In 1971, Canada became the first country in the world to adopt an official multiculturalism policy. It was meant to preserve cultural freedoms and recognize the contributions of diverse groups to Canadian society. Today it’s a defining feature of the Canadian identity. But for much of our history, that wasn’t the case. We explore the reasons why in this five-part series, A Place to Belong: A History of Multiculturalism in Canada, produced by Historica Canada and made possible in part by the Government of Canada.
A Place to Belong is part of a larger education campaign created by Historica Canada and made possible in part by the Government of Canada. Along with the podcast series, Historica Canada also offers a video series and an education guide about the history of multiculturalism in Canada. Visit historicacanada.ca for more.
In this episode, we asked: What does the multiculturalism policy look like in practice? To find out the answer, Jim Torczyner, a professor of social work at McGill University, walks us through Montreal’s most diverse neighbourhood, Côte-des-Neiges, and we explore what works — and what needs work.
In the late 1960s, Hogan’s Alley was the only area in Vancouver with a largely Black population, mainly because of the housing discrimination pervasive in the city.
In this episode, Randy and Bertha Clark share their memories of a tightknit community brought to the ground by city planning, and explain how historic Black communities are still fighting to be remembered.
CONTENT WARNING: This episode contains reference to specific instances of anti-Black racism and violence.
Mayor of Toronto’s Chinatown
Toronto’s Chinatown – one of the largest in North America – is filled with hustle and bustle. Today, the community is larger, more diverse, and more embedded in Canadian society than ever. But, in the late 1960s, the City of Toronto nearly wiped its Chinatown from the map.
In this episode, Arlene Chan helps us explore the history of the Chinese people in Canada, and one Chinese Canadian woman’s determination to save Toronto’s Chinatown.
Battle of the Hatpins
On a cold January day in 1916, dozens of francophone parents fought off police who were trying to prevent French-language instruction at the Guigues School in Ottawa. In the infamous Battle of the Hatpins, mothers brandished rolling pins, cast-iron pans and hatpins and refused to allow police on the grounds.
In this episode, executive director of the Alliance des femmes de la francophonie canadienne, Soukaina Boutiyeb, helps us explore the centuries-long fight for francophone rights in Ontario – and the historic battle that marked it.
How We Got Here
Canada as we know it today has been shaped by policies that encourage immigration and welcome people from all corners of the globe. But the journey to a multicultural Canada hasn’t been a straight path.
In this episode, Guy Freedman, Métis from Flin Flon and president of the First Peoples Group, and historian Dr. Jan Raska from the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 help us understand how we got to where we are today.
A Place to Belong: A History of Multiculturalism in Canada
Coming May 26, 2021: A podcast series about the history of multiculturalism in Canada. A Place to Belong: A History of Multiculturalism in Canada is a five-part podcast series that aims to commemorate the people who make up Canada as we know it today.