Francis Lalande

Recipient of the 2020 Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Teaching

November 12, 2020

Collège Citoyen, Laval, Quebec

Francis Lalande’s Histoire à vélo project is a dynamic, environmentally friendly, and transdisciplinary initiative that uses the bicycle as a means of teaching history.

In the first part of the project, students work towards becoming thoughtful and independent citizens as they prepare for a bike tour along the Lachine Canal, in Montreal.

To do so, they must plan their itinerary in advance, taking into consideration important infrastructures and historical sites of interest along the waterway. Next comes the bike ride, during which the students, at each of their stops, make observations and gather information while noting any questions they may have.

Back in the classroom, with the goal of interpreting the evolution of the historical site, the students compare their observations and seek answers to their questions by drawing from an assortment of primary and secondary source materials.

By the end of the educational activity, the students are in a position to better understand the industrial and historical heritage of this iconic site for Montrealers, Quebecers, and Canadians.

For the second part of the project, Francis Lalande’s students continue their adventure and their learning using a GoPro video recorded by the teacher while riding a bike through various Montreal neighbourhoods.

The students are witness to the richness and cultural diversity the city has to offer, discovering iconic sites steeped in history, while reflecting on the importance of this diversity on the city’s history.