History on the Go

Delivering Canada’s stories to a growing digital audience.

Written by Janet Walker

March 31, 2017

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Our work to promote popular interest in Canadian history is inspired by conversations with our readers — a growing national community of people who appreciate the stories of our shared past.

Many of you respond to our stories and programs with thoughtful analyses, key questions, and fresh perspectives. You call to speak with us, send emails, and respond with comments on social media.

Our digital metrics counter the perception that history readers are predominately from an older generation. They confirm what our school and youth education programs tell us — that our readers include many young people, who are deeply engaged in reading about history and in their own personal historical research.

Through digital and print media platforms, awards programs, educational outreach, and youth initiatives, we engage with a broad community that includes educators, students, historians, archivists, and readers of popular history.

Now, we are about to begin a new era of greater engagement. By the time this magazine reaches your hands, Canada’s History Society will have launched a newly designed website — in English at CanadasHistory.ca and in French at HistoireCanada.ca.

The refreshed site — funded by the Department of Canadian Heritage, public donations, and other revenues — features bigger images, cleaner type, and easy navigation, and it optimizes our award-winning history content for a variety of mobile devices.

Our website has achieved significant audience growth over the years, with visitors spread among all age groups.

In 2016, CanadasHistory.ca and HistoireCanada.ca logged more than 750,000 online visitors and more than 2.2 million page views. Our online audience participates in educational and community‐based webinars, including our current series, Treaties and the Treaty Relationship.

Created and co-hosted by the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba, with Canada’s History Online Engagement Coordinator Jessica Knapp, the series promotes conversations from multiple perspectives, exploring historical and contemporary issues related to treaties.

Many of you have used our online presence to vote for Young Citizens digital video histories, or to nominate “Great Women,” and all‐time hockey greats. You have contributed stories and images to GreatWarAlbum.ca, our online archive of First World War stories, and followed us on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. You have made valued donations that support our editorial and educational programs at CanadasHistory.ca/donate. You have explored Canada’s rich music history via our new podcast, Sounds like History, a partnership between Canada’s History and Library and Archives Canada.

We offer educators digital resources for the classroom, making articles, comics, and fictional stories available online.

Our 2016 history forum, Engaging Authentic Indigenous Histories, is featured in nine parts among our online videos to showcase storytellers and educators sharing their work and discussing history and reconciliation. Organized by Canada’s History Society with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, the event was generously sponsored by the RBC Foundation.

Our mission is to make the discovery of our nation’s past relevant, engaging, empowering, and accessible.

Thanks to our growing online platform, stories about our rich history are reaching more Canadians than ever before.

Janet Walker is the President and CEO of Canada’s History Society.

This article originally appeared in the April/May 2017 issue of Canada’s History.

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