by Trish Crowe-Grande, Chair, OMAH History Committee
While this past year saw COVID-19 restrictions ease, the OMAH History Committee listened to its audience and continued to offer its popular History Speaker Series as well as the Annual Carmichael Art History Lecture fundraiser via Zoom. Most of our supporters, through our post-talk surveys, requested that we carry on with Zoom as the preferred format due to its convenience and ease of accessibility.
The continued engagement of our audience this year has been very much appreciated. In fact, thanks to technology our reach expanded beyond our lovely community as people joined us from the comfort of their homes, cottages and holiday homes in other cities, provinces and in the United States. We saw a 70 percent increase in Zoom viewership versus the previous year.
The Speaker Series embraced social media and is now available on OMAH’s YouTube channel with 1,200 views this past year. As well, a partnership with Rogers was launched allowing the History Speaker Series to be aired on rotation on Channel 10 to broaden our reach to 95,000 homes in Simcoe County – a wonderful opportunity to further share our local history.
After the success of our very first virtual Carmichael Art History Lecture fundraisers in 2020 and 2021, we continued with the same format this year, featuring award-winning author, Douglas Hunter, who presented “A.Y. Jackson: “Jackson Wars – The Birth of the Group of Seven and the Great War.”
As Chair of the History Committee, I would like to recognize and say a big thank you to all Committee members who diligently researched and wrote local history articles for OMAH’s e-Muse News, but who also did incremental research for the OMAH Collections, including the popular exhibit The History of Orillia in 50 Artefacts. We will be releasing a catalogue of that exhibit in mid-December that will be available at the OMAH Shop.
As well, a big shout-out to the Committee under the guidance of Mary Ann Grant, who leveraged her PR experience, and together delivered a complete 2022 E-blast and Speaker Series with excellence. Also, recognition is due to Monica Szegvary and the late Phil Jackman for their editorial and technological contributions that were an integral piece of our success.
Based on the feedback we received from our Speaker Series audience, we will continue to embrace technology as we head into 2023 with a confirmed roster of exciting speakers. While the monthly series will still be available via Zoom, the Committee will offer a few live presentations at OMAH, to meet the request of both some of our attendees as well as guest speakers, who would prefer to attend or present in person.
Dave Town will continue with his tradition of being our next speaker when on January 18th he will present, “The Black Swamp Gang.” Please go to the OMAH website to pre-register at
Ours is a group of individuals who are passionate about the history of Orillia and area and are committed in preserving it. We are looking for like-minded individuals who are interested in becoming a member of the History Committee. If you are interested in local history and contributing to our team, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
On behalf of the History Committee, wishing you all a very happy & safe holiday season and thank you for your continued support.
P. (Trish) Crowe-Grande
Chair: History Committee