The Lost Stories Project seeks out little known stories about the Canadian past and transforms them into inexpensive, site-specific works of public art. This process is documented through a series of short films. Along the way, forgotten moments from Canadian history are brought to light, and viewers have an opportunity to see the choices that have to be made when a story is turned into a work of art.

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About the project

The Lost Stories Project engages Canadians in the process of commemorating their history. This project brings together members of the public, artists and filmmakers to explore little known stories about the Canadian past. Stories solicited from members of the public are handed over to artists who have the task of transforming them into inexpensive, site­-specific works of public art. Finally, the creative journeys of the artists are documented by a series of short films. Along the way, forgotten moments from Canadian history are brought to light, and viewers have an opportunity to see the choices that have to be made when a story is transformed into a commemorative work of art.

The project is directed by Ronald Rudin, a professor of history and co­-director of the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling at Concordia University in Montreal. He has a longstanding interest in how stories about the past are told in public space, examining both which stories get told and how they are presented. When we see markers of the past as monuments, memorials and murals, they appear to be natural, as if they couldn't have taken on any other shape. By documenting the process from start to finish, the Lost Stories Project shows that these markers are the product of a number of choices, from the selection of the stories to the designs that are ultimately chosen to represent them. In most cases, this process happens out of public view, but Lost Stories seeks to make these choices transparent and to actively engage ordinary Canadians in this decision-­making.

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Thomas Widd's Lost Story

The Lost Stories project collects little known stories about the Canadian past from across the country. For the initial episode, a call was put out to Montrealers using a wide array of media. We received roughly forty proposals, from which we selected that of Thomas Widd, a deaf man who was the founder in the late-nineteenth century of Montreal's Mackay School for the Deaf.

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Finding Lost Stories

We are always looking for Lost Stories for future episodes. If you have a little-known story from Canada's past that might lead to the creation of public art on an appropriate site, let us know.

Write us at: historylost@concordia.ca; or contact us through Facebook or Twitter.

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