life

Incredible fall destinations that will teach you more about Canada’s history

Travel expert Heather Greenwood-Davis combines vacation with education with these amazing travel ideas!
October 13, 2021 2:12 p.m. EST

Over the past two years, the way we think about Canadian history - and travel - have changed a lot. For many, there's still a lot to learn about the country's history.

This fall season, why not combine vacation and education by visiting some of the incredible destinations the country has to offer? Travel expert Heather Greenwood-Davis highlighted some of her favourite spots to visit, below.

Watch the video above to learn even more about your potential fall destinations!

 

Sustainable travel definitely includes finding ways to travel that are more supportive of the environment – choosing where you stay, what you eat and where you visit – but it also refers to making sure that cultures and histories are shared and supported. It’s about the complete tourism experience and includes making sure that we’re also considering the needs of the communities that host us.

The spots I’m sharing with you today help travelers learn while they explore.

Courtesy: University of the Fraser Valley South Asian Studies Institute 

KOMAGATA MARU

The story of the Komagata Maru is tragic and frankly, embarrassing. That ship carrying British Sikhs, Hindu and Muslim people was turned away from the shores of British Columbia despite their British status. The refusal of lawful entry eventually led to the death of 20 people on board. The federal government apologized for the tragedy in 2016.

To learn more about this, a great place to start would be the Sikh Museum in Abbotsford, BC. They’re hosting an exhibition on the Komagata Maru that runs until March 2022.

Though it happened in BC, you can learn about it through spaces across the country if you’re inclined. In Mississauga, you can visit the Sikh Heritage Museum and you can also find the story told in in exhibits at the Canadian Museum of History in Winnipeg and at Pier 21 in Eastern Canada. 

 

Courtesy: Kootenay Rockies Tourism

JAPANESE INTERNMENT

I was really surprised to learn that my kids were never even taught about the Japanese internment that happened here.

There are, of course books you can read about it, but it’s also worth visiting places like the Japanese Cultural Museum at the Langham in Kaslo, BC  or the Nikkei Internment Memorial Centre in New Denver, BC to gain a better understanding of the long-term effects of this sad history.

essentially rounding up Japanese Canadians beginning in about 1942, forcing them from their homes and placing them in camps. Estimates are that more than 90% of Japanese Canadians in British Columbia were forced from their homes in this way. Those who were resisted were sent to Pow camps. 

 

Courtesy: Travel Alberta

COWBOY CULTURE

I love the story of John Ware – it disrupts the image we all have of a cowboy as a white man. John Ware was a formerly enslaved Black man who became legendary in Alberta! There are two creeks, two buildings and a hiking trail named for him and he is credited with pioneering irrigation in Southern Alberta. He really left his mark.

If you visit Dinosaur Provincial Park you can learn all about John Ware at the John Ware Cabin, the place he spent the last three years of his life.  And for a sense of his connection to the area visit BAR U Ranch – now a national historic site – where Ware built his reputation for breaking in wild horses.   

And before you visit make sure to take a look at the National Film Board of Canada film, John Ware Reclaimed that talks about this legendary Alberta cowboy and his legacy in Alberta.

 

Courtesy: @IndigenousWalks

INDIGENOUS OFFERINGS

There are so many Indigenous offerings. What I find fascinating is finding those opportunities to learn in places and spaces where we may not have paid enough attention to the fact that they were missing. We often connect Indigenous stories to BC or the far north, but there is a ton of history right here in Ontario.

One cool new project is the Indigenous Walks Walking Art tour that offers some Indigenous historical perspective behind downtown Ottawa’s art installations and monuments. Hosted by owner Jaime Koebel, who is Métis and Cree, the two-hour tour adds an Indigenous lens to attractions like City Hall, the Canadian Tribute to Human Rights, Confederation Park and the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.

Or you can explore the new Niagara Falls Indigenous Niagara Living Museum Tours, the region’s first guided Indigenous tour operation, launched last month (September 2021). It’s a daylong experience that includes visits to prominent historical sites in the region including Fort George National Historic Site, Old Fort Erie, Norton’s Cabin and more. But the real perk of this experience is your hosts. They include Indigenous cultural specialists, prominent historians and Indigenous Niagara Tour guides and animators who specialize in the region.  It’s an opportunity to see the region in a way you likely haven’t done before and with a fresh perspective that will forever change the way you think about the region.

 

CARIBBEAN HISTORY

Most people know that Eastern Canada is also home to a historic Black population particularly in spots like Africville. It was a thriving Black community that was razed in the sixties destroying people’s homes and livelihoods. The Africville Museum in Halifax, allows you to stand inside a replica of the African United Baptist Church that stood at its heart to learn the history of the town and its people through photographs, artifacts and interviews. africvillemuseum.org

But what people may be surprised to learn is that there is also a strong Caribbean connection to our eastern provines. In fact, the first Caribbean people in the country landed there in 1796!  That’s when Jamaican Maroons — escaped enslaved people who established communities on the island and continued to fight against the British — were deported to Halifax, Nova Scotia. They stayed for four years before, understandably, deciding the cold weather wasn't for them. Immigrants from Jamaica and Barbados followed in the 1800s, coming to work the coal mines in Cape Breton and Sydney.

When you’re in the region you can learn more by visiting the Black Cultural Center of Nova Scotia.

 

For more from Heather,  visit her website at www.globetrottingmama.com.