Category Archives: Technology

Wikipedia and Warriors: Quickly Exploring Canada’s Wikipedia Past, 2003-Present

By Ian Milligan The 2009 Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship, laid out – in the eyes of a diverse group of Canadian academics – a new vision for Canada (too many links to list, but some are here). A redefinition of Canada based upon war and conflict, with the military assuming a prominent role and the First… Read more »

The Burdens of McHistory

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By Ian Mosby Walking out of the subway into Yonge Station in Toronto recently, I was confronted with poster after poster bearing some strange, slightly off-putting questions about McDonald’s. These included, in big bold letters, messages like: “Is the meat fake?” “Are there eyeballs put in your meat?” Or, “Are McNuggets made from processed pink sludge?” In the end, it… Read more »

Experimenting with Victorian anthropometrics: What can we learn from past scientific practices?

By Efram Sera-Shriar Imagine yourself as a nineteenth-century naturalist living in Britain. You are working on a project that seeks to examine differences (both cultural and physical) between the various peoples of the world. You want to collect information from distant locations scattered throughout the globe, but you are unable to travel abroad because of vocational and familial obligations at… Read more »

Animating History: How to Build a Simulation for History Education

By Kevin Colton We’re a visual species, we humans.  History is often learned best when its words are accompanied with charts and maps, diagrams and photos.  I love looking at these pictures to get different perspectives about the events they document. I’m a software developer rather than an historian, but I think the simulation software I’ve developed can provide another… Read more »

The Day the Music Died: Remembering Sam the Record Man

By Jay Young The passing of Sam “the Record Man” Sniderman at the age of 92 filled the airwaves, newspaper pages, and conversations on the street in Toronto this past week.  Sniderman owned the largest chain of record stores in Canada and ardently promoted the Canadian music industry.  Many people expressed warm memories of the entrepreneur and his flagship shop… Read more »

The Acknowledgments Project; or, The Girl with the Chocolate-Dipped Cone

By Alan MacEachern Once in a while, historians come up with an idea, do some research, analyze it, write that up, and find we have something resembling a book. Or maybe it turns out to be an article. Or a blog post. In those cases, we attach our name to it and send it out into the world. But what… Read more »

What Counts as History in Toronto? Digitally Exploring Toronto’s Heritage Plaques

By Ian Milligan When professional historians think of heritage plaques, some have knee-jerk reactions (“dead white man history!”) while others may see it as an engaging way to bring people into contact with the past in places they might otherwise not. On a leisurely stroll through the city, I enjoy checking out the few plaques that I pass: learning about… Read more »

Reunions as an Oral History Source

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By Ryan O’Connor One of the defining countercultural phenomena of the 1970s was the back-to-the-land movement. During this period, tens – maybe hundreds – of thousands of North Americans abandoned their urban dwellings for a rural lifestyle. This movement, which eschewed the postwar consumer culture, brought thousands of people “from away” to Prince Edward Island. Some stayed a few weeks;… Read more »

Exhibiting Race: The Power of Portraiture

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Is race something we wear on our faces? Does it lie our skin colour, place of origin, or ancestry? Is it tangible? Two online exhibits challenge these ideas. The White Australia Policy began in 1901. Years of xenophobia and racial tensions, caused by increasing immigration, labour disputes, and competition in the Australian goldfields, fostered the passing of the Immigration Restriction… Read more »

Was the Past a Happy Place?

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By Ian Milligan Was the past a happy place? Could we take a large array of information and learn whether there was an emotional content to it? I’ve been increasingly curious about how we can apply a host of tools that data miners are using on contemporary information to large repositories of historical information: could we learn something new from… Read more »