Shaping Canada

July 11, 2022

As part of our ongoing efforts to demonstrate the importance of personal stories to who we are as a country, we are delighted to announce a brand-new initiative. Addressing contemporary history — sometimes even as it happens — Shaping Canada focuses on the history-makers of today, how their influence affects Canada now, and how it will continue to affect us in the future.

This exciting, multi-year oral history project will document the impact, influence and life stories of living Canadians who have had a demonstrable and extraordinary impact on contemporary Canada. Today’s influencers are tomorrow’s history, and capturing their voices will not only inform future reflections on who we were at a given moment in time, but will also provide an invaluable record of first-hand experiences in the words of those who lived them.

Shaping Canada seeks to document the noteworthy experiences of those who have had a significant impact on the political, social, cultural and intellectual fabric of Canadian society, and the wider world — individuals such as Juno award-winning Canadian children’s music performer, Fred Penner, Indigenous architect Douglas Cardinal and civil rights activist Wanda Robson.

Wanda Robson – CMH IMG2020-0037-0061-Dm
Fred Penner – Photo: Kendra Hope Photography
Douglas Cardinal – MCH IMG1995-0058-001-Dm

Dr. Laura Sanchini, Curator of Craft, Design and Popular Culture at the Canadian Museum of History, is heading up this fascinating project. “Oral history allows us to better understand the lived experiences of contemporary Canadians,” she says. “Shaping Canada gives voice to the prominent Canadians who have impacted our country and influenced the world. In their own words, they share their extraordinary journeys and their thoughts on the Canada they helped shape.”

The interview process has begun, and Dr. Sanchini has been busy interviewing participants and documenting their experiences and attitudes towards the Canada they helped shape, while also exploring their unique contributions to — and reflections on — Canadian society. Interviews and accompanying materials will become part of the Museum’s archives.

Short, documentary-style videos created from the interviews will highlight emotional and thought-provoking content. This project will enhance and support the Museum’s position as a leader in oral history and digital humanities research, and will become a unique, multi-disciplinary living archive of contemporary Canada. The first set of interviews will be launched in fall 2022 on

For information on how to support this project, contact Linda Kincaid, Director, Major Gifts and Campaigns, at