Fall / Automne 2019

Historical Pageantry and Progressive Pedagogy at Canada’s 1927 Diamond Jubilee Celebration

James Miles
OISE / University of Toronto
Published November 18, 2019
  • Historical pageantry,
  • progressive education,
  • history teaching,
  • dramatization
How to Cite
Miles, James. 2019. “Historical Pageantry and Progressive Pedagogy at Canada’s 1927 Diamond Jubilee Celebration”. Historical Studies in Education / Revue d’histoire De l’éducation 31 (2), 1-26. https://doi.org/10.32316/hse-rhe.v31i2.4663.


Historians have argued that Canada’s Diamond Jubilee of Confederation in 1927 represents one of the federal government’s most sustained and successful attempts at nation building in the interwar period. In this mass outpouring of patriotic celebration, schools in particular played an important role in producing commemorative events, but also in constructing an engaging and accessible historical narrative for public consumption. At the heart of these events was the staging of hundreds of historical pageants, including many performances produced by teachers and students. This article examines how progressive pedagogies, such as active and play-based learning, came to be aligned with nation-building initiatives in widely produced historical pageants. Furthermore, it examines two published historical pageant scripts performed in Ontario’s schools to reveal the dominant themes of the historical narratives being promoted in relation to Indigenous-settler relations, gender, and national identity.