2023 Osprey Heritage Awards recipients recognized at city hall

By Lindsay Advocate

The 2023 Osprey Heritage Awards recipients were recognized at city hall on Dec. 7. Left to right are: Mayor Doug Elmslie, Athol Hart (chair of the Kawartha Lakes Municipal Heritage Committee), Barb McFadzen, Paulette Sopoci, Sara Walker-Howe, Counc. Mike Perry, Teresa Jordan, Laura Love (Economic Development Officer – Curatorial Services), Deputy Mayor Tracy Richardson, Ian McKechnie (member, Kawartha Lakes Municipal Heritage Committee), and Emily Turner (Economic Development Officer – Heritage Planning). Photo: Rebecca Mustard, Manager of Economic Development for the City of Kawartha Lakes.

The 2023 Municipal Heritage Awards were hosted at City Hall on December 7 with members of council, staff, and individuals from the local heritage community in attendance. These awards celebrate the outstanding contributions to the preservation and promotion of heritage within Kawartha Lakes.

These bi-annual rewards, returning next in 2025, recognized individuals and groups in three categories: publication and research, community heritage, and heritage restoration/adaptive reuse.

Sara Walker-Howe, centre, was recognized for her newly released publication, ‘Historic Citizens of Kawartha Lakes.’ Photo: Rebecca Mustard.

The Publication and Research category celebrates non-fiction work about Kawartha Lakes archeological, built, cultural and/or natural heritage. Councillor Mike Perry presented this award to Sara Walker- Howe for her newly released publication titled Historic Citizens of Kawartha Lakes.

Sara’s book captures and showcases 20 unique stories of local women; the first woman from Kawartha Lakes to become a doctor or the first woman doctor to establish a practise in Lindsay, the woman from Verulam township who became a spy and ran a trading post in Siberia during the Russian Revolution, the woman who parachuted out of hot air balloons only to be shot in the back and yet carried the bullet next to her lung until the day she died, and so much more.

Teresa Jordan, centre, accepted an Osprey Heritage Award on behalf of the Manvers Historical Society for the latter’s efforts in promoting community heritage. Photo: Rebecca Mustard.

The Community Heritage category celebrates a volunteer-based organization or individual that promotes and/or protects heritage in Kawartha Lakes. Deputy Mayor Tracy Richardson presented this award to the Manvers Township Historical Society, which was represented by Teresa Jordan.

Manvers Township Historical Society celebrates 40 years of hard work in honouring the heritage of the former township of Manvers this year. This group has in the past few years opened a research center at the Old Post Office in Bethany, had both the buildings that they own or operated registered as heritage sites and have created a vibrant website and Facebook page. We can not mention all of the community outreach events hosted by the historical society, however to mention a few- in 2021 the society began a project to honor the veterans of Manvers with banners in the three villages, Families sponsor banners and the society has them printed and displayed, the society is expanding its display opportunities to the library space in Bethany, and the society continues to publish a newsletter.

Paulette Sopoci, centre, was recognized with an Osprey Heritage Award in the heritage restoration/adaptive reuse category for her restoration of the Primrose Hill Manor, in Janetville. Photo: Rebecca Mustard.

The Heritage Restoration/ Adaptive Reuse category celebrates a residential or commercial property owner that has completed preservation, rehabilitiation or restoration work to the historic place.

Deputy Mayor Tracy Richardson presented this award to Paulette Sopoci for the heritage restoration and adaptive reuse on Primrose Hill Manor, locally known as the Doctors House in Janetville.

Thanks to Paulette, this 1880 home underwent extensive restoration over the last two and a half years. Interior restoration began behind the walls to ensure the bones of the home were updated and functioning so the home was safe for decades to come. This included complete electrical wiring, a new plumbing stack, a new hot water tank, two air conditioners (a first time for this home), a new furnace and ensuring that after decades, the bats were finally removed from the attic.

Paulette hired skilled tradesmen to meticulously restore walls and ceilings in each room, with special attention given to the grand hallway and double parlour. Medallions, corbels and crown mouldings were all respected and the end result is perfection. New bathrooms and an updated kitchen were added to bring the home to 2023 standards, while respecting the heritage look of the home.

Barb McFadzen, centre, accepted the Heritage Milestone Award on behalf of the Boyd Heritage Museum, which this year marked its 25th anniversary. Photo: Rebecca Mustard.

In addition to the Osprey Heritage Awards, the Municipal Heritage Committee introduced the first Heritage Milestone Award, which acknowledges the dedication of heritage organizations in Kawartha Lakes, in 25 year increments. Deputy Mayor Tracy Richardson presented the municipality’s first Milestone Heritage Award to the Boyd Heritage Museum, celebrating 25 years.

Built in 1889 as The Boyd Lumber Company, later the Trent Valley Navigation Company, and now the Boyd Heritage Museum, the museum has been collecting and preserving not only artifacts and records that relate to Mossom Boyd, his family and businesses, but also for the Village of Bobcaygeon and surrounding areas for 25 years.


  1. Congratulations to Manvers and Boyd for their hard work and contribution to local heritage. It is lovely to see them recognized. I am unfamiliar with the work of the other two awards winners so make no comment.

    I have serious concerns about the heritage awards program.

    The original program, named the ‘Osprey Heritage Awards’ by the subcommittee of the Municipal Heritage Committee that I chaired with then member, Joan Skelton, was created to recognize disparate citizen and stakeholder contributions to the rich and diverse heritage of Kawartha Lakes. It was intended to be inclusive, inviting and fair, to grow and build the heritage community, and to celebrate our unique Kawartha Lakes heritage culture.

    The 2023 Heritage Awards committee called for public nominations but the judges were not independent members of the public. They were City councillors, City staff and Municipal Heritage Committee members. Putting aside any real bias, the appointment of interested judges creates the optic of myopic, self-serving, elitist, exclusive and unfair adjudication. It undermines public perception of the Osprey Heritage Awards as a serious, professional initiative.

    The awards committee didn’t notify unsuccessful nominees but left them to learn the results on social media or by word of mouth. What would it have hurt the Committee to send an email to all nominees thanking them for their participation, sharing the results, and inviting them to the awards ceremony so they could congratulate the winners, be recognized for their participation, and be included in the celebration of local heritage achievement?

    The City says it wants to unite and grow our heritage community and to build a heritage economy. To succeed, the City must become far more warm, inviting, inclusive, and tolerant – if not actively appreciative – of differences and of change. Open the doors! Let the whole world in! Inclusion won’t destroy incumbent heritage culture; it will enrich and grow it. Our heritage is not an ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ (poem by John Keats) but a living thing.

    Nothing Gold Can Stay

    Nature’s first green is gold,
    Her hardest hue to hold.
    Her early leaf’s a flower;
    But only so an hour.
    Then leaf subsides to leaf,
    So Eden sank to grief,
    So dawn goes down to day
    Nothing gold can stay.
    (Robert Frost)

  2. Avatar photo Roderick Benns says:

    We reached out to the City for comment about this. Here is the feedback:

    The 2023 Osprey Awards were well received by the attendees and members of the public. The 2023 process was different from the original awards pre-pandemic and was structured to be appropriate for current day.

    Nominees that were not successful were notified prior to announcements.

    A judging panel reviewed each of the applications that were received. As shared at the awards ceremony, the submissions were strong and the community can be proud of this. As in all our municipal processes, judges removed themselves from the evaluations if they believed there to be a conflict of interest. If a member of the public has a concern about the process, they are encouraged to contact the municipality to share their concerns.

    Rebecca Mustard, Manager of Economic Development

  3. I don’t know who told Rebecca Mustard that nominees were notified prior to announcements but the Ottawa Huron Tract History Association was nominated for our book “A History of Pandemics in Kawartha Lakes” and no one notified us of the results. We found out by reading about the results on social media.

    Paulette Sopoci who was awarded the prize in the Heritage Restoration/Adaptive Reuse category for her work on Primrose Hill Manor endorsed Tracy Richardson’s campaign for re-election in 2022. She made a video outside the Primrose Hill Manor in which she used her heritage manor brand to endorse Councillor Richardson’s campaign for re-election. The media coverage showing the then deputy mayor giving her friend, Paulette Sopoci an award creates an optic of a quid–pro-quo conflict of interest.

    I contacted Laura Love, Rebecca Mustard and Mayor Elmslie with my concerns about a possible conflict of interest in the judging in that category but as no one responded, I contacted the Advocate. An investigation of the concerns I brought to the attention of Rebecca Mustard, Laura Love, and the mayor would require someone impartial – Rebecca Mustard, perhaps – to contact every judge on the panel to determine if the then deputy mayor recused herself from judging in the category and why. If the judges cannot verify that Councillor Richardson recused herself and why, then the City should give Councillor Richardson the opportunity to recuse herself in retrospect and apologize for her error in judgement. It should not fall on concerned citizens to get the authorities involved.

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