Originally posted at Activehistory.ca
For the past three-and-a-half years I have had the pleasure of working with Jean-Marie Leduc and Julie Léger on a book looking at the history of skates. Mr. Leduc is a renowned expert on skates with one of the biggest private collections in the world that has been displayed at museums and exhibitions across the country, including during the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. When the opportunity came up a few years ago to work on a book, it seemed to me an interesting idea that would make for a good read.
On November 10, Lace Up: A History of Skates in Canada was released. The book traces the development of skates from bone skates used by Indigenous peoples for thousands of years to the skates used by today’s world champions. Through Mr. Leduc’s collection, the book explores how skates and their technological innovations shaped how people got around on ice. At the same time, as skates continued to evolve, new winter sports were invented based on the improved technology. For instance, the development of stop picks on figure skates allowed for the speed, agility, and aerial components required in today’s competitions.
In this episode of the History Slam, I talk with Jean-Marie Leduc about Lace Up. We talk about the origins of his extensive skate collection, how he built the collection, and some of his favourite pairs. We also talk about the book, how we put it together, and what readers can expect. If you are in the Ottawa area, you are welcome to join us for the book launch on Tuesday December 5 between 5 and 7 at Alex Trebek Alumni Hall at the University of Ottawa.
Our newest episode of the History Slam was released at Activehistory.ca yesterday. In this episode I talk with Gordon Nelson about his book The Magnificent Nahanni: The Struggle to Protect a Wild Place. We talk about his geography background, the physical landscape in the park, and the process of establishing a national park. We also discuss Indigenous communities in the North, their involvement in the process, and the traditional ways in which the land has been used. We conclude by talking about Canadians’ affinity for natural landscapes and whether we do enough to protect those landscapes. You can find the full post here.
In the most recent episode of the History Slam, which was published on Wednesday, we looked at what happened after human remains were found during the construction of Ottawa’s new LRT system in 2014. In the episode I talk with City of Ottawa archivist Paul Henry about the Barrack Hill Cemetery, which used sit in what is now downtown, the discovery of human remains, and the process of re-interring the remains. We also chat about the effort to identify the individuals, funeral practices before the Victorian age, and how spatial meaning is altered with changes to the physical landscape. You can find the full post here.
Yesterday saw the release of our most recent episode of the History Slam Podcast over at Activehistory.ca. In this episode of the History Slam, I talk with two of the central figures behind the new History Channel series Hunting Nazi Treasure. First, I chat with Robert M. Edsel about The Monuments Men, the Monuments Men Foundation For the Preservation of Art, and the challenges of finding the art’s original home. I then talk with Series Producer Steve Gamester. We discuss the show’s investigative style, the production effort of shooting on location, and the difficulties in telling this story. The show debuts on Tuesday October 24 at 10 E/P. You can find the full post here and be sure to subscribe to the History Slam on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, or wherever you get your podcasts.
2017 is the 100th anniversary of Tom Thomson’s death. Earlier this year, I talked with Gregory Klages about Thomson’s death and the many theories that have surrounded it for the past century. But that’s not all that’s been going on to mark the event. Last Thursday, a new art exhibition opened at Toronto’s ArteMbassy entitled Shadow Red. For the past three years, artist Martha Johnson has put together a series of works that pay homage to Thomson’s life and legacy.
In today’s episode of the History Slam, I talk with Martha Johnson about the exhibit. We chat about her personal connection to Tom Thomson, his legacy in Canada’s art community, and her artistic style. We also talk about the exhibit, using blankets as a canvas, what visitors can expect, and how nature has influenced Canadian art. The exhibit runs through October 1, so if you’re in the GTA, it’s definitely worth the trip. You can find the full post here.
In Wednesday’s episode of the History Slam, which is a special bonus episode as part of Activehistory.ca’s taxation week, I talk Shirley Tillotson of Dalhousie University. We chat about her new book Give and Take: The Citizen-Taxpayer and the Rise of Canadian Democracy, Elsbeth Heaman’s new book Tax, Order, and Good Government: A New Political History of Canada, 1867-1917, and the role of taxes in Canadian life. We also talk about how taxation has been written about by historians, the merits of a flat tax, and how people feel about government spending. You can find the full post here.
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A special Tuesday edition of the History Slam podcast was posted at Activehistory.ca this morning. In this episode, podcast Hall of Famers Aaron Boyes and Madeleine Kloske join me as we walk through the new Canada Hall. We give our thoughts before we head into the exhibit, break down each of the sections as we walk through, and even play one of the new interactive games. We then sit down following the visit and give our thoughts on the exhibit as a whole, its strengths and weaknesses, and give our grades for the revamped Canada Hall. You can find the full post here.