The Lest We Forget Project is the inspiration of Blake Seward, a history teacher at Smiths Falls District Collegiate Institute, in Smiths Falls, Ontario. Concerned that the contributions of those who died serving in the First World War have been largely forgotten, Seward began researching the military history of his own great uncle, who fought and died at Passchendaele. Seward soon realized that this type of research would be an exciting way to make history come alive in the classroom. It would give students the opportunity to document the life stories of the men and women who served in the First World War.
Through the keen interest of the students in Smiths Falls and Seward's leadership, schools in Ontario and in other provinces adopted the project. Although originally based on the Ontario educational model, the project can be adapted and applied to meet curriculum expectations in every province.
Since its inception in 2001, the Lest We Forget Project has expanded into a national project coordinated by Library and Archives Canada and others. The public can also undertake similar research by visiting the Genealogy and Family History Web site at Library and Archives Canada.
Seward's commitment to teaching Canadian history has been recognized by a number of awards, including the Veterans Affairs Recognition Award and the Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence. In 2006, he was awarded the Governor General's Award for Excellence in Teaching Canadian History.
What began as a class project has become a national success story.