Historica Canada

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Historica Canada, formerly The Historica-Dominion Institute is a national charitable organization in Canada dedicated to creating active and informed citizens through greater knowledge and appreciation of Canadian history.

The Institute was formed on September 1, 2009, as a result of a merger between the Historica Foundation and Dominion Institute.[1] The Dominion Institute was formed in 1997 by a group of young professionals, led by Rudyard Griffiths, who were concerned about the erosion of a common memory and civic identity. The Historica Foundation of Canada was founded in 1999 by Charles Bronfman in order to popularize Canadian history through projects such as the Heritage Minutes television vignettes and the Canadian Encyclopedia.

The Institute uses public opinion research and television, new media, print and in-school programmes, aiming to help Canadians learn about the country's history, shared citizenship and democratic institutions and values. The organization's head office is in Toronto, Ontario, and its founding president was journalist, author and professor Andrew Cohen. The Institute is now headed by Executive Vice-Chair Michael A. Levine. In July 2013, it changed its name from The Historica-Dominion Institute to Historica Canada.[2]

Encounters With Canada[edit]

One of this institute's largest programs, Encounters With Canada is a program which brings over 100 Canadian youth to Ottawa each week during the school year to learn about Canadian history and identity. The program was begun in 1982 by the Canadian Unity Council and purchased by the Historica Foundation in 2006, becoming HDI's flagship program after the 2009 merger. Encounters with Canada is Canada's largest youth forum.

The Memory Project[edit]

Through the Memory Project, 1500 World War II, Korean War and Canadian Forces veterans visit local schools and community groups to share their stories of service and sacrifice. Its speakers bureau operates in every province and reaches more than 175,000 youth each year.[3]

The Memory Project Digital Archive[edit]

The Memory Project Digital Archive is an extensive online collection of the oral histories and personal memorabilia of the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces. The Archive provides more than 1000 firsthand stories and 1,500 original artifacts (photos, letters and memorabilia) that chronicle 85 years of Canada's military heritage.[4]

Great Questions of Canada[edit]

Great Questions of Canada brings together twelve prominent Canadians including Michael Ignatieff, Jack Granatstein and Naomi Klein to debate six essential questions from Canada's history. Video, print and online resources are provided to encourage critical thinking about how different interpretations of Canadian history shape debate of contemporary public policy issues. Each May, The Great Questions Essay Contest provides high school and university students the opportunity to participate in this ongoing dialogue and to win a cash prize.[5]

The Canadian Aboriginal Writing and Arts Challenge[edit]

The Canadian Aboriginal Writing and Arts Challenge is a writing and arts competition for Aboriginal Canadians ages 14–29. Participants are invited to create a short story or short creative piece that reflects a moment or theme in Aboriginal history.

2010-2011 is the first year the Challenge has expanded to accept Arts submissions, after six years of being an exclusively writing competition. There have been over 100 Canadian Aboriginal youth who have won the Challenge to date.

Entries are judged by prominent Aboriginal Canadians, including Giller Prize winner Joseph Boyden, Drew Hayden Taylor, Kent Monkman and Stan Bevan. Patrons of the Challenge include Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami President Mary Simon, and Métis National Council President Clément Chartier.

The Challenge was born out of the book "Our Story," a joint project of the Dominion Institute and Doubleday Canada. Our Story is a short story compilation that brings together nine leading Aboriginal authors including Thomas King, Tomson Highway and Tantoo Cardinal.[6]

Passages to Canada Speakers' Bureau[edit]

Passages to Canada is a national storytelling initiative that provides Canadians with a greater understanding and appreciation of the contributions that immigrants and refugees make to Canada. The Passages to Canada Speakers' Bureau is composed of over 600 immigrants and refugees. These speakers visit schools and community groups across the country to share their stories of coming to Canada.[7]

Passages to Canada Digital Archive[edit]

The Passages to Canada Digital Archive presents a portrait of the life experience of the members of the Passages to Canada Speakers' Bureau through multilingual interviews and original artifacts (photos, letters and memorabilia) that recount their personal journeys to Canada. The Digital Archive is a collaboration between the Dominion Institute and the Canadian Museum of Civilization.[8]


The LaFontaine-Baldwin Symposium is a national forum for exploring the future of Canadian democracy. Each year, in a different Canadian city, a public thinker leads a two-day discussion on the historical antecedents and future trajectory of our democratic institutions and culture. The Symposium is co-hosted by John Ralston Saul and the Dominion Institute. It is made available to wider audience by the Symposium's media partners.[9]

TV programming[edit]

Before merging with the Historica Foundation, the Dominion Institute had an alliance with National Dream Productions, a documentary film production company, to produce television documentaries about Canadian history, including:

  • American Myths (Canadian Learning Television, 2005)
  • Foreign Fields (Global Television, 2003)
  • The Memory Project (Discovery Civilization, 2003)
  • The Retrial of Louis Riel (CBC Newsworld, 2002)
  • Facing the Century (Global Television, 2002)


The Historica-Dominion Institute has co-ordinated the publication of a series of essay and short-story collections of Canada's leading authors, public thinkers and historians, such as Margaret Atwood, Timothy Findley, Thomas King, J.L. Granatstein, Michael Ignatieff, Bob Rae, Andrew Cohen, Ovide Mercredi, Andrew Coyne, Tom Flanagan, Neil Reynolds and Naomi Klein.

  • American Myths - What Canadians Think They Know About the United States (Key Porter Books, 2008)
  • Great Questions of Canada (Key Porter Books, 2007)
  • Radical Tories (Anansi, 2006)
  • Nouveau dialogue sur la démocratie au Canada (Boréal, 2006)
  • LaFontaine-Baldwin Lectures, Vol. II (Penguin, 2006)
  • Rare Courage (McClelland and Stewart, 2005)
  • Our Story (Doubleday, 2004)
  • Story of a Nation (Doubleday, 2002)
  • The LaFontaine-Baldwin Lectures (Penguin, 2002)
  • Passages to Canada (Doubleday, 2001)
  • Great Questions of Canada (Stoddart, 2000)
  • "We Were Freedom: Canadian Stories of the Second World War" (Key Porter Books, 2010)

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ "Historica-Dominion Institute renamed Historica Canada". Historica Canada. 2 July 2013. Retrieved 6 April 2015. 
  3. ^ The Memory Project. Retrieved 2007-08-10.
  4. ^ The Memory Project Digital Archive. Retrieved 2007-08-10.
  5. ^ Great Questions of Canada. Retrieved 2007-08-10.
  6. ^ [2] Retrieved 2011-04-15.
  7. ^ Passages to Canada. Retrieved 2007-08-10.
  8. ^ Passages to Canada Digital Archive. Retrieved 2007-08-10.
  9. ^ LaFontaine-Baldwin Symposium. Retrieved 2007-08-10.