Historical conference to help fund environmental disaster relief

Residents in this area will have an opportunity to learn more about Ontario’s environmental his­tory while supporting an im­portant international cause this Friday. In response to the devastation caus­ed by the recent cyclone.

The Ontario Historical So­ciety, along with the Guelph Historical Society, Guelph Civ­ic Museums, and the History Department at the University of Guelph, will be donating 50 per cent of profits from the coming gala to Save the Children Can­ada’s Myanmar and Burma disaster relief fund.

The gala, Celebrating On­tario’s Environmental Heritage, is at 8pm at War Memorial Hall. Peter Kelly, of the Uni­versity of Guelph, will provide an illustrated talk about the anci­ent trees of the Niagara Escarpment based on The Last Stand: A Journey through the Ancient Cliff-Face Forest of the Niagara Escarpment, co-auth­ored by colleague and eco­systems expert Doug Larson and entertainer Sarah Harmer.

Guelph Museum’s Spirit Walk artists will perform as figures from Guelph’s history, including opera star Edward Johnson. Local songwriter and activist James Gordon will round out the evening, giving the audience an early look at Doug Larson’s handmade Guelph guitar, built of materi­als related to research, inno­vation, and creativity at the University of Guelph and the history of the city of Guelph.

Former Guelph Mayor and broadcaster Norm Jary is the evening’s emcee.

Advance tickets are avail­able through the River Run Centre box office for $25, and $20 for seniors and students. The box office can be contacted at 519-763-3000, toll free at 1-877-520-2408, or online at www.riverrun.ca. Tickets pur­chas­ed at the door of the event will be $30.

The gala kicks off the On­tario Historical Society’s 120th anniversary conference, From Nature to Ecology, Landscape to Ecosystems: A Historical View of Ontario Environments, taking place June 13 and June 14. Participants will be able to take part in a variety of tours, events, papers and presen­ta­tions, all focused on the theme of Ontario’s environmental history. The keynote speaker is Dr. Gilbert Stelter, Professor Emeritus at the University of Guelph and one of the founders of the field of urban history in Canada. The OHS annual general meeting and awards ceremony will take place in conjunction with the conference. The public is encouraged to attend the conference. Regis­tra­tion b­egins at 1pm June 13 at the Mac­donald Stewart Art Centre. For more information and registra­tion details, please see the OHS website, www.­onta­­­rio­histori­calsociety.ca.

Debra Nash-Chambers, presi­dent of the Guelph His­torical Society, said, “Guelph was specifically chosen to host this year’s event due to the city’s notoriety as a frontrunner in the implementation of environmental policies and pro­grams, the university’s posi­tion at the forefront of envi­ron­mental research, and our peo­ple’s commitment to his­torical conservation.”