Funded Projects

With assistance from Canada’s Sesquicentennial Initiatives Fund, the Canada 150 Student Fund @UofT and the U of T Scarborough Canada 150 Fund, the following initiatives will be taking place during the 2017 calendar year.

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Faculty/Librarian Fund
Student Fund
U of T Scarborough Fund

Canada’s Sesquicentennial Initiatives Fund Projects – Faculty/Librarian

2017 Conference: Canadian Engineering Education Association

The University of Toronto will host the Canadian Engineering Education Association’s annual conference, providing an opportunity to bring engineering educators from across Canada together to celebrate the importance of engineering education in Canada. The conference provides a mechanism for examining the importance of cultivating innovation in engineering students, and recognizing the role of diversity, both in terms of participants and educational approaches, in engineering education. Alongside a set of diverse themes in engineering education, participants will present work on the evolution of engineering education since confederation, and how innovation in engineering and engineering education has contributed to our evolution as a nation. Student-directed videos with a focus on the history of Canada and the role of Engineering and Engineering Education in that history will be played daily during the conference, further celebrating the importance of engineering to our country.

Contact: Lisa Romkey/Greg Evans 

Website: Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry


Borders, Boundaries, and the Future of Canadian Society

During our sesquicentennial, Canadians will repeatedly be asked to consider who we really are. While historians, literary critics, musicians, and artists will help us answer that question, social scientists can also contribute significantly to the discussion. In particular, the interdisciplinary field of border studies has much to say about how the permeability of Canada’s borders and Canadians’ personal boundaries influence our identity, governmentality, and security. This symposium will assemble leading geographers, political scientists, and sociologists in the field of border studies to analyze the contested Arctic, the securitization of the Canada/US border, and the Internet’s threat to Canadians’ personal security. Debate will centre on disagreements between globalists (who see boundaries becoming more permeable for people, goods, capital, and information) and territorialists (who argue that borders are being extended and strengthened, mainly for security reasons).

Contact: Anna Slavina/Robert Brym

Canada 150: Music and Belonging

This conference will be held in the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto from Thursday, May 25th to Saturday, May 27th, 2017. All four of the scholarly societies in Canada devoted to music will be participating: the Canadian University Music Society; the Canadian Association of Music Libraries, Archives, and Documentation Centres; the Canadian Society for Traditional Music; and the International Association for the Study of Popular Music, Canada branch. The members of these four societies collectively study the history and contemporary state of the creation, performance, and preservation of all types of music in Canada, including traditional, popular, jazz, folk, and classical repertoires. The conference will include papers, plenary sessions, special guest speakers, and performances: there will be something of interest for everyone with an interest in music in Canada.

Contact: Robin Elliott 

Website: Institute for Canadian Music, Faculty of Music, University of Toronto


Canada at the Centennial and Sesquicentennial Marks: Transformative Policy Then and Now

The School of Public Policy and Governance, Massey College, the Institute for Research on Public Policy and potentially additional partners across Canada, will bring together academic experts, provincial and federal officials, media commentators and others engaged in the policy process for a two-day conference, with a resulting publication, on the theme of “Transformative Policy Ideas for Canada at 150: are there lessons from the centennial era? What have we learned in the time since? What are the big policy ideas for our time?” Canada’s centennial marked the symbolic highpoint of an era in which public policy was transformed in areas of defining importance. After that transformative burst, public policy-making entered a long period of pragmatism and managerialism – adequate to most but not all of the country’s emerging policy challenges. In 2017, the issues to be addressed – regarding diversity and inclusion, technological and economic shifts, indigenous peoples, natural resources, and the requirements of a “sharing community” – require a transformative re-thinking of public policy akin to what occurred in the 1960s – a renewal of the Canadian federation and its social and economic policy frames.

Contact: Carolyn Tuohy

Website: School of Public Policy & Governance


Canada By Treaty: Histories of a Negotiated Place

On April 27th, 2017, the Canada By Treat: Histories of a Negotiated Place exhibit will launch at the Reading Room of Hart House in the University of T. The four-week exhibit will explore treaties, those legal agreements with Indigenous peoples that allowed non-Indigenous people to live on and own land in what is now Canada. The exhibit responds to the 150th anniversary of Confederation by explaining in accessible language the long history of treaty making, and how and why these agreements were essential to the foundation of modern Canada. Co-curated by fourth year undergraduate James Bird, Nehiyawak (Cree), Indigenous Studies and Architecture, and Department of History Professors Laurie Bertram and Heidi Bohaker, the exhibit draws on content created by students in Professor Bohaker’s Fall 2016 joint fourth year/graduate seminar “Canada By Treaty.”

Contact: Heidi Bohaker 

Website: History


Collecting our Collections: Assuring access, integration, and preservation for the University of Toronto Collections in Science, Technology, and Health

The “Collecting our Collections” Sesquicentennial project, supported by the Faculty of Medicine, commemorates Canada’s history through developing a catalogued collection of objects related to the history of research and teaching within the interrelated domains of science, medicine, and technology. Established in the decades before Confederation, the University of Toronto has become one of the world’s leading universities and a major hub of Canadian research.

Over the past century and a half, various bodies within the University of Toronto have accumulated numerous independent collections—important, though largely inaccessible and unknown, material evidence of Canada’s development in a multitude of areas. This project begins the process of uniting these disparate collections into a single online catalogue based on that of the existing University of Toronto Scientific Instruments Collection ( The result will provide an important resource for both Canadian and international researchers.

Contact: Pier Bryden/Erich Weidenhammer 

Website: Psychiatry


Crossing Scarborough: Nation, Migration & Place-Making between the TRC and the 150

Together the call for national reconciliation of the TRC and Canada’s Sesquicentennial are an opportunity to critically examine the ways in which migration scholars have participated in obscuring Indigenous history and presence from the social science landscape. They lead us to question how the conceptual and methodological axioms of migration studies have limited our ability to comprehend place making and belonging beyond the national imaginary and the identity formation projects of nationalism. The empirical focus for this interdisciplinary project will be present day Scarborough: a region variably known as Ganatsekwyagon (1600s), Glasgow (1793), Scarborough (1796), Scarberia (1960s), Scarlem (1990s), and a Multicultural Immigrant Gateway (2000s). Scarborough’s layered and complex history of migrations, crossings and “settlements.” are emblematic of the tensions between competing projects of (diasporic) nationhood, in/visibilization, subjugation and differential inclusion. The Scarborough Crossings project will include a 1-day conference, the production of podcasts of place making by UTSC sociology undergraduates, and a first stories walking tour of the UTSC campus and Dawes Crossing.

Contact: Patricia Landolt/Paloma Villegas 

Website: Sociology UTSC


Hearing Riel

This interdisciplinary symposium on the occasion of the Canadian Opera Company’s new Sesquicentennial (all-Canadian) production of Harry Somers and Mavor Moore’s 1967 (centennial commissioned) opera, Louis Riel, investigates the work, its fraught historical subject matter, and its political implications for today. As part of our urban outreach and partnership with the Canadian Opera Company, this interdivisionally collaborative symposium (Music, Arts&Science, Munk School) tackles a subject central to Canadian identity, both historical and current. Sung in Cree, English and French, the opera focuses on the controversial and compelling figure of Louis Riel––rebel or patriot, visionary or madman? Other timely themes include the rights and responsibilities of the individual vs. those of the nation, and what constitutes good and accountable government—issues that still resonate with Canadians 150 years after our nation’s founding.

Contact: Sherry Lee 

Website: Faculty of Music

Mikinaakominis / TransCanadas Literature, Institutions, Redress, Relation

Mikinaakominis (Turtle Island) / TransCanadas brings together storytellers, poets, novelists, creative non-fiction writers, critics, and interdisciplinary practioners to expand the ongoing dialogue about the relationship of Canadian literatures to land, Indigenous resurgences, and Black, Muslim, Asian and other racialized subjectivities in the context of global human, nonhuman, economic, social, and ecological shifts. At both individual and collective levels, with a particular focus on developing decolonizing practices in the public sphere and in the humanities, Mikinaakominis / TransCanadas asks the hard questions that need to be asked now and attempts some provisional answers in the form of story, critique, poem, and experiment.

Contact: Smaro Kamboureli

Website: English


Permanently Under Construction: Immigration and Canadian Nation Building

Canada, with one of the highest per capita immigration rates in the world, pursues immigration as part of a continuing nation-building project. This interdisciplinary conference will probe legal, artistic, and historical dimensions of the Canadian immigrant experience. Showcasing the expertise of scholars and students at the University of Toronto, the conference will foster future networks and collaborations across disciplines by bringing together the perspectives of lawyers, artists, social scientists, and historians. They will address the constraints, opportunities, and challenges presented by Canada’s historical trajectory as a settler society and its future in a dynamic global environment where states compete to attract some immigrants, repel others, and grapple with forces that propel transborder movement beyond the control of the nation-state.

Contact: Nelson Wiseman 

Website: Political Science


Struggle and Story: Canada in Print

To commemorate the Sesquicentennial of Confederation, the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library is mounting the exhibition ‘Struggle and Story: Canada in Print’ running from March to August 2017. Using primary sources, the exhibition will trace Canada’s social history from the period of exploration to the first generation after Confederation. It will showcase rare Canadiana including Hennepin’s first depiction of Niagara Falls; Owen Stanley’s illustrated diary from the Erebus and Terror expedition of the Arctic; early records of the often-times tragic contact with the Indigenous peoples; the correspondence of General Wolfe; and records documenting the work of the Fathers of Confederation. A final section will deal with the struggle of immigrants to integrate into the fabric of the nation from the 17th to the late 19th century, a timely reflection of the struggle that continues today.

Contact: Megan Campbell/Anne Dondertman

Website: Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library

Read more about the exhibit at U of T News

The Hansard @ 150: A Parliamentary-Eye View of Canada’s Past

The transcript of Parliamentary Debates (“Hansard”) is a 150-year running record of Canadian political history. From the Riel Rebellions to the War in Afghanistan, from the Indian Act to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Hansard captures a parliamentarian’s-eye view of every major political moment that the country has faced.  Traditionally, this richness has presented a needle-in-a-haystack problem for researchers.  At a rate of a novel’s worth of reading each day, it would take 27 years to read the 680 million words of Hansard. It would take a further 6 years to read what was added in the interim.

The digitization of the historical Hansard opens a new frontier of research. “The Hansard @ 150” assembles a panel of political historians, digital humanists, and computer scientists who are bringing new tools to bear on the study of Canadian parliament.

Contact: Christopher Cochrane 

Website: University of Toronto Scarborough


The Play’s the Thing! Celebrating Five Decades of Drama at U of T

University of Toronto’s Hart House is the birthplace of Canadian Theatre. It is also the original home of the Drama Centre, which is celebrating its Golden Anniversary in conjunction with the nation’s Sesquicentennial.

On April 23rd, 2017, guests will be invited to a Gala at Hart House’s Great Hall to experience a Shakespearean Birthday Banquet. Canadian and international directors will delight and thrill visitors with their staging of short Shakespearean scenes performed by current students as well as by alumni of the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies now working in the professional theatre world.

Contact: Pia Kleber/Paul J. Stoesser/Tamara Trojanowska 

Website: Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies


Toronto’s Changing Language Landscape 1867 – 2017

The linguistic landscape of Canada has changed dramatically since 1867: once vibrant indigenous languages now struggle for their existence; English has grown to national and world dominance; language laws have been introduced to promote the bilingual nature of the country; immigrants have brought over 100 new languages to our cities.  The voices heard on Toronto’s streets cities today are very different than those heard in 1867.

To investigate and debate these ongoing changes, the Department of Linguistics will present three workshops during 2017.  Each workshop will bring scholars together to focus on different aspects of language in Toronto today:  the affects of urbanization on indigenous languages; the impact of immigrant languages; variation in English in the Toronto region. Each workshop will feature an invited speaker and will be accompanied by a thematically linked exhibit from the Canadian Language Museum.

Contact: Elaine Gold/Keren Rice

Website: Department of Linguistics


Under The Influence: The Impact of Canadian Historic Artists on the Country’s Contemporary Visual Culture

“Under The Influence: The Impact of Canadian Historic Artists on the Country’s Contemporary Visual Culture” is a fourth-year undergraduate seminar in the Department of Art that explores how the work of 25 of the nation’s leading contemporary artists are influenced by seminal figures in Canadian art history. The seminar concludes with the creation of an online catalogue (presented in French and English) and exhibition, which will reach an anticipated audience of 300,000 viewers. This initiative re-frames the conversation about historic and contemporary art, placing Canadian heritage and research at the University of Toronto on the international stage in honour of the country’s 150th anniversary of Confederation. It makes Canadian art history a contemporary conversation at a critical moment in the country’s history and creates an unprecedented volume of research that demonstrates the university’s status as nation-building institution for the twenty-first century.

Contact: Elizabeth Legge/Sara Angel

Website: History of Art

Canada 150 Student Fund @UofT Projects

150 Years Music to my Ears

Siblings Hasna, Hana, Sarah and Bilal Syed sing together as the band, DEYS (YouTube Channel: DEYSofficial). They will be composing a song and creating a music video to celebrate Canada’s Sesquicentennial. The Syed Siblings have decided to make this a collaborative video involving Canadians of all ages and abilities to showcase everything Canada and its people have to offer. This feel-good tune will unite Canadians in celebration of our country’s anniversary and instill a greater sense of patriotism!

YouTube video:

Facebook page/post:

Song Streaming/Download:

Apple Music:
Google Play:
& other digital platforms

Contact: Hana Syed


Afro-Canadian Gala: A celebration and interpretation of 150 years of Canada’s Black History

As we approach Canada’s 150th birthday, Black History in a Canadian context will be illuminated through a University of Toronto lens. A gala will be thrown to showcase the Afro-canadian history and experience through poetry, art and music. A poetry rewrite of the Constitution of Canada from an Africadian (African-Nova Scotian) interpretation of the Charter of Rights and Freedom will be written and recited by the 7th Parliamentary Poet Laureate, George Elliot Clarke. In addition, artwork and poetry will be presented by  Afro-Futurist, Komi Olaf, on themes and concerns of the African diaspora through a techno-culture and science fiction lens.

Click here to register for the event.

Contact: Malia Omale/Bukama Muntu


Annual Graduate History Symposium – 150 Years of Confederation

The Annual Graduate History Symposium (AGHS) is a graduate student conference in the Department of History. This year’s conference is dedicated to commemorating the 150th year of Canadian Confederation. In addition to a series of panels on the broader themes surrounding Confederation (for example: state formation, nations and nationalism, colonialism, constitution-making, memory and commemoration, and so on), the symposium will feature a keynote address and a round table session that deals explicitly with 1867. The conference will be open to both undergraduate students and TSDB high school students.

Contact: Kassandra Luciuk 

Canadian Identities / Canadian Stories

On October 5th, 2017, ARTSIDEOUT will be hosting their 10th annual multi-disciplinary arts festival held at the University of Toronto, Scarborough. Artsideout: Collected Stories will focus on exploring the complexities of historical and contemporary Canadian identities. By supporting the creation of multi-disciplinary art works, the festival will cultivate rich and diverse narratives found within our communities. This year, we invite artists, storytellers, students, and everyone who calls Toronto home to unite in the reflection and celebration of our journeys.

Artsideout, in celebration of Canada’s 150, invites participation in Canadian Identities: a Series of Storytelling. This series celebrates the multiplicities of nationalism and heritage through diverse ways of storytelling. Events include: story time with the N’Sheemaehn Daycare, ‘Human Library’ style storytelling focused on Canadian identity, narrative performances, and guided tours in the UTSC valley focused on the history of the Canadian landscape.

Contact: Kali Banner

Discovering Toronto’s Healthcare History Mentorship Project: Preserving Objects and Bodies in a Digital Era

For well over a hundred years, Canadian healthcare practitioners, medical historians, and museum workers have gathered and exhibited objects related to the material culture of health history. The “Discovering Toronto’s Healthcare History Mentorship Program” gives upper year high school students the opportunity to explore this history, through guiding them through the process of selecting, studying, and cataloguing materials related to Toronto’s medical legacy. The program is structured as a series of eight monthly workshops, with each workshop focusing on a key academic skill related to the research and writing process. Students will be assisted by librarians, curators, healthcare professionals, and graduate student mentors who will provide project participants with additional support, resources and feedback. At the end of the program, students will present their findings at the symposium (Im)material Culture: Health History Collections in a Digital Era, scheduled for November 2017.

Contact: Sarah Qidwai/Jennifer Fraser


Imagining 150: the ethics of Canada’s Sesquicentennial

Imagining 150 is an interdisciplinary graduate conference inquiring into the ethical dimensions of Canada’s Sesquicentennial. Canada’s 150 presents a valuable opportunity for ethical reflection and critical assessment, both of the anniversary, and the idea of Canada itself.  In April 2017 the graduate associates at the Centre for Ethics will host a two day interdisciplinary conference to explore the multiplicity of ethical questions this celebration prompts, inviting graduate students from the University of Toronto and the wider Canadian academic community to present work from across the humanities and social sciences. With faculty discussants and a public keynote, this diverse interdisciplinary conversation will allow for both Canada specific examinations of nationhood, history, memory, and belonging, but also invite international case studies that will comparatively highlight important moments of critical inquiry.  For students and members of the University of Toronto community who attend this conference it will be an indispensible opportunity to meet across disciplines and to use the shared questions of ethics to think carefully through what Canadian poet Al Purdy called “the more easily kept illusions.”

Contact: Judith Brunton


In Conversation with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s Canada Mosaic Initiative

As part of Canada’s upcoming sesquicentennial celebrations, the federal government has awarded the Toronto Symphony Orchestra $7.5 million to prepare a “national musical celebration” in 2017. This is one of the largest federally-funded Canadian music initiatives our nation has ever witnessed. With the support of the Canada 150 Student Fund @ UofT, and in partnership with the classical music web-magazine Musical Toronto, I will interview various musicians, composers and other individuals involved with the TSO Canada Mosaic initiative between January and April 2017. This series will explore issues related to the current state of Canadian music and how this national musical celebration is playing a unique role in reconnecting Canadians with both their music and their national identity.

Read the interviews with Alain Lefèvre and Russell Braun.

Contact: Nick Godsoe


Past and Present Reflections on a Canada’s (Sequi)Centennial Opera

Combining the perspectives of performers, scholars, and community leaders, this podcast series on Louis Riel will examine the man and the opera in the context of the 1885 rebellions, 1967 Centennial opera and upcoming 2017 COC production. The podcasts will be used as a pedagogical tool for students in HMU 240, Music of North America to re-contextualize themes of community, rebellion, exile and diversity in the opera. Additionally, the podcasts will contribute to the ongoing discussions among First Nations and Metis on Louis Riel, as well as the impact of Louis Riel’s voice on all Canadians. Finally, after 2017 and the conclusion of C150 celebrations, this series will serve as an archive of the dialogue and perspectives surrounding Louis Riel and Canada’s Sesquicentennial activities.

Contact: Taryn Jackson/Louis Riel Podcast

Website: UofTMusicicm/@RielOperaTalk

Listen to the Louis Riel podcast
Read more about the Louis Riel podcast at U of T News

Sounds of Silence

The Sounds of Silence will bring together 15 composer, 15 poets, and 15 singers in celebration of the Sesquicentennial Anniversary of Canadian Confederation. Together they will collaborate to produce 15 new performance pieces that tell the story of a diverse Canadian cultural identity. While the composers and singers are students at the University of Toronto, the poets are all members of underrepresented and often repressed communities in the Greater Toronto Area. This project will give a platform on which the diverse voices of Indigenous, immigrant, and LGBT communities can be heard. For with music will will give voice to those who have been silenced.

Contact: Daniel Robinson

Read more about Sounds of Silence at U of T News

TEDxUTSC 2017 Conference

The annual conference of TEDxUTSC provides an unique and inspirational experience for students to learn from the thought leaders and engage the UTSC community through the dissemination of ideas worth spreading.  Speakers from diverse disciplines and backgrounds will be delivering our TEDx talks at UTSC in a one-day conference.

Contact: Grace Lu


Recipes for Belonging

Canada’s history contains millions of stories, each one weaving itself into our country’s fabric. As we mark this country’s 150th year of Confederation, we invite you to contribute your stories to Recipes for Belonging, a project that collects the tales people have to tell about what it means to belong in Toronto and Canada.

We want people to reveal the things that make them feel at home, and those that make them feel like outsiders. We hope to glean the “ingredients” that contribute to making people feel like they belong.

This project lives online, and will culminate in a series of stories featuring the authentic voices of the people we talk to. We look forward to seeing you at one of our events to share your stories while sampling some delicious foods. Connect with us via email,, and project blog,

Contact: Sarah Aranha/Miya Djuric


The Wisdom Photo Project

The Wisdom Photo Project will commemorate Canada’s 150th anniversary through the narrated photo stories of its aging individuals with the aim of exploring discourses around aging and to encourage intergenerational engagement. The project will highlight Canada’s momentum over the last 150 years with respect to supporting successful aging through a photo display of seniors from across Canada and their perspectives on what it means to age positively in Canada.

The Wisdom exhibition will take place at the National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly’s annual conference at the Faculty of Social Work on July 4th, 2017 to coincide with Canada’s 150th anniversary. It will feature 150 photographs of older adults narrated by their words on aging in Canada. Visitors will be encouraged to use the onsite photo booth to add their own photos to the exhibit. Following the exhibit, the photos will be hosted at various on-campus venues and archived online.

Contact: Erin Relyea

Website: Wisdom Photo 150 Initiative

UTEA Timelapse Speaker Series

Throughout Canada’s sesquicentennial, the University of Toronto Environmental Action (UTEA) is hosting a Timelapse Speaker Series that focuses on environmental issues such as climate change, climate politics, and sustainable clean water. The series will also highlight innovations that point to a brighter future, and how we can contribute to a future Canada that is healthier and preserved for the next generation.

Contact: Nancy Xue

U of T Scarborough Canada 150 Funded Projects

Solar System Scale Model

A team of faculty members, postdocs, graduate and undergraduate students have proposed the installation of a scale model of the solar system at U of T Scarborough, with planets placed at the exact locations they were in on July 1, 1867.  The model celebrates the Confederation of Canada in both space and time, using the positions of celestial objects.  Markers at each location will include a description of the planet as well as its cultural relevance in both Western and Aboriginal culture.

Contact: Professor Hanno Rein, Department of Physical & Environmental Science


Strengthening Ties: Aboriginal Film Festival

A series of film screenings accompanied by facilitated discussion serves as a platform to strengthen the relationship of past, present and future First Nations with the U of T Scarborough community.

Contact: Mahnoor Leghari/Clair Calaug


Strengthening Ties: Campus Signage

Bringing to life the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, this proposal aims to strengthen the relationship of Canada’s First Nations and the U of T Scarborough community by following the example of the Ogimaa Mikana initiative, which reclaims and renames streets. This initiative will bring a presence of Indigenous people and culture into city streets surrounding the campus, to U of T Scarborough’s named pathways, and with the installation of directional signage presented as public art.

Contact: Mahnoor Leghari/Clair Calaug


Tour de Scarborough

A guided bicycle tour through Scarborough showcases local points of historical and cultural interest.

Contact: Tim Lang

Website: U of T Scarborough Sustainability Office