Defining Moments Canada / Moments Déterminants Canada

Defining Moments Canada – Curatorial Thinking / Moments Déterminants Canada – Démarche Curatoriale

submitted by Michael Frankfort & Samantha Hendricks, Co-Chairs of STAO Elementary Curriculum Committee


Defining Moments Canada / Moments Déterminants Canada is a Canadian heritage organization dedicated to commemorating ‘definitional moments’ in our shared histories through the stories that have made them significant. It was founded in 2017 by Neil Orford and Blake Heathcote. They recognized the gap between how Canada’s history has been taught and commemorated for generations, and what 21st century digital tools and storytelling skills could make possible. Their focus was on the rediscovery and sharing of thousands of stories from across the country and how Canadians could crowd-source this incredible heritage. 

Defining Moments Canada / Moments Déterminants Canada Objectives:

  • To tell stories largely untold, from voices too long unheard
  • To commemorate Canadian History on a ‘macro’ level by inspiring diverse ‘microhistorical’ projects in communities across Canada
  • To demonstrate healthy equitable and inclusive storytelling techniques promoting global competencies for the 21st century learner as defined by The Council of Ministers of Education Canada (CMEC)
  • To model innovative commemorative digital methods to engage young Canadians with their history – shared, national, regional and local
  • To refract Canada’s defining moments through an ‘interdisciplinary lens’ that call Canadians to see our shared histories from multiple perspectives
  • To promote innovative commemorative digital methods in Inquiry Learning through digital research
  • To encourage broad-ranging ‘Experiential Learning’ opportunities with each ‘defining moment’ in our shared histories
  • To make all resources, assets, stories, learning tools and digital content free and openly accessible on the Defining Moments Canada / Moments Déterminants Canada website
  • To deliver all commemorations in broad-based collaboration with all of our partners – educational, heritage, institutional, public, private and corporate – to mark significant ‘moments’ of national import

Curatorial Thinking / Démarche Curatoriale empowers students not only to demonstrate their learning, but to discover new connections allowing them to contribute to our understanding of the past and to positively influence the future. Curatorial thinking serves as an effective framework for engaging in critical inquiry via multiple entry points because each selected item can be viewed from a multitude of angles. To view a recorded webinar related to Curatorial Thinking, click on this link:

Tools for curatorial thinking include selection, archiving, sense making and sharing are outlined in the graphic below.

Defining Moments Canada / Moments Déterminants Canada has amazing English and French resources for educators. Some of the projects that they have been working on include “Insulin100, WEDay75, Juno75, and Spanish Flu”. 

Visit their website by clicking any of the links below. You are encouraged to also sign up on their website to receive email updates along with their newsletters in either English or French.


English Resources:


French Resources: