The Heritage Minutes are back! - National Poll Measures Top Minutes of All Time, Foretells Next Chapter in Series, as New Minutes Debut

October 15, 2012

Canadians call for Minutes by emerging filmmakers, students on Charter, Terry Fox, Nunavut and Sir John A

TORONTO—October 15, 2012—The Historica-Dominion Institute is proud to release the first new Heritage Minutes in nearly a decade at a sneak preview today at the Royal Cinema. Two new Minutes—the story of Black Loyalist Richard Pierpoint and the story of John Norton and Grand River Warriors at Queenston Heights—add fresh vision to the 66-episode classic Minute collection. Produced by award-winning filmmakers of Fifth Town Films, the War of 1812-themed shorts will screen with the top Minutes and parodies of all time, and will be followed by a Q & A.

“We’re thrilled to be launching the first new Heritage Minutes in seven years with these remarkable, and lesser-known stories from an essential period in our country’s history,” said Anthony Wilson-Smith, President of The Historica-Dominion Institute. “We feel that the Minutes truly are ‘a part of our Heritage’ and we want Canadians to tell us what the future of this celebrated series should look like.”

With the launch of a new chapter of Minute-making, The Historica-Dominion Institute commissioned a public opinion poll, conducted by Ipsos Reid, to determine the top Minutes from the past 20 years, as well as measure attitudes on the series and Canadians’ picks for topics and makers of future Minutes.

Canadians’ favourite Minutes are the Halifax Explosion, Jackie Robinson, Jennie Trout, Winnie, and Laura Secord, while Canadians reported learning the most from Minutes on Marion Orr, Agnes MacPhail and Dr. Penfield. Overall, Six in ten Canadians strongly agree that the Minutes are a good way to teach our history (63%) and are important storytelling vehicles (60%).

It’s no surprise that a resounding majority of Canadians want to see more Heritage Minutes produced. Interesting, a majority want to see them created by emerging filmmakers (58%) and film students (53%) over established talent. Canadians are most interested in new Minutes about the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (82%), Terry Fox (80%) and the creation of Nunavut (79%). Click here to view full poll results.

Other findings include:

  • Favourite Minutes varied by generational and regional breakdowns: Alberta favoured the Basketball Minute, while Canadians 55+ preferred Valour Road (3 Winnipeg Victorian Cross winners).
  • The Minute on painter Paul Emile Borduas was almost universally the least popular.
  • A large majority of Canadians want to see Minutes about Sir John A Macdonald (78%), The War of 1812 (77%), and Group of 7 Painters (74%).
  • Canadians were polarized on whether they wanted a Minute on same-sex marriage: 46% are interested while 54% are not interested.
  • Given a choice of celebrities, Canadians would like to see Wayne Gretzky (44%), William Shatner (40%) and Rachel McAdams (25%) star in a Minute.


The new Minutes were created with the generous support of the Government of Canada.

The Historica-Dominion Institute is the largest independent organization dedicated to history and citizenship in Canada. Its mandate is to build active and informed citizens through a greater knowledge and appreciation of the history, heritage and stories of Canada.

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted between August 27 and September 4, 2012, on behalf of the Historica-Dominion Institute. For this survey, a sample of 3,900 Canadians, consisting of 13 groups of 300 respondents each where twelve of the groups were shown 5 Heritage Minute videos and one group was shown 6 videos, from Ipsos' Canadian online panel was interviewed online. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval.  In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of +/- 1.8 percentage points for Canadians in the general population, and +/- 6.5 percentage points for each of the 13 groups. 


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Davida Aronovitch