Gunn Award for Best Historical Essay on International Migration in Canada

In their effort to preserve the legacy of Canada’s immigration history and to support continued excellence in research in Canada on international migration, the International Migration Research Centre (IMRC) and the Canadian Immigration Historical Society (CIHS) are jointly offering a $1000 award for a fourth-year or graduate-level reseIMG_1813arch paper on the historical evolution of Canadian immigration policy or a historical analysis of Canadian immigration related to specific places, events, or communities.

The Gunn Award for the best historical essay on international migration in Canada is an interdisciplinary award, and will therefore consider papers from any discipline in the social sciences and humanities (e.g. sociology, political science, global studies, history, communication studies, etc.) that addresses international migration in Canada from a historical perspective. The award is national and will accept applications from graduating fourth-year students and graduate students enrolled in Canadian universities, in either French or English, from across the country. The paper will be reviewed by a committee made up of IMRC and CIHS associates/members. The award will be conferred jointly by the IMRC and the CIHS and will be given out annually in the fall.

Submission Format

  • Between 15-20 pages in length
  • 1.5 line spacing
  • Cover page with name and contact information (name should not appear on subsequent pages)
  • Pages numbered
  • Submissions in English or French
  • Citation in APA or MLA style

Please submit electronically to [email protected] by May 31. [Extended Deadline: September 1, 2017]


2017 Gunn Award Winner

The 2017 Gunn Award prize has been awarded to Iain Wilson, an MA student in the Department of History at Queen’s University, Kingston. He has a BA from Victoria College at the University of Toronto. Iain has also won the Michael Bliss Essay Prize in Canadian Political History and the George Metcalfe Memorial Scholarship for High Standing in Canadian History. He is currently studying Canadian state policy towards Indigenous peoples in the late 19th century.

Iain’s essay is titled, “Organic Settlement in Pre-19th Century Newfoundland”. The essay explores why, despite the considerable value of Newfoundland’s fisheries (one of the most potent in the world until recently) and the strong state interest of the English Crown in maintaining this economy, European migration to Newfoundland remained relatively inconsiderable until the 19th century, why those who did settle chose to do so, and how these organic communities created the foundations for future migration influxes. Click here to read the essay.

2016 Gunn Award Winner

The 2016 Gunn Award prize has been awarded to Kassandra Luciuk, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at the University of Toronto,  for her research paper on Ukrainians living in Cold War Canada.

Kassandra’s essay is entitled, “‘There is only one Ukrainian People’: Ukrainian Canadians, symbols of self, and the negotiation of legitimacy in Cold War Canada,” the essay explores how Taras Shevchenko, the best known 19th century Ukrainian poet and nationalist, became a symbol for the two Ukrainian Canadian organizations competing for support during the Cold War years, one socialist and communist and the other anti-communist and nationalist. Click here to read the essay.

2014 Gunn Award Winner

The 2014 Gunn Award prize has been awarded to Mr. Geoffrey Cameron, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto.  Click here to read the essay, entitled: “The Political Origins of Refugee Resettlement Policy: Insights from the Policy Process in Canada (1938-1951)”. A five person jury consisting of CIHS members Gerry Van Kessel, Kurt Jensen & Rob Vineberg along with Dr. Jenna Hennebry & Dr. Abel Chikanda made the decision this year.

2013 Gunn Award Winner IMG_2416-300x225

The 2013 Gunn Prize is awarded to Ms Dara Marcus, a graduate student at the University of Ottawa in Public and International Affairs. Click here to read the essay. A jury consisting of CIHS members Dr. Gerry Van Kessel, Dr. Kurt Jensen and Rob Vineberg along with Drs. Abel Chikanda and Andrew Thompson of the Balsillie School of International Affairs (a joint initiative of Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo), reviewed submissions and made the decision.

2011 Gunn Award Winner

The 2011 Gunn Prize was awarded to Ms. Alyshea Cummins, Wilfrid Laurier University for her paper entitled:  “A Comparison of Refugee Resettlement of Ugandan Ismaili Asians and Cambodia Theravada Buddhists in Canada”.

2010 Gunn Award Winner

The 2010 Gunn Prize was awarded to Mr. Stephen A. Fielding, University of Victoria for his paper entitled: “We are promoting an up-to-date image of Italy:  The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Italian Ethnicity in Vancouver, Canada, 1973-1998”.