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Virtual Lecture Series

We love collecting! So we have gathered all the Virtual Lecture Series we have done over the years and have them all conveniently here for you to explore.

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Lecture Series

Black History Month 2024

Funké Aladejebi


Funké Aladejebi is a scholar of the twentieth century with a specialization in Black Canadian history. Her book, Schooling the System: A History of Black Women Teachers, explores the intersections of race, gender and access in Canadian educational institutions. She is also the co-editor of Unsettling the Great White North: Black Canadian History. Her work explores the importance of Black Canadian women in sustaining their communities and preserving a distinct Black identity within restrictive gender and racial barriers.

Topic – Teaching for Liberation: Black Women Educators in Ontario

This presentation features the stories of Black women teachers in 20th century Ontario to explore the ways they utilized a diverse range of teaching approaches to combat oppressive school structures in Canada. These educators considered the “intergenerational, intercontinental continuities of their transnational and diasporic realities” to create liberatory pedagogical approaches in the classroom (Henry, 2017). Ultimately, this talk considers the historical processes by which Black women teachers moved across various educational landscapes to impart traditions of community uplift and cooperation for a diverse range of students.


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Janie Cooper-Wilson


Janie Cooper-Wilson has had a lifelong passion for history and has dedicated her adult life to researching and documenting the history of Black Ontarians. She is a strong advocate for the preservation of Ontario’s endangered historical buildings and early cemeteries. Janie is the Founder and Executive Director of the SilverShoe Historical Society and a Director of the Ontario Historical Society. Her roles at the OHS includes Field Representative for Simcoe and Grey Counties and Co-Chair of the Cemetery Preservation and Defence Committee. Over her long career, Janie has authored numerous articles and publications. She was the driving force behind the restoration and heritage designation of the Bethel Union and Old Zion Presbyterian Cemeteries in Clearview and was the face of the intense public relations initiative to preserve the Oro A.M.E. Church National Historic Site. Her many awards include the Ontario Historical Society’s Carnochan Award in 2012, the Orillia Museum of Art and History’s Historic Reconstruction Award in 2015, the Ontario Black History Society’s Harriet Tubman Award in 2018, and one of Canada’s 100 Accomplished Black Women for 2018. Presently, Janie continues her efforts to assist families attempting to locate their hereditary links to long-lost ancestors and is attempting to save several crucial Black History Sites in Haldimand County from obliteration.

Topic – Lemuel Brown

Local historian, Janie Cooper-Wilson will relate the intriguing story of the life experiences of her 2X Great-Grandfather, Lemuel Brown, a first-generation African Canadian resident of Grey and Simcoe Counties, prior to Confederation.

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Deirdre McCorkindale – February 22 at 1 p.m.


Deirdre McCorkindale is a historian interested in the history of Race in North America with a focus on the African Canadian and African American Experience. She has appeared in several documentaries talking about the Black history of Ontario specifically the Chatham Kent region and is a proud member and consultant for the Chatham Kent Black historical society.

Topic – Black History Month

This talk will explain what Black History Month is, where it comes from, why it is in February and explore the nearly 100-year history of this form of Black commemoration.

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Carolynn and Sylvia Wilson – February 26 at 10 a.m.


Sylvia and Carolynn Wilson are direct descendants of early Black pioneers of Simcoe and Grey Counties and residents of Collingwood, Ontario.  They are Co-owners of the Sheffield Park Black History and Cultural Museum and offer tours to bus groups and visitors.

Sylvia is a recipient of the 2020 “100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women” Award promoted by the Honourable Dr. Jean Augustine and associates.  Sylvia is also an accomplished artist and pianist, was enrolled in the Royal Conservatory of Music, taught music to young students for 15 years, and a worked as a Legal Secretary.  She is Past Secretary of the Old Durham Road Black Pioneer Cemetery Committee and serves as Trustee Chair for the Heritage Community Church in Collingwood.  Sylvia has received several awards for community and youth initiatives including the 1987 Order of Collingwood and 2020 Companion to the Order of Collingwood.

Carolynn is Past President of the Old Durham Road Black Pioneer Cemetery Committee in Priceville. She, along with descendants and supporters, volunteered for over twenty- five years to restore this burial ground. She is a former Elementary and Special Education teacher and taught for the Simcoe County Board of Education.  Carolynn is a Past Grand Matron of the Order of the Eastern Star and Prince Hall Affiliation. She has received several community and cultural awards, including the Governor General’s Canadian Caring Award. She too received the 2016 award from 100 Accomplished Black Women, the Order of Collingwood 1987 and Companion to the Order of Collingwood 2021.

Both Sylvia and Carolynn promote preservation of Black history, community awareness and respect for all cultures.

Topic – Sheffield Park Black History and Cultural Museum and Preserving Black History

Carolynn and Sylvia Wilson will talk about Sheffield Park Black History and Cultural Museum near Collingwood and their efforts to recognize the Black history of Grey and Simcoe Counties. The Sheffield Park Black History and Cultural Museum exhibits pioneer life and times, the social networking of a community and the preservation of past generations.

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Lecture Series

Remembrance Month


Braeden Powers is an accountant, but he has a keen interest in history ever since his grade 7 history class first piqued his curiosity. In university he took as many history courses as he could, and even joined a historical fencing club. Although he was born in Oro-Medonte his family moved to Sudbury when he was very young. He has lived there ever since, but he does visit Oro several times every year.


Michael Petrou is a historian of the Veterans’ Experience at the Canadian War Museum, where he is leading In Their Own Voices, an oral history project that explores how war and military services have shaped the lives of veterans and their loved ones, and how those veterans in turn have shaped Canada. 
Petrou previously worked as an editor and foreign correspondent, reporting on war, conflict and social unrest across Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia. 
He was the 2018 Martin Wise Goodman Canadian Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and a Chevening Scholar at the University of Oxford, where he earned his doctorate in
Modern History. 
Petrou’s publications include Renegades: Canadians in the Spanish Civil War and Is This Your First War? Travels Through the Post-9/11 Islamic World. 
He lives in Ottawa with his family.


Dr. B.E.S. (Brad) Rudachyk was born in Listowel, Ontario. He earned his B.A. (Hons.) at Queen’s University. From there he went on to obtain a Masters degree at Dalhousie University, Halifax, returning to Queen’s to complete his doctoral studies. Brad holds a Ph.D. in Canadian history. 

He is a past president of The Ontario Historical Society and a member of the editorial board of Ontario History.  A former Vice Chair of the Barrie Bell Restoration Committee, he is also a past chair of both the Barrie Public Library Board and Heritage Barrie, as well as a past president of the Simcoe County Historical Association. 

He is the principal in DBS Heritage Consulting & Communications. In May 1998, DBS published Simcoe County Book of Days. His second book, Streetwise in Barrie: An Historical Guide to Barrie Street Names was published in December 2001. 

Brad’s third book, in association with Su Murdoch and Kurt Harding Schick, Beautiful Barrie: The City and Its People – An Illustrated History was published in October 2005. It received The Ontario Historical Society’s 2006 Fred Landon Award for the best book on regional history in Ontario published in the previous three years. His fourth book is Playing Through: The History of the Barrie Country Club, 1913-2013, published in 2013.

He is currently transcribing and editing the letters written home during World War I published in the Barrie newspapers. 


Jonathan F. Vance, PhD, FRSC, is a Distinguished University Professor and J.B. Smallman Chair in the Department of History at Western University, where he teaches Canadian and military history and social memory. A native of Waterdown, Ontario, he holds degrees from McMaster University, Queen’s University, and York University. He is the author of many books and articles, including Objects of Concern: Canadian Prisoners of War Through the Twentieth Century (UBC Press, 1994), Death So Noble: Memory, Meaning, and the First World War (1997), A Gallant Company: The True Story of “The Great Escape” (2003), Building Canada: People and Projects that Shaped the Nation (2006), Unlikely Soldiers: How Two Canadians Fought the Secret War Against Nazi Occupation (2008), A History of Canadian Culture (2009), Maple Leaf Empire: Canada, Britain and Two World Wars (2011) and A Township at War (2018), and A Township at War (2018).