Since Confederation, Canadians have been high per capita energy consumers and our appetites for energy have grown substantially over the past 148 years. The way we consume energy has changed quite a bit over that time period too. In 1867, Canadians drew energy primarily from organic sources: animal labour, wood, and agricultural produce. Since the mid-twentieth century, we have drawn increasingly from mineral sources of energy: coal, crude oil, and natural gas.
This shift in energy consumption since Confederation has arguably been one of the most consequential changes in Canadian history. Energy history is an emerging field in Canada, but one with long historiographical roots. To learn more about Canadian energy history and the development of this new approach to thinking about environment, history, and society, this episode features a round-table discussion with three Canadian historians each of whom were part of an energy history working group at the University of Toronto in 2014-15.
- Evenden, Matthew. Allied Power: Mobilizing Hydro-Electricity During Canada’s Second World War. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2015.
- Jones, Christopher F. Routes of Power: Energy and Modern America. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2014.
- McNeill, J. R. Something New Under the Sun: An Environmental History of the Twentieth-Century World. New York: Norton, 2000.
- Unger, Richard W., and John Thistle. Energy Consumption in Canada in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, 2013.
- Wrigley, E. A. Continuity, Chance, and Change: The Character of the Industrial Revolution in England. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988.
- Wrigley, E.A. Energy and the English Industrial Revolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.
- “Counting Faces in the Clouds” by Martijn de Boer
- “Musical Instrumental” by Stefan Kartenberg
- “All of the World” by Jeris feat. Snowflake
Citation: Kheraj, Sean. "Episode 50: Canadian Energy History" Nature's Past: Canadian Environmental History Podcast. 24 November 2015.
Department of History