Background

In 2013, Canada's History Society celebrated the 20th anniversary of its youth program Heritage Fairs. The program began in 1993, when the CRB Foundation launched a pilot project in Winnipeg designed to celebrate history and to foster a deeper understanding of our country’s past. The fairs were a huge success, not only with students, but also with teachers, families and the general public. Heritage fairs took off and were quickly adopted in all of Canada’s provinces and territories. Since the program’s creation, more than one million students have participated in heritage fairs in communities all across Canada.

The fairs appeal to all kinds of learners, as students are able to choose their topic and have control over their learning, conduct their own hands-on research, and present their findings in a creative and public format. After two decades, the spirit of the heritage fair program remains a celebration of history, community, learning, and fun. Projects previously presented on large cardboard displays now incorporate technology and new media as the fairs evolve to incorporate the skills and interest of 21st century learners. As part of this evolution, Canada’s History introduced a complementary video program called Young Citizens in 2012.

Program Highlights

 Across Canada in the last school year:

  • more than 150,000 students worked on projects or participated in a Fair
  • communities representing all provinces and territories were involved
  • 1,500 schools hosted Fairs or participated in a Community or Regional Fair
  • 10,000 volunteers were involved in helping to deliver the program

Program Goals

The goals of the Fairs program are especially fitting as Canada moves well into the 21st century. This program creates an engaging learning environment for students, thereby strengthening their appreciation of Canadian heritage. Students develop strong roots in their communities and cultures, which inspire them to participate in the shaping of Canada’s future.

The Fairs program has grown remarkably in the past ten years. It is eventually intended that every eligible student in Canada will be provided with the opportunity to participate in a Fair during his or her years at school.

Fair organizers invite community organizations and businesses to work with teachers and educators, to actively participate in the delivery of the event by joining the organizing committee, assisting students with their research, providing materials and in-kind resources, and hosting workshops or placing displays at the Fairs.