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Canadians and Their Pasts

The Canadians and Their Pasts alliance brought together seven university researchers and twelve community organizations with an interest in history to determine how Canadian engage the past in their everyday lives. Launched in 2005 with the help of a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Community-University Research Alliance grant, the project was centred around an ambitious survey of 3,419 Canadians, which explored, among other things, their general interest in history, activities related to the past, and the trustworthiness of such sources as museums and heritage sites, family stories, academic studies, and the Internet. The rich findings from the survey are analyzed in various articles and in a book-length study, Canadians and Their Pasts (University of Toronto Press, 2013). Not surprisingly, the survey revealed that a majority of Canadians are deeply interested in their family history, but many people were also engaged in learning about the public past, which offered a context for their lives in a globalizing world.