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Below you will find information on candidate eligibility, project criteria, prizes, and more for the Governor General's History Awards:

Award for Excellence in Teaching
Award for Excellence in Community Programming

If you have further questions, please contact Joanna Dawson at or 1-866-952-3444 x225. 

Governor General's History Award for Excellence in Teaching

Canada’s History established the award in 1996 with the following aims:
  • to recognize excellence in the teaching of Canadian history regardless of the curricula in which it is taught
  • to inspire teachers and schools to strive for excellence in Canadian history education
  • to promote and facilitate the sharing of best practices and innovative teaching ideas within Canada’s teaching community

The Prize

Six recipients will be awarded:
  • An individual cash prize of $2,500
  • A $1000 cash prize for their school
  • A trip for two to Ottawa to attend the awards ceremony at Rideau Hall, the Canada’s History Forum, and the History-Makers celebration dinner
  • A medal awarded by the Governor General


Whether you have been teaching in the classroom for three years or 30, the Society is seeking to celebrate leadership and innovation in teaching our young people about Canada’s past. We welcome submissions from elementary, middle and senior school classroom teachers. Teachers can submit a project, a body of work, or a group or school-wide initiative.

To be considered, nominees must demonstrate that they have excelled in the teaching of Canadian history. Entrants must:
  • be residents of Canada
  • work directly with students in a school setting
  • teach grades ranging from K–12 during the current school year
  • teach units or full courses that include a significant component of Canadian history at any grade level

Self nominations are encouraged. Posthumous nominations will not be considered. Team teaching and school-wide initiatives are of particular interest to the Society, up to a maximum of three nominees. However, group recipients will be expected to share any financial rewards equally among the team. Past recipients may not reapply.


Canadian history can be taught in many ways — as a self-standing course; through local or regional units; as a form of integrated social studies; or in courses devoted to literature, science, law, economics, geography, and so on.Teachers in all these areas are eligible for the award, provided that their work features Canadian content and has an explicitly historical dimension.

A committee of judges will select six recipients based on a submission outlining the nominees’ achievements and innovations in the field of teaching Canadian History or Social Studies. Nominees must meet the following criteria.

Teachers must:

  • Demonstrate a commitment to Canadian history in their teaching.
  • Demonstrate that their teaching has an impact and that:
    • students gain a better knowledge and understanding of Canada as a whole, so that even a local or a regional study teaches them something about the nature and history of Canadian society in general
    • students understand how Canada’s past connects with its present and future
    • students gain a continuing interest in Canadian history
    • students are required to learn and apply both knowledge and skills in their study
    • students gain an awareness of the nature of history as an intellectual discipline
    • history content is comprehensive and incorporates factual knowledge with broader themes, concepts and ideas and the study of specific events, ideas, movements and peoples
    • students learn to assess historical evidence, to understand the balance between fact and interpretation, to consider questions of bias, accuracy, objectivity
    • students experience a variety of teaching and assessment strategies, resources and materials
    • students are actively involved in the learning of history

Note: It is recognized that these criteria will not apply with equal force to all grades and kinds of students, or to all kinds of classroom settings. Therefore, the criteria will be applied with appropriate consideration for the type, age and level of students involved. 


Teachers are asked to submit a unique project that is representative of their approach to teaching history. The application form consists of five, short answer questions. Teachers are also asked to submit a lesson plan, rubric, student work exemplars, and two letters of reference. Projects must be submitted through the online application process. The application deadline is April 1 annually. 


Governor General's History Award for Excellence in Community Programming 

Canada’s History aims to inspire small, volunteer-led community organizations in the creation of innovative programming that commemorates important aspects of our heritage.

The Prize

Two recipients (French and English) will receive $2,500 each, and a trip for two to Ottawa to receive their award at the Governor General’s History Awards at Rideau Hall in the fall. Recipients also attend the Canada’s History Forum and the History-Makers Celebration Dinner, held in conjunction with the awards. 


  • All projects must be presented in Canada, by Canadians
  • Individuals, project teams, and organizations are all eligible to receive the award
  • Communities are defined as both cultural and geographic
  • Nominations must be supported by at least one recognized historical, municipal, or educational organization
  • Eligible types of projects include: civic engagement activities, exhibits, multimedia, preservation projects, and public programming
  • Projects must have occurred within the past 18 months prior to the close of nominations


  • Projects will be evaluated on their audience reach, community impact, and contribution to greater public understanding of Canada’s History. Special consideration is given to new and promising ideas, approaches, and innovations that will serve as a model for the field.
  • Projects should involve a large number of participants from the community in both the creation and execution of the project. Communities can include both geographic that cover small and large areas, as well as cultural communities that represent a broad range of history and traditions.
  • Specifically, judges will be looking for projects that are highly inspirational, exhibit exceptional scholarship, and/or is exceedingly entrepreneurial in terms of funding, partnerships, or collaborations, creative problem solving, or that unusual project design and inclusiveness.


Applicants will need to complete a form consisting of five questions as well as submit relevant images, documents, links, and two letters of reference. Applications must  be submitted online; physical applications are no longer being accepted. The submissions deadline is July 15 annually.