OHS Executive Director Rob Leverty recently visited the life-size bronze statue honouring Corporal Francis Pegahmagabow, the deadliest sniper and scout of the First World War, credited with 378 kills and 300 captures. He volunteered for the armed forces in 1914 soon after Britain declared war on Germany, despite a general ban on First Nations people joining the military. He was a leader in battle, but also in peacetime, serving as chief and councillor of the Wasauksing First Nation. Pegahmagabow would eventually become the Supreme Chief of the Native Independence Government, an early forerunner of the Assembly of First Nations.
Despite his accomplishments and sacrifices as a soldier, Pegahmagabow faced discrimination as an Aboriginal man after returning home to Canada. In response, he devoted much of his time and energy to fighting these injustices and working to empower his people. This bronze statue, located in Parry Sound, will honour his legacy for generations to come.
Founded in 1888, the Ontario Historical Society is a non-profit corporation and registered charity dedicated to the preservation and celebration of Ontario’s history for people of all ages and cultural backgrounds. In 1967, The Ontario Historical Society (OHS) established an awards program to recognize individuals, organizations, corporations, and authors who have contributed significantly to the preservation and promotion of Ontario’s heritage.
Our 2015 Honours and Awards Program recognized an impressively diverse group of organizations, individuals, topics, and publications. Environmental history, labour history, women's history, economic history, Ontario archaeology, First Nations history, African-Canadian history, and a variety of local histories from across the province were all represented among this year's award winners. The 2015 OHS Honours and Awards winners are:
Awards for Organizations:
Scadding Award of Excellence: Wolfe Island Historical Society
President's Award: Ivanhoé Cambridge
Dorothy Duncan Award: Port Maitland "on the Grand" Historical Association
Museum Award of Excellence in Community Programming: Guelph Museums
B. Napier Simpson Jr. Award: Town of Tecumseh Heritage Committee
Awards for Service:
Cruikshank Gold Medal: John Rae
Carnochan Award: Charles Garrad
Carnochan Award: Elise Harding-Davis
Awards for Authors:
Joseph Brant Award: Wab Kinew
The Reason You Walk
Fred Landon Award: Craig Heron
Lunch-Bucket Lives: Remaking the Workers' City
Alison Prentice Award: Joan M. Roberts
Cracked: How Phone Operators Took On Canada's Largest Corportation…And Won!
Donald Grant Creighton Award: Hugh Grant
W.A. Mackintosh: The Life of a Canadian Economist
J.J. Talman Award: Ryan O'Connor
The First Green Wave: Pollution Probe and the Origins of Environmental Activism in Ontario
Riddell Award: Owen Temby & Ryan O'Connor
"Property, Technology, and Environmental Policy: The Politics of Acid Rain in Ontario, 1978-1985."
The Journal of Policy History
Huguenot Society of Canada Award: Sheila Watt-Cloutier
The Right to be Cold: One Woman's Story of Protecting her Culture, the Arctic and the Whole Planet
John Rae, the 2015 Cruikshank Gold Medal winner, was unable to attend the ceremony due to prior engagements. He recorded this video message for our members:
Congratulations to all our winners!
Before the OHS Honours and Awards Ceremony began, the Society held its 128th Annual General Meeting. The keynote address this year was delivered by Margaret Sault of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation.
During the AGM, the Society voted on the recommendations of the OHS Nominations Committee and is pleased to welcome a new board member, Janie Cooper-Wilson! Welcome, Janie. The Society also saw two Directors step down this year; thank you very much to Brad Rudachyk and Jim Fortin for their years of dedicated service. The OHS Board of Directors slate for 2016-17 is as follows:
Caroline Di Cocco - President - Bright’s Grove
Pam Cain - First Vice President - Neebing
Michel Beaulieu - Second Vice President - Thunder Bay
Bob Leech - Treasurer - Toronto
Allan Macdonell - Secretary - Green Valley
Joe Stafford - Past President - Kingston
Ian Radforth - Director - Toronto
Ross Fair - Director - Toronto
Carolyn King - Director - Hagersville
David dos Reis - Director - Toronto
Kristin Ives - Director - Leamington
Janie Cooper-Wilson - Director - Elmvale
About our new Director, Janie Cooper-Wilson: Cooper-Wilson recently received the 2015-16 OMAH History Award, presented by the Mayor of Orillia, Steve Clarke. The award recognizes her work as a driving force in the restoration process at Oro African Methodist Episcopal Church National Historic Site. She has worked tirelessly to ensure that this historic Canadian landmark is properly preserved for future generations. As the Executive Director of the SSHS, Cooper-Wilson has also been instrumental in the restoration and designation of the Bethel-Union Pioneer Cemetery in Clearview Township. Cooper-Wilson also received the OHS Carnochan Award in 2013.
The Ontario Historical Society celebrates the life of former OHS President (1978-80) Fred Armstrong.
Fred reflected his passion for history in all aspects of his life. After receiving his PhD at the University of Toronto, he taught at the University of Western Ontario from 1963 to 1991, specializing in nineteenth century Canadian political history and urbanization. Throughout his life, he published many historical works and received several awards for his research, including: Fellow of the Royal Historical Society; the American Society for State and Local History's Certificate of Commendation, and The Award of Merit; Western's President's Medal; and the Ontario Historical Society's Cruikshank Gold Medal. He was also a member of the London and Middlesex Historical Society. He is survived by his wife, his children, and his granddaughter.
OHS Executive Director Rob Leverty extended the following message to Fred Armstrong’s family:
On behalf of The Ontario Historical Society (OHS), I would like to send our best wishes and deepest sympathies to Fred Armstrong’s family. Dr. Armstrong was OHS President from 1978-1980, leaving a legacy of deep commitment and respect for preserving the history of all Ontarians. Dr. Bryan Walls, a former OHS Past President, wrote me this morning stating that, “Fred was a great man and a great OHS President.” He was a true friend of Ontario’s African-Canadian Heritage, and made many outstanding contributions to our scholarly journal, Ontario History. I never had the privilege to be one of Fred’s students, but I did get to know him as an OHS employee. Over the years, Fred and I would have lunch together. I really treasured these moments with Fred. I remember a gentle giant, who generously shared his wisdom and insights. He also took a keen interest in the Society’s Cemetery Defence Fund and our struggles to defend and protect Ontario’s cemeteries from real estate development. He always encouraged and inspired me to keep fighting for public history and the public interest. He felt strongly that OHS had an important role to play in strengthening our democracy in this province. I am very sad that Fred has left us. We have lost a true champion for preserving and promoting our local history. There is no doubt that Fred made Ontario a more decent and civilized society for all of us.
-Rob Leverty, OHS Executive Director
Fred Armstrong asked that donations be made to the Ontario Historical Society upon his passing. Thank you to the following donors for fulfilling his wish:
Donna and Mike Costa
Colin Read and Syndey Stagg
University of Western Ontario
Helen and Ivar Liepins
Toronto Public Health CDC