A Part of Our Heritage

This term in humanities, we have focused a majority of our time on a unit called Building a Nation. This unit has been all about the history of Canada leading up to Confederation in 1867. We learned about this by reading, writing, and, most importantly, watching Heritage Minutes. For those unfamiliar, Heritage Minutes are 60-second videos created by a company called Historica Canada. The final project that this unit has been driven on was to create one of our own Heritage Minutes in a small group, based on a chosen pre-confederation event, place, or person.

To start out with our unit, we read a few short stories telling what life was like for early colonists and first nations peoples of Canada. These stories really opened my eyes up to what people valued in the 1800s and were different from anything I had ever read before. Next, we worked on some various assignments that related back to the road to confederation, such as sketch notes, powerpoint presentations, and textbook readings. After all of this, it was time to start our Heritage Minutes.


The first thing we started on for our Heritage Minutes was the basic storyline and research. My group consisted of Melanie, Isabelle, and me, and we were assigned to choose a topic within the realm of arts and culture. After looking for ideas for about 20 minutes, we decided to venture outside of our category and learn about medical advancements and healthcare in the 19th century and ended up discovering Emily Stowe. After being denied medical education because of her being a woman, she had to travel to America to study and went on to be one of the first female doctors in Canada. The first step after we were finished researching was to create a script of our story. This was a very fun part because we were able to implement different filming techniques and angles to tell the story of a person in history. Next, it was time to revise and edit our script. We quickly realized that our script was way too short to fill a minute, and added more to our storyline to compensate for the extra space. Then it was time for the second step.

The next step was to create a storyboard for the various shots and angles of our scenes. This went by quite quickly, as we had already planned them all out within our script’s filming instructions. I’ll insert a picture of it here for reference:

Then, it was time to start filming. One of the biggest problems that we found as we started filming was that we didn’t have any costumes that would work as 18th-century formal wear. This prevented us from being able to shoot any of our scenes until we found suitable attire for them. Eventually, we were able to use costumes from the drama room, but by then we had already wasted a lot of our filming time. We were still able to shoot all of our clips in time, but I think that we could have made it a lot better had we used our time more wisely than we did. Here is a clip of our first draft, which still had plenty of room for improvement.

Next, we received critique on our work and reshot a majority of the scenes over the next few days. Here is the final video we ended up with:

Even though we put a lot of time and effort into this, I still know there is a lot that I could have improved with some more time and resources. All in all this unit taught me a lot more than I knew before about the Canada we’ve grown to love today.


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