CHREI to launch its summer REDDI sessions

Student playing frisbee outside

York University’s Centre for Human Rights, Equity & Inclusion (CHREI) is kicking off its Rights, Equity, Decolonization, Diversity & Inclusion (REDDI) Series summer sessions on June 3 with one of its most popular events, Creating and Maintaining Positive Space, just in time for Pride Month.

The REDDI Series offers students, staff and faculty opportunities to learn through interactive sessions that emphasize engagement and skill building.

The REDDI Mini-series on Preventing Sex and Gender Harassment and Discrimination will feature four sessions running from June 3 to July 9. Three sessions from the core REDDI series, Addressing Discrimination Today, are scheduled in July.

Participants can earn a core REDDI Series Certificate and a REDDI Mini-series Certificate by signing up for sessions on YU Learn. If not enough sessions are not completed during the summer, additional sessions will be held in the Fall and Winter terms.

For more information on the REDDI Series, visit the CHREI website.

York community invited to Pride 2024 Opening Ceremony on June 4

Pride Month banner 2023

Join the Centre for Human Rights, Equity & Inclusion for the York University Pride 2024 Opening Ceremony on Tuesday, June 4 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the Vari Hall Rotunda.

The ceremony will feature opening remarks followed by the unfurling of the Pride flag. Attendees can enjoy free treats – provided by the Office of the Vice-Provost Students – snap a selfie with York’s mascot, Yeo, and learn about 2SLGBTQIA+ resources and services available at York. Engage in the conversation on social media using #YUPride and share what a campus free of homophobia and transphobia looks like, feels like and sounds like to you. 

All York community members are welcome.  

Event details

Date: Tuesday, June 4
Time: 1 to 2:30 p.m.
Location: Vari Hall Rotunda 

Research Impact Challenge helps boost self-promotion, visibility

Open book with glasses and a pen sitting on top

York University faculty, postdoctoral researchers and graduate students are invited to participate in the York University Libraries’ Research Impact Challenge to learn how to increase the visibility and reach of their scholarly works.

From May 27 to 31, the Libraries will run five fully asynchronous challenges to help teach York researchers tips, strategies and methods to curate their online presence and make their research more discoverable to academic communities in their disciplines. Each challenge will take approximately 20 minutes to complete.

“Researchers at all stages of their career benefit from leveraging research visibility best practices for their publishing and self-promotion strategies,” says Andrea Kosavic, interim dean, York University Libraries. “By completing the five challenges in this event, researchers will have a number of strategies at their fingertips to improve the discoverability of their research.”

Each day, participants will be asked to learn about a specific research visibility topic and complete a short research task to support them in making their scholarly outputs easier to discover. For example, participants will learn about curating their online presence using researcher profiles such as ORCID iD, a tool that makes it easier to identify authors and contributors of scholarly communication. Additionally, participants will explore the value of open-access publishing, scholarly research repositories and how to leverage existing Libraries supports such as YorkSpace to make their research more discoverable.

“Studies show that publishing your research open access is an effective research visibility strategy,” says Kosavic, “as access to subscriptions privileges those who can afford to pay. Publishing open access ensures the global community has access to your research and can build upon your discoveries, which translates into citation and social media uptake advantages.”

The challenges will also cover traditional and alternative research metrics and will highlight the Libraries’ subscription databases that can help researchers gather specific types of metrics.

To participate in the challenge, researchers are asked to do the following:

  • Step 1: sign-up for the challenge.
  • Step 2: during the week of the challenge, keep an eye out for the daily email with information on the day’s task.
  • Step 3: after completing each daily challenge, fill out the associated MS Form to be entered into a draw for a chance to win a set of Belkin wireless headphones or a prize of equivalent value.

“I’m thrilled about this engaging initiative that will allow our researchers to learn about strategies to help increase their research visibility, while also learning about specific tools and resources that can raise their profiles externally,” says Jennifer Steeves, associate vice-president research. “This will help increase awareness of the outstanding research being done by our colleagues at York.”

Muscle Health Awareness Day event expands its scope

Man's back muscle and body structure. Human body view from behind isolated on white background.

The annual Muscle Health Awareness Day (MHAD) event hosted at York University on Friday, May 17, looks to advance its research reputation in the field with an emphasis on introducing attending researchers to a lived experience session.

Sponsored by York’s Muscle Health Research Centre (funded by the Faculty of Health), the Office of the Vice-President, Research & Innovation and the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, each year MHAD brings together doctors, scientists and trainees from across Canada and the United States. It aims to help advance understanding of the physiology and adaptation of muscles, vasculature and the heart during exercise and aging.

Among the nine speakers and 60 trainee presentations that will be featured at this year’s 15th annual event, something new will be introduced: a special lived experience session.

In recent years, among pre-clinical and clinical researchers in the field, there has been a growing movement to connect directly with individuals struggling with muscle-related health issues to better inform research.

“How can we truly understand what we’re studying if we don’t have any experience with that situation?” says Professor Christopher Perry, director of the Muscle Health Research Centre (MHRC). “What options are remaining? To listen to people who have it.”

Perry has experienced this first-hand at other conferences where, during sessions on particular diseases or conditions, people who were affected by them were involved in the discussion – putting a human face to what attendees spend their time researching. He still remembers the impact that can have. “The first thing I felt was not knowledge. The first thing I felt was inspiration,” he says. “‘This is why we’re doing and this,’” he thought.

He has found, too, that when listening to lived experiences, sometimes those who are affected by a condition will bring up feelings, pain or sensations that researchers hadn’t thought to ask about or were aware of through literature. That, in turn, can lead to new understanding and avenues for research.

When Perry became director of the MHRC, he pushed for the MHAD event to not only follow suit but demonstrate innovation – it is among the first conferences with pre-clinical researchers in attendance to include a lived experience session.

The MHAD event has invited Julia Creet, a filmmaker and English professor in the Department of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, who will share her experiences as a mature athlete and the process of how she maintains – even improves – her fitness. In her discussion she will cover how incorporating strength training becomes more important to build muscle, how it may take longer to warm up and recover, and how people can remain highly competitive even as they age. To help accentuate the talk, Creet aims to also share a five-minute documentary about her experience as a cyclist.

The session will also include an athletic therapist providing a professional perspective on the challenges faced by aging athletes.

The organizers’ hope is that the session will help provide information to many researchers focusing on aging, while also being relevant to anyone studying how aging affects fitness in all populations.

In its aim to underscore the impact attending researchers can have – especially when considering the lived experiences of those they study – the MHAD event will also feature a session with the CEO of the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, who will share how scientific discovery in exercise physiology can be translated into professional practice by front-line certified exercise physiologists.

The intent is for scientists and trainees attending MHAD to see how their roles as researchers can impact society, and how their research efforts can support a continuum of knowledge generation and dissemination towards health solutions for society.

For more information, to register and to submit abstracts or posters for consideration, visit the Muscle Health Awareness Day web page.

Robarts Centre celebrates 40 years of Canadian Studies

Many books standing upright, pictured from above.

Established in 1984, the Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies is a long-standing Organized Research Unit of York University that supports specialized research on key dimensions of a critical, collaborative and interdisciplinary study of Canada. As evidence of its far-reaching impact, it has a membership of over 300 faculty and research associates from all of York’s 11 Faculties.

Lorna Marsden
Lorna Marsden

In celebration of its 40th anniversary, the Robarts Centre has released a special issue of its flagship publication, Canada Watch, edited by York University President Emerita Lorna Marsden, a Distinguished Fellow at the Robarts Centre. In it, a carefully selected group of thought leaders recount the history of the centre and its key evolutions in the study of Canada, as well as the establishment of the York’s research infrastructure over the past four decades.

“In this issue, you will find first-hand accounts of key milestones in the history of the Robarts Centre and of research at York University, including from President Emeritus Ian Macdonald and first Vice-President Research and Innovation Stan Shapson,” said Marsden. “It also shows how the study of Canada has evolved since 1984, and the central role the Robarts Centre has played in creating relationships among disciplines, students and faculty to make this possible.”

This special issue is the first of the centre’s many celebratory activities for this milestone year. To help make its important work available to all, the Robarts Centre is working with the York University Libraries (YUL) to release the online archives of Canada Watch, which has been regularly published since 1992. These public archives, hosted through YUL’s York Digital Journals (YDJ) program, will make accessible many issues that were previously only available in print.

“YDJ’s mission is to facilitate free and open access to the work of members of the York University community,” said Tomasz Mrozewski, YUL digital publishing librarian “The release of the Canada Watch archives on this platform gives our community access to significant contributions in the study of Canada over the past 30 years, with new features, including the ability to search back issues by author and theme.”

Other anniversary celebrations include hosting the 2024 International Canadian Studies Summit, being held online from June 10 to 14, in collaboration with the International Council for Canadian Studies and the Avie Bennett Historica Canada Chair in Canadian History.

Jean Michel Montsion

“In recent years, the Robarts Centre has paid particular attention to the lack of support to our colleagues who study Canada from outside of the country,” explained Jean Michel Montsion, director of the Robarts Centre, “and we see it as our responsibility to connect them to some of our experts and specialists.”

With that mission in mind, the free summit, which is open for registration now, will be an opportunity for emerging and established scholars to learn about, discuss and help draft recommendations for better support of the study of Canada abroad. The event will include a Summer School component, which will be attended by 17 graduate students selected from 13 different countries, with many sessions led by York faculty members.

For more information about 40th anniversary celebrations and how to take part, visit the Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies website.

York to host pop-up fair-trade event with free beverages

coffee beans BANNER

York community members are invited to attend a fair trade pop-up event on Wednesday, May 8, to celebrate a new University recognition. The event will take place outside the front doors of Vari Hall – or inside, if it rains – with complimentary, fair-trade Las Nubes coffee, iced tea and mini chocolates. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own mugs to reduce waste.  

The event will be hosted by York’s Office of Sustainability in conjunction with York’s Food Services and the York University Bookstore.  It will begin at 10 a.m. and run until quantities last.

Those who wish to attend are encouraged to register.

Las Nubes Coffee

Las Nubes Coffee, which will be served hot at the event, is a high-grown specialty coffee produced by a co-operative of small farms in areas adjacent to York University’s Las Nubes Rainforest in southern Costa Rica. It has been given certification of sustainability by the Ministry of Agriculture in Costa Rica based on the following criteria: 

  • a fair and just price to local farmers; 
  • sound ecological production and milling processes; 
  • biodiversity protections; 
  • investment in community development; and 
  • ethical trade practices. 

After nearly a decade, Las Nubes has made its way back to Canada and is available in select locations on York’s campuses. Part of the proceeds from the coffee will go towards supporting York’s Las Nubes Research and Conservation Program. 

At the pop-up event on May 8, attendees will also have an opportunity to learn more about ongoing and new fair-trade initiatives at York. The University currently offers a variety of fair-trade products on its campuses. The York University Bookstore continuously updates its supply of sustainable items, working closely with suppliers that provide high quality, fair-trade products, such as fair-trade clothing from Green Campus Co-op and a wide selection of fair-trade, organic chocolate. Through York’s Food Services partner Compass Group, the York community can find fair-trade coffee, tea, chocolate and bananas at all YU Eats locations. 

In addition to attending the pop-up event, York community members are encouraged to learn more and get involved in the fair-trade movement on campus by visiting York’s fair-trade web page.   

York invites community to participate in Safety and Health Week

two york students smiling and talking on campus BANNER

Safety and Health Week, which runs from May 6 to 10, 2024, spotlights the critical importance of health and safety in all facets of life — be it at work, home or within the community.

Throughout the week, York University will host webinars, activities and promotions related to workplace safety, health and connection. Faculty and staff are encouraged to participate individually or as a team to strengthen their sense of community and a shared commitment to health and safety.

Safety and Health Week at York University is more than just a series of events—it’s a part of our ongoing commitment to ensuring a safer and healthier environment for our community,” said Laina Bay-Cheng, interim vice-president, Equity, People and Culture. “We look forward to seeing you participate and thank you in advance for your engagement. We truly are better – in all senses of the word – together.”

Events and Activities

Health, Safety and Employee Well Being (HSEWB) invites all employees to take part in a variety of virtual events and downloadable activities designed to foster a culture of safety and good health.

Living Well With Stress

Led by TELUS Health
This seminar will teach participants how to effectively manage stress for optimal health, well-being, and workplace productivity.Date: Mon., May 6
Time: 1 – 2 p.m.
Format: virtual session
Who can participate? Staff, faculty and instructors
Championing Trans Inclusive Workplaces

Led by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
Join us for an enlightening and educational session with Dani Gomez-Ortega, a renowned diversity and inclusion champion.Date: Tues., May 7
Time: 11 a.m. – noon
Format: virtual session
Who can participate? Staff, faculty and instructors
Introduction to Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Employees

Led by TELUS Health
This seminar introduces the meaning and significance of psychological safety at work and explores actions employees can take to contribute towards a psychologically safe workplace for themselves and their teams.Date: Tues., May 7
Time: 1 – 2 p.m.
Format: virtual session
Who can participate? Staff, faculty and instructors
Plain Language Helps Workplace Health and Safety

Led by Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
Join writing and design expert Jocelyn Pletz, as she demonstrates how plain language and design principles connect with effective health and safety communication.Date: Wed., May 8
Time: 11 a.m. – noon
Format: virtual session
Who can participate? Staff, faculty and instructors
Posture Do’s and Don’ts – Chair Setup

Led by Health, Safety and Employee Well-being
A 30-minute interactive demonstration on how to understand and adjust your ergonomic chair. No equipment required.Date: Wed., May 8
Time: 1 – 1:30 p.m.
Format: In-person drop-in, York Lanes Room 280A
Who can participate? Staff, faculty and instructors
Register to receive a credit on YU Learn
Posture Do’s and Don’ts

Led by Health, Safety and Employee Well-being
A 30-minute seminar to learn the do’s and don’ts of neutral posture at your workstation.Date: Thu., May 9
Time: 1 – 1:30 p.m.
Format: virtual session
Who can participate? Staff, faculty and instructors
Crucial Conversations for Managers

Led by Organizational Learning and People Excellence.
This course examines various communication models to help move individuals from disagreement to dialogue.Date: Fri., May 10
Time: 10 a.m. – noon
Format: virtual session
Who can participate? Managers
B-Well BingoIt is important for our mental health and well-being to maintain social connections with colleagues. To help facilitate this, HSEWB has created a B-WELL Bingo that you can do as a team, or individually.Download Bingo card

For additional resources on ways to promote and sustain mental health and well-being, visit the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP), HSEWB or Well-being at York.

To see more activities, or to learn more about the history of Safety and Health week, visit Safety and Health Week.

Eco Arts Festival to showcase students’ environmental art

artistic crafts earth hands heart BANNER

A banana fish is set to be one of the hits of the 2024 Eco Arts Festival, an annual explosion of artistic talent organized by the students in the Environmental Arts and Justice (EAJ) program in York University’s Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change (EUC), which marks its 30th anniversary this year.

The Eco Arts Festival is an environmental initiative where art is a catalyst for ecological change and a way to highlight the intersection of art and the environment in the EAJ program. It takes over the lobby and two exhibit spaces – Zig-Zag and Crossroads – in the Health, Nursing & Environmental Studies Building, displaying visual arts and offering performances and readings.  

EUC_The Great Banana Fish migration cover 1

The banana fish, an organically shaped yellow creature, is the star of visual artist and an EUC master’s degree student Michael Bradley’s illustrated book, The Great Banana Fish Migration, a tale that he’ll be reading aloud at the festival later this year.  

This mythical creature fits well with this year’s theme, Beast Friends Forever, a title conceived by festival co-ordinator and EUC doctoral student Giuliana Racco and inspired by Professor Andil Gosine’s research into animal-human interactions and species loss. Gosine is an artist and curator who is the EAJ program co-ordinator. 

“Arts are a place for the students to contend with their anxiety about what is happening in the world, and to think about how we might respond to the crisis we face,” Gosine says. 

Many of the student-artists displaying their work in the festival were enrolled in one or both of Gosine’s two EUC summer courses: Environmental Arts Workshop (for undergraduates) and Cultural Production: Image (for graduate students). These three-week intensive courses are akin to “an arts residency,” says Gosine, who brings artists to class and encourages the students to take their research and passion for environmental issues and translate them in a way that challenges them to explore their creative instincts.  

A similar fourth-year course in the undergraduate EAJ program, Arts in Action, brings together both undergraduate and graduate students to realize the project they have been dreaming up.  

“Fourth-year undergrads and first-year master’s students use the course to deeply explore their interests, with dedicated attention to each of their projects,” Gosine explains. “It’s a rare opportunity to move from research on an environmental concern to exhibition of an artwork that might stimulate conversation and action.”  

As for the undergraduate EAJ program, Gosine considers it unique; he accepted a teaching position at York to be part of it. 

“It’s rare to have such a confluence of learning styles,” he says. “We are allowed to have an interdisciplinary approach. Here, you can be both an artist and a social scientist.”

Chrocheted Chickens

Among the art that festival attendees will see are Tess Thompson-van Dam’s crocheted chicken sculptures harking back to Victorian times when the elites brought chickens to tea parties; drawings by Andrew Carenza that reinterpret horses pictured in historical European paintings through a contemporary, Queer lens; work on historical and contemporary ideas of Eden; and the travelling banana fish. Bradley’s reading of The Great Banana Fish Migration and an Eco Arts collaborative workshop offer participatory opportunities. 

Bradley, an Ottawa Valley native, had a thriving art practice in Taiwan but returned to Canada for master’s studies. He has been drawing banana fish daily since 2018 and creating stories about them. The current book talks about the fish’s journey to find its place in the world and how that might always be changing. 

“I’m not commenting on the politics of migration in a direct way, but when people migrate they have a confused sense of place. I hope people can relate,” he says. “There are a lot of ways that art and environmental science can intersect,” Bradley adds. “I’m not a politician or a policymaker, but artists, creators and curators are part of the cultural community, so if the environment requires a cultural shift, artists are the best people to usher in this change.” 

Bradley’s work, and the Eco Arts Festival, will have that on full display.  

Inaugural fair helps EUC students explore green career possibilities

Briefcase with potted plant on it

Over 300 interested York University and high-school students attended the inaugural Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change (EUC) Green Career Fair in January. 

In partnership with the not-for-profit organization Green Career Centre, the event welcomed students to the Health, Nursing & Environmental Studies Building to explore possibilities for careers that aren’t often well promoted, but for which there is a growing need among employers. A recent worldwide survey by the Manpower Group found that 70 per cent of employers are urgently recruiting or planning to recruit green talent and people with sustainability skills. 

The idea for the fair came from Lauren Castelino, a master of environmental studies student at EUC and founder of the Green Career Centre, who organized a fair last year, attended by EUC staff. The centre focuses on providing under-represented youth with green career opportunities, advancement and inclusion. 

Organizers from both the Green Career Centre and Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change. From L to R: Joel Famadico Jr., Emma Bramante,  Kenneth Ebhomeye Oko-Oboh, Lauren Castelino, Gayathri Baiju, Joanne Huy, Rosanna Chowdhury, Shaniah Hutchinson, Tomisona Oludairo, Bottom: Lester Pinlac
Organizers from both the Green Career Centre and Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change.
From left to right: Joel Famadico Jr., Emma Bramante, Kenneth Ebhomeye Oko-Oboh, Lauren Castelino, Gayathri Baiju, Joanne Huy, Rosanna Chowdhury, Shaniah Hutchinson, Tomisona Oludairo, Bottom: Lester Pinlac

“We mutually thought it would be a great idea to expand the reach of the initiative by working together,” said Castelino, who is also pursuing a diploma in Business and the Environment from EUC and the Schulich School of Business. “EUC’s facilities were much larger than the first venue we used … and we were also appreciative of the staff support we could receive through the collaboration.” 

“We intentionally held our full-day event on the same day as the university-wide Career Fair hosted by the York Career Centre as a way of taking advantage of the synergy,” said Joanne Huy, an alumna who graduated in 2015 and is now the alumni engagement and events officer for EUC. “Staff at each event suggested that attendees visit the other fair, too. It was a win-win situation.” 

The partners invited EUC students and alumni to participate and invited everyone from York and the local community to attend. The day featured a morning of workshops followed by the career fair. The workshops included a presentation about net-zero programs given by staff from York’s Sustainability Office, a session focused on green job resources and a panel featuring EUC alumni. There was also a speed networking event matching alumni with groups of students for more intimate conversations. 

Participants speaking to vendor at the fair
Participants speaking to vendor at the fair

“I’m dedicated to empowering the next generation of changemakers, so it was great to invite our alumni panellists back to campus to share their career paths and discuss how EUC prepared them for the future,” said Huy. “We have 13,000 alumni worldwide and they are eager to contribute. It’s meaningful to them and to our current students.” 

The Green Career Fair itself featured booths set up by more than 20 organizations involved in environmental work, including the Toronto & Region Conservation Authority, the Community Climate Council and Outward Bound. Participating organizations focused on issues such as food insecurity, environmental policy, environmental arts and environmental education. Exhibitors showcased jobs, internships and volunteer opportunities. 

Muzamil Gadain, an alumnus who graduated from EUC in 2023, works as a project co-ordinator for the Black Environmental Initiative, an organization that works to foster change that considers cultural roots, including issues such as food security and food sovereignty. He, along with a co-worker and a volunteer, used their booth to recruit volunteers. 

“We weren’t actively hiring, but there were volunteer roles we needed to fill,” said Gadain. “About 20 volunteers signed up, so it worked very well. We also had an opportunity to network with other like-minded organizations and made some good connections. 

Muzamil Gadain and his colleagues from the Black Environmental Initiative boothing at the fair
Muzamil Gadain (left) and his colleagues from the Black Environmental Initiative boothing at the fair

“Our supervisor was very pleased to have access to university youth and we are happy to be able to help them develop their skills. Some of them have already made contributions by developing social media content and contributing to articles. It was a worthwhile event and we would definitely do it again.” 

Emma Bramante, an EUC work-study student who is majoring in sustainable environmental management, helped organize the event by doing outreach to organizations and potential employers. She also contributed to the development of marketing materials and helped to raise awareness to students, alumni and organizations. 

The high turnout delighted her and she is eager to see the Green Career Fair blossom and grow. 

“I anticipate an expansion in the scope of exhibitors, with a broader range of organizations participating, including both established environmental companies and emerging grassroots organizations and non-profits,” Bramante said. “Furthermore, I anticipate the integration of virtual components into the fair to increase accessibility and reach a wider audience beyond the local community.” 

Castelino, too, was thrilled by the interest the Green Career Fair generated. 

“I was so ecstatic to see this event come to life, and to reach more under-represented youth,” she said. “Some highlights included having three workshop presenters, four speakers, eight sponsors, 21 vendors and 300-plus attendees. I was so grateful to have the opportunity to share my knowledge through a Green Jobs Resources Workshop.” 

In June 2023, led by Castelino, Huy and Rosanna Chowdhury, the Green Career Fair was one of four applications awarded funding through the Sustainability Innovation Fund. The Faculty has now built the event into its annual budget. 

“Going forward, the fair will also give us a chance to build relationships with organizations as we develop our EUC co-op program,” Huy said. “The synergies are beautiful to see.” 

York researchers launch exhibit documenting Ontario’s wine history

grapes on a vine

York University history Professor Marcel Martel and research assistant Alex Gagné have collaborated with the Archives of Ontario to launch a new online exhibit titled Wine Making in Ontario. Through images, maps and graphs, the exhibit surveys wine production in Ontario from 1866 to 1940.

Marcel Martel
Marcel Martel

Martel and Gagné proposed the exhibit based on their surprising research findings of an active pre-Second World War wine industry that spanned the province, from Windsor to Sudbury.

“When I conduct research on an issue, there are always some unexpected discoveries,” explains Martel. “I was surprised to discover the number of wineries and wine sellers in urban areas, especially in Toronto, and the multicultural ethnic origins of wine makers and sellers, since most of them came from Britain, France, Italy and the United States.”

The exhibit shows how European settlers struggled to use Indigenous-cultivated grape varietals to make European-style wines. It examines the background of various figures in the industry, including farmers seeking wealth and international acclaim, but also Jewish and Italian migrants and women who made wine for domestic consumption. It also considers the impact of prohibition and other headwinds that ultimately delayed the industry’s flourishing until the 1990s.

Barrels at Canadian Wineries Ltd., A. McKim and Co., Niagara Falls. 1941. Photo by Gordon Powley. Archives of Ontario, I0002637
Barrels at Canadian Wineries Ltd., A. McKim and Co. in Niagara Falls, 1941. Photo by Gordon Powley. Archives of Ontario, I0002637.

“As we continued our research, we expected to find a landscape of grape growers and vintners in competition – each vying for their share of the Canadian market,” says Gagné. “Instead, we found a story of co-operation and unity among the multicultural wine makers who dotted the 19th-century Canadian landscape.”

Among their many surprising discoveries, the researchers learned that early Canadian winemakers would share grape cultivation, harvesting and hybridization secrets through publications like Canadian Agriculturist. This collaborative spirit, Gagné explains, aimed to overcome the prevailing belief that Canada’s climate wasn’t suitable for winemaking.

“They sought to convince both the government and the public to embrace Canadian wines,” he says. “While ultimately stymied by the rise of temperance movements and prohibition, their efforts revealed an industry defined by shared knowledge – and, often, even shared vine cuttings – to prove to the world that Canada was home to unique and delicious wine.”

In support of the online exhibit, the Archives of Ontario has also prepared a display of archival records and historical artifacts related to Ontario’s wine history that can viewed until fall when visiting the Archives in person at 134 Ian MacDonald Boulevard, next to the Kaneff Tower on York’s Keele Campus. The Archives is open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. every weekday.

To view the online exhibit, visit Wine Making in Ontario (or La fabrication du vin en Ontario for the French version).