Our History

Our Beginning

In 1994, the Hudson’s Bay Company donated its corporate archives to what is now the Archives of Manitoba, and its museum collection to The Manitoba Museum, both public institutions. These gifts earned a substantial tax saving, most of which was put to work in the name of history by establishing the Hudson’s Bay Company History Foundation.

The Foundation, in turn, provides core funding to ensure the maintenance of the Company’s gifts and to support the initiatives of Canada’s History. Canada’s History operates independently of the Foundation and realizes additional funding through memberships, donations and sponsorships. As a registered charity, the Society can accept donations and issue receipts for income tax purposes.

1993

The Society is incorporated by Hudson’s Bay Company as an independent charitable organization. Its first order of business is to purchase The Beaver magazine for $1.

1994

The Society establishes the Pierre Berton Award for promoting popular interest in Canadian History. Pierre Berton is the inaugural winner.

1995

The Right Honourable Romeo Leblanc establishes the Governor General’s Awards for Excellence in Teaching Canadian History. The Society’s first foray into cyberspace was with a website address typical for its time: http://www.cyberspc.mb.ca/~otmw/cnhs/cnhs.html (and no, it’s not operational).

1996

The Beaver debuts on Canadian newsstands with the February/March issue. There was an initial draw of 900 copies and the cover price was $4.95.

1997

Rolph Huband, the inspiration behind the HBC cultural gift donation which led to the creation of the History Society, steps down from his dual position of Chairman of the Board and Publisher of The Beaver. Joseph E. Martin became President and Chair of the Society while Laird Rankin took on the roles of Executive Director and Publisher.

1998

The Beaver celebrates the 125th anniversary of the RCMP with an issue dedicated to Our Men in Scarlet.

1999

The Beaver undergoes a redesign to incorporate more colour. The number of full feature articles is pared down to make more room for departments like Album and Currents.

2000

Society hosts first national Provincial and Territorial Historical Societies (PATHS) conference and announces small grants program to support local and regional history programming.

2001

The Beaver features an unknown showgirl on its “Toot Sweet” cover—unknown until the showgirl wrote in to tell us that the colour of her dress was incorrect. Editorial staff published a follow-up interview with Bernice Jordan Whims in the October/November issue.

2002

The Beaver breaks 50,000 in total circulation for the first time. The Society engages in its first rebrand and updates its logo.

2003

Expanding on the rebrand initiated in 2002, Society re-launches HistorySociety.ca with a new look and more space to highlight its programs in Education, Travel and Awards.

2004

The Society launches Kayak: Canada’s History Magazine for Kids. HistorySociety.ca upgrades website to expand on free web access to Beaver archives.

2005

Partnering with the Archives of Manitoba and The Manitoba Museum, FurTradeStories.ca is created to highlight HBC’s historic collections.

2006

Hudson’s Bay Company History Foundation finances French edition of Kayak, produced in partnership with Les Débrouilliards.

2007

Society launches first National History Forum for teachers and historians, which takes place in Ottawa.

2008

The Beaver publishes for the first time in French with the February/March issue celebrating the 400th anniversary of Quebec City.

2009

The Society expands its awards program by creating the Kayak Kids’ Illustrated History Award and bringing three partners into the National History Awards. Also publishes 100 Photos That Changed Canada which reached multiple bestseller lists.

2010

Two years of research and consultation culminate into an overall rebrand for both the Society and The Beaver magazine, unifying all programs and services under the name Canada’s History.

2011

CanadasHistory.ca attracts 167,000 unique visits, triple the magazine’s subscriber base. The Society launches the Governor General’s History Awards for Excellence in Community Programming.

2012

A ten segment video series is produced and posted online to mark the bicentennial of the War of 1812. Canada’s History realizes an unprecedented 40% growth in news stand sales.

2013

The federal government partners with Canada’s History in new national awards for students and teachers known as the Government of Canada History Awards.

2014

Canada’s History publishes The Great War Album marking the 100-year anniversary of the beginning of the First World War, and produces a companion website.

2015

Tables at the Governor General’s History Awards Gala are decorated with suffragist-era hats to celebrate the upcoming centennial of women achieving the right to vote.

2016

The History Forum, Engaging Authentic Indigenous Histories, is organized in collaboration with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.

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