Historica Canada is the largest independent organization devoted to enhancing awareness of Canadian history and citizenship. Its programs, which include The Canadian Encyclopedia, are offered bilingually and reach more than eight million Canadians annually. Although its head office is in Toronto, the organization also operates the Ottawa-based Encounters with Canada youth program, and Historica Canada staff regularly travel across the country to promote engagement in a variety of activities.
Historica Canada is a registered national charitable organization, the product of the merger in 2009 of two existing groups: the Historica Foundation of Canada and the Dominion Institute. In the wake of the merger, the organization was known as The Historica-Dominion Institute until it formally changed its name in September 2013. The Board of Directors of Historica Canada includes some of Canada’s most prominent citizens, drawn from a wide variety of fields and backgrounds.
Historica Canada’s programs are aimed at appealing to Canadians of all ages and backgrounds, although several specifically focus on youth. Among the best-known offerings are the Heritage Minutes, a collection of more than 80 dramatized vignettes that recreate events of great importance, accomplishment and bravery in Canada’s history. The Canadian Encyclopedia, a free online resource, offers the largest collection of authored, accurate and continuously updated articles focused on Canada and Canadiana. Every year, Encounters with Canada brings more than 3,000 students to Ottawa for themed weeks focused on specific study topics.
Historica Canada’s other programs include The Memory Project, through which veterans share their experiences online and in classrooms and community groups; Passages Canada, featuring volunteers sharing their personal accounts of cultural identity and heritage; The Citizenship Challenge, in which young Canadians answer the same questions as real-life applicants for citizenship; and Aboriginal Arts & Stories, which features submissions from Canada’s most talented young artists and writers from Indigenous communities.
Beyond its core programs, Historica Canada offers commemorative programs tied to specific periods of history, such as the War of 1812 or the First World War. The organization also regularly conducts public opinion polls and solicits feedback on a variety of issues of national interest.