Heritage Minute returns with focus on War of 1812

by | Oct 18, 2012 | News

Heritage Minutes are back with two new episodes after a seven year hiatus. COURTESY HISTORICA-DOMINION

By Sarah MacDonald

Canada’s minute of history is returning with two new moments commemorating the War of 1812.

Heritage Minute, first launched in 1991, showcases a particular moment or issue in Canadian history such as the origin of Superman, the origins of Winnie the Pooh, and the creation of the doomed Avro Arrow aircraft.

The first ad launched this past Monday in a public preview at Toronto’s Royal Cinema and was presented by the Historica-Dominion Institute, a non profit group that made the minutes.

The new production features the story of black loyalist Richard Pierpoint, Anthony Wilson-Smith, president of Historica-Dominion Institute told Humber News.

The next episode will be released next June and will highlight the First Nation role in the Battle of Queenston Heights, a key flash point in the War of 1812.

These ads highlight a conflict that more Canadians have said they want to learn about, Wilson-Smith said.

People ‘wanted to know more’ about 1812

“We polled. It’s part of our consideration process,” said Wilson-Smith. “They didn’t know enough about 1812. They wanted to know more.”

These new minutes are funded in part by the federal government to commemorate the conflict’s bicentennial, said Wilson-Smith.

The videos are great to remind people about certain parts of Canadian history they may have forgotten, said Michael Rosen, creative advertising program co-ordinator.

Tthe Heritage Minute is similar to what’s known in the advertising industry as loyalty ads, which aim to remind a customer or viewer about something, but don’t necessarily try to sell them anything, Rosen said.

Wilson-Smith said the ads exist only online right now and there are no formal plans for the new minutes to appear on traditional media, a big change from when they originally appeared over 20 years ago.

“It’s all digital for us right now,” said Wilson-Smith. “What we like about that is if you’re in front of your TV set, we don’t know if you stay. As opposed to a decision digitally, it’s a conscious choice.”

The new productions are “very much part of the heritage of teens and 20-somethings” but its appeal could be for all demographics, he said.

“It made me think about the content in a different way, the purpose of the commercial and why they were trying to show the commercial,” said Shelly Williams, 33, a student at Humber College.

“When we study [Canadian history], we’re usually focused on the British side because we were a colony,” Sharon Obi, 19, told Humber News.

The new episodes are all featured on the Historica Dominion website, along with older minutes, including the following:

Flanders Fields

Winnie the Pooh

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