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Museum hosts virtual education series on Canadian military history

This series will explore a number of important topics with each session being led by an expert guest speaker or historian
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Throughout November, the Simcoe County Museum will be hosting a virtual educational series in recognition of Remembrance Month.

With presentations each Wednesday afternoon, this virtual speakers’ series will explore a number of important topics with each session being led by an expert guest speaker or historian. 

Remembrance Month sessions will cover the following weekly topics: A History of WWII and recognition within Canada; experiences as a military policewoman; warship construction in Collingwood; and the history of the Royal Canadian Flying Corps at Camp Borden in WWI. These talks will run for up to 45 minutes, followed by a question and answer session.

The virtual lecture series is open to individuals and groups with free virtual admission by visiting to register.

Nov. 3, 2021 – 3 p.m.

Best-selling author Dr. Tim Cook, Director of Research at the Canadian War Museum, delivers his talk “Forgetting, Remembering and Remaking Canada’s Second World War”. Dr. Cook will speak about his book The Fight for History, how for decades after 1945 Canadians ignored our country’s epic contributions to WWII, and how veterans played a key role in raising awareness of and appreciation for our role in the war.

Dr. Cook has written or edited 13 books and received 10 awards for his writing, including the C.P. Stacey prize for Military History, the RBC Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, and the Governor General’s History Award. He is a member of the Royal Society of Canada and a member of the Order of Canada.

Nov. 10, 2021 – 2 p.m.

Warrant Officer Nicole Laidlaw of the Canadian Forces Military Police Academy speaks about her experiences as a military policewoman since 2005, including as the only female military police officer training members of the Afghan Uniformed Police during a seven-month deployment in 2008.

WO Laidlaw has served as an instructor at the Military Police Academy at CFB Borden since 2015. In recent years she has been involved in the True Patriot Love Foundation, a support organization for military members, veterans and their families, and in the Women in Force initiative, which seeks to recruit more women into the Canadian Forces.

Nov. 17, 2021 – 2 p.m.

Michael Moir, archivist at the Clara Thomas Archives at York University, presents his talk “Steel Ships for Salt-water Service”, about warship construction at Collingwood during both World Wars.

Steel shipbuilding began in Collingwood in 1902, and over the next fifteen years the town’s shipyard produced almost fifty vessels to work on the Great Lakes. During the First World War, the loss of Allied merchant ships to German U-boats led to an international shipbuilding program that included Canadian builders from coast to coast. Collingwood played a major role in this important initiative, and gave a repeat performance in the Second World War.

Michael’s presentation will look at the impact of global conflict upon shipbuilding in Collingwood as the town’s shipyard twice shifted production from Great Lakes cargo shipping to warships destined for the Atlantic Ocean.

Nov. 24, 2021 – 2 p.m.

Historian Bill March speaks about the history of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Canadian Flying Corps at Camp Borden in WWI.

By the end of 1916, aircraft had become a key instrument of modern warfare. With the Royal Flying Corps in Britain reaching its limit in training capacity and personnel, eyes turned towards the Dominion of Canada as a potential location for a major flight training establishment and a source for large numbers of enthusiastic young aviators. In January 1917, with the full support of the Dominion Government, the Royal Flying Corps (Canada) was created, with Camp Borden as the “home base” of the new force.

The RFC Canada training facility at Camp Borden sprang to life virtually overnight. However, in its brief period of existence, less than two years, the camp helped to provide a steady stream of pilots for the war in Europe, fostered a nascent Canadian aircraft industry, and sowed the seeds of Canadian military aviation culture.  Bill’s presentation will examine Camp Borden’s legacy in the history of Canadian aviation, and explain why Camp Borden is referred to as the “Birthplace of the Royal Canadian Air Force.”

Take the Infinite Journey with the Simcoe County Museum, a cultural exploration of our historical past and exciting future. The Simcoe County Museum is owned and operated by the County of Simcoe and offers year round exhibits, events and educational programs for visitors of every age. Visit our website at for further details.​

County of Simcoe is composed of 16 member municipalities and provides crucial public services to County residents in addition to providing paramedic and social services to the separated cities of Barrie and Orillia. Visit our website at