2017 AGM Report

Simcoe County Historical Association Celebrating 125 years
Preserving the Past,
In the Present,
For the Future.

Annual General Meeting

Midhurst United Church

May 23, 2017

Agenda for May 23rd, 2017

  1. Greetings from President Earl Elliott
  2. Grace
  3. Roast Beef Dinner catered by Midhurst United Church
  4. Statements about 125 years SCHA -John Merritt
  5. Congratulatory messages from Ann Hoggarth, Alex Nuttall
  6. Presentation of Andrew Hunter Award to Thomas Radder
  7. Minutes of May 31, 2016 for approval
  8. Treasurer’s Report
  9. Annual reports SCHA, BHA
  10. Nomination Report
  11. Speaker Jay Young

2016 President’s Report

2016 marked the 125th year of operation for the SCHA, and similar to other Historical associations in the province it was a challenging year. Declining membership, reduced funding, and a lack of volunteers are common challenges that most historical associations are faced with.

One of our biggest challenges in 2016 and into 2017 was the reduction in our Board of Directors. First of all, I would like to acknowledge the work and service of the SCHA Treasurer, Gordon Harris who passed away in January of this year. Gord and Ardis (Secretary of SCHA) were key contributors as well as Board members for many years.

It has been in the news for some time that Laurentian University is closing its Barrie campus and with that comes the transfer of Daniel Byers to the Sudbury campus. The SCHA would like to thank Daniel Byers for his support and great service to the SCHA in hosting our Board of Directors meetings these past years as well as being a driving force behind the Andrew Hunter Essay Award. And on that topic, with the closing of the Laurentian campus at Georgian, and declining revenues, the 2017 board of directors will be reviewing the continuation or cancellation of the Andrew Hunter Award program.

Other members of our board have given notice that they are unable to continue and In November of 2016 the Board of Directors put out a call for volunteers and with that, came the proverbial cavalry with Ted Duncan, Deb Exel, and John Merritt joining the SCHA Board of Directors. Thank you for stepping up to keep the SCHA going!

I would also like to note and recognize Judith Banville for joining our Board of Directors in June of 2016.

We continue to experience a reduction in membership, but a large part of that is due to personal relocation and sadly some of our reduction is from the passing of individual members. Currently we have 148 Members.

And if that wasn’t enough of a challenge, we suffered a financial hit when the County of Simcoe revised their grant application and eligibility guidelines, making the SCHA ineligible for County funding.

That is enough of the bad news, and on to some SCHA achievements in 2016 and early 2017.

In 2016 we welcomed the Barrie Historical Archives as a member organization. The BHA is bringing a great deal of energy, exposure, and excitement to the local history scene. Those attending the 2016 AGM will recall that the Barrie Historical Archive was the recipient of the SCHA community partnership award in the amount of $500.

There are now 15 Historical Associations and 5 Museums on the SCHA list of member associations. The SCHA was formed to Promote and Preserve Local History. I think we can add Partner to that mission statement.

Speaking of Partners, a special thanks to Mark Fisher and the Barrie Historical Association for co hosting 4 general meetings with us, and helping both organizations bring 4 excellent speakers to those meetings for the enjoyment and education of those able to attend. Mark outlines the details of these joint meeting in his Barrie Historical Association Report for 2016.

I would also like to acknowledge our partnership with the Barrie branch of the Royal Canadian Legion and make special note of the work done by Legion Historian, Steve Glover. Partnering with the Legion has allowed the SCHA and Barrie Historical Association to bring in some high profile speakers, such as Ted Barris, noted author and CBC Radio personality.

The SCHA is going digital.

Thanks to Deb Exel for creating a Facebook Page, a Twitter Account, and an email list to alert SCHA members about upcoming events for the SCHA and our member associations.   Thanks to Pat Elliott for updating the website, which had an increase in visits this past year. People may not be coming out to hear our speakers, but they are searching for local history. The SCHA will be reviewing the availability of News & Views in a digital format by email PDF document.

Special thanks to all SCHA Executive, Directors, and SCHA volunteers for their valuable assistance this past year and we hope that you will continue to help the SCHA Preserve, Promote, and Present the rich history of Simcoe County in 2017 and beyond.

President Earl Elliott

Visit us www.simcoecountyhistory.ca

Like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/simcoecountyhistoricalassociation

Follow us on Twitter @SimcoeHistory
Contact us at info@simcoecountyhistory.ca

Jill Hynes: Editor     705-739-6220        mark.jill@sympatico.ca

Thank you for the articles, inquiries and activity reports News and Views receives on a regular basis. Without them, we would not be aware of all the remarkable projects, museum displays, and events that take place throughout the year in our beautiful county.

I continue to welcome any articles, or even a series of articles, to help inform our membership of stories, projects or documents that are not widely available. Photographs of your recent event are always welcome too.

News and Views continues to provide a current, detailed coming events section to help us keep the county informed of your activities as well as our own. We hope you will keep News and Views in mind as another place to advertise your events.


Nominations of Board Members and Officers (2017/18)

Past President Earl Elliott
President Ted Duncan
Vice-President Mark Fisher
Secretary Donna Wice
Treasurer Deb Exel
Newsletter Jill Hynes



Judith Banville

John Merritt

Pat Elliott

Rep from Barrie Historical

Rep from Innisfil Historical

Mark Fisher

Donna Wice

Simcoe County Historical   Association Community Partnership Grant Report

In keeping with SCHA philosophy of the promotion, preservation, and appreciation of Simcoe County’s history & heritage through the encouragement of communication and cooperation among historical and cultural groups within our County, it was our pleasure to award monies to 2 groups in 2016. $500 was donated to the Barrie Historical Archives and $300 to Orillia Museum of Arts &Heritage to further their very energetic projects.

2016 Website Report

The SCHA website was created in 2013. The focus of the website is to provide the SCHA with a presence on the world wide web and to present our members with current association happenings each month. The News & Views newsletter is added to the site on a yearly basis. The site lists our contact information for other Simcoe County historical associations and societies as well. The Board of Directors contact information is available on the site. This year we had 1,425 users viewing 3,110 site pages. 805 people specifically searched for the SCHA site.



May 31, 2016

  1. The meeting was called to order at 7:00pm by Earl Elliot, after our delicious AGM dinner, served by Midhurst United.
  2.  A motion for the approval of the May 2015 Minutes was made by Donna Wice. 2nd by Pat Elliot. Approved
  1. A motion for approval of the financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2015was made by Gord Harris 2nd by Ellen Millar. Approved.
  1. Nominations of Board Members and Officers (2016/17)                                                                                                                                           Nomination from the floor; Judith Banville was nominated by Donna Wice.
  1. Introduction of Board Members and Officers for 2016/17

Past President – Mark Fisher

President         – Earl Elliott

Vice President – Donna Wice

Secretary         – Ardis Harris

Treasurer         – Gord Harris

Newsletter       – Jill Hynes

Director           – Pat Elliott

Director           -Judith Banville

Rep. for Orillia MAH – Dan Byers

Rep. for Innisfil H.S   – Donna Wice

Rep for Barrie H.A.   – Mark Fisher

  1. The Barrie Historical Archive Reps Travis Doucette and Deb Exell were introduced and presented with a$500 Community Partnership Grant.
  2. President Earl Elliott reflected on the passing and contributions of 2 past-presidents Brian Baker and Helen Coutts.He also thanked Mark Fisher for his service as acting-President this year.
  3. Guest speaker and columnist Tom Villemaire shared several of his local history stories. He was thanked for his very readable writing style by Donna Wice.
  4. Adjournment Secretary Ardis Harris
Annual Financial Report for 2016
Operating Account
Balance Chequing Account January 1 2016 3,120.96
Add deposits in 2016 6,336.70
Less Withdrawals in 2016 7,302.82
               Balance, December 31 2016 2,154.84
Savings Account
Balance Advantage Saving Account, January 1, 2016 2,267.33
Interest Earned 2016 4.41
Transfer in from Chequing Account (Matured G.I.C.) 2,743.70
Balance, December 31, 2016 5,015.44
GICs (Value as of December 31, 2015) 7,949.80
GICs (Value as of December 31, 2016) 5,287.80
Total Assets, December 31, 2016 10,303.24
Annual Meeting 913.38
Donations 485.00
County Grant 0.00
Provincial Grant 1,159.00
Interest (from G.I.C) 85.62
G.I.C. 2,743.70
Memberships 950.00
Publications 0.00
Total Receipts 6,336.70
Annual Meeting 1,079.41
Bank Charges 58.60
Community Partnership Projects 800.00
Essay Contest 0.00
Honorarium (2016 AGM Speaker) 150.00
Insurance 972.00
Memorials 100.00
Memberships 86.50
Postage 316.97
Publications (News & Views) 482.47
Rent (P.O. Box) 202.27
Stationary/Equipment 44.57
G.I.C. Transfer 2,743.70
Website 66.33
Research (125 anniversary) 200.00
Total Expenditures 7,302.82
Net Receipts Under Expenditures -966.12
K. Allan Cuzen
Treasurer – Debra Exel Reviewed by K. Allan Cuzen


A Brief History of the Simcoe County Historical Association, 1891-2016

 Written by John Merritt

Researched by Audrey Hanson and Ardis Harris, with additional research by Brad Rudachyk and John Merritt

What is now the Simcoe County Historical Association began on a Friday afternoon in November 1891, at a meeting of prominent Simcoe County citizens in the Barrie Town Council chamber. The purpose of the meeting was to establish a local history and pioneer society that would preserve and promote the county’s history and the stories of its early pioneers. It appears that the creation of such a society had first been called for by Andrew F. Hunter, an avid local historian who would go on to write the famous History of Simcoe County, in a letter published in the Northern Advance in August 1888.

The meeting was chaired by Barrie mayor F. E. P. Pepler and attended by such notable local figures as the Rev. Dr. Parker, pastor of the Collier Street Methodist Church in Barrie; prominent Stayner resident Dr. C. E. Jakeway; Simcoe County pioneers W. H. Hewson and John L. Warnica; and the editors of several major local newspapers: C. W. Lawton of the Orillia Times, George H. Hale of the Orillia Packet, and H. N. Courtlandt of the Northern Advance, as well as Andrew Hunter, who by that time had become editor of the Barrie Examiner. After a thorough discussion, the Simcoe County Pioneer Society was created. Membership in the new society was to be restricted to those who had resided in or were descended from someone who had resided in Simcoe County since before Confederation. Federal senator and former district judge James R. Gowan was appointed honourary president, county judge and prominent Barrie resident William D. Ardagh president, Andrew Hunter secretary, C. W. Lawton treasurer, and Mayor Pepler, the Rev. Dr. Parker, William Hewson, and Samuel Lount Soules of Big Bay Point members of the executive committee. Later executives of the society included local judge and former Barrie mayor William F. A. Boys, prominent Vespra resident and early pioneer George Sneath, prominent Shanty Bay resident Lieutenant Colonel W. E. O’Brien, and local businessman John Rogerson, as well as society co-founders Dr. Jakeway, George Hale, and John Warnica. Early activities of the society included hosting such notable speakers as Senator J. R. Gowan and, in 1908, publishing the Simcoe County Pioneer Papers.

In the early 1940s the society was reorganized as the Huronia Historic Sites Association and its mandate was expanded to promote tourism development in the region as well as public knowledge of its heritage. Presidents of the association included Victor G. Edwards of Midland, Didace Grise of Honey Harbour, and Norman D. Clarke and Bill Bell, both of Barrie. The association’s publications included Huronia Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, a history of the region written by Wilfrid Jury, and Adventures in Huronia, a travel guide to the region edited by Adelaide Leitch. The association was also involved in the installation of historical plaques across the county.

The association was reorganized again in 1971, when it was given its current name, the Simcoe County Historical Association. Initially, the mandate of the SCHA was to promote local interest in conservancy and work with the county archives to preserve out-of-print local history books and valuable archival materials. Membership was to be open to all interested individuals upon payment of annual dues, which at that time were $1 for students, $2 for individuals, and $3 for families.

Between 1973 and 1978, membership in the SCHA grew from 153 to 201. During this period, upcoming meetings were announced on Barrie television station CKVR and the SCHA was listed in the Barrie telephone directory. Activities of the SCHA during this period included a local history essay contest for high school students, installing historical plaques across the county, contributing to local history segments on cable television, and a history speaker series. Notable executives of the SCHA during this period included David B. Phillips, John B. Wray of Alliston, Mary Clare, Judge A. James Clare, Ross Channen, Grace and Monty Leigh, Burton Ford of Alliston, Jean McNeice, Isabel McBride, Howard Campbell, Gary French, and Jay Cody. The first edition of News and Views, the SCHA’s newsletter, was published in January 1972, and has kept members informed on local history events ever since.

In 1981 annual membership dues were raised for the first time in 13 years, to $5 per household, and in 1982 it was decided that News and Views would be published every two months. Notable executives during the 1980s included Dr. W. Allen Fisher, Jack Poste of Collingwood, Josephine Boos, Helen Spanis, and Charlton Jones.

In 1991 annual membership fees were raised to $8.00 for both families and individuals; members were entitled to receive five issues of News and Views per year as well as the right to participate in decision-making. Notable executives during the 1990s included Brian Baker and Doug Hamilton.

Notable activities by the SCHA during the 2000s included installing memorial plaques at Christ Church in Waubaushene and Stevenson Farms, as well as hosting a local history essay competition for post-secondary students, a history speaker series, and a grant program for local history projects. Notable executives during this period have included Mark Fisher, Brad Rudachyk, Peter Wiseman, Jill Hynes, Bill Packham, Ellen Millar, Earl Elliott, Helen Coutts, and Gord Harris.

2016 marked the 125th anniversary of the Simcoe County Historical Association, which will be celebrated at this year’s annual general meeting. Although its name, mission, and activities have changed over the past 125 years, the SCHA and its predecessors have shared a common goal: to preserve and promote public knowledge of the history of this region. As we celebrate this milestone anniversary, we remain dedicated to that goal and look forward to continuing to preserve the past well into the future.

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