Two years ago, I participated in the Young Citizens contest, an online history video competition run by Canada’s History in partnership with Heritage Fairs. In 2013, I filmed my video on the Northwest Passage and won an honorable mention, and as the public voting stage comes to a close for this year’s contest, I thought I would talk a little bit about some of my favourite entries for 2015.

Reed, from Winnipeg, Manitoba, talked about the Canadian book Hana’s Suitcase by Karen Levine. He told the story of two siblings who lived in Czechoslovakia during the Holocaust, experiencing extreme hate and discrimination due to their backgrounds. Well-spoken and to the point, Reed used informative pictures and videos to talk about how Hana’s suitcase was found decades after the war, inspiring not just a book, but a story that has now been told hundreds of times around the world.

You can watch Reed’s video here:

Abrielle from Vancouver used her video to bring awareness to the rich history and cultural significance of the first Black community in Vancouver, Hogan’s Alley. Her film was detailed and well produced, a recipe for first place in the judges’ eyes. Abrielle’s clear voiceovers and engaging scenes helped describe the busy and bustling community of Hogan’s Alley, a culturally diverse and close-knit area once loved by jazz icons such as Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. She interviewed a school principal and former occupant of Hogan’s Alley, Randy Clark, who emphasized the importance of remembering and acknowledging cultural history and the positive and negative stories that go with it. Abrielle definitely paid homage to this iconic Vancouver landmark with her video.

You can watch it here:

Tate, also from Vancouver, chose to talk about Elsie MacGill, the first female aeronautical engineer. The video perfectly illustrated the challenges Elsie faced, including her overcoming of sexism in her job choice, and the struggle of being diagnosed with polio early in her career. Using carefully chosen images and live video clips, Tate pieced together Elsie’s story, from which emerged the commonly heard but ever-inspiring tale of a young woman overcoming barriers in her career path.  Of course, she was careful to note that even with all the work women of the past have done, females still encounter many problems today in the workplace and the community.

You can watch her video here:

Overall, the Young Citizens contest is a community ripe with opportunity, potential, and young minds, and I highly recommend you check out some of the other videos on the site.  200 students from all over Canada dedicated videos to Canada’s history, and 26 of those students will be continuing on to attend Canada’s History Youth Forum in Ottawa. Although public voting is already closed, there’s still an opportunity for you to share these youths’ videos with friends and family, and learn a ton more about our nation’s history yourself.

Author: Emily M.