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Award Recipients

PHS Heritage Award Winners for 2021

The Peterborough Historical Society presented seven Heritage Awards for outstanding contributions to heritage in the community.

The Thomas H.B. and Christine Symons Heritage Award

Doug Williams (Gidigaa Migizi) is the Thomas H.B. and Christine Symons Heritage Award Winner for 2021.

A white haired man with glasses (Douglas Williams) holding a plaque.
Douglas Williams (Gidigaa Migizi) with his award.

The Peterborough Historical Society is pleased to present theThomas H.B. and Christine Symons Heritage Award to Douglas Williams (Gidigaa Migizi), Elder, Knowledge Keeper, ceremonialist, educator, former elected Chief of Curve Lake First Nation. The Symons Award is presented for an outstanding one-time or ongoing contribution to local, regional, provincial, national or international heritage causes.

Gidigaa Migizi is recognized for a lifetime of preserving the oral history and traditions of the Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg and educating students and the public, both Indigenous and settler, of this rich heritage in the greater region of Nogojiwanong – Peterborough. As one nominator wrote, “Gidigaa Migizi adds to the history of the Kawarthas in ways that challenge the invisibility of Michi Saagiig histories and transmit a Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg view of history that was silenced through many years of settler colonial narrative-making.” As a scholar in the Chanie Wenjack School of Indigenous Studies and Director of Studies in the Indigenous Studies PhD program at Trent University, he has shared his knowledge with generations of university students. Throughout the community he has responded generously and tirelessly to requests for advice and the performance of appropriate Indigenous ceremonies.

Gidigaa Migizi has employed his knowledge to rectify violations of Michi Saagiig treaty rights and thereby educate the community on a critical part of its shared history. His interpretation of Treaty 20 (1818) in court challenged the extinguishment of Aboriginal hunting and fishing rights under the Williams Treaty (1923) and led to the reclamation of rights through subsequent negotiations.

Through several published articles, and most recently by his book, Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg: This is Our Territory, he has interpreted Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg oral histories that expand the evidence on which the region’s past is understood. As one supporter wrote, his book reveals “the extraordinary, often poetic, richness of the history of the land on which we are privileged to live.” 

Samuel Armour Award

Marcus Ferguson, Graham Hart, Elwood Jones and Steve Russell. In recognition of their video documentary “Spanning 100 Years: building the Ashburnham/Hunter Street Bridge,” with an accompanying educational booklet, employing the resources of Trent Valley Archives, YourTV and the Peterborough Museum and Archives.

Samuel Armour Award recipients, from left, Marcus Ferguson, Graham Hart, Elwood Jones. Steve Russell is absent.

J. Hampden Burnham Award.

Trent University and the local Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg First Nations. In recognition of the collaborative installation of “Treaty Rock” on the Symons Campus, bearing the clan dodems of the 1818 Treaty 20 signatories, in acknowledgment of Michi Saagiig traditional territory.

George Cox Award.

Atria Development Corporation. In recognition of the sympathetic redesign and expansion of the former YMCA building for residential apartments in downtown Peterborough, a model adaptive reuse project that preserves and respects the City’s built heritage.

F. H. Dobbin Award.

Bruce and Frances Gravel. In recognition of their book, Rotary Club of Peterborough: Investing in Community, 1921-2021, the authorized centennial history of the Peterborough Rotary Club’s years of community service.

Don Willcock presents the Dobbin Award to Bruce and Frances Gravel. Roy Graham of the Rotary Club holds the centennial history book.

Martha Kidd Award.

Friends of the Old Stone Mill House of Lakefield. In recognition of the success of their founding committee, notably Tom McAllister, Michael Chappell and Val Kuch, in saving the historic mill house from imminent demolition in 2021.

Charlotte Nicholls Award.

Bryan P. Davies and Andra Takacs.  In recognition of their establishment of an endowment fund under the Trent University Heritage Stewardship Policy to support the original Ron Thom architecture and furnishings of the university and the buildings and furnishings at Catharine Parr Traill College.


PHS High School History Awards 2021

Adam Scott Collegiate Vocational InstituteErin Davis
Crestwood Secondary SchoolWilliam Conrad
Kenner Collegiate Vocational InstituteSaoirse Aherne
Norwood District High SchoolChloe Cooper
St. Peter Catholic Secondary SchoolSamuel Brzorowski