BC Heritage Fairs Alumni

The Official Heritage Fairs Student Site

Local Landmark Celebrates Canniversary — February 27, 2019

Local Landmark Celebrates Canniversary

Today, Vedanshi is here to tell us about a very special occasion, and the work the BCHFS Alumni are doing to add to the celebrations.

The Gulf of Georgia Cannery, one of Richmond’s well-known historical landmarks, is celebrating its 125th anniversary – a canniversary, to be specific – this year! The Cannery’s team and the BCHFS Alumni Council are collaborating to produce a video commemorating this momentous occasion.

Alumni leaders from across the province are hard at work to make this project idea into a reality.

Each Alumni leader has a role to play in this production. While some are in charge of the storyboard and script-writing, there are others who are focusing on the historical research, while others yet will be doing the cinematography – just to name a few roles. Given that British Columbia has such an incredible and vast history with each region being the key to many historical treasures, the Alumni are also investigating the impacts made by other heritage landmarks across the province on BC today. Exploring these heritage sites and landmarks will enable us to piece together a cohesive mural of BC’s industrial heritage over the past 125 years, and provide a contextual lens through which the story of the Gulf of Georgia Cannery will be presented.

If you’ve never had the chance to visit the Gulf of Georgia Cannery before, it is an absolute must! The National Historic Site is located in Steveston, Richmond’s historic district, right by the Fraser River. I’ve been a tourist myself on several occasions, and have learned something new about the fishing and canning industry that put this community on the map each time.

As a visitor, you will get to immerse yourself into a very unique experience by touring the site as if you were a factory worker yourself. I remember from my very first visit many years back that perhaps the most exciting part of the tour was punching in and out of my “shift” in the time clocks. Features of the tour have also included seeing a can get processed from start to finish – it was such a memorable experience, and I’m pretty sure I still have the can!

As it is, our team of Alumni are very excited to be working on this project. We’ll be posting updates throughout the production process, so stay tuned over the next few months!

So You Want to Teach Heritage Fair? — February 6, 2019

So You Want to Teach Heritage Fair?

This month, our alumni are here with some advice for teachers who may want to teach heritage fair for the first time. 


So you’ve decided to teach Heritage Fair. You might be wondering, where do I start? How do I get my students interested? How can I support them? And most importantly, what valuable skills will Heritage Fair give my students? Well, our wonderful alumni have each put together their own tips, tricks, and need-to-knows when it comes to participating in this years’ BC Heritage fair!


Julia argues…

Heritage Fair allows students to develop crucial skills that will be needed later in life: researching, interviewing, presenting, and managing through stress. By introducing them to these skills through the historical topic of their choice, they are more likely to stay interested throughout the project and carry that knowledge onto other projects.

Julia’s helpful resources:

Heritage How-to: Presentations!

How to Get Ready and De-Stress


Vedanshi addresses teachers in her statement…

To teachers who have never had the opportunity to engage their students with our incredible Canadian heritage- now is the time! Heritage Fair is an opportunity to exercise plenty of skills that are fundamental to the new curriculum: critical thinking, communication, and reflection. Years after doing their project, the systematic method in which the students approach their research topic and collaborate with community sources and experts, truly allows the student to excel at advanced-level academic work.

Vendashi’s helpful resources:

Your students can learn to ace interviews

Teaching students to distinguish between primary and secondary sources


Lucas speaks on the opportunity…

Heritage Fairs gives students an opportunity to develop a passion for learning – and this passion is far more important than any knowledge they could learn. The components of the project, such as conducting research from accurate sources, interviewing members of the community, making a physical display, and preparing a speech are all skills that young leaders should learn.

Lucas’ helpful resources…

How to Pick Your Heritage Fair Topic

The Importance of Museums for Information


Leona speaks on her past experiences…

Heritage fair opens up new opportunities for students of all ages and skill levels. It helps students develop skills such as organization, independence, along with presentation skills. All much needed in their educational career. The most stressful part of Heritage Fair for many is choosing a topic. This initial decision can affect everything. But in all honesty, don’t stress over whether you’ve chosen the perfect topic, a good topic will come with opportunities for deep thinking. A good topic will keep you thinking and wondering, all the way throughout the researching process.

Leona’s resources…




Jaia speaks on the value of passion…

Heritage Fairs provides students with the opportunity to research a topic of Canadian history but also promotes these students to discover what they are passionate about. One of the most important things that Heritage Fairs teaches is that we should never take for granted what life gives us, as the challenges we face ultimately allow us to develop as individuals and as societies. What makes Heritage Fairs extraordinary is that the process is valuable, but with the finished product and end result comes a true appreciation for the discovery accomplished during the process itself.

Here are two of the resources that I recommend –

What are the keys to an outstanding project?

How do I get ready for Heritage Fair day?


Veronica’s experience with BCHF…

In my experience, Heritage Fair is the most fun when students are given the opportunity to be creative and unique. At least for me, Heritage Fair was my first-ever “big” project, which by itself makes the experience exciting. As such, the freedom to share an interest through creative means made the project especially memorable.

Veronica’s helpful resources:

Enthusiasm: The Key to an Outstanding Project

What do the Judges Like to See


Kevin suggests…

Make sure to teach and discuss topics such as critical thinking, primary sources, and checking a source’s validity.  Also, make sure students start working on their project right away, as while presentation day might seem far in the future, time flies and all of a sudden, present day’s tomorrow, and you’ve only a little work.  Releasing even a rough timeline is a huge help to keep students on track.

Kelvin’s helpful resources…

How do I get all of that work done?!

How do I get ready for Heritage Fair day?


Judy shares her tips for an amazing project…

Thoughtful and detailed research is arguably the most important part of the Heritage Fair. It is important to teach your students how to analyze primary and secondary resources; plan out several classes where you have students practice analyzing images, make sure a source is trustworthy, and cite resources. Don’t forget to discuss topics such as historical perspective, biases in primary sources and historical significance. Students with well-researched topics are guaranteed to have a successful Heritage Fair project.

How do I research my project topic?

What is an example of a primary source?



Hopefully, this has helped you decide whether or not you’d like to participate in BC Heritage Fairs. It provides as a great opportunity. Any teachers who are interested may visit our website http://bcheritagefairs.ca/about/


The Oka Crisis — February 4, 2019

The Oka Crisis

This month, Lucas is here to tell us about one piece of the history of Indigenous resistance to development – the Oka Crisis of 1989.


National headlines were made a few weeks ago when the RCMP, in dramatic fashion, dismantled a barricade and arrested several Indigenous protesters on Wet’suwet’en land in BC. They were protesting the planned construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline, which would span some 670 kilometres across Northern BC. After this video was posted on Facebook, many viewers were outraged at the police force’s response to the protests.

Although pipelines are a current issue, one does not have to reach far back in Canada’s past to find parallel incidents to the one we are facing now. One series of events, known as the Oka Crisis, escalated to the point of being a 78-day long standoff, with several casualties. In the small town of Oka, Quebec, municipal plans were made in 1989 to expand a golf course in an area that was claimed by the Mohawk people, and was historically a burial ground for the people. Despite several different parties, including the Quebec Minister of Native Affairs, speaking out against the town’s decision, construction still began as planned.

That was until a group of Mohawk warriors made a barricade in the summer of 1989, stopping any more progress from being made. Eventually, the provincial police force (SQ) was called in, and they used tear gas to try and dispel the warriors. Undeterred, the warriors stood their ground, and in the exchange of gunfire that followed, tragedy struck when SQ Corporal Marcel Lemay (of the provincial force) was shot in the face and killed. Due to the smoke created by the tear gas, it is still unknown who fired the first shot, or who killed Lemay.

Photo Credit

The quickly-escalating crisis continued to unfold as the SQ set up their own barricades as well. As the standoff continued into August, civic tensions (including that of non-Indigenous citizens who were angry at the SQ for not resolving the situation quickly) hit a boiling point, and the RCMP and the Royal 22e Regiment were brought in to end the crisis. After several rounds of negotiations, the protests ended on September 26, 1990. The federal government, for their part, purchased the section of undeveloped land and promised to stop construction on the golf course. More than 75 Mohawk people had been injured, and several armed forces members as well.

The Oka Crisis led to several important events in government/Indigenous relations, particularly the establishment of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. It has also been said that the event helped spark a heightened awareness among Indigenous peoples about their rights, and informed all Canadians that land disputes were still prevalent in the late-20th century.

As the recent pipeline protests return to their place in the news cycle and slowly become less prevalent for the time being, it is important to remember that our modern history, as recently as 1990, has contained conflicts between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples that have nearly broke out into armed conflicts. The Oka Crisis showed all Canadians that these issues are still controversial and incendiary, and if not dealt with in a respectful and timely manner, all sides can stand to lose something in the resulting battle.