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  • Writer's pictureMatt Cundill

Craig Baird - Canadian History Ehx

Fellow Canadian history buffs, rejoice: Craig Baird has a cool podcast and radio show.



Actually, that call to action may not resonate with very many of you, but that's exactly why Craig Baird started his podcast. Canadian History Ehx is a show dedicated to proving that Canadian history isn't nearly as boring as everyone thinks. Sure, it may not be as long and storied as European or Asian history. Sure, it doesn't have the plethora of bloody battles that American history provides. But you're doing your country and yourself a disservice if you think that means there aren't tons of great stories in the Canadian history books.


Unfortunately though, as Craig and I discuss, you may have to do a bit of digging to find them on your own. Which is what makes Craig's podcast so great: he does the digging for you. All you have to do is listen.

Craig talks to me about the most interesting parts of Canadian history, including tales of little-known Indigenous battles and would-be revolutionaries, from the country's inception to present day. We also explore the failings of the Canadian education system in terms of actually teaching our history, as evidenced by Craig and I being taught completely different things about figures like Louis Riel. Depending on which province you grew up in, there's a lot of important details you might have missed, but thankfully Craig is here to fill in the gaps.


 


I mentioned that you should take a Canadian Citizenship test online to determine how little you know about Canadian History - embarrass yourself here.


If you want to hear more, check out Canadian History Ehx on Craig's website, or wherever you get your podcasts.


You can also follow Craig on Facebook, Twitter/X and Instagram.


And as mentioned at the beginning of the episode, here's a Canadian Citizenship Test for you to fail.

 

Transcription


Tara Sands (Voiceover)  00:02

The Sound Off Podcast. The show about podcast and broadcast starts now.


Matt Cundill  00:13

My name is Matt, and I'm a history buff. Since an early age, I've always been fascinated by Indigenous history. Later it was the American Revolution, then the American Civil War, Henry the Eighth, the Spanish Civil War, and then I got to university and attained an appreciation for Canadian history. What it lacks in storied bloodshed, it makes up for in quirkiness and small acts of heroism. However, most Canadians don't have a grasp on the basics of Canadian history, let alone civics, which is why you get a pile of hosers and their bouncy castles showing up on the federal government's doorsteps to protest what their provincial governments had mandated. These people couldn't get 15 out of 20 on a Canadian citizenship test. And just to prove it, I put one in the shownotes for you to fail. I got 20 out of 20, by the way. But what better way to tell the stories of Canadian history than through podcast? Craig Baird has a podcast called Canadian History Ehx. It became part of Corus Entertainment's CuriousCast network, and you can hear the podcast content on the radio across the Corus radio network. And now, Craig Baird joins me from Edmonton, Alberta.


Craig Baird  01:26

Originally, I have a degree in computer science, and so I used to build computer networks for the diamond mines up in the Northwest Territories. And I did that for a few years, and then I left that in about 2006 and I started working as a journalist. And I started in a small town called North Battleford, Saskatchewan as a sports reporter, and just kind of hopped around to small towns over the next, you know, 12 years or so. And my final place was, I was the city hall reporter in Regina, the Regina Leader Post. And then about- yeah, 2018-2019, I kind of started- I was just doing freelance stuff, and I started to kind of get into podcasting. I'd been listening to podcast since like 2010, and I- there wasn't a lot of Canadian history podcasts. So I kind of just decided to start one and see where it went.


Matt Cundill  02:17

Tell me about the broadcast experience, and specifically to North Battleford.


Craig Baird  02:21

Well, North Battleford, it's a- it's a cute little town, it was very strange because I was so used to working in, you know, a place- and my- where I worked was in Edmonton. And so I'd get calls from the diamond mine saying, our computers are down, or the whole email system's down. And it was just so much stress. And I didn't like it. And so when I got hired to do the job in North Battleford, I was a sports reporter. So I remember I was watching the hockey game from, like, their little Skybox in the arena. And I was like, I'm getting paid to like watch a hockey game, and then I go and write about it. Like, this is amazing. And I was immediately hooked on just being able to write about stuff. And it was actually through journalism that I kind of really started to get into history, because I started- when I was editor of various small town newspapers, I would go to the old newspapers and take things out of there and be like, hey, this happened this week in 1950-whatever.


Matt Cundill  03:12

It's fascinating that you mentioned small towns and small town newspapers. So here you are, you're recording history, essentially, by being a journalist. What did you see? And still to this day, what do you see in these in these small towns that Canadians just don't know about?


Craig Baird  03:28

I think a big thing is the history, because when we talk about history, we talk about, you know, Toronto and Ottawa, or out west here, Calgary, Edmonton. You know, we always focus on the big cities, and we don't look at the history of these small towns. And these small towns have a lot of very interesting history. I mean, even the town that I'm in right now, Stony Plain, we have a Sheriff who chained a train to a railroad, and there's a statue of him. And it's such a very cool story. But you don't hear about it, because it's a small little town. And so there's all these wonderful histories in small towns that people just don't hear about. And you have these beautiful history books that these towns have created, and it talks about the people who lived in these towns, and I love small town history. And in many ways, I find it much more interesting than, you know, the history of a big city.


Matt Cundill  04:20

How do you get the documentation and the stories for this? Do you have to go to a local library, or is it word of mouth? How do you get the information on this?


Craig Baird  04:29

Well, it's just over time, I've been able to kind of get more and more information in my head about what happened in Canada. And I mean, I use a lot of online tools. The wonderful thing about the age we live in is that, for example, small town histories, there are hundreds of small town history books that have been scanned in, and you can read them. And they're such a wonderful tool for finding unique stories. And then I use things like newspapers.com. And so I'll be researching something on newspapers.com, looking at the actual news paper and then I'll be like, oh, what's this story? And you kind of follow this story. So I just kind of- I like meander around, and I find things that interest me, and then I write about them and hope that they interest other people.


Matt Cundill  05:11

Why is there a perception- and this has been going on for years and years and years- why is there a perception that Canadian history is so boring?


Craig Baird  05:22

I think it's because we have these- it's kind of like two parents, we have the United Kingdom and the United States. And we see their history is much more interesting. The United Kingdom history, you know, going back 1000 years to the Battle of Hastings, and then before that with Vikings and the Romans, and, you know, there's so much history there. And then the United States where we know so much about their history, because it's being blasted to us all the time. I think that more Canadians can name a bunch of Presidents than they can name the Prime Minister's. I mean, if you ask an average Canadian who William Lyon Mackenzie King us, a lot of them would be like, I don't know. And that was the man who served as Prime Minister longer than anybody else. But a lot of people don't know him. But in the United States, you know, ask them who FDR is. And a lot of people are like, oh, yeah, he was the president in the wheelchair, you know, World War Two, or whatever it is. And so people think that Canadian history is boring because of that, when it's not. You have to look for the stories, but they're there, and we have a fascinating history. And the thing is, I think because we want to separate ourselves from being Americans, we don't want to be talking about our history. And that's why things like the Heritage Minutes are so nice. It wasn't like, you know, rah, rah, rah, look at our history, it was just a little bit of, hey, here's one minute of our history, just to kind of whet the appetite. And then the Canada People's History, you know, was this amazing piece of work, where we really started to show our history. But it was something we never really did for a long time other than, you know, Pierre Burton, and various other things.


Matt Cundill  05:34

Jack Granatstein comes to mind, by the way, as somebody who- I studied Canadian history at university. Yeah, it was considered to be a little bit more boring, but I think my takeaway in the end was that we just don't have enough wars to glorify things. And the wars that we do have were really the British in 1812- we won, by the way- and, you know, the Great War, which was fought under the Union Jack, and the Second World War as well.


Craig Baird  07:27

Yeah, I think that's very much the case. I just did an episode, actually, about the Montreal parliament building being burned to the ground. And you mentioned, you know, the War of 1812. And you'll get a lot of Canadians saying, hey, we burned down the White House. And it's like, well, no, we- we didn't, the British did. But you know, we like to kind of latch on to that. And like you said, it was- you know, Canadians did have a big role in the war of 1812. But it was very much a British versus American war, and we were part of it. And we don't have that huge war history. We have various, you know, resistances, like Northwest Resistance and the Red River Resistance. But we don't have anything huge. We don't have a Revolutionary War, we don't have a Civil War. And that is obviously what gets attention. War is something that people, you know, will latch on to, because it's dramatic, and there's a lot to it. And people will look at Canadian history and be like, well, we didn't really have any war, so it's kind of boring. All we did was sign a piece of paper. And it's like, well, no, that's not what happened. We had the 1837-38 rebellions, we had the burning down of the parliament buildings, we had, you know, this long road to get to Confederation. Yeah, it was the signing of a paper, but there's a lot more to it than that. And that's what with Canadian history is a lot of people don't really look beyond the quick facts, I guess.


Matt Cundill  08:40

It's a lot of political discourse that goes- seems to go down in history. 1837 rebellions, yes, there was a burning down of the parliament buildings as well that came out of that. And a lot of smaller stuff. Winnipeg general strike, for instance. That is well documented and quite talked about to this day in Winnipeg, people do know what it is. Do you think we're teaching history properly in schools?


Craig Baird  09:05

I think the problem is that we're too- too large of a country. And so our history is segmented. Where did you grow up?


Matt Cundill  09:12

Montreal.


Craig Baird  09:13

The history you were taught is going to be very different from the history that I was taught in Alberta. When I was growing up, especially in social studies in high school, there was a lot of about Louis Riel and the Northwest Resistance, and the northwest- or the Red River Resistance. And I was taught that Louis Riel was insane. And he rose up against the government and he was treasonous. And obviously there is much more to the story than that. I was never taught about the 1837-38 rebellions. I had no idea those happened until I started looking into history myself. And I imagine for you in Montreal, your history that you were taught was very different, it would be much more Eastern focused, whereas mine was much more Western focused. And I think that we do have a problem with teaching our history, because (a) we don't make it interesting. We don't really focus on a lot of the interesting things. We talked about Confederation. You know, I had- at one point I had a teacher come in, who was a substitute teacher, who said that Confederation happened from west to east in that order. And I was like, no, it didn't. East, and then went out west, and then like Newfoundland was the last place, like it jumped all over the place. So we don't teach it well enough. And we're too segmented in where we are, in to what history we teach. And that's unfortunate, because it creates kind of a broken history, and you don't get the cohesive look of it, which I think helps make it much more interesting.


Matt Cundill  10:38

So I was taught the history of Quebec in Canada. And I think at the time, it felt like a really government-regulated course. The government issued the exam. It's bizarre, and Quebec is being taught a separate history from the rest of the country.


Craig Baird  10:56

Yeah, I mean, out west, I had no idea what the Quiet Revolution was. I was- again, it was something I had to learn on my own. And, you know, when I was growing up out west, I would have been about 15 when the 1995 referendum happened. And obviously, where I was, it was very anti-Quebec, and in many ways, Alberta still is, but- so I think that influences the history that we learn. Our history was much more English focused, you know, the English won the battle of the Plains of Abraham, and things like that. And you know, General Wolf, and we didn't really learn about the Quebec side of it, or about New France or anything like that. But especially we also- it's changed now, I will admit that it's changed now. But when I was growing up, there was very little Indigenous history that we were taught, beyond, you know, Louis Riel and the northwest resistance.


Matt Cundill  11:46

It's funny you mention the '95 referendum, I was in Edmonton at the time, when that was taking place. And I did feel that there was a disconnect between the people around me and, you know, how to experience that sort of thing. So as a Quebecer, I'm watching my province, go through this strife of perhaps separating from the country, and, you know, people in Alberta going, what's that about? And not really underst- understanding, you know, what's going on. And this is in the present moment.


Craig Baird  12:15

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I heard many times people just saying, well, if they want to leave, let them leave. And it's like, there's much more to this than that. Like, it's- there's a long history that needs to be explained. And it really wasn't in schools.


Matt Cundill  12:27

Somebody actually said that you are the hardest working man in podcasting. Which means I gotta ask you, tell me about your workday. So I'm glad you mentioned that. I'm just going to ask this question because I was looking at some archives the other day from 1909. They had the social book, and the social book was the phonebook before there were really phones in every home. And it listed the people in the home, it listed the address, but it also listed the receiving hours. So these people will receive Thursdays and Wednesdays, and I'm thinking to myself, what does that mean? Does that mean I can go over and visit?


Craig Baird  12:34

My workday begins about 6am. The night before, I schedule my On This Day history posts on X, and then I get up the next day. 6am. And then I put up my Canada's Greatest Song poll questions, which we've been running for a while, these are things that I'll do. I'll do various polls, Canada's Greatest Structure, Canada's Greatest Wonder, just to kind of get people talking about Canada, about our culture, things in here. And then I take what I- has been scheduled on to Twitter. And I have to put that across eight different social media platforms, because I don't know which one is going to, like, reign supreme at the end of the day. So I have to like hedge my bets. And so I post on Facebook and Instagram and Threads all over the place. And then I start putting up some of my longer posts. Right now it's Black History Month, so I'm putting up posts about black Canadians. Today's posts will be about Violet King, who was the first female black lawyer in Canada. And then I start working on the podcast episodes. And usually that'll take me, you know, a few weeks of research, and then, you know, writing for a week or so. So everything is kind of well ahead of time. And then once I've done a bit of that, then I go to starting to work on my radio show, because there's a radio version of it now. And then once I'm done that, near the end of the day, I start working on the book that I have to finish for May. And so usually my day goes from about 6am to about 6pm. And I mean, I'm working from home, it's not like I'm working a hard job, I really love it. But it can be a very long day. And some days, you know, where I'm reading newspapers from 1910 for hours on end, it gets a bit mind numbing. That's such a product of a bygone era. It kind of reminds me of like in small towns, where they would have Saturday from 5 to 10pm, we will have power on. But otherwise we won't have power, because obviously they had their own generator, and they had to provide power from that generator. And it reminds me a lot of that, where it's like, we will have the phone at this time. Only call at this time.


Matt Cundill  14:59

There's no one doing this. We're gonna call you an historian, because it's what you do, and you're physically doing it. Do you feel a sense of duty to be doing this?


Craig Baird  15:09

I do. I mean, I love Canadian history. And I feel, like we mentioned before, that people see it as- as boring and not something that's interesting. And I'm really trying to work against that. And I think that people are starting to kind of latch on, like- you know, with the following that I have on social media, it shows that there are a lot of people out there who are very interested in Canadian history. And I really love it when I can post something, and somebody goes, oh, my God, I had no idea that that person was Canadian. And it's like, yeah, you know, we have this huge culture of people here, who go on to do a variety of things. And a lot of people other than, like, say, obviously, you know, Neil Young and Mike Myers and Joni Mitchell. People are like, yeah, we know they're Canadian. But people don't know that the woman who played Fonzi's grandmother, or that Jerry stole the marble rye from, or Happy Gilmore's grandmother, was born in Alberta. Or that the father on Different Strokes was born in Alberta. And so I really liked that people-


Matt Cundill  16:07

Wait, wait. Conrad Bain was born in Alberta?


Craig Baird  16:09

He was born in Lethbridge, yeah.


Matt Cundill  16:11

Oh.


Craig Baird  16:11

And so I like that. I like that people are like, oh, I had no idea this person was Canadian, or I didn't know about this, or this should be something taught in schools, or this should be a movie. And I really like that part of it, because it's really starting to educate people. And I try and present things in a relatively fun and interesting way. I don't try- I don't like to be too dry with what I put out there, because I think that helps a lot. And then people respond to it, and then, you know, each person goes, oh, maybe Canadian history isn't quite as boring as I thought it was. You know, changing minds one little post or one little episode at a time.


Matt Cundill  16:43

Well, there's nothing boring. We just have boring storytellers out there. You're not boring, by the way.


Craig Baird  16:49

Good to know.


Tara Sands (Voiceover)  16:51

Transcription of the Sound Off Podcast is powered by the Podcast Super Friends, five podcast producers who get together to discuss podcasting. Sharpen your podcast and creation skills by following the show on the Sound Off Podcast's YouTube or Facebook page.


Mary Anne Ivison (Voiceover)  17:09

This podcast supports podcasting 2.0. So feel free to send us a boost if you're listening on a new podcast app. Find your new app now at Podcasting2.org/apps. That's Podcasting2.org/apps.


Matt Cundill  17:26

As we record this, it's- you're at 534 episodes. That's pretty epic. And you look at the tools that are out there today, transcription tools, do you think this becomes a book or multiple books, or..? How do you look at the work you've done in terms of archiving it for the future as reference?


Craig Baird  17:46

Well, I guess that's the problem with the age we live in, is that we're a very digital age. And so I've read things where they say, in 1000 years, this might be, like, seen as a dark age, because all of this digital stuff that we have doesn't last like, say, a book will. And every episode that I've done, I have a transcript on my website. So like, there is that there. And I think I figured out I've written like, 1.7 or 1.8 million words so far, which is on my website. And that's there. But it's not the same as you know, like, the books that I've got behind me by Pierre Burton. Those are gonna probably last a lot longer physically than what I've written. And I would like to have some kind of archive, obviously, I don't think I can print off everything that I've written, because it'll be a huge amount. But that's why I'm trying to move more into writing books as well, so that maybe I can preserve a bit of what I do.


Matt Cundill  18:40

And your website, it's just built for, you know, the right SEO, because each episode you do has its own subject matter, very easy to Google and to find stuff and to research. Has anybody written you to make an alternate suggestion or revision or add to a story?


Craig Baird  18:59

Oh yeah, I get emails every day now. Sometimes I'll get people emailing, saying, hey, this was my uncle, can you find information about him? And I'll be nice, and I'll say, well, I can. But this is what I do for a living now. So if you want to donate, that'd be great. $5, $10, whatever. And sometimes they're like, yeah, I'll do it, and sometimes they're like, well, I'm not going to pay for this. It's like, this is what I do for a living. I mean, I can't just do this for free. And other times, I'll get people who email and say, I love this story, thank you, or some will say, you know, there was also this to it, so people will add to it, which is great, because it shows that people are reading what I'm putting up and getting something out of it, but also helping to expand that knowledge base, and helping me learn things too, because I by no means know everything about Canadian history. There is a lot that I still have to learn.


Matt Cundill  19:45

Have you gone back ever to add or subtract to an audio episode?


Craig Baird  19:50

Early on, I think last year sometime, I was starting to go back to old episodes. Like, very early on, you know, they were like six minutes long. And I was like, we can expand this, we can make this bigger. And I stopped doing that when my show also got put onto the radio, because now I gotta write a podcast episode and a radio episode. So what I do now is I take an old episode of the podcast, and then I rewrite the whole thing, make it more in line with what I do now, and then record that for the radio. And then once I get that recording back from my producer, then I replace my old episode with that, and I replace the old transcript with that, because it's a much higher quality. And so that's kind of a slow process of what I'm doing now.


Matt Cundill  20:31

Tell me about your relationship with CuriousCast. And I'll assume when you say radio, I'm going to assume that it's Corus radio stations, because that's where CuriousCast comes out of. Tell me how you got together with them, and how you work together to get Canadian history out over the airwaves.


Craig Baird  20:46

Yeah, so CuriousCast contacted me in I think about July of 2022. And they were like, would you be interested in collaboration? And so I had a meeting with them. And they were like, you know, would you be interested in coming on to our network? And I was like, yes. Because I'd been doing this so long, and I was always wondering, like, I have so much content, I could never figure out why it was not being picked up by a network. And so when they said, would you like to do it? I said, absolutely, for sure. Sign me up. So I officially signed on to their network and signed the contract in about September of 2022, and then went on to their network. And it's been fantastic, because they've done a great job of really pushing the podcast, and getting it out to people. And then about October of last year, they said, we have a free spot on our radio networks on the weekends. Would you be interested in doing a radio show? And I said, sure. So originally, they were just taking my old episodes, which were about 20-25 minutes, and putting two together, and then airing that. But then they were starting to get through a lot of my more recent episodes. So I said, well, I can start writing episodes, specifically that are 40 minutes. So I'll take a 20 minute episode, and expand it to 40 minutes. And so CuriousCast has been great. I would say, like, CuriousCast has definitely changed my life with what I do. There were many times where I was working away on my podcast, and working long hours, and I was like, what am I doing? Like, where's this going? Is this gonna amount to anything? And so they've really helped with that, and really given a lot more oomph to my podcast. Even just talking about the quality, I feel like the quality has changed, and is much better than it used to be, with my editor going through it, and then with my audio producer going through it, and just making it a much better show.


Matt Cundill  22:30

Is your producer Rob Johnson?


Craig Baird  22:32

My producer is Rosalind Cooper.


Matt Cundill  22:34

Okay.


Craig Baird  22:35

I do know, Rob, he did some of my early episodes.


Matt Cundill  22:38

Okay. You know, I was really thinking that for radio, this is kind of the model of how podcast was going to find its way in. I'm not surprised that it was Corus who came to you, because they already have a template for this type of show in the Ongoing History of New Music, with historian- and he does have a history degree from the University of Winnipeg- Alan Cross, who tells musical historical stories on the radio, and you're doing the same thing. It's all documented, and its Canadian history. And they've got the stations for it. So yeah, I totally get it.


Craig Baird  23:16

Yeah, and I mean from their perspective, at the time, I think I had 400 and some odd episodes. So it was like suddenly, they had this huge back catalogue come onto their network, and they're able to put ads in and things like that. So definitely beneficial for them, but far more beneficial for me, I think.


Matt Cundill  23:32

And you mentioned, you need to be paid for this. You've got Patreon. You've got Buy Me a Coffee, we can send money to your PayPal, there's so much we can do to support you. How do you look at the ways you can monetize? And when you answer this question, if you could just sort of think about other podcasters, who are sitting there on ideas, and feeling they can't do it.


Craig Baird  23:50

Yeah, I mean, there was times early on where I was making a couple hundred dollars a month. And so you can do it, it's a matter of- you just have to be consistent with what you're putting out, and it builds over time. It takes time. But, you know, be consistent with what you put up, build a social media following however you can. And again, that takes time, like everything with this takes time. Unless you're you know, Will Arnett and Jason Bateman, and you've already got the star power, and you go, hey, we're doing a podcast. And then you've got the audience. You know, if you're like me, you gotta take the time to build it up. And so you don't want to, like, inundate people with donate, donate, donate, but you always want to make that kind of something that's out there for people who, if they want to donate, they can. You know, when I put my posts up, my longer posts, there's always just a little thing at the end saying, if you enjoy this, you can donate here. It's never a case of like, you have to donate. Everything I put out is free. There is never a case where, you know, it's behind a paywall. My Patrons do get episodes early, and ad free, but that's the only thing. There's never a case of, you'll get this if you pay. Everything thing is free, if you want to donate, awesome. If you don't, that's fine. And I think that that does resonate with people, because they feel like they're not being forced to pay something. And so just you have to keep putting it out there and taking the time. Like, it might feel like you're not getting anywhere when you have two patrons. But the more you put out, and the more you work at it, and are consistent with it, that Patreon grows, and then other things grow. It just takes time.


Matt Cundill  25:25

Does anybody from the education field ever reach out to you, whether it's like teachers, or a school board, or an entire education department? Just ask or contact you for anything?


Craig Baird  25:35

Yeah, I've had people who are writing their PhDs and ask me about, can they cite this? I'm like, yep, go ahead, and they ask me some questions. I've had teachers who have come to me and said that they use some of my material to teach kids, the AI Prime Ministers that I did back in March of last year as rockstars- a lot of teachers said, this is great. I'm using this to teach about our Prime Ministers. There's a teacher in Edmonton, who is using my polls, especially the Structure and Wonders, and she has her kids vote on it. And then what- depending on what the class votes, that's what she'll vote online. And so I do have a lot of teachers who will contact me and say that this is a good way to learn, and it gets kids involved in history.


Matt Cundill  26:18

Is there a video or YouTube component to this?


Craig Baird  26:21

There is. I don't do it as much, I want to do it a bit more, especially on- I want to travel around Canada this year, and really visit historical sites and make video content. I'm really starting to try and work into TikTok. I was doing it quite a bit early on, but with working on the book and the radio and the podcast, so much of my time has involved just writing that I haven't had as much time for TikTok. So I'm trying to involve that more, because I'm just trying to reach everybody that I possibly can, to teach in as many different ways that I can. So there is a video component, it- but it's not as large as the audio component right now.


Matt Cundill  26:56

I'm sorry, I'm laughing. I heard a grown man say, I'm sorry, I just don't have enough time for TikTok.


Craig Baird  27:03

I do like watching it. I mean, I have enough time to watch, I just don't have time to make it.


Matt Cundill  27:09

What's the one piece of Canadian history that you're shocked people don't know about?


Craig Baird  27:16

Oh, God, there's so much. I think there's a lot of Indigenous history that people don't know about, like the Battle of Belly River in Lethbridge. You know, the last time that two Indigenous nations went to war in a large scale battle. Nobody knows about that. Even in Lethbridge, I don't think very many people know about that. Maybe not that people don't know, but there's a lot of misconceptions about Canadian history. Like John A. Macdonald is very much seen as the father of Canada. And it's like, there is many more people involved in this. There's fathers of Confederation, and they're kind of lost in the background. And then there's misconceptions with, you know, our war history and things like that. Vimy Ridge is this shining example of a battle in Canadian history. Every Canadian knows about Vimy Ridge, but they don't know as much about, say, the 100 Days Offensive, which was a much more involved and important part of the war. We'll be focused on Vimy Ridge. So I- like Canadians know a lot about certain little things in our history, like super- and then very little about other things. The Prime Ministers is a perfect example. I bet you most Canadians can name- and if we don't include say from Brian Mulroney onwards, maybe five, maybe.


Matt Cundill  28:32

Oh, I- you're overshooting. It's three.


Craig Baird  28:36

Maybe, yeah. Like, somebody like Louis St. Laurent, who I feel is probably one of our greatest Prime Ministers? Most Canadians have no idea who he is. And this is somebody who, for me, is in the top three or four Prime Ministers. So he- that is something that's definitely overlooked. Everybody knows who Diefenbaker, Pearson, Trudeau is. Nobody knows who King, Bennett, Borden. Nobody knows who the four Prime Ministers from when Sir John A Macdonald died to Sir Wilfrid Laurier. So that is definitely something that's very overlooked in our history. And just there's so many things that I think people just don't know about our history. And that's really what I'm trying to teach, is all these amazing things.


Matt Cundill  29:17

Only the people who wound up on money got famous.


Craig Baird  29:19

Yeah, exactly. I mean, nobody knew who Viola Desmond was before the ten- that's not true. I would say in Eastern Canada, people knew who she was. I had no idea who she was growing up. We were never taught about her at all in Alberta, until she was put on money, and now everybody does know who she is. So you're absolutely right with that.


Matt Cundill  29:37

One of the things I find that comes up in Canadian history, that people don't know about, is the Halifax explosion.


Craig Baird  29:43

Oh, God yeah. I'm part of Toastmasters, so it's a public speaking group. And I did a speech about the Halifax explosion. And I had somebody come up to you and say, hey, did that really happen? And it's like, yes, that happened. Like, did you think I just made this up for the past 10 minutes? This absolutely happened, this massive explosion that destroyed an entire city. There would be so many movies about that in the United States and in England. And here we've had one mini series, and I don't think it was that good. And for whatever reason, people don't know about it. Obviously they do and Halifax and the East Coast, but out West, it's almost unknown to some people.


Matt Cundill  30:23

Yeah, I'm trying to equate the size of the explosion to give people a context. But somewhere between- the Twin Towers falling down in New York City, the amount of TNT that was detonated in the Halifax Harbour was larger.


Craig Baird  30:39

Absolutely.


Matt Cundill  30:40

Much larger.


Craig Baird  30:41

Yeah, 2.9 kilotons. So it was 1/6 the size of the Hiroshima bomb. What I try and do is on the day that it happens, I share the video of the Beirut explosion, because it's something visual people can see, and I say, the Halifax explosion was three times as large as this. And I think that does help people kind of visualize it.


Matt Cundill  31:01

I would say, what do you have planned? What's the future like? But it sounds like you're busy and you've got things going, including a radio show, you're doing a book. You're creating content every day. By the way, thank you for making X a place I still like to go to, whether it's the music polls, or just your quick stories. One final note, thank you for doing the piece on Senator Corinne Wilson. She's my great great aunt.


Craig Baird  31:25

Oh, no way. Yeah, I did that episode last year. She's a fascinating story. Again, so many people don't know. First female Senator, somebody who brought in Jewish refugees, was against the appeasement of Hitler. And people have no idea who she is, and this huge person in our history. That's awesome that she's you're great aunt. I have literally no connection to any history other than small towns.


Matt Cundill  31:47

She came from the- you said the McKay family. It's pronounced "Mackai."


Craig Baird  31:51

Oh, okay.


Matt Cundill  31:52

But not serious, because you're- in Ottawa, they pronounce Dalhousie "Dalhoosie." So, you know, one of the great things about Canada, by the way, are pronunciations, and as I did radio and moved across the country, I learned very quickly in Nova Scotia, it's Avonport and not "A-von-port."


Craig Baird  32:09

Yeah, see that's my Alberta accent.


Matt Cundill  32:12

Yeah. Hey, thanks so much for joining me on the podcast. I love your show. I love how there's a radio component to it. I love how you're working with the good people at Corus and CuriousCast, and continued success. And of course, you're talking about one of my other great passions, which is Canadian history.


Craig Baird  32:28

Thank you for having me on. That was awesome.


Tara Sands (Voiceover)  32:29

The Sound Off Podcast is written and hosted by Matt Cundill. Produced by Evan Surminski. Edited by Chloe Emond-Lane. Social media by Aidan Glassey. Another great creation from the Soundoff Media Company. There's always more at SoundOffPodcast.com.


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