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Distinctively Canadian: considering Confederation's post-modern

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10:00 AM, Saturday 28 May 2022 (20 minutes)

This paper proposes a critical appreciation of Canadian architecture as an expression of a distinctly complex and evolving relationship among people and place. This endeavour is certainly not new to architectural history, yet is more prescient these days given some of the challenges facing our fractured and contested collective legacies at a time when nationalism as a concept is being challenged to demonstrate its relevancy to many societies.

If this paper has done its job, it will have reclaimed significant dialogues and narratives about Canadian history and culture away from contemporary considerations in order to find it restored within a compelling and recognizable framework with a history, a geography and a philosophy.

Only a few short years ago, J.L. Granatstein asked who killed Canadian history. This was provocative at the time because everyone assumed it was alive and just perhaps on holiday. Then someone looked into the situation and no one could believe it at first. So the historians pulled out their defibrillators and began writing. The summation is in, and as it turns out, it wasn't dead—it was merely a victim of its own success. And so even as we offer a relieved celebration, we must also consider the costs of its early funeral and contemplate the nature and shape of its revival, resurrection, and renaissance of the Canadian historical landscape in the twenty-first century.

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