The Multicultural History Society of Ontario (MHSO) is a not-for-profit educational institution and archives established in 1976 by Professor Robert F. Harney, Professor Milton Israel, Professor (later Supreme Court Justice) Frank Iacobucci, and a few close colleagues who were convinced that the chronicling of immigrant and ethnic stories was essential to understanding Canada in the 20th century and beyond.
The MHSO is the creator of the most extensive assemblage in Canada of archival materials documenting immigrant and ethnic experiences. Assisted by ethnic and indigenous associations and dozens of actively engaged community researchers, the Society undertook oral history interviews and collected historical photographs and personal and institutional textual records during the first decades of its operation, producing a resource of unparalleled richness and scope. More recently, additional collection activities, including an ethnic press retrieval program, have been undertaken in connection with specific projects. Today, as a result of these efforts, over 54 ethnocultural and Indigenous communities and over 265 municipalities and First Nations are represented in the MHSO’s archival holdings. There is no other comparable grouping of primary sources in Canada capable of opening up alternative readings of the country’s past – especially its post-World War II history.
The Society has long been committed to public education. Often working in partnership with other organizations, it has produced and distributed many publications, mounted and circulated countless exhibitions, and staged innumerable conferences, public lectures, and special events. In recent years, it has focused on virtual programming. The MHSO also provides professional and technical services to teachers and students, scholars and community historians, heritage and cultural organizations, and members of ethnocultural and indigenous communities.