Projects funded through Western’s Canada 150 Faculty/Staff Fund

1. Department of History's Centennial Celebrations

In 2017, Western's Department of History will mark a century of research, teaching and service to the community while its MA Public History Program will celebrate 30 years of putting history to work in the world. Among the numerous events planned for the year is the staging of both online and physical exhibits, a written history of the history department, a formal gala evening, and an October symposium on the theme of commemoration, with a particular emphasis on how Canadian history has been taught and understood over the past 150 years since Confederation. Contact:

2. Raising our expectations and reconciling our history: Charting a new curriculum standpoint in Canada

Discussions about curriculum have long been at the heart of all disciplines. However, more recent events have urged curriculum scholars to correct inaccuracies in the way history has been represented in our curriculum, to collectively plan for a future that includes all Canadians. Despite years of reform efforts in schools, broader socio-political tensions have not been addressed. Why? Curriculum takes “particular social forms and embodies certain interests which are themselves the outcomes of continuous struggles within and among dominant and subordinate groups”. In Canada, we have seen this tension exemplified in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's Call to Action (2015). Ministers of Education have been called on to maintain an annual commitment to Aboriginal education issues, to include previously ignored curriculum related to residential schools and Aboriginal history, and create age appropriate resources. Educational historian Rebecca Coulter, Indigenous scholar Erica Neeganagwedgin and Kathy Hibbert, Director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Research in Curriculum as a Social Practice, will “re-view” historical ‘turns' in an effort to begin the work of reconciling and rewriting our curricular history. Contact:

3. A Solar Eclipse to Celebrate Canada's 150th

A much anticipated event during Canada's sesquicentennial year will be the solar eclipse on Monday, August 21, 2017 that will have millions of Canadians across the country look at the Sun to experience a partial eclipse. In London, Ontario, up to 80% of the Sun will be covered by the Moon between noon and 2:50 p.m. This will be the best opportunity for Western and the London community to experience a solar eclipse until 2024. We will use this rare event and its expected large turnout to bring Canada's rich astronomical heritage to the public at the on-campus 1940s Hume Cronyn Memorial Observatory, the hub for astronomy outreach in London reaching more than 5,000 people annually. At the same time, we want to ensure a safe, exciting and educational eclipse experience for young and old. At the Observatory, we will produce an exhibit that highlights contributions to astronomy by Canadian institutes, observatories and astronomers; the history of solar eclipses in Canada since Confederation; the story of the total solar eclipse in London in 1924; how and where to see the 2017 eclipse safely; and finally some anticipation of the 2024 eclipse. We will add a period room to our existing historic displays at the Observatory, staged to Canada Day, 1967. All displays will be accessible to the public during our weekly public nights May to August. On the day of the eclipse, August 21, 2017, astronomers will provide several telescopes, other instruments and eclipse glasses to the public for safe and enjoyable viewing. Contact:

4. Science Through the Lens of Indigenous Sky Lore

The night sky inspires people of all ages across many different cultures in the present day and throughout the ages, and becoming familiar with the night sky can serve a variety of purposes such as timekeeping, navigation and storytelling. This project will explore past and present local Indigenous sky lore, drawing on the expertise of First Nations' community members with the support of Western's Indigenous Services and faculty members from the Departments of History and Physics and Astronomy. A combination of live and pre-recorded presentations will provide in-depth knowledge and context of the First Nations traditional stories relating to the night sky, illustrated with astronomical software and by Six Nations' artwork, and narrated jointly by a live astronomer and pre-recorded excerpts (in English and First Nations' languages) of the stories from members of the First Nations communities. These presentations will be adapted for different audiences: university students, current and prospective; school children, especially from Six Nations schools, and; the general public. This collaboration will interweave local culture, history, the natural environment and modern-day astronomy, and is directly in line with the aims of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Western's Indigenous Strategic Plan, and Western's commitment to acknowledging the history of and respect for the traditional territory in which the university operates. Contact:

5. Sir John A Macdonald and Elementary Mathematics

Sir John A. Macdonald's mathematics school notebook, handwritten by him in 1827 when he was 12 years of age, is held by Library and Archives Canada. The notebook is a type of cyphering book prevalent in eighteenth and nineteenth century education. These types of books are usually written neatly in a fine hand and contain mostly arithmetical problems that progress in a well-defined way. Macdonald's book is no exception. We plan to analyze the contents of Macdonald's notebook to find the origins of the problems in it and to assess their historical context. Once this is done we will make the notebook accessible to primary and secondary school students by creating a website using the software “Scratch” that can produce interactive stories, animations, and games. The website will allow students to look at the problems Sir John A. faced as a schoolboy, to examine the historical background to these problems and to explore and solve them today using modern technology. Contact:

6. Celebrating 150 Years of Canada in the World: A Student Art Competition

Western International invites proposals from current Western students for a work of public art on the theme of 150 Years of Canada in the World. The selected work of art will be installed for two years on the vertical stone wall on the east side of the International and Graduate Affairs Atrium. The proposed work could take the form of a banner, wall hanging, and or textile (or fabric collage), and may include traditional craft (for example, quilting, weaving), contemporary art practices (for example, photography, collage), or a combination of both. The proposed work must be environmentally sustainable, contain no hazardous materials, and be recyclable. Projects that incorporate non-hazardous recycled materials into the proposed work of art are encouraged. The work of art must meet Western's health and safety policies for public spaces. More Information

Projects funded through Western’s Canada 150 Student Fund

1. I, Canada: by Yusuf Ahmed and Rayyan Kamal

I, Canada is a series of photos of Western students and London locals that will be made into a book. The series focuses on people of different backgrounds and what Canada means to different people through their experiences. They hope to dive into a variety of different topics such as immigration, poverty, student living and national pride. I, Canada is also documenting their progress of speaking to Western students and London residents through a Facebook page and through awareness campaigns around campus.

2. Hello Canada: by Rebecca Bugg

Hello Canada is a short documentary about the effects of the 1967 Exhibition in Quebec on Canadian culture. Composed of images from Expo '67, the film compares the themes of Expo to today. By focusing on how Canada has grown, it can be seen that the qualities that Canadian’s pride themselves in were present 50 years ago and continue to persist today. In a way, the Canada we live in is like the Expo itself; everywhere we go we are able to explore other cultures because of the mosaic-structure of Canadian culture. Through speaking to modern Canadians and finding out what they consider essential to being Canadian, the tradition of diversity and acceptance of different cultures that was the heart of Expo seems to still be very much alive. Just as Expo allowed the world to says "hello" to Canada all those years ago, Canada still does not hesitate to say "hello" back.

Other Western events and initiatives tied to Canada's 150th include:

Warrior Womyn: Reclaiming Our Identity (January 26 to March 28, 2017)


Presenting the creative works of the participants of the +Positive Voice program at Nokee Kwe, Warrior Womyn puts storytelling in the hands of urban Aboriginal womyn from the London area through digital media, photography, and written narratives. The exhibit challenges the ownership of the portrayal of Aboriginal womyn in Canada and suggests an alternative narrative of strength, resilience, and accomplishment. Opening Reception: January 26, 6 to 8 p.m., Museum of Ontario Archaeology, 1600 Attawandaron Road, London, ON.

Family Ties: Ontario Turns 150

Canada 150 family tiesA special Canada 150 travelling exhibit on loan from the Archives of Ontario is now being hosted by Western Libraries.  Titled Family Ties: Ontario Turns 150 the exhibit explores the Era of Confederation through the stories of the Brown family of Toronto, the McCurdys of Amherstburg, the Wolvertons of Oxford County, and the families of the Shingwauk from the Sault Ste. Marie area.  Using reproductions of images and textual records from the Archives of Ontario, as well as other institutions across the province, the exhibit shows perspectives on life in Ontario during the late 19th century, including how the lives of these representative families intersected with larger historical forces of the period.

This travelling exhibit is a condensed version of the full Family Ties exhibit that is currently mounted at the Archives of Ontario. It will be on display

  • in the Allyn and Betty Taylor Library in the Natural Sciences Building from February 7th to the 23rd
  • in the C.B. “Bud” Johnston Library in the Richard Ivey School of Business Building from February 24th to March 9th
  • in The D.B. Weldon Library from March 10th to 30th.
For more information, please contact University Archivist Robin Keirstead.

1967 in Pictures: Images from Western Archives' London Free Press Collection

A signature Canada 150 project for Western Libraries and Western Archives is the digitization and online posting of approximately 7000 photographic images created by staff photographers of the London Free Press during Canada's Centennial Year in 1967. These images were selected from the London Free Press Collection of Photographic Negatives, which is housed in Western University's Archives and Research Collections Centre. In its entirety this collection comprises approximately 1.6 million images spanning the period from 1936 to 1992. Explore the photos now!

McIntosh Gallery celebrates 75th anniversary

McIntosh Gallery

The oldest university art gallery in Ontario, second oldest in Canada, marks its 75th year of service in 2017 with several exhibitions, a Distinguished Speaker, a book, and more. For more information, please contact Mitra Shreeram, McIntosh Gallery Communications and Outreach Coordinator, at

85th Anniversary of the Western University French Immersion School

A celebration of the 85th Anniversary of the Western University French Immersion School will take place in Trois-Pistoles, Quebec July 27-28, 2017. The celebration will feature a number of events, including concerts, a reception, dinner, walking tour and more.

Project and performance

Canadian composer Bill Thomas has been commissioned to write a piece for concert band inspired by Inuit culture. This commission will be a level four to five piece approximately six minutes in length. This length and level requirement will make the work accessible to many of the high school, community, and university bands across North America and around the world. Mr. Thomas, published by Eighth Note Publications, a proud Canadian company, has recently been gaining more notoriety across North America for his compositions. Because of his extensive career teaching band, Mr. Thomas has a thorough understanding of the instruments and what works for the medium. He will look towards the Inuit culture and music to find inspiration for this composition. The Western University Wind Ensemble will perform the premiere of Bill Thomas’s new piece in a concert celebrating Canadian wind band composers/arrangers that will take place at the Don Wright Faculty of Music in the fall of 2017 (exact date TBC).

The Department of Visual Arts celebrates its 50th Anniversary

Western's Department of Visual Arts will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017. A number of events are planned to mark the occasion including: an exhibition of alumni artwork, an exhibition of past Western faculty member artwork co-curated with McIntosh Gallery, a speakers’ series, and a digital publication highlighting past faculty, staff, and students who have contributed to the vibrancy of the Department.

Workshops on Indigenous Music-Making

The diversity of music‐making in Indigenous communities, Don Wright Faculty of Music: Students and members of the public are welcome to attend a series of workshops on Indigenous Music-Making, led by elders from the local aboriginal communities. The First Peoples of North America have a rich array of musics whose wider exposure can help complicate the stereotypes of indigenous people and strengthen their place as part of Canada’s musical heritage. To demonstrate that the musics of indigenous peoples are culturally diverse and dynamic to non-indigenous Canadians, the workshops would cover multiple types of music, including traditional and non-traditional genres.

Series 1: Guest Presentation and Two Song-Making Workshops by David Hodges of N’we Jinan
Workshop 2: Guest Presentation by Dan and/or Mary-Lou Smoke on Gender and Ceremonial Music
Workshop 3: Five- or Six-Hour Drum-Making Workshop and a Two-Three Hour Workshop on a Social or Music-Related Ceremony by Erik Mandawe

Western's Canada 150 Time Capsule

In honour and celebration of Canada’s sesquicentennial, Western is planning a Canada 150 time capsule project. The capsule, which will be designed by Western Engineering students, will be housed in the D.B. Weldon Library and opened in 50 years. The vision is for as many faculty, staff, students, alumni and wider community members to participate as possible by sharing their thoughts on notecards about Western and Canada, what the future holds, where they think we’re headed, a snapshot into daily life here, and what it means to be a Canadian in 2017. More information

Western Research Heritage Plaques

To honour Canada 150, Research Western will begin creating a series of digitally linked heritage plaques that celebrate a history of research excellence across campus. Two bronze plaques will be cast annually: one from a STEM discipline and one from a social sciences, arts and humanities-based discipline. Each will be affixed to a relevant building on campus and include a QR code that links to additional media online that ties the work to current research efforts in the area at Western. More information

One Book One London reading program

Western Libraries and the Faculty of Information and Media Studies are community ambassadors for London Public Library’s One Book One London reading program. One Book initiatives encourage people throughout a city to come together by reading, discussing and participating in events related to a common book. More information.

Canada 150 Scholarships

In recognition of the 150th anniversary of Confederation, this scholarship will be awarded to indigenous students who are registered in at least 2.0 courses at the constituent university and have financial need, with a preference for sole-support parents. The recipients will be selected by Indigenous Services. $30,000 will be awarded in 2017: $15,000 (five at $3,000 each) in January and $15,000 (five at $3,000 each) in September. For more information, please contact Valerie Sarkany.

Whose History Is it Anyway? (December 7th, 2017)

Whose History Is it Anyway? 

Canada’s Sesquicentennial has been the occasion to celebrate Canada’s history.

This anniversary is also an ideal moment for critical reflection about the writing and teaching of Canada’s history, and interrogating the assumptions, norms, and values that have shaped narratives presumed to be inclusive but which have privileged some groups while dispossessing and marginalizing others. Histories of gender, class, race, ethnicity, immigration, and First Nations highlight this exclusion while exploring questions of agency and representation.

This day-long workshop includes the Talman lecture, panel presentations, and facilitated small group discussions, throughout which we will explore the theme of inclusion-exclusion in the teaching and writing of Canadian history.

Contact: Francine McKenzie.

1967: Canada Welcomes the World

More Information

1967: Canada Welcomes the World is a documentary project focused on the national pavilions of the sixty participating countries from Montreal's 1967 World Exhibition [Expo 67]. Every pavilion is accessible through photos, footage, architectural drawings and promotional materials. The records are of exceptional quality and hundreds of unpublished images have been digitized. There are two exhibitions: 1967: With Glowing Hearts, at the Oakville Museum June 24, 2017 and Relive Expo, September 9 – December 22, 2017 at the Elgin County Museum. 

This project is led by Constanza Burucúa professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Western.