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Based on the advice from the Town of Cobourg and the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit, face to face meetings at Victoria Hall have been cancelled until further notice. In order to stay connected and to keep you safe during the pandemic, monthly meetings are taking place by Virtual Zoom webinars. You can join by desktop or a laptop computer, tablet or smart phone!


Cobourg and District Historical Society Meetings are held every month except May, June, July, August and December.  Meetings are held in the Citizen's Forum in Victoria Hall on the fourth Tuesday in the Month.  Meetings start at 7:30pm but coffee and cookies are available starting at 7:00pm.  Meetings are $5 for non-members and free for members of the society and students. 

More on our About page.


Dr. Tim Cook, Director of Research at the Canadian War Museum, spoke about Canada's C Force at our December meeting. The almost 2,000 soldiers Tim CookTim Cookand two nurses who formed C-Force were sent to defend the British colony of Hong Kong, arriving in early November 1941, only a month before the Japanese attacked on 7/8 December 1941. On this 80th anniversary of the battle, Dr. Cook explained the costly fighting and the horrendous prisoner of war experience faced by the survivors. He finished by exploring the long campaign by veterans and their families to ensure the memory of the C-Force was not forgotten by Canadians.

Tim Cook is the Director of Research at the Canadian War Museum. He has curated over a dozen exhibitions and is the author or editor of 13 books. Some of his books include the two-volume Great War history: At the Sharp End (2007) and Shock Troops (2008); and his three-volume history of Canada and the Second World War: The Necessary War (2014), Fight to the Finish (2015), and The Fight for History (2020).

His many books are national best-sellers and have won prestigious prizes like the C.P. Stacey Award for best book in Canadian military history (twice), the J.W. Dafoe Award (twice), the Ottawa Book Award (three times), and the RBC Taylor Award. For his contributions to Canadian history, Dr. Cook is a recipient of the Governor General's History Award and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal. He is a member of the Royal Society of Canada and the Order of Canada.


For our November meeting Robert Mikel documented the history and evolution of the site of Brookside and the surviving heritage buildingsRobert MikelRobert Mikel including the Rowe stables, the Winch cottage and the impressive Beaux-Arts summer house Strathmore. He also discussed how the future use of the property could have a transformational impact on Cobourg.

Rob is a native of Cobourg who has researched the town's history and architecture for over 40 years. He worked for many years at the Toronto Historical Board, later Heritage Toronto. Since then, he has continued to pursue his interest in heritage. Rob has received both the Lieutenant-Governor's Community Heritage Award and Award for Lifetime Achievement as well as the ACO's Mary Millard Award. He has written two books: Ontario House Styles and Cobourg: The Spirit of the Place. He currently works for Ontario's Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.


Over 50 patents were filed by ingenious Cobourg residents between 1870 and 1918. At our October meeting Ken Strauss explained patents and why they matter. Ken StraussKen StraussIn addition he presented the stories of some of Cobourg's successful inventers, our dabblers and our weird!

Ken worked at one of Canada's first computer service firms, was principal in a software development company serving the printing trade and later filled a variety of information technology positions at Ontario Hydro. Ken has had a lifelong fascination with mechanical devices and delights in converting ideas to metal in his home workshop. Since retiring in 2003 he has mentored high school students participating in the F.I.R.S.T. robotics competition, worked with the Tetra Society, an international group that builds solutions for people with physical disabilities and with the University of Toronto to build experimental prosthetics. Since moving to Cobourg he has been active in the CDHS and has served in various positions including editing our Historically Speaking newsletter since 2010. Ken is passionate about responsible government. He is a founding member and currently a director of the Cobourg Taxpayers Association.

If you missed this meeting you can watch the recorded version on YouTube. No special sign-in is required and you can view the video on computers, tablets, smartPhones and smartTVs.

Visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epVqq9bBXus


Members joined us on-line via Zoom, Tuesday evening, September 28, 2021 at 7:30 p.m., and learned about two celebrated women and their connections to Cobourg.

Robert WashburnRobert Washburn presented Letitia Youmans, a Canadian school teacher who became an activist for the temperance movement. Youmans founded and served as the first president of the Ontario chapter of the Women's Christian Temperance Union.

Carla Jones presented Lydia Pinkham, the iconic maker and marketeer of the company's famous "Vegetable Compound" and other remedies meant to relieve female complaints among other ailments.

carla jonesRobert Washburn is an award-winning educator in the Journalism Program at Loyalist College, where he teaches new and emerging technologies in journalism. A practicing journalist for nearly 40 years, he is known locally for his weekly current affairs radio show, Consider This Northumberland, covering local politics and community life. His hyperlocal news website, https://consider-this.ca/, is an archive of his journalism and academic work. Washburn is a member of the James Cockburn Society and the author of several history plays about Cockburn, the first speaker of the House of Commons and the Father of Confederation for Northumberland County.

Carla Jones, our CDHS President, joined the CDHS in 2011. She immediately volunteered to be our newsletter distributor and moved on to further roles as our Secretary and then Membership Director. Although Carla's career has been in the software business as a Sales and Marketing executive, she has enjoyed a long-time love of history