As 2023 ends, the OMAH History Committee is very appreciative of the continuous, wide-reaching support for our popular History Speaker Series where local history is celebrated.

A full calendar of topics was presented, with our annual kick-off in January featuring Dave Town who gave us a fascinating account of the Black Swamp Gang that terrorized Orillia and area back in the 1880s.  The year continued with guest presenters presenting a wide range of local history and cultural topics such as famous sculptress Elizabeth Wyn Wood, the local Fairmile production during Second World War and the celebration of 60 years of the Mariposa Folk Festival and 50 years of the Mariposa Art Theatre.  We closed out the 2023 season with our first in-person presentation since pre-Covid, with Margaret Pomeroy presenting “Quilting through the Ages” which was well-attended by history enthusiasts as well as regional quilters.

Thanks to technology, our History Speakers Series will continue to be presented via the popular Zoom format, especially during the winter months, as requested by our audience.  However, we are committed to providing one to two in-person presentations per year, depending on the topic or speaker preference, as they also seem to be well-received.  Other popular options are also available to view our Speaker Series, whether it be through OMAHs YouTube Channel or on rotation via Rogers Channel 10, thanks to our continued partnership with Rogers.  If you wish to check out past Speaker Series presentations or see what’s coming for 2024, this link will take you directly to the OMAH YouTube channel .

As Chair of the History Committee, I would like to recognize and say a big thank-you to all Committee members who also diligently researched and wrote local history articles for OMAH’s E-Blast “Muse News.  Some popular articles written this year included early settler histories, such as the Tait’s, the Dallas and O’Brien families, the history of Strawberry Island and Chief Yellowhead’s justice.  Check out the OMAH website, to read these and other articles .  A special thank-you to Mary Ann Grant, Monica Szegvary and Lindsay Earle for their additional contributions in Communications and PR, in support of our committee.

While we are on hiatus for December, be sure to mark January 17th on your calendar and join us at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom, when Dave Town will kick-off 2024, with his presentation on “The Orillia Spirit is Born” sharing how the “Orillia Spirit” defined the community for 40 years, between 1880 and 1920.  The link to register is as follows: .

Ours is a group of individuals who are passionate about the history of Orillia and area and are committed in sharing and 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

On behalf of the History Committee, I wish you all a very happy & safe holiday season and thank you sincerely for your continued support.

P. (Trish) Crowe-Grande

Chair: History Committee