Category Archives: Canadian history

Did you hear the One about the Cardinal, the Rabbi, and the Minister? Spiritual Leaders and Big Social Problems in 1970s Toronto

David M. K. Sheinin People sometimes do a double take when they learn that longtime Toronto city councilor Joe Mihevc holds a doctorate in theology. “How did you go from theology to politics?” they ask in mock opprobrium for the latter. Mihevc smiles: “It was easy to make the jump.” Though most active in post-1990 Toronto, Mihevc is a holdover… Read more »

On Grieving the Finnish Labour Temple and the Promise of the Community Hall

Samira Saramo The news crashed down on me like a tonne of red bricks: the Finnish Labour Temple had been sold. Since 1910, the Labour Temple in Thunder Bay, Ontario, has stood as the grandest symbol of Finnish immigrant presence in Canada. With its iconic cupola, it is also a beacon of Thunder Bay and the heart of the bustling… Read more »

Treaty Education and Settler Relearning in Post Secondary Canadian History Classrooms

Reportedly, the “add and mix” approach with which Indigenous histories have been incorporated into Canadian history is an inadequate method to facilitate transformative change. According to two respondents, the add and mix approach fails to encourage historians and students to push beyond merely acknowledging settler colonialism, to move to what it means to be engaging with Indigenous histories and teachings

The Resonance of Almighty Voice (Kitchi-Manito-Waya)

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By James Cullingham One Arrow First Nation Chief Tricia Sutherland says this “the right time for the story to be told.” The story concerns Almighty Voice (Kitchi-Manito-Waya) the young Cree man from One Arrow, a community near Batoche who became subject of one of the longest manhunts in Canadian history. Almost exactly 125 years ago, Almighty Voice slaughtered a settler’s… Read more »

A History of the Toronto Public Library in Four Buildings

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Emily Macrae As public buildings closed their doors in March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, public libraries across Canada pivoted to strengthen connections with communities online, offering virtual story times and lending out wi-fi hotspots in addition to adapting ongoing work ranging from providing reading recommendations to supporting Indigenous language revitalization. Toronto Public Library was no exception. In April,… Read more »

Miss Canadian History: An Archive Story

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Donald Wright Archive stories are stories about, well, archives, the things that we find in them, and the things that we know we will never find. They are also invitations to reflect on how and why archival evidence – from a routinely-generated source to a single photograph – was created and what it can and can’t tell us about the… Read more »

Building a white Canada: gender, sexuality, race, and medicine

By Allison Lynn Bennett Sexual control is inherent to empire. Colonial authorities and doctors understood sexuality as key to maintaining white superiority. Reproduction and health were the focus of eugenic measures that played on gender, sexual, and racial stereotypes. As a settler colony, Canada imagined itself as “British”, or “white”, and therefore regulated the sexual lives and behaviour of both… Read more »

Lay-offs at the Sulpician Archives – An Open Letter

For researchers, but especially for the broader public, how could we allow “a kilometre of textual documents, 75,000 iconographic items, more than 8,000 geographical maps and technical specifications, as well as sound and film recordings” to be put at risk?

The Canadian Mosaic, Archival Silences, and an Indigenous Presence in Banff

Daniel R. Meister Given that Canada is a settler colonial society, it is unsurprising that the lasting metaphor used to describe sociological diversity in the country – that of a mosaic – was popularized by a settler and child of empire: John Murray Gibbon (1875-1952). Gibbon was born in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) to parents of Scottish descent. Prior to… Read more »

Race Relations, Psychological Testing, and Resistance to Change: The Toronto Police, 1970s-1980s

David M. K. Sheinin As a city changes, as tensions grow between the police and the communities they serve, how can we know if a candidate has what it takes to lead a major police force? Is it possible to predict success (or failure)? Those questions are at the core of a debate that has raged for decades on whether… Read more »