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I once asked my wife, Anne, so when your ancestors first travelled to the Orillia/Oro area in the early 1830s, how did they get here?  It was a time when there were not many roads and much of the travel overland was on foot.  Trans-Atlantic Steamships were not in common use, so ocean travel meant sailing ships and smaller sailing vessels on the inland routes.  The question of how travel to this area has evolved over the years is an interesting one. 

This is the story of the Taits, as told by guest contributor William Leslie.


William Tait, his wife Mary and family, including their son Andrew, left Scotland in 1848 for Canada, travelling from Liverpool to New York City, up the Hudson River and the Erie Canal, finally crossing from Buffalo to Fort Erie, Upper Canada, in 1860. Andrew was 21 years old.


Some Orillians have settled successfully in other parts of Canada.  For decades, Calgary, Alberta, has been a draw to generations seeking to make their way in the world.

Eric Lafferty Harvie was the most successful Orillians ever to make his way in Alberta. Because of land deals associated with petroleum, Eric Harvie became a wealthy philanthropist to arts organizations. His passions were the arts and collecting history related artifacts. He is reported to have said he wanted to die broke.

Lucille (Sue) Mulcahy, stalwart member of our community, turns 100 on March 14th!

OMAH and Lakehead University join together to honour Sue and to celebrate her many accomplishments and contributions over those years, that have so enriched the fabric of Orillia.

A Tale of Two Maps: Ernest H. Shepard’s 100 Aker Wood and Lucille Oille’s Owl Pen

by Ellen Blaubergs



Franklin Carmichael

The OMAH collection is a treasure trove of artifacts, oftengenerously donated by those who recognize their importance to local history. These gems teach us about our past and individuals who played a part in it.

Context is everything, particularly when judging historical figures such as Sir Sam Steele.

Each year Orillians honour our fallen soldiers on Remembrance Day. This year, this day of observance was like no other in recent history, as we were not able to gather at the Cenotaph or gather in groups to participate in Remembrance Day ceremonies.