Annual Report 2018-19

Honouring excellence, sharing special stories,treaties and the treaty relationship, engaging new scholars, award-winning kids content, and supporting educators and students.

Written by Canada’s History

Posted August 1, 2019

Message from the Chair

Several years ago, in its Strategy to 2020, Canada’s National History Society made a commitment to share stories of the experience of Canada and to encourage diverse perspectives.

We believed that a collaborative environment would help to inspire, celebrate, and give voice to the people and projects that advance learning about our history.

We continue to connect with key communities and to navigate new territory in the world of publishing in print and online, with a special emphasis on engaging authentic Indigenous histories.

As we diversify the stories we tell, revenue sources begin to develop. Our success in 2018-19 reflects a growing specialty in enterprise publishing. Projects like An Epic Tale and Treaties and the Treaty Relationship showcased our ability to help other organizations tell their stories, and created new opportunities to collaborate with Governor General’s History Award-winning educators and others to improve history education resources.

We are pleased to have established our first-ever endowed fund for young scholars, and we are continuing to attract the valued and generous support of major donors whose multiyear pledges in the company of Adventurers — expanding from Manitoba and Quebec to include Ontario and British Columbia — help make possible the stories you read and share today.

Our audience has expanded thanks to multiple digital platforms that offer thousands of stories and mass distribution of story packages, much of which is made possible thanks to the invaluable support of the Hudson’s Bay Company History Foundation. We approach the centennial anniversary of The Beaver (now Canada’s History) in 2020, knowing that history publishing and education initiatives have deepened connections with you, our readers.

On behalf of the national volunteer Board of Directors, I extend appreciation for your support and investment in Canada’s History.

Honouring Excellence

On January 28, 2019, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette presided over the 2018 Governor General’s History Awards in a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa.

The Governor General’s History Award recipients are champions of Canadian history — dedicated to a deeper and more complex understanding of the past and to applying our knowledge of the past to create more empathetic and inclusive communities.

Among this year’s recipients were Lisa Howell, whose Grade five and six students researched the history of First Nations health care. With the help of Indigenous elders and in collaboration with the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society and Health Canada, they produced a public service announcement about Jordan’s Principle — a motion passed by the House of Commons in 2007 to ensure that First Nations children have equitable access to all government-funded services.

The Shiloh Centre for Multicultural Roots in Edmonton used the intimacy of video to document the experiences of four generations of African Americans who migrated from the United States to Western Canada. Historian Bill Waiser received the Governor General’s History Award for Popular Media: The Pierre Berton Award for his over-thirty-year career as a writer, speaker, and professor. Waiser has published more than a dozen books; his A World We Have Lost: Saskatchewan Before 1905 won the 2016 Governor General’s Literary Award.

The day prior to the ceremony, the award recipients shared their work at the Canada’s History Forum at the Canadian War Museum. The day-long event, which was live-streamed and simultaneously translated, brought together historians, educators, museum curators, community leaders, and the public to encourage an exchange of ideas and to shape new thinking so that Canadian narratives can reach wider, more diverse audiences.

The discussions helped to foster new connections among Canada’s history community.

Sharing Special Stories

Canada’s History was proud to work with the Hudson’s Bay Company on a special publication that explores nearly three and a half centuries of HBC history.

An Epic Tale was written by Canada’s History Editor-in-Chief Mark Collin Reid in collaboration with HBC, and published in both English and French. HBC was founded in 1670 and will celebrate its 350th anniversary in 2020.

An Epic Tale documents the company’s long rise from a fur trading empire into an international retail icon. Fifty thousand copies were published in English and a further five thousand copies were published in French to be distributed for free by HBC for educational purposes.

Canada’s History magazine shares a nearly century-long connection with HBC: The Beaver magazine (renamed Canada’s History magazine in 2010) was founded by HBC in 1920 as part of the company’s 250th anniversary celebrations.

Through its history foundation, HBC provides ongoing funding for Canada’s History and in 2017 helped to fund the Canada’s History Archive featuring The Beaver, a digital database of back issues.

Award-winning Kids Content

It was an exciting and humbling year for Kayak, our publication for children seven to twelve years old. We produce four print issues and one free digital issue — with accompanying classroom material in English and French — every year.

Our 2018 digital classroom issue, “Black History in Canada,” was co-edited by Natasha Henry, an educator, historian, curriculum consultant, and president of the Ontario Black History Association. The publication was named the best consumer magazine — for any age group — at the 2018 Canadian Online Publishing Awards.

The print magazines covered themes ranging from the history of work and workers and the development and impact of the railways through to Canadian art and our favourite ways to relax.

Engaging New Scholars

Brooke Campbell, the inaugural Nobleman Scholar, recently completed a successful term working for Canada’s History, supporting its publishing, education and recognition programs. Campbell continues to work for Canada’s History as a program coordinator based out of Calgary.

Dorothy Hollingsworth established the Nobleman Scholars program to honour her husband, William (Bill) Nobleman, a founding director of Canada’s National History Society who passed away in 2016. The scholarship program will provide annual paid internships to students Brooke Campbell, left, and in the master of public history program at Western University.

Talking Treaties

The Treaty relationship between First Nations and the Crown is fundamental when it comes to understanding Canada’s history.

With this in mind, both Canada’s History magazine and Kayak: Canada’s History for Kids published special issues, in English and in French, on the history of Treaties in Canada.

Treaties and the Treaty Relationship was co-edited by Loretta Ross, Treaty Commissioner of Manitoba, and featured stories by Indigenous authors, scholars, and elders. More than 125,000 complimentary copies have been distributed to Indigenous communities, subscribers, museums, heritage organizations, RCMP detachments, journalism schools, post-secondary institutions, and via French-language community newspapers.

Kayak, meanwhile, devoted its September 2018 issue to Treaties and Treaty-making, under the guidance of co-editor Cynthia Bird of Peguis First Nation in Manitoba. The issue was titled “We are all Treaty people.”

More than 19,500 copies were published in English and nearly 35,000 in French, with digital copies available online. All of the illustrators (with the exception of the Kayak’s long-time comic creator) were First Nations or Métis.

To read digital versions of the special issues, go to:

Supporting Educators and Students

In July, Canada’s History and the Canadian Museum of History hosted the 2018 Historical Thinking Summer Institute in Ottawa.

This was a five-day intensive professional-development event for teachers, museum educators, and resource providers looking to embed the historical thinking concepts into their work. The lead instructors were Lindsay Gibson and Carla Peck (University of Alberta), Catherine Duquette (Université du Québec à Chicoutimi), and Heather Montgomery (Bank of Canada Museum).

For the first time, the summer institute was offered in English and in French, thanks to support from the Molson Foundation. This was an innovation for the program and an exciting opportunity for francophone and anglophone teachers to participate in professional development together.

Following the event, we hosted a national meeting of history educators. Forty participants from all provinces and territories came together for a rare face-to-face meeting to discuss challenges and opportunities for national-level history programming in Canada.

Canada’s History By The Numbers


Print and digital audience of Canada’s History.


Number of millennials included in Canada’s History’s print and digital audience.


Percentage of readers in households with children under eighteen years old.


The year The Beaver, now Canada’s History magazine, was founded.


Number of Governor General’s History Award recipients to date.


Number of visitors who accessed Canada’s History Archive featuring The Beaver since its launch in late 2017.

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