Board Of Directors
Faith 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.
Elizabeth 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"
David Hemmings, Vice-President Museum
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.
John 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.”
Martin 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 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”.
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 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."
Suzanne 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.
Ron Dale, Director
Ron Dale joined the Board of Directors in 2016. After graduating with a degree in history from the University of Guelph he began a 38 year long career with Parks Canada, working in the Regional Office as a planner and historian, and at Fort Wellington National Historic Site. From 1992 to 2007, Ron managed Niagara National Historic Sites including Fort George, Butlers Barracks, Fort Mississauga, Navy Island, Navy Hall, the Commons and Brock’s Monument. In 2007, he took on the role of National Project Manager for the War of 1812 Bicentennial, planning federal commemorations of that conflict. On retiring from Parks Canada in 2013, Ron worked for several months for the Department of Canadian Heritage to research the names of Canada’s war dead for inclusion of a new War of 1812 Book of Remembrance that will be installed in the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill. He is the author of books on the history of Niagara-on-the-Lake, the War of 1812 and the French and Indian War.
Chris Pratt, Director
A native of London U.K. Chris joined the Board at the end of 2016.Seeking a better quality of life brought about a move from Toronto to Niagara on the Lake in 2011. His career, which started in London, spans 37 years in the sales and marketing senior management field, with a large multi-national industrial chemical company, his responsibilities encompassed working in the regions of Europe, Mid-East, Africa, Asia Pacific and North America.
“Living in Niagara on the Lake has enhanced my awareness and interest in the historical significance of the area, and I look forward to utilizing what skills I bring to the ongoing expansion and growth of the Niagara Historical Society &Museum”.