How do you tell the history of Canada?
According to the Canadian Museum of History, a camera is one of the best ways to tell our country’s story.
A travelling exhibit that captures prominent moments in Canadian history on film has made its way to Saskatchewan.
Snapshots of Canada pairs compelling images with texts by well-known authors, journalists, and historians to explore Canada’s history. Diefenbaker Canada Centre in Saskatoon is home to the exhibit until May 27.
“It’s really amazing to get to see these large-format images all in one place that deal with so many different moments in time and different people’s cultures,” said Helanna Gessner, the Diefenbaker Canada Centre exhibits manager.
The exhibit showcases more than 50 photos from Canada’s history. It’s a piece residents have really gravitated towards, according to Gessner.
“People spend a lot of time in here looking at the images, which can sometimes be a challenge – keeping people entertained for long periods of time,” Gessner explained.
The photos range from moments around Canada’s beginnings to celebrating moments that are woven into the country’s rich heritage and culture.
The exhibit even has a tie to Saskatchewan, with former premier Tommy Douglas and his work on introducing universal health care.
Gessner said the snapshots have been a great way to teach both adults and children about the events that made Canada what it is today.
“It’s really great to be able to highlight some of the things that they’re learning in school right here,” Gessner said.
The installation not only looks back in history but also invokes thoughts of recent events that have potentially deep significance.
Gessner mentions the Wet’suwet’en and freedom convoy protests as moments that have affected Canadians more recently.
“Those are very clear moments in time that have really captured people’s attention and the world’s attention that I could see being in something like this,” Gessner explained when reflecting on what images might be added in the future.
She says her favourite thing, however, is the feeling of ‘where were you?’ when these photos were taken.
“Each image generates discussion in different ways, especially if you were to bring maybe a grandparent here who might have lived experience that they can relate to and then be able to share their stories,” Gessner said.