History and Identity
Sara MICKLE of Ontario, whose “greatest passion … was the preservation of Canada’s past,” believed that historical knowledge fostered a sense of patriotism:
“She was … involved with the Women’s Canadian Historical Society of Toronto, established in 1895 by Sarah Anne Curzon [
“While Mickle made local history her focus of interest, her goal throughout was to provide Canadians with reminders of their place in something larger: the British empire. Believing that ‘the need for true patriotism is great,’ she chose research subjects that demonstrated loyalist values. For her, history was not simply a vocation; it was a public-spirited pursuit and an expression of the desire of her generation of native-born, upper-middle-class women to play a role in the formation of Canadian identity.”
Quebec historian Henri-Raymond CASGRAIN had a different definition of “true patriotism”:
“As a historian, Casgrain had neither the impartiality nor the exactitude of a Garneau or a Ferland. He was not objective in his interpretation of facts and analysis of documents. Both as critic and as author he looked at history from the viewpoint of a Catholic and a French Canadian, highlighting religious values and extolling the patriotism of French Canadians. Nevertheless, he holds an important place among historians of his time, for he made his narratives lively and presented well-constructed, coherent texts.”
For more information on the ways in which history was used to promote different versions of Canadian patriotism, please consult the following biographies.