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Monthly meetings are held in Cobourg's Victoria Hall.

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

More on our About page.


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


On May 25 Diane Chin will be telling the story of the founding of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario (ACO) organization and its relationship to Barnum House in Grafton including the history of Barnum House itself.

Diane ChinDiane ChinWhile putting this presentation together she came across a mystery yet to be solved about the founding of the Cobourg Branch of ACO. Perhaps one of the attendees can shed light on what happened to one of Cobourg’s oldest buildings and more importantly to the person who organized this building’s move.

Our speaker will also touch on legislative aspects of Heritage Conservation and the many recent threats that are now upon us. And you thought COVID was our only problem!

Diane Chin moved to Cobourg in 2013. She grew up in the Beaches in Toronto so an eastward move to another lakeside community, populated by historic heritage homes was a natural fit. Diane is a former high school teacher, school librarian, principal and real estate agent. She also spent many summers working for the Ontario Government including one working as a Park Naturalist at Presqu’ile. Currently, Diane is also on the Executive of the Victoria Hall Volunteers and is our Program Director. She is also a member of the Cobourg Horticultural Society, the Canadian Federation of University Women and the Willow Beach Field Naturalists. Diane is currently the Vice-Chair of ACO Ontario.

All CDHS members are invited to join us electronically on Tuesday, May 25 at 07:30 PM. Please register in advance by visiting (zoom link no longer valid).

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. If you have any questions concerning registration, please contact Brian Murphy, Membership Chair, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We look forward to you joining our upcoming CDHS webinar!