A tour bus depicting Canada’s not-too-rosy history shows up in North Bay today.
The bus is part of the Friends of Simon Centre for Holocaust Studies and is currently on a tour of Northern Ontario.
The centre’s education director Melissa Mikel says the tour features presentations on a wide range of sordid events in Canada.
Mikel says that includes how we interned the Japanese during World Two, introduced the Chinese head tax and how First Nation people were treated at residential schools.
Mikel says the presentations, which are open to students and adults, are 50 minutes long and are seen in the bus which has a capacity for 30 people at a time.
Mikel says although the education system is catching up, there was a time Canadian students never learned about these past events.
She says as an example, when it comes to how black people were treated, Canadians tend to think that slavery and discrimination against this group only took place in the southern United States.
However Mikel says history shows that many black people in Nova Scotia were victims of discrimination and racism.
One such person was Viola Desmond whose image now appears on our $10 bill.
Mikel says Desmond was a civil rights activist in Nova Scotia who fought segregation during the 1940s.
She was arrested and tried but Mikel says it took many years for her to become regarded as a hero later in life.
Desmond died in 1965.
“However it took many years for her to be pardoned and for her to have the status she has today,” said Mikel.
Desmond was pardoned in 2010 by Nova Scotia.
Mikel says another part of the presentation looks at the freedoms people lost at different points like Japanese people who were interned during World War Two.
The bus is at Chippewa Secondary School Tuesday and Wednesday from 8:50am to 3:00pm before moving to West Ferris Secondary School on Thursday from 9:00am to 2:50pm.