Accession 2013.003 - Heritage Minutes 2013 acquisition

Identity area

Reference code

CA ON00349 2013.003


Heritage Minutes 2013 acquisition


  • 1988 - 2005 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

Context area

Name of creator

Administrative history

Historica Canada is Canada’s largest organization working towards educating the public on the Nation’s history and cultural. It is a registered national charitable organization and offers all its programing and information in both English and French.
Historica in its present form began in 2009 after a company merger of the Historica Foundation of Canada and The Dominion Institute, though working under the name of The Historica-Dominion Institute until 2013 when it adopted its present name.
Historica offers many culture enriching programs and information. They are best known for their popular Heritage Minutes. These short 60-second films depict important people or events that have helped shape Canada, often highlighting values that are considered important to the Nation. As of July 2020, they have released 91 episodes since 1991 when the first thirteen minutes were released. They also publish and maintain The Canadian Encyclopedia, a free online resource on Canadian history. Historica Canada offers many educational programs across the country in both languages to promote and aide in the building of Canadian culture.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Donated to the archive by Historica Canada.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Heritage Minutes began in 1986 after Charles Bronfman’s CRB Foundation conducted a survey that found many Canadians severely lacked basic historical knowledge of their country. Using similar advertisement ploys, he began to create history-based public service announcements with the help of Patrick Watson, Robert-Guy Scully, and Richard Ciupka under the CRB Foundation. These announcements, which would later be known as Heritage Minutes, followed six main criteria: 1. Intrigue us with Canada’s heritage; 2. Be producible within resources; 3. Be truthful within the bounds of dramatic license; 4. Reflect and celebrate Canadian social and cultural values: tolerance, fairness, courage, tenacity, resourcefulness, inventiveness; 5. Reveal origins; 6. Surprise, provoke reflection, re-examination, raise questions.

After pilot episodes and bilingual focus groups, thirteen episodes were released on March 31, 1991, airing on CBC and Radio-Canada. CRB Foundation continued to release Heritage Minutes, often with the help of the National Film Board of Canada.

In 1999, the short films were renamed Historica Minutes: History by the Minute after CRB Foundation created the Historica Foundation of Canada. The company changed names again in 2009 when the Historica Foundation merged with the Dominion Institute to become the Historica-Dominion Institute. The company was renamed again to its present name Historica Canada in 2013.

Heritage Minutes have been screened by many, including Cineplex Odeon cinemas, Universal Studios Home Video Canada, and VIA Rail. In 2003, Heritage Minutes made their radio debut in 90-second dramas. They have also been the bases for multiple parodies by Canadian comedians and television programs. The 1992 Heritage Minute Halifax Explosion was a Gemini award nomination, with Steve Danyluk as director of photography. To help encourage Canadian broadcasters to air the Minutes, the CRTC has deemed them as 150-per-cent Canadian content programming.

The Heritage Minutes are produced independently without any engagement from funders in script, direction or production. Since Heritage Minutes content is educational, networks have never received payment for airing them.

All stages of production are present in this collection. This includes camera original negatives, workprints, intermediate edits, visual printing elements, soundtrack elements, film release prints, video edits, video masters, along with photographic and textual production documents.

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  • Vikings (1992)
  • John Cabot (1991)
  • Jacques Cartier (1991)
  • Jean Nicolet (1992)
  • Syrup (1997)
  • Governer Frontenac (1992)
  • Laura Secord
  • Hart & Papineau (1995)
  • Étienne Parent
  • Baldwin & LaFontaine (1992)
  • Responsible Government (1991)
  • Orphans (1991)
  • Underground Railroad (1991)
  • Joseph Casavant (1992)
  • The Paris Crew (1995)
  • Saguenay Fire (1992)
  • Jennie Trout (1991)
  • Sitting Bull
  • Les Voltigeurs de Québec
  • Nitro
  • Joseph Tyrrell (1992)
  • Louis Riel (1991)
  • Sir Sandford Fleming
  • Rural Teacher (1992)
  • Soddie (1991)
  • Midwife (1992)
  • Basketball (1992)
  • Sam Steele (1993)
  • Frontier College (1997)
  • Marconi
  • Grey Owl (1999)
  • Valour Road (1991)
  • Winnie
  • John McCrae
  • J.S. Woodsworth (2003)
  • Nellie McClung (1991)
  • Halifax Explosion (1991)
  • Joseph-Armand Bombardier (1993)
  • Emily Murphy (1992)
  • Superman (1991)
  • Myrnam Hospital (1995)
  • La Bolduc (1993)
  • Inukshuk (1993)
  • Wilder Penfield (1991)
  • Agnes Macphail (1992)
  • Bluenose (1995)
  • Emily Carr (1992)
  • Pauline Vanier (1995)
  • Marion Orr (1997)
  • Maurice “Rocket” Richard
  • Jackie Robinson (1997)
  • John Humphrey (1997)
  • Avro Arrow
  • Stratford (1997)
  • Paul-Émile Borduas (1995)
  • Le Réseau (1993)
  • Maurice Ruddick (1993)
  • Jacques Plante (1991)
  • Lucille Teasdale (2000)
  • Marshall McLuhan
  • Flags
  • Expo ’67 (1997)
  • Nat Taylor (1997)
  • Water Pump (1995)
  • Maple Leaf Gardens (1993)
  • Richard Pierpoint (2012)
  • The Battle of Queenston Heights (2013)
  • Vimy Ridge (2005)
  • Osborn of Hong Kong (2005)
  • Mona Parsons (2005)
  • Tommy Prince (2005)
  • Juno Beach (2005)
  • Andrew Mynarski (2005)
  • Home from the Wars (2005)
  • Dextraze in the Congo (2005)

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Arrangement was done by Historica Canada prior to donation, and is incomplete.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Preservation concerns may limit access, consult archivist.

Conditions governing reproduction

Intellectual rights remain with creator. Contact archivist for further information.

Language of material

  • English
  • French

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Contact archivist for further finding aid information.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Related descriptions

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Name access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used

Dates of creation revision deletion

Created August 7, 2019 by Elizabeth Carroll.


  • English



Godfrey, Stephen. “CROSS CURRENT They may fill some gaps, but Heritage Minutes also point to gaping holes.” The Globe & Mail Toronto, April 19, 1991.

Historica Canada. “About.” Accessed August 7, 2019.

"Historica's Radio Heritage Minutes." Canada NewsWire, Mar 13, 2003.

Moore, Christopher. "Our History, Minute by Minute." The Beaver 75, no.3 (June 1995): 53-55,

O’kane, Josh. “How Canada's Heritage Minutes got their swagger back: Short-film series of Canadian historical moments debuts its 80th entry this week.” The Globe & Mail Toronto, May 13, 2015.

Ried, Emily and Nicki Thomas. “Heritage Minutes.” The Canadian Encyclopedia. Last updated November 14, 2018.

Tierney, Kevin. "Heritage Minutes Stand the Test of Time; they were, and Still are, Pro-Canada, but also Inclusive and Meaningful." Montreal Gazette, Nov 12, 2016.

Accession area

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