Gwen Tuinman

Novelist Speaker Advocate



Underrepresentation of Women in History Archives

I’ve been thinking about how as a writer, I am responsible for laying down a representation of women that reflects our reality. Many scholars recognize that, in historical archives, there is a limited representation of women on the American Frontier and in early Canada. It’s a commonly held view now that the Continue reading “Underrepresentation of Women in History Archives”

Pioneer Women and the Importance of Their Work

I often contemplate the lives of women who lived in the past. Since girlhood, I’ve always been drawn to stories of yesteryear and so it seems fitting that in the novel I’m currently writing, I inhabit the lives of fictional women characters from the 1800s. To accurately reflect their daily existence through story telling, I comb through historical texts to develop an understanding of women’s lot in life—joys and sorrows, the restrictions they navigated, and in the absence of today’s technology, the never-ending day-to-day work of caring for a home and family. Continue reading “Pioneer Women and the Importance of Their Work”

Curating Wonder — Knitting for the Troops in WW1

women knitting socks for soldiers Continue reading “Curating Wonder — Knitting for the Troops in WW1”

Curating Wonder — Canadian Nurses: WWI

62dbc87501cdbc8b8850c7a57e619e51 Continue reading “Curating Wonder — Canadian Nurses: WWI”

Curating Wonder — Her Life is a Circus

729e0996590f76b96de1b8bf21d70efd Continue reading “Curating Wonder — Her Life is a Circus”

Laura Secord’s Courage: War of 1812

laurasecord library and archives of canada

In Canada, most school children will hear the story of Laura Secord — how during the War of 1812, she travelled a great distance on foot to warn the British about an imminent American attack. Even adults are reminded of her courage through the Heritage Minute ad campaign run by Historica Canada. Still, some of us hear the name and our mouths water for a box of chocolates. Continue reading “Laura Secord’s Courage: War of 1812”

Curating Wonder — Ladies on Two or Three Wheels

bicycle and pram Continue reading “Curating Wonder — Ladies on Two or Three Wheels”

Kate Carmack: Cheated of Klondike Gold

PicMonkey Collage 2

The Gold Rush era and it’s tales of fortune and misfortune continue to intrigue me. When I see those haunted faces staring out from old photographs, I find myself wondering at the life stories behind their expressions of defeat. Of course, not all images convey a dismal fate. Some are filled with round faced optimism and celebratory expressions. Continue reading “Kate Carmack: Cheated of Klondike Gold”

Hairs the Story of a Small Town Salon


My first job, not in a farm setting, was — shampoo girl. The salon, simply named Marie’s, was in a house located a few blocks away from my high school. Patrons would walk up the driveway, tap on the side door and let themselves in. A little bell hung on the side door announced their arrival. Continue reading “Hairs the Story of a Small Town Salon”

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