Social Studies 10F‎ > ‎Projects‎ > ‎

I was Canadian

For this assignment you will research a famous Canadian who made an important or interesting contribution to Canadian history and so helped shaped Canada. This late, great Canadian has come for a visit and is interested in how life in Canada has changed since his (her) day. In other words, you have to be aware of what his or her life was like, and also be aware of what life is like today. You will have to contrast the two time periods in your five minute interview.

The Topic

Who could you pick? I’m glad you asked. The Canadian has to be historically important and “no longer with us.” Here’s a few possibilities:

Scientists Willard Boyle Bertram Neville Brockhouse Frederick Banting (insulin)
Charles Best (insulin)
Bruce Chown (Rh factor)
Margaret Newton (wheat rust)
Alan Brown (pablum)

Politicians William "Bible Bill" Aberhart (premier) Emily Murphy (suffragette)
 Nellie McClung (suffargette)
Rene Levesque Amor de Cosmos (premier, Father of Confederation)
William Lyon Mackenzie King (PM)
John A Macdonald
Pierre Trudeau (PM)
Early Residents

Peter Pond
 Albert Lacombe
Samuel de Champlain
Crowfoot (Chief)
Alexander Mackenzie (explorer)
Laura Secord
Marie-Anne Lagimodière Jean-Baptiste Lagimodière George Simpson

Public Figures

Mary Pickford (actress)
 Louis Cyr (strong man)
 Calixa Lavalee (musician)
Glenn Gould
John Wesley Dafoe (journalist)
Leo Mol (sculptor)
Gabrielle Roy (author)
Bob "Eye Opener" Edwards

Joe Montferrand (strong man)

Sports Figures
 Ethel Catherwood
 Terry Fox
Barbara Ann Scott (figure skating)
James Naismith (basketball)
Foster Hewitt (broadcasting)
Maurice Richard (hockey)
Jacques Plante

Military  William Stephenson (spy)
 Billy Bishop (flying ace)
 Louis Riel
Arthur Currie (general)
 Wilfrid Reid "Wop" May (bush pilot)
James Fitzgibbon

Inventors  Alexander Graham Bell (telephone)
Joseph Armand Bombardier (snowmobile)
John McLaughlin (Canada Dry)
Gideon Sundack (zipper)

(Any web links above are starting points for your research. You need to do more than look at that one site.)

These are only a few possibilities. There are many others. If you dig, there are probably hundreds of other people you could pick from. I've got several books that list all kinds of cool Canadians that you've probably never heard of. Ask me for them. I'll also have quite a few from the school library that you can use.

The Interview

  1. The research you do should then be written up into a five minute interview script.
    • You should have at least FIVE different sources for your research.
    • You may use no more than ONE article from Wikipedia.
    • At least one must be a printed source that is not an encyclopedia. (Articles from the Winnipeg Free Press Archives count as printed sources.)
    • You should cite your sources in an appropriate way.
      • Direct quotes, borrowed ideas and little known facts all need to be cited.
    • Primary sources are better than secondary sources.
  2. Your interview, with appropriate and short introductory and concluding themes and brief sound effects should last about five minutes when recorded.
    • "Short" means up to 10 seconds long.
  3. Each group will pick a different Canadian to interview. One of you will play the part of the interviewer, and one the part of the Canadian being interviewed.
  4. While you’ll probably do this in groups of two, if you want to interview a female historical figure, you don’t necessarily need a girl in your group or if you want to interview a male, you don’t need a guy. The software you’ll use (Audacity) is versatile enough that you can change a guy’s voice to a woman’s and a woman’s voice to a guy’s. You can also make quiet people seem loud and loud people seem quiet.
You will need to have it in mp3 format loaded onto a computer or some sort of mp3 player (I don't know how we'll arrange that, but we'll try).

Other Things to Consider

  • You should cite your sources wherever appropriate.
  • You will need a bibliography of all your sources.
  • You should keep any rough notes you create (photocopies, pages you print off, articles you summarize). You should have a log of your project. Each day jot down in a sentence or two what you and your group accomplished that day. This will be worth marks.
  • This is a research assignment which means that, yes, you need to research your topic. You can't bluff your way through it. You can try, but you will fail.
  • You’ll need to consider not only the content of the interview (which is the greatest part of the assignment) but also how the interview will sound.
    • Would special effects help?
    • Would a bit of theme music be appropriate?
  • This can be a very cool assignment if you’re creative, and if you keep it in good taste. It’s obvious to say it, but it must be in good taste.


You have to be careful. The material you use must be in the public domain. In other words, you must be allowed to use it. You can’t just go ripping off songs from your CDs, even if your friend, your parents, or your teachers did it. It’s wrong (because it takes away money from people who have a right to be paid), and it’s illegal. Don’t do it. As I teacher I can’t accept an assignment that has someone else’s copyrighted material.

This assignment will be done over a period of a couple of weeks. Since we can’t all record at once (imagine more than 20 people trying to “quietly” record at the same time in the same room. Chaos) we’ll probably have to do spread out a bit in different rooms.


  1. Length
    • Is it at least 5 minutes?
  2. Log
    • Have you been keeping track of what you've done?
  3. Bibliography
    • Was it handed in on time?
    • Does it list at least five sources?
  4. Research
    • Are there a variety of sources used?
    • Are primary sources used?
  5. Analysis
    • Does the project show understanding of the character's role in his and his significance?
    • Does the project show whether the students' think the character's role was positive or negative, something to be avoided or something to be admired?
  6. Originality
    • Is the topic new, fresh and exciting, or has it been done before?
    • Is the approach to the topic a little offbeat, or the same old thing? 

Due Dates

Topic: October 26
Bibliography: October 31
Project (including script and mp3): November 7

Some Possibly Useful (Possibly Not) Primary Sources

James Dykstra,
Nov 12, 2012, 11:05 AM