Military Conference Focal Point of Cape Breton Highlanders 150th Anniversary Celebrations

As part of the 150th Cape Breton Highlanders anniversary celebrations being held next week, Cape Breton University will host The Cape Breton Highlanders and the Shaping of Canada: Conference on Military and Social History, October 1-2, 2021. Supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council through Connections Grant, awarded in the amount of $25,000, the conference will bring together scholars and military enthusiasts to explore the military’s role in Canadian society.

Dr. Lachlan MacKinnon, an Associate Professor of History and Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in Post-industrial Communities at Cape Breton University, is the lead organizer of the conference and secured the funding for the project.

“This conference will bring together researchers on the history of the Cape Breton Highlanders and the broader history of the Canadian military. From its foundation in 1871, the Cape Breton Highland unit was an important part of the island’s story. Connecting this history to national conversations about the role of the military in Canadian society, the memorialization and commemoration of military service, and individual experiences of warfare will be an integral part of our conference – and we will be welcoming academics, veterans, and heritage practitioners from across the country to explore and expand upon these themes,” says Dr. MacKinnon.

The conference program includes an impressive line-up of presenters, covering topics ranging from military history on Cape Breton Island, the contribution of military service and the experience of conflict to the development of Canadian national identity, Indigenous and racialized experiences of military service in Canada and warfare, and heritage and commemoration of Canada’s armed forces.

More information about the 150th Cape Breton Highlanders anniversary celebrations and conference details can be found at