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Article

No. 2 Construction Battalion

On 5 July 1916, the Department of Defence and Militia authorized the formation of No. 2 Construction Battalion. It was the largest Black unit in Canadian history. Its members continued the proud tradition of service to king and country that went back to the American Revolution and continued through the War of 1812 and the Rebellions of 1837–38 to the start of the First World War. But there were many obstacles: Black soldiers and communities faced racism both at home and overseas, despite their commitment to the war effort.

Article

Numbered Treaties (Plain-Language Summary)

The Numbered Treaties are a series of 11 treaties. A treaty is an agreement between two or more nations. The Numbered Treaties were signed by the Canadian government and Indigenous people. All 11 treaties were signed between 1871 and 1921. The Numbered Treaties cover parts of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario. They also cover portions of Yukon and the Northwest Territories.

The treaties provided the Canadian government with land. The government wanted land for industrial development and white settlement. In exchange, the government promised Indigenous people special rights and benefits. These treaty terms are controversial and contested. The Numbered Treaties have ongoing legal, social, and economic impacts on Indigenous communities. (See also Treaties with Indigenous Peoples in Canada.)

(This is a plain-language summary of the Numbered Treaties. If you are interested in reading about this topic in more depth, please see our full-length entry, Numbered Treaties.)

Article

Frank Bing Wong (Primary Source)

"“Your blood, our freedom.” That’s how they think of the Canadians."

See below for Mr. Wong's entire testimony.


Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

Article

Helen Jean “Jean” Crawley (Primary Source)

"As Mr. Winston Churchill said in one of his last speeches after the war, he said “without the women, we may have lost the war.”"

See below for Ms. Crawley's entire testimony.


Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

collection

Indigenous Material Culture in Canada

Material culture refers to physical forms of culture. This includes art, monuments, buildings, tools, weapons, money, clothing, religious items, and other artifacts. The design and function of these objects directly reflects the society that made them. A society’s history and geography also influence the creation and meaning of such items. The study of material culture helps us to understand human behaviour and the way that people interact with objects. This collection explores Indigenous material culture in Canada. It features articles that provide insight into traditional ways of life. It also includes content that considers the effects of colonization on Indigenous peoples and their cultures. This collection aims to highlight the richness and diversity of various physical forms of Indigenous culture in this country.

Article

Frank Tomkins (Primary Source)

"I had four brothers during the war and of course every young person I guess wants to join up, especially when their brothers are gone."

See below for Mr. Tomkins' entire testimony.


Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

Article

Dorothy M Jamieson (Primary Source)

"We were in France, and we were in Belgium. And to me, serving with those girls was the best thing that ever happened to me."

See below for Ms. Jamieson's entire testimony.


Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

Article

Kenneth McClure Asham (Primary Source)

"The excerpt in English is not available at this time. Please refer to the excerpt in French."

See below for Mr. Asham's entire testimony.


Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

Article

Ida Ferguson (Primary Source)

"The excerpt in English is not available at this time. Please refer to the transcript in French."

See below for Ms. Ferguson's entire testimony.


Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

Article

Constance Gwendolyn Powys (Primary Source)

"The excerpt in English is not available at this time. Please refer to the transcript in French."

See below for Ms. Powys' entire testimony.


Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

Article

Marilyn Bell

Marilyn Grace Bell Di Lascio (née Bell), OOnt, swimmer (born 19 October 1937 in Toronto, ON). Marilyn Bell is a long-distance swimmer, best remembered for her 1954 swim across Lake Ontario, which brought her international fame at the age of 16. She won the 1954 Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s athlete of the year, as well as the 1954 and 1955 Bobbie Rosenfeld Award as the country’s top female athlete. She was also named the 1954 Canadian Press Newsmaker of the Year. In 1955, she became the youngest person to swim the English Channel. She also swam across the Juan de Fuca Strait in 1956. She was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and is a Member of the Order of Ontario.

Article

Haida

Haida are Indigenous people who have traditionally occupied the coastal bays and inlets of Haida Gwaii in British Columbia. In the 2016 census, 501 people claimed Haida ancestry, while 445 people identified as speakers of the Haida language.

Article

Lucien Simard (Primary Source)

"All along the Gaspé coast all the way to Newfoundland, you were in complete darkness. During the war, the houses located all the way down the Gaspé coast had to cover their windows. The submarines were torpedoing the ships only 5-10 miles offshore."

See below for Mr. Simard's entire testimony.


Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

Article

Margaret Cooper (née Douglas) (Primary Source)

"In August 1942 Montgomery’s forward forces had brought Rommel’s army to a halt. RAF bombers, British submarines, had sunk 47 supply ships totaling 169,000 tons. All except two had been a direct result of decrypts from BP."

See below for Mrs. Cooper's entire testimony.


Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

Article

Marshall Chow (Primary Source)

"I felt the knees of the guy behind me knocking against my legs. So we were very, we laugh about it, but we were also very scared."

See below for Mr. Chow's entire testimony.


Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

Article

Bruce MacKenzie (Primary Source)

"During the previous campaigns we had lost at least 50% of our experienced flying personnel; some had been shot down, while others had finished their tours."

See below for Mr. MacKenzie's entire testimony.


Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

Article

Beatrice Mary Geary (née Shreiber) (Primary Source)

"The women had never had jobs like this before and we wanted to prove ourselves. I think that’s part of it. And the men accepted us."

See below for Mrs. Geary's entire testimony.


Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

Article

Andrew Kurn “Andy” Wong (Primary Source)

"So he said, “Geez, I noticed you’re a Canadian.” I said, “Yes.” He said, “How do you like the American ships?” I said, “Gee, they’re like castles compared to the Canadian.”"

See below for Mr. Wong's entire testimony.


Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

Article

Charles James McNeil Willoughby (Primary Source)

"You never hear a shell with your number on it. Those with the whine and the bang are marked for someone else."

See below for Mr. Willoughby's entire testimony.


Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.