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Heritage Minutes

File:Robert Harris - A Meeting of the School Trustees.jpg
An 1885 Robert Harris painting, A Meeting of the School Trustees, depicted in the 1998 Heritage Minute episode "Rural Teacher", on the benefits of pedagogy.

Heritage Minutes, formerly known as Historica Minutes: History by the Minute, is a series of sixty-second short films, each illustrating an important moment in Canadian history. The Minutes interrogate Canadian history, folklore and myths into dramatic story lines.[1][2][3] The Minutes themselves have become a part of Canadian culture and been the subject of academic studies.[4]

The Minutes were first introduced on March 31, 1991 as part of a one-off history quiz show hosted by Wayne Rostad.[5] Originally distributed to schools,[2] they appear frequently on Canadian television and in cinemas before movies and were later available online and on DVD.[4]


The thirteen original short films were broken up and run between shows on CBC Television and CTV Network. The continued broadcast of the Minutes and the production of new ones was pioneered by Charles Bronfman's CRB Foundation (subsequently the The Historica Dominion Institute), Canada Post (with Bell Canada being a later sponsor) Power Broadcasting (now Power Corporation of Canada), and the National Film Board.[5] They were devised, developed and largely narrated (as well as scripted) by noted Canadian broadcaster Patrick Watson, while the producer of the series was Robert Guy Scully.[5]

In 2009 "The Historica Foundation of Canada" merged with "The Dominion Institute" to become "The Historica-Dominion Institute" a national charitable organization.[6] In September 2013, the organization changed its name to "Historica Canada".[7] While the foundations have not paid networks to air Minutes and in the early years paid to have them run in cinema theaters across the country.[8] The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has ruled that Heritage Minutes are an "on-going dramatic series" thus each vignette counts as ninety-seconds of a station's Canadian content requirements.[9][10]

In 2012, a few "Heritage Minutes" were created on the War of 1812, in anticipation of the war's bicentenary.[11] Then in 2014 two Minutes were released on Sir John A. Macdonald and George-Étienne Cartier, that had been filmed in and around Toronto in September 2013.[10] There are plans to come out with two every year until Canada's 150th birthday in 2017.[12] A 2012 Ipsos Reid poll of 3,900 Canadians selected the five most popular Minutes.[13] Tied for first place was the episodes on Jackie Robinson and Halifax Explosion, followed by Jennie Kidd Trout, Winnie-the-Pooh and Laura Secord.[13]

List of Heritage Minutes

Not all of the Heritage Minutes episodes have actually aired. Seventy-nine of them are available for viewing online (as listed below); however the episodes on the 1972 Summit Series, Cyprus conflict, and Canadian Peacekeepers are not available online through Historica Canada.

Episode Description
Peacemaker The formation of the Iroquois Confederacy presented by a First Nations grandfather explaining the significance of the Great Peace to his granddaughter.[14]
Vikings L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland is settled by Norsemen (Vikings) around the year 1000 CE.[15]
John Cabot Italian navigator and explorer John Cabot discovers the Grand Banks of Newfoundland.[16]
Jacques Cartier French navigator and explorer Jacques Cartier misunderstands some Natives resulting in the name Canada.[17]
Jean Nicolet French coureur des bois and explorer Jean Nicolet becomes the first European to reach Lake Michigan, but thinks it's the Pacific.[18]
Governor Frontenac New France, under the leadership of French governor Louis de Buade de Frontenac, repels the British invasion at the Battle of Quebec (1690) (narration was later added to this Minute in order to clarify the story).[19]
Syrup A First Nations family teaches early settlers how to make maple syrup.[20]
Laura Secord Canadian heroine Laura Secord aids the British in the War of 1812 with an overland trek to warn of an American military advance.[21]
Responsible Government Queen Victoria decides to grant Canada responsible government after the crushing of the Rebellions of 1837.[22]
Baldwin & LaFontaine Lawyer and politician Robert Baldwin and Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine build interlingual cooperation.[23]
Orphans French Canadian families adopt Irish orphans in the 1850s while allowing them to keep their original names.[24]
Underground Railroad An African American escapes to Canada along the Underground Railroad.[25]
Etienne Parent Journalist and government official Étienne Parent demands equality for French and English.[26]
Hart & Papineau The efforts of politician and lawyer Louis-Joseph Papineau give full equality of religion to Jews in Canada.[27]
The Paris Crew The surprise victory of the Paris Crew, a group of unheralded Canadian rowers, at the 1867 World Championships.[28]
Joseph Tyrrell Geologist and cartographer Joseph Tyrrell discovers a plethora of dinosaur bones in Alberta (see Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology.[29]
Basketball Sports coach James Naismith's invention of Basketball is featured.[30]
Joseph Casavant Joseph Casavant, world renowned organ maker is featured.[31]
Emily Carr The art of Emily Carr is featured.[32]
Soddie Prairie settlers build a house of sod (see Addison Sod House).[33]
Midwife A look at the importance of midwives in early Canada.[34]
Saguenay Fire The 1870 fire in the Saguenay in featured.[35]
Sandford Fleming Engineer and inventor Sir Sandford Fleming develops the system of international standard time.[36]
Nitro A young Chinese Canadian risks his life helping to build the Canadian Pacific Railway.[37]
Jennie Trout Jennie Trout becomes Canada's first woman doctor.[38]
Rural Teacher Teacher Kate Henderson sways school trustees to embrace new methods, and the event is represented in the famous painting by Robert Harris, A Meeting of the School Trustees (see image at top).[39]
Louis Riel The achievements and execution of political and spiritual leader Louis Riel are featured.[40]
Sitting Bull Native American Chief Sitting Bull seeks refuge in Canada (starring Graham Greene as Sitting Bull).[41]
Les Voltigeurs de Québec The rehearsal for the first performance of O Canada.[42]
Grey Owl Englishman Archie Belaney (played by Pierce Brosnan) rises to prominence as a notable author and lecturer after he took on the First Nations identity called Grey Owl.[43]
Frontier College Frontier College educates those away from the urban centres.[44]
Sam Steele Major General and police official Sam Steele (portrayed by Alan Scarfe) of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police bars an unruly American (portrayed by Don S. Davis) from entering the Yukon with pistols, despite being threatened at gunpoint.[45]
Emily Murphy Women's rights activist, jurist, and author Emily Murphy's quest for equal rights for women.[46]
Myrnam Hospital The town of Myrnam, Alberta forms a non-denominational hospital.[47]
Agnes Macphail The first woman to be elected to the Canadian House of Commons Agnes Macphail fights for penal reform.[48]
Marconi Inventor Guglielmo Marconi receives the first trans-Atlantic radio signals in Newfoundland and is awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics.[49]
John McCrae Author, artist and physician during World War I John McCrae pens In Flanders Fields (starring Colm Feore as McCrae).[50]
Halifax Explosion Train dispatcher Vince Coleman sacrifices his own life to save a train from the Halifax Explosion.[51]
Vimy Ridge General Arthur Currie prepares his forces for the successful taking of Vimy Ridge in World War I.[52]
Valour Road Three men from Pine Street in Winnipeg win the Victoria Cross in World War I, and the street's name is changed to Valour Road in their honour.[53]
Winnie The bear of Canadian soldier Harry Colebourn becomes the inspiration for Winnie the Pooh.[54]
Nellie McClung Feminist, politician, and social activist Nellie McClung demands the right to vote in Manitoba.[55]
Joseph-Armand Bombardier Inventor Joseph-Armand Bombardier and the beginnings of his passion for engineering.[56]
J.S. Woodsworth Author, lecturer and social activist J. S. Woodsworth convinces Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King to introduce old age pensions.[57]
Superman Comic book artist Joe Shuster, en route to visit his cousin, Frank Shuster, creates Superman.[58]
Water Pump Canadian Mennonites devise sustainable agriculture practices that aid the Third World.[59]
La Bolduc The story of how Mary Travers becomes a famed popular singer in Quebec.[60]
Bluenose The ship Bluenose an important Canadian symbol in the 1930s wins its last race.[61]
Wilder Penfield How Dr. Wilder Penfield makes important discoveries in neuroscience when a patient smells burnt toast as the initial signal for an epileptic seizure, during the Montreal procedure.[62]
Osborn of Hong Kong Sgt. Major John Robert Osborn sacrifices his life to protect his men from Japanese forces during the Battle of Hong Kong in World War II, and is posthumously granted the Victoria Cross.[63]
Marion Orr Female World War II pilot Marion Orr is featured.[64]
Mona Parsons Mona Parsons, a partisan World War II Allied agent in the Netherlands escapes execution and later imprisonment by the Nazis and meets her future husband who confirms her nationality to Canadian forces liberating the nation.[65]
Juno Beach Broadcaster Johnny Lombardi entertains his comrades in the field during a respite of the World War II D-Day taking of Juno Beach by Canadian forces.[66]
Andrew Mynarski Pilot officer Andrew Mynarski's attempt to free his friend from a bomber turret.[67]
Tommy Prince A eulogy is given for Tommy Prince, Canada’s most-decorated Aboriginal war veteran.[68]
Home from the Wars Returning World War II veterans successfully agitate for increasing housing assistance.[69]
John Humphrey Legal scholar, jurist, and human rights advocate John Humphrey drafts the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.[70]
Jackie Robinson Baseball player Jackie Robinson joins the Montreal Royals on October 23, 1946.[71]
Lucille Teasdale Surgeon Lucille Teasdale devotes her life to helping the poor in Africa.[72]
Marshall McLuhan Philosopher of communication theory Marshall McLuhan coins the phrases "the medium is the message" and "global village".[73]
Maurice Ruddick Miner Maurice Ruddick recounts the 1958 Springhill mine disaster.[74]
Nat Taylor How Nat Taylor invents the multiplex theater.[75]
Pauline Vanier The achievements of professional diplomats Georges and Pauline Vanier are featured.[76]
Maurice "Rocket" Richard Hockey player Maurice Richard scores five goals and three assists for eight points in a single game.[77]
Stratford A look back at the beginning of the Stratford Festival of Canada.[78]
Jacques Plante Jacques Plante becomes the first NHL player to wear a goaltender mask in regular play.[79]
Avro Arrow The development of the Avro Arrow (this Heritage Minute was made using footage from the 1996 mini-series The Arrow).[80]
Paul Emile Borduas The art of Paul-Émile Borduas and the Quiet Revolution are featured.[81]
Le Reseau Engineer Thomas Wardrope Eadie develops the Trans Canada Microwave telecommunications network.[82]
Flags Lawyer, judge, and politician John Matheson looks at candidates for Canada's new flag.[83]
Expo 67 The planning of the Montreal International and Universal Exposition called Expo 67 is featured.[84]
Inukshuk An Inuksuk a stone landmark or cairn is built on Baffin Island.[85]
Dextraze in the Congo Brigadier-General Jacques Dextraze resolves a hostage situation in the Congo with his UN Peacekeeping forces contingent.[86]
Richard Pierpoint Richard Pierpoint was a formerly enslaved Black Loyalist who, at age 68, enlisted black men to fight in the War of 1812. Captain Runchey's Company of Coloured Men fought in a number of battles in the Niagara region and were instrumental to the war effort.[87]
Queenston Heights At the Battle of Queenston Heights (October 13, 1812) Mohawk Chief John Norton and 80 Grand River warriors surprised hundreds of advancing American soldiers and skirmished with them for hours until reinforcements arrived and the battle was won.[88]
Maple Leaf Gardens Considered one of the "cathedrals" of ice hockey, the construction and history of the Maple Leaf Gardens is featured.[89]
Sir John A. Macdonald The dominant figure of Canadian Confederation, Sir John A. Macdonald was the first Prime Minister of Canada.[90]
Sir George-Étienne Cartier George-Étienne Cartier was a dominant figure in the politics of Canada East (now Quebec) overseeing its entry into Confederation.[91]
Winnipeg Falcons The Winnipeg Falcons were a senior ice hockey team that fought through discrimination and stayed together even through the First World War, on their way to winning the gold medal for Canada at the 1920 Olympics. Narrated by George Stroumboulopoulos and an appearance by actor Jared Keeso. This was the first Heritage Minute segment to extend longer than one minute.[92]


See also


  1. ^ Ryan Edwardson (2008). Canadian Content: Culture and the Quest for Nationhood. University of Toronto Press. p. 286. ISBN 978-0-8020-9519-0. 
  2. ^ a b Alan Gordon (2010). The Hero and the Historians: Historiography and the Uses of Jacques Cartier. UBC Press. p. 185. ISBN 978-0-7748-5920-2. 
  3. ^ Stefan Berger; Linas Eriksonas; Andrew Mycock (2013). Narrating The Nation: Representations in History, Media and the Arts. Berghahn Books. p. 284. ISBN 978-0-85745-412-6. 
  4. ^ a b Michael Barbour, Mark Evans (2008). "History by the Minute: A Representative National History or a Common Sense of the Majority?". University of Georgia. Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  5. ^ a b c "Heritage Minutes". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2013-10-07. 
  6. ^ Zoë Druick; Aspa Kotsopoulos (2008). Programming Reality: Perspectives on English-Canadian Television. Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press. pp. 172–183. ISBN 978-1-55458-010-1. 
  7. ^ "Historica Canada | Historica-Dominion Institute renamed Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-07. 
  8. ^ Charles R. Acland (2003). Screen Traffic: Movies, Multiplexes, and Global Culture. Duke University Press. p. 188. ISBN 978-0-8223-8486-1. 
  9. ^ "List Of CRTC Canadian Program Recognition Numbers". 4 July 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-07-14. Retrieved 21 December 2009. 
  10. ^ a b Duabs, Katie. 60 Seconds, With A Break For Lunch, Sunday Star, September 29, 2013, p. A1; published online at as "Being In a Heritage Minute: A Part of Our Heritage." Retrieved on September 29, 2013.
  11. ^ Canadian Heritage Minute comeback a jolt of nostalgia: Popular 60-second shorts resurrected to coincide with 1812 bicentennial, CBC News, October 10, 2012.
  12. ^ June 12, 2013 4:50 PM (2013-06-12). "New Heritage Minute spotlights First Nations warriors - Your Community". Retrieved 2013-10-07. 
  13. ^ a b "New heritage minutes boosted by old favorites" (PDF). Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 2012-06-10. Retrieved 2013-10-07. 
  14. ^ "Peacemaker | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  15. ^ "Vikings | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  16. ^ "John Cabot | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  17. ^ "Jacques Cartier | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  18. ^ "Jean Nicollet | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  19. ^ "Governor Frontenac | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  20. ^ "Syrup | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  21. ^ "Laura Secord | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  22. ^ "Responsible Government | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  23. ^ "Baldwin & LaFontaine | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  24. ^ "Orphans | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  25. ^ "Underground Railroad | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  26. ^ "Étienne Parent | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  27. ^ "Hart & Papineau | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  28. ^ "The Paris Crew | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  29. ^ "Joseph Tyrrell | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  30. ^ "Basketball | Historica Canada". 1991-10-25. Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  31. ^ "Joseph Casavant | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  32. ^ "Emily Carr | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  33. ^ "Soddie | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  34. ^ "Midwife | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  35. ^ "Saguenay Fire | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  36. ^ "Sir Sandford Fleming | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  37. ^ "Nitro | Historica Canada". 1923-07-01. Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  38. ^ "Jennie Trout | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  39. ^ "Rural Teacher | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  40. ^ "Louis Riel | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  41. ^ "Sitting Bull | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  42. ^ "Les Voltigeurs de Québec | Historica Canada". 1980-07-01. Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  43. ^ "Grey Owl | Historica Canada". 1938-04-13. Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  44. ^ "Frontier College | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  45. ^ "Sam Steele | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  46. ^ "Emily Murphy | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  47. ^ "Myrnam Hospital | Historica Canada". 1938-07-28. Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  48. ^ "Agnes Macphail | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  49. ^ "Marconi | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  50. ^ "John McCrae | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  51. ^ "Halifax Explosion | Historica Canada". 1917-12-06. Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  52. ^ "Vimy Ridge | Historica Canada". 1917-04-09. Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  53. ^ "Valour Road | Historica Canada". 1915-02-21. Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  54. ^ "Winnie | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  55. ^ "Nellie McClung | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  56. ^ "Joseph-Armand Bombardier | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  57. ^ "J.S. Woodsworth | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  58. ^ "Superman | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  59. ^ "Water Pump | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  60. ^ "La Bolduc | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  61. ^ "Bluenose | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  62. ^ "Wilder Penfield | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  63. ^ "Osborn of Hong Kong | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  64. ^ "Marion Orr | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  65. ^ "Mona Parsons | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  66. ^ "Juno Beach | Historica Canada". 1944-06-06. Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  67. ^ "Andrew Mynarski | Historica Canada". 1944-06-12. Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  68. ^ "Tommy Prince | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  69. ^ "Home from the Wars | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  70. ^ "John Humphrey | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  71. ^ "Jackie Robinson | Historica Canada". 1946-04-18. Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  72. ^ "Lucille Teasdale | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  73. ^ "Marshall McLuhan | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  74. ^ "Maurice Ruddick | Historica Canada". 1923-07-01. Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  75. ^ "Nat Taylor | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  76. ^ "Pauline Vanier | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  77. ^ "Maurice "Rocket" Richard | Historica Canada". 1944-12-28. Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  78. ^ "Stratford | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  79. ^ "Jacques Plante | Historica Canada". 1959-11-01. Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  80. ^ "Avro Arrow | Historica Canada". 1959-02-20. Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  81. ^ "Paul Émile Borduas | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  82. ^ "Le Réseau | Historica Canada". 1955-03-08. Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  83. ^ "Flags | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  84. ^ "Expo '67 | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  85. ^ "Inukshuk | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  86. ^ "Dextraze in the Congo | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  87. ^ "Richard Pierpoint | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  88. ^ "Queenston Heights | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  89. ^ "Maple Leaf Gardens | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  90. ^ "Sir John A. Macdonald | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  91. ^ "Sir George-Étienne Cartier| Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  92. ^ "Winnipeg Falcons| Historica Canada". Retrieved 2014-12-12. 
  93. ^ Patricia Molloy (2012). Canada/US and Other Unfriendly Relations: Before and After 9/11. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 53. ISBN 978-1-137-03145-7. 
  94. ^ "PARODIES | Historica Canada". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  95. ^ "Canadian Sacrilege Moment: "I Can't Read"". YouTube. 2010-02-05. Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  96. ^ "Classified - "Oh... Canada" [Official Video". YouTube. 2010-01-22. Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  97. ^ Not Again, Margaret, website.
  98. ^ A Part of our Heritage, website.

Further reading


External links