Category Archives: Uncategorized

On board Canada 150 with YMCA Canada

Back in the Fall of 2016 I worked on a project for YMCA Canada.  I researched the topic of “railway YMCAs” in support of YMCA Canada’s “LocalMOTION” program commemorating Canada 150.  Railway Ys were YMCA buildings located in remote railway towns and near large railway yards.  They served railway workers and the local community from the late nineteenth-century to the late-twentieth-century.


  • YMCA Canada, “The Canadian Railway YMCA Story,” 5:09min YouTube video, published 9 June 2017,

I produced two papers that, so I am told, provided YMCA staff and others involved in the project with useful background information and a few key insights.  I also collected and digitized a number of images from the YMCA’s archival collection, and from material at the Toronto Reference Library.  It was some of the most enjoyable work I’ve done as a consultant, and it’s gratifying knowing that I contributed to the Ys celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary.


Check out the YMCA’s LocalMOTION initiatve on the web here.   There’s a fun challenge to get involved in, and you can connect on social media using the #YMCALocalMOTION hashtag.  (On Twitter, look up @YMCA_Canada.)  It’s frankly pretty cool to see small elements of what I worked on as part of the historical perspective on the LocalMOTION website.  And a bit of a thrill to see the videos, in French and English embedded here, that the Y created as a part of the project!


I am also glad to see that the Y recognizes its own longevity in the videos (see the end).  The federal state that Confederation created has been around for 150 years now, but the Canadian Y has been around for 166 years.  It was founded in an earlier version of Canada, in which railways were already active.


  • YMCA Canada, “L’histoire des YMCA du rail canadiens,” 4:33min YouTube video, published 9 June 2017,


Citation: Nathan Smith, “On Board Canada 150 with YMCA Canada,” 17 June 2017,,


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Battlefield 1 in View

A couple of weeks ago I met with Jonathan Ore of CBC News to discuss the new Battlefield 1 video game, set in the First World War.  The end result was his piece about the historical value of the game, and a brief video.  They are both here at


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It’s August 4th

August 4th is the anniversary of Britain’s entry into the First World War, and, thus, the anniversary for Canada and the rest of the British Empire that existed back then.  So it’s an appropriate day to highlight our latest post in our centennial series on  Here’s the reference:

  • Sarah Glassford, Christopher Schultz, Nathan Smith, Jonathan Weier, “A View from the (Editing) Trenches: Summer 2016 and the Challenges of (Knowledge) Mobilization,” 2 August 2016,, Series Wants You - Poster copy

In our piece we reflect on where we have been in the past two years, how this resonates with First World War history in some surprising ways, and we consider where we might be headed.  There is some news about our editorial team, and this nifty promotional poster.

You can download the poster from the post, or from right here.

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