Historical Societies

Historical societies in Canada have as their primary purpose the study and promotion of the Canadian historical experience. Through publication of scholarly and amateur works, public education programs, assistance to and co-operation with archives, museums, heritage groups and other similar organizations, hundreds of historical associations provide a valuable service to Canadian life. The first such association, the LITERARY AND HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF QUEBEC, was established in 1824. The Nova Scotia Historical Society began in 1878 and its publication, Report and Collections of the Nova Scotia Historical Society, started the following year. The Ontario Historical Society traces its roots back to 1888 with its journal, Ontario History, beginning in 1899. Historians in most other provinces have since established similar organizations.

On the national level the CANADIAN HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION, founded 1922, was an outgrowth of the Historic Landmarks Association of Canada. The latter, established in 1907, had as its main objectives the planning for the 1908 Québec tercentenary and the appropriate recognition of Canada's HISTORIC SITES. The CHA now boasts over 2100 general and student members (1987) and serves the interests of both professional and amateur historians through an active publications program and an annual conference.

Recent years, particularly since Canada's centennial celebrations in 1967, have witnessed a tremendous growth in regional and local historical associations. Societies large and small operate almost exclusively on volunteer assistance. Their activities have increased the awareness among Canadians of the richness of their own history and have encouraged many others to examine their past through local history studies, GENEALOGICAL research and other research projects.