experimental Farm, in Ottawa, to the National Capital Commission. The NCC in turn offered to lease the land to the Ottawa Hospital to build a new Civic Campus. The Hospital then mused about the using this new land… Read more »

‘It’s history, like it or not’: the Significance of Sudbury’s Superstack

By: Mike Commito and Kaleigh Bradley Standing at a height of 1,250 feet, the Sudbury Superstack is the second tallest chimney in the world and runner-up to the CN Tower for the tallest structure in Canada. Until 1987, Sudbury Ontario had the dubious honour of having the world’s tallest smokestack. Today, the Stack is seen by some as a marker… Read more »

1864 vs. 1914: A Commemorative Showdown

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By Sarah Glassford As I sat by the window of a popular coffee shop in downtown Charlottetown on a warm afternoon in September 2014, two student actors from the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) appeared on the street corner opposite, heading toward nearby Province House, seat of the provincial legislature.  He wore a three-piece suit and top hat; she… Read more »

Podcast – Robert Rutherdale on the Local Responses of WWI

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  ActiveHistory.ca is happy to feature the inaugural talk of the Fall 2014 History Matters lecture series: historian Robert Rutherdale’s “Hometown Horizons: Local Responses to Canada’s Great War.” Rutherdale delivered the talk at the Toronto Public Library’s North York Central Branch. He explores issues such as the demonization of enemy aliens, wartime philanthropy, and state authority and citizenship – all while asking… Read more »

World War One in Winnipeg – Conscription

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By Jim Blanchard It is well known that the adoption of conscription in Canada during the First World War was very unpopular in Quebec. Although many Quebecois volunteered to serve in the army in the first years of the war, large numbers of French Canadians disagreed with sending troops overseas when the country did not seem to be threatened. What… Read more »

Consider the Comments: Why Online Comments are Important for Public Historians

By Kaitlin Wainwright There are a few adages that go with comments on the Internet. Among them: “if you don’t have the energy to read something, you shouldn’t have the hubris to comment on it” and, simply put, “never read the comments.” It’s rare that comments and forums on the Internet are seen as something positive. Ian Milligan has written… Read more »

Feeling the City: Getting at the Historical Sights and Sounds of Downtown

Like most of us humans—80% in Canada, more than 50% worldwide—my home is in the city. And like so many urbanites, I take a whole range of day-to-day sensations for granted. The screech of garbage trucks, the overheard conversations on public transit; the smells of street food and exhaust; the sight of thousands of other people going about their lives…. Read more »

Inventing Stanley Park: An Environmental History by Sean Kheraj

By Lani Russwurm It would be difficult to overstate the significance of Stanley Park to Vancouver’s identity. Visiting the park is obligatory for tourists, and locals from across the spectrum use it frequently for a myriad of activities. But the feature that distinguishes Stanley Park from most other large urban parks is its large forest that serves as a refreshing… Read more »