Category Archives: Canadian history

How to Celebrate New Year’s Day Like a Fur Trader

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Jessica Di Laurenzio It is impossible to study early Canadian history without understanding the fur trade, and impossible to study the fur trade without coming across the records of the Hudson’s Bay Company. Some of the most useful and interesting records are the journals that kept daily accounts of post activities. Among the entries that jotted down the weather, visitors… Read more »

Visiting and Recognizing the Past: Toronto’s 1919-1920 Smallpox Outbreak

Alt text: A crowd dressed in hats and coats fills a city street. There are banners with the following text: “Stop the slaughter of the innocents! Protest against compulsory vaccination” and “Compulsory vaccination German born – down with compulsion!!”

Sara Wilmshurst A few years ago, on this very site, I published an article about combatting vaccine resistance with historical education. Surely, I thought, if people understood how devastating preventable diseases could be, everyone would be eager to roll up a sleeve and be jabbed. Such is the pain of living through historic times. At least I learned something. Like… Read more »

Historia Nostra: Myth, Memory, and Misconception at the Plains of Abraham

By Erin Isaac The Battle on the Plains of Abraham, on 13 September 1759, is heavily commemorated on Québec’s physical landscape. From the streets, buildings, and shops named for the French and British military men who fought that day, to the monuments that dot the city’s historic neighbourhoods, and commemorative panels or plaques at the Plains of Abraham, it’s hard… Read more »

Inequality: Only for Academics? A Self-Publishing Saga

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Eric W. Sager I have always believed in the mission of public history. I have given public talks, written op-eds, and published books and articles intended for non-academic readers. I have even won awards for “public dissemination.” Although I have had some successes, I have also met with failures. Recently, failure is winning. How could this be? Have I lost… Read more »

Experts Confront Postwar Poverty, or How Good People Do Bad Things

Tina Loo The Northern Affairs Officers who live and work with the people of the Keewatin have no promise and little hope that tomorrow will bring an opportunity for work and self-dependence for all the Eskimo people of that region. If the problem does not seem capable of immediate solution, it is no reflection on them; we have been impressed… Read more »

As Long As The Rivers Flow 30 years on : An epic collaboration in documentary filmmaking

By James Cullingham This autumn marks a significant milestone in the history of filmmaking about Indigenous – settler relations in Canada. As Long As The Rivers Flow, the documentary series about Indigenous resilience that launched Tamarack Productions, was released in September 1991. As Long As The Rivers Flow was among the first national collaborations of Indigenous and non-Indigenous documentarians in… Read more »

Hiding in Plain Sight: Newspaper Coverage of Dr. Peter Bryce’s 1907 Report on Residential Schools

Kathleen McKenzie and Sean Carleton As the result of the news of unmarked graves being located at former residential schools across Canada, many people are finally reckoning with the history of the Indian Residential School (IRS) system. While school survivors and Indigenous communities are not surprised by the recent revelations, some Canadians have been shocked to learn of the high… Read more »

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 »