2018 Public History Award Nominees

This category recognizes outstanding work in English language films, exhibits, websites, mobile applications, and other public history projects.

The 2018 nominees are:

Morgan Ross, Old Toronto Series

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The Assassination of MLK Jr. and its Connection to Ossington Avenue

This short film from the Old Toronto Series documents the connection between the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and Toronto’s Ossington Avenue. The documentary analyzes James Earl Ray’s time spent in Toronto after the assassination and features two new original sources.  It is available to the public as part of the Old Toronto Videos series.

Laura Carlson

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Battle of the Pot Pies: A History of Department Store Dining

This episode of The Feast Podcast explores the history and impact of two of Toronto’s most important department store dining rooms: Simpson’s Arcadian Court and Eaton’s Georgian Room. It highlights landmark moments hosted at the venues, the experiences of dinner guests, and most importantly the claim of both dining rooms that they had the best chicken pot pie in Toronto.

Landscape Architects:
Claude Cormier et Associés

Lead Designer:
Claude Cormier

Project Manager:
Marc Hallé

Project Medium:
Public Park

Berczy Park

Initially converted from a parking lot to a public park 40 years ago, Berczy Park is now an eclectic meeting point for children, dog owners, and gatherers alike. The center of the park, a custom fountain with 27 life-sized canine sculptures, acts as the meeting point for the park’s use as a green space, a dog space, and public gathering place. The park was created to honour the architectural heritage of Toronto and revitalize the surrounding community. It was designed with all populations in mind and is fully accessible to the public.


Map Animator:
Daniel Rotzstain, Art Starts

Project Manager:
Julian Carvajal

Indigenous Consultants:
Lindsey Lickers & Renee Thomas

Traditional Knowledge Keeper:
Maria Montejo

Project Medium:
Collaborative Artwork

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This project is a 20-foot, collaborative, multi-faceted, arts-based map of Toronto.  The project restores and embraces Indigenous place names, while representing current neighborhoods through artistic expression.

Over 250 residents contributed to the project in collaboration with 14 artists, cartographers, and indigenous storytellers. The project was accessible to the public and on display throughout the city.


Manager of Archives: Gianna Babando, Toronto Public Library

Archivist: Annie Fan

Project Leader: Suk Yin Ng

Manager of Service Development: Mary Rae Shantz

Community Advisory Committee: Arlene Chan, Dora Nipp, Paul Yee, Valerie Mah

Project Medium:
Physical Archive

The Chinese Canadian Archive

Housed at the Toronto Reference Library, this archive documents the history of Chinese Canadians in the Greater Toronto Area from 1878 to the present through individual and organizational records, photos, diaries, memoirs, recordings, and videos, in print and digital format. Currently home to 120 linear feet of archival records with 102 digitized items, the materials are used to begin a conversation on an under researched gap in Canadian history, and act as a community building exercise.

Founder & CEO:
Chloe DoesburgProject Medium:
Mobile ApplicationProject Link:

Driftscape is a free mobile application where historical stories can be shared to inspire a greater understanding of the heritage spaces we inhabit in Toronto and the people we share them with. This is accomplished through individuals and organizations collaboratively sharing historical places of interest, events, and tours on the app. For purchase through the iTunes Store, Driftscape is making place based history in Toronto fully accessible to the public through collaborative multimedia storytelling.

Mackenzie House MuseumProject Medium:
Eaton’s Goes to War: Family, Memory and Meaning

This exhibit curated by and housed at the Mackenzie House Museum, tells the stories of the 3,327 Eaton’s Department Store employees who enlisted for military service during the First World War. Through a multi-platform research project, the exhibit curators conducted over 30 interviews with relatives of these employees, archival research, and uncovered new sources including personal stories, photographs, and family artifacts.

Robert Burley

ECW Press

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An Enduring Wilderness: Toronto’s Natural Parklands

This visual book stands at the crossroads of past and present by capturing Toronto’s relationship with the natural world through photography, fiction, history, and poetry.

It is a collection of photographs accompanied by writing from Toronto’s premier thinkers in natural heritage and it offers an opportunity to explore how we live with nature. It is a cornerstone of the first city-wide strategy to protect and celebrate Toronto’s ravines, coming at a crucial time as the city undergoes unprecedented growth and its natural spaces are rediscovered.

Project Coordinator:
Isorine Marc, JamiiProject Medium:
Collaborative Public ArtworkProject Link:

This project is a collaborative public artwork facilitated by Jamii, an organization focused on revitalizing the Esplanade community.

Engaging artists and residents of the neighbourhood to co-design 169 shoes that represented the community’s diversity, the project was inspired by three questions: Who am I? Where do I belong? How do I behave? Exhibited over a series of seven summer events, the making and display of the artwork was turned into a 45-minute documentary exploring the personal stories behind the shoes.


Daniel Tate

Project Medium:
Instagram Archive

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The Flyer Vault

This Instagram based archival project showcases over 1500 music flyers and ads that document key moments in Toronto’s live music history. The collection of flyers cover a wide range of time periods, venues, and musical genres.

The project provides new insights into fringe movements and genres as well as lost venues such as the Edison Hotel, the Casino, the Elliot Hotel, & the Colonial. It is publicly accessible through Instagram and is a unique project exemplifying the possibilities for historical documentation through social media.


Historica Canada

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Heritage Minutes: Kensington Market

The first ever animated Heritage Minute, this video showcases one of the most unique urban spaces in Toronto’s downtown core, Kensington Market. Inspired by Michael Goldist’s family history, the story begins in Chaskel Goldist’s poultry shop, capturing the newcomer-centered history of the market.

The video takes viewers through five generations of change, as the store transforms from Goldist’s 1930s Jewish Kosher Butcher, to a Portuguese fish market, to a Chinese grocer, to a Caribbean record and clothing store, to a Middle-Eastern food shop before ending with a bustling, modern scene.

Creator: Museums and Heritage Services, Economic Development and Culture, City of TorontoProject Medium:
Public Programming

This city-wide Canada 150 initiative was part of the City of Toronto’s TO Canada with Love program and was produced in partnership with the Province of Ontario and the Government of Canada.

MomenTO included a Pop-Up Museum and a series community partnerships that supported the creation of dozens of free installations, exhibits, and events at the Toronto History Museums and throughout the city.


Daniel Panneton and Gracia Dyer Jalea, the Toronto Ward Museum

Project Medium:
Educational Programming

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Not Just Numbers: Representation in the Canadian Census

This project was an innovative program held in museums across Canada that used a game format to help participants engage with primary sources.

Over the course of three rounds, the game challenged participants to interpret the lives of past Torontonians using only information provided in census and historical documents. When actual facts about the subject were revealed, participants were confronted with the biases and stereotyping that exist in historical records, and invited to reflect on their own interpretations.

Ed Conroy, Retrontario

Project Medium:
Video Documentary

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People City

This short documentary tells the story of the creation of the 1972 song “People City,” commissioned by Moses Znaimer as the theme song for his television network, and is an ode to Toronto’s multicultural fabric and character. The song was so well received that Mayor David Crombie thought that the song should become the official song of the City of Toronto. This documentary captures a seminal moment in modern Toronto’s cultural history, exploring Toronto’s social, cultural, and financial transformation in the early 1970s.


Elaine Gold, Director Canadian Language Museum

Jocelyn Kent

Christine Pennington

Katherine Wilson

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Read Between the Signs

This bilingual exhibit exploring Toronto’s changing linguistic heritage illustrates the city’s multilingual makeup from Confederation to the present.

Curators from the Canadian Language Museum combined archival and contemporary photographs of street-signage with explanatory panels and video material to explore themes of linguistic hierarchies and power relations. Designed as a touring exhibit, it has been on display at York University and Ryerson University.


Vincenzo Pietropaolo

Black Dog Publishing, London

Project Medium:
Visual Book

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Ritual: Good Friday in Toronto’s Italian Immigrant Community 1969-2015

This visual book documents the Good Friday procession that takes place in the streets of Toronto’s Little Italy. Attended by thousands of people, the procession is considered a sacred rite by participants.

This collection of photographs is a unique historical record in the life of the Italian community since 1969. It reflects the community’s transformation from a humble working class origin to a dynamic socio-cultural force in the city.


Eddie O’Keefe and Stephen McGrath for Massey Hall

Project Medium:
Documentary Videos

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Shine a Light on Massey Hall

Shine a Light On is a video series documenting the beginnings of the Massey Hall revitalization project. The first video details the uncovering of Massey Hall’s stained glass windows, most of which have not been seen for close to a century.

In conversation with the leading architectural conservators, the second video highlights the efforts to find the original paint samples. In the final video, the project’s lead architect talks about her role in preserving Massey Hall’s legacy


Alex Bozikovic

McClelland and Stewart Publishers

Project Medium:
Travel Book

Toronto Architecture

This book is a newly updated and expanded version of the original written by Patricia McHugh. It leads readers on 26 walking tours throughout the city, revealing the evolution of the place from a quiet Georgian town to a dynamic global city.

It includes over 300 photographs, 29 maps, a description of architectural styles, a glossary of architectural terms, and indexes of architects and buildings bringing readers through Toronto’s cityscape.