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Board of Directors

David Ross

Board Chair, Toronto


A retired partner of Deloitte and Touche Canada, David Ross has a broad range of commercial experience in accounting, auditing, acquisitions, regulation, litigation support including forensic investigations and management consulting. Mr. Ross’s board governance experience includes consulting to boards and serving on boards and board committees including those of Deloitte Touche Canada, the World Wildlife Fund, and the Baycrest Centre.

Dr. Gordon Barnhart

Former Lieutenant Governor (Saskatchewan), Saskatoon


Former Lieutenant Governor Gordon Barnhart is an acclaimed historian and recognized expert on the Canadian parliamentary process. Dr. Barnhart’s extensive experience in government includes twenty years as Clerk of the Saskatchewan Legislature and five years as Clerk of the Canadian Senate. He has worked as a consultant to strengthen democratic governance in countries around the world. Dr. Barnhart obtained a Ph.D. in history at the University of Saskatchewan, where he taught political studies and served as University Secretary. He has published several books on prairie history and Saskatchewan political figures, and for a brief time taught Grade 10 and 11 history in the classroom.

W. John Bennett

Chairman & C.E.O. of Benvest Holdings Ltd (“Benvest”), Montreal


W. John (“John”) Bennett has had a long and distinguished career in the Canadian financial and investment community commencing in 1972 with McLeod, Young, Weir & Company (the predecessor of Scotia Capital Markets). He is currently Chairman and C.E.O. of Benvest Holdings, a private investment holding company and also Chairman and principal shareholder of New Look Eyewear Inc., a publicly listed integrated optical retailer. John is also Co-Founder and Chairman of MacKinnon, Bennett & Company, a specialized financial services boutique focussed on renewable energies, energy efficiencies and related businesses. He has been a director of many public and private Canadian companies, is an active philanthropist and has been on the board and involved with many leading Canadian educational and charitable institutions. John holds an Honours Degree in History and Philosophy (1967) and an L.L.B. (1970) from the University of Toronto and is a long-time student of Canadian history and politics.

Michèle Dagenais

Historian, Montreal


Michèle Dagenais’ main area of research is cities, seeking to demonstrate that the physical organization of cities shapes the way in which they are governed and contributes to the structuring of social relations and policies at this level. Michèle has published a monograph on the transformation of the relationship between Montreal and water in seeking to restore the role of water and its successive transformations in the process of urbanization of this city since the beginning of the nineteenth century. Since then, she has continued her work on the history of the environment to the larger scale of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River system. Michèle is also interested in issues related to writing and public uses of history, theoretical and practical. She has participated in various debates and reflections on the teaching of history, and has collaborated in the development of exhibitions or production of historical documents for various audiences.

Edward S. Kennedy

President & CEO, The North West Company, Winnipeg


Edward Kennedy is President & CEO of The North West Company, having served in a number of senior management positions in both the U.S. and International divisions of the company as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Executive Officer respectively. Edward is very proud of the heritage of his company, a history enthusiast and longtime supporter of Canada’s History. He chaired the United Way campaign in Winnipeg, and through the North West Company is actively involved in a number of health and economic development initiatives to support Aboriginal communities in the North. Edward serves on several boards of non-profit organizations as well as being a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization, the Associates of the Asper School of Business (Faculty of Management, University of Manitoba), and the Business Council of Manitoba.

Stéphane Lévesque

Associate Professor of History Education, Ottawa


Stéphane Lévesque studied history and political science at Laval University and Collège militaire royal du Canada and holds a doctorate from the University of British Columbia. He is Vice-Dean Research and Professor of history education at the Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa. In addition to being the author of many books, he is the founding-director of the Virtual History Lab at the University of Ottawa and creator of the, an innovative software to teach Canadian history. His research focuses on students’ historical thinking and consicousness, Canadian history, citizenship education, and new media and technology in education. He was expert advisor for the creation of the Canadian museum for human rights and educational expert on the revision of the Ontario curriculum.

Sharon McAuley

Publishing and Marketing Consultant, Toronto


Sharon McAuley is a print and digital publishing and marketing consultant, speaker and seminar leader, as well as the co-founder and publisher of Prior to launching her consulting business, she was most recently Vice-President Group Publisher of the Urban Group, St. Joseph Media, overseeing the day-to-day operations of Toronto Life, Ottawa Magazine, Quill & Quire, and Where Canada.

Ry Moran

Director of National Research Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, Winnipeg


Ry Moran is the Director of National Research Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. Appointed to the role in 2014, his work involves liaison and coordination with Aboriginal communities and Survivor organizations, governments, partners, external agencies and university departments. He works closely with the Centre’s Governing and Survivor Circles comprised of Survivors, partners and community members. Since 2010, Ry has been the Director of Statement Gathering with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Prior to this, he owned YellowTilt Productions, delivering professional services in a variety of areas including Aboriginal language preservation. Moran, a bilingual member of the Metis Nation, is a Masters of Business Administration candidate, and holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Victoria.

Sasha Mullally

Associate Professor, History, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton


Sasha Mullally holds a doctorate in history from the University of Toronto, where she studied Canadian and American history with a specialization in the social history of medicine and health. Prior to joining the Faculty at the University of New Brunswick in 2009, she was Co-Director of the History of Medicine Program at the University of Alberta (2008–2009). Dr. Mullally teaches and supervises graduate students in the history of medicine and health care, Canadian social history, women’s history, the history of the Atlantic region and digital history. Her current research projects include the gendered professional and community roles of women physicians in rural and small town practices. As well as collaborating on other projects, she is examining the transnational history of physician migration in the second half of the twentieth century, looking “outward” from Canada.

Dave Obee

Editor in Chief, Times Colonist , Victoria


Dave Obee is a journalist and genealogical researcher. He is Editor-in-Chief of the Times Colonist in Victoria, British Columbia. He has worked as a journalist in British Columbia and Alberta since 1972. He has written a dozen books and given more than 400 presentations at conferences and seminars in Canada and the United States since 1997. In 2012 he was awarded an honorary doctorate of laws by the University of Victoria. In 2014 he was presented with the Governor General's Caring Canadian award for his work as a community volunteer. Dave has also received a Certificate of Recognition from Heritage BC, for his work on the British Colonist website, which features 60 years of the leading newspaper in Victoria. Dave runs CanGenealogy, a link site that is selective and sorted for ease of use. He also runs, a website dedicated to the old German colonies in the northwest corner of Ukraine.

Stephen Thomas

Chairman & Executive Creative Director, Stephen Thomas Ltd., Toronto


Stephen Thomas has been described as both the ‘Guru' and the 'Godfather' of Canadian direct response fundraising. Though he started off life as a historical geographer and a teacher, he has been a fundraiser for well over 30 years. Stephen's early career began with Oxfam Canada as Development Director, where he established their direct mail program as Canada's first modern and scientific use of the medium. In 1980, he founded Stephen Thomas Associates (now Stephen Thomas Limited), Canada's first direct response fundraising agency working exclusively in the not-for-profit sector. Over the years, Stephen has worked with thousands of charitable and not-for-profit organizations in Canada, the U.S. and internationally. He was Canadian Ambassador of the International Fundraising Conference (IFC) from 1993–2008, serving as Chair in 2004 and 2005. In 2012 Steve published 30 Letters that Changed the World.

As a resident and former businessman in the Beaches of Toronto, Stephen carries his belief of involvement and political activism to his own community where he has been a basketball coach for twenty-four years at Malvern C.I.

Aritha van Herk

Author, Calgary


Aritha van Herk is the author of five novels, Judith, The Tent Peg, No Fixed Address (nominated for the Governor General’s Award for fiction), Places Far From Ellesmere (a geografictione) and Restlessness. Her wide-ranging critical work is collected in A Frozen Tongue and In Visible Ink; she has published hundreds of articles, reviews and essays. Her irreverent but relevant history of Alberta, Mavericks: An Incorrigible History of Alberta, won the Grant MacEwan Author’s Award for Alberta Writing. That book frames the permanent exhibition on Alberta history, which opened at the Glenbow Museum and Archives in Calgary in 2007; Audacious and Adamant: the Story of Maverick Alberta, accompanies the exhibit. She teaches Creative Writing and Canadian Literature at the University of Calgary in Calgary. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a member of the Alberta Order of Excellence, and she is the most recent recipient of the Lorne Pierce Medal, awarded to recognize achievement of special significance and conspicuous merit in imaginative or critical literature in Canada.

William Wicken

Historian, Toronto


William Wicken studied history at McGill University, earning a B.A. in 1983, a M.A. in 1985, and a Ph.D. in 1994 for his thesis, "Encounters with tall sails and tall tales : Mi'kmaq society, 1500-1760." His doctorate led to employment as a contract researcher with the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples in 1993, and from 1993 to 1995 as a researcher with the Treaty and Aboriginal Rights Research Centre in Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia, on the Aboriginal Title Project that was established by the Confederacy of Mainland Micmacs and the Union of Nova Scotia Indians. Wicken was appointed an Assistant Professor with York University's Department of History in 1996, and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2000. His knowledge of Mi'kmaq society and land treaties led to the frequent engagement of his services since 1995 to prepare historical reports and affidavits, and to testify as an expert witness in several legal cases in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland involving commercial fishing, moose hunting, selling tobacco without charging federal taxes, and harvesting and selling timber from Crown lands. He is the author of two books about Canada’s relationship with Mi’kmaq society, the most recent of which, The Colonization of Mi'kmaw Memory and History, 1794-1928: The King v. Gabriel Sylliboy was awarded the Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Scholarly Research — the Macdonald Prize.

Joseph E. Martin

President Emeritus and Past Chair 1997–2001, Toronto


Following graduation from United College (now known as the University of Winnipeg) in 1959, with an honours Arts degree, Joseph E. Martin embarked on a varied and successful business career. He served as the Executive Assistant to the Honourable Duff Roblin, Premier of Manitoba. He completed the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program in 1983. He did senior consulting work for Touche Ross & Partners and retired in 1995 as Managing Partner of the Deloitte & Touche Consulting Group. Past president of the Manitoba Historical Society, Mr. Martin joined the Board of Canada's National History Society in 1994, and served three consecutive terms, stepping down from the Board in June 2003. Currently, he is Treasurer of the Ontario Historical Society.

Rolph Huband

Publisher Emeritus and Founding Chair, 1993–1997, Oakville


Former Vice-President and Secretary of Hudson's Bay Company, it was Rolph Huband's vision, initiative and leadership that established the History Society and for which he was named Founding Chair in recognition of his contributions. From 1994 to 1997, Mr. Huband held dual positions as Chairman of the Board of the History Society and Publisher of The Beaver, the publication with which he had been closely associated since 1960. He was responsible for the shift in focus from a magazine about the North to one of general Canadian history, which lead to an increase in The Beaver's circulation and visibility. In August 2003, Mr. Huband was appointed to the Order of Canada.

The Advisory Council

To ensure the Society continues to play a leading role in responding to the needs of a changing history community, the Board of Directors created a new Advisory Council in 2002 to help shape its strategic planning and to communicate with others about the Society's mission. The Advisory Council members are drawn from the diverse communities of interest the Society aims to support through its initiatives

Charlie Baillie

Past Chairman and CEO of TD Bank Financial Group, Toronto


With the TD Bank Financial Group for over 20 years, Charles Baillie retired as Chairman in 2003. Charles Baillie has won numerous civic awards, including the 2003 Outstanding Achievement Award presented by the Ontario Library Association. In 2002, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws from Queen's University. He is a self-described “travel, nature and history buff,” and an avid reader of history and collector of antiquarian books.

Elsa Franklin

Pierre Berton's literary agent, Toronto


Elsa Franklin was a unique phenomenon in the field of Canadian television, film and publishing for over forty years. In the sixties, she produced the record–breaking Pierre Berton Show dubbed “the program that comes to you from the major capitals of the world.” In addition to other successful television shows she created over the years, Ms. Franklin has also produced television documentaries for CBC and Global. Elsa Franklin was on the board of directors for McLelland & Stewart Publishing Ltd. and was active as a public relations consultant. She was the driving force behind the creation of the senior residence, Toronto–based, Performing Arts Lodges of Canada Foundation, built in 1993. She is Pierre Berton's literary agent and sits on the board of directors for the Berton House Writers' Retreat Society.

Peter C. Newman

Journalist, Vancouver


The author of twenty-two books that have sold two million copies, Peter C. Newman has won a half dozen of the country’s most illustrious literary awards, including the Drainie-Taylor Biography prize for his 2004 memoir, Here Be Dragons: Telling Tales of People, Passion and Power. A former editor-in-chief of the Toronto Star and Maclean’s, Newman has been honoured with a National Newspaper Award, has been elected to the News Hall of Fame, and has earned the informal title of Canada’s “most cussed and discussed” political commentator. He received the Pierre Berton Award (now Governor General's History Award for Popular Media) in 1998. Photo: C. Latinga.

Thomas H.B. Symons

Professor and founding President of Trent University in Ontario, Peterborough


Professor Symons, the founding President of Trent University in Ontario, is widely recognized nationally and internationally for his work in the field of Canadian Studies, in particular in the areas of public policy, heritage and education. For his commitment to and support of the Confederation Centre of the Arts (PEI), they named their annual lecture series The Symons Lecture on the State of Canadian Confederation.

Jane Urquhart

Author, Stratford


Jane Urquhart is the author of five internationally acclaimed novels: The Whirlpool, which received Le prix du meilleur livre étranger (Best Foreign Book Award) in France; Changing Heaven; Away, winner of the Trillium Award and a finalist for the prestigious International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award; The Underpainter, winner of the Governor General’s Award and a finalist for the Rogers Communications Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize; The Stone Carvers, which was a finalist for The Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Award, and longlisted for the Booker Prize; and A Map of Glass, a finalist for a regional Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book. She is also the author of a collection of short fiction, Storm Glass, and four books of poetry, I Am Walking in the Garden of His Imaginary Palace, False Shuffles, The Little Flowers of Madame de Montespan, and Some Other Garden). Her work has been translated into numerous foreign languages. Urquhart has received the Marian Engel Award, and is a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France and an Officer of the Order of Canada. Photo: Elsa Trillat.

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