Archives Awareness Week: 1867/1967

By Jennifer Weymark, Archivist

This article originally appeared on the Durham Region Area Archives Group website to celebrate Archives Awareness Week. This annual event, held across Ontario from April 3-9, 2017, is designed to raise awareness of the many resources that can be found in archival collections around the province.


This year marks the 150th Anniversary of Confederation. The year will be filled with celebrations, retrospection and imagining where this country will be in another 150 years. To begin the celebration, member institutions of DRAAG have looked through their holdings to find the most interesting item from 1867 and 1967 in their collections!

On August 26, 1867 an Oshawa resident by the name of T.N. Gibbs received a telegram from John A. Macdonald.  The telegram is rather significant, not only because it was sent by Canada’s first Prime Minister, but it talks about the first election after Confederation.

Gibbs was not new to politics but this election would be his most notable. He ran against Reformer backed George Brown and Liberal John Sandfield Macdonald.  While Gibbs won, it was widely accepted that he do so by corrupt practices.

Gibbs was the only successful Conservative candidate in this area.  This meant that he acted as the local confidante for Sir John A. Macdonald. So much so, that we have another little note sent to Gibbs by Macdonald in our collection.

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A960.19.5 (60-D-19); from the archival collection of the Oshawa Museum

Canada celebrated the 100th Anniversary of Confederation on a large scale. Locally, Oshawa joined in on the celebrations as well. Between beard growing contests, NHL exhibition games and special performances, the City marked the anniversary in a prominent way. Students in Oshawa schools spent a good part of the school year preparing for a Centennial Celebration held at the Civic Auditorium. The program included songs and dances, art work and projects that highlighted the differences between life in Oshawa in 1867 and 1967. The grade 7 and 8 students from E.A. Lovell School actually put on a performance showing the differences in physical training in 1867 and 1967. In the archives, we have the binder that was developed to outline all of the activities Oshawa schools engaged in related to the Centennial.

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Be sure to visit the Durham Region Area Archives Group website to see what gems are in archives from around our Region and to learn more about local archives!

Where Were You In ’67?

By Jennifer Weymark, Archivist

As Canada heads into the 2017 celebrations of the 150th Anniversary of Confederation we felt it would be interesting to look back and learn more about how we in Oshawa celebrated 50 years ago.  We have launched a new memory book project to collect the stories about Oshawa’s Centennial celebrations and how the citizens of Oshawa marked this occasion. These reminiscences and memories will become a part of the archival record and help to preserve what Oshawa looked like during the Centennial celebrations in 1967.

The year 1967 marked a yearlong celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Confederation. Celebrations were held across Canada and included a military tattoo featuring over 1700 men and women from the armed services; Gordon Lightfoot wrote the song “Canadian Railroad Trilogy”; and Centennial Voyageur Pageant saw canoes travelling across Canada and finished their travels at Expo’67 held in Montreal.

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Locally, Oshawa joined in on the celebrations as well.  The Oshawa Builders Association undertook design and construction of the most modern of family homes.  This home actually had a second bathroom!  The Folk Arts Council dedicated Fiesta as a part of Centennial Week.  Eastdale Collegiate hosted a show called 100 Years of Musical Comedy. Oshawa citizens got into  the  beard  growing  contests  and  held  the  final  judging on September 1 at  Civic Auditorium.  For hockey fans, the Civic   Auditorium hosted exhibition games featuring the Toronto Maple Leafs, Minnesota North Stars (in their first season in the NHL),   Los Angeles Kings and the Pittsburg Penguins.

If you are interested in participating in the Oshawa Museum’s Where Were You in ’67 project, contact the museum at 905-436-7624 ext. 100.

You can also view and download the Memory Book by CLICKING HERE.