Gunn Prize for Immigration History

In their effort to preserve the legacy of Canada’s immigration history and to support continued excellence in research in Canada on migration to and settlement in Canada the Canadian Immigration Historical Society (CIHS) in cooperation with the Locally Engaged Refugee Research Network (LERRN) and the Department of History at Carleton University jointly offer the Gunn Prize, a $1,000 prize for a fourth-year undergraduate or graduate-level research paper on the historical evolution of Canadian immigration policy or a historical analysis of Canadian immigration related to specific places, events, or communities. The prize is named after Al Gunn, one of the founding members of the CIHS and its longstanding Secretary until his death in 2009.

The Gunn Prize for the best historical essay on migration to and settlement in Canada is an interdisciplinary prize, and will therefore consider papers from any discipline in the social sciences and humanities (e.g., history, political science, sociology, global studies, communication studies) that addresses migration to and settlement in Canada from a historical perspective. The prize 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. Papers are reviewed by a committee consisting of Carleton University and CIHS associates/members. The prize will be conferred jointly by the CIHS and Carleton University and will be given out annually in the fall.

The deadline for the annual competition is June 30 of each year.

Submission Requirements

  • English or French.
  • Maximum 20 pages in length, excluding bibliography. Longer submissions will not be considered.
  • All essays should be carefully edited for spelling, grammar, and accuracy of content.
  • Include a cover page with name/contact information (name should not appear on subsequent pages) the course, degree program and institution for which the paper was written, as well as the current program status of the author.
  • Chapter excerpts from thesis projects will be accepted. In such cases, a short 250-word abstract should accompany the submission to explain the larger project.
  • 1.5 line spacing, one-inch margins in a standard 12-point font such as Times New Roman.
  • Citations in Chicago, APA or MLA style.
  • Submit as a Word and PDF file to
  • Note: By submitting their paper, the author consents to it being made public on the CIHS website and the LERRN and Department of History websites at Carleton University, should their work be selected for the award. The author also consents to revising their piece, for inclusion as a 1,000 word essay in the Canadian Immigration Historical Society Bulletin.


  • 2023: Alexandros Balasis, Essay, Department of History, York University, “Voices of Migration: Exploring Agency within Canadian Immigration Policy and Greek Emigration Framework”
  • 2022: Manum Shahid, Department of History and World Islamic Studies at McGill University. Essay, “Agency and Resilience: South Asian Migration to Canada, 1900-1967.”
  • 2019: Lianne Robin Koren, Department of History at McGill University, Montreal. Essay, “Europeanized Moroccans: North African Jewish Immigration to Canada, 1955-1960.”
  • 2017: Iain Wilson, Department of History at Queen’s University, Kingston. Essay, “Organic Settlement in Pre-19th Century Newfoundland.”
  • 2016: Kassandra Luciuk, Department of History at the University of Toronto. Essay, “‘There is only one Ukrainian People’: Ukrainian Canadians, symbols of self, and the negotiation of legitimacy in Cold War Canada.”
  • 2014: Geoffrey Cameron, Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto. Essay, “The Political Origins of Refugee Resettlement Policy: Insights from the Policy Process in Canada (1938-1951).”
  • 2013: Dara Marcus, Department of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa. Essay, “The Hai Hong incident: One boat’s effect on Canada’s policy towards Indochinese refugees.”
  • 2011: Alyshea Cummins, Wilfrid Laurier University. Essay, “A Comparison of the Refugee Resettlement of Ugandan Ismaili Muslims and Cambodia Theravada Buddhists in Canada.”
  • 2010: Stephen A. Fielding, University of Victoria. Essay, “‘We are Promoting an Up-to-date Image of Italy’: The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Italian Ethnicity in Vancouver, Canada, 1973-1998.”

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