President’s Report


MAY 21, 2013

Once a year we stop and reflect on the activities of the Simcoe County Historical Association to determine if we have met the objectives in our constitution.  There are five general objectives.  The first three promote an appreciation of history in Simcoe County.  Recently the board of SCHA reviewed the objectives and agreed that we certainly do address these three objectives in our public meeting programs, the newsletter, and in support of local historical ventures.

In the fourth objective we strive to maintain and cultivate relationships with heritage organizations outside of Simcoe County, although we do this mainly through our connection to the Ontario Historical Association, of whom the current president is our former president, Dr. Brad Rudachyk.

Lastly, we maintain connections with levels of government for their interest in our organization and also for grants and funding.  We are responsible for regulations as a non-profit public organization. Thanks for help from our treasurer, Gordon Harris.

Our newsletter, News and Views, with thanks to Jill Hynes the editor, faithfully keeps us up-to-date on the latest historical events and meetings in Simcoe County.  It is our life-line to the various historical associations.  This year Jill has inserted a feature article on the war of 1812, based on a topic she and her daughter presented to us at a public SCHA meeting.  If you missed that event you can still read the articles.

This year we were able to support financially the restoration of the Gowan Portrait, a project of historical significance in Barrie and Simcoe County.  This is of ongoing interest to Mark Fisher, our vice-president, who was our speaker last year on his published book:  The Gowan Papers.

Dorothy Duncan, author of the book:  Hoping for the Best, Preparing for the Worst, presented her book at our public meeting last October.  She has been a board member as a representative from the OPP museum in Orillia.  We thank her for her contributions to the SCHA over the past several years as she retires now from our board.  Her book features life during the War of 1812.

We recently contributed to the Simcoe County History Fair with a financial contribution.  Several SCHA members acted as adjudicators to these elementary school history projects, and I was privileged to present the SCHA awards at the closing ceremony.

I am also pleased with the university student presentations that have come to the SCHA through the Andrew Hunter essay contest in recent years.

You can see that history is alive and well in Simcoe County and in the SCHA.  Our general membership meetings have had an encouraging attendance and our memberships number 195.  I thank all members of the Board of Directors who faithfully have collaborated to keep the association lively and entertaining, and are always searching for interesting events, and high quality guest speakers.

Now comes the time for me to step down as your president.  I am a descendant of Simcoe County settlers who also married into another Simcoe County family:  my roots run deep and my interest in our historical association will continue – even as I enjoy my garden and flowers on Simcoe County soil!

Helen Coutts

President SCHA


May 2013

During this year the Simcoe County Historical Association made a further contribution of $300 toward the $15,000 needed for the restoration of the large portrait of Sir James Gowan, the first Judge of Simcoe County, which presently hangs in the Barrie Court House.  In co-operation with the Barrie Historical Association we hope to see the completion of this project during the coming year.

We are presently finalizing our program for the next year which promises to be informative and interesting.  Here are some of our plans in progress:

  1. A bus or car tour to the restored CPR steamer, the S.S. Keewatin, located in Port McNicoll here in Simcoe County.  A fall date is being considered.
  2. Speaker Ted Barris, well known author and military historian.  This will comprise the November public meeting, jointly with Barrie Historical Association and the Barrie branch of the Canadian Legion.  Ted Barris is returning this year by popular request!
  3. A spring meeting with Jeff Minogue will feature a compelling discussion of Anishinabe First Nations and Coldwater Reserve land claims settlement.
  4. The 2014 AGM may feature Earle Gray, who has written a number of books on fascinating but little known aspects of Canadian history.

These are some of our plans in progress for the 2013-2014 year for the SCHA.  We welcome contributions to these ideas and would welcome the interest of members who would join the SCHA board as we plan events and look after the business of the organization.  The board meets on the second Tuesday of the month from September to November and from January to May.

Mark Fisher

Vice-president SCHA



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