This Canada Day, Take a Deeper Dive into Canada’s History

July 1 is a chance to reflect on our country’s history, present, and future.

To do that, we need to educate ourselves- perhaps beyond what we’ve learned in school. Canadians of all demographics can learn more about our own country by exploring Canada’s history- the good and the bad- through numerous online resources.

You can find and access many of these resources for free, but if you’re currently a student, staff or faculty member at Saint Mary’s, you’ll have access to some of the following databases through the Library.

Critically Examining Your Sources

It’s worth noting that many of these are resources provided by the Canadian government, but there are a variety of perspectives that need to be considered when establishing an information source’s authority on a topic. There may be (and often is!) more to the story.

This does not mean we should trust sources that are untrustworthy, or that trustworthy sources can’t sometimes be incorrect. It simply means we must use our critical thinking skills to analyze a source from a critical perspective. Here are some questions to ask yourself when analyzing a source:

  • Who wrote it? Why? What makes them on expert on this topic? (It’s perfectly acceptable to Google names, institutions, etc. to find out more about an author or organization).
  • Is the information presented objectively (more or less), or does it present only one side of an issue? Does the author/organization benefit from presenting the info from a particular perspective?
  • What information is included, and what is excluded? (To know this, you’ll need to consult multiple sources on the topic).
  • Is it current? When was this information last updated?

You can find more info and questions to consider on the Library’s website.

For online information in particular, a handy approach is one called SIFT:

SIFT: Stop, Investigate the source, Find better coverage, Trace claims and media to the original context.

The following is a list of resources you can use to learn more about Canada’s past, present, and future, keeping in mind the critical thinking skills discussed here.

Statistics Canada

Statistics Canada makes key information available from the national statistical office. Canadians can access information about the country’s economy, society, environment and much more. Statistics Canada is a great database to use to explore Canadian statistics while also having the data needed to make effective evidence-based decisions. 

Government of Canada Publications

The Government of Canada Publications database hosts more than 400,900 digital publications that are accessible to you. If you have ever wanted to access the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, you can get it here. As well as multiple other documents ranging from Canadian building codes to Government responses to environment and social justice issues.

Canadian Business and Current Affairs

The Canadian Business and Current Affairs database provides users with large collection of materials discussing current affairs and business challenges in Canadian. The database features a range of publications, include scholarly journals, trade publications, magazines, reports, radio and television transcripts, news, and much more.

Canada’s Information Resource Centre

Canada’s Information Resource Centre (CIRC) is a database that hosts a wide collection of Canadian directories. Find important and need-to-know information about government and industry segments using the information provided by CIRC.

Canadian Census Analyzer  

You never know what you can find using the Canadian Census Analyzer database. Using census subdivisions (CSDs), you can access and create datasets that you’re interested in using recent Canadian census data.


The Canadiana/Heritage database offers you over two million pages of Canadian history. This database is dedicated to preserving and providing Canadians with access to heritage materials.

Check out this fabulous guide from Douglas College for more resources.

There are tons of ways to learn more about Canada’s history just by sitting at your computer- or by seeking out and learning from those who lived it.

If you can’t find something you’re looking for, feel free to reach out to the Library’s Research Help team. We’re always happy to assist!

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