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Board Of Directors

Faith BellFaith Bell, President

Faith joined the Board of Directors in 2013. She was born and raised in St. Catharines. After attending the University of Waterloo she lived in numerous communities in Canada and US with her husband, David. Over that time she raised three children and had several diverse careers including being owner/operator of a retail store in Toronto, and has been involved in many not-for-profit organizations.  Faith returned “home” to Niagara two and half years ago and with David operates AquaBella B&B in NOTL.

JulianJulian Rance, Vice- President Museum

Julian Rance joined the Board of Directors in 2010 and is currently part of the Planning and Physical Plant Portfolio and the Finance and Administration Portfolio. Prior to retiring to Niagara on the Lake Julian worked in various industries such as Air Transportation, Aerospace manufacturing and Municipal Water Utilities in Europe, Australia, Canada, the USA and the Caribbean. In addition to his involvement at the NHSM Julian is a Docent at the Shaw Festival and also supports and is involved with a variety of organizations and activities in NOTL.

"Wherever I have lived in the world I have found that the "Soul" of a community can often be discovered in its appreciation and record of its past. As long as I can recall I have been an ardent student of history, not only of the macro events that define world history but also the micro events that define and help explain thedevelopment of a community.The Niagara Historical Society and museum is a wonderful record of our community and in working with the Board of Directors and Staff of the museum I am able to appreciate more fully what a wonderful community we dolive in."

lizElizabeth Surtees, Vice-President Society

Elizabeth Surtees joined the Board in 2011 where she is part of the Publications and Communications portfolio.

Liz attended the University of London (UK) and University of Windsor (ON) and has a BA in Psychology.  She has worked extensively in educational environments and prior to retirement she held an administrative position at a not-for-profit radio station.

" I was pleased to be asked to join the Board from a personal interest point of view, and also to help increase the outreach of the Museum and Society to the community.  Specifically, I look forward to contributing to the physical regeneration of the Museum with regard to a new audio-visual display"

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JulianJohn G. Sayers, FCA, CMC, Treasurer

John joined the Museum Board in 2014. He has been Treasurer and a Board member of The Ephemera Society of America for many years, and has also served for several years on the Council of the British Ephemera Society. Prior to retirement, he had a long career in public accounting and management consulting, and many years of volunteer service on various professional committees, leading to his election as a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario. 

John’s wife, Judith, has been a serious collector of Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Camp material since their move here some 14 years ago, and John is a long-time collector of ocean liner ephemera. John has written many articles about ephemera, including for the past several years a regular monthly column, Ephemera Detective, in the New England Antiques Journal.

As a History major from the University of Toronto, John has a passion for a wide range of ephemera. “When something speaks to me, I want to acquire it to listen to the entire message, and then share that message with others in the articles that I write. The challenge is to capture that message and ensure that it will be available to be heard by future generations of scholars and researchers.


davidDavid Aurandt, Secretary

David Aurandt was born in Connecticut, took permanent residence in Canada in 1965 and became a Canadian citizen in 1971. In addition to full-time study at the New School of Art in Toronto, he has a B.A. (English and Classics)-Fairfield University in Connecticut, an M.A. (English Language and Literature)-University of Toronto where he also studied art history, and an M.F.A. (Painting)-Avery School of Graduate Studies, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. At U. of T. he also earned Certification in Teaching English as a Second Language and TESL Ontario Certification.

During the past thirty-five years he held several academic positions, teaching literature, writing, art history and studio courses at the University of Prince Edward Island, Algoma University College, Lakehead University, Brock University, Trent University, University of Toronto Scarborough, and University of Ontario Institute of Technology.

From the early 1980's he has been active as curator of exhibitions, both historical and contemporary, and as writer about art, artists, art history, and museum practice. His museum management experience includes as Director of the Thunder Bay Art Gallery, consultant/curator for the Eastman Kodak Creative Imaging Centre in Camden, Maine, Director of Rodman Hall Arts Centre, St. Catharines, Executive Director of The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, consultant for the Bermuda Masterworks Museum in Hamilton, Bermuda, and Director/Curator of RiverBrink Art Museum, Queenston. He is Past President of the Ontario Association of Art Galleries, and has been a member of the Canadian Art Museum Directors Organization, the Canadian Museum Association, and the Ontario Museum Association. He is also an artist whose work has been shown in a number of exhibitions in Canada and the U.S.

In Sault Ste. Marie David served on the Sault College Arts Advisory Committee and with Algoma Fall Festival Committee. In Thunder Bay he was a Board Member of Monitor North. In St. Catharines he was on the Board of the Niagara Vocal Ensemble, and was a member of the Brock University Dean’s Advisory Committee. He was an active member of the Rotary Club of Oshawa and also a Community Member of the University Animal Care Committee (UOIT Biological Sciences). He is currently a Board Member of Gallery Players of Niagara, and a Governance Committee Member of RiverBrink Art Museum as well as a Board member of the Rotary Club of Niagara-on-the-Lake.

"I am pleased and complimented to be elected to the Museum Society Board, because I have been specially interested in Niagara history and culture since 1994 when I first lived here. I was fortunate to return in 2012 and hope to be able to contribute in a meaningful way to this truly venerable and vital community organization."



Dennis Kam, Past President

Dennis Kam has been on the Board of Directors since 2007 and is currently President of the Society.Dennis was trained as an Economist at the University of Saskatchewan and at Queens University, but spent most of career as a Senior Executive in the Federal Public Service, working in the area of expenditure and financial management.

“ I joined because I had a long-standing interest in History writ large and, as a new resident of Niagara-on-the-Lake, I wished to learn about the history of the Niagara region.I considered the NHS&M as the best interlocutor for this history lesson. Its key role in preserving and communicating the historical record of NOTL also enticed me to become more actively involved in order to contribute to strengthening and expanding its influence in our community.”

Martin RichardsonMartin Richardson, Director

Martin Richardson emigrated to Canada from the U.K. in 1967, a Chartered Accountant by profession. After 18 years as a financial and risk management executive with large agricultural commodity manufacturing companies, he applied the acquired experience with entrepreneurial start-up companies in similar fields, grew their activities until sold as viable enterprises. Currently he acts as the general manager with a small winery in Niagara. Since early Canadian history was not part of his educational curriculum a series of lectures at the N.H.S Museum gave great insight into the formation of the Canadian identity and a better understanding of our current political environment. A museum can be a great educational tool to understand the development of national characteristics and, to this end, he hopes to assist the growth and use of the Niagara Historical Museum.

Lorraine JoynerLorraine Joyner, Director

Lorraine joined the Board of Directors in 2012 as a member of the Membership and Development Committee.  Lorraine is bilingual and worked in Toronto as a professional translator for several major companies.  She moved to Niagara-on-the-Lake in the early 90s to open her own B&B.  Since then, she has been involved with numerous organizations mostly pertaining to art and just recently has been invited to join the 1812 Bicentennial celebrations by working with volunteer heritage strollers as well as by sponsoring many events. In 2007, she was the recipient of the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake Cultural Contribution to the Community award as well as the Volunteer of the Year award.  

“It is an honour to have been asked to contribute in decision making pertaining to the future of the Niagara Historical Society & Museum”.   

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Denise Ascenzo

Denise Ascenzo, Director

Denise joined the Board of Directors in 2013. She moved to Niagara-on-the-lake in 2010 after living in Unionville, Ontario for over 35 years. Upon moving, the first organization she joined was the Niagara Historical Society.  Denise has volunteered for the society for three summers now, conducting tours for the War of 1812, Town tours and acting in the A Walk Through History vignettes. Prior to moving to NOTL, Denise had been a volunteer for the York Region Interlocking Girls Soccer League as a Director and the Royal Canadian Air Cadets as a Director with the Ontario Provincial Committee. Denise also worked for five years, prior to her move, for the Bel Canto Foundation, raising funds to assist Canadian opera students to study in Italy. The main fundraiser was the annual Bel Canto Gala where she was Chair of the Gala Committee for four years.

"A natural affinity with historical perspectives, combined with an opportunity for travels to distant lands, has heightened my awareness of the importance of the past and it's preservation. To experience it first hand in local surroundings, while being able to recreate it for the enjoyment of others, has allowed me to continue and share these worthwhile pursuits."

Doug PhibbsDoug Phibbs, Director

"A descendant of United Empire Loyalists, a visitor to Niagara since 1973 and now a resident. The Region has morphed from a vegetable and fruit canning centre to a destination anchored by wine, The Shaw Festival and a beautiful Regency Town. The Museum is the historical and research centre about one oftheearliest European settlements in Canada. The Museum is a special destination of great interest to those curious about the past."

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suzanneSuzanne Hebert, Director

Suzanne joined the Museum board in 2015. Born in Montreal (and obviously fully bilingual), she retired to Niagara-on-the-Lake in 2001, after a career which joined almost equally education management and planning and international consulting: from Dean of Student Services in a Quebec College, she went on to create the international activities of College and Institutes Canada, and eventually became a senior Vice-President responsible for corporate development for Asia and Eastern Europe for SNC Lavalin and Tecsult Engineering, in the late 70’s until her retirement. She has traveled and worked extensively in both regions, as well as in East and West Africa and the Caribbean.

Since moving to Niagara, Suzanne has volunteered with a number of organizations. For a few years, she edited the Museum Newsletter, until Amy took over. She has also been twice on  the Board of the NOTL Newcomers, the Riverbrink Museum in Queenston, Music Niagara (responsible for the volunteers at all performances for the last 6 years), and most important, The Shaw Guild in a number of positions, including President, Docents Coordinator and Information Chair. She is still an active member of the Docents group at the Shaw Guild.

hemmingsDavid Hemmings, Director

David joined the Board of Directors in 2015.  He moved to Niagara-on-the-Lake in 2008 after 40 years in the IT systems and services business, primarily for large government applications.  Since this change of focus, David has written 8 local history books, given numerous talks and run a small publishing house.  He is a member of the Municipal Heritage Committee and the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake UNESCO Committee.  He also conducts public sessions of Practical Genealogy & Family History at the NOTL Library, and assists the Town in historical and other projects. 

® Image: View of Fort George, Oil on canvass, C. Kreighoff 1823