Our Nautical Nights Winter Speaker Series, in partnership with Kingston Yacht Club (KYC), has become an annual tradition at the Marine Museum. It’s one other way to keep us connected and warm during the cold winter (and spring) months!
We feature a wide variety of speakers who draw on the unique power of storytelling to share their perspectives and research. Speakers cover a range of topics surrounding environmental, social and military histories, as well as current issues or phenomenon. These unique evenings are free of charge, but we do welcome donations to help cover speaker honorariums and future events.
Suzanne Pasternak and Alec Lunn
Suzanne is an accomplished professional storyteller, playwright and composer who spent years researching the forgotten legend of the 17-year-old ship’s cook and Captain's daughter of the Lake Ontario schooner David Andrews. In 1990, Suzanne’s years of research and inspiration was woven with haunting Celtic inspired music to culminate in the first production of Minerva.
Alec is a renowned Prince Edward County songwriter, folk musician and a classically trained flutist. Alec, along with singer-songwriter Mark Despault form the duo The Frere Brothers. He has performed as both a storyteller and musician with Suzanne in every performance of Minerva since 1990.
Long Point to Pointe-des-Monts: A Postcard Voyage down the St Lawrence
In the course of researching his book River Song: Sailing the History of the St Lawrence, Phil collected postcards, some over a hundred years old, along the length of the river. These postcards form the stepping-stones of his engaging talk, prompting anecdotes and tales from history that illuminate the contribution the river has made to the narrative of pre and post colonial Canada, and earned it the title ‘mighty’. During this presentation, Phil also included a song or two written while sailing the St Lawrence on the tall ship Mist of Avalon.
The Cruise of the Breeze: Yachting on Lake Ontario with the Royal Artillery, 1863
Marc is a graduate from University of Western Ontario with a degree in History, and is author of two books; For Want of a Lighthouse, Guiding Ships Through the Graveyard of Lake Ontario and The Cruise of the Breeze, The Journal Art and Life of a Victorian Soldier in Canada. Yachting on the Great Lakes was in its infancy in 1863 when Lt. Henry Baines and two other officers set out with their friends on a pleasure cruise around Lake Ontario. Henry’s illustrated journal recounts many incidents on the cruise including several days that he and his shipmates spent in Kingston.
Marc brought his lifelong fascination with history together with his interest in documentary art in this talk about one of the earliest documented yachting adventures on Lake Ontario.
Postponed 2020 Speakers
Due to the unforeseen circumstances brought about by COVID-19, the following speakers were postponed. We are looking to reschedule their presentation for the Winter 2021 Series.
Water Regimes, Fish and Fisheries
Dr. John M. Casselman
Dr. John M. Casselman is a fisheries ecologist and environmental physiologist and was an adjunct professor in the Biology Department at Queen’s University. Prior to his retirement, he supervised fisheries research on Lake Ontario for the Ontario government. John has published and presented widely on fish and fisheries, including numerous publications in primary literature on various aspects of fisheries science, including the impacts of climate change. By invitation, he has conducted research throughout the world, including Africa, Tibet, and most recently in the Canadian Arctic. He has received a number of awards, from the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, the Ontario Commercial Fisheries’ Association, and the American Fisheries Society prestigious Award of Excellence.
Lady Franklin and the Lost Franklin Expedition
Dr. Erika Behrisch-Elce
In the 1850s, the search for the lost Franklin Expedition was considered England’s “Modern Odyssey,” and Lady Franklin nothing less than the “Penelope of England.” Today, she is still often portrayed as a symbol, but now as a conniving strategist whose own ambitions propelled her husband to his tragic end.
This presentation considers the life of one of the Victorian period’s most compelling women in a new light: not as a Penelope or conniver, but as a master of narrative. Moving between history, biography, and fiction, Erika Behrisch-Elce explores how Lady Franklin’s character continues to fascinate, rile, and inspire as much as the lost Franklin Expedition itself. Dr. Erika Behrisch-Elce is an Associate Professor at Royal Military College.
Kingston’ Royal Naval Dockyard, 1784-1815
David More and Miranda Riley
During the War of 1812, the Naval Dockyard in Kingston, where RMC now stands, created wooden warships as large and powerful as any found in Britain’s Royal Navy. The bones of several still lie in Kingston waters, and are now officially National Historic Sites. This presentation, partnering local historian David more with Miranda Riley, RMC Museum Curator, will acquaint you with the interesting history of a major naval dockyard that once employed more than 500 men and women at a time when the population of Kingston was only about 1,500 – an enormous accomplishment!