Category Archives: Uncategorized

#Canada150: How to Celebrate Freedom

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By Shirley Tillotson This essays is being published jointly on ActiveHistory.ca and Borealia and appeared in an earlier version as a Letter to the Editor in the National Post (Oct. 26, 2017) Fundraisers love anniversaries. They’re like birthdays, right? Presents can’t be far behind. But when it’s the anniversary of a death, it’s not so much fun. For me, as an… Read more »

In Conversation II: Archiving and Accessing Canada’s First World War

By Sarah Glassford and Rose Morton Preamble This post is the product of several conversations and a more formal Q&A email exchange between two staff members at the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick (PANB) in Fredericton: Rose Morton is a Reference Archivist, and Sarah Glassford is a summer intern with a background in History. We draw no broad conclusions, but… Read more »

(Research) notes from three small islands

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Alban Bargain-Villéger Geography is nothing other than history in space, and history is geography over time.                   Élisée Reclus, L’Homme et la terre (1905)[1] The other day it occurred to me that, in my two and a half years as contributor for Active History, I haven’t once written about my research. The reason for this probably is that the world and… Read more »

Remember / Resist / Redraw #07: John A. Macdonald’s Role in Residential Schooling

In January, the Graphic History Collective (GHC) launched Remember | Resist | Redraw: A Radical History Poster Project to intervene in the Canada 150 conversation. Earlier this month we released Poster #07 by Sean Carleton and Crystal Gail Fraser, which was published on Canada Day in conjunction with Idle No More’s Unsettling Canada: a Call to Action. The poster examines… Read more »

Contesting Canada Day : A Tradition of Engagement, Challenges and Change

Matthew Hayday “For God’s sakes won’t you listen? What have we got to celebrate? I don’t like what has happened over the last 500 years or 125 years.”[i] No, that’s not a typo, and it’s not a quote that comes from the media coverage of protest against this year’s Canada 150 celebrations, although it certainly has the same feel. I… Read more »

A Focus on Family: Creating an Exhibit about 19th-Century Archival Photographs

Jay Young with Alison Little Family Focus: Early Portrait Photography at the Archives of Ontario is a free photography exhibit on display at the John B. Aird Gallery in Toronto, from June 27 to July 21. The exhibit, part of the Archives of Ontario’s Ontario150 programming, features 15 original and 45 reproduction photos from the late 19th century that depict… Read more »

Atheists in the Trenches: Loss of Faith among Canadians in the Great War

By Elliot Hanowski Did the horrors of the Great War cause Canadian soldiers to lose their faith? Or is it true that there were no atheists in the trenches? The war has generally been seen as a powerfully disillusioning experience. Books such as Paul Fussell’s widely influential The Great War and Modern Memory portray the war as the origins of… Read more »

Canada 150: What’s to Celebrate?

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Christopher Dummitt In this year of Canada 150, it’s not uncommon on university campuses to hear a lot of scepticism about “celebrations” of confederation. This isn’t especially surprising. Scholars rarely celebrate anything (unless it is the end of marking season). But celebrations of the nation state often seem intrinsically troublesome – something we study rather than take part in. Our… Read more »

French Elections 2017: Looking Past the Hype

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Alban Bargain-Villéger On April 23 and May 7, 2017, French voters will be electing the eighth president of the Fifth Republic. In the last three months, much ink has been spilled over how decisive this year’s election will be. However, while this campaign has indeed been marked by several violent confrontations and scandalous revelations, its dynamics and the themes it… Read more »

National Disunity and the Meaning of Vimy Ridge

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By Matt Barrett Attempting to identify the historical significance of Vimy Ridge for the general public, many historians, writers and politicians have often resorted to a nationalistic framework that depicts the battle as a vital step in the creation of an independent Canada. From April 9th to 12th 1917, the four Canadian Divisions fought together for the first time and… Read more »