Historica Canada

The Canadian Encyclopedia Ontario Chief Justice of Canada
Historica Canada
FormationNovember 9, 1999; 20 years ago (1999-11-09)
Founded atToronto, Ontario, Canada
Registration no.BN: 885434720RR0001
Legal statusRegistered Charity
Purposeenhancing awareness of Canadian history
Headquarters2 Carlton Street East Mezzanine, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Official language
English, French
Key people
Anthony Wilson-Smith, President & CEO
SubsidiariesThe Canadian Encyclopedia, Encounters with Canada, The Heritage Minutes, The Memory Project, Citizenship Challenge
Formerly called
The Historica-Dominion Institute

Historica Canada is the country's largest organization dedicated to enhancing awareness of Canadian history and citizenship. All of its programs are offered bilingually and reach more than 28 million Canadians annually.[5]

A registered national charitable organization, Historica Canada is the product of a 2009 merger of two existing groups – the Historica Foundation of Canada and The Dominion Institute.

Following the merger, the organization was known as The Historica-Dominion Institute until it changed to its present name in September 2013.[6] While Historica Canada's headquarters are in Toronto, it also operates the Ottawa-based Encounters with Canada youth program. At present, the chair of the organization is Toronto businessman Stephen Smith, while Anthony Wilson-Smith has been president and chief executive officer since September, 2012. Other members of the board of directors include some of Canada's most prominent citizens, such as businessman and philanthropist Charles Bronfman; former Chief Justice of Canada, the Honourable Beverley McLachlin; businessman and Chair Ermeritus of First Nations University of Canada, David Sharpe; and comedian and social commentator Rick Mercer.

Some of the organizations best-known programs include its collection of more than 90 Heritage Minutes – 60 second vignettes re-enacting important and remarkable incidents in Canada's history – and The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Canada regularly conducts public opinion polls and creates educational videos, podcasts and learning tools.

Indigenous Arts & Stories (2005 - 2019)

Indigenous Arts & Stories invited First Nations, Métis, and Inuit artists aged 11 to 29 to interpret an aspect of their culture and heritage through literary and visual arts. 2010-2011 was the first year the contest expanded to accept arts submissions, after six years as exclusively a writing competition.

A jury of accomplished Indigenous authors, artists, and community leaders selected the winning submissions, including Drew Hayden Taylor, Kent Monkman and Lee Maracle. Honorary Patrons of the program included Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami President Terry Audla, and Métis National Council President Clément Chartier.

The contest was born out of the book "Our Story," a joint project of the Dominion Institute and Doubleday Canada. Our Story is a short story compilation that brings together nine leading Indigenous authors including Thomas King, Tomson Highway and Tantoo Cardinal.[7] In its 15-year run, more than 5,500 youth have participated in the Indigenous Arts & Stories program. Winning entries can be viewed on the website gallery.

Citizenship Challenge

The Citizenship Challenge has tested the knowledge of more than 925,000 Canadians since 2010.[8] Participants study for and write a citizenship exam, based on the version taken by actual citizenship applicants.

The Canadian Encyclopedia

The Canadian Encyclopedia, a free bilingual online resource, offers the largest collection of authored, accurate, and continuously updated articles focused on Canada and Canadiana. To date, the Encyclopedia's collection contains more than 20,700 bilingual articles[9] by more than 5,000 authors including Margaret Atwood, David Suzuki, Natasha Henry, Tim Cook and Marc Laurendeau [fr]. The Encyclopedia is updated on a daily basis. In addition to updates, the Encyclopedia's staff of six full-time editors regularly write and commission new articles.

Encounters With Canada

Encounters with Canada is Canada's largest youth forum. The program brings more than 100 Canadian youth aged 14 to 17 to Ottawa each week during the school year to participate in themed weeks, to discover Canada and to explore various career pathways. More than 113,000 youth have participated in the program.

Heritage Minutes

The Heritage Minutes recreate events of great importance, accomplishment, tragedy and bravery in Canada's history. The Minutes were created by The CRB Foundation in 1991 and re-launched by Historica Canada in 2012. Nationally known – especially to a generation of young Canadians who grew up watching them – The Minutes themselves have come to fit their tag line, "A part of our heritage". Over the years, they have featured appearances by some of Canada's best-known actors, including Jared Keeso, Michael Shanks, Calum Worthy, Colm Feore, Dan Aykroyd, Jean l'Italien [fr], and Kate Nelligan. Voice-over end narration for the Heritage Minutes has been provided by such recognizable voices as Peter Mansbridge, k.d. Lang, Adrienne Clarkson, and Lloyd Robertson.

Some topics covered by the Heritage Minutes include Terry Fox; The Asahi Baseball team; Lucy Maud Montgomery; the Acadian Deportation; Invention of Basketball; Residential Schools; Viola Desmond; Jennie Trout; and Winnie the Pooh.

The Memory Project

The Memory Project invites veterans and Canadian Forces members to share their military experience with fellow Canadians, young and old. Through the speakers bureau, 1500 World War II, Korean War and Canadian Forces veterans and currently serving members visit local schools and community groups to share their stories of service and sacrifice. The Memory Project Digital Archive is an extensive online collection of the oral histories and personal memorabilia of the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces. The Archive provides more than 3,000 firsthand stories and 1,500 original artifacts (photos, letters and memorabilia) that chronicle Canada's military heritage.[10] Through the online archive and speakers bureau, The Memory Project has reached more than 3 million Canadians.

Passages Canada

Passages Canada was a national storytelling initiative that invited newcomers and established Canadians to share their personal experiences of identity, heritage, and immigration with groups of all ages. Now, the Passages Canada Digital Archive presents a portrait of the life experience of the members of the former Speakers' Bureau through multilingual interviews and original artifacts (photos, letters and memorabilia) that recount their personal journeys to Canada.

Learning resources

Historica Canada produces a number of learning tools for educators and students. Some examples include: Women in Canadian History; Residential Schools in Canada; Indigenous Perspectives Education Guide; Official Languages Act; and Black History in Canada Education Guide.

Historica Canada also provides some of its content to the public through iTunes University, where users can browse materials organized in course collections along themes such as Women in Canadian History and Asian-Canadian History.

Board of directors

Director of New Initiatives, The National Trust for Canada
Former President, Historica Canada
President, Shelter Canadian Properties Ltd.
Principal Emeritus and professor, Queen's University
International arbitrator, Cabinet Yves Fortier
Chairman of CAE Inc. and Chancellor of McMaster University
Host, The Rick Mercer Report
Chairman, The Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies; and former Co-Chairman of The Seagram Company Ltd.
M.P. Wellington-Halton Hills
Former Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia
O.C., LL.D., M.B.A., F.ICD.
President, Hutton-Belleville Inc.

See also


  1. ^ "Historica Canada". opencorporates.com. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  2. ^ "The Historica-Dominion Institute: Private Company Information". bloomberg.com. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  3. ^ "Historica-Dominion Institute The: Company Profile". bloomberg.com. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  4. ^ "The Dominion Institute: Private Company Information". bloomberg.com.
  5. ^ "About Historica Canada". Historica Canada. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  6. ^ "Historica-Dominion Institute renamed Historica Canada". Historica Canada. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  7. ^ "Aboriginal Arts & Stories". Aboriginal Arts & Stories. Historica Canada. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  8. ^ "Citizenship Challenge". Citizenship Challenge. Historica Canada. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  9. ^ "The Canadian Encyclopedia". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Canada. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  10. ^ The Memory Project. Retrieved 2007-08-10.