I’ll be back in a classroom again after a hiatus, working as a tutorial leader for a first-year pre-Confederation history course at the University of Saskatchewan. You may wonder what local and community history has to do with Canadian history prior to 1867 — especially out in western Canada! But I love to remind students that Cumberland House was founded long before York (which, of course, eventually became the thriving metropolis of Toronto…). Canada was in no way founded from east to west, although the formal political system may sometimes make it seem as if that is true.
It is also intriguing to watch students bring their own passions and interests to a history course. Often, their local and family history and identity provide the ‘signposts’ through which they view the past. I, for example, have a soft spot for Orangeville, Ontario, though I’ve never been there. My great, great, great grandparents migrated there from Scotland and Ireland in about 1830.
Here’s to a great semester, and I wish all my colleagues (and students) an exceptional year.