President’s Message – March 2019



My how time flies … it seems like yesterday that I stood in front of the membership at the 2017 AGM and outlined a few of the things I hoped to focus on and accomplish during my tenure as President of the EDHS. My intent was, and is, to focus on behind the scenes issues – bylaws, volunteer recruitment, updates to the website, and so forth. We didn’t get to everything, but we made some progress, and for that I am thankful to the members of the Board and various committees, past and present. Everyone has worked very hard and can be very proud of the accomplishments we have made, and continue to make, as a team.


A couple of things I do want to mention: having updated the Society’s bylaws – we are now working on complimentary policies and procedures that we hope to present to the membership (for information) at the AGM; we developed complimentary strategic and communication plans in 2018, resulting in our expanded use of social media – we have reviewed these twice and will continue to do so as we go forward ensuring we are on course with the goals set forth by the Board; we also developed a new website with e-commerce capabilities – an absolute necessity in this day and age; and we updated our AGLC documentation, including submissions permitting the use of casino funds to pay for wages, notably those of our Festival coordinator and Promotions and Design coordinator.


That said, the more publicly visible work of the Society continues, and we must keep working to ensure that events are well coordinated and managed, accessible, educational, enjoyable and supportive of our basic goal of broadening our collective understanding of the history of Edmonton and adjoining region.


On that note, forthcoming events will soon be upon us, notably the 2019 edition of our Historic Festival/Doors Open Edmonton, running from July 1-7. This will be the 23rd edition of this week-long celebration of all things history and heritage throughout the metro-Edmonton region. This year’s theme is “Leisure”, something we can all relate to, but likely in widely different ways. One’s interpretation of leisure can be influenced by many things including their environment, socio-economic standing, cultural background, personal experiences and capabilities. While some may revel in the outdoors, others may focus on art, culture and heritage, still others may take pleasure in watching a football, cricket or baseball game. What is for certain, there are many landmarks, structures and places throughout the greater Edmonton region that all of us can identify with and utilize in one fashion or another in the pursuit of our favorite leisure activity.


We have one more presentation in our Speakers Series for this year – Tuesday, March 26, Historian Laureate Marlena Wyman reports on her first year in the role, notably what she has learned! Check the EDHS website and/or program brochure for further details on this free event open to both members and the general public.


In January, Jars Balan presented on the establishment of the Ukrainian (Greek) Orthodox church in Canada, and in February, Celina Loyer recounted the history of the Michel Band, a local First Nation to be totally enfranchised with land and as individuals. We thank both Jars and Celina for their presentations.


On Tuesday, April 23rd we will be hosting our annual John Rowand Night and Annual General Meeting – this event will be at the University of Alberta Faculty Club. Tickets for the dinner and presentation are required; if a member and only attending the AGM, there is no charge. Our presenter for the evening is Trudy Cowan – she will be discussing the “Spanish Flu” epidemic of 1918-1919.


Further to the AGM, we are on the “hunt’ for two new Board members. Anyone interested is asked to submit a letter of interest to the Society, outlining qualifications, board experience and indicating what sort of role they would like to take on. Terms are for two years, to a maximum of eight, and active participation in the organization is an expectation. This means not only attending meetings and events but serving on committees and taking on projects. These positions are voluntary – no remuneration – and require anywhere from a couple to several hours of work per week, pending the role(s) one takes on and the time of year. Having served the better part of four years as Vice-President and President, I can assure you the experience is well worth the time invested.


Our education programs continue to be very popular, and again we thank Phyllis Arnold for her ongoing support and generosity by way of grants to the Society from the Phyllis Arnold Learning Fund (managed by the Edmonton Community Foundation) – without this support we would not be able to offer these opportunities to school children and interested citizens alike. Thank you Phyllis.

Please let us know what you think of the new website and its e-commerce capabilities. It would seem that many of you approve, as over half of all attendees to the Christmas Party used the online ticketing system. For those not capable or found of online purchasing, please do not be concerned – we will not be halting the purchase of tickets by cheque and traditional mail. What we are doing is offering an additional means by which to book or pay for events and purchase products we may have for sale.

As this is my last message as President I want to once again thank my Board and committee colleagues, past and present, and contracted staff, for their comradery, support, hard work and on-going belief in the aims of the Society – the work undertaken by this organization is important and contributes to overall quality and fabric of life throughout the Edmonton region.

Lastly I want to thank you, the membership, for permitting me to serve as your President – it has been an honour and a privilege. You can be assured that incoming President, Tim O’Grady will do a great job. Tim is incredibly knowledgeable about Edmonton’s history, he is well connected, an extremely good communicator, and very well organized. Tim will steer this ship well!

As always, if you have questions about Edmonton’s history or the Society, wish to make a comment or suggestion, don’t hesitate to get in touch by mail, phone, e-mail, or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter. We appreciate and value your input.

Thank you and kindest regards,

Sean Moir, President, EDHS