Canada’s population, with the exception of the First Nations Peoples whose land we live and work on, is a mosaic of immigrants from around the globe. Our society is diverse and multicultural, and though I’m sure we’re all highly appreciative of it already, research into the long history of immigration really emphasizes how lucky we are to live in such a society.

At my school, there is a work-intensive, time-consuming, life-absorbing project assigned in grade 10 Social Studies, and every second and bit of effort put in is well worth the earnings. It’s called the Immigration Project, and it’s one of the most valuable experiences I’ve had in high school.

The project is primarily research, and then interpreting that research to find a logical path for an immigrant coming to Canada some time between 1800 and 1900. One of the requirements was that at least 50% of our research sources had to be primary, which seemed like a scary thought until we actually started looking in the right places. (The library of the local university became my class’s second home — there was at least one of us there at any given point in time after school.)

The amount my class learned during the 14 weeks of the project was incredible. We learned how to MLA cite off the top of our heads, how research without Wikipedia, how to feed microfilm into the machines quietly as possible so the sleep-deprived university student sitting in the silence of the microfiche section of the library would stop glaring, and how to meet deadlines. We learned about bias, validity, reliability, and perhaps most importantly, we learned an appreciation for history as told by the people that lived it.

I think the Immigration Project would be an asset to any history education — it was incredibly valuable to me, and I hope it sticks around!

Author: Emily T.