Kaitlyn Nicol receives UTSC Library Undergraduate Research Prize

Half body image of Kaitlyn Nicol dressed in a long-sleeved speckled ivory sweater and grey poncho, smiling and looking to her right

Congratulations to Kaitlyn Nicol on on being chosen to receive the U of T Scarborough Library Undergraduate Research Prize for 2023 for her project, “To “open up the vacant Crown lands”: Surveys, Property, and Settlement Along the Bobcaygeon Colonization Road (1840s to 1880s)”, under the instruction of Prof Paula Hastings in HISD45H3 Canadian Settler Colonialism in Comparative Context! She is one of four students to be selected this for this prize this year, which honours UTSC students who have excelled in research, scholarship and creative activities in the classroom and beyond, and recognizes the research and creative activities of undergraduate students, their overall contribution to UTSC, and illustrates the role of the library in their creative and research processes. 

In HISD45H3, Kaitlyn was tasked with conducting a research project on settler colonialism in Canada. She wanted to better understand how a space she occupies as a modern day settler is informed by Canada’s colonial past, and ultimately studied the town of Bobcaygeon- a romantic site of cottage relaxation in her memory- and wrote her research paper on the town’s historic Bobcaygeon Road, a colonization road built at the behest of the government of Canada in the mid-1800s.

Her work engaged with a variety of primary sources including government documents, agent reports, letters and emigration materials, as well as local newspaper articles and written settler records. She argued that the Bobcaygeon Road embodied and enacted settler colonial discovery ideology throughout the road’s surveyorship, planning, construction and settlement, which led to the dispossession of the Michi Saagig Nishnaabeg peoples who long occupied the territory. She concluded by bringing the implications of the road to the town’s modern space of cottage tourism, in comparison to water and land based activism led by Michi Saagig Nishnaabeg groups. Through which, it becomes evident how the settler colonial history of the road, and of Canada, continues to inform our present day.

As an aspiring history teacher, Kaitlyn will be graduating from UTSC at the upcoming spring 2023 convocation ceremony, and will continue on to her teacher education training in the fall.