The MHSO has entered the final year of its digital archive project!

Discover Multicultural Ontario will improve access to the MHSO’s primary source resources, and will assist in the preservation of an unparalleled, non-renewable archival collection that is central to understanding the history and development of Ontario.

MHSO secured the services of Our Digital World, a not-for-profit service provider, and we have adopted their web-based platform, the VITA Toolkit, for the design and development of the digital archive.

The MHSO has worked with The Media Preserve to digitize the Society’s oral history interviews for the OTF digital archive project, and over 1,400 interviews representing 20 different languages have been digitized to date. Thanks to additional financial support received from the Government of Ontario through the Museums and Technology Fund, the MHSO is also in the process of digitizing and publishing selected materials from our multilingual ethnic newspaper collection.

Volunteers Make The Difference

Volunteers are providing vital support to the digital archive project, working on various activities at our on site and remotely from locations throughout the province. Over 200 volunteers have contributed to the project over the past two and a half years; this dedicated group is scanning materials from our archive, testing oral history cassette tapes for audio quality, transcribing and translating selected interviews and preparing background research and contextual information to enhance the collection. So far our volunteers have helped to scan over 5,000 historical photographs, and have also drafted over 600 interview transcripts and 135 interview biographies.

Want to learn more about the Society and the digital archive project? Contact the MHSO at You can also keep up with current events through our Facebook and Twitter feeds.


New Project: Oral History and Photograph Online Archive

The Multicultural History Society of Ontario is delighted to announce that work has officially begun on its 3-year project to create an online archive documenting the immigrant and ethnic experience. The archive will feature oral history interviews and historical photographs from the MHSO collection, augmented by contextual commentary and innovative educational programming.

It is now exactly forty years since Canada became the first country in the world to adopt multiculturalism as an official policy, and Ontario has a rich history of ethnocultural diversity. This online archive will help educators tutor students on this vital aspect of our provincial heritage, and highlight to all Ontarians and visitors our vibrant cultural mosaic.

The MHSO gratefully acknowledges the generous financial support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation that makes this project possible. A leading grant-maker in Canada, OTF strengthens the capacity of the voluntary sector through investments in community-based initiatives. An agency of the Government of Ontario, OTF builds healthy and vibrant communities.

Anyone who is interested in becoming involved in this project as a volunteer is encouraged to contact Cathy Leekam at or 416-979-2973.

Check out the MHSO on Facebook! 

Visit the MHSO's page on Facebook to view photographs and videos from past events, learn about upcoming events, and stay in the loop about everything that is going on at the MHSO. Remember to "like" our page! You can also check out the MHSO online at our YouTube channel and our Flickr group.

History Minds @your library Speaker Series: "Understanding Slavery Past and Present" 

The Mississauga Central Library, in partnership with, invites all to attend the free lecture by Karlee Sapoznik (PhD Candidate, York University) on the topic of historical and contemporary slavery. The lecture is on Thursday, May 12 from 7:30-8:30 PM at the Mississauga Central Library, Classroom 3, 2nd Floor.

Film screening and discussion: "DEATH or CANADA" 

The Enoch Turner Schoolhouse Foundation invites all to attend the screening of "DEATH or CANADA", an award-winning film that explores Canada's role in the Irish famine of 1847. The screening will be followed by a discussion with Daniel Thomson, Executive Producer, and historian Dr. Mark McGowan. Tickets are available in advance or at the door ($8 adults; $5 students, seniors, ETSF members). The event takes place May 12, 6:30pm-9pm. For more information, contact the Enoch Turner Schoolhouse at 416-327-6997.

Congratulations to the MHSO's UTM placement students 

On April 20, 2011, students Felicia Daisy, Grigor Grigorian and Ravneet Dulai presented the results of their History Internship at the MHSO. All gave very engaging presentations about their work conducting interviews with members of local Caribbean, Armenian and Sikh communities. These interviews have been added to the MHSO archival collection, and are available to all interested parties.

Congratulations to the "Experience This!" graduates 

On April 18, 2011, six youth from Serve! Canada's "Experience This!" program graduated, in a lovely ceremony at the 519 Community Centre. Since November, these youth worked with the MHSO on a weekly basis as part of this program that provides youth with work experience and job skills training. This partnership was very rewarding for the MHSO, and we look forward to working with this program in the future.

Launch of Chinese Canadian Women, 1923-1967 website and The Ties That Bind video 

On March 31, 2011, the Columbus Centre hosted a lively crowd for the launch of two major projects, the MHSO's website Chinese Canadian Women, 1923-1967 ( and the Foundation to Commemorate the Chinese Railroad Workers in Canada's video The Ties That Bind ( The projects were made possible through funding from the Government of Canada (Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Community Historical Recognition Program).

Launch of The Ties that Bind Online Exhibit - Toronto, August 28, 2010

Chinese Canadians are making history with a more inclusive interpretation of Canada’s official story in a new online exhibit that draws attention to their contributions in achieving the national dream – the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Nearly 125 years since the driving of the “Last Spike” that completed the main line of the CPR, a dozen descendants of Chinese railroad workers are now sharing their family stories about the building of the railroad, and settling in Canada, in The Ties That Bind: Building the CPR, Building a Place in Canada online exhibit

The project is sponsored by the Foundation to Commemorate the Chinese Railroad Workers in Canada, in partnership with the Multicultural History Society of Ontario, with funding from Citizenship and Immigration Canada under the Community Historical Recognition Program.

Chinese Canadian Women 1923-1967: Inspiration-Innovation-Ingenuity

The MHSO started work on a two-year project, Chinese Canadian Women 1923-1967: Inspiration-Innovation-Ingenuity, thanks in large part to a significant grant from the federal government’s Community Historical Recognition Program. This project will bring together a variety of sources, including new oral history interviews that will be conducted across the country. It will culminate in an online portal that will make exhibitions, digital resources, learning materials and interactive activities available to the public. Online users will also be invited to contribute to this commemoration of the experiences of Chinese Canadian women.

Community Screening of Sluzhenie (Service) and Gifting of Heritage Magazine

On May 4, 2010, the MHSO, together with the Russian Canadian Cultural Aid Society (RCCAS), hosted a community screening of Sluzhenie (Service), a documentary by Alexander Gershtein. The evening also featured the presentation of Heritage bilingual magazine, published by the Russian Canadian Cultural Heritage Foundation. Heritage magazine is now available for consultation in the MHSO’s library and archives.

Launch of Multicultural Canada

The MHSO joined the Multicultural Canada Digitization Project Partners on March 23, 2010 at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia to celebrate the launch of Multicultural Canada's aim is to provide online access to historical records along with the shared histories and experiences of the many cultural groups that have built and continue to build a vibrant Canada.  

Digitization Initiatives

The MHSO recently partnered with Documenting Multicultural Canada, contributing approximately 100 hours of interviews with Italian Canadian Women and a selection of archival photographs to the Italian Canadian Women Oral History Collection, Photograph Collection, and the Hardworking Women Indeed learning module.

The MHSO also partnered with Connecting Canadians: Canada's Multicultural Newspapers digitization project. Ethnic newspapers in Estonian, Finnish, Latvian and Lithuanian from our collection are available on the searchable website:


Chinese Canadian Women, 1923-1967 website

Discover a compelling chapter of Canadian history through the experiences of Chinese Canadian women. Their stories demonstrate the contributions they made to their communities and to Canada, and the obstacles they overcame during the Exclusion Period (1923-1947) and subsequent decades of discriminatory immigration policies (1947-1967).

The Chinese Canadian Women, 1923-1967 website, features four exhibits, a collection database, two activities, education resources for teachers and resources for community engagement. Thirty-three new oral history interviews and over 1,000 historical photographs and records are brought together in this website.

This project was made possible through funding from the Government of Canada (Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Community Historical Recognition Program).



Family Stories, Treasured Memories: Exhibition and Program Website Launch

We are delighted to announce the launch of the Family Stories, Treasured Memories exhibition and website. Family Stories, Treasured Memories is a heritage sharing programme that encourages young people to explore their unique family histories, as well as those of their peers, through research and creative public display.

Visit the Family Stories website to download lesson plans and digital content to complete the programme in the classroom.

The Family Stories, Treasured Memories exhibition showcases multicultural, intergenerational family migration stories as told by students. It contains a selection of the many exceptional projects created in Toronto during the school programme’s pilot year. The exhibition will be traveling to various locations across Toronto in 2009.

This project was made possible through the generous support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation.



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Holiday Lights: A Celebration of Multicultural Traditions

The MHSO is pleased to present Holiday Lights: A Celebration of Multicultural Traditions, an exhibition that will be on display at the Vaughan Mills Shopping Centre, during the winter holiday season (November 2007 - February 2008).

Vaughan Mills Shopping Centre contracted the MHSO to curate a multicultural holiday exhibition that examines different holidays, celebrations, and festivals that occur during the winter months in Canada. The exhibition looks at twelve different holidays that are observed by diverse ethnocommunities in Ontario. It is our hope that this exhibition will promote understanding and respect of the varied and vibrant religious and cultural celebrations at this time of year.

Image: Since ancient times, people have used fire in winter celebrations, 
in order to brighten the long nights and to scare away evil spirits.


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Collection X- An Innovative Interactive Development Project

Image: Macedonian boarding house on Wellington Street West, Toronto in 1917In May 2007 the Multicultural History Society of Ontario celebrated the public launch of Collection X - an innovative interactive development project, in partnership with the Art Gallery of Ontario, City of Toronto (Culture Division) and the Toronto District School Board.

Collection X is a fully interactive website that lets users to explore unique images, audio, and video from several Toronto institutions, and also allows them to contribute their own materials to this exciting open-source museum.

Colin Wiginton, the AGO’s manager of Community Programs says, “Collection X will give every user the chance to be both an artist and a curator, and to share his or her own stories.”

Collection X is funded by the Virtual Museum of Canada, an initiative of the Department of Canadian Heritage.


Image: Macedonian boarding house on Wellington Street West, Toronto in 1917 by Foto S. Tomev, oil on canvas, 1982. Multicultural History Society of Ontario- George Petroff Family Collection.

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Treasured Memories, Family Stories - The MHSO's new 2007 school program

Image: Students’ final projects on display at the MHSO. Treasured Memories, Family Stories is a heritage sharing school program focusing on the settlement experiences of 20th-century immigrants to Toronto. In the 2006/2007 school year, the program is being piloted with more than 150 grade 5-8 students in Toronto schools, and will be available on the internet next year. The students at E.A.S.T. Alternative School, Humewood Community School, Hilltop Middle School, and Valley Park Middle School conducted oral history interviews with their relatives in order to present and share their family histories with their teachers, peers, and communities. This project aims to help students understand their place in Ontario's history, to increase tolerance and understanding in a multicultural society, and to engage young people in the history-making process.  

This project was made possible through the generous support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation. 
Image: Students' final projects on display at the MHSO.
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The MHSO is honoured to host Legacies - a photographic exhibition celebrating the achievements and challenges of 24 Canadian immigrant women from diverse backgrounds and cultures. The exhibit will run from March 21st to March 31st 2007. The accompanying stories of these women are told by their Canadian granddaughters, in English, French, and the grandmother's first language.

Their countries of origin are: Afghanistan, Algeria, China, Denmark, England, Germany, Greece, Haiti, Hungary, India, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Japan, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Ukraine and Venezuela.

Gina Valle, the creator of this exhibition, first featured the stories of these women in her book, Our Grandmothers Ourselves: Reflections of Canadian Women. The book is the catalyst for the exhibit where insights into the immigrant life, the changing family in Canada, feminism, intergenerational relationships and aging are captured in print. 

For more information, please visit Gina Valle's website:
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Opening in 2006: The Hungarian Exodus

The 50th Anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution will be commemorated in 2006. Following the Revolution over 40,000 Hungarian refugees/immigrants arrived in Canada, enriching this country's rich multicultural tapestry.

The Rakoczi Foundation, in partnership with the Multicultural History Society of Ontario, is launching an oral history project to collect, organize and preserve the personal stories and archival materials of these immigrants who came to Canada in 1956 and 1957 as a direct result of the Hungarian Revolution.

A national traveling exhibit will be created focusing on the immigration and settlement, lives and struggles of the Hungarian refugees. This exhibit will be displayed in 10 cities across Canada and in Budapest, Hungary. Visit the 1956 Memorial website to learn more about this exciting project and about how you can get involved.

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Multicultural Canada Conference

Join us and the Multicultural Canada Digitization Project Partners on May 31 to June 2, 2006 at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia for the Multicultural Canada Conference.

The Conference will showcase Multicultural Canada, a consortium of university libraries and community groups led by Simon Fraser University. Multicultural Canada's aim is to provide online access to historical records along with the shared histories and experiences of the many cultural groups that have built and continue to build a vibrant Canada. The consortium uses the internet to provide greater learning, understanding and communication amongst and within these cultural groups.

Access the Conference Program online.

The Multicultural Canada Conference has been generously sponsored by Simon Fraser University, Library and Archives Canada, University of Victoria, University of Calgary, University of Toronto, CARL, Thomson Gale and EBSCO Canada Ltd.

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