Welcome to spring even if it is still a little chilly at the time of writing. With a little patience we will soon have flowers and birds singing. Since we were unable to arrange a speaker for March there will be two presentations in April, which is just as well given the inclement weather we have had. Both meetings will be at 7:30 in the Barrie City Hall Rotunda in conjunction with the Simcoe County Historical Association.
April 12 “It was all about rebellion!”Dr. John Carter will be giving a presentation to the Barrie Historical Association and the Simcoe County Historical Association regarding the armed invasion of Canada from the United States in 1838. Hundreds of Canadians were involved in this incident, found guilty of treason and exiled to Van Diemen’s Land. Dr. Carter has made many trips to what is now Tasmania in order to trace out the fascinating fate of what happened to these unfortunate “patriots.”
April 26 “Four Hundred Years of Champlain in Simcoe County” Jamie Hunter will be speaking to the Barrie Historical Association and the Simcoe County Historical Association about the visit of this early explorer to our own area in 1615 and his importance to the subsequent history of Simcoe County. As the retired curator of the Huronia Museum in Midland, Jamie brings a wealth of knowledge on this subject. Annual General Meeting: May 31 The AGM will be held this year at Midhurst United Church on Doran Road, the same as the last few years. We have lined up Tom Villemaire as a speaker. Mr. Villemaire, a former reporter for the Barrie Examiner, has recently contributed many lengthy but fascinating accounts to the pages of this newspaper regarding the history of the city and Simcoe County. Perhaps you have seen some of them. In 2002 he published “Colossal Canadian Failures” a hilarious but true account of some classic debacles. Are we surprised that our own area gets plenty of coverage? Tickets at $25 per person can be ordered through Gord Harris at 705 739 7649 or firstname.lastname@example.org They will also be available at any of the above meetings. It is important to clarify numbers attending for the benefit of the church members preparing the dinner.
Special Meeting Sunday April 10, Barrie Legion at 2pm Steve Glover will give a presentation on the 99th anniversary of Vimy Ridge. We have recently set in motion a plan to have an Ontario Heritage plaque erected in Kempenfelt Park regarding Judge James Gowan, the first judge of Simcoe County. This is an appropriate location since the park was originally part of Gowan’s large estate of Ardraven and was donated to the City on Gowan’s death in 1909. Funding for the plaque should be possible through the Simcoe County Law Association and a grant from Simcoe County. It will also be a good follow up to the restoration of the Gowan portrait that was completed last year and returned to the courthouse. At the moment we are completing a reproduction of the Gowan portrait that the Barrie Historical Association agreed to do for the Simcoe County Administration Centre in Midhurst.
We were fortunate to obtain a provincial grant of $1,100 last year but this is unlikely this year. Insurance costs of $900 will quickly deplete the grant so every membership is crucial to our survival. Memberships are $20 for a single or a couple and may be paid by using Paypal through the BHA website or sending a check to Jim Willis, our treasurer, or by giving $20 to Jim or me at any of our meetings. So if you are interested in keeping the history of Barrie alive, renew or rejoin us before we go out of business.
You may have seen notice of this organization, led by Travis Doucette, in the Barrie Examiner. Although not directly associated with the Barrie Historical Association, they are a dedicated group of volunteers who are creating a searchable, online database of historical photos of Barrie. This is a good way to ensure that any historical photos you may have are recorded for posterity and made freely available for everyone. Check their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/BarrieHistoricalArchive. or phone Travis at Georgian College. 705-728-1968