Category: Calendar of Events

Announcing the 2014 Annual General Meeting

All members of the Workers’ History Museum are invited to the 2014 AGM, to be held on March 10th at 7pm (Institutional Members Caucus at 6pm). The PSAC is allowing us the use of their boardroom at 233 Gilmour Street.

According to the WHM’s by-laws:

• The Annual General Membership Meeting (AGM) will be the supreme governing body of the WHM.
• All individual members in good standing will have the right to voice and vote at the AGM.
• All institutional members in good standing will have the right to send up to two delegates with voice and vote to the AGM.


At the AGM, elections will be held for the positions of: President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary, 6 Board members at Large, 4 Institutional Board members and 3 Trustees.

Only members in good standing are eligible to run for these positions. Nominations will be held during the AGM.

Elections for Institutional members will be held, according to the provisions of the by-laws, during the Institutional members’ caucus.

Members who wish to run for one of these positions, but are unable to attend the AGM in person, may signify their intention in writing.


At the AGM any member in good standing may present a general resolution for consideration by the membership. No advance notice is required for general resolutions, but advance notice in writing is required for amendments to the by-laws..

By-law amendments

Any WHM member who wishes to propose an amendment to the Workers’ History Museum by-laws must submit the proposal in writing, with the name of the mover and seconder, to the WHM Secretary by February 22, 2014 at the latest. This may be done by mail, or by email to No change to the by-laws will be accepted at the AGM if advance notice has not been given in writing.

If you’re not yet a member of the Workers’ History Museum, but would like to have a voice at the AGM, now is the time to join! We rely on our members not just to fund our activities but also to shape the direction of the WHM. Membership forms are available at

We hope to see you there!

New Exhibit Uncovers Britannia’s Working Class History

The Workers’ History Museum is unveiling its permanent exhibit, “Britannia: The People’s Playground,” as part of the Ron Kolbus Lakeside Centre’s 21st Annual Winter Garden Party.

When: 11:30-2:00 p.m., Sunday, February 23, 2014
Where: Ron Kolbus Lakeside Centre, 102 Greenview Avenue, Ottawa
Admission: Free

“Britannia: The People’s Playground” looks at the history of this Ottawa landmark from a workers’ perspective. “In the early 20th century, Britannia Park was one of Ottawa’s greatest attractions, likened to New York’s iconic Coney Island,” explains Sanna Guérin, lead on this project and chair of the WHM’s Exhibits Committee. “For working class families living in congested urban neighbourhoods, the 5-cent fare on the Ottawa Electric Railway offered an escape to the country. It’s interesting stories like these that we strive to preserve and share as a museum.”

Visitors to the Ron Kolbus Lakeside Centre will be able to view this permanent bilingual exhibit year-round. “We have developed travelling exhibits before, but this is our first permanent exhibit,” says WHM President Bob Hatfield. “We are proud to partner with the City of Ottawa and be part of the Winter Garden Party for the second year.”

WHM representatives will be at the community booth throughout the Winter Garden Party event with more information about Britannia Park and about Ottawa’s working class history. There will also be horse-drawn sleigh rides, carnival games, hot dogs, maple-syrup taffy and much more. Winter fun both indoors and out for all ages is promised, rain, snow, or shine!

By Cydney Foote


A Winning Bid: Cal Best and the Black History Month Series 2014

12 09 28 Then and Now ConceptSeveral people have asked us about winning the grant to be a part of BAND/TD Then & Now’s Black History Month Series 2014. WHM Treasurer Barb Stewart explains how it came to pass:

“Last July, I noticed an item in the Council of Heritage Organizations in Ottawa (CHOO | COPO) newsletter about the TD Then and Now Black History Month series. They mentioned they were taking applications for projects. At that time, we had been working for six months on a project about Cal Best, a cofounder of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) who went on to become Canada’s first black High Commissioner. We decided to apply and were juried in to the final selection.

We were successful and received funding to help us take this project beyond Ottawa. Events will be held during Black History Month in Halifax, Ottawa, Calgary and Vancouver during February with one in March in Montreal.

Without the announcement in the newsletter we would not have known about this funding source or been able to bring Cal Best’s story to a wider audience.”

Our event in Ottawa starts at 7 p.m. on February 25th at the Ottawa Public Library, featuring a screening of the documentary and a panel discussion with Stephen Best (Cal Best’s son), the filmmakers, and representatives of Ottawa’s Black community. The evening will be hosted by CBC Anchorman Adrian Harewood. This event is jointly hosted by the Ottawa Public Library, BAND, TD Then & Now, the Douglas Coldwell Foundation, and the Workers’ History Museum.

Cal Best Project on Cross-Canada Tour

February is Black History Month, and we’re taking “The Cal Best Project” on the road. See our latest exhibit and documentary Simply the Best at a location near you! All events are free and include panel discussions with Mr. Best’s contemporaries and those he affected.

Thursday, February 6 at 7 pm
Halifax North Memorial Library
2285 Gottingen Street, Halifax

Tuesday, February 11 at 12 noon
Auditorium, Vancouver Community College
Broadway Campus, 1155 East Broadway, Vancouver

Wednesday, February 12 at 7 pm
Vancouver Public Library, Alice MacKay Room
300 West Georgia Street, Vancouver

Tuesday, February 18 at 6 pm
The Central Library
616 Macleod Trail SE, Calgary

Tuesday, February 25 at 7 pm
Auditorium, Ottawa Public Library, Main Branch
120 Metcalfe Street, Ottawa

Tuesday, March 11
Details TBD

Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors for making this tour possible.

12 09 28 Then and Now Concept band-logo

Celebrating Black History Month 2014

The Workers’ History Museum is proud to announce that we’ve been chosen as part of the Black History Month Series 2014, sponsored by TD Then and Now and Black Artists’ Network in Dialogue (BAND). We will be showcasing the “Cal Best Project” as part of a full schedule of activities celebrating Black history and culture.

Thanks to the generous support of TD Then and Now and BAND, we can share our exhibit on Cal Best’s life and legacy, including the documentary Simply the Best, in venues across Canada. Events in Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver will bring the life and legacy of this remarkable public figure to life.

Here in Ottawa, you can see Simply the Best on Tuesday, February 25th at 7:00 PM at the Main Branch of the Ottawa Public Library. It will be accompanied by an interpretive display and panel discussion; Adrian Harewood of CBC Ottawa is the MC for the evening. Admission is free.

Arthur Carkner, producer of the Cal Best Project, says, “Black History Month is about the history we share in this country, and I am proud to help bring attention to this great man who lived and raised his family right in our neighbourhood. I hope you come out and see this documentary in Best’s longtime home town.”

12 09 28 Then and Now Concept

Announcing the J. Calbert Best Boardroom

The Workers’ History Museum is thrilled to hear that the Public Service Alliance of Canada is naming their Halifax Regional Office Boardroom after Cal Best! The organizers credit our work for sparking renewed interest in this co-founder of their union, and ultimately leading to this decision. Our video Simply the Best and its accompanying travelling display will be shown at the official opening. We are a virtual museum with real world outcomes!


December 6th – National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

December 6th is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada. Established in 1991 by the Parliament of Canada, this day marks the anniversary of the murders in 1989 of 14 young women at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal. They died because they were women.

December 6, 2013, marks the 24th anniversary of the Montréal Massacre. As well as commemorating the 14 young women whose lives ended in an act of gender-based violence that shocked the nation, this day represents an opportunity for Canadians to reflect on the phenomenon of violence against women in our society. It is also an opportunity to consider the women and girls for whom violence is a daily reality, and to remember those who have died as a result of gender-based violence. And finally, it is a day on which communities can consider concrete actions to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.

Violence against women and girls remains a serious problem in Canada, from overt acts of hatred such as the Montréal Massacre to culturally based offences and everyday acts of coercion such as sexual harassment and domestic abuse.

Women and girls are more likely to experience certain types of serious violence and assault:
• On average, 178 females were killed every year between 1994 and 2008.
• In 2008, there were 146 female victims of homicide in Canada. Of these, 45 were victims of spousal homicide.
• Young women are particularly vulnerable. Between 1997 and 2006, young women (aged 15 to 24) were killed at a rate nearly three times higher than for all female victims of spousal homicide. During the same period, the rate of sexual assault for girls (under age 18) by family members was four times higher than for boys.

Some groups of women in Canada are particularly vulnerable to violence:
• The spousal homicide rate for Aboriginal women is more than eight times that for non-Aboriginal women.
• Immigrant women may be more vulnerable to family violence due to, among other things, economic dependence, language barriers, and lack of access to resources.
• Senior women are twice as likely as senior men to be victims of violent crime perpetrated by a family member.

Reprinted from the Status of Women Canada

Hands On: The WHM Artifacts Workshop

On Saturday, November 30, the Workers’ History Museum welcomed Masters’ students associated with the Carleton Centre for Public History (CCPH) to our new storage unit for an artifacts workshop. Students were able to handle and assess objects that we are currently considering for accessioning (the formal, legal process that the WHM goes through whenever we accept an object into our collection). Objects included cobbler’s tools, office equipment such as a comptometer, and union apparel. The completed documentation will be used by the Artifacts Acquisition Working Group, part of the Exhibits and Education Committee, to help the WHM formally accession its first artifacts in the new year.

Students also had an opportunity to practice oral history skills by interviewing two of the object donors. This information will help the WHM determine whether the artifacts meet our mandate and can serve a purpose within the collection. The museum will have three kinds of artifact collections: objects for display, objects for reference, and objects for education, such as with schools and public programming.

This was the second workshop that partnered the WHM with the CCPH, and instruction was provided by Lindsay Harasymchuk, who heads the working committee, as well as by Sanna Guérin, chair of the Exhibits and Education Committee.

The WHM thanks the students for attending the workshop and assisting in this very important work. As well, the WHM gratefully thanks the CCPH for its continued support.

By Sanna Guérin

Adrian Harewood to host Cal Best launch

Adrian Harewood, News Anchor at CBC News Ottawa, will join the Workers’ History Museum for a celebration of the life and legacy of Cal Best. Mr. Harewood will be our Master of Ceremonies at the Ottawa launch of the WHM’s exciting new project – including the premiere of our film Simply the Best – during Black History Month next year.

“The Cal Best Project” – created with the generous support of the Public Service Alliance of Canada and the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists – highlights an important but too often overlooked part of Black history: the activism required to change society for the better. From his early days as a reporter covering the controversial Viola Desmond case to his tenure as Canada’s first Black High Commissioner, Best’s efforts are brought to life through interviews, archival footage, and contemporary news accounts. A special focus on Best’s commitment to a more inclusive public service examines his efforts as co-founder and president of the Civil Service Association of Canada (the precursor to today’s Public Service Alliance of Canada) and highlights the debt that thousands of Canadian public servants owe him even today.

Stay tuned for more details about this exciting event, coming in February 2014!

The Canadian Labour International Film Festival 2013

When: 7pm, November 29th
Where: 233 Gilmour Street (PSAC Headquarters)
Cost: Free!

The Workers’ History Museum is proud to host Ottawa’s Canadian Labour International Film Festival. This successful festival, now in its fifth year, has brought independent films about working people to cities throughout Canada. This year, we’re bringing these stories home to Ottawa!

Please join us on November 29th for the Ottawa CLiFF, featuring the following films:

Ann Kore Moun – Solidarite se chimen devlopman
2012 • 35 Minutes • Haitian Créole (English subtitles)
Directed by André Vanasse
What are unions for? Haitian union leaders explain the role of unions and why civil society is necessary for a country to develop itself. The documentary shows unions in action, in different sectors of society like the peasantry, schools, hospitals, transportation, municipal services, garment factories In Haiti’s free zones. Social protection, public services and the necessity of the rule of law are also discussed.

Union Style
2013 • 3 Minutes • English
Directed by Corinne Baumgarten
This is a light educational video about the importance of unions in general, their history and the current state of unions in Canada. It is a parody of Gangnam Style.

Tough to Swallow: Meals that Sparked a Seniors Revolt
2012 • 14 Minutes • English
Directed by Carla Bridgewater
In 2010, Alberta Health Services began shutting down full-service kitchens in all facilities with fewer than 125 beds and replacing them with so-called “heat and serve” equipment, where pre-cooked food was trucked in, reheated and served to patients and residents. The new food was described as ‘terrible,’ ‘inedible,’ and memorably, ‘dog food,’ but AHS just wasn’t listening to residents or their families. This film takes you under cover with John Gilchrist, noted food expert, author and critic, to expose the truth about the 21-day menu. Following production of this film and the subsequent coverage in conventional media, the Alberta Legislature ordered Alberta Health Services to reverse this policy.

A Struggle to Remember: Fighting for our Families
2012 • 20 Minutes • English (English and French subtitles)
Directed by Aaron Floresco
This film explores how Canadian feminists, unionists and political activists built a potent coalition, mobilized public opinion and achieved vast improvements in maternity leave and other family leave benefits.

We’ll also treat you to a sneak preview of the WHM’s latest documentary, Simply the Best.

The festival takes place at 233 Gilmour Street. Doors open at 7pm; the films begin at 7:30pm. It is a free event. Please contact to reserve tickets.

Thanks to our generous sponsors for their support of this event.

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