Canadian Geographic Magazine Features Museum Run By Alumna

The January/February issue of Canadian Geographic Magazine features an article about the Chatham-Kent Black Historical Society (CKBHS). History alumna Sam Meredith is the Executive Director and Curator of the society. 

The Chatham-Kent Black Historical Society, a Non-Profit Organization, is dedicated to the discovery, research, and preservation of the black history found in the Municipality of Chatham-Kent and the city of Chatham.

Read the article below and find out more about CKBHS at


New Work by Alumni and Faculty in the 2018 Papers & Records

The 2018 issue of the Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society's journal Papers & Records features articles by alumni exploring aspects of Northwestern Ontario's history.

In recognition of the hundredth anniversary of the construction of the “Outlaw Bridge” over the Pigeon River in 1917, alumna and part-time faculty member Beverly Soloway explores how it enabled the “Scott Highway” to connect the Lakehead with Minnesota providing a link to American personal and business interests, opportunities for a growing automobile service industry, and new ventures in travel and tourism. 

Alumnus Richard Mastrangelo examines how newsletters like The Steep Rock Echo and Steep Rock Features can be used to illustrate relationships between manager and miner for most of SRIM’s four-decade long operation. He argues that, together, the papers frame questions which go beyond records of mineral production and consumption. How did various groups negotiate and express positions on socially sensitive topics? Did the newsletters support free worker expression or manager dictation? How was control maintained and destroyed by broader political, social, and economic realities?

Alumnus Mark Chochla investigates the efforts of Dr. Edward Oliver, of Fort William’s Medical Officer of Health, to build a professional department of health that worked systematically to save the lives of infants and children during the early twentieth century. As Chochla demonstrates, Oliver was fearless in advocating policies to modernize the city and to improve the health of residents and had the courage to persist with public health reforms even when many opposed him.

The issue also features an interview with former Métis Nation of Ontario Senator the late Bob McKay (1935-2018). One of his life-long passions was the region’s lighthouses; having worked as a light keeper and caretaker for lighthouses on the Great Lakes until 1979. In 2014, Bob was one of the founders of what has now become Canadian Lighthouses of Lake Superior.

Papers & Records is a peer-reviewed journal co-edited by Beth Boegh and Department Chair Michel S. Beaulieu. Submissions on any aspect of the history and heritage of Northwestern Ontario are welcome (email



New Film on First World War to Premiere November 4th at Community Auditorium

The Department of History is pleased to welcome faculty, staff and students to the premiere on 4 November of Where The Poppies Blow: The Lakehead at War, a new film by Dr. Ron Harpelle and Kelly Saxberg.

The docu-drama was produced with a focus on the Lakehead region’s participation of the First World War and as a commemoration of the end of the conflict in 1918. Where The Poppies Blow follows the story of the war through the experience of one soldier, highlighting the home front as well as events in Europe. It is intended as an educational film to inform people about the sacrifices that were made 100 years ago and about the many ways that people in our region participated in the conflict.

Funded by the City of Thunder Bay and the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund, the film was shot in Super 16 mm and is a showcase of local talent, with dozens of actors, extras and crew from Thunder Bay and region. The film contains rare archival footage and photos and makes use of many items from the Thunder Bay Military Museum and Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society.

Lakehead University alumni, faculty, and students played important roles in the production and post-production phases of the project. A French language version of the film will soon be available and both versions will be posted online with Dr. Harpelle’s other films. 

Where The Poppies Blow will screen as part of the City of Thunder Bay’s commemoration event at the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium on 4 November between 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm. The event is a family friendly event and free and open to the public.

New Article Proposes New Approach to Exploring Climate Change

A new article by Dr. Pallavi Das proposing a new approach to doing history, a people's history of climate change, appears in the most recent issue of the journal History Compass.

While social scientific studies have provided useful insights into the phenomenon of climate change, they, however, do not take a historical approach to the impacts of climate change, and people's perception of it.

Historians have studied climate and its impact on the whole society but have neglected the everyday experiences and perceptions of climate change within a society such as ordinary people versus the elite perceptions, men versus women's experiences of climate change. Moreover, historians of climate have largely dealt with natural climate change in the distant past, but not with climate change caused by human activities.

Since climate change that the world is witnessing in the past century is largely anthropogenic, historians therefore cannot neglect present‐day climate change and its impact on society. Furthermore, although climate change is a global environmental phenomenon, the poor and the marginalized social groups are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change more than others. Hence, climate change and the history of climate change needs to be understood from the perspective of these vulnerable groups in a society.

"People's history of Climate Change" proposes a new approach to doing history: people's history of climate change.

The article appears in History Compass 16, no. 10 (October 2018).

History Member Receives Contribution to Teaching Award

At the most recent meeting of Lakehead University's Senate, Dr. Steven Jobbitt was awarded a Lakehead University Contribution to Teaching Award.

The Contribution to Teaching Award is a student-nominated award that recognizes instructors who have demonstrated high levels of teaching performance at Lakehead University. 

Congratulations to Dr. Jobbitt for this recognition!

New Book Published on Thunder Bay and the First World War

A new book written by Lakehead University faculty members and alumni explores the role the region and its people played during the First World War and, for better and for worse, why and how they fought, how they addressed the problems the war created, where they differed from elsewhere in Canada, and what impacts the conflict had on their community and their lives.

Thunder Bay and the First World War, 1914- 1919 is co-authored by Michel S. Beaulieu, David K. Ratz, Thorold J. Tronrud, and Jenna L. Kirker and published by the Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society. It is a narrative history shaped, in large part, by what remains of the voices of those from the period—the letters and correspondence produced by soldiers, nurses, governments, organizations, and families. Their stories are augmented, particularly on the home front, by the remaining archival records. It is the story of a community at war.

As part of the City of Thunder Bay's commemoration this November of the hundredth anniversary of the armistice that ended the First World War, the book will be launched on Friday, November 2 at the O’Kelly Armoury (317 Park Avenue). It will begin at 7 pm and will also feature the Royal Canadian Air Force Band and historical displays.

Cover of Thunder Bay and the First World War

David Ratz Awarded PhD in History

The Department of History is pleased to announce that alumnus and faculty member David Ratz recently successfully defended his doctoral dissertation at Oulun yliopisto - University of Oulu.

Cover of The Canadian Image of Finland"The Canadian Image of Finland, 1919-1948: Canadian Government Perceptions and Foreign Policy" is the first study to to explore the perceptions of Finland and Finns held by Canadian government decision-makers and how it underscored the relations between the two countries. 

Congratulations Dr. David Ratz from all of us in the Department of History!

New Exhibit on Early Photography at the Lakehead

17 September - Thunder Bay

“Behind the Lens: Early Photography at the Lakehead” is a new exhibit as part of an ongoing partnership between the Department of History and the Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society to bring museum exhibits to the Thunder Bay Campus. 

Photographs provide a valuable window into the Lakehead’s early years, but less attention is paid to the photographers themselves. Learn more about Jennie Leach, Fryer’s Studio, J.F. Cooke, George Ryerson Evans, and Fred Creech.

To see the new display, go to the third floor of the Ryan Building. It is located in the main hallway directly across from room 3025.

Alumnus and Faculty Member Appointed by Minister of National Defence as Honorary Lieutenant Colonel

Photo by Cpl Miguel Moldez, Eagle’s Nest PA Cell. HLCol Michel Beaulieu, right, of the Lake Superior Scottish Regiment has a chat with 38 Brigade Group Public Affairs Officer Lieutenant Stacie Nelles and 38 Canadian Brigade Group commander Col Geoff Abthorpe while watching EAGLE’S NEST 2018 Indigenous youth camp participants play soccer in Fort Williams First Nation on Aug 8.

Congratulations to Dr. Michel Beaulieu, Chair of Lakehead's Department of History and President of the University's Alumni Association.

The Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Harjit Sajjan, has appointed Dr. Beaulieu as the Honorary Lieutenant Colonel of the Lake Superior Scottish Regiment.

Honorary Colonels are vital to fostering esprit de corps within their communities. Through their established relationships and reputations, they build and develop community support by enhancing the public profile of the Army. Honorary Colonels are seen to be guardians of Army traditions and history, promoting regimental identity and ethos, and supporting commanders in various ways.

Beaulieu has a long been a supporter of the Canadian Armed Forces, playing an active role in a number of initiatives focused on historical and contemporary issues.

These have ranged from commemorative projects, to the exploration of educational and employment opportunities for reservists. Under his leadership as Chair, the Department of History was honoured by the Canadian Forces Liaison Council (CFLC) in 2015 with its Award of Excellence for Best Practices in Employer Support: Educational Institution (Manitoba).

Department of History and RESRG sponsoring Vox Popular Media Arts Festival

In support of our research mandate and interests, the Department of History and the Resources, Economy and Society Research Group (RESRG) are proud to be a sponsor of 17 films with historical and/or Indigenous themes at this year’s Vox Popular Media Arts Festival.

The festival takes place at Trinity United Church Hall, 310 Park Ave. From September 13 to 17. The films are from across Canada and around the world. A complete list of films is available online at

The films range in style from animation, drama to documentary, and there is something for everyone.

Festival passes and day passes are available, but students, seniors and the unemployed are allowed to “pay what you can” for individual screenings. Consult the festival website for descriptions of the films, screening times and other information related to the festival.