Lakehead Orillia's next In Conversation lecture will cover People’s Knowledge versus Scientists’ Knowledge: Perceptions of Climate Change in the Western Himalaya

At the next instalment of the In Conservation Speaker Series at the Orillia Public Library, the Department of History's Dr. Pallavi Das will explore how climate change is perceived and experienced by ordinary people, such as apple farmers, and compares it to the experiences of the scientists in Western Himalayas, India.

Dr. Das' lecture "People’s Knowledge versus Scientists’ Knowledge: Perceptions of Climate Change in the Western Himalaya" will take place on 17 April at 6:15 pm at the Orillia Public Library (36 Mississauga Street West). This session is free and open to the public. Register by email to or by phone at 705-325-2338.

Faculty Member Interviewed on Radio-Canada's "Le matin du Nord"

L'hiver se fait long cette année, mais c'est une bonne nouvelle pour les fondeurs du Nord.

Dans le nord de l’Ontario, les amateurs de ski de fond profitent de la neige printanière pour parcourir encore les sentiers qu’ils affectionnent. C’est le cas, notamment dans la région de Thunder Bay où les pistes de ski de fond sont toujours bien entretenues.

Nicolas Lépine est professeur à l’université Lakehead qui s’est installé dans la région de Supérieur Nord pour le travail, mais aussi pour la nature. Randonneur à ses heures, il y a découvert une culture du ski de fond très riche grâce notamment à la nature de la région propice à ce sport.

Listen to the full interview Nicolas Lépine recently gave about skiing to Radio-Canada's program "Le matin du Nord." -

Lakehead Thunder Bay's next In Conversation lecture will cover food on the home front in the First World War

On Saturday, March 17 at 2 pm, Beverly Soloway from Lakehead’s History department will give a talk at the Brodie Library called Kitchen Soldiers: Feeding the Home Front in WWI.

During the First World War, the Lakehead – and all of Canada – undertook a plan of food control to provide for overseas soldiers and allies. This talk looks at how food regulations, thriftiness, and substitutions impacted Lakehead homes including a discussion on food, family meals, and suggested recipes.

Film Receives Multiple Awards at the Equinox Women's Film Festival

The most recent film by faculty members Kelly Saxberg and Ronald Harpelle, A Long Walk Home: The Incredible Journal of Shelia Burnford, has been awarded the Best Overall Film and Best Documentary Film at the Equinox Women's Film Festival. 

For decades, The Incredible Journey has been a family classic with numerous generations embracing the story of two dogs and a cat lost in the wilderness as they attempted to find their way home. A successful Walt Disney movie (and subsequent remakes) have kept the story in people’s hearts. Less is known about the woman who authored the original book: Sheila Burnford. Born in Scotland, she was a woman who embraced adventure and found herself in the middle of history during Europe’s most volatile period. After the war, in her new home in Northwestern Ontario, she once again set off in search of adventure. Everything she saw, everything she experienced, would eventually be used in her writings.

Narrated by Sheila’s daughter, Jonquil Burnford Covello and using Sheila’s own words (published works and personal correspondence), family photos and home movies, this film explores the life of an incredible woman who loved adventure, nature and all animals. And in particular her love for a white bullterrier who was with her through the Blitz, life, death and all major family events. Her desire to memorialize him would lead to her greatest triumph.

Watch the trailer here:

Public Workshop Explores "The Impact of Development: Single Industry Communities and Capital Mobility"

Over the past few decades, many Northern communities have experienced little sustained economic growth and now find themselves at a crossroads where the uncertain future of their extractive resource-based economies is combining with changes in global markets and undermining their social and economic prosperity. The recent global economic turmoil has exacerbated this trend by tying the fiscal hands of government, accelerating the decline in business investments, increasing unemployment dramatically and by stripping away markets and opportunities elsewhere. 

Last week the faculty, students, and the public participated a two-day conference/workshop exploring these issues and the challenges of economic development in single-industry communities. To watch videos from the conference, click here.

The full program can be found by clicking here.

The Impact of Development workshop was made possible through the support of the Resources, Economy, and Society Research Group (RESRG) at Lakehead University, ReSDA: Resources and Sustainable Development in the Arctic, Lakehead University Department of History, Canadian International Council – Thunder Bay Branch, Lakehead University Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Special thanks as well to the Rev. Dr. Randy Boyd and Trinity United Church for hosting the event. 

History Department Helps Commemorate First World War With New Website

The Department of History has been part of an award-winning community partnership to commemorate the centennial of the First World War from 2014 to 2018.

Alumni, faculty, and students in the Specialization in Public History and Community Placement have been involved, working side-by-side with the individuals and institutions that comprise our incredible heritage and history community.

Led by the Thunder Bay Public Library, project partners have included the City of Thunder Bay Archives, City of Thunder Bay Heritage Advisory Committee, the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, the Thunder Bay Military Museum, and the Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society.

With hundreds of photographs, records, and stories the new site is a dynamic online exhibit depicting life in Thunder Bay during the war.

As recognized through awards from the Ontario Historical Society and the City of Thunder Bay, the project is an invaluable resource for teachers, used in the delivery of Canadian history in both elementary and secondary schools and in university programming.

The online exhibit can be found here. 

World War One Thunder Bay Centennial Project Logo

New Book Edited by History Faculty and Alumni

The Department of History is pleased to announce the release of Hard Work Conquers All: Building the Finnish Community in Canada, a new collection edited by Michel S. Beaulieu, David K. Ratz, and Ronald N. Harpelle.

Published by UBC Press, insightful essays in Hard Work Conquers All explore the nuanced cultural identities of Finnish Canadians, their continued ties to Finland, intergenerational cultural transfer, and the community’s connections with socialism and labour movements.

It is a fresh interpretation of the successive waves of Finnish immigration and their influence on Canadian politics and society. Contributors include four alumni and two recent Lakehead University Chairs in Finnish Studies.

For more information, check out

Grant for Film Exploring Métis Involvement in First World War

The Department of History is pleased to announce that Dr. Ronald Harpelle has been awarded a $38,000 Avance medias grant from the Conseil des arts de l'Ontario for a documentary film entitled Le tireur d’élite, about a sniper who claimed he was the nephew of Louis Riel. 

The year 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. One of the fascinating stories from the conflict is that of Patrick Riel, a sniper who claimed to be the nephew of Louis Riel and who was member of the Winnipeg Rifles, the same battalion that fought the Métis in 1885 North-West Rebellion.

Patrick was working as a lumberjack at Shabaqua when the war broke out in Europe. He left Port Arthur in October 1914 and became one of Canada’s most celebrated snipers. He was killed in action in January 1916. 

Dr. Harpelle has produced and directed several award-winning historical documentaries and this is recognized by Avance medias program, which is for mid-career Francophone artists.

Alumnus Recognized with inaugural NOVA Shift Disturber Award

Alumnus Sean Murray has been awarded the inaugural Northwestern Ontario Visionary (NOVA) Shift Disturber Award and recognized as one of Northwestern Ontario's Top 20 Under 40.

Murray NOVA Award

Awarded by SHIFT: Thunder Bay's Young Professionals Network, Sean has been recognized as a game changer; disrupter; someone who is unafraid to challenge the norm... a young professional who is is making waves by doing things differently.

Sean received his award at the 4th Bi-Annual Gala that celebrates the top 20 under 40. Over the past eight years, the awards have recognized over 200 nominees with 60 award winning young professionals from across Northwestern Ontario spanning from Kenora all the way to Geraldton.

Congratulations Sean!

Click here for more the NOVAs.

Alumnus and Faculty Member Becomes President of the Champlain Society

Chair and Associate Professor of History Michel S. Beaulieu has become the President of The Champlain Society.  Since 1905, the Society has been the foremost publisher of the documentary history of the Canada. Through its books and digital collection, its blog and its podcasts, it makes the adventures, explorations, discoveries, and opinions that have shaped the country available to all who have an interest in its past. Being named the Society's president is a significant recognition of Beaulieu's standing within the field of Canadian history as he joins the ranks of the country's foremost historians who have previously held the position. 

Click here to learn more about The Champlain Society.

Champlain Society Crest