Student Museum Musings – Andrea

By Andrea, Durham College LIT Student

For three Thursdays in November, I have been job-shadowing Jennifer, the Archivist.  My name is Andrea and I am a First Year Library and Information Technician student from Durham College.  The program also teaches about archives –which is the area I would very much like to get in to once I graduate.  I love history and being at the archives has been wonderful and insightful.  Seeing documents and photographs from 100+ years ago is such a unique experience, imagining what the people in the photographs were thinking, how they conducted themselves, and how they lived in the community.

I’ve lived in Oshawa for 20 years and having the opportunity to learn the origin of the city provides me with a better understanding of where I grew up.  I’ve learned some facts about Oshawa I never would have known had I not had this job-shadow opportunity.  Have you driven down Thornton Rd?  It was named after the first Presbyterian minister in Oshawa.  How about Ritson Rd? It was named for the area where the first teacher in Oshawa lived –John Ritson.  Learning the histories of our communities connects us to those who came before; they were the people who helped shape the cities we now know.

While at the archives, I have digitized the 1869 Ontario County Directory which has been incredible.  It is an original copy, weathered and discoloured filled with lists of people who lived in all different areas in the province at the time.

Well known personalities are great to learn about, but learning about the average farmer, blacksmith, or teacher is even more insightful because it’s the average everyday that we all live.  I am very thankful to have had my job-shadow at the Oshawa Museum’s archives, it’s a great environment, everyone is friendly and helpful, and I am very grateful for what they have taught me, I have learned a lot.

Oshawa Sports Hall of Fame

By Pierre Sanz, Durham College Journalism Student

The Oshawa Sports Hall of Fame has been inspiring athletes since it opened in 1986.  It began in 1982 when Oshawa City Council made a request to open the Hall of Fame and the Oshawa Civic Auditorium Corporation formed a committee to make it happen.

“How it all started was back in 1982,” explains Dan Walerowich, the current chairman of the Oshawa Sports Hall of Fame, “there was a city council at the time and they made a comment about how it would be nice to have a Hall of Fame in Oshawa that would recognize the accomplishments of athletes in the community.”


In 1983, the founding Board of Governors for the Oshawa Sports Hall of Fame were approved by Oshawa City Council. Council also approved a constitution with a mission to recognize and honour the great achievements of individual athletes and teams in Oshawa who have accomplished excellence and notoriety in sports and have also made a huge influence to the expansion of sport.

Terry Kelly, who was the chairman of the founding Board of Governors in 1986, was approached about making the Hall. He put together an induction committee to get the creation of the Hall going. The committee had Eric Wesselby, Charles Pell and Steve Keating, to name a few.

On May 21, 1986, the Oshawa Sports Hall of Fame was officially opened by name, the chairman of the Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. The Oshawa Civic Auditorium was the home of the Hall of Fame when it first opened.

A total of 34 inductees were honoured during the first ceremony. Ever since then, an annual induction ceremony with free admission has been held on the last Wednesday in May.

A few of the first inductees back in 1986 were Barbara Underhill (skating), Bill Dell (football), Eddie Westfall (hockey) and Andrew Stewart (baseball). All of them were born in Oshawa.

From day one, Walerowich says the Board wanted to open a museum and showcase athlete memorabilia.

The first logo the Hall of Fame adopted lasted from 1986-2006 then a new logo was released. The new logo, which was unveiled once the museum opened, has four pillars in it, which represent ability, sportsmanship, character and contribution.

After the Hall of Fame was located at the Oshawa Civic Auditorium, in 1997 the Board of Governors wanted to move the location from its corridors to a 2,100 square foot fitness room adjacent to the box office lobby at the facility.

On April 7, 2008, mayor John Gray approved the move into the General Motors Centre. When the GM Centre was changed to the Tributes Communities Centre, the Hall of Fame was not impacted.

The Oshawa Sports Hall of Fame had a big impact on Nick Springer. Springer is an inductee from 1992 for his achievements in soccer.

Springer is a Hungarian native who arrived in Oshawa in 1958. He is the founder of the Oshawa Turul Soccer Club, which has over 3,000 members. Thanks to his work in founding the club with his organizational abilities, Springer was granted three outstanding National Achievement Awards.

Once the Hall opened in 1986, Springer always thought of being inducted as a dream. What helped him achieve his induction was his contribution to local soccer, along with his success. Springer led the Oshawa Turul under 19 team to gold at the Sao Paulo Cup in 1985. He was recognized with the 1987 Olympic Celebration Medal as a coach.

Springer was always a very modest guy. “I don’t know if I deserve to be here,” he said in an Oshawa This Week article after his induction in 1992.

The history of the Hall of Fame will continue to grow and become richer every year as new athletes get inducted. The next induction will take place Wednesday, May 30, 2018.

The land where we stand is the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

Durham College‘s newspaper, The Chronicle, launches a new feature series called The Land Where We Stand, about the hidden stories that shape our region.

Some of the articles found on this blog have been provided through partnerships with external sources, and we welcome reader engagement through comments.  The views expressed in such articles/comments may not necessarily reflect those of the OHS/OM.

St. John’s Anglican Church

By Claudia Latino, Durham College Journalism Student

“If you ignore history, it will reach out, grab you, and shake you, and say ‘Hey, pay attention!’ Whitby assists that natural impulse for history to come back to life and to not be forgotten,” said Donald Orville-Merrifield at Heritage Day.

St. John’s Anglican Church has been standing since Whitby was a grain shipping village in 1846. It is now the headquarters of Durham Region.


The church has had many people worship within its walls over the last 176 years. Marjorie Sorell, author of What the Walls Have Seen and Heard During the last 165 years, and active member of the Port Hope and district, wrote the book to commemorate the church’s 165-year anniversary.

“Indeed, the church’s ‘Walls have Seen and Heard’ all that has transpired, the parishioners’ prayers and dreams, and have been witness to the changes in the community,” writes Sorell in the introduction.

Though many people spend their weekends within the Anglican church, once a year, the church’s community and residents of the town come together to celebrate how far the church has come on Heritage Day.

The one-day event takes place on 201 Brock St. S, in downtown Whitby. The community vendors cover four blocks of downtown along Brock Street where hundreds of long time and new residents come to share their passion for Whitby’s heritage. People walk up and down the street, listening to music from The Whitby Brass Band, eating cotton candy and popcorn while looking at organizations of what the town brings to its community such as The Farmers’ Market vendor, selling homemade baked goods and fresh produce.

The event has been a part of Whitby since the late 1980s and has been a yearly tradition to this day. Brian Winter, 70, a retired archivist of Whitby, attends the event every year. He is part of the architectural committee called ‘Heritage Whitby’. He and others sit at a booth behind a desk, displaying historical architectural photographs of Trafalgar Castle, St. John’s Anglican Church, and other buildings that are still standing since the 1840s, while selling Winter’s own book called Chronicles of a County Town: Whitby Past and Present that was published in 1999 and has been selling copies ever since.

Winter has been researching the town’s history since he was 13 years old. He became archivist for Whitby in 1968, retiring in 2012. He decided to write an updated book since the last book written at the time was back in 1907.

Wil Stonehill, the minister of St. John’s Anglican Church, has been part of the church’s community since 2012. He says people who were part of the church’s community reflect on how St. John’s impacted their lives through Sunday School picnics, member meetings, and marriage. Stonehill wants the residents of Whitby to understand the church still stands today because of them.

“The people in this town hold a significant place in their lives and I think that’s really special,” he said. “We as a church community want the people to know we care about them. We want to show them we are interested in their lives, how their families and children are doing, their celebrations, and their struggles. These people who are part of our community are truly good, caring people.”

Stonehill was inspired to become a minister ever since he involved himself in a church community. He met his social circle through a church setting and is still friends with them today.

“Most of my friends today I made in church. We hung out together, we went out for dinner after church, and after youth group. We went out to bars at night together,” he said. “We became really close friends even though we are all spread out through North America. We still keep in touch and pray for each other. That’s what a church’s job should be, to keep the community connected in the interest of other people’s lives.”

Heritage Day distinguishes the connection between its history and people. Brian Winter describes the event to be important towards the newer residents of the town to acquaint themselves to the history – especially St. John’s.

Winter explains the church looks the same as it was when the church opened in 1846. On the corner of Brock and Victoria Street, the church was built out of limestone from Kingston, Ont.

“A man named John Welsh who was a store keeper in Windsor Bay, now called Port Whitby since 1847. He shipped grain from Whitby Harbour and when he went to Kingston, he got limestone that was cut by the Quarries. He brought it back to Whitby and built a store out of the limestone,” he said. “John also had enough limestone to build a church, the St. John’s Anglican Church. Christine Elliott and her husband Jim Flaherty’s house on Garden Street is also built out of the same limestone used to build the church.”

Winter says after Welsh passed away, he was buried in the cemetery behind the church and his tombstone can be viewed by residents today.

The stained glass windows lying against the grey limestone walls and important figures buried in the cemetery that he researched at the age of 13, inspired him to one day walk out of the church’s great black doors, hand in hand with the love of his life.

In 1976, 29-year-old Winter did get the chance to marry in the church he always saw himself getting married in – with a girl who happened to be a member of St. John’s Anglican Church.

The land where the church stands and the church itself is a concrete reminder of the town’s history and community.

On September 30, 2017 at Heritage Day, Winter describes Whitby in three words. “Beautiful heritage, that’s two words. No I meant to say, a very beautiful heritage. That’s three words,” he said.

The land where we stand is the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

Durham College‘s newspaper, The Chronicle, launches a new feature series called The Land Where We Stand, about the hidden stories that shape our region.

Some of the articles found on this blog have been provided through partnerships with external sources, and we welcome reader engagement through comments.  The views expressed in such articles/comments may not necessarily reflect those of the OHS/OM.


Brian Winter – Retired Whitby Archivist (Recording at Whitby’s Heritage Day on Sept. 30, 2017 and recording on January 13, 2018).

Wil Stonehill – Minister of St. John’s Anglican Church since 2012.

Marjorie Sorell – Author – WHAT THE WALLS HAVE SEEN AND HEARD DURING THE LAST 165 YEARS. October 2011.

Whitby Archives – Whitby Public Library (Archival Images and dates).

Thomas Deverell:

St. John’s Anglican Church (1904):

St. John’s Anglican Church (1900)

St. John’s Anglican Church (1921)

John Scadding Images:

St. John’s Anglican Church Website:

Durham Region News Article

Archival Newspaper Image: Brian Winter


Student Museum Musings – Nicole and Mary

This semester, we are happy to host two students from Durham College’s Library and Information Technician program who are able to get hands-on experience in the workplace while offering valuable assistance where we need the help.  Read on to meet Nicole and Mary!


Hello, my name is Nicole Bray and I am a second year student in the Library and Information Program at Durham College.  I chose to have a field placement at the Oshawa Museum & Archives after I saw Jennifer’s presentation for one of my classes.  She made working at the archives sound fun and interesting.  And everyone has certainly lived up to my first impression.  At the moment I am working on the Education in Oshawa e-publication.  It’s really interesting to read up about all the different schools that were once in Oshawa.  I look forward to the rest of the time I’ll spend here at the Archives.


Hello all! My name is Mary Sherlock and I am a 2nd year Durham College student in the Library and Information Technician program. This is my last year in the program and I am excited for what the future may bring! I am here as a placement student in the archive and am loving every second of it so far! I have a great love for history, especially Canada’s history, which makes me all the more excited for my time here. This placement will  give me a great opportunity to see if working in an archive or museum setting is something I wish to do after I graduate, also to gather as much educational experience as possible to apply towards school, work, and life.

New Picture
Durham LIT Students on a Fall visit to the Oshawa Museum

Street Name Stories: Building a Nation Part V: Durham and his Report

By Lisa Terech, Community Engagement

With the plethora of 150 commemorations taking place this year, I thought I could use my usual Street Name Stories blog series to throw another hat in the ring.  Looking at a map of Oshawa, there are a number of streets whose names are commonplace in the history of Canada.  Over the next five Street Name Stories Posts, I will look at street(s) whose namesakes helped contribute to the growth of Canada.  Missed the first four posts?

Part I looked at Oshawa’s Indigenous People
Part II looked at the early European Explorers
Part III looked at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham
And, finally, Part IV looked at the War of 1812 and figures of that conflict
As we know, the results of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759 was a completely altered political landscape.  New France was ceded to Great Britain; Britain found itself in debt over the Seven Years War and thought taxing its colonists in America would be a great way to solve this problem. Yeah, about that… Flash forward to the American Revolution.  The population of Canada grew steadily during the Revolution and afterwards as many who remained loyal to Britain moved to her closest colony. In 1791, the Provinces of Upper Canada and Lower Canada were created with the Constitutional Act.

The next forty or so years passed without major internal incidents.  There was, of course, the two-to-three years where we found ourselves at war against the Americans who were once again displeased with Great Britain. The War of 1812 had Canadians, First Nations, and British regulars joined against the Americans, and by December 1814, the Treaty of Versailles brought it to an end.

Repercussions from the Constitution Act of 1791 played themselves out in 1837.

Battle of Montgomery’s Tavern, drawing by Charles William Jefferys. Accessed from the Canadian Encyclopedia

The people of Upper Canada at the time were displeased with the current form of government in place: an aristocracy, ruled by a powerful few.  They were nicknamed ‘the Family Compact’ and they wielded a lot of influence in politics at the time.

This feeling of discontentment from the farmers, labourers and tradesmen came to a head when on December 4, 1837, a premature call to rebel was given.  Between December 5 and 8, a group of about 1,000 rebels gathered at Montgomery’s Tavern in Toronto, and although this Loyalist militia quickly won initial small skirmishes in the city, the British forces were ultimately successful.  As a result, hundreds of men were arrested, some were sent to Tazmania, or Van Diemen’s Land, as punishment, and two men, Samuel Lount and Peter Matthews, were executed as a result of their involvement in the Rebellion.

At the same time, the people of Lower Canada were also discontent with the government, adding additional grievances of economic depression for French Canadian farmers in the 1830s, and rising tensions with the largely urban anglophone minority, all of which led to an armed insurrection between 1837-1838.  The two Lower Canada uprisings left 325 people dead, all of them rebels except for 27 British soldiers. Nearly 100 rebels were also captured.

The aftermath of the Upper Canada Rebellion, as well as a rebellion in Lower Canada, also in 1837, resulted in Lord Durham investigating the situations. Who was Lord Durham?

Lord Durham, image from Library and Archives Canada (C-121846). Accessed from the Canadian Encyclopedia

John George Lambton, the 1st Earl of Durham was a politician, diplomat and colonial administrator.  He was born in London, England on April 12, 1792 to a wealthy Northumberland family.  Wealth opening up the doors that it does meant that Lambton was educated at Eton.  He was first elected to the House of Commons in 1813 and was raised to the House of Lords in 1828.  Upon the recommendation of Prime Minister Lord Melbourne, he was appointed Governor General and high commissioner to British North America.  He was tasked with reporting on the 1837 Rebellions.  Having spent less than six months in Lower Canada, he wrote the majority of his (now) famous Report on the Affairs of British North America, also known as the Durham Report, completed in January of 1839.

The Durham Report recommended the establishment of responsible government for the colonies, the merging of Upper and Lower Canada into a single political unit, which became the nucleus for modern-day Canada.  In 1841, the Province of Canada was created, Upper Canada and Lower Canada now known as Canada West and Canada East respectively.  Interestingly, Durham is not such a popular fellow in Quebec, as his report recommended the government-sponsored assimilation of French Canadians to the English language and culture. His particular assertion, that the French speaking population are people without history or culture, did not (and still does not) garner him respect within Quebec. Louis-Joseph Papineau, one of the top Lower Canada rebels, wrote his own response to the report, La Revue canadienne as Histoire de l’insurrection du Canada en réfutation du Rapport de Lord Durham (History of the insurrection of Canada in refutation of the Report of Lord Durham).

For a number of years, the government of the Province of Canada (Canada West and Canada East) met and was quite effective, however, by the mid-1860, it was clear that the system that was established by the Act of Union was no longer working.  Besides the political deadlock, other factors, including the desire to strengthen the colonies, the Fenian Raids, and the ongoing Civil War in the US, were factors for creating a new political union.

A series of conferences were held with the British North American colonies to discuss the creation of a country.  The Charlottetown Conference took place in September of 1864, followed by the Quebec Conference in October of that year.

At the Québec Conference, the delegates passed 72 Resolutions, which laid out a constitutional framework for a new country. The Canadian Resolutions outlined the concept of federalism — with powers and responsibilities strictly divided between the provinces and the federal government and they also outlined the shape of a national Parliament, with an elected House of Commons based on representation by population, and an appointed Senate, a framework still in place today.

The final conference was held in London in 1866, and on July 1, 1867, the British North America Act came into effect, creating the Dominion of Canada.

As for Lord Durham, he had been in ill health for much of his life, and he passed away in Cowes, England on July 28, 1840.

The Regional Municipality of Durham, the upper-tier municipality where Oshawa is located, is named for Lord Durham, as is Durham Street, located one street west and running parallel to Stevenson Road.

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