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New Tom Thomson Book

May 30, 2016

Cover of book about Tom Thomson

Historian Gregory Klages was the research director for our popular history mystery Death on a Painted Lake: The Tom Thomson Tragedy. We’re excited to tell you his new book, The Many Deaths of Tom Thomson, was published by Dundurn in May 2016. This new publication is a wonderful resource for teachers and students interested in the mysterious death of the now-famous artist, and experienced outdoorsman, who paddled away on a fishing trip in 1917 and never returned. What happened to Tom Thomson? The new book is a great read, and a useful companion for the mystery website created by Klages and the Mystery Team. Klages obtained a Ph.D. from York University, and currently teaches in the History Department at the University of Guelph (Guelph-Humber campus). He is a nationally-recognized expert on the Tom Thomson mystery.

Conference Presentation

Nov 14, 2015

New Orleans english poster

Merna Forster, Executive Director of the Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History project, presented a workshop at an international conference in New Orleans. The session “True Detective Classrooms: Investigating the Lost Franklin Expedition” was given at the annual conference of the National Council for the Social Studies.

New Franklin Mystery Website

May 25, 2015

How could one of the most advanced scientific missions of the 19th century fail so badly? The doomed 1845 Franklin expedition was the equivalent in its time of sending humans to the moon. What happened to the expedition has puzzled historians and the public ever since and last September’s discovery of the nearly intact hull of one of Franklin’s two ships adds new questions to the mystery. Now schoolchildren and sleuths of every age are invited to help crack this case—one of the coldest cases of all.

On June 4 in Ottawa, on the 170th anniversary of the first full day at sea of the British mission to find the Northwest Passage, the University of Victoria officially launched “The Franklin Mystery: Life and Death in the Arctic,” the 13th website in the award-winning Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History, a national teaching project used in over 50 countries and by nearly 2,500 students every day.

poster

UVic history professor and project co-director Dr. John Lutz says last fall’s discovery of HMS Erebus “solves one mystery but opens up many more. Why did the crew abandon the ship, or did they? What happened to the other ship, HMS Terror, and its crew? How could both crews with three year’s provisions not survive when the local Inuit could live off the land? Was cannibalism, a part of the Inuit oral testimony, really the unfortunate finale for these men? This is an ongoing detective story, which is what the Great Unsolved Mysteries is all about.”

A project based in the Department of History at UVic and involving a team of historians, archaeologists, educators and other specialists across the country, the ‘whodunit’ approach of Great Unsolved Mysteries breathes new life into old stories of intrigue. History sleuths work with primary historical documents and high-quality interactive teaching materials of, on average, 100,000 words per mystery; crime scene reconstructions, as well as activities and historical interpretations by experts; and a webquest-style portal which offers short but powerful lessons for middle and high school students to encourage critical thinking about history. The national bilingual project is designed for students from junior high to university but is also used by younger students, history buffs and mystery lovers alike. The Franklin Mystery will be available in English and French, with an additional instructional package available in Inuktitut.

“This project is experiential learning at its best,” adds Lutz. “We literally put the magnifying glass into the hands of students, using these 13 websites to help make Canadian history exciting, real and totally engaging. History is too important to be boring, and these mysteries are too intriguing to be left to historians alone.”

The Great Unsolved Mysteries is guided by three co-directors: Dr. Ruth Sandwell at the University of Toronto, who helped establish the project; Dr. Peter Gossage of Concordia University; and Lutz, also a co-originator. Research director for the new mystery site is historian Lyle Dick, a former president of the Canadian Historical Association.

The primary partners with UVic in the Franklin Mystery are the Government of Nunavut Department of Education, Parks Canada, the Library and Archives of Canada and Concordia University. The 13th mystery project was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council through the Partnership Development Grants as part of the series of 13 mysteries.

Minister of Education Paul Quassa
The Honourable Paul Quassa, Minister of Education for Nunavut

See full University of Victoria Media Release

Franklin

You are cordially invited to the launch of The Franklin Mystery: life and death in the Arctic, the latest addition to the Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History on the website canadianmysteries.ca.

Thursday, June 4, 2015
10:00 a.m. to noon
Auditorium, Library and Archives Canada
395 Wellington Street

Ottawa

Welcome by Guy Berthiaume, Deputy Head and Librarian and Archivist of Canada

Launch of the new educational mystery about the fate of the Franklin Expedition, with presentations by Parks Canada, and historians Louie Kamookak and  Lyle Dick.

Performances by Ken Lavigne and Ottawa Inuit Children’s Centre. Reception to follow.

Ken Lavigne

The award winning Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History project is a consortium of Canadian universities and cultural institutions which provides engaging historical curriculum free to Canadian high schools and universities.

Tickets (no charge): http://www.eventbrite.ca/e/launch-of-the-franklin-mystery-life-and-death-in-the-arctic-tickets-17100674578

November 2014: Franklin Mystery Website Underway

Painting of Franklin Expedition by W. Thomas Smith (National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London)

The discovery of the HMS Erebus made headlines around the world. British archaeologist William Battersby described the find as "the biggest archaeological discovery the world has seen since the opening of Tutankhamun's tomb almost 100 years ago."

Though the GUMICH team is now busy making revisions to the mystery website to include references to the discovery of the HMS Erebus, the project is expected to be completed on schedule in 2015. The Franklin Mystery: life and death in the Arctic, will be launched in Ottawa in early June 2015.

October 2014: Chilcotin War in the News

Tsilhqotin War Song sung at Lhatassain (Klatsassin) Memorial Day, October 26, 2003 at Fish Trap (Liam Haggerty, GUMICH)

A team working for the Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History (GUMICH) is busy developing a new mystery website about the disappearance of Sir John Franklin’s 1845 expedition, sent from England to find a Northwest Passage to the Pacific through the Canadian Arctic. Research and web development was well underway when the team heard the exciting news that Parks Canada archaeologists discovered the wreck of one of Franklin’s ships on September 7, 2014. Parks Canada soon identified the ship as the HMS Erebus.

In recent months there has been a lot of media coverage about land claims made by the Tsilhqot’in People in British Columbia. A recent Supreme Court Decision granted aboriginal title to the lands at issue in the web site “We Do Not Know His Name: Klatssasin and the Chilcotin War.” You can check out these articles about the court decision and the apology of the provincial government of British Columbia to the Tsilhqot’in people for hanging six war chiefs.

If you would like to investigate the history of this case, be sure to check out Media Bias: The Chilcotin War (MysteryQuest4). This is a critical challenge for students ages 14-16, related to the mystery website We Do Not Know His Name: Klatsassin & the Chilcotin War. The webquest includes complete instructions, primary documents, activity sheets, and evaluation forms.

Students are asked to assess the degree to which the newspapers in 1864 fairly reported this violent conflict between whites and First Nations peoples — the bloodiest single such incident to take place on Canadian soil. Prior to examining documents related to the Chilcotin War, they will consider the relationship between the concepts of “bias” and “perspective.” Students will then examine several historical newspaper reports of the Chilcotin War and decide on the degree to which these accounts were biased. Finally, everyone will prepare an impartial account of the event intended for use by other students who are studying European-First Nations contact. You will find the complete quest online along with many more MysteryQuests that can be used with the Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History.

May 28, 2014

A team from the Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History (GUMICH) project participated in a session called “In Search of Sir John Franklin: Canadian Mysteries and the Boundaries of Historical Inquiry” at the annual conference of the Canadian Historical Association, held at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario.

Professor Ruth Sandwell, SHC 2014.

The disappearance of Sir John Franklin’s 1845 expedition, sent from England to find a Northwest Passage to the Pacific through the Canadian Arctic, has long captivated Canadians and people round the world and is the subject of a new mystery website under development by GUMICH. Under the working title The Enduring Franklin Mystery, the project received SSHRC Partnership Development funding in April 2013.

During the panel discussion, historians involved with the Franklin project spoke about the ways in which the active and engaged boundary-crossing of the GUMICH project pushes them beyond conventional boundaries of historical time and space, changing not only their understanding of Canadian and Arctic history, but how to represent it.

The Franklin project is a three-year partnership that crosses a number of scholarly disciplinary boundaries, involving leading scholars in education, digital humanities, underwater archeology, oral history, and historical research at universities in four provinces.

“Discovery of the Franklin expedition boat.” Thirty Years in the Arctic Regions. New York, 1859.

The project also crosses a number of professional boundaries by bringing scholars together with partner organizations, including the Nunavut Department of Education, Parks Canada, Library and Archives Canada, and The Critical Thinking Consortium, which will in turn facilitate discussions with teachers and students across the country. It is currently crossing other boundaries as well in its re-telling and re-purposing as a history education project and on-line archive.

The session was chaired by Peter Gossage, a GUMICH Co-director and professor at Concordia University. The panelists were Lyle Dick, Research Director for the Franklin Mystery, and GUMICH Co-directors Ruth Sandwell, also Educational Director for GUMICH and professor at the University of Toronto, and John Lutz, professor at the University of Victoria.

April 2014

A small symposium was held in Rankin Inlet on the northwestern shore of Hudson’s Bay to plan for development of educational materials which will be created for the next GUMICH mystery, The Franklin Mystery: life and death in the Arctic. This symposium brought together some educators and historians from Nunavut and southern Canada to exchange ideas about the Franklin mystery, Inuit oral history, social studies education, and online history education using primary sources. Participants included Louie Kamookak, who gave a presentation on Inuit oral history about the Franklin Expedition. Social studies teachers from Nunavut as well as representatives from The Historical Thinking Project (UBC), the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling (Concordia University) and the GUMICH project team also attended.

The Nunavut Department of Education will be developing learning materials for the Franklin Mystery. Emphasis will be placed on the perspectives and interests of Nunavut schools and communities in developing ideas and materials, as well as supporting development of materials for use in other jurisdictions. These lessons will be available to students in Inuktitut as well as English and French.

Additional educational tools (including MysteryQuests) will be developed by The Critical Thinking Consortium.

March 2014

The Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History project was highlighted in a chapter of a new book published by The University of Michigan Press. Pastplay: Teaching and Learning History with Technology was edited by Kevin Kee. The chapter entitled “What Has Mystery Got to Do with It?” was written by GUMICH Co-directors John Lutz and Ruth Sandwell.

This book is available free of charge online through DigitalCultureBooks.

February 21, 2014

Professor John Lutz gave a presentation on GUMICH at the University of Victoria History Department’s Pro-D Day Event for Social Studies Teachers.

October 25, 2013

The annual conference of the British Columbia Social Studies Teachers Association was held in Vancouver on October 25, 2013. Merna Forster, GUMICH Executive Director, presented a workshop about the learning materials available from the Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History project.

October 19, 2013

Professor Annmarie Adams gave a lecture on the Redpath Mystery as part of McGill’s Homecoming festivities in Montreal on October 19th. The series is called CWOQ, Classes Without Quizzes, and attracts a large audience of mostly alumni. Dr. Adams was one of the research directors for The Redpath Mansion Mystery. This history mystery provides clues about the murder of Ada Redpath and her son in their Montreal mansion in 1901.

Ada Maria Mills Redpath and family (Courtesy of Amy Linda Redpath)

March 2013

In March, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) awarded the History Department at the University of Victoria a grant to create a new mystery for GUMICH: The Enduring Franklin Mystery. Offered through SSHRC’s Insight and Connection programs, the grant will enable a national team to research and develop an educational website and learning materials about the missing Franklin Expedition. The collaborative project will be completed in two years, with the involvement of top scholars in education, digital humanities and historical research.

Sir John Franklin, naval officer and Arctic explorer

The Franklin Expedition was the 1840s equivalent of the Space Shuttle: the best trained men and the latest technology sent on a voyage of discovery into the unknown, in what is now the Canadian Arctic. But the 128 men on the two ships never came back, lost, almost without trace. This compelling mystery makes the enduring Franklin mystery an ideal vehicle for engaging students and the Canadian public in history.

The lost Franklin vessels, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror.

The project will be coordinated by the Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History Project at the University of Victoria. The Enduring Franklin Mystery will be developed with a diverse group of partner institutions including the Nunavut Department of Education, Parks Canada, Library and Archives Canada, and the national History Education Network. The Historical Thinking Project, the Critical Thinking Consortium and the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling at Concordia University are also partners in this exciting new venture. Mount Royal University and the University of Toronto will contribute to The Enduring Franklin Mystery as well. Historian Lyle Dick, former president of the Canadian Historical Association, will serve as Research Director.

April 2013 - Teaching Tools – New MysteryQuests and Interactive Whiteboards

Thanks to financial support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council in 2012-13, the Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History Project was able to develop nine new MysteryQuests, three for each of the following Mysteries: The Redpath Mansion Mystery, Death on a Painted Lake: The Tom Thomson Tragedy, and Death of a Diplomat. The Critical Thinking Consortium created the new MysteryQuests for the Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History Project, working with historical researchers Annmarie Adams (McGill University), Gregory Klages (University of Guelph- Humber) and Larry Hannant (Camosun College) and our co-director Ruth Sandwell (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education).

You can find these new MysteryQuests – and all of the original thirty quests – at MysteryQuests.ca

Funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council also enabled us to create some new interactive whiteboards. You can download them for free from our website – and please send along your feedback!

These new whiteboards were developed by a team of students from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto under the guidance of Garfield Gini-Newman, with design input from Mary Abbott. Each of the whiteboards is designed for use with one of our popular mystery websites.

November 16, 2012

Merna Forster, GUMICH Executive Director, presented a workshop at an international conference in Seattle. The session “History Mysteries: Students Become Historians Using Cold Case Crimes” was given at the annual conference of the National Council for the Social Studies. Promotional materials for the Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History Project were also displayed at a booth sponsored by the NCSS Canada Community.

October 19. 2012

Merna Forster, GUMICH Executive Director, presented the workshop “Doing History with History Mysteries” at the annual conference of the British Columbia Social Studies Teachers Association. Throughout the day, teachers could also drop by a GUMICH display of materials and pick up brochures and posters. The conference was held in Vancouver.

October 2012

The October issue of the GUMICH Gazette, featuring news and tips for educators, was emailed to registered users. Be sure to subscribe; you’ll find back issues on the registration page.

September 2012

Climbing the Chilkoot Pass (E.A. Hegg/University of Washington Special Collections

GUMICH released the first of a new series of interactive whiteboards. Garfield Gini-Newman, Professor with the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning at OISE (University of Toronto) created an interactive whiteboard for the project. Designed to be used with our popular website Who Discovered Klondike Gold?, our new teaching tool is called “Should I Join the Rush?” Please check it out and send us your feedback.

March 8, 2012

Left to right: Dr. Alan Gordon, Dr. Peter Goddard (Chair, History Dept., University of Guelph), Dr. Gregory Klages. Photographer: Margaret Arent, UGH margaret.arent@guelphhumber.ca.

Dr. Gregory Klages, Research Director for Death on a Painted Lake: The Tom Thomson Tragedy, presented a special lecture at the University of Guelph-Humber. The talk was sponsored by Academic Services through the Winter 2012 Lecture Series. The topic was CSI Canadian History: The Tom Thomson Tragedy and Other Mysteries.

Spring 2012

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council awarded the Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History Project with a Public Outreach Grant – Digital Economy for the period from March 1, 2012 to February 28, 2013. This grant will enable GUMICH to expand its audience by making more teachers familiar with its products and providing them with additional learning tools that incorporate new technologies. These learning tools will include new MysteryQuests and interactive whiteboards.

November 9, 2011

Fresh Minds Symposium, University of Victoria. Two workshops for grade 9 and 10 students. "History: Solving History Mysteries" were presented by Merna Forster, GUMICH Executive Director.

October 20, 2011

Gregory Klages

Manitoba Social Studies Teachers’ Association SAG 2010, Winnipeg. Two sessions on “Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History Project” were presented by Gregory Klages, Research Director for the Tom Thomson Mystery.

October 1, 2011

The new book Archival Narratives for Canada: Re-Telling Stories in a Changing Landscape, edited by Kathleen Garay and Christl Verduyn, was published. The book includes “The Many Deaths of Tom Thomson” by Gregory Klages, Research Director for the Tom Thomson Mystery.

September 2011

GUMICH signed up for Facebook! Find us on Facebook.

Kate Alexander, from Klondike National Historic Sites, promoted the GUMICH learning materials at the annual conference of the Yukon Teachers’ Association in Whitehorse.

The September issue of the GUMICH Gazette was emailed to registered users. Be sure to subscribe; you’ll find back issues online.

Fall 2010

The Fall 2010 issue (72) of Material Culture Review included a great article related to The Redpath Mansion Mystery. Annmarie Adams, Valerie Minnett, Mary Anne Poutanen, and David Theodore wrote “She must not stir out of a darkened room”: The Redpath Mansion Mystery.

May 2011

Gumich Gazette

The latest issue of the GUMICH Gazette was emailed to registered users. Be sure to subscribe; you’ll find back issues on the registration page.

March 4, 2011

Saskatchewan Council of Social Studies Annual Conference, Moose Jaw. Presentation on "Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History" by Jennifer Pettit.

February 18, 2011

Calgary City Teacher’s Convention, Calgary. Presentation on GUMICH to secondary Social Studies teachers, by Jennifer Pettit.

January 2011

The first issue of our newsletter is released. Be sure to check out the GUMICH Gazette for news and tips on teaching with historical mysteries featured on the Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History website.

November 10, 2010

Fresh Minds Symposium, University of Victoria. Two workshops for grade 9 and 10 students. "History: Solving History Mysteries" by Merna Forster.

October 22, 2010

Manitoba Social Studies Teachers’ Association SAG 2010, Winnipeg. Session on “Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History Project” by Gregory Klages.

October 2010

2010 ATA (Alberta Teachers’ Association) Social Studies Conference, Jasper. Session on “The Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History Project” by Jennifer Pettit.

June 7, 2010

Victoria, British Columbia

Executive Director Merna Forster gave a presentation at the ETUG (Educational Technology Users Group). The session was “Playful Technology – Putting the Mystery Back into Teaching”.

May 30, 2010

Montreal, Quebec

Some members of the Mysteries team presented a session at the annual conference of the Canadian Historical Association. Entitled “Storytelling and History Education on the Internet: Great Unsolved Mysteries in Quebec and Acadian History”, the session was facilitated by Léon Robichaud, Université de Sherbrooke and included the following presentations:

  • Peter Gossage, Concordia University
    Le Québec et le Canada français dans le cadre des Grands Mystères de l’histoire canadienne
  • Annmarie Adams, McGill University / Valerie Minnett, Carleton University / Mary Anne Poutanen, Concordia University / David Theodore, Harvard University
    ‘She Must Not Stir out of a Darkened Room’: The Redpath Mansion Mystery
  • Caroline-Isabelle Caron, Queen’s University
    Raconter la légende, révéler les faits: Stratégies de jumelages des légendes communautaires avec une base documentaire contradictoire dans Jérôme, l’inconnu de la Baie Sainte-Marie

April 8, 2010

Gumich Gazette

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

Project Co-directors Ruth Sandwell and John Lutz introduced the Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History project at the Playing with Technology in History conference. Participants in the session tried to solve some of the mysteries in a session entitled “What’s Mystery Got to Do With It? An Unpaper”.

March 27, 2010

Ottawa, Ontario

Professor John Lutz, a co-director of the Mysteries project, was awarded the CFHSS 2010 Harold Adams Innis award for his book Makúk: A New History of Aboriginal-White Relations. The prize was given by the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences to recognize the best English-language work in the social sciences in Canada.

Spring 2010

Victoria, British Columbia

The Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History launched a new look for the project website. Thanks to support from the VP External Relations at the University of Victoria, Beth Doman was able to create a wonderful new look for the site. But if you miss the original “dripping blood version”, you can still link to it from the home page!

November 2009

Victoria, British Columbia

To help promote the Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History project, designer Jolene Lowey, from the UVic Marketing Department, created a great brochure. Print copies are available by regular mail on request, or you can download a copy. The publication was developed and printed with the support of the VP External Relations at the University of Victoria.

November 19, 2009

San Diego, California

The Association for Canadian Studies Association in the United States logo

Executive Director Merna Forster gave a presentation at The Association for Canadian Studies in the United States 20th Biennial Conference. The topic was “Canadian Studies Across the Digital Threshold”, with a focus on the Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History.

November 7, 2009

Toronto, Ontario

Professor Garfield Gini-Newman

A workshop was presented at the Ontario History and Social Sciences Teachers Association Annual Conference by Professor Garfield Gini-Newman, OISE/University of Toronto. The session was “Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History: Engaging Students in “Doing” History”.

June 2009

The project was highlighted in a federal government report. See “Success story: The Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History”, in Intersections: Navigating the cultural landscape. Cultural Affairs Sector 2007-2008 Annual Report, Department of Canadian Heritage.

February 9, 2009

Check out the new article about the Mysteries Project in Universityaffairs.ca: Great Unsolved Canadian Mysteries website brings history to life.

December 4, 2008

Victoria, British Columbia

UVic reception

The University of Victoria held a special reception to recognize the team that won the 2008 Pierre Berton Award.

The full Mysteries Team includes the people at the University of Victoria who support the project including UVic Communications, Research Services, Accounting, the Faculty of Humanities, and the Vice Presidents, Academic, Research and External Relations, gathered here to mark the Berton Prize.

November 28, 2008

Calgary, Alberta

A reception was held at Mount Royal College to honour ocal recipients of the Pierre Berton Award. Dr. Jennifer Pettit and Dr. Kori Street developed the Donnelly Mystery.

November 17, 2008

Sherbrooke, Quebec

Léon Robichaud at left, Peter Gossage at right.

Léon Robichaud at left, Peter Gossage at right.

A reception was held at the University of Sherbrooke to honour the team that won the 2008 Pierre Berton Award and the 2008 MERLOT History Classic Award. Dean Lynda Ballalite thanked the many people who contributed to the success of the Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History project, including Peter Gossage, Léon Robichaud, Françoise McNeil and her translation team, and Patricia Godbout.

November 13, 2008

Toronto, Ontario

Co-directors Ruth Sandwell, Peter Gossage and John Lutz receive Pierre Berton Prize from his son, Peter Berton.

Co-directors Ruth Sandwell, Peter Gossage and John Lutz receive Pierre Berton Prize from his son, Peter Berton.

Pierre Burton award medal

The Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History project received the 2008 Pierre Berton Award for popularizing Canadian history. This prestigious prize was presented by Canada’s National History Society. To read more about the award and the project, check out the University of Victoria press release and a special feature on the society website that includes a podcast and interview with the project co-directors.

November 15-16, 2008

Houston, Texas

Executive Director Merna Forster, second from right, during panel discussion in Houston.

Executive Director Merna Forster, second from right, during panel discussion in Houston.

Two presentations on the project were given by Executive Director Merna Forster at the annual conference of the National Council for Social Studies.

October 2008

Quebec City, Quebec

A presentation on the “Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History” was made at the Association for Canadian Studies Biennial Conference on the Teaching and Learning of History, by Dr. John Lutz, Dr. Peter Gossage and Dr. Ruth Sandwell, co-directors for the project.

Toronto, Ontario

Dr. Ruth Sandwell, one of the three co-directors for the project, was chosen as the 2008 Canadian National Leader in History Education by the Ontario History and Social Science Teachers’ Association (OHASSTA) for her role in history education and the Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History project.

Banff, Alberta

Dr. Jennifer Pettit and Dr. Kori Street, Research Directors for the Donnelly Mystery, gave a presentation on the Mysteries Project at the Alberta Teachers Association, Social Studies Council Annual Conference.

Owen Sound, Ontario

Dr. Gregory Klages, Research Director for the Thomson Mystery, attended the 2008 Grey-Bruce Regional Tourism Conference to give a presentation on the website “Death of a Painted Lake: The Tom Thomson Tragedy”.

October 24, 2008

Fall River, Nova Scotia

A presentation on the “Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History”, given by Dr. Birgitta Wallace, Research Director for the Vinland Mystery, was attended by educators attending the Nova Scotia Social Studies Teachers Association Provincial Conference.

August 2008

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Dr. Peter Gossage, one of the three co-directors for the project, accepted the 2008 MERLOT History Classic Award on behalf of the Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History project. Awarded by MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching), an international initiative enabling faculty to integrate technology into higher education, the prize was presented at the group’s annual conference. For more information, get our press release and watch a video featuring Dr. Gossage.

April 4, 2008

Ian Wilson, Librarian and Archivist of Canada and Greg Donaghy of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada will help launch “Death of a Diplomat: Herbert Norman and the Cold War” at the National Library and Archives of Canada.

What would persuade the Canadian ambassador to jump from a window of one of Cairo’s tallest buildings to certain death? In 1956, Cambridge educated, highly respected diplomat, Herbert Norman, was hand picked by Canadian Primer Minister Pearson to be his point man in Egypt during the Suez Crisis. Pearson later won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work. Norman, who had earlier served as a special assistant to the Supreme Commander Allied Powers in occupied Japan, General Douglas MacArthur, was under investigation by the infamous American Senator Joe McCarthy as a communist in the midst of cold war tensions. Was he a communist, a spy, or a loyal and effective diplomat? Why did he kill himself? His ambiguous suicide note only made the situation more mysterious.

April 2, 2008

“Death on a Painted Lake: The Tom Thompson Tragedy” launches in Toronto at Hart House, University of Toronto with the help of special guests Dr. Michael Pollanen, Chief Forensic Pathologist for Ontario, Alex Sinclair, of the band Tamarack, will perform a new song dealing with the Thomson mystery and students from Thornlea Secondary School. Thomson’s painting, “The Pointers” (1916-17) will also be on display.

The death of Tom Thomson in the summer of 1917 has contributed to the mythic status of the painter as a rugged wilderness man, a sensitive genius whose life was cut short by cruel fate. For some, however, Thomson's death has also become the focal point of an unresolved and complex set of mysteries. Was the drowning of the excellent canoeist on a calm July day accidental, or did it have some connection to a love triangle and a German American draft dodger hiding in the remote resort? To many who knew Thomson, or who have come to love his art work so associated with the iconic “Group of Seven”, the circumstances of his death suggest no other conclusion but that he was murdered and that his body does not lie at its apparent final resting place.

March 31, 2008

The Redpath Mansion Mystery launches in Montreal at the Redpath Museum. Mystery writer Louise Penny and descendant Amy Linda Redpath help launch this new mystery. Research co-director Annmarie Adams gives a talk to the James McGill Society on the mystery at 6pm.

When shots rang out at the Redpath mansion in Montreal’s most elite neighbourhood at 6 p.m. on June 13, 1901 and the servants found Ada Maria Mills Redpath dead and her 24-year old son dying, why didn’t they call the police? Why are two servants credited with the discovery of the victims in the newspaper, while the coroner’s report suggests that Peter Redpath, another son, found the bodies? Only two shots were heard and yet three bullets were retrieved from the bodies. In this case which might have served as the inspiration for the board game Clue, we get a voyeuristic look into the lives of the rich and famous as we try and find out what really happened?

January 2008

The Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History Project is the recipient of a 2008 MERLOT Classics award as an “exemplary” online learning resource. It’s the second time the Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching (MERLOT), headquartered in California State University, has honoured the project. The 2008 MERLOT award will be presented at the organization’s international conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota in August.

November 16, 2007

Toronto. Presentation on the project by Professor Ken Coates, University of Waterloo Dean of Arts, at the Association for the Canadian Studies in the United States 2007 Toronto Biennial Conference.

November 9-10, 2007

Toronto. Mysteries Project promoted at the annual conference of the Ontario History and Social Studies Teachers Association, with a display of materials as well as a presentation by Professor Garfield Gini-Newman from The Critical Thinking Consortium/University of Toronto.

October 26, 2007

Brookfield, Nova Scotia. Two workshops on the Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History presented at the Nova Scotia Social Studies Teachers Association Provincial Conference by Executive Director Merna Forster and Birgitta Wallace, Research Director for the “Where is Vinland?” mystery.
Birgitta Wallace

October 10, 2007

Display about the Mysteries Project in Victoria at the President’s Circle Reception, University of Victoria
Meleisa Ono-George (left), a research assistant for the Mysteries Project, with a visitor at the display

October 6, 2007

Lincoln, Nebraska. A presentation on the project given by Professor John Lutz at the Nebraska Digital Workshop.

September 20, 2007

University of California at Berkeley. Presentation about the Mysteries Project at a colloquium, sponsored by the Canadian Studies Program at Berkley. The presentation is given by Professor Peter Gossage, a Co-director of the Mysteries Project who is currently working at Berkley as the Canadian Studies Visiting Scholar and Sproul Fellow.

September 4, 2007

Canada AM: Live interview with Professor John Lutz on the CTV television program, talking about the Canadian Mysteries Project.

August 30, 2007

Gregory Klages, Research Director for the Tom Thomson Mystery, interviewed by Jian Ghomeshi on Q, the nationally-broadcast CBC arts affairs show.
Gregory Klages (left) and Jian Ghomeshi (right)

August 28, 2007

CBC.ca: Trio of cold cases to be added to popular history website

August 27, 2007

Victoria. Mysteries Project press release re new mysteries being developed: Final Mysteries Selected for Popular History Website

August 20, 2007

Presentation at York University by Susan Dineen, Arius 3-D and Bob Jones, Sheridan Visualization Institute, partners of the Mysteries Project Phase 4, at the ABEL Summer Institute. The topic of the conference was Intersections: Where Learner, Literacy and Technology Meet.
Susan Dineen

July 2007

"Bed Jumping and Compelling Convergences in Historical Computing" article featuring the Mysteries Project, by Professor John Lutz is published on the University of Nebraska’s Digital History Website.

June 30, 2007

The National Post publishes an article by Mark Medley that features three of the Mystery Projects (the Vinland, Jerome and Klondike mysteries): "Obscure insights into Canada’s past"

June 27, 2007

Canada’s National History Society

The Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History project is named as one of the finalists for the Pierre Berton Award 2007 for achievement in popularizing Canadian history. Canada’s National History Society sponsors the Berton Award.
Mysteries Project Co-director Ruth Sandwell and broadcaster Don Newman at the 2007 National Forum on Canadian History in Ottawa, which was organized to coincide with ceremonies for the Pierre Berton Award.

June 18, 2007

Victoria. The Department of Canadian Heritage approves Phase 5 of the Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History Project for 2007-2008. The three new mysteries will be: “The Redpath Mansion Mystery”, “Death of a Diplomat: Herbert Norman & The Cold War” and “Drowned on a painted lake: The Tom Thomson Tragedy”.
Tom Thomson ca. 1910-1917, Library and Archives Canada / PA-121719

May 28-30, 2007

Saskatoon. A session on the Mysteries Project presented at the Canadian Historical Association Annual Conference.

May 25, 2007

Dawson City, Yukon. Official launch of the “Who Discovered Klondike Gold?” mystery at the historic Palace Grand Theatre in partnership with Parks Canada. The program included “A Miner’s Meeting”, a Parks Canada dramatic performance about key players in the discovery of gold. The website was officially launched by John Steins, Mayor of Dawson City.
Parks Canada staff in “A Miner’s Meeting”

May 18, 2007

St. John’s, NL. Official launch of the “Where is Vinland?” at the provincial museum (The Rooms), coinciding with the annual meeting of the Canadian Archaeological Association.

May 3-5, 2007

Halifax. Presentations at the Atlantic Canada Studies Conference in a session on “Solving Historical Mysteries: the University-Public Classroom Connection".

May 2, 2007

Toronto. Official launch of MysteryQuest website at the University of Toronto. Ben Levin, former Deputy Minister of Education for Ontario, officially launched the site. Peter Gossage and Ruth Sandwell (Co-directors for the Mysteries Project) provided overviews of the project and the educational materials. Garfield Gini-Newman from The Critical Thinking Consortium explained the contribution of his organization to the project. The amazing 3D technology used on the site was demonstrated by Susan Dineen of Arius 3D, one of the partners for this phase of the project. Special guests included a class of 30 students from The Dragon Academy.

April 15, 2007

Clare, Nova Scotia. Launch of the new mystery website “Jerome: The Mystery Man of Baie Sainte-Marie.” Events took place on the 95th anniversary of Jerome’s death, beginning with a memorial mass for Jerome at St. Alphonse parish church. In the afternoon a new plaque commemorating the legless man was unveiled at the Meteghan Cemetery. The website launch took place in a local school in Clare, with an event that included dignitaries such as the Honourable Robert Thibault and the Honourable Senator Gerald Comeau. The launch also include a dramatic performance, and a guest appearance by the renowned Acadian musical group Blou, who sang the new song "Fallen Angels"; this was written for the Jerome website.
Patrice Boulianne of Blou

February, 2007

Calgary, Alberta. "Synergize and Energize: Exploring the Dynamics of Teaching and Learning", Calgary. Conference at Mount Royal College, sponsored by McGraw-Hill Ryerson, included presentation about the Mysteries Project and the Donnelly Mystery by Professors Kori Street and Jennifer Pettit, Research Directors for this website.

November 3-4, 2006

Toronto. Mysteries Project promoted at the annual conference of the Ontario History and Social Studies Teachers Association.

October 25, 2006

Montreal. Presentations at the University of Quebec at Montreal by Léon Robichaud, professor of history at the University of Sherbrooke, and historian Denyse Beaugrand-Champagne on the site “Torture and the Truth: Angélique and the Burning of Montreal”.

October 20, 2006

Vancouver. Presentation by Professor John Lutz on “Solving Historical Cold Crimes On-Line” at the conference Canada West to East: Teaching History in a Time of Change (Association for Canadian Studies).

October 12, 2006 to March 25, 2007

Montreal. An exposition at the Centre d’histoire de Montréal about who was responsible for the 1734 fire features the website “Torture and the Truth: Angélique and the Burning of Montreal”.

October 4, 2006

The Mysteries Project submits an Expression of Interest to the Canadian Content Online Program of the Department of Canadian Heritage for a fifth and final phase of the project, which would include three new bilingual mysteries.

September 28, 2006

Anchorage, Alaska. Presentation on the project by Merna Forster, executive director, at the 35th Anniversary Colloquium: Canada in the North Pacific (Association for Canadian Studies in the United States).

September 21-22, 2006

Lincoln, Nebraska. Presentation on the project by Professor John Lutz at the conference History in the Digital Age: Pauley Memorial Endowment Symposium.

September 1, 2006

The Jerome Mystery is featured on the CBC television program The National.
View excerpt on YouTube

August 25, 2006

The Globe and Mail features an article about the project: “Website puts new slant on 143-year mystery of legless man”.

August 23, 2006

The University of Victoria issues a press release announcing funding for Phase 4.

July 2006

Fourth Call for Mysteries Issued. The Mysteries Project invites proposals for more mysteries based on real events in Canadian history.

June 14, 2006

Victoria. The Department of Canadian Heritage approves Phase 4 of the Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History project! The three new mysteries will be: “Who Discovered Klondike Gold?”, “Where is Vinland?”, and “Jerome: The Mystery Man of Baie Saint Marie”.

May 27-29, 2006

Toronto. Presentation to the Canadian Historical Association Annual Meeting: "Solving Historical Crimes: the Research-Pedagogy Connection".

April 27, 2006

Victoria. Official Launch of the site "Explosion on the Kettle Valley Line: The Death of Peter Verigin" and other new mysteries and MysteryQuests in Phase 3. Royal British Columbia Museum.

April 7, 2006

Montreal. Official Launch of the new site "Torture and the Truth: Angélique and the Burning of Montreal" and other new mysteries and MysteryQuests in Phase 3. Centre d'histoire de Montréal.

April 5, 2006

Calgary. Official Launch of the new site "Heaven and Hell on Earth: The Massacre of the 'Black' Donnellys" and other new mysteries and MysteryQuests in Phase 3.

February 15, 2006

Mysteries Project hosts a site-visit team from the Department of Canadian Heritage.

January 17, 2006

Vancouver. Presentation and Booth at the British Columbia Social Studies Teachers' Association Annual Conference.

October 28-30, 2005

Edmonton. Mysteries Project promoted at the National Conference on Teaching, Learning & Communicating the History of Canada.

October 2005

The Angélique mystery is featured in Liaison (Sherbrooke) (PDF), La Tribune (Sherbrooke), and on radio: CHLT (Sherbrooke) and Radio-Canada Sherbrooke.

September 5-12, 2005

Phase 3 of the Mysteries Project is featured in the Edmonton Journal, Calgary Sun, Calgary Herald, Telegraph-Journal (Fredericton), and on CBC National Radio News, Rutherford Show (CHQR 770AM, Calgary) and CNEWS. Also at Macleans.ca, Canoe.ca, Yahoo Canada, Canadian Press and Broadcast News.

August 31, 2005

The Globe and Mail Covers Project: “Student sleuths asked to help solve 1924 murder” by Tom Hawthorn.

August 29, 2005

Media Release: The Department of Heritage and the University of Victoria issue press releases announcing the Phase 3 funding.

August 25, 2005

Third Call for Mysteries Issued. The Mysteries Project is inviting proposals for up to five more mysteries based on real events in Canadian History.

August 18-19, 2005

Toronto. Second workshop organized by TC2, The Critical Thinking Consortium, partner on Phase 3 of the Mysteries Project, to introduce teachers to TC2 teaching methods and to start building WebQuests linked to the Mysteries sites.

August 12, 2005 — Hits Approach 10 Million Last Year

User data for the period ending July 1, 2005 show that this site received nearly ten million hits during the past year, with the average visitor spending about ten minutes per session exploring Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History. About 22% of site users stayed even longer, with many learning about the mysteries for more than a half-hour at a time. There were about 300 user sessions on the site each day. While most visitors were from Canada, there was also interest from Internet users in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Australia, Italy, the United States and the United Kingdom.

August 1, 2005

The Mysteries Project is featured on Canadian Culture, which showcases the best of Canadian online content and chooses a few sites every month to highlight. The Mysteries Project is one of the six sites featured in August.

July 13, 2005

Peter Gossage and Carolyne Blanchard are featured in La Presse (PDF) discussing the image and reality of the Aurore Gagnon story.

July 2005

The feature film Aurore is launched in Quebec. Website visits jump and requests for teachers' guides surge ahead.

June 2005

Toronto. First workshop organized by TC2, The Critical Thinking Consortium, partner on Phase 3 of the Mysteries Project, to introduce teachers to TC2teaching methods and to start building WebQuests linked to the Mysteries sites.

June 27, 2005

Denyse Beaugrand-Champagne, co-director of the new mystery "Torture and the Truth: Angélique and the Burning of Montreal", is featured (PDF) in La Presse along with her book Le Procès de Marie-Josèphe Angélique (Libre Expression, 2004).

June 21, 2005

Mysteries Project receives word of funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage to proceed with Phase 3 of the project. The three new mysteries, to be launched in April 2006, are:

Torture and the Truth: Angélique and the Burning of Montreal

When Montreal caught fire in April 1734, suspicion fell on Marie Angélique, a Black slave accused of setting the fire to cover an escape with her White lover, a salt smuggler exiled from France. But if that was her motive, why did she stay to help her mistress save her possessions instead of fleeing. True, she confessed -- but only after torture. Her punishment was to be hanged and then burned. But did she really start the fire? What does her story tell us about slavery, torture and fire in early Canada?

Heaven and Hell on Earth: The Massacre of the "Black" Donnellys

The notorious Donnellys emigrated from Ireland in the 1840s with the hope of finding success in what would later become Canada. Yet, in 1880 the Donnelly farm was burned to the ground. The bodies of James, his beloved Johannah, their son Tom and niece Bridget were in the ashes, the victims of a vicious mob. Another son lay dead in a separate murder the same night. To this day, despite a great deal of evidence (including an eyewitness), no one has been found guilty of the crime. Many had no doubt "who done it", but two trials ended without any guilty verdict. Was this a community taking justice into its own hands when the justice system failed, or was it mob rule terrorizing rural Ontario? Did the Donnellys deserve their fate? Why was there no justice for the Donnellys?

Explosion on the Kettle Valley Line: The Death of Peter Verigin

An explosion on a rail car in October 1924 near Castlegar, British Columbia, took the life of Peter "Lordly" Verigin, the charismatic leader of the pacifist Doukhobor religious community. Eight others were also killed, including Verigin's 17-year-old female companion and a member of the provincial legislative assembly. A host of theories sprang up to explain the explosion. Was it dissident Doukhobors upset with his worldly ways, nativists jealous of the success of the Russian immigrants, agents of the Canadian or B.C. government trying to undermine Doukhobor resistance to public schooling, Verigin's own son, Soviet enemies, or merely an accident? To this day the explosion that rocked the Doukhobor community remains an unsolved mystery, a tragedy that throws an intense light onto Canadians' attitudes towards immigrants in the inter-war era.

January 2005

Mysteries Project submits proposal to the Canadian Content Online program of the Department of Canadian Heritage for a third phase of the project with three new bilingual mysteries.

May 31, 2005

Peter Gossage and Ruth Sandwell, project co-directors, are invited to present the teaching philosophy behind the Mysteries Project to the University of Waterloo Centre for Learning & Teaching Through Technology and the Department of History.

April 15, 2005

Ruth Sandwell, project co-director, gave an invited keynote address to the History of Curriculum Special Interest Group titled "Teaching History: On the Disjuncture Between Historical Practice and Classroom Teaching," April 15, 2005 at the American Educational Research Association annual general meeting, Montreal.

March 31, 2005

John Lutz featured the "We Do Not Know His Name" website in his presentation "Ethnohistory in a Cold Climate: Canadian Contributions to 21st Century Ethnohistory" at the Meeting of the Organization of American Historians in San Jose, California.

January 10, 2005

The Edmonton Journal and Vancouver Sun featured the Mysteries Project in an article by Janet Steffenhagen, "Mysteries of the Past Become Lessons".

December 2004

Ruth Sandwell, project co-director, published "The Great Unsolved Mysteries of Canadian History: Using a Web-Based Archive to Teach History", Special Issue, New Approaches to Teaching History, Canadian Social Studies, volume 39, no. 2, Winter 2005.