Value of the project to Canadian History

Additional notes or comments that help to understand the nature and value of the project in Canadian history

The Historical Thinking Missions project (HTMP) has significant value and adaptability to classrooms across the country. It aligns directly with the new expectations in the revised Ontario Curriculum for Canadian and World Studies (2013); however it can be easily adapted to meet provincial curricula which emphasize the development of historical thinking in both English and in French. The project encourages teachers and students to learn about known and lesser-known historic spaces in their own communities. For example, using primary source documents students can identify historical perspectives of Africville residents in Nova Scotia post the Halifax Explosion (1917). In Vancouver, students can identify patterns of continuity and change in analyzing how the indigenous peoples on the Kitsilano Reserve (1913) are displaced by the development of municipal infrastructure. HTMP engages students of all grades and learning abilities in doing authentic research through scaffolded fieldwork tasks. In investigating historical and contemporary social justice and equity issues, students learn to respond as informed citizens locally, nationally and globally. In addition, HTMP lends itself to cross-curricular teaching and learning opportunities between history, arts, language, social studies/sciences, and mathematics, science and technology courses.

This project provides opportunities for students to partner with historians, archivists, librarians, and heritage workers who interpret and make decisions regarding the commemoration of historic spaces. I urge my students to participate in advocating for future recognition of the people and places in the Ward by sharing their projects with the City of Toronto Archives, Heritage Toronto, local city councillors and Jane’s Walk.

The Historical Thinking Missions project is very current as Coach House Press will launch the book, The Ward: The Life and Loss of Toronto’s First Immigrant Neighbourhood in July 2015.  I believe that the important historical work that my students have created has a place in this research and these conversations.


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