Tips to Learn About Your Local History

There are lots of things you barely notice as you go through your life: old photographs of people in uniform; grandma’s locket; medals tucked into a drawer; a memorial to military history that you walk past every day.

Why not stop for a moment and take a closer look? What does that monument commemorate? What do those family treasures mean? You’ll often discover a fascinating story.

Here’s a family project: challenge each member of the household to choose one thing they see often, but they have never thought about. Then settle in to find out more.

If it’s a monument or heritage building, start by reading its plaque to learn more about what it commemorates. Ask questions of your family, friends, and neighbours and listen to their stories. You’ll probably discover that you can relate to what you hear. The plaque may bear the name of a family in your community and the locket may be a gift from grandmother’s first love. You may get first-hand accounts of past events from older neighbours. Next time you visit the splash park in White City, find the nearby Sugar Shack heritage building and read the plaque to learn about the Jardine family.

If it’s a family photo, remember that they were usually used to capture significant life events. Is it of a young person in uniform on the day they left to join the armed forces?

If it’s a plaque on a post, start by reading what it has to say. For example, you can find the following plaques and more on posts around White City:

  • Learn about a man in the early 1900’s who dreamed of creating White City and how he brought that dream to life;
  • Discover how a Dad’s Cookies factory operated in White City and obtain the cookie recipe to make them yourself;
  • Find out about the first school in White City which was called Pibroch and was constructed in 1907.

Read about these and more local historical objects and stories by visiting our website or by taking a stroll along the White City Museum walking tour, a permanent outdoor installation. Click here to visit our Historical Walking Tour instruction page.

To get more insight on your historical object, visit your local library or community museum. You may see a familiar face in a historical picture or recognize a former student at a wreath-laying ceremony.

You can find resources to help with your family research challenge, discover more century-old stories, or find local events at and

You’re also welcome to join the Facebook conversation at Canada Remembers and at White City Museum.