Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

The Dawn of Canada's Century: Hidden Histories

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

The Dawn of Canada's Century: Hidden Histories

Article excerpt

Gordon Darroch (ed.), The Dawn of Canada's Century: Hidden Histories (Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2014), 520pp. Cased. $110. ISBN 978-0-77354252-5. Paper. $39.95. ISBN 978-0-7735-4465-9.

The Dawn of Canada's Century presents a multidisciplinary collection of papers that make extensive use of the sample of the Canadian Census of 1911 provided by the Canadian Century Research Infrastructure (CCRI). A collaborative project of eight Canadian universities supported by government agencies and corporations, the CCRI took on the monumental task of digitising and geo-referencing a sample of the census manuscripts from 1911 to 1951.

The book is divided into five sections that present 18 papers based on the analysis of the five per cent sample data of the Census of 1911. Some of these works have previously circulated as conference or working papers, and they cannot all be discussed in detail in this short review, so I will highlight what I consider the most important contributions. In Part 1, Gordon Darroch, himself a CCRI team leader, introduces the book and briefly comments on the CCRI's origins and development. Moldofsky's study in Chapter 2 is fundamental to understanding the importance of CCRI work for future research. The CCRI project put in digital format the geography of the census, enabling researchers to link census data with the region under evaluation with more precision. This chapter also discusses some of the shortcomings of working with sample data and the challenges posited by the division of the territory into new census districts and sub-districts, as Canada experienced an important spatial transformation at the turn of the century, particularly in the western provinces with the creation of the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan in 1905. …

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