Category Archives: Canadian history

Historia Nostra: Was the Pays d’en Haut really a Middle Ground?

By Erin Isaac I remember being intrigued and a bit confused after my first reading of Richard White’s classic work The Middle Ground, which had been assigned for a fourth-year history seminar on French colonial history. My peers, likewise, found the ideas proposed interesting but a bit idealistic. Coming back to this text as a PhD student, the questions that… Read more »

Humanity, Humility and Humour: Dr. Gerhard Herzberg’s Pursuit of Scientific Study & Progress

By Denisa Popa On January 17th, 1985, Dr. Gerhard Herzberg attended a dinner in his honour after receiving the Great Cross of Merit with Star of the Federal Republic of Germany.[1] At this event, he looked back on his scientific career and life journey, highlighting the various people, places and values that had influenced him. In 1935, Gerhard Herzberg and… Read more »

Historia Nostra: How History has Changed on Ministers Island

By Laura Oland and Erin Isaac When Ministers Island (known to the Passamaquoddy for centuries as Consquamcook, before the “Minister,” Reverend Samuel Andrews, took up residence there in the 1790s) became a National Historic Site in 1996, the designating body’s main interest was in the island’s association with Sir William Van Horne. Van Horne, the Canadian Pacific Railway president who… Read more »

It is Time to End the History Wars

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By Ian Milligan and Thomas Peace We’ve been fighting about the same things for a quarter century. It’s time to call it quits. Earlier this week, The Dorchester Review published an open letter under an inflammatory (and arguably misleading, as it did not appear on the version signatories signed) headline of “Historians Rally v. ‘Genocide Myth;” it also apparently appeared… Read more »

Abandoning the Enterprise? Alberta’s 1936 and 2021 Social Studies Curricula Compared

Kirk Niergarth Author’s Note:  Alberta’s new draft K-6 curriculum, released in the spring of 2021, has unleashed a flurry of criticism. The Jason Kenney-led United Conservative government has followed through on their 2019 election promise to scrap an ambitious curriculum re-development project initiated by a Progressive Conservative government in 2008 and continued by the NDP government after 2015.  The new… Read more »

The Sesquicentennial of Treaty 1

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Paul Burrows On August 3, 1871 the negotiations that became known as the “Stone Fort” treaty, or Treaty 1, were wrapped up at Lower Fort Garry, north of present-day Winnipeg.  The treaty negotiations were a massive affair, even by today’s standards.  More than a thousand Cree and Anishinaabe from southern Manitoba had begun to gather at the Hudson’s Bay Company… Read more »

Remember/Resist/Redraw #32: Police Surveillance and Democratic Socialism in Cold War Canada

The Graphic History Collective recently released RRR #32, by historian and illustrator Frances Reilly, that looks at police surveillance and democratic socialism in Cold War Canada. In particular, the poster examines RCMP spying and the thirty-five year long covert program, Operation Profunc (PROminent FUNCtionaries of the Communist or Labor Progressive Party) that began in 1948. This program planned to arrest Canadians… Read more »

“We’re bringing picnic baskets, not water beds”: The 40th Anniversary of the Gay Picnic in Moncton, New Brunswick

by Meredith J. Batt On Wednesday, July 1st, 1981, Dominion Day, a group of 250 gays and lesbians met in Centennial Park, in Moncton, New Brunswick. All attending as individuals, some hanging out near the fringes of the park in case any trouble kicked-off, while police officers looked on, surveying the crowd. This gay picnic was the cause of huge… Read more »

Saving Chinatown, 1971 to 2021

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Daniel Ross 2021 has been a difficult year for Chinatowns across Canada. In mid-April, a coalition of community leaders from six cities released a statement calling on the federal government to make it a “national priority” to support Chinatowns struggling with the fallout of the COVID-19 lockdown and a new spike in anti-Asian racism. In both Montreal and Toronto, local… Read more »

Indigenous and Colonial Trackways: A New Historia Nostra Series

By Erin Isaac Roads, hiking trails, rivers, train tracks, or any manner of routes we use to travel often feel like historically benign spaces (at least to me). For myself, driving along the 401 between Kingston and Toronto has inspired more frustration about traffic and “Ontario Drivers” than curiosity about the road’s history. It feels like a space that exists… Read more »