I am a writer, theatre artist, educator, and public historian.

I was born in Ottawa, where I attended Lisgar Collegiate, and now live in Toronto, Canada. I received my PhD in History from the University of Toronto in 2010. My dissertation, “‘Toronto Has No History!‘ Indigeneity, Settler Colonialism and Historical Memory in Canada’s Largest City,” was an attempt to challenge settler amnesia and dominant historical paradigms.  For several years, I taught Indigenous history at York University and developed and taught a bilingual Canadian Studies course called Decolonizing Canada/Décoloniser le Canada, at Glendon College, York’s bilingual campus. I continue to contribute to historical research as an independent scholar, though my main focus is new creative work.

My first book, Distant Relations: How My Ancestors Colonized North America, was shortlisted for the 2000 Writers’ Trust Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing.

My new book, A World without Martha: A Memoir of Sisters, Disability, and Difference, is about my experience as a sibling of a child with Down Syndrome who was institutionalized. It was released by UBC Press on October 1, 2019 and was shortlisted for the 2020 Lambda literary award for Bisexual Non-Fiction. My late sister Martha was a resident at the Rideau Regional Centre at Smiths Falls, Ontario, from 1960 to 1973.

I am the co-creator, with L’Arche Toronto Sol Express and Cheryl Zinyk, of Birds Make Me Think About Freedom, a play about the experiences of people institutionalized for intellectual disability, which won a Patron’s Pick award at the 2018 Toronto Fringe Festival. It has since been performed at Flying to Freedom, a March 2019 event marking the 10th anniversary of the closing of Ontario institutions, and in London, Ontario, on October 22, 2019.

With Ange Loft of Jumblies Theatre, I also cowrote The Talking Treaties Spectacle,  a Jumblies Theatre community arts performance focused on Toronto area treaties and their contemporary significance, first performed at Fort York as part of the Indigenous Arts Festival in June 2017 and remounted October 4-7, 2018. An art and video installation, By These Presents: “Purchasing” Toronto, ran September 21 – December 1, 2019 as part of the first Toronto Biennial of Art. The video is being screened at the 2020 Glasglow Short Film Festival.

I am currently co-writing A Treaty Guide for Torontonians, an adult pop-up book for the 2021 Toronto Biennial of Art, with Martha Stiegman and Ange Loft.

I live with Mark Fawcett and am blessed with two children. I identify as queer and non-binary.

6 thoughts on “Bio

  1. Victoria – I have often wondered where you were and what you were doing and am happy to have found you. We crossed paths in 1976-1977.
    Warmly, Alison S.


  2. Hi Victoria!
    We’re reading your works in class (Ryerson) and I’ve just finished your essay “The Royal Proclamation and Colonial Hocus-Pocus: a learned treatise”. I find your style very engaging, and it makes me look forward to reading more of your thoughts and opinions. Keep being freakin’ rad!
    All the best, Brea


    1. Hey, Brea — you made my day! I have printed “Keep being freakin’ rad!” and stuck the words to the top of my computer monitor so I’ll see them every day while I’m toiling away…


  3. Hey you, sitting on the prairie watching the dog run miles away and listening to Shelagh. So delighted to hear that you found your place and an outlet for your most extraordinary intellect, intuition and empathy.


  4. Hi Victoria!

    Just read your article on “Active History” entitled “Who Speaks? Who Tells? Who listens?”
    Really enjoyed it and very much looking forward to reading the full book. Thank you for
    sharing the story of your sister, I can only imagine how hard it was to delve into that part
    of your family’s history.



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