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On Canada Day, celebrate 'lost stories' from coast to coast to coast

Concordia professor Ronald Rudin receives $235,000 in federal funding for his documentary project
June 29, 2016
By Cléa Desjardins

Honourable Mélanie Joly: “I invite Canadians in communities all across the country to take part.”

The stories of historical figures like Laura Secord and Louis Riel are well known to many Canadians. But there are thousands more tales out there, about important people who have changed the country in their own way.

Ronald Rudin, a professor in Concordia’s Department of History, has received funding from the federal Department of Canadian Heritage to unearth some of these lesser-known stories in time for Canada Day 2017.

Rudin, who is the co-director of the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling, was awarded one of only 35 grants from the federal government for national initiatives to mark the 150th anniversary of Canada in 2017.

The $235,000 in funding will support the Lost Stories project that he directs, and which involves historians, artists and filmmakers from across the country.

“The project collects little-known stories about the Canadian past, transforms them into pieces of public art on appropriate sites, and documents the process by way of a series of short films available in English, French and other appropriate languages,” Rudin says.

“Along the way, viewers learn about neglected Canadians, and see what happens when their stories are turned into physical objects.”

Do you know of a noteworthy Canadian?

The pilot episode for the project — about Thomas Widd, founder of the Mackay School for the Deaf (now the Mackay Centre School) — focuses on the Montreal area, but Rudin intends for the next batch to reveal the stories of Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

He is now soliciting pitches from anyone in the country who has an interesting — and little known — story to tell.

“Between Canada's 149th birthday this Friday and Labour Day in September, I’m hoping that Canadians from all across the country will get in touch via email, Twitter or Facebook to contribute their Lost Stories,” says Rudin.

Four submissions will be selected and handed over to artists to create works of public art, which will be inaugurated during the summer of 2017 — around the same time that Canada will celebrate its 150th birthday.

Later in 2017, four documentary films will be launched on the project website. There will also be educational resources connected to the four stories and to the process of remembering the past in public.

For the Honourable Mélanie Joly, minister of Canadian Heritage, the Lost Stories project is an important part of the 150th anniversary of Confederation, which she says "will be a unique opportunity for Canadians to celebrate the outstanding contributions of our communities and the wealth of our heritage.”

Joly is hopeful that a wide range of people will submit ideas. "I invite Canadians in communities all across the country to take part in this exciting project and share their stories so that our rich and remarkable history can be passed down to future generations and inspire them.”

Share your Lost Stories with Concordia history professor Ron Rudin via
email, Twitter or Facebook.


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