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Bruce County Historical Society

Bruce County, Ontario, Canada

Incorporated 1901 - 1915       Re-incorporated 1957

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Welcome to the Bruce County Historical Society

The Bruce County Historical Society was first organized in 1901 and was active until World War I. In 1957 the society was re-established. We publish a yearbook, Historical Notes, as well as a twice annual newsletter. We meet several times during the year, including for an annual bus tour in the spring and an annual dinner meeting in the fall. The society published its first book, The History of the County of Bruce by Norman Robertson, in 1906, and we continue to provide publications about Bruce County's history. The annual membership fee of $20 includes the yearbook and newsletter, and members receive a 10% discount on our publications.

Our society's goals and objectives are to research, document, collect, preserve and edit material pertaining to the history of Bruce County and its people; to actively promote and encourage public awareness and interest in our local history; to publish new and reprint publications of significance to the history of Bruce County; to disseminate and arouse public interest in Bruce County historical and heritage information by organizing and featuring programmes and promoting discussion at regular meetings; to encourage the preservation and protection of buildings and structures of historical and architectural significance and the protection of our unique natural landscapes; and to mark historic sites, structures, trails, etc..

Special News Announcement

“The Bruce” Premieres

PORT ELGIN, Ontario – April 19, 2018 – The Bruce, TVO’s three-part documentary series exploring the history of the Saugeen Ojibway Territory and Bruce County, will have its free big-screen debut on Saturday, May 12th at The Plex in Port Elgin. Episode one, The Fishing Chiefs, will be featured this evening, while the second and third episodes, The Last Frontier, and The Peaceful Path, will screen at The Plex in another free event on Saturday, June 2nd. A creation of hundreds of volunteers from across the region, The Bruce will be distributed for free to every school and library in Bruce County following the premiere events, along with a curriculum companion.

For both Premiere events, doors will open at 6:00pm, with the night beginning at 7:00pm. The screenings will wrap up around 9:00pm, with a reception and light refreshments to follow. To get your FREE tickets – search for The Bruce Premiere at Saugeen Shores on Don’t forget to print your tickets for ease of entry, and come early to get the best seats.

Episode 1, May 12

Episode 2 & 3, June 2

“We can’t wait to share The Bruce with the volunteers who worked so hard to bring these stories to life,” says Director, Zach Melnick, “but also with the larger Ontario community. I think viewers will be surprised by the drama in these stories, and how the events of the past so directly shape the lives of people today.” The Bruce will be seen across the province this summer on TVO.

Part of the non-profit Ontario Visual Heritage Project, The Bruce has been created in partnership with the Bruce County Historical Society, and in collaboration with the Saugeen Ojibway Nation. Funding in the form of a two-year, $139,100 Grow grant was received from the Ontario Trillium Foundation in 2016, and from partners in the community.

“I believe it is important for future generations to understand our past, and that our future is shaped by our past. The documentary of Bruce County’s history is an important reminder that celebrates our natural, cultural and economic history, and will play a key role in sharing our storied history and engaging people to have pride in our community,” says Bill Walker, MPP, Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound.

The Bruce has been in the works since May of 2016, when the project was kicked off by a community brainstorming session. With the guidance of a local steering committee, the project team conducted 50 research interviews and dove deep into the historical literature. 33 historians, knowledge keepers, and elders were subsequently interviewed on camera, and 62 re-enactments of historical events were planned.

In April of 2017, 130 people of all ages and experience answered the open audition call to fill the roles of some of Bruce’s most celebrated and notorious historical figures. With the help of theatre groups, retirement clubs, Ontario Parks and Parks Canada, Bruce County, and countless other organizations – props, costumes and locations were sourced for 24 re-enactment filming days from June through December. As word of the project spread, additional volunteers stepped up – with a total of 179 volunteer actors appearing on-camera, and 102 more helping behind-the-scenes. Some of the events that were re-enacted include: the treaties of 1836 and 1854, the land sale of 1854, the burning of the Peninsula in 1908, the coming of nuclear power to Bruce, and the establishment of the National Parks in the 1980s.

Life and landscapes were filmed throughout the county to compliment the re-enactments. Over 4,500 shots, or 40 terabytes of footage, were collected for The Bruce. After being edited into three, fifty minute parts - archival drawings, paintings, photographs and film, along with 3D and motion graphics were added to each episode to further enrich the stories. Former radio personality and Drayton Theatre veteran, Neil Aitchison, ties the whole series together with his dulcet tones as narrator.

Pre-order your copy of The Bruce on DVD or Blu-ray, from the Bruce County Historical Society at each of the Premieres. For those wanting to explore our history more deeply, the Society will also be selling The Bruce companion book by local scribe, Robin Hilborn. All proceeds go towards helping preserve and promote the history of our communities. The order form is at

An agency of the Government of Ontario, the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is one of Canada’s largest granting foundations. With a budget of over $136 million, OTF awards grants to some 1,000 projects every year to build healthy and vibrant Ontario communities.

Please e-mail Yvonne Drebert for film-stills and re-enactment photos.

Ross Lamont – Chair Project Steering

Yvonne Drebert – Producer
519 832 5162
Our Partners

Special Announcement

The Bruce book
The Bruce book - Robin Hilborn with Ann-Marie Collins

The Society and author Robin Hilborn are pleased to announce that “The Bruce”, a companion book to our video series on the history of Bruce County of the same name, is now in production. The companion book expands on the topics found in the video series and promises to be a valued addition. The book will be available in late May.

In the photographs you can see the “proof” copy of “The Bruce”, author Robin Hilborn and Bruce County archivist Ann-Marie Collins inspecting the book.

Use this order form to pre-order not only this companion book, but also copies of our video series, “The Bruce.”: Order The Bruce book and dvd

Also, stay tuned for information on the premiere of the video series “The Bruce” which will be announced shortly.

Upcoming Events

For the latest updates please visit us on Facebook


Information about our projects, including the Bruce County Heritage Documentary Project, the Bruce County Military Project and the Bruce County Barn Project, can be accessed from our History page.

Ontario Historical Society logo
Affiliated with the Ontario Historical Society

Ontario Trillium Foundation
We thank the Ontario Trillium Foundation for a grant received in 2012 to publish and distribute three history books that document the heritage of the county and its people.

Ontario logo
Supported by the Government of Ontario through the Heritage Organizations Development Grant Program

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