Category Archives: Canadian history

(In)Security in the Time of COVID-19: New Histories of Human Vulnerability, Community Resilience, and the Struggle for Social Justice

This post introduces “(In)Security in the Time of COVID-19,” a ten-part blog series that will be featured on ActiveHistory.ca over the next six weeks. Visit the series page here. We are the (In)Security Working Group, a collective of historians based at the University of Toronto committed to developing a rigorous and critical analysis of the ways in which security regimes… Read more »

Death was the Point: Interrupting our shock at colonial practices. Thoughts on the Kamloops discovery.

By Samantha Cutrara Trigger Warning: This article discusses the residential school system. The National Residential School Crisis Line is 1-866-925-4419. When the news came out about the mass grave at Kamloops Indian Residential School located on the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation – or the news from this past weekend which identified 104 ‘potential graves’ as part of the Brandon… Read more »

Residential Schools: How Quebec Colonized the West

By Catherine Larochelle Trigger Warning: This article discusses the residential school system and the Roman Catholic Church. The National Residential School Crisis Line is 1-866-925-4419. With the Quiet Revolution, identity in Quebec shifted from an association with French Canada to one more tightly bound by the province’s political borders. Quebec’s so-called national history similarly refocused to emphasize histories of Quebec… Read more »

The Perils of Digital Humanities for Academics

Dominique Clément Why does historical training at universities place so little emphasis on research methods? The rise of digital humanities presents a fundamental challenge to how we train historians. But for anyone pondering a career in academia, it’s a perilous journey where the risks might not be worth the rewards. We are in the digital age yet historical research remains… Read more »

Accountability for the Roman Catholic Church’s Role in the Residential School System: Urgent Actions Needed Immediately

Here, I outline 3 urgent actions that need to be addressed by the Roman Catholic Church immediately as part of taking responsibility for its significant role in the residential school system. The 3 urgent actions are: 1) an apology from the Pope, 2) a statement by the CCCB outlining how they have engaged and will continued to engage with TRC’s Calls to Action 59, 60, and 61, and 3) payment of $21.3 million by the Roman Catholic entities to Indigenous healing programs that was not paid to the IRSSA.

How a Belfast Immigrant to Canada Came to Testify Before the Undercover Policing Inquiry in the UK

Bryan D. Palmer In the summer of 1955, Ernest (Ernie) Tate, a young immigrant from Belfast, wandered into the “Toronto Labour Bookstore” on Yonge Street north of Wellesley. The proprietor of the bookshop was Ross Dowson, a founder of the small Canadian Trotskyist movement. It espoused the ideas of Marx and Lenin, but was critical of the Soviet Union and… Read more »

“I am totally shocked that something of this sort could happen in Canada”: Vancouver’s Gastown Riot Fifty Years Later

Michael Boudreau Fifty years ago, on Saturday, 7 August 1971, Vancouver’s Gastown district erupted into chaos as police, some on horse-back and many wielding batons, waded into a throng of “hippies” who had gathered for the Gastown Smoke-In & Street Jamboree. Approximately 2000 people attended the Smoke-In to call for the legalization of marijuana. According to the Georgia Straight, Vancouver’s… Read more »

“This half century of struggle”: A Look Back at Child Care Advocacy

Lisa Pasolli If you know one thing about the history of child care in Canada, it’s probably that it is a story littered with disappointment. Over and over, studies and task forces have called for the building of a universal child care system. Over and over, governments have promised action only to walk back their commitments or have their plans… Read more »

Community, Family, & the Hidden History of Southwestern Ontario

It is this gap, between official imaginings of community, and how the past informs the communities in which we actually live, that the Hidden Histories of Southwestern Ontario project seeks to bridge.

Historia Nostra: Commemorating French Canadian History in Stained Glass

By Erin Isaac I visited the Notre Dame basilica in Old Montréal for the first time in 2018. Having recently had the opportunity to visit the Sainte Chapelle in Paris, I was excited to see how the basilica’s architects were inspired by, or deviated from, the 13th century chapel built in the Gothic Rayonnant style. Sainte Chapelle’s stained glass windows… Read more »