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.

Mayor William Sword Frost

Mayor William Sword Frost

By History Committee members Bruce McRae and Mary Ann Grant Recently, our own City of Orillia was featured on the popular game show Jeopardy. What could we have done to garner such attention?CLUE: IN 1912 ORILLIA, ONTARIO WAS ONE OF THE FIRST TOWNS TO TRY THIS CHANGE....

A Tribute to Jean Sarjeant

A Tribute to Jean Sarjeant

by Mary Ann Grant, OMAH History CommitteeCredit - Special to the Orillia Packet and Times - Kate Grigg Jan 12, 2017 “Dad's Diary includes tales worth telling"The Orillia Museum of Art & History (OMAH) believes that it is important to acknowledge its supporters,...

The History of Strawberry Island, Lake Simcoe

The History of Strawberry Island, Lake Simcoe

By Fred Kallin, OMAH History Committee memberAnatari, Pa-Push-Quan, Gwillam’s Island, Lundy’s Island, Creighton Island, Anderson Island, Starvation Island: these are all previous names for a small 25-acre island in Lake Simcoe we now know as Strawberry Island. Few...

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...

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...

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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.