Nature’s Past Episode 50: Canadian Energy History   Recently updated !

    Episode 50: Canadian Energy History [54:06] Download Audio According to a study by Richard Unger and John Thistle, Canadians consumed 430 petajoules of energy in 1867. Combining energy from animal labour, food, firewood, wind, water, coal, crude oil, natural gas and electricity, by 2004 Canadians reached a historic peak of energy consumption at 11,526 […]



History and Computing Workshop: Online Teaching

On November 12, 2015, we held a joint “History and Computing”/teaching workshop in the Department of History at York University. We held a round-table discussion with instructors who have previously taught online courses in history at York and at other universities. The discussion covered a wide range of issues from the pedagogical to the technical. […]

A Brief History of Canadians Who Don’t Vote

Following Monday night’s election results, Canada may have marked a shift in the downward trend of voter turnout over the past twenty-seven years. According to early figures from Elections Canada, 68.5% of eligible voters (17,546,697 people) cast ballots. This is up considerably from the historic low turnout of 58.8% in the 2008 federal election and […]

Voter Turnout 1867-2015

Quebec wildlife

Nature’s Past Episode 49: Wildlife Conservation in Quebec

Episode 49: Wildlife Conservation in Quebec [40:17] Download Audio There is a lot of good historical writing on wildlife conservation in Canada. Historians, including Janet Foster, George Colpitts, John Sandlos, Tina Loo, and others have provided excellent and important studies of the topic. But our understanding of wildlife conservation policy history has, until now, missed […]

The Biggest Oil Pipeline Spills in Canadian History

In March 1950, four Alberta “pipeline walkers” spoke with a reporter from Canadian Press about their tireless work. Each worker walked twelve to fifteen miles per day, checking on pipeline facilities in the Edmonton district and looking for leaks, a consistent problem for Alberta’s booming oil industry in the mid-twentieth century. A day’s work was […]

William H. Willis, Governor of Vermont State and Hon. C.D. Howe, Minister of Munitions and Supply at official ceremony for opening of Portland-Montreal Pipeline, 1941. Source: Library and Archives Canada, 3195990.

Trans Mountain Burnaby Tank Farm. Source: By Derek K. Miller on Flickr

Environmental History and the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Proposal

The National Energy Board is currently considering a proposal to triple the capacity of the Trans Mountain Pipeline to 890,000 barrels per day (bpd). On Wednesday, May 27, 2015, the City of Vancouver published a series of expert reports on the pipeline expansion proposal and the Mayor, Gregor Robertson, announced that the evidence in these […]

History and Computing Workshop: Software Solutions for Academic Researchers

Last fall, we held a workshop in the Department of History at York about data management for historical research. Dr. Daniel Heidt gave a presentation titled, “Data Overload? Software Solutions for Academic Researchers.” In that presentation, Dr. Heidt reviewed many of the challenges of managing digitized archival sources and he demonstrated a number of different […]


Burrard Inlet, Beaches, and Oil Spills: A Historical Perspective

Last week, British Columbians once again witnessed the effects of oil on Burrard Inlet. Local authorities cautioned residents to avoid the water along the shores in Vancouver and West Vancouver after a large slick of bunker fuel oil appeared on the surface of Burrard Inlet. Around 5pm Wednesday, April 8, 2015, a boater notified Port Metro Vancouver that an oil […]

Map of oil spill on beaches of Cormorant Island, 1973. Source: D.R. Green, C. Bawden, W.J. Cretney, and C.S. Wong, The Alert Bay Oil Spill: A One-Year Study of the Recovery of a Contaminated Bay (Victoria: Environment Canada, 1974)


Book Review: Ingram’s Wildlife, Conservation, and Conflict in Quebec, 1840-1914

I just published a review of Darcy Ingram’s book, Wildlife, Conservation, and Conflict in Quebec, 1840-1914. The review appears in H-Net Reviews here. You can download a PDF version of the review here.   Conservation in a Distinct Society Wildlife conservation in Quebec was distinct from the rest of Canada not because of the province’s French Canadian […]