Publications

These publications have been written and contributed by OMAH’s History Committee.  The committee publishes an article every two weeks in the “Muse News” which goes out to OMAH members. If you would like to see more content like this, become a member to receive one of the committee’s fascinating articles with your newsletter every two weeks. If you would like to get involved with the committee, reach out to the History Programming Coordinator.

The Barons of Dallas

The Barons of Dallas

By Fred Blair, OMAH History Committee member and Family Historian In 1835, James Dallas and his family sailed from Scotland to New York City, travelled up the Erie Canal, and made their way to Orillia.  In September he purchased 100 acres between Mississaga Street and...

A Murder Plot and the Canadian Knights of the Ku Klux Klan

A Murder Plot and the Canadian Knights of the Ku Klux Klan

Currently on display at the OPP Museum, these items were seized by OPP members during investigations. The grey Canadian Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) t-shirt was seized as part of the 1982 investigation into forged passports that turned into a killer for hire....

CHIEF YELLOWHEAD’S JUSTICE IN 1832

CHIEF YELLOWHEAD’S JUSTICE IN 1832

Indians and Canoe at Coldwater River, 1844, Titus Hibbert Ware (Toronto Public Library)By Fred Blair, OMAH History Committee member and Family Historian This is a story of an accidental killing in 1832, an unsatisfactory trial verdict, and how Chief William Yellowhead...

THE TAITS OF ORILLIA

THE TAITS OF ORILLIA

Andrew Tait, 1896. Photo from the Orillia Museum of Art & History Archives By William Leslie, Guest Contributor This is the story of the Tait family. William Tait, his wife, Mary and family left Scotland in 1848 for Canada, travelling from Liverpool to New York...

THE DAVENPORT BROTHERS

THE DAVENPORT BROTHERS

By Fred Blair, OMAH History Committee member and Family Historian About 1810, 20-year-old Benjamin Davenport, his younger brother William, and William’s wife Sarah arrived in Upper Canada (Ontario) as former Black slaves.  William was born in Virginia about 1792 and...

THE ORILLIA WINTER CARNIVAL – A HISTORY

THE ORILLIA WINTER CARNIVAL – A HISTORY

By P. (Trish) Crowe-Grande, Chair: OMAH History CommitteeWinter weather can bring short, bone-chilling days and long, dark nights with the sun setting much too early. For many of us, it can be challenging to find engaging activities that don’t involve bingeing an...

THE CANADA-AUSTRALIA SERIES

THE CANADA-AUSTRALIA SERIES

By David TownIt was another proud first for Orillia, and an astounding accomplishment – but as John Miller stepped off the train at the Orillia platform the only people there to greet him were his family.  He had single-handedly negotiated, organized, and managed the...

MASSEY FAMILY HOME CHILDREN OF CANADA

MASSEY FAMILY HOME CHILDREN OF CANADA

Albert (Bert) Scaife Massey – OMAH CollectionBy Fred Blair, OMAH History CommitteeIn 1868, Anne Elizabeth Massey was born in Chelsea, London, England.  She was the daughter of George and Elizabeth Massey.  By 1891, the family had moved to Fulham, London and “Annie”,...

Elmes Yelverton Steele and the Napoleonic Wars

Elmes Yelverton Steele and the Napoleonic Wars

By Fred Blair OMAH History CommitteeIn 1798, Elmes Yelverton Steele joined the Royal Navy in England as an officer cadet.  In 1799, the British acquired intelligence that Napoleon had commissioned four Spanish vessels to transport over twelve million pounds sterling...

THE HISTORY OF OMAH’S CLOCKTOWER

THE HISTORY OF OMAH’S CLOCKTOWER

By Mary Ann Grant – OMAH History CommitteeWhat’s going on?? If you have been by OMAH recently you will have noticed the scaffolding installed on the building and the work underway. The Sir Sam Steele Memorial Building, specifically the clock tower, is getting some...

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Land Acknowledgement

The Orillia Museum of Art & History is located on the traditional territory of the Anishnaabeg. The Anishinaabeg include the Ojibwe, Odawa, and Pottawatomi nations, collectively known as the Three Fires Confederacy. We respect and observe the long and enduring presence of Indigenous Peoples – First Nations, Metis and Inuit – on this land. Their teachings and stewardship, culture and way of life have shaped our City’s unique identity.

In acknowledging that we occupy colonized Indigenous territories, and out of respect for the rights of Indigenous people, we accept our collective responsibility to recognize our colonial histories as well as their present-day manifestations in order to honour, protect, and sustain this land.