Adam Bunch Transcript

My name’s Adam Bunch. I’m a historical writer, creator, storyteller, I guess, who just likes to share historical stories in as many ways as I can. I’m the author of a couple of books of Toronto history, The Toronto Book of the Dead, and the Toronto Book of Love, which sort of cover the history of the city through stories of death and love. I’m the host and co-creator of a documentary series called Canadiana, where you travel across the country looking for the most fascinating stories from Canadian history that we can.

We’ve been everywhere from visiting the wild horses of Sable Island off the coast of Nova Scotia to the snows of the Yukon. Then we post those episodes online on YouTube, all free to watch with wonderful editing and animation by my talented co-creators Kyle Cucco and Ashley Brook. I teach at George Brown and do Private online courses, walking tours, Twitter threads. I just created the Festival of Bizarre Toronto history this year and started, many years ago, sort of a strange little multimedia project called the Toronto Dreams Project, where I wrote fictional dreams about historical figures and then printed them on little postcards and designed for them. Left them in public places related to that historical figures true history. So, yeah, I just sort of look to share historical stories in all the different channels and formats that I can find.

So my dream, I guess, would be the people come away from my work with a bit of that sense of curiosity and their interest sparked a bit that maybe long after they read one of my books or watched an episode of Canadiana that they’re still interested in learning more. Whether it’s about sort of that story in particular or the history of their own communities or the country in general, that they keep wanting to learn. To read more. Visit historic sites of museums, follow historians on Twitter, whatever it is. Learn more about the Indigenous history of this land, and that in some small way, if I’m very lucky, maybe I’ll have helped to fan those flames of curiosity just a little bit. 

I think. I guess in sort of its most basic, most general sense history, sort of just everything that’s ever happened. So it’s pretty important to understand at least some of that and that the Canada that we live in today, the things that are all around us or of our traditions, our institutions, our cultures, even our roads and bridges and buildings aren’t here entirely by accident. The Canada’s sort of the collective result of all these countless generations of people, the people who’ve been here before us, whose lives and stories have intersected and interacted in a way that’s resulted in the Canada of today. So I think it’s a pretty powerful tool to be able to understand something of how Canada ended up like this so that we can sort of more effectively build a Canada that’s a better, more equitable, kinder place in the future. 

I think they’re all all my different projects are really meaningful to me in different ways. And yeah, I’m a big believer in trying to do as many different things as I can and using popular media and a bunch of different ways to connect with people, I think. Or at least I hope that there’s a growing sense of interest that Canadians have in their own past and certainly a deeper understanding of how important it is to understand both the good and the bad of it. That a lot of people still don’t actively sort of seek it out in their day to day lives. 

So a lot of what I’m trying to do is just meeting people where they are giving them options for how to connect with those stories. Some people will still want to be reading to have a hard copy of a book. Others would rather have an e-book or an audio book. Some would rather watch a documentary or a short video online or read a thread on Twitter, and other people want to get out into the streets themselves. Go visit the places where that history happened as part of something like a walking tour or an exhibit. So yeah, I’m just trying, sort of to reach people in as many different ways as possible so that I can hopefully hook them a little bit and fan that interest in the history a little bit and get them digging more into the country’s past. 

I mean, it’s a big privilege, but I’m able to do what I’m doing. So just the idea of being able to continue doing it and yeah, keep things fresh and interesting for myself so that hopefully my own curiosity, gets to continue translating because I’m still continually interested in things. That really is the most I could hope for, is that, yeah, my project sort of just continue on and grow and evolve and I get to do new things. It’d be wonderful to start something like a podcast and certainly have ideas for more books and lots of different things to sort of dig into through the future. So yeah, my big hope is that for any one particular thing, but just that I get to sort of keep doing this kind of work. 

That’s an incredible honor and privilege and a reminder of how much more I have to learn when I look at the list of people who’ve won this award before. It is quite literally very humbling to think that I’ve got to sort of live up to it now. So, yeah, thank you so much to Canada’s History Society and to everyone who’s given me any support over the years because it is an exciting, wonderful, humbling honour.